What causes muscle fatigue?

  Want to keep your performance high? Here’s what causes muscle fatigue and how to avoid it To understand what causes muscle fatigue, it’s worth looking at what exactly muscle fatigue is. If you exercise regularly, you may be familiar with the sensation of a dull ache in your muscles or experienced a feeling of…

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Why are there so many giants in the deep sea?

  It may be that survival demands it. In the deepest and coldest parts of the ocean, sea creatures — mainly invertebrates, or animals without backbones — can reach gargantuan proportions. Squids, sea spiders, worms and a variety of other types of animals grow to sizes that dwarf related species around the world. The phenomenon…

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10 Famous Mothers

  Flowers are some of the most commonly purchased items in the United States on the second Sunday in May. Indeed, Mother’s Day is like the Black Friday of the floral industry — about 30 percent of American adults bought blooms to celebrate the day according to the Society of American Florists. It’s also the most popular day…

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How Do Bees Choose the Next Queen?

  Humans spend a lot of time studying other animals. As they do so, many scientists realize people have a lot in common with the rest of the animal kingdom. For example, many animals form ordered societies, much like humans do. A pack of wolves follows an alpha. Some baboons inherit social status from their parents. Even chickens follow…

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How Real Estate Investment Clubs Work

  You may have heard there’s still money in real estate. It sounds interesting, but all the same, you’re a bit confused by the ins and outs of the market. What are REITs? What’s the minimum down payment for a house so I don’t have to pay PMI? And you know there are scams out there. Is…

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Are There Really Diamonds in the Ocean?

  If you’ve ever heard the slogan “A Diamond Is Forever,” then a 1940s marketing campaign is still doing its job. The line was coined by De Beers Group, a jewelry company credited with almost single-handedly popularizing diamond engagement rings. De Beers spent decades building a global empire (some would call it a “cartel“) around diamond mines in countries like South…

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What is Concrete Made From?

  It’s one of the most popular building materials in the world. It’s fire resistant and stands up to moisture. It gets stronger over time and is used to build roads, bridges, and tunnels! What’s today’s Wonder of the Day? Concrete, of course! Concrete is everywhere. Look around you. Do you see any concrete? If you’re in a school, it’s…

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Can You See Both Sides of an Issue?

  Think of the last time you disagreed with another person. Maybe you argued with a sibling over what to watch on TV. Or perhaps you tried to convince grown-ups that ice cream makes a better dinner than vegetables. How did your disagreement end? Were you able to see the issue from the other person’s perspective? In many situations, disagreements are inevitable. They’re part of life.…

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Who were the first storm chasers?

  In the 1950s, psychologist Abraham Maslow published his hierarchy of needs. This construct looks a lot like the food pyramid issued by the USDA in the 1960s. But instead of food groups, Maslow’s pyramid consists of five blocks representing human needs. At the base are the most basic needs, such as food, water and shelter. The middle blocks are more…

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There’s No Such Thing as a Male or Female Brain

  When it comes to sex traits, brains are consistently inconsistent Are differences between men and women reflected in their brains? For centuries, scientists would have said yes—and they’ve been searching for evidence of those differences since long before the invention of the MRI. Now, the debate has taken an interesting twist: New research suggests that…

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How Motivational Speakers Work

  In December 2016, San Francisco Bay real estate broker Irene Weisman crossed the country for Date With Destiny, a six-day immersive seminar with Tony Robbins, self-help author, entrepreneur and perhaps one of the world’s most well-known motivational speakers. It was the second Robbins event she’s attended in her year of devoted fandom. The annual event…

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Why Is Friday the 13th Supposedly Unlucky?

  Another supposedly unlucky thing: black cats. Pixabay It’s Friday the 13th Part 2 (the first in 2017 was in January). Although a run on unlucky days might just seem like a sign of the times, we all know that Friday the 13th is a superstition. Fittingly, this superstition has mysterious origins. But one thing that can be…

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What Does An Emergency Flight Nurse Fear Most?

  This summer, the Boy Scouts of America celebrate their 100th anniversary, and the U.S. Postal Service has unveiled a spiffy new stamp to honor the organization.One of my favorite Scouting quotes comes from Janice Hudson’s Trauma Junkie: Memoirs of an Emergency Flight Nurse. Hudson worked for many y… This summer, the Boy Scouts of…

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Who Was Arnold Palmer?

  Have you ever played 18 holes? Did you finish under par? Maybe you even shot a hole-in-one. Many people agree that a round of golf is a great way to spend a sunny day. If that includes you, then you’ll likely recognize the name at the center of today’s Wonder of the Day. Who are we…

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Have You Ever Played Shogi?

  What games do you like to play in your free time? Many kids jump right to their favorite video game after school. Others head out to play a game of sports. Some might even go outside for a fun game of hide-and-seek. But for others, there’s nothing like a competitive board game. Reading the words “board game,” many people…

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What Are the Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports?

  What are the most exciting two minutes in sports? Is it the last two minutes of the Super Bowl? Maybe those of Olympic gymnastics? Could it be the last two minutes of the Stanley Cup? No, the most exciting two minutes in sports are during the Kentucky Derby! The Kentucky Derby is the most well-known horse race…

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Can a Pill Fight Loneliness?

