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Stories by Philip Yam

When Your Co-Author Is a Monstrous Ass

Who hasn't worked with a disagreeable person—and in the world of science publishing, authored a paper with one?  That wasn't exactly what went through the mind of William Hoover, a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, when he included an Italian co-author to his 1987 paper.

April 1, 2015 — Philip Yam

American Pi: Why the Day Belongs to the U.S. (and Belize)

Pi may be a universal constant, but only two countries can natively celebrate Pi Day: the U.S. and Belize. That's because they are the only ones (if Wikipedia is correct) to shorthand their date format so that it can match the first few digits of pi (3.1415), or March 14, 2015.

March 12, 2015 — Philip Yam

A Plea for a Scientific Worldview from An Honest Liar, on Debunker James Randi

NEW YORK CITY—No matter how smart you are, or how educated you are, you can be deceived. That's the wisdom from—and what I gather is the driving force behind–James "The Amazing" Randi, the renowned illusionist, escape artist and debunker of psychics, spoon benders, faith healers and other charlatans willing to prey on others.

March 9, 2015 — Philip Yam

Media Watch: An Essential Tool in Diversity

Diversity brings excellence to science, the workplace and other human endeavors, as research is showing. And the media plays a crucial role in shaping how society views its members, second perhaps only to the entertainment industry in such influence.

October 3, 2014 — Philip Yam

Baby Sea Turtles Tracked with Hair-Extension Glue [Video]

Hatchling sea turtles face daunting odds in surviving to adulthood, and only a few find a way. Just where they go to find food and hide from predators has remained a mystery until earlier this year, when Kate Mansfield, a biologist at the University of Central Florida, came up with a novel way to stick [...]

September 2, 2014 — Philip Yam

The Continuing Mystery of the Moon Illusion [Video]

The harvest moon is almost upon us—specifically, September 19. It’s the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, and it has deep significance in our cultural histories.

September 16, 2013 — Philip Yam

Can You Trust Your Eyes? A Video of Illusions

If you’re a fan of optical illusions and perceptual tricks, check out this AsapSCIENCE video. As usual, producers Michael Moffitt and Gregory Brown do a great job distilling the essential ideas and presenting them in a fun, entertaining and informative way.

September 13, 2013 — Philip Yam

Gravity-Defying, Self-Siphoning Metal Beads Explained [Video]

The effect is as astonishing as it is hypnotic: a chain of metal beads magically arcs above its container as the beads fall to the ground. The beads in the video, made by Steve Mould, who hosts several BBC science shows, are not magnetic, either.

July 3, 2013 — Philip Yam

Spooky Action on Broadway: A Quantum Drama by Brian Greene

Brian Greene performing Spooky Action on Wednesday night. Credit: World Science Festival. Fans of Brian Greene’s NOVA programs, such as The Fabric of the Cosmos, will no doubt enjoy what amounts to a 90-minute live episode.

May 30, 2013 — Philip Yam
How to Kick-Start Innovation with Free Data

How to Kick-Start Innovation with Free Data

Weather and GPS information stimulated the economy with new products and services. Todd Park, the U.S. chief technology officer, wants to repeat that success with the rest of the government’s data trove

March 23, 2013 — Philip Yam

Obama to Announce $2-Billion Plan to Get U.S. Cars off Gasoline

President Obama visits the Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center in Pomona, Calif., in 2009. Credit: White House/Lawrence Jackson This afternoon, President Barack Obama will ask Congress to direct our cars, trucks and buses to a realm that doesn’t include gas stations.

March 15, 2013 — Philip Yam

Watch: How Do Knees Work? An Iron Egghead Sample Video

Can you explain science with seven everyday items? We're looking for some creative minds to explain how a part of the human body works, or how a process occurs in it, in two minutes or less.

December 5, 2012 — Philip Yam