Why do the stars in the sky twinkle at night
The twinkling happens because the air above you is moving (wind), and there are warmer and cooler pockets of air up there that cause the light to bend, even if the air seems calm where you are standing on the ground.
Im not sure if it counts as a i wonder question, but did albert einstein ever say what his favorite element on the periodic table? If not what do you think it is?
If you're talking about that picture on the Astronomy Picture of the Day, I think they made some adjustments to it to bring out the details, so it might not look just like that. But I can tell you that Mars is about half the size of Earth, so if you were standing on Mars the horizon would seem much closer because it is smaller. Think about an ant standing on a basketball (Earth) compared to an ant standing on a softball (Mars). How would the "horizon" of the balls look different to the ants?
what would happen if the earth moved slightly forward?
If the Earth moved a little bit closer to the Sun, it would probably get a little warmer. At first, the oceans would absorb a lot of the heat, but eventually the oceans would evaporate, and then the planet would become MUCH warmer- maybe too warm for us to live! The good news is, that's very unlikely to ever happen!
Hi Mr. Biegun! Why is it that sound is delayed a little bit when you're far away from the sound being made?
When this happens, you are just noticing how much slower sound travels compared to light. Sound travels through air at over 700 miles per hour, which sounds really fast, but it actually takes a noticeable amount of time when the sound starts far away, such as when thunder happens during a storm. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. Here's one way to grasp the difference in speed: If you travelled around the Earth at the speed of sound, you'd go all the way around in 32 hours. If you travelled at the speed of light, you'd circle the Earth in 1/7 of a second! Big difference, huh?
Hi Mr. Biegun. I was wondering if when you're stopped at a stoplight and you see the clouds moving, if the clouds were moving or the Earth or if they were both moving in opposite directions.
Good observation! First of all, the Earth is ALWAYS moving, because it never stops rotating. Earth rotates toward the East, so things that are far away in space, such as stars and planets, appear to always be moving to the west. If you lived on the equator you would be moving east at a constant speed of about 1,000 miles per hour. Here in Michigan, we are moving more like 500 mph.
The Earth is surrounded by a layer of air which can flow, almost like a liquid. As the Earth rotates, it causes currents in the atmosphere, like rivers of moving air, which we call winds. This is what makes those clouds move. The upper-level winds move in different directions in different parts of the world, and they change depending on the movement of weather patterns like storms. For instance right now we have some colder air sliding down from the north, which is common at this time of year.
Thank you Mr. Biegun now I know the answer, but I have another question. Do you see the same clouds over and over again like each time the Earth goes around or are they always different clouds?
No, clouds do not stay the same all the way around the Earth. If you ever watch a time-lapse video of clouds, looking down from space satellites, you'll notice that the clouds are constantly changing, disappearing and new ones forming.
The atmosphere and the clouds actually turn WITH the Earth, and because of those upper-level winds they even go a little faster than the Earth's surface. That's why in Michigan our clouds always seem to be moving from west to east, even though the Earth itself is rotating to the east.
Think of it this way: since the Earth is turning to the east (at 500 mph in Michigan), what would the clouds look like if they were just holding still above the Earth? They would look like they were racing to the west at 500 mph or more! But that definitely doesn't happen!
What makes some t-shirts glow in the dark?
There are several different chemicals that have the ability to absorb light, then give it off again. I think that's what you are talking about in t-shirts. The most common of these chemicals is zinc sulfide, which looks a pale yellowish green color, and when it gives off light in the dark it looks like a fluorescent green. It's relatively cheap to buy, so it's used in lots of toys, decorations and t-shirts. I have a whole bottle of this powder at school, and if you ask me I will show it to you.
There are some other chemicals that glow other colors, but they tend to be pretty expensive. A few years ago I bought a bottle of a white powder called Europium, which glowed a bright blue- but it cost about $30 for a couple of spoonfuls, so once I "used it up" on science projects I haven't gotten any more!
There are also two other ways to make things glow, and they both work differently. One way is to have a chemical that glows under an ultraviolet light (also called a "black light"). The other example is glow sticks that you carry around on Halloween. Those work by mixing two liquids together to cause a chemical reaction that gives off light.
Why is there no gravity in space but there is gravity on earth? I wonder this because space has planets and earth is one of them but the other planets don't have gravity,right?
Gravity is a property of all matter. In other words, the more atoms are in one place, the more gravity there will be in that place. There are a lot of atoms in the Earth, so it has a lot of gravity. YOU are made of atoms so YOU have gravity, just much less. Every planet (and moon) has gravity. Some have more gravity than Earth, some have less. For instance, Jupiter has about two and a half times as much matter as Earth, so it has two and a half times as much gravity. Mars has about 1/3 the atoms Earth has, so it has 1/3 the gravity, and therefore you would weight 1/3 as much on Mars.
In empty outer space, if you are not near any large objects, you won't feel any gravity pulling on you. But if you drift too close to a moon or planet- or star!- you will be pulled in by its gravity.
Thank you for your response, I am just wondering how come people would float when they go to space if the is gravity?😀
If a person is in a spaceship, the only gravity they would feel is from the spaceship itself! Since the ship is all "around" them, they would float inside it! But of course a spaceship is way smaller than a planet, so the ship has very little gravity anyway.
Why can you watch a lunar eclipse with the naked eye but not a solar eclipse? What would happen if you looked at a solar eclipse with the naked eye?
Good question, Vince. When you are looking at a SOLAR eclipse, you are staring straight at the Sun, right? The Sun gives off very powerful ultraviolet light, which is INVISIBLE to your eyes, but it still can easily burn a hole in the retina in the back of your eyes if you stare toward the Sun. Ultraviolet light is also the part of the sunlight that causes sunburn, and can cause skin cancer. It's the same light that comes from a "black light", but is MUCH stronger from the Sun, even during an eclipse!
When you look at a LUNAR eclipse, what are you staring at? Not the Sun, but the MOON! And the Moon does not give off any light of its own. It reflects a very small amount of the Sun's light, but not the ultraviolet part of the light- that's why you don't get a sunburn at night, and that's why moonlight can't hurt your eyes.
Why does the mass of gum change after we chew it???
About 3/4 of a piece of gum is just sugar. The rest of the gum is a mixture of chemicals that makes a kind of rubber substance. When you chew gum, it takes about 6 minutes for your saliva to dissolve all the sugar in the gum. That's why the gum loses mass! After that, you're just chewing a piece of rubber.
why does the gravity hold you down
That's what gravity does, Fatima- it pulls things toward each other. The Earth's gravity pulls you down. AND YOU PULL UP ON THE EARTH! But guess which one has the most gravity? The Earth. That's why when you jump up in the air, the planet doesn't jump up and stick to your feet!
thanks for replying mr.B
Hi Mr.Biegun its Hannah. I was wondering, I have heard that a fish can only remember about 10 or 20 seconds then they forget every after that, is that true? This would be a good question for the myth busters. And if it is my fish died today and my other fish in the tank (ninja) he looks very sad and just staying at the bottom of the tank .So do you think he does remember his friend?
I think he remebers his friend. R.I.P
Actually, the Mythbusters tested this in 2004! I have always heard the same thing, but in the show Jamie trained a goldfish and the fish "remembered" its training over a month later! (I haven't seen the episode but I've read about it).
Still, I think it's a stretch to say that a goldfish would be sad because his friend is missing. The ability to have emotions is probably only found in very complex animals like the higher mammals with large brains. If your fish is behaving differently, I think it's more likely that there's something going on with your water, which may have caused the other one to die. Fish will stay close to the bottom or top sometimes because they are feeling stress because of dirty water or too warm/too cool temperatures. (Water is warmer near the top and cooler near the bottom).
What are your fish die ?????😢😢
That's a great question Hannah and I'm sorry your fish died.😕
What is that suppose to mean?
I'm sorry too, Hannah! But congratulations on that great quiz score today!
What would happen if the sun got to close to the earth?
The Earth would get way too warm, and the oceans would all evaporate away. We would become a big desert. But the Sun will never be able to get closer to the Earth, so we don' have to worry about that!
Thank You for answering me! : )
How come there are a lot of stars in the sky?
Is it true that there is a hole in Jupiter?
I'm not sure what you mean by a "hole" in Jupiter. I've never heard that. But it does have a huge storm going on that's been going for hundreds of years. Maybe that's what you heard about.
Yes, there are a lot of stars in the sky. On a really clear night, far away from city lights, a person can see a few thousand stars. But that's just a tiny fraction of the 100 billion to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. And scientists estimate there are at least 100 billion other galaxies as well.
Why are there so many stars? This is the universe we live in, Alexis. The story of Science is all about trying to figure out why it is the way it is. I hope you'll keep exploring for yourself!
Hi Mr.Biegun, I was wondering how planets or dwarf planets are made? Also how are stars made?
Here's a crazy question for you: do you have any dust under your bed? Or under the couch? What happens if that dust is left there a long time and continues to build up? The dust starts to make clumps as the particles stick together. Some people call these "dust bunnies".
Well, believe it or not, the same thing happens in space. Stars form when giant clouds of hydrogen gas, floating in space, begin to "clump" together. The more the gas draws together, the more its gravity continues to pull in more. Eventually the gas starts to squeeze together and heat up. When it gets hot enough, the atoms start to squeeze together in a never-ending nuclear explosion, which gives off lots of heat and light. That's what our Sun is doing right now, and it will continue doing this until the hydrogen is used up in about 5 billion more years.
At the same time this is happening, bits of dust and rock can also clump together into giant space "dust bunnies". If these become large enough, and they move in orbit around a star, we call them planets. If they are not big enough to make a round ball, or if they don't follow a regular orbit around the star, we call them dwarf planets.
In the Spring I'll show our class a video of how this probably happened when our Solar System formed.
How is time travel impossible?
I don't understand we time travel everyday memories are the key to time travel we think about memories when we sleep or when we day dream, also like in some situations you know what's about to happen, like if you make a sandwich you know your going to start with bread.Or if u get dressed you know you will put your jacket on after your shirt is already on.See right now in your mind you're thinking about what you'll write next to me you'r predicting the future which means your taking a trip on the time ride.I want to know the physics of time travel is it a reversed black hole that's actually feeding you information instead of sucking it out or is it just a function in our minds that helps us think and work faster. I WANT TO KNOW!
I love the last four words of your comment: I WANT TO KNOW! That's the stuff scientists are made of!
Nobody has ever been able to answer the question of whether time travel is possible, and LOTS of scientists have wondered about it! Albert Einstein said it this way: "why can we remember the past but we can't remember the future?" Of course we can IMAGINE the future, we can make PLANS about the future, but that's not the same as KNOWING what will happen is it? Most people consider time travel to be the actual movement of your body to a distant time, either in the future or the past. The great scientist Stephen Hawking has suggested that it MUST be impossible, otherwise we would be constantly running into visitors from the future, right?
I mean, imagine you will someday have a great-great-great-great grandson. And suppose he is able to travel through time, so he decides to go back to 2015 and see his great-great-great-great grandma Breanna. Maybe he wants to help you be happy and successful in your life. So maybe he pretends to be . . . one of your teachers, for instance. Would you listen to him and follow his advice? He just might know something important that can help you!
Well, hang in there, Grandma, set very high goals for yourself, because you've got a bright future ahead! :-)
What are the physics of time travel?Don't we time travel everyday memories are the key to time travel right,we think about memories all the time.And we can also predict the future like if your making a sandwich you know you'll start with bread.Or the order you put on your clothes its normally always the same order you predict it will be.So your taking a fun ride in time land right.So I don't understand why people think its impossible.If you did the math the possibilities of it are remarkable.Its like a black hole but instead of sucking you through time your being pushed like gravity is letting go and is letting you fly in between time and space. Its a question but I wanted to share my opinion sorry.
I think this is an awesome question Breanna! I personally think it would be awesome if scientists found out if time travel was real, because then we could find out more about how we evolved.
Breanna that's a great question! I would like to find that out as well. It would be really cool if we could time travel. Also every second is the future or past like while I was typing this it's now in the past and when u read it, it will be in the future.
Well, Breanna, you have a lot of questions tucked in there, let's see if I can untangle a few:
1. Physics of time travel? There is no physics of time travel- nobody has ever done it, other than the obvious method of moving into the future by one full minute every time 60 seconds goes by. If anyone ever figures out how to do it, we will have to figure out the physics. Einstein suggested it is impossible because it would lead to the possibility of an object existing in two places AT THE SAME TIME. For example, if you went backwards 10 minutes, you could be sitting at the kitchen table across from yourself! The laws of physics say this is impossible.
2. Memories: yes, we remember the past- but is that really the same as going back into the past? I think most people would say those are two different things. I remember being 10 years old, or at least some parts of it; but that's not the same as going back in time so I can be 10 again.
3. Imagining your plans for the future might feel like you're almost there, but if you think you know what is going to happen you are really fooling yourself! Are we going to have a quiz on Thursday? You better plan on it, right? Is there any way it might not happen? Of course- I could name a hundred things that would prevent it, starting with a surprise earthquake that flattens the school!
4. I'm not sure what you mean by "if you did the math the possibilities are remarkable". There is no math for time travel unfortunately.
Like you, I would LOVE to experience real time travel (I think . . .). I hope someone will figure out a way to do it. But we're not there yet!
Hi Mr.Biegun! My question (or wonder if you will) is that do you think or is there science that can be tested to find out if teleportation is possible. (please excuse that there are no commas or a question mark. My dumb tablet doesn't know what those are.)
Teleportation means the ability to move a physical object (like a person or an apple or a car) from one location to another location WITHOUT traveling in between. In other words, you could be sitting in a boring class at school, and you decide you'd rather be sitting on a mountaintop in Tibet- and then YOU ARE. No plane tickets, no waiting around, no traveling in between. Sounds pretty cool, and you see it happen all the time in science fiction movies, but unfortunately it appears to violate the laws of physics . . . as far as we know!
BUT (and this is a really big BUT): when we study the tiniest particles, like the electrons that exist inside atoms, we start to notice them doing some really weird things (yes, I'm using the word WEIRD! This is the right place to use it!). Electrons apparently can move from one place to another, without passing through space in between. The first scientist who discovered this said something along the lines of "wait. . . WHAT?!!!"
Scientists have not yet figured out how this is possible, but it does seem to happen- and even weirder stuff too. This area of science is called quantum mechanics, and it is NOT for the faint of heart (or faint of imagination). We have a lot to learn. But I haven't heard of any scientists who think there is any way the laws of physics will ever allow larger objects (like us) to do this trick.
Mr biegun how does an eraser work? Is there a chemical in it ?
I'm sure it would look different by the angle you look at it
No, Sarah, no chemical tricks involved. It's simply friction! When you write with pencil you are leaving little microscopic bits of graphite on the fibers of the paper. The rubber of the eraser makes enough friction to rub the graphite off. A fun experiment would be to find different kinds of rubber and see if you can erase with them. I haven't tried it myself, so let me know! How about a wide rubber band? Or a rubber glove?
If you were standing on the moon during a lunar/solor eclipse, would it look different? Would the earth or the sun look different during an equinox or solstice?
Wow, what a cool question, Brandy! I think a great way to think about this would be to draw a picture of the positions of those bodies when these situations are happening, then imagine yourself in each spot to see what it would look like. I should put a picture right in this answer but the software won't let me. I've got to figure out how to do that . . .
Anyway, if you were standing on the Moon during a Lunar eclipse, you would see a total SOLAR eclipse! You would be looking straight toward the Earth, and the Sun would be directly BEHIND the Earth. Earth would be blocking the Sun, but Earth's atmosphere would be like a thin red line around the Earth: red because you are basically seeing a sunset on EVERY side of Earth at once! This reddish sunlight that "leaks" through the atmosphere is what makes the Moon look reddish during a lunar eclipse (seen from Earth).
Hey, I just found a link to a website that has a PHOTO of this happening! The photo was taken by a robot spacecraft that was near the moon, looking back toward Earth, during an eclipse. Here it is: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/02/19/what-does-a-lunar-eclipse-look-like-from-the-moon/#.Vh7Y2byVev0
During an equinox or solstice, I don't believe you would notice anything different from the moon, since it has no connection to those events.
What would the world be like if their was no moon
Well, it would be darker at night! That's really the only way it would LOOK different. However, without a moon, there would be some other changes. No tides on the oceans anymore, which would affect a lot of living things that depend on high and low tides every day. Also, the moon blocks a lot of the big rocks (asteroids) that come toward Earth. Without the moon there we would be hit more often, and maybe life would be wiped out.
How were different species of animals bought into this world .Sorry I ask to many questions
Logan, there is no such thing as too many questions! If it's something you really wonder about, it's ALWAYS a good question.
Scientists believe that all species are related to each other. There are close relatives, like dogs and wolves, which came from the same ancestors perhaps about 30,000 years ago. Then there are more distant relatives, like very distant cousins: humans and chimpanzees came from the same ancestor about 6 or 7 MILLION years ago.
And then there are REALLY distant relatives. For instance, humans and dogs and oak trees and mushrooms all came from the same "ancestors" that were simple organisms made from a few cells, maybe over a billion years ago!
The story of how species come to be, and how new species are still forming, is explained by the Theory of Evolution, which we will learn a lot about later in the year. It's one of the most fascinating stories in all of science!
If the earth orbited the other way(backwards) would time go back words
What an interesting idea, Abe! All the planets orbit in the same direction because that's the way the Solar System was turning when it formed. If it had started spinning in the other direction, I don't think we would notice any difference at all, unless you study the movement of the stars in the night sky VERY carefully.
If the earth did start spinning the other way, then how would the stars change and how would you know?
How is a black hole formed
When a small star like the Sun (yes, it's one of the smaller ones) runs out of fuel, it begins to swell up larger and larger and turn red. When our Sun becomes a "red giant" it will be so big that Mercury, Venus, Earth and maybe Mars will be INSIDE the Sun (and will be burned up to nothing). The red giant Sun will then lose much of its gas to outer space, and the rest will collapse to a very small, hot "white dwarf" star no bigger than our planet. Then it will just gradually cool off and lose all its heat over many billions of years.
Don't worry, our Sun still has enough fuel to go about 5 billion more years before it reaches the red giant stage.
Stars that are several times bigger than our Sun have a different death. When they run out of fuel they collapse inward suddenly (like in just a few hours), then become incredibly hot and blast outward in an amazing explosion called a supernova.
But the very BIGGEST stars do something else. When they run out of fuel they start collapsing inward and got hotter, but they have so much gravity that they just keep collapsing inward "forever", and become a black hole!
In the first paragraph of your response to Kelsey, you said "when our sun becomes..." I know in science class, you said that about half of the suns fuel that keeps it burning is gone, and it took a billion years to do so, and it will take about a billion years for the other half of the fuel to be gone. When this happens, is that when or what would become into the black hole? Or is that something different? If that is something different, then how does it happen? -Emily
Have you saw the myth busters episode where they heat up the barrel of a gun then bent it at 135 degrees
Nope, haven't seen it. I don't think you'd want to use that gun for anything though!
How come when you are out in space
you have to wear space gear, and when your on eart you dont have to. Why cant you just wear the cloths we wear when we are on earth?
In space there is no air. Of course that means you can't breathe, but it also means that you would not have the normal air pressure squeezing in on your body like you do on Earth. Your body would start to swell up like a balloon and you'd suffer a painful death (maybe even "popping" like a balloon!)
Now imagine we could put you inside a large ball full of air. If there's enough air inside, you could breathe AND it would squeeze your body with the necessary pressure. Now just imagine we could shrink that ball down to the size of your body. That's what a spacesuit is. It's just a container to hold all the air close to your body. It also has built in heating and air conditioning, because in space you can be way too hot or too cold depending on whether you are in the sunlight or in a shadow.
How come there is no air in space, but there is air on the earth. Technicaly we all are on a planet which is in the solar system
How is a plant created?
The only way to answer that is to say: plants are made from other plants. Many plants drop seeds, which grow into babies. Other plants grow babies off their roots or stems. The very first plants came from earlier organisms that were somewhat plantlike, such as algae.
I wonder if it is possible to brake a sheet of iron with your bare hands and not say ouch not meofcource but maybe the strongest guy in the world and the other really strong men.
I doubt it very much, Jacob. Iron is a very strong metal, and at the same time it's difficult to make it thin the way you can with aluminum or gold. So the thinnest piece of iron would be far too strong for a person to break with their hands.
I heard that humans only use 10 or 20 %of their brain and the percent Is useless is this true?
No, Kayla, that is a very old myth that is absolutely false! It's a misunderstanding of how the brain works. You use all of your brain, but all of us can improve our brain by making more connections between the different parts. That's called education. All that reading you do is really helping a lot too!
um i have a question how can salt water kill people and not when you at least have 3 spoon full of salt...?and how come people cant communicate to apes when some science proves that we evolved from them?
Well- you're kind of cheating there, aren't you, Kierslyn? Sneaking in two questions at once? :-)
But here you go: all the cells in your body contain water. When you have too much salt in your blood stream, it causes the water in your cells to move OUT of the cells to get to where the salt is. When your cells lose their water, they shrink and collapse and all kinds of very bad things happen to your body. It's like if you decided to fill up a car's gas tank with Coca-Cola instead of gasoline. A whole bunch of bad things would happen and the car would probably be wrecked.
