The House That Termites Built

Eastgate Centre in Harrare, Zimbabwe Eastgate Centre is a large shopping mall and office center. It stands in the heart of the business district in Harare, the most populous city in Zimbabwe, Africa.It's a very big building, occupying half a city block. The interior is elegant and modern, with small boutiques on the ground floor and a large interior space with cool fountains, hanging catwalks and steel pillars straight out of a science fiction movie.Interior atrium…

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Snow?!? You’ve got to be kidding!

Over the past week, parts of Atlantic Canada have experienced one of the features ("It's not a bug, it's a feature!") of a Canadian spring -- June snow. In sympathy with the afflicted parts of the country, including those in the North where the winter's snow still lingers, we present this brief poem by Sci/Why contributor Margriet Ruurs - CEWhether to Like the Weather or NotCalm wind, clear sky, nice.Shifting wind, scattered-cloud skyStratus clouds drifting…

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Mushrooming in Chile: Canada South

by Jan ThornhillI’ve just returned from a fabulous mushrooming trip to Chile. Before I left, I joked that I was going to “Canada south” – my simple way of explaining that I would be visiting a temperate country when it would be cold and wet – the best time to collect fungi. Of course I didn’t mean it literally; I didn’t expect Chile to actually be Canada south. But in a lot of ways, particularly outside…

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Celebrate with the Sci/Why Crew!

With such a diverse - and productive - crew of writers here at Sci/Why, it's no surprise we have a lot to celebrate! Here's what our members have been up to:Joan Marie GalatDark Matters, Nature's Reaction to Light Pollution is one of three shortlisted titles for the Canadian Authors Association (Alberta Branch) Exporting Alberta AwardJoan's new book is Solve This! Wild and Wacky Challenges for the Genius Engineer in You (National Geographic Kids). It was the number…

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Monitoring Earthquakes

By Paula JohansonThere are many sites around the world monitoring seismic tremors from earthquakes and volcanic activity. Scientists are using seismometers to measure when and how much the ground is shaking. The answers are "often" and moderately" on the island where I live in British Columbia!But data from any one place is not really enough on its own. What makes this information much more useful is when seismic stations share their data in networks. When…

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Nano-history (and Happy Birthday, Richard Feynman)

Richard Feynman was born 100 years ago, on May 11, 1918. He was one of the best physicists of the 20th century. He was famous for winning a Nobel prize for quantum physics; for helping develop the atomic bomb as a member of the Manhattan project; for being a brilliant physics teacher, and for playing the bongo drums. Maybe a little less well-known is that he's regarded as being the 'godfather' of nanotechnology.He taught physics…

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Looking for a Good Science Book? But Where to Start….

By Claire EamerIf you're curious about Canadian kids' science books, but you don't know quite where to start, consider taking advantage of the expertise of others. A lot of that expertise goes into choosing shortlists and winners for a number of annual book awards that honour science and non-fiction writing for children. Here's where you'll find some of the best titles in Canadian science writing for children -- including some books by Sci/Why bloggers.L.E. Carmichaeil's…

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A Mathematician Barbie???? Who’da Thunk It?

Post by Helaine BeckerWhen I was growing up, Barbie was the ultimate aspirational toy. She had a fantastic slinky black dress. An over the top wedding dress. And clothes for being a stewardess, a picnicker, and attending a sock hop.But there was no Barbie mathematician attire. Are you kidding? This was the era of "men don't make passes at girls who where glasses." And "men don't like women who are smarter than they are. So…

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The Littlest Mummy

Brooklyn Museum, 30 B.C.E. – 50 C.E.Even people who really love Egyptology and know a lot about ancient mummies might be curious about this little bundle of linen. It's only about nine inches (21 centimeters) long, and less than two inches (3.5 centimeters) at its thickest point. What in the world could be mummified in such a small package?The answer to this question can be found using modern technology! Modern scientists prefer to use non-destructive…

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Moby, we hardly knew ya!

By Claire EamerI recently wrote an article for Hakai Magazine, an online magazine about coastal life and science, on the accuracy (or lack of it) in the way whales are portrayed in children's books. Researching that article led me to a great irony: whole species and populations of cetaceans -- both whales and dolphins -- are at risk of extinction because of humans, while, at the same time, we humans are just realizing how amazing…

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