Sunflower seeds. Sesame seeds. Caraway seeds. Rye seeds. Pumpkin seeds. Surely, there must be an edible seed for everyone’s taste. Un-hulled sunflower seeds are a baseball player’s delight. Rye, caraway and sesame seeds dress up a variety of breads, inclu... more
Before I rammed my knee into the sharp edge of my desk a few weeks ago, I hadn’t had a scab in years — decades, even. Scabs are unsightly, but they are really important in protecting an open wound against infection, and they stop the wound from bleeding.... more
Check the dictionary for the definition of versatile. You won’t find “cotton” there, and that’s a shame.
Here are just some of the products that come from this worthy plant: textile and yarn goods, automobile tire cord, plastic reinforcing, fertilizer, fue
For many types of surgery or for a bad cut on the skin, stitches are just fine. They bring the tissues together and speed up the healing process. But for some types of surgeries, you really need something better—something that will form a leak-proof, tigh... more
Ah, nothing like heading out to the beach in the summer. The warm sun on your skin, the hot sand between your toes, the waves crashing around you.
Unfortunately, the water isn’t always as pristine as it seems at first glance. Sewage overflow from nearby tr... more
This can’t be true, but it does seem like bananas and avocadoes start ripening the moment you put them into your shopping bag. Within just a few days, these fruits and vegetables turn an overripe brown. It takes a keen eye to pick out these foods at the s... more
The typical human brain weighs less than 3 pounds, is pinkish-beige in color and has the consistency of gelatin. It’s a crinkly thing, with lots of folds on its surface. Not that impressive. It’s actually kind of yucky-looking, come to think of it, and it... more
You never know what you’re going to find when you go digging. In 1974, a group of farmers digging a well stunned the world with their discovery of the now-famous Terracotta Warriors and Horses in China.
They unearthed over 8,000 soldiers and their associat... more
Plants are amazing chemical factories. They take sunlight and use it and carbon dioxide to make energy for themselves. They also make oxygen, which we breathe. But they also make substances that can help heal us. Traditional Chinese medicine, for instance... more
Here are some unpalatable statistics: A total of 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease and nearly as many –– 1.4 million –– don’t know they have it. And ponder this: Nearly five times as many people have celiac disease today than in the 1950s, with th... more
Jute, that scratchy, stiff vegetable fiber used to make burlap sacks and twine, could have a brand-new use in the near future. According to a study in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, it could serve as a sustainable strengthener for concrete a... more
Olive oil, that cooking liquid so popular today with chefs at home and in restaurants, hasn’t always been a culinary staple. There was a time when one of the few places you would find it was as a partner with red vinegar in salad dressing. And then, somet... more
Aside from some molds growing on “stinky” cheeses, molds are generally not good for human consumption. For example, we all know to stay away from bread with tell-tale green spots or white cottony threads on the slices. And we need to take special measures... more
We’ve all heard how coffee is good for you. Recent studies have linked drinking coffee with a lower risk for developing many conditions, including type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It also has more healthful antioxidants than v... more
It’s pretty easy to fit the millions of people who drink wine into categories. They love red and hate white, or vice versa, or they like both kinds of wine. Taking it to another level, when it comes to the art of pairing wine with food, the group of wine-... more
A substance in the sticky goo that mussels use to glom on to rocks and other surfaces could help ease tooth sensitivity. That’s welcome news to my ears — well, to my sensitive teeth!
Like 74 percent of the world’s population, I too have teeth that are sens... more
Yes, whale vomit — although some experts suspect that this smelly, grayish, waxy intestinal secretion actually comes from the other end of the whale. It’s actually been known throughout the ages as an aphrodisiac, a medication and a food flavoring. But am... more
Believe it or not, in those simpler days long ago, there was a buzz of excitement when the cereal mavens first dropped a handful of plump raisins into a box of breakfast flakes. For decades, breakfast-eaters only had a choice of a bowl of milk-drenched oa... more
Scientists report that someday soon, celiac patients might not need to go down the special “gluten-free” aisle of the grocery store anymore. They are making progress toward a pill that could allow celiac patients to eat pastries, breads, cereals and other... more
Scientists are taking steps to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions of the Internet and telecommunications industries? Huh? Who knew doing a Google search produced greenhouse gases, thereby contributing to climate change?
It turns out that the “informatio... more
To some people, it seems, the container is nearly as important as what it contains. Take beer and wine. Some time back, a bottle of a Portuguese rosé wine adorned book shelves across the United States. The bottle –– it looks something like and upside-dow... more
People have chewed or smoked plants to achieve “highs” almost since time began. Sure, some people use psychoactive substances recreationally to escape the pressures of their lives. But they are also sometimes an important part of religious ceremonies, all... more
Every year, about 3,500 people die in fires in the U.S. Firefighters responded to almost 400,000 house fires in 2010. Common causes of house fires are overloaded electrical outlets, portable heaters, knocked over candles and smoking.
To help prevent house... more
A nutrient-rich clay long used to treat diarrhea might help to solve a problem related to the *ahem* other end of the digestive tract. A new report shows that the mineral attapulgite could be useful as a sustainable slow-release fertilizer, a key ingredie... more
There was a time, some of you will still remember, when you could count the number of well-known national breweries in the United States on the fingers of your mug-holding hand. I won’t do a commercial here and name them, but you know which ones I mean. M... more
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when there’s a bump or blow to the head, or when something (like a bullet) goes into the head. Every year, about 1.7 million people, including soldiers, auto accident victims and athletes sustain these injuries, which... more
Many Americans can still remember the high prices, long lines and rationing of the 1973 oil crisis. OPEC’s embargo only lasted five months, but the 1974 National Maximum Speed Law intended to reduce fuel consumption kept speed limits on many interstates a... more
If you look up the definition of cheese in a dictionary, you really should find the word “ubiquitous.” You won’t, alas, but you should because this dairy product is such an important ingredient in so many yummy dishes. Imagine mac ‘n’ cheese without the c... more
The leaves have turned, and there’s a chill in the air. Summer is over and fall is well underway. Fewer people are outside tending to gardens and lawns, which means fewer incidences of poison ivy, oak or sumac exposure. That’s a huge relief for the more t... more
Get a comment. Use a quotation from an expert who discusses the significance of the discovery or the event. From my first days writing broadcast news for a small radio station in upstate New York through a long career as a newspaper science editor in the... more