As far as apes go, sure, they are related to us. Why should that mean you can talk to them? You probably have human ancestors from a few hundred years ago that you wouldn't even understand because they spoke a different language! Your relationship with apes goes back at least 6 MILLION years.
By the way, you are also related to dogs, goldfish, oak trees, mushrooms and bacteria. And EVERYTHING ELSE that lives today! But the farther back the relationship, the less you have in common with them. You won't get very far trying to talk to a goldfish. But guess what? His heart and circulatory system are a lot like yours. He has a backbone like you. And a stomach and a brain and lots of other organs.
Has their ever been a storm in the Milky Way that it shook all the earths. And what causes a star to fall out of the sky
i just looked it up i says there have been storms spotted by people before but i don't know if the pitchers i looked at is true...
I'm pretty sure that's false because you can't just notice planets moving one by one. I'm sure you can't even tell if their shaking with a telescope
There is no such thing as a storm in the Milky Way, Logan.
And there is only one Earth.
And stars NEVER fall out of the sky.
Three strikes and you're out?
I was wondering if we have the "space tools" to see and know about planets like the second earth,planets that are millions of miles away why has there been no robot sent to look for a black hole?
Did you hear in world geography that china is making the largest telescope in the world it's going to be bigger than the one in porter Rico it's shaped like a huge pentagon
The planets that have been detected outside our Solar System have not been SEEN. They are too far away to see. What we can detect, with very sensitive telescopes, is slight changes in the light shining from their stars. Imagine you are standing on a beach at night, staring across a lake. You can just see the shore on the other side, and there is a faint light over there near someone's house. As you stare at the faint light, you notice it flicker as someone walks in front of the light.
"Seeing" these planets is like this. (We call these "extra-solar" planets, which means "outside the solar system".) If a planet is orbiting a star, and passes in front of the star, telescopes can detect this brief flicker. If we see that flicker happening in a regular pattern over several years, we can assume it is a planet orbiting the star. Computers can analyze the "flicker" to learn things like the size of the planet and how far fast it's going. But nobody can see the planet itself!
But even if we did "see" one of these planets (or a black hole for that matter), traveling to it using our fastest spacecraft would take MILLIONS of years! Yes, actually millions.
We just don't have the technology to travel very fast yet. Remember, it took 9 years for a spacecraft to get to Pluto last summer. And remember, Pluto is in our Solar System. Getting to the next "solar system"- if the spacecraft was even heading that way- would take about another 100,000 years!
In science class one day you mentioned that in fall, leaves don't change color, but underneath the green, when it is spring and summer,the red and orange is there, just covered up by the green. I was wondering if it was possible to take a green leaf, and uncover the orange or red some how. And if this is possible, I was wondering if we could do the experiment in class?
He said their is a way to do it but I don't remember that much about it anymore
Good question, Emily. The green stuff in leaves is a chemical called chlorophyll. The yellow and orange colors come from a group of chemicals called carotenoids. As you might guess, these are the same chemicals that make carrots orange.
If you can make a leaf stop doing photosynthesis, it will stop producing chlorophyll, and when the green fades away you should see the other colors. The only way I've learned to "turn off" photosynthesis is to coat the leaf in something like vaseline. This blocks the tiny holes in the leaf that allow carbon dioxide to get in, and oxygen to get out. This shuts down the chlorophyll factory (and eventually kills the leaf).
In 7th grade you may do a pretty cool experiment (or you can do it on your own), where you crush a leaf and put it in some acetone (fingernail polish remover). This chemical will make the chlorophyll come out of the leaf- and also the carotenoids. Then you can use some filter paper to absorb the liquid, and the colors will climb up the filter paper and spread out, revealing all the colors in the leaf.
We won't be doing that in class in 6th grade, but if you're interested in trying it at home, let me know and I'll show you how at school, or maybe send you a link to a website that explains.
I would love to do this at home! I showed my mom, and she said that it sounds like a fun experiment. I hope next year I have you as my 7th grade science teacher, and thank you for answering my question!
is it true than cemtrails are making the suns rays more intence?and how do people git Cancer?
Two questions again, Kierslyn? I think you are talking about contrails, those long white trails that come from high-flying jets. I believe they are mostly water-vapor, and I've never heard of them making sunlight more intense, but if you find any information that says this, I'd love to see it.
Cancer is a problem that happens when something goes wrong with the operations inside a cell in someone's body. It's kind of like if a car was driving along the road and something went wrong inside the engine and caused the car to speed up out of control, and the driver couldn't make it stop.
We don't yet understand what causes cells to get confused and start multiplying out of control. We know some chemicals can make it happen, like some kinds of pollution, or the chemicals in cigarette smoke. But sometimes it happens and we never know what caused it. Just as you can help a car last by taking good care of it, changing the oil and using good gasoline, you can take good care of your body by avoiding things like tobacco, drugs and alcohol, eating healthy and getting lots of exercise. Your body will be like a machine that runs better, lasts longer, and is less likely to get diseases like cancer.
Hello, Mr. Biegun I was wondering why is it when you go into outer space your food needs to be dehydrated and what would happen to food in outer space if it was not.
Water evaporates almost instantly if there is no air, so if you pulled out a juicy cheeseburger in outer space it would quickly turn into cheeseburger dust.
But that doesn't explain why astronaut food would be dehydrated, because when they are eating it in a spacecraft (or space station) they actually have air inside there, just as they would here on Earth. (They don't need to wear their space suits when they are living inside the spacecraft).
Instead, the reason for dehydrating food would be to reduce weight (dry food is much lighter) and to prevent it spoiling by growing bacteria, since they can't grow in food that's completely dry. But I don't believe the astronauts in the International Space Station are eating dehydrated food anymore. We now have the ability to send up food that's sealed in containers that can last a long time without spoiling. I know I've seen videos of astronauts opening up cans and eating things like stew out of the can.
Hi mr.Biegun I was wonder if there is such a thing called a "shooting star?" If you could answer this soon it would be great because I REALLY WANT TO KNOW THIS IMFORMATION
Glad to help, Savanna! There is something called a "shooting star". But it's not a shooting star! Those bright streaks you see shooting across a dark sky occasionally at night, are really nothing more than grains of sand in outer space. Most of them are just floating out there because they came off of comets that were moving through the Solar System. (Comets are huge chunks of ice and sand and bits of rock).
As the Earth orbits the Sun, moving at a speed of over 60,000 miles per hour (did you know you are moving that fast?), sometimes our planet "hits" some of these grains of sand. The little bits of sand and rock get so hot striking the atmosphere (remember, Earth is going 60,000 miles per hour, so that's how fast they hit the air), the particles burn up, making that streak as they go through the atmosphere. I know it's hard to believe a grain of sand can make such a bright light, but they get REALLY hot when they burn up.
Occasionally, some of these rocks are bigger- the size of a bowling ball, or a suitcase, or a car. When they come through the atmosphere they can make a "fireball", and they can show sparks and flames and smoke coming off, and can even fall all the way to land on the ground. We call these meteors. I've seen fireballs in the sky twice in my life, both times while I was driving my car at night.
If their were no moon would their still be tsunamis
Sure, there would still be tsunamis. They are caused by earthquakes happening under the ocean. They have no connection to the moon.
Sorry Mr.Biegun, if i'm asking too many questions, but I think I may have learned this before but I forgot, I've heard this many times in children's books, magazines, or other reading articles. Is it true that owls can turn their head around all the way? And if so, then how is that possible? Do owls not have bones in their necks? Or can only some owls do it? -Emily
You ask great questions, Emily! I know I've read about owls turning their heads, but I went and looked up a few articles to get the details.
Owls need to turn their heads because they can't turn their eyes. You can hold your head still and move your eyes from side to side (a little) because your eyeballs are round. But owl eyes are made to be long, kind of tube-shaped, which gives them better night vision, but takes away the ability to move the eyeballs. So they turn their neck.
They can turn their head in either direction 270 degrees. That means they can turn to the left until they are looking straight behind them (180), and then keep turning another quarter circle. Same thing turning to the right. So for instance, if an owl is sitting on a branch facing straight north, he can turn to the left and look west, then keep turning to south, then keep turning to east. But no farther without turning back the other way- they can't turn a full circle (360 degrees).
It's only recently that some scientists figured out how they do this without choking off the blood supply to their brain. Turns out they have special bone structures in the neck that allows the blood vessels to not get pinched off when they do this.
Hey Mr. Biegun! So we keep fighting over this so we decided to ask you. If the earth is in space then would that mean that we are in space to? Thanks😊
Well, Joelle and Nitya: first of all, QUIT FIGHTING!
But to answer the questions, YES, you are exactly right! In fact, I have heard many scientists refer to our planet as "spaceship Earth", because we are in fact riding through space on a giant spaceship. We are not inside it, but on the outside of a rocky sphere, protected from the harsh conditions of space by an extremely thin blanket of air. We are traveling in a giant almost-circle as we orbit a star called Sol, which we also call the Sun. We are traveling at over 60,000 miles per hour in this big circle, and it takes 365 days to make it around the circle once.
But at the same time, our entire Solar System is traveling at an even higher speed as it swings through the Milky Way galaxy. It takes about 250 million years for our Solar System to make one circle around the galaxy, which means we've only made the trip about 18 times since our solar system formed.
And our galaxy is also flying through the universe as well. So yes, we are space travelers riding on the outside of our giant ship! I hope you'll go outside on a dark night and look at the stars as they sail by!
hi Mr. Biegun! how come when there is gravity on the earth but not in outer space
Actually, Marisa, there is gravity WHEREVER there is anything made of matter. The closer you are to any object, the stronger the gravity is. It works just like the force of a magnet. When a piece of iron gets close to the magnet it can "feel" the magnet's pull. But if you move the piece of iron 10 feet away, that doesn't mean there is no magnetism, it just means the force is too weak at that distance to be noticeable.
Every object in outer space is always being pulled by every other object. When two things get very close together the pull is much stronger.
So I have heard that batteries blow up or explode int the sun, is this true? If so what chemicals make it do this and why? Can they do the same in another heat source?
I haven't heard that, but it wouldn't surprise me. Heat makes things expand. Batteries are a bunch of chemicals packed into a metal case. If it got hot enough, it would expand and the chemicals would burst through the cracks. But I don't know if you would call this an explosion.
If batteries really exploded anytime they were left in the sun, I think we'd see a lot more stories about this since people so often leave electronic items (like phones) in the sun.
Hi, Mr. Biegun! I was wondering, how can the human eye see colors, and see in general? Thanks!
Hi Gretchen! Great question- I used to teach a lot about the eye when I taught different grades, but it's not part of what we learn in 6th. The eye has a hole in the front, that little black circle called the pupil. The size of the hole is controlled by the iris, the colored part of the eye, which is like a ring-shaped muscle. When light goes in through the retina, it goes through a lens to focus it, and the light shines on the back surface of your eyeball. This is a layer of light-sensing cells called the retina. Think of it like a screen in the back of your eye. Some of those cells can sense light and dark, and other cells can detect colors. Humans have both kinds, but some animals only have the light/dark kind because they are nocturnal, and you can't see much color at night anyway, but seeing even a little bit of light in the dark is useful. (That's why cats and dogs don't see color but they do see very well in the dark.) When your retina absorbs the light, it sends signals to the brain through the optic nerve, which is like a cable running from the back of the eye into the brain.
That's a great question Gretchen I was wondering the same thing also savanna that was a wonderful question I had always wondered how a star can be a shooting star and now I know. Thank you!☺️
Hi Mr. Biegun! When we were doing our soda geysers experiment in class today, I was thinking, if we did that experiment in space, then how would it work? Would it still erupt? Or would it freeze or burn because of the different atmosphere in space? Thank you, -Emily
Wow, that's fun to imagine! Let's see, if the bottle was floating in space, you'd have to "shoot" the mentos in, because there isn't enough gravity to make them fall in. They would react with the pop and shoot pop out, but this would cause the bottle to take off in the other direction. In fact, this is exactly how a rocket works! They spray hot gases out the narrow end and that forces the rocket to go in the other direction. Only they usually use gases that react violently with each other, like hydrogen and oxygen; as far as I know, NASA hasn't yet tried using Coke and Mentos as rocket propellant, but maybe they should try!
If you ever get the chance to do soda and mentos in space, DO try to make sure you're in a place where the sun is shining on you (not in the shade behind your spacecraft for instance.) The extra heat from sunlight will raise the temperature of the pop probably to boiling, and that will make the chemical reaction go MUCH faster and you'll get a lot more power from it!
Hey, remember the scene in Wall-E where he's zipping around in space using a fire extinguisher? You could do the same thing using a 2-liter bottle of Coke and a handful of mentos! That would be cool.
In the first paragraph of your response to Kelsey, (in a question from her 10/14/2015) you said "when our sun becomes..." I know in science class, you said that about half of the suns fuel that keeps it burning is gone, and it took a billion years to do so, and it will take about a billion years for the other half of the fuel to be gone. When this happens, is that when or what would become into the black hole? Or is that something different? If that is something different, then how does it happen? -Emily
The Sun formed about 4.6 billion years ago, and in that time it has burned about half of its hydrogen fuel. This doesn't make the Sun "empty" like a gas tank, however; when the fuel "burns" it really is changed into helium gas. (Yes, the same helium we put in balloons!) So in a little over 4 billion more years, the Sun will have turned most of its hydrogen into helium, and then it will be big ball of really hot helium. As the sun gradually changes to helium it will burn hotter and hotter, so even before that time it will become so hot that everything on the surface of our planet is boiled and burned away.
Once the sun reaches the helium stage it will start to swell up as I described to Kelsey, becoming a "red giant star". Scientists aren't sure how big it might get- probably at least out past Earth to the orbit of Mars, but maybe even as far as Jupiter. Any planets that are "swallowed up" by the expanding Sun will be completely destroyed.
But the Sun will never collapse and become a black hole, because it just doesn't have enough matter in it to cause that much gravity.
is it true that dogs are color blind?🐶
Yes, Nitya, dogs are probably unable to see much color, if any. If you scroll above a bit and read my answer to Gretchen, you'll see that eyeballs have two kinds of cells for receiving light. These are called "rods" and "cones". The rods can detect light or dark, and the cones can detect color. Humans have both kinds, but dogs have mostly rods. This is probably because their ancestors were nocturnal. Most nocturnal animals depend on rods to see in the dark.
So even though we can't "see" through a dog's eyes, we have a pretty good idea of what they see, because scientists have dissected their eyes and checked to see what kind of cells they have. Other scientists have tested this by offering dogs food that is colored in unusual ways- for instance blue meat. A human would reject this food because it looks "wrong". But dogs gobble it up, because they depend more on their amazing sense of smell to identify details, rather than their eyes.
Plutonium is the most dangerous mineral to be discovered,but once there was a scientist who had plutonium in a needle and then accidentally poked himself with the needle then out of shock pressed down and then the plutonium shot into his blood stream.So for the next 50 years every time he went to the bathroom there was a bit of plutonium in his pee!Now we all know (or just the people who know plutonium exists)that plutonium was in the famous atomic bomb known as Fat Man which was also the same atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 which killed 40,000 more people than Hiroshima and The radiation levels in Nagasaki are still not safe so how does this mad made element live in someone's blood stream for 50 years?
Mr.Biegun Also before Plutonium was even discovered Uranium was known as the most horrible element but since Uranium was an natural element.That as we know humans can withstand Uranium and even be in the same open room with Uranium because its natural.But Plutonium is a man made element which in this case has never been SCIENTIFICALLY tested with a human,also Plutonium is known to make not only itself deteriorate but also become so radioactive that it actually becomes really quite hot and turns a glowing red/orange color.People say Uranium is the Boogie Man of the elements,well then that mean's Plutonium is the Poltergeist.But my question is what elements or mineral's made Plutonium so incredibly dangerous.
Plutonium is an element, not a mineral. It is a metal usually made by humans in nuclear reactors (using uranium), but there are also tiny amounts spread throughout Earth (and the universe) that were formed naturally. Plutonium is element 94 on the Periodic Table. The first 92, up to uranium, are considered the natural elements because they can be found in usable amounts naturally. The higher elements can be made in laboratories (we'll discuss HOW in January). But they also would be formed when stars explode in a supernova; they just don't last long enough for us to find them.
I've never heard the story of a guy accidentally injecting himself with plutonium, but I do know that after plutonium was discovered in 1945, some scientists and doctors did do experiments by injecting it into animals and even people, in many cases without asking permission, to see what would happen. Of course this was a very bad thing to do. Plutonium is dangerous because it is poisonous, like other heavy metals such as lead and mercury. It's even more dangerous because it is very radioactive, so it would cause cancer also.
Plutonium does have some good uses. You can use it to make a battery that pretty much lasts a whole lifetime. So it's been used for batteries in spacecraft such as the one that visited Pluto last summer. In the past it was used to power pacemakers, which are little devices used by some people with heart problems. The pacemaker is placed in their chest and it keeps the heart running properly (but now they have a less dangerous battery that is used).
Breanna and me have been arguing because we both think differently. But what would happen if the universe shrunk?
I'm glad to hear you and Breanna are arguing. That's a big part of being a scientist: explaining what you think is true AND providing evidence to support your claims.
Until about 20 years ago many scientists believed the universe would eventually stop expanding, then begin to shrink back together and eventually crush together in a reverse of the Big Bang. The idea was that this would lead to a NEW Big Bang, and a new universe- and maybe it has happened many times before.
Of course, if the "big crunch" were to happen, we're talking about maybe hundreds of billions of years in the future, so it would really mean absolutely nothing to us. It it was to happen, I suppose any living beings in the universe at the very end would be destroyed and it would be the end of the universe (at least THAT universe).
But hardly any scientists anymore think this is going to happen. That's because they've discovered that the universe is not only continuing to expand, it's actually expanding faster and faster! So the end of the universe apparently will not be a "big crunch", but a gradual spreading out and cooling off, until everything is infinitely far from everything else and there is no heat or energy left anywhere. Hard to imagine, isn't it?
But don't worry, you'll never see it happen unless you can figure out a way to live for a hundred billion years or so!
how does a Kaleidoscope work?
I don't know for sure, but I think it's just some bits of colored glass and a few mirrors in the tube. But I'm not sure. Do you have one you want to take apart?
If a fly flies into a open window of a car driving 70 mph, is the fly flying 70mph as well? what is the maximum speed of a fly?
That's an interesting question, Andre. If the fly is heading in the same direction as the car and then goes through the window, then he was flying at 70 mph. But I'm quite sure that couldn't happen! If the fly was coming toward the car from the side, flying at the usual speed for a fly (maybe 5-10 mph), it would have to be timed perfectly to go in a window while a car is passing by at 70 mph. Therefore, I believe this is nearly impossible!
But here is the hardest question: Suppose a fly is flying around inside a car, and the car is going 70 mph. Is the fly actually flying at 70 mph? Or think about yourself running in gym class. If you are running toward the east at 10 mph, while the Earth is rotating toward the east at 600 mph, are you really running at 610 mph? And keep in mind that Earth is orbiting the Sun at over 60,000 mph. What does that mean for your speed?
The thing to remember about speed is this: when we talk about how fast something is going, we are always comparing that speed to the speed of something else, which is probably moving also. This is really what Einstein was talking about when he came up with the Theory of Relativity. It means that the motion of any object can only be measured by comparing its speed relative to some other object. Imagine a spaceship traveling from Earth to Pluto at the speed of light. Now if you can suddenly make every object in the universe vanish EXCEPT the speeding spaceship, the speed of the spaceship actually becomes zero, because there's nothing to compare it to!
Is it true that when you flicker the lights for a long time that it will catch a fire or is that a myth
Hmm, that's an interesting one, Tara! I've never heard that before. I always thought maybe it would wear out the light bulbs. But I really don't know!
Hey Mr.Biegun just so you know i was right about the universe shrinking.But i have a totally different question.Well me and my friend Cole were talking about different universe's and how people say that in one universe your a vegan and in another they're a bloodsucking vampire and then we started talking about black hole's.Well our real question is what if there is a reverse blackhole that was filling our universe with other stuff from different universe's.
Whew! I don't know what to say about blood-sucking vampires and vegans in other universes. But let's not assume there are other universes at all: that is just an "idea" some scientists have had. There is absolutely no evidence to show it is real, and actually there CAN'T be any evidence to show it, since any information we can observe can only be from our universe. But hopefully there's not a bunch of aliens in another universe flushing their garbage down a black hole toilet and having it dump right into ours. I'd be really upset about that.
By the way, Breanna, if you like to consider really far out cosmological theories, here's one of my favorites: there is a well-known cosmologist who suggests that maybe the entire universe and all of us intelligent beings are nothing more than a simulation running on some vast computer somewhere. Maybe some super-intelligent alien teenager is playing a vast simulation computer game, and we are all just characters in the game. (When his parents call him for dinner he'll just hit the off switch and the universe will be over!)
Of course not too many people are buying this theory!
Hey Mr. Biegun I had two questions from class today. The first one was is it impossible to burn the inside of a Twinkie I really have been anxious to get an answer. Also on the periodic table in the back of the room why is there a picture of a diamond for carbon. I would really like to know. Thank you
Cadence, I hesitate to ask why you are so anxious to know how to burn the inside of a Twinkie . . . however, I can think of several ways if it helps you to sleep better. If you need to do this I can give you a strip of magnesium metal. Stick it down in the middle of the Twinkie so the end is still sticking out. Light it with a match and it will burn (extremely hot) down into the center of the Twinkie. That ought to do the trick, and it would look really cool.
