When A Wolf Eats the Sun (Information About the Solar Eclipse)

Chances are you’re just as excited as we are for the Total Solar Eclipse coming up on Monday, August 21st.  So, here’s some handy science knowledge to help you make the most of the experience:

How does an eclipse happen?

Here’s a super zoomed out visual of what will be happening in space during Monday’s total solar eclipse.

How should I watch the eclipse?

First of all: DON’T LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN.  

Except if you’re in the path of totality. Then you can look at the sun, with your naked eyeballs, for 120-ish seconds the sun is completely eclipsed.  At all times and in all other places,  you need special eclipse glasses. Regular sunglasses, even really dark ones, let thousands of times too much sunlight into our eyes, which can cause serious damage. 

Also, don’t look at the sun through binoculars, a camera, or your phone, EVEN when you have the glasses on. Apparently the concentration of sunlight through a lens can damage your glasses and your eyes. This recommendation comes directly from NASA, so you have to do it.

If you can’t get a hold of eclipse glasses, you can still participate in this historic event by crafting some sort of pinhole projection device. We prefer the tried and true shoe box device we all made in grade-school. Here’s a link to some DIY instructions. With a pinhole projector, you face away from the sun, and watch the shape of a circle of light become a crescent as the eclipse happens.

But again, if you’re in the path of totality, where the body of the sun will be completely blocked out at the time of eclipse, go ahead and take off the glasses (for the duration of total eclipse only! 2.5 minutes if you’re in the center of the path of totality, less if you’re anywhere else in the path.)  Fully experience how the colors of your surroundings change, how the stars come out, just how incredibly weird the world is during a solar eclipse. But of course, before even a sliver of the sun is visible again, make sure your glasses are back on if you’re gonna look up.

The Placebo Effect

It’s not just conjecture: placebos work. The question is… how? Why is it that many diseases and physical ailments can be cured just as well with a sugar pill as they can with clinically tested medicine? K+K examine a case of mysteriously healed Parkinson’s Disease, talk about a doctor curing chronic pain with peppermint candies, and take a look at what happens in a person’s brain when they believe they’re receiving medical treatment… but aren’t.

The Eyes Are The Window To The Retina.

Human eyes are pretty impressive, but let’s be honest, our ocular organs don’t hold a candle to the eyes of animals like owls, mantis shrimp, cats, eagles, dragonflies, octopuses, bees, parrots, goats, chameleons… Ok, maybe human eyes aren’t all that impressive after all.

They’re eyeballs.

Today K+K discuss:

  • The anatomy of the eyeball
  • Color and light wave perception (what is a color, really?)
  • How to see with amazing precision at a distance, or at night (hint: become an owl)
  • The amazing mantis shrimp (who may not actually be as amazing as you’ve been told, but then by the end you’ll think they’re amazing again)

I Used to Call You On My Cellphone.

Isn’t it wonderful that we can own cellphones, use them to call our mothers and look up photos of dogs in hats and locate the Chipotle nearest to us, and we never even need to know how they work? (Spoiler alert: we’ll tell you how they work in this episode.)

Do you get it yet?

Join K+K to explore:

  • Where the your voice goes when you speak into your cell phone
  • How sound waves become light waves just to become sound waves again
  • The language of satellites and cell phones
  • Why Drake is so sad
  • What the heck Trilateration is, and how you might use it if you were a wizard

Human Evolution (A Brief Overview)

We humans are pretty fortunate. Our intelligence and physical features are a result of the evolutionary hand we’ve been dealt, and are what have allowed us to build an advanced society with sophisticated infrastructure.

Get it?? The HAND we’ve been dealt??

Despite what you may have learned from 2001: A Space Oddysey, genetic changes, which produce physical and behavioral changes, don’t happen overnight, propelled by the power of a giant Monolith. Adaptations like walking upright, dexterity, and large complex brains, took millions of years to develop, and required the right environmental conditions for these random genetic changes to be considered assets. Join Kira and Keera on the journey of just how, and why, our ancient primate ancestors became… us.

6th Grader Questions, Part 2

In a special “Listener Question” episode of Everything is Interesting, K+K answer some excellent inquisitions, sent in by the kids from Mrs. Pace’s 6th grade class at Pleasant Valley Middle school in Vancouver, Washington. The question writers brought up some super interesting topics, and we wanted to answer them all, so we broke this one up into 2 separate episodes. On today’s show the science ladies tackle:

-How the Earth was formed
-Why the Earth’s axis is tilted
-Where Earth’s water came from
-The first plant to emerge on Earth
-The number of endangered species on Earth
-The temperature on the moons of Neptune

6th Grader Questions, Part 1

In a special “Listener Question” episode of Everything is Interesting, K+K answer some excellent inquisitions, sent in by the kids from Mrs. Pace’s 6th grade class at Pleasant Valley Middle school in Vancouver, Washington. The question writers brought up some super interesting topics, and we wanted to answer them all, so we broke this one up into 2 separate episodes. On today’s show the science ladies tackle:

-Geese vs. Swift formations
-Why we have droughts
-How Magnetic Levitation works
-How much gasoline humans use
-How trees make Oxygen
-How moss reproduces

Allergies

Are you suffering from a stuffy nose? Itchy eyes? Endless sneezing? Overall-dear-god-why-won’t-it-stop-misery? It could be the flu… or it could be allergies! On today’s show, K+K explore our immune system’s response to airborne pollen, the specific mechanisms inside the body that make those of us with allergies feel so awful, and just why the immune system attacks innocent little pollen in the first place.

T-Shirts!!

Yo, guys! Guess what? WE HAVE T-SHIRTS!!! I guess that means we’re preeeeetty official now.

Would you like a T-shirt? You would?? Well, there’s two ways to get one:

  1. Come to our booth on Saturday (tomorrow!) at the March for Science Expo! Which you should do anyway, cause it’s gonna be great. We’ll have lots of ocean-themed hands on science demos for you to play and learn with. Look for us in Waterfront park between 10am and 2pm.
  2. If you won’t be at the march, e-mail us at 2scienceproject@gmail.com and we’ll find a way to get you one. All proceeds go towards furthering our mission to inspire people to use science to explore the world around them!

Shirt graphic by Louis Duncan, lduncandesign.com.  Thanks, Louis!