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The Curiosity Corner

Every smart science cat needs a great sidekick—or five!

These student science writers in the Murrow College of Communication are helping Dr. Universe connect K-8 students with researchers at Washington State University.

 

Where do butterflies go when it rains? – Charleigh, 8, Minor Hill, Tenn.

By Hannah Welzbacker

Whenever there’s heavy rains or winds, butterflies seem to disappear. This is because butterflies hide when it rains. That’s what I found out from my friend David G. James who is an associate professor at Washington State University. He studies insects, including butterflies, in the Pacific Northwest.

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How do snakes slither? – Brayton, 10, Hawaii

By Freddy Llanos

Snakes slither to move around because they have no legs. They rely on their muscles and scales.

The scales on a snake are made from a material called keratin. That’s the same material that makes up human fingernails. They help the snake move on different surfaces.

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Why do cats lose their whiskers? – Nisi, 10, Nampa, Idaho

By Bailey Campbell

Just like humans, us cats lose hair. Have you ever brushed your hair and found that some ends up on the brush? Sometimes human hair falls out. It is the body’s way of shedding, or getting rid of dead skin and hair.

Cats shed hair and whiskers. I love a good brushing. Maybe your cat likes getting brushed, too. Sometimes when it gets hot outside, I start losing some of my hair and it helps me stay cool.

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Why do dogs and cats fight? – Kari, 10, Essex

By Cody Cottier

Because cats and dogs are different species, they aren’t usually friends in nature. Dogs in the wild see cats as prey, and cats see dogs as a threat.

They don’t choose this; it’s just hardwired into their brains. And when they live together in a house, they compete with each other for food, territory and human attention.

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What can you tell me about Mars? – Coleman, 10, Spokane, Wash. 

By Kate Weed

People have wondered if Mars has life for a long time. About a hundred years ago, an astronomer named Percival Lowell looked through a telescope and thought he saw canals—a possible sign of water and life as we know it—on Mars.

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Thanks to professor Roberta Kelly and the WSU Murrow College of Communication for teaming up to inspire the next generation of scientists and journalists.

 

Why do cats lose their whiskers?

Dear Dr. Universe: Why do cats lose their whiskers? – Nisi, 10, Nampa, Idaho

Dear Nisi,

Just like humans, us cats lose hair. Have you ever brushed your hair and found that some ends up on the brush? Sometimes human hair falls out. It is the body’s way of shedding, or getting rid of dead skin and hair. » More …

What can you tell me about Mars?

Dear Dr. Universe: What can you tell me about Mars? Is there life there? – Coleman, 10, Spokane, Wash.

Dear Coleman,

People have wondered if Mars has life for a long time. About a hundred years ago, an astronomer named Percival Lowell looked through a telescope and thought he saw canals—a possible sign of water and life as we know it—on Mars. » More …

Why do dogs and cats fight?

Dear Dr. Universe: Why do dogs and cats fight? – Karri, 10, Essex

Dear Karri,

Because cats and dogs are different species, they aren’t usually friends in nature. Dogs in the wild see cats as prey, and cats see dogs as a threat. » More …

How do snakes slither?

Dear Dr. Universe: How do snakes slither? –Brayton, 10, Hawaii

Dear Brayton,

Snakes slither to move around because they have no legs. They rely on their muscles and scales.

The scales on a snake are made from a material called keratin. That’s the same material that makes up human fingernails. They help the snake move on different surfaces. » More …

Where do butterflies go when it rains?

Dear Dr. Universe: Where do butterflies go when it rains? –Charleigh, 8, Minor Hill, Tenn.

Dear Charleigh,

Whenever there’s heavy rains or winds, butterflies seem to disappear. This is because butterflies hide when it rains. That’s what I found out from my friend David G. James who is an associate professor at Washington State University. He studies insects, including butterflies, in the Pacific Northwest. » More …

What can you tell me about parasites?

Dear Dr. Universe: What can you tell me about parasites? -Brianna, 12, Eastern Wash.

Dear Brianna,

A parasite is an organism that steals resources from another organism in order to survive. Our planet is home to all kinds of parasites and organisms that host them. » More …

How does our refrigerator work?

Dear Dr. Universe: How does our refrigerator work? -Brody, 12

Dear Brody and Friends:

While a stove or oven produces heat, a fridge can’t actually produce something called “cold.” So, how does a refrigerator manage to keep all your food cool? » More …