But I like your diamond question even better. Carbon (element #6) can be found on Earth in just a few forms, including black soot (from a fire), graphite (the stuff in a pencil that we call lead), and . . . DIAMOND! When carbon atoms are arranged in just the right way, instead of making something black they make a clear crystal that is the hardest substance known (and very beautiful). You'll learn more about this when we study the Periodic Table of Elements in January.
is it true that if you watch something stupid (such as reality TV) your brain cells will die?
Well, technically no, although I've said things like that myself when somebody is wasting their attention on something dopey. I'll admit that's an exaggeration, Nitya. HOWEVER, this is a truth I will insist upon: every moment you spend watching something idiotic on TV is a moment that you are NOT growing your intelligence by doing something more worthy of your magnificent brain. It's like this: imagine on your next birthday someone gives you for a gift the most amazing high tech smartphone ever invented. But you decide to use it as a fly-swatter instead. It might not break the phone, but you're sure not making the best use of it. Your brain is the most incredible gift you have, and you have the ability to turn it into so much more. Feeding your brain garbage is not the way to do that.
what is the earths moon called
Just as there are billions of suns (stars), and we call ours "the Sun", our moon is one of over a hundred moons that we know of, but we call it "the Moon".
Our Sun's real name is Sol, which is where we get the terms Solar System or solar eclipse. Our moon's real name is Luna, which is why we talk about a lunar eclipse. But of course the Sun and Moon have many other names in other languages as well.
i was wondering what causes salt water fish to die in fresh water and the same for fresh water fish in salt water?
It's interesting that you ask this, Gunner, because it is actually closely connected to the Gummy Bear experiment going on in our classroom right now. The kids doing that experiment are learning about osmosis, which is when water molecules move into or out of an animal's cells.
Animals that evolved to live in saltwater have salty water in their cells. If they are placed in fresh water, all the extra water molecules around them will move right into their cells, causing the cells to expand until they burst.
An animal that evolved to live in fresh water has the opposite problem. Their cells have water inside without much salt. If they are placed in salty water, the water in the cells will move out to get where the salt is, and the cells will shrivel up and stop working.
Of course there is lots more to this, and you'll learn it in future years when you understand more about cells and how they work. And of course there are some exceptions, where some animals are adapted to live for short times in the "wrong" kind of water, but they still survive.
Hi Mr. Biegun I read your responses to Gretchen about how we see and to nitya about how it was true that dogs are color blind but I've been wondering if cats were also color blind?🐱
Yes, Gretchen- cats are also nocturnal animals by nature, and they have even better vision in the dark. As you saw in my answer to Gretchen, animals that are adapted to see in the dark have lots of those "rod" cells, but not many "cone" cells. Another adaptation they often have is that the back of their eyeball (the retina) is shiny and reflective like a mirror. So any light that comes in their eye is reflected back into the eye and they can see even better. That's why when you shine a light on these animals you will see their eyes "glowing". Of course cats are famous for this.
Humans, on the other hand, don't have reflective retinas- ours are just red. That's why when a camera flashes a bright light, the people in the picture often have red eyes. That's because you are seeing their retinas!
Thank you Mr. Biegun for responding my questions. Also did you know that there is a periodic table song it goes by REALLY fast but it is very helpful
Yes, I love that song, Cady. On my youtube channel you can see a couple of former students singing the whole song from memory! I'll be playing the song for the class in January, and maybe you will memorize it too!
If the sun moved closer and warned the oceans up, what would happen to our planet, and, what would happen to the others?
If Earth was a little closer to the Sun, or oceans would eventually evaporate completely, and then the temperature on Earth would shoot up way too high for any life to exist! The good news is that this is very unlikely to happen!
I heard you talking about the periodic table of elements, so that reminded me about my bismuth I got a few weeks ago. Do you know what makes it have that stair-step pattern, or the rainbow colors?
Yes, I know quite a bit about that, Brandy. I have several bismuth crystals myself and I can show you if you ask at school. I've even tried making some! I bought some pure bismuth and melted it (with the propane torch I use for fireballs). When it cools off, it naturally forms into those stair step shapes, and the colors are created by oxygen getting into the metal as it cools.
Can you increase your lifespan?And if you can, how would you know?
Hi Kimber. Well, first of all, it's really important to remember that NOBODY can guarantee the length of their life, no matter how healthy you may be today. Despite all our technology and scientific achievements, living on this planet is still a very risky business, and it's a mistake to every think you "know" what's going to happen tomorrow! That's worth thinking about.
But assuming you want to rule out unpredictable accidents, etc, are there any ways to increase your CHANCES of a longer life? Of course! There's no mystery to some of it. Don't smoke. Don't use drugs. Don't abuse alcohol. Don't engage in risky activities like driving without a seatbelt or jumping out of airplanes without a parachute. Eat the kind of foods that health experts agree are best for making your body work properly, and get lots of physical activity to keep the machine in top shape. If you do all these things you have an excellent chance of living past 85 years, and it's becoming more and more common for the healthiest people to make it past 100.
If you are talking about even increasing lifespan well beyond this, such as 130 years, 150 years, 200, 500, etc; there are scientists investigating what it would take to do this. There are lots of people working on the problem of why even a "healthy" body eventually wears out. They have made some interesting discoveries about how the DNA in your cells changes as you get old. (If you want to know more, try doing a search for information on "telomeres".) Some experiments have been tried on animals such as mice, which seem to indicate it MAY be possible to someday greatly expand our lifespan. But when that may happen is hard to say, just as we don't know when humans will walk on Mars (10 years? 50 years? Never?).
We need more scientists working on this (you, perhaps?), and in the meantime, keep doing the things that we ALREADY know will help you live longer and healthier!
I was wondering if Oceans are natural formed with salt water? If so how does the salt get there?
No, the water is not naturally salty- the salt is in the soil and rocks of our planet. Rainwater washes the salt out of the soil and carries it into rivers, where it is carried down to the sea. When ocean water evaporates to make clouds, the salt gets left behind. When those clouds rain on the continents, it just washes more salt down to the oceans.
So the oceans are constantly getting saltier. But as the surface of our planet changes over hundreds of millions of years, continents shift and oceans dry up. When that happens, the salt gets left behind in huge layers that later get buried underground. In fact, there is a thick layer of salt about a thousand feet under our state, and one of the biggest salt mines in the world digs it out from under the city of Detroit. You'll learn more about this in class in the spring.
Why do people make pictures out of the stars?
Hi Dorian. Do you mean constellations? A lot of kids ask me why people would do something so crazy as imagine pictures in the night sky. But I think you need to imagine yourself living thousands of years ago. What do you think people did in the evenings? Watch TV? Read books? They didn't even have electricity, so the only light was the light of their campfires. The night sky was SO clear and dark in those days, that the stars would have been spectacular overhead, more than anyplace in the world today. And they would have sat there night after night after night, looking up at that beautiful scene until then "knew" many of the stars the way you know the houses on your street. People in those days would share stories as a form of entertainment, and it must have been only natural for them to include the stars in their stories. For instance, someone might tell an exciting story about a hunter named Orion, and then end the story by pointing up into the sky at the constellation we now call Orion the Hunter. What a great ending to the story to say, "and there he is today!" and the listeners would be able to imagine the shape of his body just from that cluster of stars.
Personally, when I look at the constellation Orion, I always see Miguel Cabrera hitting a home run. But you can judge for yourself- just look it up online, or ask me and I'll show you at school.
Mr.biegun I know that there is not a cure for cancer whet but what if I could make a sodium based pill that would stop the cell's from reproducing so rapidly.They say that Elaphant's know how to cure themselves of cancer but scientists say that its all about the size of there braincells which oddly has to do with the intake of sodium and other salts and natural minerals that give them this ability of healing once its brain has found it.I have been planning to ask you about the different stages of an elephants healing power for a while sorry it took me so long.I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW MY PLAN!Please answer my question.Thanks
I just now read three different articles from trustworthy sources, explaining how elephants manage to avoid cancer. (They still get cancer, it's just very rare compared to us).
It actually has nothing to do with brain cells or sodium. In their DNA they have extra copies of a gene that we also have, called p53. This gene helps the body to recognize when cancer starts in cells, and tries to repair the cells. But in elephants, these extra genes apparently do something different: as soon as they detect a cell just starting to go wrong, they cause the cell to "commit suicide" so it just dies. This seems to work better, since the body will just reproduce new cells.
So the path to a solution for humans seems to be in genetic modification (adding more p53 genes) rather than adding in salt or other minerals to our body.
Of course, there are many thousands of brilliant scientists thinking about ways to do this, as well as many other approaches involving different drugs, chemicals, radiation techniques, etc. I am very confident that some great discoveries will be coming in the next few decades- and I hope you will be a part of that, Breanna!
This is sort of based off of Breanna's question. I heard about people trying to make limbs out of human cells and I don't know if this can actually happen. Can it?
I think you are probably taking about stem cells. These are special cells in our body that have the ability to grow into ANY other kinds of cells, like muscle cells, bone cells, nerve cells, skin cells, etc. Scientists are doing lots of experiments with stem cells to see if they can make them grow into just what we want- such as growing a new body part in a lab dish, for instance.
I'm not sure if this could mean growing a new limb, such as an arm- that seems like it would be awfully complicated. But I have heard of growing a new ear or nose that way, and maybe some internal organs like a liver.
Why does earth orbit around the sun with all the other planets?
I guess the simple answer is: the Earth orbits the Sun with the other planets, because when the Earth (and other planets) all formed about 5 billion years ago, they were part of a large cloud of dust that was slowly rotating around the Sun. The dust particles became the planets, and they continued to move in the same direction.
We'll be learning a lot more about this in the spring, so stay tuned!
Hi Mr.Biegun i was wondering,how come if gravity holds you down then why if you where to go sledding and went of a bump you would go in the air.
When this happens, do you usually come back down? I bet you do, and the higher you fly the harder you land, right? Guess what's making you come down? Gravity of course!
It's no different from a person launching off a ramp on a bike or skateboard. You get a lot of momentum (speed) going forward, and then you hit an angle that changes your direction upward. But gravity always wins and you come back down. Of course, the faster your speed, the higher you go before you fall back to Earth.
I can even tell you how fast you'd need to be sledding in order to NOT come back down! To break free from Earth's gravity, you need to launch yourself toward space at about 25,000 miles per hour.
You're probably going to need a pretty big hill for that!
Hi, Mr.Biegun. Is there any way the Sun could eventually turn into something when it uses up all it's gas, possibly a black hole? If so, is there any way the Earth and life on it could survive, even for a limited amount of time?
The Sun can't turn into a black hole. The very largest stars do this when they use up their fuel- but the Sun is not nearly big enough.
When the Sun uses up its hydrogen fuel, it will start to swell up and turn redder. It will be so big that it will probably expand beyond the orbit of Mars, and maybe even out to Jupiter or Saturn. That means Earth and the other inner planets will be destroyed completely. The only hope for human life to continue is if we find a way to leave Earth and perhaps travel to another Solar System.
But this is a few BILLION years away, so nothing at all to worry about. If humans still exist at that time, most likely our technology will be so advanced we would be able to solve the problem!
I am not sure if anyone has already asked this question yet, but how is the human body able to see different colors? And, why are we able to see color but some animals cannot?
If you scroll up to October 22, you'll see that Gretchen asked this, and a little further down on Oct. 29, Madison asked a followup about other animals. You can check out my responses up there.
can a bird actually get cancer?
Usually I hear of cancer in mammals, but I don't know if there's any reason it couldn't happen in other animals. It is more likely with a longer lifespan, so animals with short lifespans would probably be unlikely to have a problem with cancer. Most birds don't live very long, but there are some exceptions.
My friend had 2 birds (I forgot what kind) and one bird got cancer an the other one apparently was "sad" because it's friend died and they found that out at the vet.
The other day my dad and I were talking about salmonella. (How we got on the subject is questionable) and my dad says "It's odd, though, how we can get sick from raw meat and such, when wild animals eat raw meat almost everyday!" And here my wonder was born! Why is it that wild animals (such as foxes, bears, and wolves) can eat raw meat without getting sick, and we can't? Does it have something to do with the digestive system? Or the difference in acid in our stomachs and theirs?
I did some searching around about this; it's actually something I've wondered about also. Anybody who has ever had a cat or dog knows that they will sometimes eat some very surprising things. But from what I can see, there are a combination of factors here. First, some animals like dogs have a really great sense of smell, so they might be able to avoid SOME of the "bad" food that can hurt them. Secondly, it is actually very common for meat-eating animals to get sick from eating bad meat, and sometimes they do die from it. Thirdly, evolution is probably involved here: if animals die from eating rotten meat, the ones who have a slightly better (stronger) digestive system- maybe more acid- would be a little more likely to survive, and then pass on those stronger genes. So I would think there might also be a difference in digestive systems compared to humans, who have been relying on cooking to kill germs in food for many thousands of years now.
But I'm not an expert on this, I'm just using science reasoning. This would be a good question for a veterinarian or zoologist.
I was wondering if stars in the sky are out during the day because sometimes i see the moon in the sky when the sun is out but i only see stars when the sun goes down. Are they out during the day before sun sets?
Depends on what you mean by "out". The stars (and planets) are always there over our heads, ALL day long as well as all night. However, during the day the sun makes the sky look very bright, and that makes the stars impossible to see, even though they are still there.
This is why, when a total eclipse happens, during those few minutes of darkness you can see stars in the "daytime" sky!
Hi Mr.b, I was wondering when you break a bone how does it remake its self
Bones are made of living cells, just like the cells that make up your skin, blood, heart, muscles, etc. When damage happens to ANY of your organs (including bones), the body sends a signal to those cells telling them to start reproducing like crazy! This heals the broken spot in the bone (or the cut in your skin).
is it possible to break an atom and if so what would happen to it?
This was a BIG question in the 1940's during World War 2. Einstein had already figured out that atoms contain a very large amount of energy (that's what E = mc2 means!). So people figured if you could just find a way to break open a whole bunch of atoms, you could get a lot of energy.
And it's true! American scientists were the first to figure it out, and that is what brought about the first atom bombs, and also the nuclear power plants we have today.
is it true that cats and dogs can only see in black and white?
They may be able to see a little bit of color, but not as much as you can.
When we were talking about ecosystems in class, you said that humans did not evolve from apes. But I also heard that we are related to apes. Is this true? And if it is, why are there still apes on Earth?
Well, I think you might have missed a bit . . . what I said was: humans did not evolve from monkeys (or chimpanzees). But we do share a common ancestor with them, AND with every other living thing on Earth, including goldfish, oak trees, butterflies, mushrooms and bacteria. When we look at human DNA, we can see that some of our genes can also be found in other organisms. The most shared genes are with chimpanzees, so they are most "like" us. Scientists estimate that we had an ancestor about 6.6 million years ago, who was also the ancestor of chimpanzees. That's why I said we didn't "come from" chimps, just as you didn't come from your cousin- but you and your cousin share common ancestors (your grandparents).
To answer your second question, when we say that an organism evolved from another, that does not mean the earlier species stops existing! Birds evolved from one of the types of dinosaurs, but the rest of the dinosaurs continued to exist. Dogs evolved from wolves, but wolves also still exist. And ALL life on Earth probably evolved from simple bacteria-like organisms. But we still have bacteria on Earth today. Evolution is like the growth of a tree. When a branch grows off the trunk, the trunk is still there, and can still grow other new branches.
Hello! What would happen if the entire earth changed direction when orbiting the sun?
Hmm. Well, first of all, if it happened SUDDENLY, we'd all be in trouble, because the Earth is traveling around the Sun at over 60,000 miles per hour. So if we instantly reversed course at that speed (without slowing down to a stop first) I'm sure it would destroy the Earth.
If you could gradually slow the Earth to a stop, then get it moving in the other direction, I'm not sure there would be any noticeable difference from our point of view. If the Earth moves at the correct speed, a year would still be 365 days, and we would still have the same seasons. People who watch the movement of the stars in the night sky might notice some odd effects in how the stars move, but that's about it.
And, by the way, I'm sure you know there is absolutely no way the Earth could reverse course around the Sun, unless something like a larger planet slammed into it. And of course that would probably shatter the whole Earth.
Cool! I jnow this is alot of questions lately, but, What if Earth got/gets another moon?
hi Mr.biegun how does mar have water on it? thank you
Mars certainly has frozen water (ice), mostly at the north and south poles. Scientists also suspect there may be a lot more ice buried under the soil all over the planet. And just a few weeks ago NASA announced that they have discovered some places where liquid water seems to leak out of some steep hillsides or cliffs, and flow downhill- although the water evaporates before it reaches the bottom of the slope.
Hi, The other day or so I was wondering \thinking about life, and other weird stuff ,etc. Anyways I wanted to know what was the very first lifeform, (including plants and bugs) and how did it "live"?
We don't know what was the very first form of life, and we probably never will. The most logical guess is that it would have been something very tiny and very simple- a single-celled organism like bacteria or algae. Things like that are VERY unlikely to ever leave a fossil, so we are unlikely to ever know for sure.
How does music affect the way the human emotions change?One minute your happy,the next your sad.You know you have that one favorite song that almost feels like there talking about you or that they were writing about how YOU were feeling at that very moment.Its a cool topic to talk about but it would be even cooler if you figured it out.Also what is your favorite song?
“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”― Albert Einstein
Yes, and Einstein was also a pretty good violin player in his spare time. It is very interesting the way music can affect us (some people more than others). And then it can also annoy us greatly, like that darn Alka-Seltzer commercial (Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz) that I can't get out of my head.
I don't know much about the psychology of music, Breanna, but there ARE people who study this, so I bet you could do some research yourself to learn more.
As far as a favorite song, I don't think I can answer that. As life goes on I find that I might really like a song for awhile, and then it loses its appeal and something else becomes more appealing. I don't listen to a lot of current "popular" music, so I don't really know what is popular right now. I'm more likely to like particular artists, and I put more value on an intelligent message in the lyrics and musical skill rather than liking a particular beat or melody.
Hi Mr. Biegun lately when I look outside the window you can see perfectly through to the other side( If there aren't any smudges) So I was wondering how glass is made because if it is not naturally found what are the materials used to make it?
That's actually a pretty easy question: glass is mostly made of silica, which is sand that has been melted to a liquid and then cooled off until it turns hard. Other things can be added to make it tinted or less breakable.
A little known fact is that glass, such as a window, is actually NOT completely in a solid state. The molecules in the glass are still flowing VERY slowly, and as gravity pulls them they gradually move toward the bottom of the window, so that it becomes thinner at the top and thicker at the bottom. But this process is so slow it may take hundreds or even thousands of years to notice the difference.
what made dinosaurs become extinct?
Nobody knows the absolute answer for sure, but most scientists agree that the MOST likely cause was an asteroid or comet smashing into the Earth, causing so much fire and smoke and destruction that the Earth turned cold and dark for a year or more. This would have killed most of the plants (although their seeds remained). Plant-eating dinosaurs would have starved (or froze) and meat-eating dinosaurs would eventually starve as well.
This would also explain why certain animals survived with no problem. For instance, small mammals and small reptiles did ok- probably because they could crawl in a hole and hibernate.
For many years scientists were searching for evidence to support this theory. Finally about 20 years ago they found a huge crater in Mexico, which is just the right size, and exactly the right age, to be the cause of this event.
Also, we know that for many thousands of years right BEFORE the dinosaurs became extinct, there were massive numbers of volcanoes erupting in the area of India. Some scientists think the effects of these volcanoes caused a kind of air pollution that was already making life hard for dinosaurs. By studying dinosaur fossils it appears that their population was already being reduced quite a bit before the asteroid finished them off.
We'll be learning a lot more about this toward the end of the year in May.
I get when people go to space they have to where a helmet because there isn't any air or gravityin space. But what I don't get is that if we are on earth we don't need a helmet, but aren't we technically in space?? Because i'm pretty sure there isn't a bobble around the earth keeping our heads from blowing up??
Actually, Arlene, there is a "bubble" around Earth: a bubble of air called the atmosphere. It is held down on the surface of Earth by gravity. If somehow the atmosphere was gone, we would no longer have a blue sky in the daytime, but it would be black all the time, just like on the moon. And of course there would be no wind or clouds or precipitation. And you could not breathe or live without a space suit.
I was watching a trailer about this new movie about a dinosaur befriending a human boy that was supposedly the first human on earth. So I was wondering if the meteor that made the dinosaurs extinct really did miss. What do you think life would be like now? Would it make us more likely to be dead?
If the dinosaurs never became extinct, mammals (including us) would probably not have evolved very much, and probably would still be small animals hiding out in holes and trees, the way the mammals were during the time of dinosaurs. Some scientists think that maybe one of the species of dinosaur would have evolved intelligence instead. Perhaps the troodon, which is considered to be the "brainiest" of the dinosaurs before they became extinct.
I was wondering if the material that makes things poisonous is the same poisonous material that is in all poisonous things?
