Now how

Now how did they do that?

Science in the news

Science and technology surround us – from the latest model of the smart phone anPreview Changesd more fuel efficient vehicles to movie stunts and fundamental scientific discoveries that add to our body of knowledge.  The “Now how?” section showcases snippets describing the science that we see in the daily news and in pop culture.

Check back often for regular updates, and if there’s a topic you’d like to see described, please let us know!

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Now how

How could a zombie apocalypse actually happen?

Who?zombie1

ALL OF HUMANITY.

What?

The first rule for surviving a zombie apocalypse varies from person to person. For some, it’s “Never believe that you’re safe,” for others, it’s “Don’t travel alone,” and for Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland, it’s simply “Cardio.” One rule that should always be kept high up in the survival guide, though, is “Know what you’re dealing with.” Although popular culture is trying to convince us otherwise, a zombie apocalypse in which the monsters being faced are reanimated corpses is in fact impossible.Read the entire snippet

Now how

Science in your city: Liberty Science Center in Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ

Science as a topic comes in many flavors – sure, there is the science pursued by someone sitting alone in an office with a pencil and piece of paper, but there is also the science of everyday objects and technology that surround us, a science that you can touch, hear, see, and smell.

lsc_building

At the Liberty Science Center (www.lsc.org) (LSC), you can discover and experience the many facets of science. LSC exhibits show you things that you might already be familiar with but from a completely new perspective.… Read the entire snippet

Now how

How does a supermoon occur?

Who?supermoon3

The Earth and the moon

What?

The full moon doesn’t have the power to turn people into vicious werewolves. It’s not controlled by a moon goddess that can bring about floods and powerful storms as the Mayans believed. It doesn’t call out mermaids from the ocean, and it doesn’t give people superpowers once a month. What it can do, though, is become a beautiful sight in the nighttime sky and sometimes become enhanced and enlarged into a “supermoon.”

Why?

Approximately once a year, the full moon shines brighter and swells up to a size larger than the average full moon.… Read the entire snippet

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How is the new Mars rover paving the way for human exploration of the red planet?

What?mars rover small

Landing on the red planet in August 2012, the Curiosity is the newest in a series of Mars rovers. This one-ton, car-sized, six-wheeled rover has been the center of much media attention ever since its landing, even having its own Twitter account (@MarsCuriosity) to keep the public constantly updated on its actions. Check out a zoomable view of the surface of Mars from the Curiosity at http://mars.nasa.gov/bp1/.

Beginning with the Apollo Program in the 1960s which achieved its lofty goal of “putting a man on the moon”, the Mars Curiosity builds on a history of space exploration and rovers seeking knowledge of what exists outside the planet Earth.… Read the entire snippet

Now how

How can the discovery of the Higgs boson affect our understanding of the universe?

Who?lhc

Researchers at CERN (a name derived from the acronym for the French “Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire”, or European Council for Nuclear Research), a.k.a. home of the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Note the people inside the beam line picture!

What?

The recent discovery of a potential Higgs boson particle or, as the media often prefers to call it, the “God particle”, is one of the few times that advancements in particle physics have made major news headlines.… Read the entire snippet

Now how

How did Myriad Genetics patent two genes linked to breast cancer and how did the Supreme Court rule these invalid?

What?supreme-court

At its most basic form, a patent is a form of authority granted by the government over some form of property, such as inventions. It is a way for inventors to protect their knowledge and receive acknowledgement for the products of their intellect. Upon their discoveries, Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin; Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone, and Felix Hoffmann patented aspirin, note that all of these inventions are man-made products.

But what happens if something is patented that wasn’t created but rather, merely discovered?… Read the entire snippet

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How did Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, save 13 people falling out of a plane?

Who?iron-man-3-poster

Tony Stark a.k.a Iron Man

What?

For those of you who haven’t seen Iron Man 3 yet, warning: here be spoilers. For those of you who have, you know exactly which scene I’m talking about. The villain of the movie attacks Air Force One mid-flight and kidnaps the President, blowing a hole in the cabin in the process. Thirteen people are sucked out, giving Tony Stark a chance to demonstrate his super powers.

Why?

Getting sucked out of a hole in an airplane is not uncommon in pop culture:  in the pilot episode of Lost, when doomed Oceanic Flight 815 broke in half , passengers went flying through the gaping hole in the fuselage.… Read the entire snippet

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How does chasing storms help make us safer during dangerous weather conditions?

What?tornado

As we’ve seen in just the past year alone between the Oklahoma tornadoes and Hurricane Sandy, severe weather conditions can have dire consequences. Sandy was directly responsible for 72 US deaths and racked up $50 billion in damages (Porter). The tornadoes in Oklahoma this May were responsible for dozens of deaths and flattened entire towns. It is obvious that these storms are incredibly dangerous, and when severe weather condition warnings are issued, everyone potentially affected should take precautions and protect themselves – that is, everyone except for the few who grasp this opportunity to do the exact opposite and run after the danger.… Read the entire snippet

Now how

How are scientists able to observe a single atom?

Who?

Aneta Stodolna (FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics, Netherlands) and colleagues

What?image of hydrogen atom2

A “quantum microscope” sounds like an impossible device developed by some brilliant but possibly insane scientist who is working on a secret government project to inspect recently-discovered infinitesimal evidence from a decades-old conspiracy. Putting the science fiction aside, though, in May 2013, physicists were able to develop a quantum microscope that directly observed the electron orbitals of a hydrogen atom, a revolutionary step in quantum theory.

Why?

Read the entire snippet
Now how

How is the possible use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war such a dangerous threat?

Who?

The Syrian government, led by Bashar al-Assad

map_of_syria

What?

A pressing issue of international current events is the Syrian civil war. This armed conflict has been ongoing since March 2011, but as of June 2013, there is evidence that deployment of chemical weapons has occurred; “samples taken from Syria and tested in France have confirmed that sarin gas has been used there multiple times” (The Associated Press). The test results have been handed over to the United Nations following a report on Syria claiming that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that toxic chemicals have been utilized in at least four attacks in Syria’s civil war.… Read the entire snippet