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What is wind?

Dr. Universe,

My fourth grade students and I want to know: What is wind?

Thank You!

-Ms. Flores, East Alton, IL

Dear Ms. Flores and 4th graders,

There’s wind in the Alton, Illinois, forecast this week, so it’s prime time for an answer. In fact, it looks like there’s wind all around Earth and even some gusts out on other planets. » More …

Why do people and animals get cancer more than they used to?

Why do people and animals get cancer more than they used to?  -Michael, Ceres, CA

Dear Michael,

A hundred years ago, human beings only lived to be about 50 years old. Now people are living longer, so there’s more time for cancer to develop in their bodies. That’s what I learned from my friend David Liu who researches cancer at Washington State University. » More …

Why do we get jealous?

Why do we get jealousy? I can feel it sometimes, too, but I don’t know why.  -Hailey, 10, London, Ontario

Dear Hailey,

Cats love attention, but we don’t get jealous like humans do. It’s one of those emotions that set human beings apart from other creatures in the animal kingdom. But I can’t imagine it’s the most pleasant. The poet William Shakespeare once called jealousy a green-eyed monster. Still, it’s an emotion that can help you navigate the world.   » More …

How do I make a diary?

How do I make a diary?  -Nimra, Kitchener, Ontario

Dear Diary,

Oh, I mean…Dear Nimra,

Making a diary is like creating your own top-secret book. So, I headed straight for a Washington State University library where there are more than a million books.

My friend Linnea Nelson was working with some of the books from the special collections when I went to visit her in the lab. She is a conservator, so part of her job is to repair and re-build old books. It preserves their history.

Some of the books had an old smell that wafted up into my little nose. The smell comes from different chemical compounds that escape into the air, including one similar to vanilla. The compounds are in the ink, paper, and other materials used to keep the pages together. And one way to keep the pages together is to bind them with thread.  » More …

Will electricity ever run out?

Will electricity ever run out?  -Zoe, WA

Dear Zoe,

Scientists could see and feel electricity in nature long before they discovered how to make it. Maybe you’ve seen it during a powerful electrical storm or felt a little shock from static electricity.

It happens because of tiny parts of atoms. They’re called electrons and they are everywhere. » More …