No, there are many different substances that are poisonous, although many of them have similar chemical properties.
i was wondering why cant we here if we are in deep sleep or think I WANT TO KNOW
I wouldn't say we CAN'T hear; after all, an alarm clock can usually wake us up, right? But when we go to sleep our brain does switch into a different kind of state, so it does seem to block off certain things, at least partly- kind of like the way the car radio turns off when you turn off the engine of the car.
My little sister (Dominique) brought home a book called: Ripley's Believe It Or Not Special Edition 2007. It has lots of weird information about random things. On one page, It says: A child named Balaji, born in 2001, is being worshipped by his community in India because he was born with a tail. Can this really happen to a human? If so, how?
We all have a tail, Dorian. Your backbone ends with a group of 3 or 4 small bones at the bottom, called the tailbone. These bones are normally beneath the skin and not visible from outside, but I have heard that sometimes babies are born with the tailbones poking out a bit. I don't know what this would look like, probably just a little bump.
I sure don't get why someone would worship a person who had this however!
When we are at school, ask me and I'll show you the skeleton I keep in the back room. You can see the tailbones for yourself!
How could a bolt of lightning strike a human and what could attract it to our body?
Thanks for your support!!!!!!
Lightning goes toward the highest point that can conduct electricity. Since humans contain a lot of water, we conduct electricity pretty well. That's why you can get a shock after you go down a plastic slide!
Why do people get headaches ?
I get asked that one a lot, Cadence! I looked it up, and headaches are caused by LOTS of different things as you might guess (tiredness, loud noises, hunger, illness, stress, etc.). From what I was able to find out, scientists don't completely understand how or why this works, but there are many things you can do to treat headaches depending on what caused them, such as lying down in a dark quiet place, or taking some pain-relief medicine, or having something to eat.
Dear Mr. Biegun,
I know different liquids have different weights, like if you put oil in a pot of water while cooking, the oil will float in little bubbles at the top, because the water is heavier than oil. But, my question is; which is heavier? Hot or Cold water? For example: if you filled a bathtub half-way with hot water, and half-way with cold water, then mix the water around, then which temperature of water would go to the top? Would it stay mixed? If one of them has more mass than the other, then why?
Also, I have a second question;
I know that one day in science class, you told us something about how hair only grows where hair follicles are. Since this is so, what DNA cells make it so that only males can have facial hair? (except for the rare cases where a female may have some) What makes it so that females do not get hair follicles where facial hair is supposed to go?
(Sorry if the second question was weird!!!!!)
Thank-you for your time to answer my questions! - Emily Morris
Ok, for your first question, cold water is DENSER than hot water. That's not exactly the same as heavier, however. When we say it is denser, it means the molecules move closer together when the water is cold. So if you started with two jars of water of exactly the same mass, and you make one get hot and the other cold, the containers (and water) will still have exactly the same masses, but the cold water would now have a slightly smaller volume because the molecules moved closer together (but they are all still there). The hot water would now have a slightly greater volume because the particles spread out a bit, even though it may look much the same.
If you carefully poured both containers into a larger container, the cold water will go to the bottom and the warm water will go to the top. After a little while the heat will spread from the top toward the bottom, and eventually all the water will have the same temperature.
You can easily prove this by trying it out yourself, and add food color to the two temperatures first. I've done it many times myself, and will probably do the demonstration in class at some point this year.
If you try to do it with the bathtub the way you described, probably the water would pretty much all mix together, so that's not the best way to try. Instead, you would need to gently pour both containers into a larger container.
By the way, in December we will be doing something similar in Science Club, but using different liquids such as oil, dish soap, alcohol, and others.
Your second question is not weird at all! You are correct, Emily, that the placement of hair follicles is determined by DNA. In human cells, the DNA is divided into 23 pairs of chromosomes, and your thousands of genes are placed along those chromosomes. The 23rd pair of chromosomes is the part that determines gender, so any traits that are connected to gender, such as hair follicles, probably have the genes on the 23rd chromosomes. But I don't know for sure. There are scientists who would definitely know this, such as a geneticist. You might try doing a web search for "what genes control hair growth?" or something like that.
Why does the human body get hotter when your lying?There is UV signatures and photo's of this being proven I just want to know why.
Your body reacts to stress, and it's very difficult to control this. That's why lie-detector machines work. They can detect very tiny changes in temperature, heart rate, perspiration, breathing, etc. which are caused by the stress a person feels when lying. I don't believe it's 100% accurate, however, as everyone doesn't react exactly the same way.
As for WHY our body does this, I doubt anyone could say for sure, but I think we can agree that a person who lies frequently is going to have a hard time getting along socially with others, so it's logical that they would feel stress when they are being dishonest.
If we had no Bactirea would their be any diseases in the world and would their be any scienctist in the world
If there was no bacteria, there would be no US! First of all, because all life probably evolved from simple cells like bacteria; and second because you are carrying around in your intestines BILLIONS of bacteria that help to digest your food. You could not survive without them.
And finally, yes, there would still be illnesses, because many illnesses are not caused by bacteria. They are caused by viruses, or by mistakes in our DNA (such as cancer).
Why doesnt the sun spin around us??
Well, Lauren, the Sun actually does spin (rotate), and it takes about 12 days for it to turn around once. But when the Solar System formed, the greatest amount of mass (the Sun) was at the center, which is what we would expect in any other Solar System. It's hard to imagine how it could be different once you realize how solar systems form. Lighter objects move around the heaviest object in the center. Earth is way lighter than the Sun, so we go around the Sun.
Is fog a cloud that is low
Yes, you can think of fog as just a cloud sitting on the ground.
If the sun isn't out like during the night or behind a cloud for a long time how do plants get their energy?
Just as you don't need to be eating every minute, plants can take a break at night and still survive all right. On cloudy days, they are not getting as much food as normal, sort of like if you didn't get much to eat on some days. They can still survive, but some plants would have a hard time living in places where it's cloudy lots of the time. That's why you find different plants in very sunny places like California or Florida. Those plants need lots of sunshine.
Now if it turned as dark as night for many weeks or months, most plants would probably die, or at least go into a hibernation stage as they do in winter. This is probably what happened 65 million years ago when an asteroid slammed into the Earth in Mexico. The smoke and dust caused by the explosion may have turned the planet dark for months. Plants would have lost their vegetation, and the dinosaurs and other large animals couldn't survive without enough food to eat. That is probably the way the dinosaurs became extinct. Small mammals were able to hide out (and maybe hibernate) until it became light again. They also have the ability to eat other foods like roots and seeds. So here we are today!
Hi Mr. biegun! how do power wires and poles get energy
If you follow those wires back to their source, you will see that they all eventually start at a power plant where electricity is produced. Just south of Detroit is a big factory on the edge of Lake Erie that burns lots of coal, which boils a lot of water, which creates steam, which is used to turn generators, which create electricity. That electricity is carried by wires to all the houses and schools and other buildings.
There is also a nuclear power plant a little farther south near the city of Flat Rock (not far from Toledo). This power plant works the same way except instead of using coal to heat the water to steam, it uses the energy inside uranium atoms.
compared to other animals like for instance an elephant can kill the cancer in its body as soon as its brain detects it or that elephants are capable of taking a child that's not there's and sometimes not even the same species and treat it like a family member another thing that contributes to family is that when an elephant dies (and it doesn't even have to be in there family) they will mourn and dip their head in sadness and even cry (yes elephants can cry) elephants are an extremely advanced species almost as advanced as humans,chimpanzees,and even orangutans except without the opposable thumbs.I want to know!Why are elephants so advanced in the animal kingdom .
What makes different people hove different hair colors?
Well, of course nowadays people can CHOOSE to color their hair- and sometimes I've asked myself: "what makes people choose those colors?" But I think you mean the hair color we are born with. That is determined by our genes (DNA), which we inherit from our parents. Hair color is what we call a hereditary trait, which means that the color of your hair comes from someone in your family tree- your parents, or their parents, or some further ancestor.
Is it possible for a person with blue eyes and a person with green eyes to have a brown eyed child? Is it possible for a person with brown eyes and a person with blue eyes to have a green eyed child? Is it possible for a person with brown eyes and a person with green eyes to have a blue eyed child? I can tell it is all about genetics but how does that work?
Sorry, I just realized I apparently forgot to answer this! You are right that eye color is about genetics, but it is not as simple as most people assume. Normally two blue eyed people will have blue eyed children; two brown-eyed people will have MOSTLY brown-eyed children (but not always), and a blue-eyed person + brown-eyed person are about equally likely to have blue or brown eyed children. But there are other genes that can get involved, and of course some people have green eyes or hazel or even two different colors! So we can't really say that a particular result is impossible, we can only say whether it's more likely or less likely.
Genetics is one of the most fascinating areas of science, and we still have lots to learn there. I hope you will keep investigating and asking questions!
Hello Mr. Biegun, Why are people double-jointed?
Sincerely, Dominique Robinson : )
I have always wondered about this too, so I looked it up. When we say someone is "double"-jointed, that's not actually true. Instead, what is happening is that they can move some of their joints a farther amount than most people. It is more common in children, and probably is caused by a slightly different shape to the ends of the bones where the joints come together. There is nothing terribly unusual about it, and it usually doesn't cause any serious problems.
Hi Mr. Biegun do you know what does a super nova do are universe and is it good or bad. Thank you
Hi Ashley. When a star explodes in a supernova, it isn't necessarily always good or bad. If the star was fairly close to Earth, in our "neighborhood" of the universe, it could cause major problems on Earth. But if it's very far away, which it most likely would be, it doesn't really make any difference to us. The only affect we would notice is seeing one more beautiful nebula in space!
If you'd like to see some great examples, go to Google images and search for "nebula". I think you'll see just how beautiful the elements can be when they are left behind by an exploded star!
What is the scientific explanation behind sneezing. (Why do we sneeze?)
Sneezing is the body's way of getting tiny irritating objects out of the nose and breathing passages. There are lots of little nerves in there that can sense when something like a piece of dust gets in there where it doesn't belong. The nerves send a signal to the brain ("invader alert!") and the brain sends back a quick response: "Get that thing out of there! Red alert! Engage invader ejection system!!!" (or something like that).
It works pretty good, usually. However, those sensitive nerves sometimes get confused and send false alarms. For instance, about 1/4 of the population (including me) sometimes get a false alarm when walking outdoors into bright light (usually on a sunny winter day). The intense brightness overpowers our optic nerve and somehow the signal overflows into the "invader ejection system".
Hello Mr. Biegun,
Emma. W made me think of a question which is: Why do humans sneeze?
Sincerely, Dominique Robinson <3 : )
Actually, if you read what I wrote to Emma above, I think you'll see the answer!
What if all the convection currents in the earth were moving in the same direction, would the continents all be shifting the same direction, would there be any volcanoes?
You've got the right idea, Ethan. I don't know the answer for sure; but when convection currents are going in opposite directions, it does cause the lithospheric plates to tear apart or crash together, and that is what causes mountains to form, sea-floors to split apart, and volcanoes to erupt.
How did our bodies form in the past billion years? what i'm trying to say is that how do we have organs and muscles and veins and white/red blood cells? where did it all come from?Was it made?
As I mentioned in class, I just finished reading a really terrific book on exactly this topic, called "Your Inner Fish" by Neil Shubin. The book does a great job of explaining all the ways we are related to other living things on Earth.
Basically the idea is that our ancestry can be traced back through hundreds of millions of years by looking at the characteristics that we have in common with previous life forms. For instance, all mammals, including us, have very unusual teeth compared to other animals on Earth: we have teeth in the back with little bumps on top that lock together with the teeth above or below. When you brush your teeth, you probably have to work hard to keep those bumpy surfaces clean.
The first animal that had teeth like that was smaller than a mouse, and lived about 200 million years ago, so those animals are probably related to all the mammals that came after.
Or consider the bones in your arms and legs. We have an upper bone (your thigh bone) connected to two bones Your lower leg), connected to a bunch of bones (your ankle) and then toes. Your arms have the same design. And every other 4-limbed creature has the same design (reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals). The first animal to have that design was a fish that lived about 365 million years ago, so they were probably ancestors of all the other 4-limbed animals including us.
There are too many other examples to describe here, but the author shows how we have things inside our bodies that go all the way back to the simplest bacteria and algae.
So, YES, we were MADE, with our organs, muscles, veins, and all our cells. We were made by taking simple plans, then changing a bit here and a bit there, little by little, over ages and ages. It would be like a person taking a tricycle and changing a part here, a part there, adding on this and that- and after many years they have a sports car.
If you ask me, that's a pretty exciting story, and lots of fun to learn about. You'll be learning a lot more about it in the coming weeks!
I Wonder If Humans Evolve From Monkeys? If So How????
Thank You Mr. Biegun! Have a Great Day!
Great question, and one a lot of people ask.
Scientists would not say it that way. We didn't evolve from monkeys; rather, monkeys and humans have a common ancestor, many million years ago. That means apes are not your ancestors, they are your distant cousins. In fact, scientists have very strong evidence that we are related to ALL life forms on Earth, even back to the simplest bacteria that existed almost 4 billion years ago.
By looking at DNA of different species, it is quite easy to figure out which creatures are more closely related or more distantly related. For instance, if your DNA was compared to your sister, there would be a great many similarities and only a small number of differences, because you are very closely related. If you compare your DNA to a cousin, there would be a bit more of a difference, because instead of sharing the same PARENTS, you only share the same GRANDPARENTS. You might have a far more distant cousin that has the same great-great-great grandparents as you, and they would have even more differences in their DNA.
Using that same technique, we could find out that humans shared an ancestor with goldfish, and that ancestor lived about 430 million years ago. Our last common ancestor with dogs lived about 100 million years ago. Our last common ancestor with a monkey was about 43 million years ago, and our last common ancestor with a chimpanzee was "only" about 7 million years ago.
From this we can see that we are much more closely related to chimpanzees than goldfish, or even monkeys!
By the way, none of this means that humans are not amazing creatures! We have characteristics that make us very different from every other species that has ever lived, and that's very special and important. It means that we can make choices to be whatever we choose to be (for good or bad), and we can try to "grow our brain" by learning new things every day. Keep asking questions, Dominique!
Which Is Smaller Electrons or Atoms???
Thank You Mr. Biegun! Have a Nice Day!
Here's one way to picture it, Dominique (I read this in a science book once): if you could make an atom grow to the size of a large sports arena (like the Palace of Auburn Hills), the nucleus at the center of the atom (the protons and neutrons) would be like a group of basketballs sitting at half-court. The electrons would be like bumblebees outside the arena flying in circles around the building at the outer edges of the parking lot (and going nearly at the speed of light!)
So the short answer is: electrons are WAY smaller than atoms, just as bees are smaller than the Palace.
So when every star and black hole dies out there will be only red dwarf stars left right? And if that is true would it be possiable to live on one? I hear that red dwarfs are the longest lasting stars but they can also be dangerous.
Well, like all stars a red dwarf would be made of gas, and therefore you could never live "on" one, since there's no solid surface. However, I suppose there could be a planet near a red dwarf star. Since these stars are much cooler than the Sun, the planet would have to be much closer to the star than Earth is, in order to provide enough heat to have liquid water.
Therefore, someone living on such a planet would look up in the daytime sky and see a huge red Sun.
How did life begin?
The short answer is: Nobody knows! It's one of the biggest mysteries in all of science. When Earth began, there was certainly no possibility that any life could exist there. And now there is life. So somewhere in between, SOMETHING happened.
That doesn't mean there aren't some hypotheses. For instance, we know the chemicals that make up the simplest cells, and these molecules would have been present in the early ocean, and also on meteorites that were crashing into the Earth. We also know that sometimes bubbles can form in the water, trapping chemicals inside. This is sort of like a cell.
But that's a LOT different from having the chemicals assemble into very complicated chains like proteins and DNA, and then be able to reproduce copies of themselves. It's really hard to see how that could start by itself.
But there are many scientists working on these problems. This area of science is called "biogenesis" ("bio" means life, and "genesis" means beginning).
What was life before the big bang?
Well, since the Big Bang was the very beginning of matter and energy and space and time, I don't think there's any way there could have been life before that- unless we are completely misunderstanding how the universe began!
does ALL rocks start of with being Igneous?
Hi Tyana, remember when we learned how the igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks form. Each rock formed differently, so all rocks don't start off as igneous rocks it just depends on how they form.
Actually, they were ALL igneous at first, since the whole Earth was melted at the beginning. As soon as a crust began to form, that would have been made of basalt and granite and other igneous rocks. Later they changed to metamorphic or sedimentary.
Since the Earth started as a big ball of melted rock (lava), that means that when it cooled off enough to make solid rocks, ALL of those were igneous rocks. After a long time some of those rocks were changed to metamorphic or sedimentary rocks, and sometimes back to igneous again. Of course that's what the rock cycle is all about, right?
what are the properties of a throwing knife that makes it easy to throw, easy to stick in a target and how it dose not cut you when you throw one?
I'm not on expert on this one, Ryan. In my job there aren't as many opportunities to throw dangerous objects as you might think.
But I actually WAS a middle school kid once long ago, and like most average adolescent boys, it was not unusual for me to do some pretty stupid things. So I CAN tell you from personal experience:
1. It's not nearly as easy as they make it look on TV or in movies. It's very hard to hit a tree, and if you miss, your knife is pretty much lost in the woods. (If you were holding it wrong in the first place, your finger might be lost as well.)
2. If you hit the tree, there's about a 90% chance the wrong part of the knife hits, and it just bounces off, and sometimes breaks the knife.
3. It's much easier to make the knife stick in the drywall inside your garage. However, it turns out that this makes deep gouges in the wall, and your dad is likely to be unreasonably cranky about that. So blame your little brother if you have one.
My advice: don't throw knives or other sharp objects unless you plan to make a career of it. Stick with baseballs- it pays better and you get the winters off.
Why where the Homo Sapiens the ones to survive when there where other human like species. Like why didn't the Neanderthals, and what trait kept us alive?
This is one of the big mysteries of human evolution, Nate. When homo sapiens (our guys) first started, there were at least 4 other species of humans around at the same time. Neanderthals ("homo neanderthalensis") died out around 30,000 years ago. We know for a fact that they lived in the same time and in some of the same places as homo sapiens. In fact, scientists have recently discovered that there was some interbreeding between the two species, and also with some of the other species.
Neanderthals were in Europe, the Middle East and Western Asia before homo sapiens showed up (coming from Africa), so why did homo sapiens survive and the others did not? There have been several good hypotheses, but not enough evidence yet to choose the best one.
One idea is that, even though Neanderthals were stronger and tougher, and even had a larger overall brain size, they may have lacked some abilities that homo sapiens had: maybe homo sapiens learned how to speak first. That would be a huge advantage, because it allows individuals to share their ideas with each other, to TEACH someone else what you've learned, like how to make better tools and weapons. We do notice that homo sapiens weapons seemed to steadily improve over time, while Neanderthals seemed to keep making things the same way for ages and ages.
Or maybe there was some disease that affected Neanderthals, but homo sapiens were immune. Or maybe we just have some genetic ability to solve problems, or to be sneaky so we could steal their food or land. There are also many clues that homo sapiens were starting to have culture- art, music, religious beliefs, etc- and this might have given our people some advantage in creativity or determination to survive.
We might never know the answer for sure. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that our species also nearly became extinct at one time, so maybe we were just plain lucky. Scientists believe that about 70,000 years ago, probably because of some environmental threats (perhaps changing climate), homo sapiens dwindled down to maybe just a thousand or so individuals (one study says possibly less than 100!), before the population recovered and grew again. We could easily have become extinct at that time.
Hi Mr. Biegun! I'd like to ask you something, (which is sort of weird)
How did people actually learn to program computers? I know that's a little confusing. I've always wondered how people learned to make those little green chips, and how they learned to make it. Sorry if it's confusing!
I was talking to Sarah W. about this recently. You really ought to do some research on the two people whose pictures are above the flag in my classroom: Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. In the early 1800's, Charles invented the very first computer. This was before electricity! The computer was operated by turning a crank, and it could solve multiplication problems. Ada, who was a friend of Charles, wrote the first computer program to guide how the computer worked.
Ada also had the vision to understand where computers might lead some day, even though the men around her were just imagining how to solve math problems faster.
Ada died of cancer in her mid-30's. Makes you wonder what else she might have accomplished if she had lived longer, huh?
Hello Mr.B I was just wondering if there is such a thing as healing rocks, because this morning I found this rock and when I asked my mom what was the rock doing in the house and my mom said that it was a healing rock. So is there such a thing as a healing rock?
I know there are many people who consider rocks to have special powers, but actually scientists have never found evidence to support this. But if a rock makes you feel good- hold onto it!
Why do our ears pop when we are on an airplane?
If this isn't a "sciency" enough question, ignore me.
Perfectly sciency, Emma! It's all about the ear drum, which is a membrane (like a layer of skin) stretched across the tunnel into your ear. There is a pocket of air on the other side of the ear drum, and it normally stays at the same air pressure as the outside of the ear drum.
When there is a sudden pressure change, such as when you are moving to a higher point in the atmosphere (like driving up a tall hill), your "outside" air pressure drops and the "inside" pressure is still the same. That funny feeling you experience is your ear drum bulging "outward" a bit.
When you swallow, it opens up a tiny tube (the eustachian tube) that allows the pressure on the inner part of the ear drum to equalize with the outside. That's the popping you feel inside your ear.
