Coming In Strong On Your AM Dial

The AM radio dial would be nothing but chaos and noise without a very basic rule - turn down the power at night. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) controls and regulates the airwaves in the United States. One important rule requires many AM stations to cut power or shut down altogether each evening. This is due to some basic physical ...

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Beluga Whales

Beluga whales inhabit the Arctic and subarctic regions of Russia, Greenland, and North America. Some populations are strongly migratory, moving north in the spring and south in the fall as the ice ... Continue reading


Light Fantastic

On the next hot summer day, imagine what would happen if the Sun suddenly became one million times brighter. Ice cream would quickly melt, sunscreen lotion wouldn't work very well, and that's just the ... Continue reading


Does Earth Have Its Own Neon Sign?

You might wonder what the Northern Lights and neon signs have in common. Actually, a lot! What makes luminous colors shimmer across the Northern sky? The answer is in the Sun. Charged particles ... Continue reading


Math On the Mind

In the mid-1800's, Paul Broca discovered that there were specialized functions for different regions in the human brain. He identified the third gyrus (the ridges on the surface of the cerebral ... Continue reading


The Egg-citing Egg

EggsHow many chicken eggs have you eaten in your life? If it is any gauge, the per capita consumption of eggs by Americans is over 250 per year. Eggs are not only found on your breakfast plate, but in many of the foods we eat on a daily basis. Yet how well do you know you basic chicken egg anatomy?

Bird eggs are a true wonder of nature. The outer hard shell of an egg is composed of calcium carbonate just like our teeth. Its oval design helps spread weight, say from a sitting mother bird, evenly. The shell keeps bacteria out, but has pores that allow air in. Chicks respire through the shell. Yet it is not so strong that it prevents its inhabitant from emerging when the time is right. Eggs, if properly stored, can last several months. As for the inside of the egg, there's more than the yolk, and albumen, what we call the white of the egg.

Beneath the outside shell lie two membranes: one that is attached to the inside of the shell, and one that surrounds the albumen. These membranes facilitate the passage of air, but not bacteria. A pocket of air is usually found on the larger end of the egg between the membranes. Next are two layers of albumen; a thin outer layer and a thicker inner layer. The albumen is high in protein and is over 80% water. Two twisted strands, called chalazae, hold the yolk in place. Without the chalazae, the yolk and the embryo could be damaged by movement. As it is, the chalazae can take quite a bit of jostling and still keep the egg intact. A yolk membrane surrounds the yolk. And last but not least, we find the yolk, which contains the food for the developing chick. Almost forgotten in this splendid work of construction is the whole purpose of the egg, a tiny germinal disk attached to the yolk which will develop into an embryo. Now you have a new way of looking at your next egg scramble.