Facts of the Matter Archives | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
  • Friday, April 19, 2019
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Column: Complex systems keep air breathable on Earth

Outside the window, 7 miles up, the wings of the jet airliner slice through the invisible air that seems magically to keep it aloft. It reminds me that we are immersed in Earth’s invisible atmosphere all of the time. Read More

Column: Science of color and light lies in what we cannot see

All paint inside a can is black until the can is opened. Strange as it might seem, it is true. What we see as color is a matter of perception, intrinsic properties of an object and the light that illuminates it. Read More

Column: The calendar of today took thousands of years to develop

The calendar is such a basic thing that we take it for granted. It consists of 52 weeks of seven days, plus one extra day, for a total of 365 days. Read More
 

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

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