Hi Mr. Biegun,
I heard about the Law of Attraction/Gratitude, which is about the subconscious mind, power of suggestions, visualizations, and beliefs etc. and how that whatever one thinks and believes wholly as reality, it will be manifested.
This sounds spiritual, but I think it is legit because this ties in the placebo effect to what some religions talk about.
I don't know if you heard about this. If you have, what do you think about this sort of philosophy?
Hi Alexis- great to hear from you!
I had to look up the Law of Attraction as I had not heard of it.
I would say I'm pretty skeptical from a science point of view, but I'll admit there is plenty we don't understand about the human mind.
The key here seems to be the idea that what happens in your mind can somehow change events in the outside world. This is very different from something like the placebo effect, which is really a way for your mind to "fool" itself. With the placebo effect, a person who truly believes they have taken a useful medicine can sometimes experience some positive effect from the medicine even if it turned out to be fake. But everything happens inside the person; even though it's a mystery why it works, it's obviously a matter of the brain fooling itself.
Now compare that situation to one like this: my car is making some funny noises and I think it needs a new muffler. I leave it at the repair shop for a day to be fixed by the mechanic- who I completely trust. Next day he tells me it is all done, and he installed a new muffler. But secretly he didn't do anything at all.
Would you believe there is any possibility that my "belief" in the repair would cause the car actually to be fixed? This would be an extraordinary claim, and would need extraordinary evidence to support it.
So far, despite lots of experiments, nobody had been able to prove that a person can affect outside events by their thoughts. Some people certainly have stories of this happening, but this is what we call "anecdotal" evidence: for instance, if I strongly believe I will eventually become wealthy, it is of course possible that I do win the lottery or inherit some money. But how can I prove that my beliefs CAUSED the result I hoped for? For this to be a scientific conclusion I would need to show the mechanism that makes it happen, just as people who believe in astrology would need to show how the position of a distant planet can somehow affect events in their life.
Anyway, that's what I think, but I don't know much about this, so feel free to fill me in if I'm misunderstanding it!
How high can Kangaroos jump?
Best answer I can find is: kangaroos can jump up to 10 feet high if they really try, although normally they don't do that.
I haven't tested this myself, however. Next time I see a kangaroo I'll ask him!
Hi Mr. Biegun,
I was wondering why our blood is blue in our bodies (so I've heard) and why it's red when it comes out?
I once asked a scientist about this, because I had also heard that blood was blue when it doesn't have oxygen, and of course our veins do look blue.
But he told me that is not exactly true. He said the veins look blue because you are seeing them through your skin, so it's a bit of an optical illusion. If you've ever had blood drawn at a doctor's office, you've probably noticed that this blood is not blue, but rather a dark reddish-brown or maroon color. This is the color of blood from your veins, which has already carried oxygenated blood through he body, and is now headed back to the lungs to pick up more oxygen.
When the blood cells pick up oxygen, they turn bright red, and travel through arteries back out to the body; they drop of the oxygen (and pick up the waste carbon dioxide) and make the return trip again through the veins.
When you get injured and bleed, of course the blood is always bright red, because as soon as it leaks out of you it instantly gets oxygen so it turns bright red. (The oxygen actually attaches to iron in your blood, so technically the blood is red because it's rusty!)
I have a always thought that cells were super small, but since atoms are the smallest, then about how many atoms are in a single cell
I looked it up. One human cell is about 100 trillion atoms.
That means a single cell has a thousand times as many atoms as the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
So I'd say a cell is quite a bit bigger than an atom!
This is from science club-
What would have happened if a bee got stuck in the pipe when the bottle was on? Would it have come shooting out the top with the bottle?
Most likely he'd come out like a bullet, then get knocked back down by a mass of high speed water coming out of the bottle. He'd be one dizzy bee! (And not very pleased).
If all the planets were once a flaming ball of lava. then why is Jupiter gassy and mars rocky?
The outer planets would have formed from hot gas rather than hot rock. Mars, Earth, Venus and Mercury are rocky planets and probably all started in a similar way.
Scientists don't completely understand why there are differences in how the planets formed, but it seems likely that the Sun's gravity would have pulled more solid matter in closer, while the lighter hydrogen and helium gas stayed farther out to become the gas giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune).
But we don't know if all other solar systems would follow this same pattern.
Hi, Mr. Biegun, my dad said there was this town in Pennsylvania that had to get closed down because the Earth is burning up beneath it, is that true?
I remember reading about that once. As you may know, Pennsylvania has a lot of coal in the ground. I believe an undergound fire somehow started burning in the coal many years ago. They tried many things to out it out, but it just keeps smoldering on, making a lot of awful smoke.
If there was no mass extinctions, what would earth look like
That is very difficult to guess. Maybe all life would still be small squishy things living in the oceans. Certainly it would be very different from what we see today. When mass extinctions happen, new space is available for new kinds of things to evolve, and usually the new life forms are quite different from the ones before the extinction.
If Gravity is why Mara is rocky and Jupiter gassy, why is Pluto ice/rock?
Nobody knows for sure why the planets formed the way they did. But one theory is that the Solar System has 3 types of "planet-like" bodies: the 4 inner planets are rocky because the Sun's stronger gravity pulled in the heavier stuff; then the 4 outer planets are gas giants because hydrogen and helium have less mass, so the Sun didn't pull them close; and beyond that are perhaps thousands of very small icy objects, which are like left-overs that never got pulled in close enough to become part of the planet group. Pluto is one of the larger ones of these.
This point of view partly explains why some scientists decided Pluto probably shouldn't count as an official "planet". It seems more likely that it belongs to the group of objects that are at the outer edge of the Solar System. There are probably some that are even larger than Pluto, and all of these objects, including Pluto, have orbits that don't really match up with the other 8 planets- they are in a different plane.
If all the planets were formed by gasses in space, how did the sun get so hot out of elements that were coller
The Sun is hot because its gravity is smashing hydrogen atoms together deep down inside the Sun, and this causes "fusion", in which hydrogen atoms join together to become helium atoms. Fusion gives off a tremendous amount of nuclear energy, and that's why the Sun is so bright and hot.
Why does Humans act very different from some animals? For example we have some characteristics that are the same.
I think this is a very important and interesting question, which I have thought about a lot. Humans are definitely related to other animals, since we have the same genes in our DNA- like two cars that use the same exact parts in their engine, so you know they were made by the same company.
But there is also something very different about humans, isn't there? In some ways we seem to be "better" than the other animals- such as being kind to others, even if we don't get anything back from it. Or by working to make ourself better, such as by getting an education.
On the other hand, humans can also be much WORSE than other animals, in the harm we cause to other humans and to other creatures on the planet. Nothing in the animal kingdom is as cruel as a really "bad" human.
Scientists have not agreed on an answer to what makes humans different from the rest of the animals. My personal belief is that there is something special about us, and that we have a special purpose that other creatures probably don't have. But that's more connected to my religious beliefs than to scientific evidence.
I hope you keep observing and thinking about this!
Hi Mr.Biegun, I was wondering what causes wind to blow? Thank you👍🏻
Hi Kelsey. Wind can be caused by storms, of course, but the main reason we have wind is because of temperature differences, because there is uneven heating of the Earth's surface. So if a place gets hotter than other areas, the air over the hot place begins to rise (convection), and then WIND blows cooler air in from neighboring areas.
could there really be a way to wall run and jump super high like in the video games? maybe in the future?
Like video games? I doubt it. But I'm sure people will continue to break athletic records for running and jumping, just like they always do in every Olympics.
Hi Mr. Biegun, I was going in to my backyard a couple of weeks ago to find salamanders and when I told my mom that I was going she said there aren't any salamanders in Michigan. I told her that you said that there are. How come there aren't as many salamanders in Michigan then there were in previous years
Well, there definitely are salamanders in Michigan- I caught two of them last year. But they are always hard to find, since they like to stay in cool, dark, damp places, and usually come out at night.
According to the Michigan Dep't of Natural Resources, we have 10 kinds of salamander in Michigan. Although many of them have decreasing populations, there are actually a lot more salamanders than people realize. They are rarely seen because they live most of their lives under the leaf litter in the soil of the forest floor, or at the bottoms of ponds. Scientists believe our most common species is the little red-backed salamander. they estimate there are about 3,600 of these in every acre of forest.
According to the DNR, the best time to actually see a salamander in daylight is right after the first warm rain of early spring, even if there is still some ice on the ground.
What is in the middle of a spiral galaxy.
In the last few years scientists have been investigating this, and they now believe that most spiral galaxies- and maybe ALL of them- have a giant black hole at the center. This is not like the black hole that happens from one ordinary large star, but is much bigger. It's called a "supermassive black hole", and may be the size of BILLIONS of stars.
Hi Mr. Biegun, I have a really silly question. I was wondering why nobody is born with blue or green hair, instead of blonde, brown, or black?
Mammals have hair (or fur) that is colored by two different kinds of "melanin" pigments. One pigment is brown or black, and the other one is red or orange.
It is the combination of different amounts of these pigments that gives our hair/fur its color. That's why we are limited to colors from blond to black with shades of brown or reddish-orange in between. (White happens when there is no pigment.)
There are pigments for other colors that can be found in birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians (and plants, of course). But mammal DNA does not contain instructions for making these pigments.
The interesting thing is, now that we are learning how to manipulate and change our DNA, there may be a time in the future when we figure out how to "re-program" DNA to add other pigments.
What a colorful classroom I'll have then!
Hey Mr. Biegun, I was wondering how are black holes formed?
Black holes form when the very largest stars (WAY bigger than the Sun) run out of fuel at the end of their lifetime. When the fuel runs out, these stars collapse inward due to the tremendous gravity they have. They continue to collapse inward until the entire mass of that star is packed into a space smaller than the point of a pin!
Since the mass is in such a small space, the gravity becomes infinite, and therefore NOTHING can ever escape, once caught by the gravity. Even light can't escape, which is why we call the black hole "black". (Imagine pointing a flashlight up toward the sky, and you turn it on. The light shoots up toward the sky, but then gets sucked back down into the flashlight. That's sort of what happens with a black hole.)
There are a lot more complicated explanations- this is REALLY advanced science, and you have to know a lot more science words and math to understand the details. You'll get there someday, Victoria, if you keep asking questions!
Hi Mr Biegun
I love turtles and I want to get one but when I was looking into it I noticed they carry salmonella. Why do they carry salmonella and are they really safe for young kids to have as pets
I did a little research at some websites for reptile experts, and also at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can be found in food sometimes, but is also common on small reptiles and amphibians, especially small turtles (less than 4 inches long). They carry it on their skin and shells, even if you keep the cage clean, and they can spread it wherever they crawl.
The recommendation is to not get small turtles if anyone in your home is younger than 5, or if anyone is very elderly. Those family members would have a harder time fighting off the bacteria. For anyone else it's fine to have a turtle, just don't get a tiny one, and always wash your hands with soap every time you handle it or touch anything the turtle touched, like its food bowl or cage.
Salmonella causes a bad intestinal infection. Most people get diarrhea and stomach aches for about a week, and then they recover.
Thanks Mr B
whats your opinion on life in our galaxy and life outside our galaxy
I've read quite a bit on this topic, since I think it might be the most important science question of all. I think you are asking whether I think life exists outside of Earth or are Solar System.
Many, many scientists have wondered about this. Most famous is the great physicist Enrico Fermi, who, one day while having lunch with 3 other scientists, suddenly exclaimed, "where is everybody?" meaning "why haven't we found extraterrestrial life?
Fermi quickly made a calculation (right there at the lunch table), estimating that in the time our galaxy has existed, there should be vast numbers of extraterrestrial civilizations, and they should have completely spread through the galaxy long ago. So why do we find no sign of them?
Scientists have never been able to explain this. Given the number of stars (and solar systems) in our galaxy, and the amount of time that has passed, there should be life all over the place, and plenty of intelligent creatures even more advanced than us. But we see absolutely no sign that there is anyone else out there.
Personally, I believe there is probably lots of life in the galaxy, but mostly in very simple form like bacteria. I just don't think there is any other "complex" life like us- because I think we would have known about it by now. But I HOPE I'm wrong! I think we would have much to gain by knowing there was someone else who learned how to survive while being intelligent!
Thank you so much, do you think that there could be other dimension with other human like creatures.
Regarding "other dimensions, that is a popular idea in science fiction, but we have no idea if there could possibly be living creatures in other dimensions. It certainly makes for some exciting stories though.
One point of view is that we live in a four dimensional universe (the three dimensions of space, plus the dimension of time). It's hard to imagine even what 5-dimensions would be like, let alone higher numbers. One theory says the universe may have up to 10 dimensions.
If there are multiple dimensions existing in the same universe, I'm not sure how we would ever be aware of beings who exist in another dimension, or how we could describe that.
Just imagine yourself looking down at a picture of a person on a page in a book. "Pretend" the picture is actually a real, living being. Well, that person is 2-dimensional. It exists in a flat plane, and only has concepts of length and width- there is no such thing as up and down. A 2-dimensional creature could never look "up" to see you, because for him there is no such thing. And if you could somehow send him a message, would you say "hey, look UP, I'm right here!"
In the same way, if there are creatures in other dimensions, we would probably have no way of detecting them- or perhaps they ARE talking to us in some way and we just don't recognize it. For instance, maybe your dreams are really somebody trying to talk to you. Or maybe every time your nose itches, or every time you sneeze it's their way of tapping to get your attention. Or maybe every time you feel happy or sad it's somebody in another dimension saying "hey, I'm right here, why can't you hear me?"
Hello, How do we dream and why?
Scientists don't completely understand why we dream. Apparently, when we are sleeping deeply certain sections of our brain become very active. There are instruments that can detect this while a person is sleeping, and we know that quite often people don't even remember dreaming, even though the detectors could tell that they really WERE dreaming. On average, people dream for a couple of hours each night.
There are many theories about why we dream and what purpose dreams have- perhaps to help memories become stronger, or clean up your brain from "stress" during the day, or to express your desires or fears in a safe way. But nobody really knows yet why our brains work this way. Maybe someday we will find out!
hi, why is the sun so hot?
We will be learning about the Sun this year in 7th grade science. You will see that the center of the Sun has so much pressure that atoms are forced to join together in a process called nuclear fusion.
When fusion happens, four hydrogen atoms are joined together to make one helium atom. When this happens, a little bit of energy is released, according to Einstein's equation, E = mc2.
It's only a little bit of energy each time it happens- but the Sun actually changes 600 MILLION TONS of hydrogen EVERY SECOND from the time it formed until now; so all those little bits of energy add up to make a tremendous amount of heat and light.
In about 5 billion more years, the Sun will finally use up all its fuel. It will actually get hotter for awhile, as it starts repeating the same process, this time crushing helium atoms together. But eventually the atoms will become too big to squeeze, and then the Sun will cool off. And that will be the end of the story for Earth!
I wonder how many strands of hair an average 12 year old girl has? I say twelve because my birthday is tomorrow!! *hint* *hint*
Happy birthday, Layla! I don't know how many hairs an average girl would have- but I'm sure you are FAR above average! :-)
If their is water in the air, but its transparent-and we don't see it, how come clouds ARE water but we see it?
You are correct that water vapor is transparent. However, when water vapor is warm, it rises up into the sky, where the temperature is cooler. When the vapor gets cooled, the water molecules begin to stick together in "clumps". It's these larger clusters of water droplets that you see, just as you can see them on a cool, foggy day when the water vapor near the ground does the same thing.
If there is enough water in the cloud, the droplets continue to stick together in larger and larger drops until they become too heavy to stay in the cloud, and they fall to the ground as rain (or snow).
I was just wondering that when we measure the ml of something graduated cylinder wise, why do we measure from the middle as if it were a bottom of a bowl? Or do we even measure from that point?
You are correct, when measuring in a graduated cylinder, you need to measure from the lowest part of the water level, which is called the "meniscus". The reason the water does this, is because water is slightly attracted to the walls of the cylinder, and it tends to "climb" up the sides just a little bit. So the correct water level is the part in the very center, where it isn't climbing up the sides.
Next week we will be doing this in class, so I'm sure you'll remember to measure from the meniscus!
Why is there light and dark water in the sea/ocean
Light and Dark Blue water
The color of ocean water can change every day depending on the color of the sky, and how much algae is in the water. But in general, water is darker blue when it is deeper, or has a muddy bottom. It is lighter blue if it is shallower and has a sandy bottom. When you see that pretty light turquoise color, it is shallow with white sand made from coral.
Mr. Beigun why do you need more sleep when you are younger but when you start to get older you start getting less sleep why is that?
I don't know the reason for sure, but I think it is because your body is working so hard to make you GROW when you are younger. This takes a lot of extra energy, so even though kids eat a lot, their body usually burns up all that food (so they are less likely to be overweight than adults).
Also, the body needs to get a lot of rest because it is working so hard at adding on new cells and growing all the organs. Even though your brain is mostly full grown by late childhood, it is still extremely active making connections inside as you learn new things. Sleep helps your brain to make all these connections. I guess if you didn't get enough sleep, you might not remember all the stuff you're learning in school!
Does global warming cause storms.such as hurricane Matthew.If it does how and why.
Hurricanes are caused by very warm ocean water. It makes sense that if the world gets warmer, we will have more heat in the oceans. That should provide more heat energy to cause storms.
But weather is extremely complicated, and the heat doesn't spread evenly all over the world. So you might have some places get a lot warmer, and other places might get cooler so they have more snowstorms.
Most likely, if the Earth continues to get warmer, SOME places may have more hurricanes or tornadoes. But other places might have less! We still have a LOT to learn about how the climate of our planet changes.
Do we have a science fair
Are you able to control your dreams when your sleeping
Some people call this "lucid dreaming", and they try different strategies to be able to control events in their dreams. I'm not sure how possible it is. When I think of my own dreams, there ARE some times when I'm in a dream and I know it's a dream, and I purposely choose how things will go. But it's not like I go to bed at night planning to do this; it just seems to happen.
If you want to know more, you can look up "lucid dreaming" on Wikipedia and read about it.
How did scientist measure how hot the sun is? Or is it just a hypothesis or even a guess?
Obviously nobody is sticking a thermometer in the Sun; but there are several "indirect" ways to measure temperature in the Sun or even other nearby stars.
For example, if you know what elements are in the star (usually hydrogen and helium), the color of the star is connected to the temperature. So start that are blue are relatively hot, and stars that are red are cooler. Our Sun is yellow, which is medium temperature (for a star). When hydrogen and helium glow brightly with a yellow color, that shows the temperature is around 10,000 degrees F. So that is most likely the approximate temperature of the Sun's surface.
However, scientists believe the Sun must be much hotter deep down inside- probably millions of degrees F.
Is there a way to stop or reduce the effects of the hormones that make you not pay attention to things.
Our ability to do this is still pretty unpredictable, Kimber. As you may know, some people take medications such as Ritalin or Adderal, which can help them to keep their focus if they are especially challenged, such as having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). But scientists still don't really understand exactly how this works. In fact, oddly, these drugs are "stimulants", which seems to be the opposite of what you need if you're distracted. But somehow they seem to work . . . for some people. Other people don't seem to be affected, or have unpleasant side effects from the medicine.
One of the current hot topics in medicine is "personalized medicine", which means analyzing someone's DNA to invent a treatment designed for that specific person. Scientists are just a few years into this, but someday it should lead to what you describe.
In the meantime, the best thing you can do is build habits and routines that work for you, so that even when your emotions are pushing you in a way you don't want to go (say, getting angry), your habits (politeness, respect, organization at school) will help you to keep it under control.
This approach would serve you well for your whole life. For instance, I personally have a tendency to procrastinate, and I tend to be late for things. But I've forced myself to get up in the morning with an alarm at a particular very early time, and now it's such a habit that I don't have trouble getting to school on time.
what is the most radio active object we use every day
Good question, Johnny! My guess would be smoke detectors, because they use a radioactive "button-sized" piece of Americium, element 95. I know you don't actually handle a smoke-detector every day, but it's there and it's working for you.
My next guess would be a banana, because they all contain a tiny bit of radioactive potassium.
What makes leaves turn colors? and how do they become BRIGHT red?
The odd thing is that the beautiful fall colors are really the TRUE colors of the leaves! Those colors were in the leaf all through the summer, but the colors were hidden by the green chlorophyll that allows the leaves to do photosynthesis. In the fall, when the days get shorter, the lack of sunshine causes the leaves to stop producing chlorophyll. Then the green pigment in the leaves starts to fade away, revealing the leaves' true colors. At the same time, the reduced photosynthesis causes changes in the stem of the leaf, so that it becomes weaker, and eventually breaks free of the branch to fall to the ground. This is how the tree prepares to hibernate through the cold winter.
Hi Mr. Biegun, I was wondering if tardigrades (water bears) have thoughts?
It's hard to know how other creatures experience reality; however, we can say for sure that tiny animals like the tardigrade have a VERY simple brain made of just a few cells. The parts of your brain that you use for asking questions and feeling emotions . . . these parts just don't exist for something like a tardigrade. So their experience must be very different. Could they feel fear? Happiness? Anger? Probably not, since they don't have the brain cells necessary for complex thoughts. Most likely they have a few very simple extincts, such as "always move closer to light", or "when something touches you, go the other way".
