Facts of the Matter Archives | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Facts of the Matter

Smell works more like a sixth sense sometimes

Updated on  June 15, 2017 at 7:27 pm
To humans, the sense of smell has a direct link to emotions. Who among us has not, at one time or another, had a memory and its associated feelings come rushing at us when catching a whiff of a perfume, theater popcorn or one of thousands of smells that we associate with events from our past? Read More

Recent ‘king tides’ caused by a combination of factors

Updated on  June 1, 2017 at 7:43 pm
‘King tides” is a colloquial term for the highest occurring tides. They are a type of spring tides, which have nothing to do with spring, but rather the position of the sun and moon. Read More

Seeing the smallest objects requires humongous energy

It is an interesting aspect of the universe and an ironic sense of unity that it requires more energy to see smaller objects. This is the result of the properties of waves in general and specifically the nature of electromagnetic waves. Read More

Magnetic ‘magic’ offers a cool way to charge, cook

Charging a cellphone on an induction pad seems like magic, and in a way it is. Induction is a feature of electromagnetism that Michael Faraday stated in 1831, now known as Faraday’s law. It is the basis for much of modern electrical and electronic technology. Read More

Machines can be intelligent but they will never be human

Updated on  March 16, 2017 at 11:52 pm
Thinking machines are here, or not. The debate continues while developments in artificial intelligence create more and more sophisticated machines that are becoming more and more humanlike. Read More

Evaporation, not wind chill, leaves us cold on blustery days

Updated on  March 2, 2017 at 10:11 pm
The blustery winds over the past month have made us feel as if winter has set in for real. It is Hawaii, and the temperature rarely drops into the 60s, but we have “thin” blood and feel the cold more than our temperate-climate counterparts who might welcome 70 degrees in February as a cause for celebration. Read More

Radiation can cause harm, but it also has myriad uses

Updated on  February 16, 2017 at 10:32 pm
Most radiation is not harmful; in fact, most of it is useful. People discover new uses and new methods every day for use in health, industry, business, entertainment and scientific research. Read More

Twice-yearly solstice marks sun’s switch in direction

The December solstice occurs at 12:44 a.m. Hawaii time Wednesday. At this instant the sun will reach its southernmost point on the ecliptic and start northward again. Read More
Updated on  December 15, 2016 at 10:41 pm

Many factors affect moon’s trip around Earth

Updated on  December 7, 2016 at 4:06 pm
Just about everyone knows that the moon orbits Earth once every month. What we do not commonly know is that the moon’s orbit is not circular; it is elliptical. Read More

Trendy LEDs are created with ‘doped’ materials

The hottest lights on the market today are cool light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. LEDs are made from semiconductors, which differ from conductors in the way their crystal structure holds electrons. Read More
Updated on  October 27, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Fermentation plays key role in muscles, variety of foods

Updated on  October 27, 2016 at 3:17 pm
It’s nearly certain that each of us consumes some fermented food or beverage daily. Bread, cheese, yogurt, beer, cured salami, cocoa and pickled foods such assauerkraut and kim chee are some examples of fermented products. Read More