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Articles on Curiosity

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Some of the dishes that make up the Square Kilometre Array’s radio telescope system. This kind of “blue skies” research can have great real-world value. MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP via Getty Images

COVID-19 budget pressures threaten curiosity-driven science. That’s a bad thing

The pandemic has underscored that the world requires agility for survival. That makes blue skies science, which encourages curiosity and nimble thinking, perhaps more important than ever.
A person’s resting metabolism is very sensitive to temperature, and offices are often too cold for people. Steelcase/Wikimedia Commons

Going back to the office? The colder temperature could lead to weight gain

Going back to work at an office? An expert explains how the relatively cool temperature many offices are kept at may affect your body – and your health.
The Wi-Fi symbol, like the technology it represents, has become ubiquitous. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

How does Wi-Fi work? An electrical engineer explains

Wi-Fi has become a fundamental part of modern digital life, but its foundation is the same as the technology that allowed your great-grandparents to listen to their favorite radio programs.
One of the most common reactions during a crisis is the urge to help others. Here a health-care worker watches as the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are delivered to a long-term care facility in Montréal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

From the Cold War to COVID-19: The 8 common ways people behave in a crisis

While the world is dealing with the biggest health emergency in more than a century, the way people have reacted to the crisis is familiar and predictable.
Getting the job done. A female Asian water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) produced a daughter (left) without the assistance of a male. Skip Brown/Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Virgin births from parthenogenesis: How females from some species can reproduce without males

Parthenogenesis, a form of reproduction in which an egg develops into an embryo without being fertilized by sperm, might be more common than you realized.
A variety of clues can tip off archaeologists about a promising spot for excavation. Gabriel Wrobel

How do archaeologists know where to dig?

Archaeologists used to dig primarily at sites that were easy to find thanks to obvious visual clues. But technology – and listening to local people – plays a much bigger role now.
Some places, like Nazaré Canyon in Portugal, produce freakishly huge waves. AP Photo/Armando Franca

What makes the world’s biggest surfable waves?

Some beaches in the world tend to consistently produce huge waves. Places like Nazaré Canyon in Portugal and Mavericks in California are famous for their waves because of the shape of the seafloor.
The older you get, the more slowly you heal, and there are a number of reasons why. Westend61 via Getty Images

Why do older people heal more slowly?

Healing is a complicated process. As people age, higher rates of disease and the fact that old cells lose the ability to divide slow this process down.
Cellular networks have improved rapidly over the last few decades. moodboard via Getty Images

What’s cellular about a cellphone?

A professor of wireless communications explains the origins of cellular networks and how they evolved into today's 5G networks.
Children in the live audience of ‘Howdy Doody’ were seated in what was known as the peanut gallery. NBC Television via wikimedia.org

The complicated origin of the expression ‘peanut gallery’

Remember the ‘peanut gallery’ from the ‘Howdy Doody’ show? That term, like many others we commonly use, has surprisingly controversial origins.
A transcript from the Constitutional Convention records the official report creating the Electoral College. U.S. National Archives

Who invented the Electoral College?

Three approaches were debated during the Constitutional Convention – election by Congress, selection by state legislatures and a popular election, though that was restricted to white landowning men.
Computer algorithms can involve complicated math, but the concept of an algorithm is simple. Hill Street Studios/DigitalVision via Getty Images

What is an algorithm? How computers know what to do with data

A close look at how you decide what clothes to put on in the morning can help you understand how computers work.

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