Hi, i was wondering why does moisturizing make you face smooth and/or soft?
Your skin cells are very absorbent, like a sponge. You have probably noticed that when you are in water for a long time your fingers and toes absorb so much water they become crinkly. People have discovered that certain types of chemicals can be absorbed by the skin, and trap the moisture in there to prevent it from evaporating and drying out the skin. But eventually those chemicals come out and you have to do it again. If someone could invent a formula that goes into the cells and STAYS there, perhaps people could put some on and prevent skin from ever getting dry!
How many tons of sand is there in the dessert and how many feet deep is the sand??
That's a pretty big question! My guess is that nobody has the answer on that one, because the answer would be different in different places. I know there are some deserts where there is just a few inches of sand, and under that there is rock. In this kind of desert, sometimes the wind blows large areas of rock perfectly clear from sand, while other places can have sand dunes hundreds of feet thick.
But there are other places that probably have sand going down for a hundred feet or more. It just depends on how that particular desert formed, and how long it has been there.
But no matter where you go on any continent, if you go straight down even a thousand feet or so, you will hit solid rock. Later this year we will study Earth's outer layer, the Crust, and you will see that it is really almost completely made of rock, with just a thin layer of soil or sand on the very top.
Do you believe god made the world ( I do)
Yes, I do believe God made the world. My faith in God is very important to me, and I think it's one of the reasons I love science so much: because scientists get to study this magnificent creation, and try to figure out how God did it.
I think it's important to study science with an open mind, and not assume that God did things the way we imagine. Some people think God could only create the world by doing something like a magic trick: "POOF"! But I think he uses much more interesting methods, just as a giant oak tree doesn't appear "POOF!", but instead grows slowly starting with a tiny acorn.
It's also important to remember that scientists can never "prove" that God did something. This is a matter of faith, among those of us who are convinced in our heart. Many people look at the same beautiful world and think it came about without any plan or purpose at all. Either way, it's still fun to learn about how it works! And for those of us who believe in God, it gives us a special joy to learn about the world, because it helps us get to know God better, just as you can learn to know an artist or author better by studying his or her work.
well is it ok to think that God did make everything with a poof and to think that God made science for people to get to believe I him because I don't believe in the big bang
Of course, Victoria, you are free to believe whatever you want. All of us have to decide for ourselves how we decide what is "true" in life. Since I have found that science works very well for finding truth, I try to use evidence and logic to find out truth in everything. And since I believe in God, and I believe He loves us, I have faith that He has given us the ability to understand this world, and I believe it gives honor to God when we try to understand His creation.
Why is your palm usually lighter than the back of your hand?
That's a very good question, Nitya. I don't know why we would have evolved that way, but I guess it's safe to say the skin cells on your palm probably don't have as much melanin (skin pigment). Since melanin is like a natural sunscreen that protects skin from ultraviolet light, maybe the reason is that we don't tend to get sunburn on our palms very much! Or maybe those skin cells need to be tougher (same for the soles of your feet), and that might make it harder for them to have melanin.
Hi Mr. Biegun its me mishwanth I have a question why does water take the shape of a sphere when it is in mid-air
Have you ever noticed what happens when you place a drop of water on wax paper, or some other water-repelling surface? It forms a "bead", or an almost spherical shape. This is because water molecules attract each other with a very strong magnetic force (due to the unusual shape of a water molecule, which has a positive charge on one side, and a negative charge on the other).
When a drop of water is falling through air, the molecules have nothing to cling to except each other. This attraction is called surface tension. When there is an equal-pulling inward force from every direction, it naturally creates a sphere. This is the same reason a soap bubble is spherical. It also is the reason stars and planets are spheres- although in that case it's not surface tension, but gravity that does the trick!
Thanks Mr.B its nice to have herd from you after a long time and I miss studying in your class so much and Mr.B if you can please say hi to my Friends for me. Bye
Hi Mr Biegun!
So today during club I volunteered for a crazy cool experiment with a balloon. So we filled up a balloon with water and put it over a jar with a flame inside. It got sucked in! Well...mostly but when it was halfway im it sat for a minute and then exploded into my face! What caused the balloon to explode? Thanks 😉🤓
Thanks for being such a good sport, Alivia. The next day, Jadyn did the also did it- and it worked just as well! I'll have both of the videos up on the Science Club page next week.
The water balloon exploded because it was being squeezed by air pressure, pushing it down into the jar. Remember, 14.7 pounds per square inch is a LOT of pressure. The balloon was pushing down on the rim of the jar (because it was too big to fit inside!). Eventually the pressure stretches the rubber too far and it bursts open, spraying the "victim" with a fair amount of water.
Remember, the balloon was PUSHED into the jar. It wasn't sucked in. You should know that Science NEVER sucks! :-)
i wounder how a bearded dragons bread puffs out
I did read an article about bearded dragons, and it said they puff out their beard as a way to react to danger. It did not explain HOW they do this, but usually when animals cause parts of their body to expand, it is by pumping extra blood into that area. I assume its the same here.
Hi thanks for the answer but i have another question! When you drink pop how come sometimes you get a fizzy burning feeling in your nose thanks.
As you know, carbonated beverages contain a lot of carbon dioxide gas dissolved in the liquid. When you are swallowing the pop, the gas bubbles come out of the pop. Some of this might make you burp, but some of it rises up the back of your throat and gets into your nasal breathing passages. That's the burning sensation you are feeling. As far as why it burns, I'm not sure, but I know that carbon dioxide is slightly acidic, so that might explain it.
Why did America choose red,green, and yellow for the street lights but in japan some of them are blue?
I never heard that before, Lillian! I can only guess that blue might have some different significance in Japanese culture; in America, it is used in many situations as a sign that everything is ok and it's safe to go forward (think of green lights on your electronic devices). Of course, maybe that all started with green traffic lights, I don't know.
Another possibility would be the phenomenon of color-blindness. If a person is color-blind, they can't tell red from green, but they CAN see blue. So for that reason it would make more sense to use blue instead of green lights.
My bet is on the second explanation.
hey, why is jupiter is so big
Scientists aren't sure why Jupiter became so big when the Solar System formed: was it just luck? Or would this happen just the same in other planet systems around other stars? So far, as scientists discover other new solar systems, it seems that many of them also have some giant planets like Jupiter- and sometimes those giants are much closer to the star, even closer than Mercury is!
Why does the hand you write with fingernails grow longer? Why do your fingernails grow faster than your toenails?
I have honestly never heard this before, Lillian. I do not know the answer- but I think I can make an educated guess. In order for any part of your body to grow, it is naturally going to need blood flow to bring nutrients, oxygen, water, etc, which are the raw materials you are made of. If you are using one hand MORE than the other hand, it makes sense that the hand that's moving being exercised more will have more blood flow, and that might lead to more growth in the fingernails (and muscles too!)
That's my hypothesis, anyway. But I don't have time to do an experiment to test it out. Do you know anything more about this? Do you remember where you got the information in the first place?
Yeah, i found this information from multiple websites and from a few different people who confirm it's true, and i have no idea why different fingernails grow longer, I'd think instead your fingernails would grow faster than toenails instead we probably use our hands more than are toes (for writing). But i have no clue to why your dominate hand fingernails grow faster than your non-dominate. Because what would happen if your ambidextrous? Which fingernails would grow faster than? would they grow at the same time and length?
Long time, no talk! I have a question for you, and I hope it makes you do some research!
My sister is coming for the holidays, and she recently sent me a video of her two cats meowing at each other, like they were fighting over something, She told me that they are actually just making sounds, not actually communicating, because they communicate with body language.
Which leads to my question: when animals make sounds at each other, for example, cats meowing, are they actually communicating with their voices like we do, or are they just making strange sounds that we call meowing?
So sorry I took so long on this one, it's been pretty busy around here, what with shoveling snow and grading papers. But I've been thinking about your question. I didn't do any research on this, so what follows is my own reasoning, which may or may not be logical.
I know for sure that animals have a lot more ways to communicate than we do, and it's easy for us to not notice the many ways they use scents and body language especially. I'm sure some information is also conveyed through sound, but I very much doubt it could be compared to human speech, simply because "lower" animals don't have the parts of the brain we have that are responsible for language-type communication. I think it would make sense to think of a cat's vocalizations as more like the sounds that might come out of a 6-month old baby human: they do "mean" something, but they don't have a lot of sophisticated content. When your cat rubs against your ankles in the kitchen and meows at you, it probably means something like: "YOU MINE! NOW GIVE FOOD!", rather than, say, "Greetings, dear Emma- I've sorely missed you today while you were gone to school-place. Would you be so kind as to open a can of fresh tuna?"
I have heard that for dogs, (and I assume cats are similar), communication is carried out in multiple ways at once, and sounds are probably a very small slice of that compared to smells and body language- and who knows what else that we might not even notice! We just have to be careful not to "anthropomorphize" and put sophisticated thoughts in their heads. I am quite sure their expressions are pretty simple.
By the way, it's interesting to consider how WE are able to communicate fairly sophisticated information from a thousand miles away: because we have these written words that can carry practically infinite meaning. How would super-intelligent dogs or cats manage something like that, I wonder? I suppose webcams could help somewhat with body language. But could they transmit smells and pheromones electronically? Work on that, Emma, there might be big money in a technology to allow olfactory texting between felines and canines!
hey mr.biegun, what gives us the energy to do work?
Hi Brianna- I miss seeing you in class! I hope you are well.
What gives us energy is chemical energy from the food we eat.
but wait . . .
the cheeseburger you ate came from a cow. The cow got the energy from chemical energy in the grass the cow ate.
but wait . . .
The grass got the energy by absorbing sunshine and doing photosynthesis.
but wait . . .
The Sun got the energy from nuclear fusion: the Sun's gravity smashes hydrogen atoms together deep down in the core of the Sun. Hydrogen atoms combine to make Helium atoms, and this releases some of the energy inside those Hydrogen atoms.
but wait . . .
How did the atoms get their energy? That energy was created in the Big Bang about 13 billion years ago.
SOOOO . . . You get your energy from the Big Bang! Took a long time to get to you, but it's exactly the same energy. So use it well!
I was wondering, how did scientist discover and know what personalities go into each Zodiac Sign?
Actually, Lillian, scientists have discovered just the opposite. After a lot of investigation, they have found absolutely no connection between a person't personality and the day or month they are born.
What you are describing is called "astrology", and it's not a science, but rather a "belief system" that some people use as a way to try to predict what will happen in the future. Many people believe in astrology, and check their "horoscope" every day in the newspaper and online to answer life questions ("should I get married today?Should I quit my job?). But it has been well proven that these horoscopes are just made up, and have no connection to reality. In fact, if you read two different horoscopes on the same day, they might give opposite advice!
It actually is no surprise to a scientist that astrology doesn't work. The concept is based on the idea that your personality or "luck" will be affected by the position in the sky of the moon or planets on the day you were born. But there is just NO way for those different objects in space to have any affect on how you develop. There is just no connection for instance, between Mars and the cells of your body. Mars is too far away for even its gravity to have the slightest affect on you.
One way to think about it is this: suppose a huge asteroid crashed into Mars and destroyed the entire planet. (This kind of thing actually did happen often when our Solar System was beginning). If Mars is now GONE, what does that mean for people who thought their personality was determined by the position of Mars? Would you expect their personality to suddenly change? Surely not!
How come when you pinch up by your neck/collarbone you don't feel a lot of the pain, but when you pinch your arm or leg, how come it hurts more? Is it because their is less nerves, or is it just based on how much the person can handle pain?
I live such a boring life . . . I never thought to test the pain threshold by pinching myself all over! :-)
I am almost sure you are right in your first guess. I know that there are different amounts of nerves in different parts of the body. For instance, the nose has a lot of nerves, which is why it hurts so much to get hit in the nose. Scientists usually can explain why certain areas would need to be more sensitive to touch, (or sensing heat), and other areas don't really need that sensitivity as much.
However, it also is true that different people respond to pain in different ways. That is more likely to be a difference in the brain rather than the actual nerves that receive the signals. But you are talking about differences on one person's body, so that would be due to difference in the amount of nerves.
What is Californium and what is it used for?
Californium is element 98. It is one of the man-made elements. It is a soft metal that you can cut with a knife. It is very radioactive, and tiny amounts of it are used to make the radiation that is used to try to destroy cancer in a person's body. There are also a few other uses where people need something very radioactive, although it is always very dangerous to work with radioactive substances.
How come when you put something important to you (Blanket, stuffed animal,person, etc) on a cut or wound it feels a bit better?
I've never heard anything about that, Lillian, but it would have to be an emotional reaction rather than some physical effect. In other words, it would be a result of being comforted by something that makes you feel safe and relaxed. There is certainly an emotional aspect to any kind of physical pain, so feeling more relaxed and comforted may very well reduce a person't perception of pain, even though something like a stuffed animal couldn't actually affect the physical injury itself.
What is einsteinium and what is it used for? Is it a solid liquid or gas?
Einsteinium is a man-made element. Tiny amounts are formed in a nuclear power plant or in an atom bomb explosion. It is a solid metal, and is highly radioactive. The atoms fall apart within a few weeks after it is made, so it has no known use.
Can to much air make a flame go out? (If your throwing it around will it make the flame go out?)
As you may recall from our discussion of the "fire triangle" earlier this year, a fire can only burn if it has all three "legs" of the triangle: oxygen, fuel, and enough heat to get started (and keep going).
You are asking if more air would make a flame go out; it depends on what you mean. Ordinarily, "more air" would actually make a flame burn much better! That's because more air means more oxygen feeding the flame. That's why, if you are trying to get a campfire started, you might gently blow on it to help it get more oxygen. (For this reason, forest fires are MUCH worse under windy conditions!)
On the other hand, if you blow hard enough on a small flame, you can actually COOL OFF the fuel, and that can remove the 3rd leg of the triangle, making the fire go out. That's why you can blow out a candle so easily: the fire is very small, and it doesn't take much blowing to cool off the wax below its combustion temperature.
Not sure what you mean by "throwing it around". Usually fire is pretty hard to throw! But I'm pretty sure if you throw a lit candle, that would be enough wind to cool it off and put out the flame. Still, that is definitely not an experiment to try indoors!
Waving it around quickly is what i meant
It's kind of a rude question...but why do they call it common sense if it's not all that common?
Hey, Lillian- sorry for the delay on this!
I thoroughly get your point, and I think it's valid. However, I would point out that the meaning of the word "common" in the phrase "common sense" is a little different from the usual usage.
The normal way to use "common" means "something that occurs often". If that is the meaning, I would agree that common sense is far too UNcommon! However, "common" can also mean, "that which is expected". In that sense, we would say that "common sense" means "the expected standard of making sensible decisions".
In other words, I might say to a person, "just use your common sense" That really means, "it is reasonable to expect that a human like you can figure out the right answer here without any special help."
Still, as you say, humans often just don't live up to that expectation. Disappointing, isn't it?
I've always wondered on why we're in the car and we look out the window, the moon is always following us? Is there science behind this?
Of COURSE there is science behind this! :-)
Let's see if we can use reasoning to figure this out: when you are moving away from something, what is really happening? Imagine a person standing beside the road and your car drives past. If you look back, you will see the person gradually appearing smaller and farther away. That's because the DISTANCE between you and the person is INCREASING as you continue to drive.
Now think about what happens when you see the moon (or sun or stars) from your car. As you continue to drive along, are you really getting "farther" from the moon? Certainly not, since the moon is 260,000 miles away from the Earth, and you are on the Earth the whole time. So no matter how fast or how far you drive, you are still on the Earth, which is still the same distance from the moon. Any change in the moon's position is not because of your car traveling at maybe 60 mph. If the moon appears to gradually move, it is because the Earth is rotating toward the east. (The speed of rotation where we live is about 500 miles per hour!)
Now if you were in a very fast spaceship leaving the Earth, and you went past the moon on your way to Mars, you WOULD see the moon looking smaller and fading away in the distance behind you! But to really notice it you would have to be traveling pretty darn fast!
Also, I've always been a little curious on lucid dreaming and dreams in general. How does laying on your back trigger and make the chances higher to lucid dream? I've also heard somewhere that if you say "I want to lucid dream tonight" before you go to sleep, it increases your chances of lucid dreaming which I thought was kind of weird. I personally think controlling your dreams is awesome, but I'm also afraid of sleep paralysis. Can you tell me more about this topic? Sorry if this is really long.
I don't know a lot about "lucid dreaming", Christina. Actually, I'm not sure anybody really does! The idea behind it is that a person might be able to do something to control the events in their dreams, at least a little bit.
The problem, from a science point of view, is that you can never know what is going on in another person's dreams, since you can't "get in" to them. So if somebody tells you they have done lucid dreaming, you just have to trust them, and you don't know if they are really telling the truth.
Science is all about testing things that we can all agree on because we can all see. If someone says he's discovered a new creature, like "Bigfoot", scientists will not believe it until EVERYONE can see this creature also. It's not enough for someone to just say "trust me, I saw it, even if you CAN'T see it."
Lucid dreaming is like that. If someone says they did something, like standing on their head, and then they could do lucid dreaming . . . well, ok maybe. You can try it if you want and see if it works. But they might just be making it up- how could you know? Or maybe it works for them but not for you.
As for sleep paralysis, I think that may mean different things to different people. When you are in the deepest stages of sleep, your body normally "disables" the ability to move around so that a person doesn't act out their dreams and get injured. You may sometimes notice this if you awake suddenly during a very intense dream (this has happened to me a number of times). When this happens, you may open your eyes and be aware that you have awakened, and still feel the emotions of the dream, but you aren't able to move for a few seconds, and then gradually your "body" also wakes up, and in 20 or 30 seconds you are back to normal. When it happens, I find it an odd sensation, but not particularly alarming.
Hi Mr.Biegun I was watching the trailer for A Dogs Purpose that everyone was talking about it a kind of silly question bloomed in my head so anyway... I wonder if dogs have a conscious? Do they think about what they do? Finally do they have like a little "voice" in their head like we do? Thanks
I confess, Alivia, I don't know anything about "A Dog's Purpose". I guess it's a movie, right?
I think you are asking about "conscience". (The word "conscious" has a slightly different meaning, and it is also very interesting.)
If you are wondering whether dogs have a conscience, then I guess you are wondering if they have the ability to decide if something is right or wrong. That's a slippery concept, because dogs probably don't have the same ability to think about morality as you do. In other words, animals like dogs probably think at a very simple level: something is "right" if it makes me feel good, and "wrong" if it causes me to suffer.
Now many humans operate at that level as well: but we usually think of these people as immature or lacking in moral qualities. If your friends all made decisions that way, they wouldn't be very good friends, would they? Instead, we expect people to have a sense that certain things are just wrong, like taking someone's food when their back is turned, or harming someone else. I think if you left a grilled cheese sandwich where a dog could reach it, and then left the house for the day, the dog would not be having an inner debate about the "right and wrong" of eating the sandwich. And if a complete stranger left he sandwich, he would most likely scarf it up right away.
But you would not steal from someone you care about, AND you would not steal from a complete stranger either- because you know it's wrong to steal, no matter who the victim is. And you also would know it's wrong if a person you don't know steals from another person you don't know. It's not about who gets harmed; stealing is just wrong.
I don't think most dogs or other animals can think that way, although there have been some interesting incidents of animals showing kindness in surprising ways. We just don't understand what they were thinking in these situations.
hi mr. Biegun i was wondering why its so cold in space and why theres no gravity but its not even as close to that cold on earth and we have gravity?
It's all about "matter". Gravity is a characteristic of all matter. So if there is any matter present someplace (solid, liquid or gas), there will be gravity. The more atoms there are, the more gravity the matter has. Another way to say that is "more mass = more gravity". Right now you are touching a very large chunk of matter called Planet Earth. It has a LOT of atoms, which means it has a great deal of mass. Therefore, you are being pulled by Earth's gravity.
260,000 miles away, up in space, is another big chunk of matter called the moon. It also has a lot of atoms, but not as many as Earth, so you don't notice its pull very much. Even if the moon was just as heavy as Earth, though, you still wouldn't be pulled off this planet, because gravity is much stronger the closer you get to the object.
So the answer to the first part of your question is: there IS gravity in space, it's just very weak until you get close to a large object like a planet or star. But even a single atom floating in space would have a tiny bit of gravity.
Temperature also depends on matter, because temperature is measured by the speed that atoms are vibrating. If there are no atoms to vibrate, then the empty space can't have a temperature. However, if YOU were in space, YOUR atoms would absorb any sunlight shining on you, and you would begin to heat up. If you are NOT in the sunlight (for instance, you are outside your spacecraft, but on the shaded side away from the Sun), then you would feel very cold, because there is no sunlight to give energy to your atoms.
This is one reason it is very difficult for astronauts to work in space, or even someplace like the moon, which has no atmosphere- so it is basically the same thing. If you were walking on the moon in your space suit, you might be in the sunshine, and the temperature is over 200 degrees F. But if you walked into some dark shadows from a mountain, you might experience temperatures of -200 degrees, a drop of 400 degrees or more.
I remember reading on a website and it saying 'if you don't sleep for 3 days you will go insane' i thought about this and I was wondering what happens to your mind when you stay up for a full 24 hours? You were talking about in class that none of our energy comes from sleep, only food, so what if I still ate food but i didn't sleep? How does this effect the way we act and see things?
