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How do cats land on their feet?

Hi Dr. Universe! I’m Bree and I just wanted to ask, how do cats land on their feet? -Bree, 10, Williamsburg, VA 

Dear Bree,

Curiosity can lead us cats to some pretty great heights. We like to climb trees and sneak along tall bookshelves. Sometimes we might have a bumpy landing, but more often our amazing cat reflexes help us land on our feet. » More …

Why do we get scared?

Dear Dr. Universe: Why do we find some things scary? -Jack H., 8, UK 

Dear Jack,

While our fears might be different, we all get scared sometimes. Vacuums, dogs, and even cucumbers make my hair stand on end. Perhaps for you it’s spiders, the dark, or the thought of monsters under your bed.

My friend Michael Delahoyde is really curious about what freaks us out. As an English professor at Washington State University, he’s even taught a course about monsters. » More …

How do spiders make silk? And 5 other great STEM questions to explore in October

How do spiders make silk? And other questions to explore in October

How do spiders make silk?

Spiders can do some amazing things with their sticky, stretchy, and super-strong silk. Us cats are pretty curious about these little silk-spinning machines, too. Besides chasing spiders around, I’ve watched them use silk to build webs, catch bugs, and protect their young spiderlings.Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 9.05.13 AM

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Do bats have habits?

You are onto something. Quick, to the bat-lab! That’s where I met up with my friend Christine Portfors, a scientist at Washington State University who studies fruit bats.

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Why do leaves change colors?

Ever since I was a kitten, I’ve loved picking up big maple leaves in the fall. I’d take them home, put them under a piece of paper, and rub the side of a crayon over the top. It makes a great print of the leaf.

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Do spiders have good eyesight?

Most spiders have quite a few eyes, but they usually can’t see very well. Then again, seeing isn’t everything. That’s what I found out when I went to visit my friend Rich Zack, a scientist at Washington State University who knows a lot about insects and spiders.

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Screen-Shot-2016-07-07-at-9.05.40-AMWhy are apples red?

Just the other day I was biting into a crunchy, delicious red apple when I was reminded of your question. I started wondering why apples are red, too. I called up my friend and apple expert Kate Evans, a scientist here at Washington State University. Her research helps us develop new kinds of apples.

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Can we engineer new bones?

A couple months before you were born, your skeleton was soft and bendy. It was made out of cartilage, the same material that’s in your nose and ears now. But when certain cells in your body called osteoblasts and osteoclasts began to work together, new bone started to form.

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Why does the Earth spin?

Dear Dr. Universe: Why does the Earth spin? -Morven, 8, Dundee, Scotland; Judith, 9, Sabah Malaysia; Mara, 11, USA

Dear Morven, Judith, and Mara:

No matter how still we stand, or if we’re in Scotland, Malaysia, or the United States, we are always spinning. Our Earth spins at a constant, very fast speed as we make a trip around the sun. » More …

How do spiders make silk?

Dear Dr. Universe: How do spiders make silk? Also, sometimes spiders hang down from the ceiling, when they climb back up, where does the silk go? –Johnny, 8, Pullman, WA

Dear Johnny,

Spiders can do some amazing things with their sticky, stretchy, and super-strong silk. Us cats are pretty curious about these little silk-spinning machines, too. » More …