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Heat Lightning Does Not Exist

One of the best ways to spend a summer evening is to stand outside and watch a distant storm, the soft rumbles of thunder distracting you from the mosquitoes eating you alive. The most well-known part of these summertime thunderstorms is a phenomenon known as “heat lightning,” which doesn’t really exist. Read more… Continue Reading [...]

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Rain Jackets, Explained

For an incredibly simple concept — keeping you dry — rain jackets have evolved into awfully complicated products. Air flow rates, water pressure resistance, durable water repellent coatings, hard shells, soft shells…the list of technical terms goes on. Here’s what they all mean and how you can use them to find the best jacket for [...]

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Why Are Human Eggs So Huge?

Your mom helped you get through one of the most dangerous times of your life – the first few days after fertilization. She did it without even thinking about it, by stuffing the egg that helped make you full of everything you needed for those first few cell divisions. You think I’m exaggerating? I’m not. [...]

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What Good is Measuring an Erection? 

You may have noticed some news around these weird sounding devices that measure “arousal”. They don’t. But they do measure changes in penile shape, and as such, can give users a rough estimate – in a non-invasive way – of how much blood is flowing into the penis during erection. Read more… Continue Reading from [...]

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What’s the Blockchain, and Why Does Bitcoin Depend On It?

It’s going to unshackle us from the oppressive dungeon of fiat currency! But also criminals and rogue cops use it to do nefarious drug stuff! Digital currency is often defined by its volatile hype cycle. And yet its most promising feature is incredibly mundane-sounding: a bookkeeping system called “the blockchain.” Read more… Continue Reading from [...]

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What Are Water Rights?

While pundits point fingers at who’s to blame for California’s catastrophic drought, it seems that the state is finally taking one big step towards action. Last week, California’s water board sent a letter to senior water rights holders warning that their rights might be curtailed. But what does this really mean? Read more… Continue Reading [...]

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Not All GMO Plants Are Created Equal

Many people have strong opinions about genetically modified plants, also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs. But sometimes there’s confusion around what it means to be a GMO. It also may be much more sensible to judge a plant by its specific traits rather than the way it was produced – GMO or not. [...]

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The Golden Age of Jailbreaking Is Over

Your smartphone may be as powerful as a computer, but it’s also hobbled. You can only install apps on it from the walled garden of the official app store. Your options are limited to the small, vetted collection of "approved" apps as opposed to the unlimited options available for PCs. That’s where jailbreaking comes in. [...]

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How Nanoscale Optics Create Nature’s Most Dazzling Colors

What do a butterfly’s shimmering wings, a fish’s opalescent scales, and a peacock’s brilliant feathers have in common? Yes, their colors are beautifully iridescent. But they are also produced by the physical interaction of light with sophisticated nanoscale architecture that we are only just beginning to understand. Read more… Continue Reading from the Source

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