Author Archives: Charlie

Seven Medical Myths

Here is a link to a paper by Rachel C. Vreeman and Aaron E. Carroll that gives the science behind seven common medical myths. You can read the paper, but I have listed the myths here. Just to be clear, none of these are … Continue reading

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Barycenter: The Earth Does Not Revolve Around the Sun

“Eppur si muove.” — Galileo Galilei Even though the famous utterance is likely apocryphal, we have, nonetheless, known for hundreds of years that the Earth revolves around the Sun. And while Earth’s orbit does completely encompass the  Sun, technically, the … Continue reading

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Vodka vs. Beer in the Freezer

You can store vodka in the freezer but you cannot do the same with beer, as it will explode. Why is that? The answer lies in the relative alcohol content of liquor versus beer. Vodka is about 40 percent alcohol … Continue reading

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Soliloquy vs. Monologue

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him … Both soliloquy  and monologue mean “single speech.” The first is from Greek and the latter from Latin. However, there is a functional difference between the two forms of speech: A soliloquy is delivered when the speaker … Continue reading

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Why Can’t You See Through Walls?

Why can I hear you through a wall but cannot see you through a wall? Why does my radio work indoors, even though the view of the transmitter is blocked? Simply, both light and sound are waves; why does light … Continue reading

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The Back of the Dollar Bill

Have you ever wondered what is on the back (technically, the reverse) of a US dollar bill? The a salient feature of the reverse side of the bill is the Great Seal of the United States, which pictures an eagle on … Continue reading

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Can You See Across Lake Michigan?

If you go to the Sears Willis Tower, can you see Michigan? We can use geometry to answer the question. We can use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the length of the side of a right triangle: . In this case the … Continue reading

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How We Can Save the Elephants

Externalities are a type of market failure that are loosely defined as an action for which the full cost or benefit of that action is not reflected in the market price. The implication of which is that since the person doing the … Continue reading

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The Contrapositive

Today’s lesson comes from formal logic: the contrapositive. The contrapositive is the a reversal of an if-then statement, that is also true. In fact, it is the only construction that is always true. It is constructed by reversing the two … Continue reading

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How to Use Comprise

This week I saw not one, but two (gasp!) misuses of the word comprise; therefore comprise is this week’s Pearl of Wisdom. Let us begin with the completely, utterly, and totally incorrect. Do not ever write “is comprised of.” So, … Continue reading

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