What you are talking about is "sleep deprivation", and there has been a lot of research on this. You might be interested in reading the Wikipedia article, which gives a good description of the effects and some extreme cases.
It is true that you do NOT get your energy from sleeping. Your energy comes in the form of chemical energy from your food, plus some thermal energy from sunlight and warm surroundings, which just helps keep you warm.
Of course, sleeping is when your body (and brain) take a rest, so you might say that you are "conserving" some of your energy during sleep, since you are not riding a bike or playing basketball during sleep.
Aside from giving your body a chance to do repairs, sleep has important effects on proper brain functions, and this is not completely understood yet. What we know is that people who go too long without sleep lose their ability to think clearly or solve problems, as well as headaches, depression, irritability (no surprise, right?) and in extreme cases people can have hallucinations, seeing or hearing things that aren't real- basically dreaming while still awake.
According to Wikipedia, the longest anyone has purposely stayed awake is 11 days, but most people could not do this even if they tried. But even if someone did, their problem would not be lack of energy- it would be malfunction of the brain (and a lot of suffering, too!)
Speaking from experience as someone who has experienced long nights of studying in college, as well as raising 4 babies (and newborns do NOT care what your preferred sleep schedule is), it is no fun to try to function on too little sleep. In my 5th year of teaching (1989-90) I had two babies who were not sleeping well, a new teaching job far from home, and some very intense college classes. That year I averaged about 3-4 hours of sleep each night, and it was agonizing. Only once did I go to school in the morning having NOT slept at all overnight, and I never want to repeat that.
But again, I'll point out that energy was not the problem. I actually gained weight during that time, but my mental function was not very good and I was very irritable and probably overly emotional too.
Mr. Biegun I was wondering why oceans and seas are blue and a cup of water is clear?
That's an interesting question, Sienna. In order to make a fair comparison, I suppose you would have to look at a cup of water that is as BIG as an ocean; or else compare a cup of ocean water to a cup of tap water.
I suspect the second comparison would be simpler; and in that case, you would find that BOTH cups are clear. So there must be something else going on that makes the ocean look blue.
I remember when I was a kid I always wondered why swimming pools looked blue. I assumed that people with swimming pools must put blue coloring in the water to make it look pretty, but I didn't see why they needed to do that. Then when I was 11 years old, my parents hired some guys to build an in-ground pool in our backyard. It was fun to watch the progress as they dug the hole and poured the concrete to shape the pool (20 feet wide, 40 feet long, and 9.5 ft. deep in the deep end). After it was constructed, they coated the whole inside of the empty pool with white plaster of some kind, and put a row of pretty blue tiles along the top edge of the walls all around the top of the pool. I remember climbing down inside and walking on the bottom of the empty pool. (After a rainstorm made a big puddle in the deep end, I caught a nice fish and released it in there to aggravate my older sisters. And a snake too).
Finally, the day came to fill up the pool, and a big water tanker truck came to our house. I was sure I would see blue water flowing out of the giant pipe, but it was regular clear water. Kind of disappointing.
But once the pool was filled up, it DID look blue! I remember asking my dad why that was, and he explained that it was a combination of the blue sky above and the blue tiles along the top edge of the pool. It only has to look a tiny bit blue, and the reflection off the white bottom does the rest. So even on a cloudy day, the water would look blue because of the tiles, but much more so on sunny days.
If you've spent much time around the ocean or Great Lakes, you'll know that the color of the water can vary quite a bit from day to day depending on the weather conditions. Sometimes it looks quite gray or green, other times a deep blue. If the water is shallow and the bottom has white sand, it will look a pretty turquoise color.
So it's probably a combination of things: color of the bottom, color of the sky, and yes, a LARGE volume of water may naturally have a slightly bluish color, just as a large volume of air does.
Hi Mr.Biegun, I was wondering how exactly did the big bang start up the creation of the Earth. What was it about the explosion that started the Earth?
Actually, the Big Bang has nothing to do with the start of the Earth!
Scientists believe the universe began at the Big Bang, which was about 13.8 billion years ago. That's when all the matter and energy and SPACE in the universe suddenly expanded from a tiny point. Nobody knows how or why that happened, but there is lots of evidence that it DID happen; in fact, we can still see the expansion continuing today, and we can measure the heat left over from the original explosion.
But when the universe began, there was no Earth yet! It took a long time before the hundreds of billions of galaxies began to form, and even after our Milky Way galaxy had formed our Sun and solar system were not there at first. Other stars were there first, and they lived out their lives using up their fuel, then exploded, providing material for new stars and solar systems.
Our own solar system began to form from the remains of exploded stars about 4.6 billion years ago. That means the universe had already existed for over 9 billion years before Earth even began to form from clouds of stardust drifting around the brand new Sun.
What's the difference of Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar Depression?
I'm not an expert on this, Lillian, so I did a little reading. I can't find that there is anything called "bipolar depression", but a person with Bipolar Disorder would normally experience depression sometimes as a part of the condition. Bipolar disorder is a condition in which a person sometimes feels extremely "up" (emotionally) and sometimes extremely "down". Keep in mind that this is something that pretty much occurs to EVERYONE, to some extent; we all naturally go through times of "good mood" and "bad mood", some people more than others, and it can vary at different stages of life. For instance it is well known that during times when hormones are changing rapidly, a person's emotions can change drastically as well, such as during teenage years, or during pregnancies, or sometimes for older people as their body starts to change with age.
But when a person is "diagnosed" with bipolar disorder it means that their mood swings are more extreme than the normally expected changes that all of us experience. That would obviously be a diagnosis made by a professional psychiatrist who knows all the clues to look for, and then they can figure out ways to treat the person to "even out" the mood swings.
How come when your stressed your blood vessels die? What kills them? And what's the process of their deaths?
It wouldn't be correct to say that stress causes blood vessels to "die". Blood vessels can't just die.
What scientists have found is that there seems to be a connection between stress and heart disease. There are many other things that are also related to heart disease, like smoking, drinking, not getting exercise, obesity, and more.
Scientists have not figured out exactly why stress is a part of this. It could be that stress causes the body to produce chemicals that are harmful to the body in different ways. Or it could be that when people are stressed they are more likely to do other things like smoking or drinking.
Heart disease is not a matter of blood vessels "dying", but the vessels can get clogged up by a substance called plaque, which blocks blood flow, or the heart muscle itself can be weakened. But even with unhealthy behaviors, these things would normally not cause damage for a young person like a teenager. It's really something that causes problems when you are much older. The best thing for a young person to do is start making good habits for eating, sleeping, and being active, so that you can keep your heart healthy for a long time.
I just watched a video regarding a large underground reservoir of saturated stone 400 miles beneath the earth. So, is it possible that Earth's water originated from within?
Thanks so much for sharing this. I can't believe I didn't catch this report, which actually came out about 3 years ago!
I've spent the last couple days reading and learning about this fascinating discovery. If you want to see a good Youtube video where one of the scientists explains exactly HOW they did the science, and WHAT they learned from it, you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnDUPEPM0EY .
Here's a summary of what they did. Since nobody has ever drilled a hole through the crust and into the mantle, the only rock samples we can study from the mantle are rocks that come out of some volcanos. These volcanos "belch" out rocks and lava that comes from the TOP of the mantle, and sometimes they are mixed with a beautiful green mineral called olivine (aka "peridot"). Also, some of the deepest-reaching volcanos sometimes bring up diamonds, which we think are produced deep in the mantle (more on this later).
Scientists have wondered what olivine would be like if it came from even DEEPER in the mantle. To simulate this, they can take pieces of olivine and compress it (using anvils made of high quality diamonds). When they reach pressures equal to 400 miles down (about 1/10 of the way to the center of the Earth), the olivine changes slightly (by rearranging the atoms of magnesium, silicon and oxygen); it now becomes a much stronger mineral, a beautiful deep blue crystal called "ringwoodite" (named for an Australian scientist, Ted Ringwood, who studied it). They also found that ringwoodite, under these incredible pressures, stores water inside its crystals. The amount of water is about 1% of the weight of the crystal.
Now, up until the announcement of this discovery, nobody had actually SEEN a natural piece of ringwoodite. The only pieces were made in a laboratory by squeezing olivine between diamond anvils. Scientists "inferred" that it must be down there in the mantle, but there was no way to drill down and see.
Then a few years ago a Canadian scientist found a tiny diamond in Brazil, a diamond that he determined had come from a long-ago volcano that reached very deep into the mantle. The diamond was about the size of the eraser on a pencil, and was in pretty ugly shape; but he looked into it and found a microscopic blue crystal: the first ever discovery of an actual piece of natural ringwoodite.
So this confirmed that the theory was correct: ringwoodite forms from olivine deep in the earth that is squeezed under enormous pressure. Next, scientists calculate the amount of ringwoodite that must be down there, using details from seismic waves to observe how vibrations move through that part of the Earth. (They noticed that the presence of water would affect how the seismic waves travel).
They concluded that the amount of ringwoodite is quite vast, and therefore the amount of water stored down there could be equal to 1-3 times the amount of water in all the oceans combined!
Now there is no way (currently) to drill down 400 miles and try to extract ringwoodite (or water). But it DOES suggest some new ideas about our oceans. As you are thinking, it might mean that the original ocean water was released as steam from volcanos that erupted from deep in the mantle. The steam would have condensed to thick clouds and LOTS of rain, and may have created the early oceans. It also suggests that the presence of the water deep in the mantle might be important for keeping the ocean water that we have. As the scientist says in the video, if you want to make a puddle on top of a sponge, first you have to fill up the sponge with water. It might be something like that.
Hi Mr. Biegun!
As you know, today (March 7th) was extremely windy, which made me wonder, where does wind come from? Thank you so much!
Yes, it certainly WAS windy! I think that's one of the windiest days I can ever remember!
Wind is simply air moving from one place to another. The reason this happens is because different parts of the Earth get heated unequally. When the Sun heats up a certain spot, the air expands, and that makes the air push toward someplace where the air is cooler.
The reason it was windy today is because there was warm air to the south of us, but very cold air near a snowstorm up in Canada. The air to our south was rapidly moving toward Canada, and that caused our wind.
Hi Mr biegun, today when I got home I asked my dad how he would build a compass and he said he would get something metal and float it on a leaf so I said he would need to magnetize the meatal but he said you don't because the earth is magnetic, so do you need to magnetize metal or not, thank you
Well, I certainly wouldn't want to get in the middle of a disagreement between you and your dad! So I'll try to be very "diplomatic". . .
The Earth has its own magnetic field, so technically it should have some effect on anything made of iron (steel), nickel, or cobalt.
However, the Earth's magnetic field is very weak, and you probably wouldn't have any success unless you first "line up" the magnetic charges in the metal by rubbing it against another magnet. That's why we magnetized our needles in class.
I once read an article that said you could take a bar of iron, hang by string so it's pointing at the north magnetic pole, then wack it a few times on the end with a hammer. Supposedly that would "jiggle" the atoms and allow the magnetic charges to settle down in the right positions to make it magnetic.
I tried doing it a BUNCH of times with a steel weightlifting bar. I never could pick up even a paper clip with the bar. But I'm looking to find a bar of pure iron so I can try it again! I'm not sure it's possible to hold the bar so it's aligned closely enough with the north magnetic pole.
What is the difference between magma and lava? If they are both liquid rock why are they named differently?
As we discussed in class, the two different terms are just a way to tell whether the "molten rock" is above ground or below ground.
That is important, because if it is above ground (lava) it cools off quickly, and turns into certain kinds of rocks with small crystals, like basalt or pumice. But if the molten rock stays below ground (magma), it stays hot longer, and cools off slower, so it makes different kinds of rock like granite.
Of course, you can skip both names if you want, and just call it "molten rock". That means "rock that is so hot it melts into a liquid".
What is the most common Phobia?
Well, I'm no expert, so I consulted Mr. Google. According to his friend Mrs. Wikipedia, phobias are an extreme fear of certain objects or situations. The most common are fear of snakes, spiders or heights.
I don't usually have problems with heights, but I admit that, like many people, I'm not too crazy about snakes and spiders. I've always been interested in why these three phobias are so common. Although scientists have not yet proven a cause, I wonder if it might be possible that these three things were especially dangerous to our ancestors millions of years ago when they lived in trees; so perhaps it is "hard-wired" into us by evolution. But that's just my speculation- maybe we'll never know for sure.
I'm wondering what your brain looks like and how it reacts to yourself and somebody else when you tell lies. What part of your brain makes you want to tell the truth?
Interesting that you would ask this, Lillian, because I just read an article about this topic last week! It turns out that scientists have recently been studying this, in a rather interesting way. They put people inside an MRI machine that could scan their brain, while the subjects participated in a sort of activity where they could get rewards by answering questions- BUT they had the opportunity to increase the reward in some cases by LYING. The machine observed which parts of the brain were most "active" (sending electrical signals) while the person was lying.
It turns out that most of the activity seems to happen in the amygdala, which is the part of your brain that handles emotions. They also found out that the more a person lies, the LESS the amygdala is activated- which seems to show that a person who lies a lot finds it easier to lie without feeling guilty. Which I guess is what most people would expect, since people who lie a lot act like they don't really care.
Hi Mr.Biegun so when we watched the video about earth it said that we think that it was made out of lava, magma,and Volcanoes. If the world started out with hot things how did the ice age begin?
Next week we are going to be exploring Earth's "geologic timescale" in detail, and you will have a much better idea about the answer to this.
Maybe it would help if you can picture this analogy: If we could shrink down Earth's entire history (4.6 billion years) and make it fit in one single calendar year . . . then the formation of the Earth took place in the first few days of January, and it remained very hot for many days after that, and gradually cooled off for many weeks. But the "ice age" that you are probably thinking about (woolly mammoths and all those creatures) didn't happen until much more recently, way down at the end of December (and right now we are on December 31).
Actually there were many other ice ages in between, and some of them much colder and longer than the most recent ice age. But they all happened WAY after the Earth had cooled down.
If this is hard to understand, don't worry, I think you'll get it when you see visually the timeline I'll be setting up in the hallway for next week.
Why is the ocean blue when a glass of water is clear?
Believe it or not, I did answer this one earlier: scroll up until you get to February 23.
Hi Mr. Biegun!
Wow, it's been quite a while since I've asked a question here.
We are learning about diseases right now in biology class, and I was wondering what, if any, benefits viruses get by infecting us. I also learned that viruses aren't technically "living", but they do contain DNA. How did the DNA get there in the first place?
Hi Jiajia! Glad to hear from you- I hope your school year is going well.
Viruses are an important topic of course, because of the problems they cause for human health. They are also rather mysterious, because we don't understand exactly where they fit in our understanding of life. There are different theories about how they began, such as being precursors to actual cells, or maybe bits of genetic material (DNA or RNA) that somehow got separated from cells.
Some scientists consider viruses to be a life form, because they do have something like a life cycle, and they do have DNA (or RNA), so they carry genetic information. But other scientists say they do NOT count as life, because they aren't made of cells, and their reproduction is carried out by "borrowing" (or taking over) the cellular machinery of another organism.
Viruses are basically a package of DNA that gets into an organism, gets inside the cells (using various tricks), then takes over the molecular machinery in the nucleus in order to make copies of itself. It's as if a book could sneak into our school, slip into the office, and use the copy machine to make copies of itself.
The process often results in the death of the cell.
"Attack" cells come running from the host's immune system, and battle ensues. The host usually wins the battle (that's why we USUALLY don't actually die from a virus). But in the meantime, some of the new viruses try to escape the host by such sneaky methods as forcing the host to sneeze or cough, spreading viruses far and wide where they can infect new hosts.
All very dishonorable behavior for the virus, wouldn't you say? But who can blame them- their only purpose in "life" seems to be to make as many self-copies as possible.
Hey Mr. Biegun I always wonder this question every time I hear or think about the universe. What is the universe made of? By the way this is my first time asking you a science question on your website.
I'm glad to see a question from you! The universe is a lot of empty space, along with matter (the 92 elements) and energy (heat, light, etc.) That's it, as far as we know.
When the Big Bang started the whole universe, that created all of the matter, energy AND the space! There was nothing before that- not even empty space.
So I was wondering why water has a freezing point above its normal boiling point when water in in a nanotube, and why nanorods can gather water from the air, and expel water at a certain humidity, couldn't that be used to purify salt water by boiling it and having nanotubes above it to collect the water that evaporates off?
Wow, Kimber, that sounds pretty cool. Haven't heard of it. Can you tell me where I can learn about this?
Nanotechnology means arranging atoms to make extremely tiny geometric shapes and new materials. When you do that you sometimes get unexpected properties that seem different from normal physics. This is an important area for future science discoveries.
Would it ever be possible to artificially make a strand of DNA in a cell, fertilize it, and put it back into an animal in order to give the new animal "superpowers"?
I wouldn't want to say this is "impossible", but as far as I know we are still a long way from creating DNA from scratch as you are describing. What scientists ARE doing right now is "snipping out" genes from the chromosomes of one organism, then splicing that back into the chromosome of other organisms to create new genetic combinations that did not exist in nature.
As far as "superpowers" go, that depends on what you mean by that term. You can walk into a pet store today and buy genetically modified fish that glow bright neon colors which they would never do in nature. That could be considered a superpower for a fish. Some crops have been genetically modified to be immune to certain viruses or parasites. That would be a plant superpower.
If you are thinking of Superman kind of stuff . . . well, I suppose that might be in our distant future if we follow all scientific possibilities. There are plenty of science fiction stories about this sort of thing (like X-men?). Those stories usually give some good hints at possible negative consequences. But I think many people would be happy to see a genetic modification that could prevent cancer or Alzheimer's disease, or things like that. This would probably be enough of a superpower for most people.
When you find out someone is going away, what usual emotions do you feel? How does the brain react? What can this effect?
This is a difficult question, and can be taken at different levels. I don't know enough about the human brain and the chemical effects of our emotions to try to explain that. I can only say that humans are by nature a social animal. We make emotional connections with other humans, and those connections are very important to us. When we look at other animal species, it seems that this kind of social connection is related to having a large, complex brain- and our brain is the largest and most complex of all. The disruption of a relationship can cause very strong and painful emotions- but it is part of being a human, and personally I would rather be a human than a cockroach or centipede, which don't have those issues.
I was wondering how did the first animals know that they had to eat something to stay healthy. Also how did carnivores know they were to eat meat and herbivores were to eat plants?
I think you are trying to imagine animals as having a "human" ability to think and make decisions. It is pretty certain that animals don't make decisions about staying healthy. Most likely they eat or drink whatever looks or smells like it might be food. Some animals surely make a mistake end up getting sick (or dying) and they avoid that mistake in the future.
For some of the more advanced animals with bigger brains (usually mammals), the parents do spend some time raising their young and showing them what is the right thing to eat. For instance, a mother fox brings her babies the mice she catches. So when they grow up, they do what their mom did. Simpler animals like grasshoppers don't learn from their parents; they follow their instinct, which is like a computer program stored in their genes that says "eat green stuff".
hello, mr.beigun. what causez global warming
Sorry I took so long to get to this! You probably already learned this in your science class . . . but here is the short explanation:
When our atmosphere has an increase in certain gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, the atmosphere tends to hold onto more heat instead of letting it escape to space. This can make the entire atmosphere get warmer, although it will still have different temperatures in different places, so some places can still be very cold, and other places get really hot.
Throughout Earth's history the atmosphere has constantly shifted due to natural effects such as erupting volcanoes and animals that exhale and/or "fart". So sometimes we have more carbon dioxide (and the atmosphere gets warmer) while other times we have higher oxygen levels, and then the atmosphere gets colder. Right now, the carbon dioxide level is increasing pretty quickly due to the burning of fossil fuels such as gas, oil and coal.
Mr. Biegun, how can one of the weakest acids (carbonic acid) rot our strongest set of bones (our teeth), are our bones weaker than acid?
Good question! Carbonic acid is weak, but it can still react with the calcium in our bones, so it could eventually break them down. But it would take a long time. Try placing a chicken bone in acetic acid (vinegar) and you'll see it turn soft like rubber in a few days. If you used an even stronger acid, like sulfuric or nitric acid, it would be much faster.
It's not about how "strong" the bones are; it's about whether they contain the right chemicals that can react with acid.
I wonder if we will ever get any more moons?
Nobody could predict that, but it COULD happen . . . but only if an asteroid flies past Earth just slow enough, and close enough, for the Earth's gravity to capture the asteroid and keep it moving in orbit around the Earth.
That is extremely unlikely to happen, however. Mars has two moons that probably were captured this way, but that probably happened a long time ago when the Solar System was young and there were lots of things flying around at different speeds. Even so, both of those moons will eventually get pulled in by Mars' gravity, and they will crash into the surface and make new craters.
Hi Mr. Biegun, I was at the doctors the other day and I started wondering why some body parts keep growing when others stop.
That is determined by DNA. Your DNA contains about 25,000 genes, which provide directions for how your body is built. But part of that information involves when to "turn on" the gene, or when to "turn it off". That is very important information, because things have to grow at the right time and place, and stop growing at the right time.
In fact, a simple description of cancer goes like this: some genes get "turned on" and then just keep working at high speed without turning off. That's why cancer forms tumors, which are masses of tissue that are growing out of control.
