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Stories by Eric R. Olson71 articles archived since 1845

5 Strange Ways to Clean Up Our Space Junk – The Countdown, Episode 42

According to NASA, more than 500,000 pieces of debris are tracked as they orbit earth. Individual pieces can travel at speeds of up to 28,000 kilometers per hour, creating a potentially dangerous situation for both satellites and astronauts alike.

February 21, 2014 — Eric R. Olson

The Mind-Blowing Mathematics of Sunflowers [Video]

Why do the number of spirals in a sunflower match up with the integers 34, 55, 89 and 144numbers found in the famous Fibonacci sequence? Scientific American editor John Matson explains in our latest Instant Egghead video: More to explore: What Is the Fibonacci Sequence?

January 22, 2014 — Eric R. Olson
Instant Egghead Cracks Up [Video]

Instant Egghead Cracks Up [Video]

If you haven’t seen it before, “Instant Egghead” is Scientific American’s ongoing series of short and (hopefully) entertaining explainer videos.

January 14, 2014 — Eric R. Olson

Are Genes Really Selfish? [Video]

Biologist Richard Dawkins coined the phrase “the selfish gene” with his best-selling book of the same name. “Selfish”, however, was perhaps an unfortunate word choice because genes lack their own will and can actually drive altruistic behavior.

December 10, 2013 — Eric R. Olson

Who Owns Outer Space? [Video]

With the exception of international waters, unclaimed portions of Antarctica and a Hong Kong-sized parcel of land wedged between Egypt and Sudan, nearly every square inch of planet Earth has been claimed by a governing body.

November 25, 2013 — Eric R. Olson

How Does Cloaking Work? [Video]

Films like The Invisible Man and the more recent Harry Potter series speak to the fascination humans have with invisibility. Will new technology grant us this ability? Scientific American's John Matson explains how it might work.

November 23, 2013 — Eric R. Olson

Taking a Closer Look at How Meditation Improves Our Brains [Video]

The practice of meditation can sharpen our attention, strengthen memory and improve other mental abilities. In our latest Instant Egghead video, Scientific American editor Ferris Jabr examines the changes in brain structure behind some of these benefits.

October 31, 2013 — Eric R. Olson

Why Is Yawning Contagious? [Video]

Contagious yawning can be annoying, but it might also be a sign of good social skills. It’s a type of emotional contagion, a phenomenon in which we tend to share the feelings of people around us.

October 24, 2013 — Eric R. Olson

5 Amazing Exoplanets – The Countdown, Episode 33

  More to explore: Exoplanet colour confirmed for first time: it’s blue, but not pale — and nothing like Earth (Scientific American Blog Network) http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/b… Diamond ‘Super-Earth’ May Not be Quite as Precious (University of Arizona) http://uanews.org/story/diamond-super… Strange Exoplanet’s ‘Backwards’ Orbit Explained by Extra Star, Planet (Space.com) http://www.space.com/19421-backward-a… Astronomers Find Most Ancient Planet Yet (Scientific [...]

October 18, 2013 — Eric R. Olson

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