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


Column: Often misunderstood, zero remains a puzzle

Zero, nothing, zilch, nada? The number zero is a misunderstood enigma. Its place in our number system is relatively recent, appearing much later than the Arabic numerals we use to display number digits. Read More

Facts of the Matter: Exoplanets come to light with help of modern tools

Although we cannot measure “life” directly, astronomers have confidence that soon we will be able to reliably detect the chemicals of life such as oxygen, methane and nitrogen in the atmospheres of distant planets. Read More

Facts of the Matter: Powerful wonder drug is often taken for granted

For more than 100 years the safest, most effective, least expensive and widest-ranging drug known to man has been available to ease headaches, stop inflammation and lower fever. Read More

Previous mass extinctions linked to climate change

When speaking of mass extinctions we evoke a seriousness that transcends anything we have experienced in human history. Read More

Truly random numbers impossible to prove

Randomness might seem to dominate the world around us: falling leaves, the movement of trees in the wind, where the next raindrop will fall. Read More

Weather’s mugginess is all relative

As I sat in my kayak in Maunalua Bay in the muggy air and dwindling afternoon light last week, my thoughts focused on humidity. Read More

With metals running low, scientists look to space

We use metals for so many different purposes that a list would go on page after page. The most common and most well known are iron and aluminum. It just happens that these are the two most abundant metals in Earth’s crust. Read More

Kilauea eruption is classic example of ‘gentle’ volcano

Even with as much publicity as the current Puna eruption has garnered, there is still some misunderstanding about Kilauea Volcano’s eruptive behavior. Read More

Theories on Earth’s shape continue to fall flat

The recent surge in debate among supposedly educated people about the shape of planet Earth is surprising, considering Eratosthenes, an ancient Greek scientist, measured its circumference 22 centuries ago. Read More

Containment is main difficulty with fusion power

Thermonuclear reactions deep in the sun’s interior consistently generate the same amount of energy as 2.5 billion 500-megawatt generators, the largest on Earth. Read More

Star-studded event of the year unearths scientific gold mine

The Science magazine event of the year was the collision of two neutron stars. This event, the first ever detected, produced both light and gravitational waves. Read More

Annual Geminid meteor shower highlights unusual space object

If the sky is not cloudy tonight and the air is not too cold, it might be worth a few minutes to have a look in the southern sky for the meteoric streaks of light from the Geminid shower. Read More

Research hints at healing potential of bioelectricity

Luigi Galvani discovered bioelectricity in the late 1770s when he began to experiment with muscular contraction of frog’s legs by electrical stimulation. Read More

Asteroid’s unusual orbit hints at new type of heavenly object

Asteroids are common in our solar system, but astronomers have never seen one from outside the solar system, until now. Read More

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