Spider Bright

The latest designer colors could be coming to you soon courtesy of… tarantula hair? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. Researchers at the University of Akron are interested in spider hair. Specifically, the hairs of the Metallic Blue Ornamental tarantula. This giant spider gets its

NUT-ricious Chocolate

Healthy milk chocolate. Sound nuts? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. Unlike its more sophisticated cousin dark chocolate, milk chocolate isn’t known for its health benefits. But what if we could change that? Scientists at the USDA and North Carolina State University may have found

Thinking Plants

Can plants think? Would you believe… yes? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. Consider barberry, a European shrub. It produces bean-sized fruits, each with one or two seeds. Its biggest threat is a tiny fruit fly. The fly injects its eggs into one of the

Mystery Volcano

Can a volcano cause global… cooling? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, going back in time to… The early 1800s. When it’s cold! Throughout Europe and North America, there’s frost, and famine. That cold spell was blamed on the eruption of Indonesia’s Tambora volcano, in

Puffa Fish

Now, for some breathtaking research on puffer fish! This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. Puffer fish famously inflate into spiky spheres that are difficult for predators to eat. To do so, they swallow huge amounts of water. Their super-stretchy stomachs expand like water balloons. It’s

Anti-Smoking Trip

Can magic mushrooms… help you quit smoking? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying: Go ask Alice! Or ask Matthew Johnson, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His study enrolled 15 volunteers who had been smokers for an average of 30 years. All had

Cutest Study Ever

Ah, nature! Trees, rivers… hamster wheels? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. Running wheels aren’t just for pet hamsters. They’re lab tools—used, say, to study exercise in mice. But running literally in circles seems nutty. Indeed, many consider the behavior a neurotic byproduct of captivity.

Egg Unboiled

Can you UN-BOIL an egg? And why would you want to? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying: Biochemists at the University of California, Irvine, can. As to why—? One word: Proteins. Nowadays, proteins made in labs are used for everything from making cheese to

Whoa There, Raindrops!

A scientific storm is brewing … about the speed of rain. This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying: According to physics, everything that falls has a terminal velocity. Apples, rain, people. Terminal velocity is a steady speed, where gravity and air resistance balance out. For

Cocoa Cure

Improve your memory by… drinking hot chocolate? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. Our memory declines with age. Neurologists at New York’s Columbia University may now know why—and what to do about it. They studied a specific brain area, the dentate gyrus, or DG. As