What is Oxidation?

The term 'oxidation' derives from the ancient observation of rust (oxide) formation. Early chemists could determine an increase in the weight of a metal as it apparently captured something from the air and transformed into a completely different material The 'something' was eventually identified as oxygen, and the new materials that formed were ...

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Fibonacci Patterns In Nature?

Often it takes a second look to see how mathematical numbers and patterns fit into the natural world. Numbers, after all, are manmade. However some very interesting number patterns underlie some ... Continue reading


Chemical Burning

Chemical burns are the result of very normal reactions that can occur between the offending material and living tissue components. People generally tend to regard their bodies as things outside of the ... Continue reading



NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken a 'family portrait' of young, ultra-bright stars nested in their embryonic cloud of glowing gases. The celestial maternity ward, called N81, is located 200,000 ... Continue reading


Is Your Immune System Educated?

When spring comes, do you hide indoors because your eyes and nose water, and you can't stop sneezing? Do cats or dogs cause you the same symptoms? Have you wondered why you have allergies and other ... Continue reading


Nature's Exceptions to Our Rules

NaturesExceptionsWe all learned in grade school that animals are classified into different categories: Mammals have fur, are warm blooded, give birth to their young and feed their babies milk. Birds have feathers, lay eggs and don't have teeth. Reptiles are cold blooded and lay eggs. Fish have gills and are cold blooded. Seems pretty simple, right?

Well, when you actually go out and look at all of the different animals out there, things get pretty complicated. For example, in what category do you put the platypus? A platypus has a duck-shaped bill that is made of soft leathery skin. It has fur, lays eggs, and has webbed feet. When the young are hatched, milk oozes out if the skin of the mother for the young to eat. The male platypus has one half inch long spurs on each hind leg connected to venom glands. The venom is strong enough to kill a dog. If that isn't enough, consider the echidna or spiny anteater. This animal has a long pointy snout and a sticky tongue to eat ants similar to an anteater, has spiny fur like a porcupine, and develops a pouch for it's young to live in after it's eggs hatch! With all of these anomalies, they both are still considered mammals, and belong to the same sub family called the Monotrens. They are the only animals in this sub family.

Scientists like to categorize all living things, but there always seems to be exceptions to the rule. The platypus and echidna seem to fall into almost all categories, but were defined as mammals because they have fur, are warm blooded and lactate milk.