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Boogers: What are they?

What are boogers? -Taryn, 9, Seattle, WA

 

What exactly is a booger and is it harmful to eat? -Concerned grandpa

 

Dear curious readers,

When I went to visit my friend Susan Perkins, an instructor of nursing at Washington State University, she shined a tiny light in my nose. Sure enough, she found some crusty little boogies. » More …

Bones: How are they made?

How are bones made? -Oscar, 10

Dear Oscar,

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. » More …

Are we getting lazier?

Are we getting lazier? -Aaryan, 9, Timber Ridge

Dear Aaryan,

We cats have a reputation for being lazy. We sleep a lot. But the truth is when I got your question, I didn’t know much about laziness. So, I decided to talk about it with a couple of psychologists here at Washington State University.

My first stop was the Psychology of Physical Activity Lab. That’s where I met up with my friend, Professor Anne E. Cox. » More …

How do leaves make themselves?

How do leaves make themselves? -Francesco R.

Dear Francesco,

Last fall, my friend Lee Kalcsits and I went exploring in the apple orchards of Wenatchee. The apples were ripe and the leaves were changing from green to gold. We plucked a few leaves and took them back to his lab. » More …

How do chameleons change color?

Dear Dr. Universe, How does a chameleon change colors? -Jasmine B. 12, Nepean, Canada & Marie F., 11, Ghana

Dear Jasmine and Marie,

There’s something about a chameleon’s darting eyes, long tongue, curled tail, and ability to climb that makes it a fascinating animal to watch. Especially when it’s changing colors.

And the latest research on your question suggests that how a chameleon changes has more to do with light than scientists once thought. » More …

Can you hear in space?

Hi, Dr. Universe, Can you hear in space? -a curious reader

Dear curious reader,

Your question reminds me of an experiment: You put a ringing alarm clock in a jar and use a hose to slowly suck out all the air. As the air escapes, the ringing gets quieter until there’s no sound at all.

The inside of the jar becomes what scientists call a vacuum. It’s empty. Just like space. » More …