Reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device through analysis of its structure, function, and operation. It often involves taking apart an electronic component, software program, or other device in order to redesign the system for better maintainability or produce a copy of a system without access to the original design. Militaries often use reverse engineering to copy other nations’ technology.
Lizards, frogs, lampreys, and some fish species possess a unique organ known as a third, or parietal, eye. Though referred to as an “eye,” this photoreceptive organ does not “see” in the same way that a standard eye does. Instead, it uses a different biochemical method of detecting light than normal eyes and helps regulate circadian rhythms and hormone production for thermoregulation. The parietal eye is associated with what gland that humans, too, possess? Discuss
Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887) was an Indian mathematician. Extremely poor, he was largely self-taught from age 15. In 1913, he began a correspondence with English mathematician Godfrey H. Hardy that took him to England, where he made advances, especially in the theory of numbers, the partition of numbers, and the theory of continued fractions. He died of tuberculosis at age 32, generally unknown but recognized by mathematicians as a phenomenal genius.
The pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands are all part of the endocrine system, a bodily system that is instrumental in regulating metabolism, tissue function, and growth and development. The endocrine system is an integrated network of small glands located throughout the body that release extracellular signaling molecules known as hormones. Hormones travel in the blood to distant targets, where they cause specific physiological responses. What diseases result from endocrine system problems?
Definition: (noun) An extremely dense, vertically developed cumulus with a relatively hazy outline and a glaciated top extending to great heights, usually producing heavy rains, thunderstorms, or hailstorms.
Usage: The cumulonimbus looming above our heads did not bode well for the future of our barbecue.
Discuss …read more
Considered a mythic substance until recently, dry quicksand is loose sand that behaves like ordinary quicksand but contains no water and operates in a different manner. Though accounts of whole caravans being swallowed up by the substance have been discounted as folklore, researchers have demonstrated that aerating fine sand reduces its bulk density and creates a dry quicksand that could envelop an entire vehicle. How did fear of dry quicksand affect the planning of the Apollo moon missions?
Mercator was a Flemish geographer, mathematician, and cartographer who perfected the first map using the Mercator projection, the translation of the spherical earth to a two-dimensional flat plane. In it, parallels and meridians are rendered as straight lines spaced to produce an accurate ratio of latitude to longitude at any point. It permits mariners to steer a course over long distances without continually adjusting compass readings. What map-related term was coined by Mercator?
As storm clouds develop, the temperature at the top of the clouds becomes much cooler than that at the bottom. For reasons that scientists still do not understand, this temperature difference results in the accumulation of negatively charged particles near the base and positively charged particles near the top of the storm cloud. This buildup of electrical charge causes a high-voltage discharge in the form of lightning.
Biologically speaking, senescence is the process of deterioration that follows the development of an organism. In 1965, Leonard Hayflick discovered that normal diploid cells divide in cell culture about 50 times before entering a senescence phase during which they can replicate no more. Each cell division shortens the telomere of the cell’s DNA, thus ticking back an “inner clock” for each subsequent copy of the cell. How does this mechanism protect the body from disease?
A bezoar is a mass found trapped in the gastrointestinal system, though it can occur in other locations.
A pseudobezoar is an indigestible object introduced intentionally into the digestive system.
The Mungo Man was an early human inhabitant of Australia discovered at Lake Mungo in New South Wales, Australia, in 1974, when shifting sand dunes exposed his remains. Although his exact age is a matter of debate, he is believed by many to have lived approximately 40,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene epoch—making his remains the oldest anatomically modern human remains found in Australia to date. What is significant about the method of his burial?
In physics, space-time is a four-dimensional continuum consisting of three dimensions in space and one dimension in time. This mathematical model, which is an integral part of Einstein’s relativity theory, combines space and time into a single continuum that allows physicists to more uniformly describe the workings of the universe. The merger of space and time is often represented as a measure of distance expressed in units of time. What novelists have referenced the topic of space-time? Discuss
Both DNA and plastic, two seemingly unrelated materials, are classified as polymers, compounds of usually high molecular weight consisting of a number of structural units linked together by covalent bonds. A diverse assortment of natural and synthetic materials comprises the class of polymers, including hair, polyester, and shellac. Polymers are even used in the production of microprocessor parts. What is the process that produces polymers called? Discuss
Definition: (noun) A bright spot sometimes appearing on either side of the sun, often on a luminous ring or halo.
Synonyms: sundog, mock sun.
Usage: At first, Sue thought the bright spot in the sky beside the sun was a comet, but she soon realized that the phenomenon was actually a parhelion. …read more
If the universe is assumed to contain an infinite number of uniformly distributed luminous stars, then every point in the sky should be as bright as a star. So why is the sky dark at night? That is the question posed by Olbers’s paradox, named for astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers, who described it in 1823, more than 200 years after Johannes Kepler first posed the question as an argument against the notion of a limitless universe with infinite stars. How has the paradox since been resolved? Discuss