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American science after colonization

By |2018-04-08T11:21:58+00:00September 28th, 2017|Americas, Native American, North America, Science|

European trade goods (thanks to Nebraska Game and Parks Division) North American people made rapid scientific advances in the course of the 1500s AD, inspired by contacts with traders and explorers from Europe. People learned how to tame horses and ride them, and they learned how to use guns. They also began to use a [...]

Radioactivity and nuclear physics

By |2018-04-24T14:44:18+00:00August 17th, 2017|Physics|

A Japanese girl who lost her hair from radiation sickness from the atomic bomb Americans dropped on Hiroshima Some atoms are naturally radioactive, especially atoms of uranium and plutonium. These atoms have so many protons and neutrons that even the strong nuclear force is barely strong enough to hold them together, and they sometimes lose a proton or a [...]

Radioactivity and sunburns – Physics

By |2018-04-24T12:26:12+00:00August 17th, 2017|Physics|

Radiation from the sun caused this sunburned back The most common kind of radiation is sunlight, and the most common cause of injury from radiation is a sunburn. Just like radioactivity from a nuclear explosion, radiation from the sun can damage the DNA of your cells. Later the same day, or the next day, your skin may be red and sore. [...]

Traditional Native American origin stories

By |2018-04-19T15:42:20+00:00August 9th, 2017|History, Native American|

Rocky Mountains Some Native people don't agree that their ancestors came originally from East Asia. These Native American people believe that their ancestors were always in North or South and Central America. There's no really definite evidence either way, yet. Many archaeologists and historians think that Native American people came from East Asia. They say that mainly [...]

Vedic India – history of India

By |2018-04-23T14:45:28+00:00July 20th, 2017|History, India|

Vedic India: A horse-drawn chariot from the Oxus Treasure (British Museum, thanks to Mary Harrsch) About 1500 BC, a new group of people seem to have come to India from the north-west: this time, they were the Yamnaya. The Yamnaya came from Central Asia, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. We also call these people [...]

What are amino acids? Organic chemistry

By |2017-06-02T23:31:28+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Biology, Chemistry|

A model of the amino acid molecule glycine (red is oxygen, black is carbon, yellow is hydrogen, and blue is nitrogen atoms) Amino acids are molecules made out of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen atoms (and a little sulphur). The earliest amino acids formed in space, about 14 billion years ago, before our solar [...]

What is phosphorus? Atoms, elements, chemistry

By |2017-06-02T15:39:41+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Biology, Chemistry|

Diagram of a phosphorus atom Phosphorus atoms have fifteen protons and sixteen neutrons, so they're just a little lighter than sulphur atoms, in the middle of the range for atoms. Stars make phosphorus when two oxygen atoms get very hot and squash together into one phosphorus atom. All living things, both plants and [...]

What is nitrogen? Atoms, Elements, Chemistry

By |2018-04-24T14:46:22+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Chemistry|

Diagram of a nitrogen atom Inside a red giant star, the star smashes lighter atoms together. Smashing atoms gets the star energy to burn, and also leaves extra heavier atoms. Nitrogen is one of these heavier atoms, left over when a star smashes together carbon atoms. Nitrogen is not very heavy, though, and a [...]

What is a virus? Evolution and biology

By |2017-05-30T10:58:32+00:00May 30th, 2017|Biology|

The virus that causes AIDS (greatly magnified) HIV image copyright Russell Knightley Nobody is quite sure whether viruses are living things or not. The first living things may have come from viruses. But it's also possible that viruses evolved from living cells and got gradually less complex and more dependent on their hosts to live. [...]