Fortunately, as terrible as cancer is, our bodies are usually able to avoid it. Scientists are working on ways to "turn off" those broken genes when they do get stuck. That would be a great science problem to solve!
Would anyone ACTUALLY be able to travel at the speed of light?
This is what I was wondering too. It was on the home work assignment in science, right?
Great question, Madison. This is a question that is at the heart of Albert Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity", which you may have heard of in the equation "E = mc2".
One of the things Einstein discovered is that when an object is moving forward at very high speed, the object actually gains mass. That means it gets heavier! The faster the object goes, the heavier it becomes. That sounds crazy doesn't it? But it's been proven to be true! (And there are either stranger things that happen too!)
Because the mass increases in a speeding object, it takes a lot more energy to keep moving even faster. According to Einstein's equation, when an object reaches the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), the mass becomes INFINITE, and therefore the energy to speed up also becomes infinite.
Therefore, ANY object that weighs ANYTHING at all can NEVER actually reach the speed of light! The only thing that can go at the speed of light is . . . LIGHT! Because light has no mass at all.
In other words, if there was a faster possible speed in the universe, then light would travel at THAT speed. So "the speed of light" can be considered a "speed limit" that is build into the universe. Things can only go SLOWER than that speed. And really they can't even get very close to that speed, because it would take too much energy.
Who discovered all of the planets??
Well, of course the planets were not discovered by just one person, so there are multiple answers.
The word planet means "wanderer", because planets look like stars in the sky, except they don't move in the same regular patterns. They seem to wander around in their own direction. (Imagine a parade where a marching band is marching down the street, but one person in the band is zig-zagging from side to side. Planets are like that.)
The 5 planets that are easily visible in the night sky have been known since ancient times, even before anyone knew how to write anything down- so we will never know who first looked up and said, "hey I think that might be a planet!" Those planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Different cultures gave them different names. The names we use today come from the names of different gods in Roman mythology.
So really, you want to know the names of the people who discovered the remaining planets: Uranus, Neptune (and Pluto if you want to count that.) Those planets could only be discovered once telescopes were invented.
Uranus was discovered by William Herschel in 1781.
Neptune was discovered in 1846 by two astronomers, Johan Galle and Urban le Verrier (although several other scientists helped figure out exactly where to look for Neptune).
Pluto was discovered an American scientist named Clyde Tombaugh, in 1930.
With modern technology, scientists today can detect planets in other solar systems far away in space. So far they have found almost 4,000 of these, and nearly every week new ones are discovered!
I wonder where fireflies go during the day.
I couldn't find an exact answer to that question, but I know that generally nocturnal (nighttime) animals, including insects, will find a place to hide during the day so they aren't easily eaten by predators. So I assume that might be in cracks of bark, or on the bottoms of leaves, or something like that.
One thing I found out, though, is that not all fireflies are nocturnal! Some, instead, are "diurnal" (they come out in daytime). Some of these don't produce light at all, even though they are types of fireflies. Others do produce light, but they stay in shadowy areas where possible mates can actually see the light.
Thanks Mr. Biegun.
Heyo, Mr, Biegun! How are stars formed?
Good question. Stars are made of hydrogen gas that is floating in space. If there is enough hydrogen gas in one area of space, the gas atoms start attracting to each other by their own gravity. Eventually they start collecting in "clouds" of gas, which continue to crowd together and that increases the gravity.
This continues until more and more hydrogen "falls" into the growing ball of gas. As the pressure increases in the center of the ball, it starts to get hot in the middle and the atoms start getting squeezed together.
Imagine a bunch of people standing in a very crowded room, and still more and more people keep pouring into the room from every direction. Eventually the people in the center are going to start getting squashed together, right?
With hydrogen atoms, if they get squashed together hard enough, they start to "fuse", which means they join together to become one bigger atom. (If you think about that room crowded with people, that would be like building up pressure until four people in the center suddenly become ONE giant person!)
Once atoms in a star start to fuse, that is called "nuclear fusion". Each time, four hydrogen atoms combine to make one helium atom. And that releases a burst of heat and light, and causes even more fusion to happen. And a star is born!
Now think about our nearest star- the Sun. Every single second, in the center of our Sun, 600 BILLION TONS of hydrogen gets fused together to turn into helium!
And even though that has been happening for more than 4 billion years now, the Sun still has enough hydrogen left to last about another 5 billion years. Amazing, huh? That gives you an idea about how much hydrogen is in just one "yellow dwarf" star!
Hey Mr Biegun I was wondering that if we were evolved from monkeys then why are there still monkeys??? Also is it true that the center of the earth is harder than the sun??? Thx bye!😁
Wow, you actually have several different questions wrapped up in there! I'll split this into two answers.
First, you should know that scientists would not say we evolved from monkeys. That would be kind of misleading. It would be more correct to say that ALL living things on Earth are related to each other at some point in the past.
Of all the animals alive today, the one that has the most similar DNA to humans is the chimpanzee. By comparing our DNA and their DNA, we can calculate that both humans and chimpanzees had the same ancestor at one time about 7 million years ago. That ancestor was not a chimpanzee, and it was not a human, but it would have had some characteristics that humans and chimps share- like a fairly large brain, no tail, hands that can grasp things, etc.
But if you go back even further in time, you can continue to trace our relationship to other things. If you go back far enough, we share an ancestor with ALL mammals. Even further back, all mammals share an ancestor with all reptiles. Way further back, all mammals and reptiles share an ancestor with all fish. And so on all the way back to the first living bacteria on Earth, about 4 billion years ago.
The story of these relationships is written in our DNA. We have some of the same genes that all those other creatures have, even back to simple life forms like bacteria and algae.
Also, you should know that when a new species evolves from some other species, the original species does not just disappear. Just consider dogs. They evolved from the gray wolf, probably less than 20,000 years ago. But we still have gray wolves in the world also! There is no reason they would have to die out just because one branch of the family became a new species.
I know this can be hard to grasp, but please feel free to ask follow-up questions and I'll try to explain. This is an area I am very interested in, so I've read a LOT about it.
Regarding your question about the Earth, I've never heard that before, but let's see what that might mean: The center of the Earth is a big ball of very hot metal (probably iron and nickel). Certainly a ball of metal would be harder than the hydrogen gas that makes up most of the Sun. After all, the Earth itself is mostly a big ball of rock and metal, and the Sun is a huge ball of gas, so of course the Earth is mostly harder than the Sun (at least the outside part of the Sun; we aren't sure what the center might be like).
I'm wondering, however, if your question might actually be referring to the TEMPERATURE of the Earth and Sun. The Earth is hottest at the very center, where it is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is about the same as the surface of the Sun. However, the center of the Sun is many millions of degrees, so it's way hotter than anyplace inside the Earth.
Hey. This was on the hw, and I was wondering about it. How DOES a lie detector work? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it reads your heart rate, right?
Yes, Fiona, I believe that is the basic idea. It detects heart rate and blood pressure and other physical changes that often occur when people are trying to hide information.
Hi Mr.Biegun! On my "I Wonder" paper today, I had more than one favorite question that I wanted to ask. What would happen if the Earth didn't have a moon?
Of course we can never know for sure what WOULD HAVE happened if history was different; but we do know some of the ways the Moon affects the Earth.
One thing is that the Moon's gravity pulls on Earth and causes the ocean water to rise up a vit when the moon is overhead. This is why we have tides. Many animals' life cycles depend on the tides, so they would probably be affected.
Probably more important is that the moon acts like a combination vacuum cleaner and shield, to prevent many space rocks (asteroids) from hitting the Earth. Next time you see a closeup picture of the moon, think about all those craters, and consider that a lot of those rocks might have hit the Earth instead.
Those are the main affects, but there are many more. I actually have a whole book that explores this whole question, so if you are interested in learning more I'll be happy to loan it to you.
Thanks Mr.Biegun! I'll be sure to check it out!
Mr. Biegun if you put an ice cube in a cup and let it melt does the mass change?
Spoiler alert: this is actually a topic we will be learning about next January! But if you don't mind me giving away the story early, I can tell you that matter ALWAYS keeps the same mass when it changes state . . . IF you don't let any of the matter escape!
So if you put the ice cubes in a zip-lock bag, for instance, you will find that after melting the bag weighs exactly the same; it just contains liquid water (and water vapor) instead of ice.
But if you let the ice melt in a cup, you might notice a tiny loss of mass because some of the water will evaporate, and the water vapor will leave the cup.
If you drilled a hole straight to the other side of the earth. Then you drop a penny and rock in the hole. Will they go straight through the earth?
Would the penny and rock go straight through? Well, yes and no.
The center of the Earth is around 10,000 degrees, so BOTH of them would actually melt long before they got that far.
But if we assume they did NOT melt, AND if we ignore wind resistance against the objects, then the objects would fall faster and faster as they approach the center of the Earth, hit maximum speed right at the center, then gradually slow down as they went "up" the other side of the hole. They would come to a stop a little ways before reaching the other end of the hole (somewhere in the Indian Ocean near Australia). Then they would start falling back down again.
They would keep going back and forth, losing a little speed each time, until they finally come to a complete stop somewhere near the very center of the Earth.
Mr.Biegun, I know its probably odd for me to be back here asking a question even though i'm an eighth grader and I could probably just look it up,but you do give the greatest answer's. What affect do the hurricane's have on long term weather patterns?
Hurricanes have no affect at all on long-term weather patterns. That's because a hurricane is a SYMPTOM, not a CAUSE.
In the same way, a "cough" does not cause a cold, and failing a test does not cause a person to not study. It's actually backwards.
Long term weather patterns (what we call climate) is a cause of hurricanes. Specifically, when the ocean gets very warm just north or south of the equator, it makes lots of evaporation happen, which combines with wind to cause whirling masses of moist air. That's a hurricane.
We could stop hurricanes if we made the ocean surface cooler, and/or made the Earth stop spinning so fast.
Hey Mr.Biegun is it possible to freeze anti-freeze with liquid nitrogen?
What a great question! I think I'm going to have to try that next time I bring some liquid nitrogen to school.
But I looked it up anyway. The main ingredient in antifreeze is usually ethylene glycol. When mixed with water in a car radiator, this can stay liquid down to about -50°F. Since liquid nitrogen is -320°F, antifreeze should easily freeze solid like a rock!
Thank you Mr.Beigun
I have a question Mr. Biegun, why is water wet?
Interesting question, Anish. You are not asking why water is a LIQUID, but you are asking why it is WET, which usually means "why does it stick to my skin when I touch it?"
Of course there are many other liquids besides water, but most of them do NOT stick to your skin, so they would not be described as "wet". An example is mercury, which is a liquid metal (at room temperature). You can dip your hand in it, just like water, but when you pull your hand out there is no mercury on you.
In fact most of the 92 natural elements on the Periodic Table can become liquid, if you just make the metals hot enough to melt, or make the gases cold enough to become a very cold liquid.
The reason water sticks to you is because a water molecule has a "v" shape (it sort of looks like a Mickey Mouse head). Because of that, water molecules have a negative charge on one side (where the oxygen atom is) and a positive charge on the other side (where the 2 hydrogen atoms are).
This makes water molecules able to attract to most other materials, just like tiny magnets. The attraction of water molecules causes what we call "surface tension" in water, and we experience it as "wetness" on our skin.
Is there any other natural elements on Earth we haven't found yet?
That is highly unlikely, based on our current understanding of matter.
Elements are identified by the number of protons in their atoms. Element #1 (hydrogen) has one proton in each atom. Element 2 (helium) has 2 protons per atom. Element 8 (oxygen) has 8 protons. And so on, up to the highest number found in nature, #92 (uranium) which has 92 protons.
We have found every single element from 1 to 92. If an element had more than 92 protons, it would be very radioactive, meaning the protons would repel each other so strongly that the atoms would break themselves apart within a fairly short time.
Therefore, we only find 92 natural elements, although scientists have managed to temporarily create some of the higher numbers, up to about 120. (Most of these man-made elements "fall apart" too quickly to be useful for anything. One exception is Americium, #95, which can last for 10 years or so, and is the key to making smoke detectors work).
Since we have found all 92 natural elements on Earth, and there is no such thing as a "fractional" element (like #63.7), what we have is truly ALL THERE IS . . . not just on planet Earth, but probably in the whole universe!
There is really only one way this could be wrong: some scientists have wondered whether it's possible that some day we might create a man-made element (say, #128) that might turn out to be somewhat "stable", and can last a long time. If so, then it is possible that somewhere in the universe this element was naturally created, and we might one day find it.
However, there are very strong scientific reasons why this probably couldn't happen; and of course we have seen no trace of such mystery elements yet, even though we can detect different elements far across space using special telescopes.
Hi Mr. Biegun I know this was on my i wonder paper but have we ever created a calculator that does'nt say ERROR and why cant we create a computer/calculator that can calculate the number pi?
I'm not sure what you mean about saying ERROR. Cheap calculators do that if a number is too large for the display, but most good calculators don't do that. Instead, they give you a decimal number that is in "scientific notation" so you can at least get a pretty good idea what the answer is.
As you may know, the number "Pi" is calculated by dividing the circumference of a circle by the diameter. It turns out that EVERY circle, no matter how big or small, has a circumference that is a little more than 3 times as big as the diameter. When you do the division you get a number that starts with 3.14159 . . . and the decimal part continues on without every making a repeating pattern. Some people like to invent very powerful computers that can compute the digits farther than anyone else ever has before. And some people wonder if we might someday find that the decimals either fall into a repeating pattern, or even come to an end.
Last I heard, the world record for computing digits of pi was way up in the billions of digits. But every few years someone invents a new computer that goes farther.
Hi Mr.Beigun Why does chewing gum not stick to your mouth but bubble gum does a little bit?
Well of course the gums are made with different recipes, and they have different ingredients. Regular gum is intended just for chewing, but when people chew bubble gum they want it to be stretchy and sticky enough to hold together when you blow a bubble.
Gum originally used a natural type of rubber called "chicle", which comes from the sap of a tree that grows in Central America. But today they often use other chemicals to get the same chewy texture for a cheaper cost.
Hi Mr.Biegun! Do our feet ever actually touch the ground when we walk?
Nope! I have a feeling you might have heard about this before, Reisha!
Of course if you're walking on the ground barefoot, it sure FEELS like you're touching the ground. But it depends what you mean by touching. Atoms are always surrounded by electrons, which have a negative charge. So whenever two objects are brought close together, the electrons from the objects will tend to repel each other like two magnets. Even though the electrons are very tiny, and their electric charge is very weak, there is such a HUGE number of them that nobody is strong enough to force them together.
So there is a little bit of space between you and the floor. For the same reason, you can't actually "touch" the table in front of you (in the sense that YOUR atoms can't actually touch the TABLE'S atoms). And you can swing a hammer as hard as you want, but the hammer can't touch the table either!
Hi Mr , Biegun ,
It's Taiya from your 4th hour science class , I wanted to know what asteroids made of ?
Asteroids are simply rocks drifting in space. They are made from dust and minerals leftover from the formation of our Solar System. There is probably a little bit of water mixed in as well.
Scientists have sent some un-manned spacecraft to visit a few asteroids in recent years, and they have helped us to learn a lot about asteroids. Some of them seem to to be almost like giant floating piles of gravel!
Dear Mr. Biegun, currently in on the bus, but I have a question. What happens when lava or magma meets ice??? Thankies~
Now that is REALLY cool, Fiona- sending me science questions from the bus!
Molten rock (lava or magma) is a few thousand degrees (F), so when it meets ice . . . the ice melts! Really fast!
I haven't seen it myself, but I'm sure you would pretty much see an explosion of steam as the ice turns almost directly into water vapor.
If you search online you can find lots of really good videos of lava pouring into the cold ocean water (such as in Hawaii), and you'll see huge amounts of steam coming up. Of course the lava cools off fairly quickly as well, and sinks to the bottom as black basalt rocks.
What happens if you travel at speed of light?
If you scroll up to Madison Wright's question on September 8, you can see my response to her question, which is similar to yours.
The simple answer is that nobody could EVER travel at the speed of light.
However, let's say a person travelled at a speed somewhat CLOSE to light speed, such as 50% of the speed of light.
In that case, the person would probably experience nothing unusual that they would notice. However, without them noticing they would actually be traveling forward in time compared to the people they left behind.
Here's an example. Your sister, Estrella, is about a year older than you, right? Well, let's pretend you climbed into a spaceship on your 12th birthday, and you took a one year journey at 50% of light speed. During your trip, you would feel time passing normally. Clocks on your ship would operate just like always. Every day would feel like 24 hours, and the year would take 365 days. When you return to Earth, you would now be one year older. But on Earth, time was moving faster than on your ship. So when you return, you would be 13 years old, but Estrella might be 95 years old!
So the effect is that you traveled into the future, simply by traveling at a high velocity.
When Einstein explained this a hundred years ago, people thought he was NUTS! Believe it or not, scientists have been able to prove that he's right. However, even our fastest rockets can't get anywhere close to such a fast speed, so an astronaut that travels to the space station and back would only be traveling into the future by a fraction of a second.
Hi Mr.Beigun I was wondering for the science experiment this week if we can use cleaning vinegar instead of regular vinegar. Or should I just get regular vinegar?
Any vinegar will do! Really, lemon juice should work as well since it is also an acid.
Does God exist?????
This is a very important question to many of us. Unfortunately, it is not a question that "scientific methods" can really answer.
Scientists, just like other people, often believe in God. (I believe in God also.) And there are also many scientists who don't believe, too. But those of us who are interested in this question should NOT expect to find proof either way by using "scientific methods".
If a person tries to prove that God exists by using scientific evidence, that would have to mean that you can imagine some scientific evidence that could also prove that God DOESN'T exist. Think for a moment about that: how could science ever possibly prove that there is no God? What could that evidence even look like?
Science is very useful for learning about how our world works. That does not mean that ALL knowledge comes from science. If a person truly believes on God, that is a different kind of knowledge, which is why we often use the term "faith" to describe it.
For people like me who believe, our lives and our universe make more sense if God is a part of it. But there are certainly other people who don't see it that way.
As a scientist, the important question is not "Who" created the universe? That is a matter of faith. Scientists, instead, want to know "HOW" was it created? and how does it work? Those are the questions science can explore, and those are the ones we will be learning about all year.
One mistake we must avoid, is thinking that IF God created the universe, he had to do it a certain way- by some kind of instant, magical "poof" that made the whole universe appear very quickly. When we study the world around us, we see that nothing in nature ever happens that way, so I don't think we should expect that this is the only way God can do things.
Sorry for the long answer, Kaushik- I do think this is an important question for anyone who is interested in Science. I hope you keep asking lots of questions all through your life! That's the only way to find answers, after all!
A lot to read but i understood
What would happen if there were no air for about 10 seconds Mr.Biegun?
Hmm, that's an interesting thought, Andrew. You could certainly hold your breath for 10 seconds easily, so that's not a problem.
The problem I think you would have is this: without air, there would be no air pressure pushing in on you. Normally, the atmosphere pushes on every part of you, all the time: 14.7 pounds on every square inch of your skin. Your body has pressure inside that pushes out just enough to balance the pressure.
If there was no air, your inside pressure would cause you to start expanding like a balloon, and that could cause some disastrous results. But in only 10 seconds? I'm not sure.
Remember the vacuum chamber we saw in the video in class today? I don't think I'd want to be in there for even 10 seconds with no air! But if someone else wants to try it, I'd be glad to hear about the results.
Hi, what would happen if a black hole appeared next to earth for 1 second
Wow, Luke, were you talking to Andrew? (see the question above). Sounds kind of similar.
Since black holes can't just suddenly "appear" next to Earth for one second, it's hard to even try answering this. But black holes have nearly infinite gravity, so anything that gets anywhere near the black hole would be pulled in and torn apart.
But as I said, they just can't pop into existence for one second and then disappear. That's not how black holes work.
Is it possible for an earthquake in Michigan???
Yes, Reisha, there have been several earthquakes in Michigan in my lifetime; however, they are always very small earthquakes, and most people don't even feel them when they happen. We are very unlikely to ever have a dangerous earthquake here, just because Michigan is not on a part of the Earth that has deep cracks (faults) in the crust.
There was an earthquake once when I was sitting in my classroom after school. I had a cup with a drink sitting on my desk and I saw ripples in it, but I didn't feel anything, and I only found out later the ripples were caused by an earthquake.
By the way, I just asked my wife and she said she has felt an earthquake two or three times in Michigan, but it was barely noticeable.
What came first the chicken or the egg? Because how do you have a chicken without and egg, but how do you have and egg without a chicken??
This old question actually has a very simple answer! The egg came first. That's because eggs were being laid by other animals LONG before chickens existed.
As you know, all birds lay eggs to have their babies. But birds originally evolved from a type of dinosaur. Dinosaurs, like most reptiles, also would lay eggs to have babies.
But reptiles (including dinosaurs) are descendants of a more ancient type of animals called amphibians. (Today's amphibians include frogs and salamanders). Amphibians also laid eggs.
And amphibians evolved from an even more ancient type of animal: FISH! And the fish were egg-layers also (in the water). Today, many fish lay eggs, but others do not.
Of course fish evolved from even older creatures, as we will learn later in the year. Most likely those creatures also laid eggs.
So eggs definitely existed long before chickens!