  A University of Chicago scientist thinks the hormone pregnenolone might reduce lonely people’s fear of connecting—and their risk of serious health problems To truly understand the insidious nature of loneliness, it helps to think about snakes and sticks. So suggests Stephanie Cacioppo, a University of Chicago scientist and a leading researcher on the subject. “Have…

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What Is Black History Month and How Did It Begin?

Although Black History Month is observed each February in the United States, many people are not familiar with how or why it was created. To understand Black History Month, you have to look back to early 20th-century historian Carter G. Woodson. As the son of formerly enslaved people and the second African American to receive a…

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15 Surprising Facts About Susan B. Anthony

The 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was named for Susan B. Anthony, as was a world record-holding ship. What else don’t you know about this famous leader of the Suffrage movement? 1. She Was Not at the 1848 Woman’s Rights Convention At the time of that first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, as Elizabeth Cady Stanton later…

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Why Humans Sleep Less Than Their Primate Relatives

  Ancient humans may have evolved to slumber efficiently—and in a crowd On dry nights, the San hunter-gatherers of Namibia often sleep under the stars. They have no electric lights or new Netflix releases keeping them awake. Yet when they rise in the morning, they haven’t gotten any more hours of sleep than a typical…

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The Surprisingly Long History of ‘Choose-Your-Own-Adventure’ Stories

  From the ‘I Ching’ to an upcoming Netflix rom-com, interactive fiction dares us to decide what happens next The new Netflix original horror movie Choose or Die turns on an interactive computer game called “CURS>R,” which resembles a classic ’80s adventure program in which a user inputs text to move the story forward. Naturally, there’s a twist—the protagonist…

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How Simple is the Occam’s Razor?

  Have you ever WONDERed how doctors diagnose their patients? What about how mechanics find out what’s wrong with a car? The truth is, these two occurrences often have something in common. They both employ Occam’s Razor. Have you ever heard someone say, “Keep it simple”? That’s the basic idea behind Occam’s Razor (or Ockham’s Razor). It’s…

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Why does it say “In God We Trust” on our Money?

  The words “In God We Trust,” a controversial phrase that some argue should be kept off of our currency, has appeared on all forms of U.S. money since 1963, although the history behind the motto dates back much further. In 1861, Rev. M. R. Watkinson, a Pennsylvania minister, wrote to Secretary of Treasury Salmon…

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What Does NBSP Mean?

In computer programming, NBSP means: Non-Breaking Space This is an HTML character you may have seen online. It may appear as ” ” and it tells a web browser to create a space between two words without going to the next line. NBSP has another potential meaning if used on a dating website or app. In these cases,…

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Why do women tend to outlive men?

  Has it always been this way? In the United States, the average life expectancy for women is 81 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For men, it’s 76 years. Around the world, women live longer, on average. So why do women tend to outlive men? Two of the main causes are…

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Why Does Mint Make Your Mouth Feel Cool?

If you nibble on a mint leaf, you might notice that it makes your mouth feel cool. That’s because mint, much like chili peppers, is a biochemical success story — for plants, at least. The evolutionary marvel lies in special molecules that these plants produce: capsaicin in chilies, and menthol in mint. Scientists think the…

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How Old Do You Need to Be to Rent a Car in the U.S.?

  At 18, you can be called for jury duty, sign up for the military draft (if you’re a guy) and get married without parental consent. But one thing you may not be able to do is rent a car. This is because many companies won’t rent a car to anyone under the age of 21, and those that do…

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How do mosquitoes sniff out humans to bite?

  It’s the dead of night and you’re tucked away in bed, bundled up to your chin in a pitch dark room — and suddenly you hear the telltale buzzing of a mosquito zoom past your ear. Some mosquito species specialize in biting humans, and these tiny blood-suckers excel at tracking us down. The question is, how…

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What Do B.C. and A.D. Stand For?

  What year are we living in? That seems like an easy question, doesn’t it? But like most things, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you may think. Many people would tell you this is the year A.D. 2020. Others might call it the year 2020 C.E. Some would say it’s the year 4718, 1441, or even 5780! It…

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Who Started NASA?

  Do you ever dream of traveling through outer space? Would you like to orbit Jupiter? Visit Pluto? Maybe you imagine racing past other planets and galaxies on a grand adventure. If you’ve ever looked into becoming an astronaut, there’s one name you probably already know—NASA! NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is the United States space agency.…

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What Does It Really Mean to be a ‘Nationalist’?

When President Donald Trump declared himself a nationalist on Oct. 22, 2018, the gasps that emanated from many segments of the American population were equaled only by the chants that erupted in the Texas arena in which the president spoke. Using that term — and the ideology known as nationalism — has that kind of effect in…

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Who Was Leonidas?

  What do you think it would be like to live in ancient Greece? You would need to learn its alphabet. Maybe you would learn all about Greek mythology. You might even meet some famous Greek heroes, like Hercules! Well, that is, if Hercules was a real person. The jury’s still out on that question. However, one very real…

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How Abortion Rights Could Become State-by-state Decisions

  Draft opinions circulated among Supreme Court justices are meant to allow for deliberation and editing before a final version is released. They are not the last word, nor ready for public reaction. But on the evening of May 2, 2022, Politico published a bombshell: a leaked draft of an opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, that overturns Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v.…

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Why do we develop lifelong immunity to some diseases, but not others?

  Will our immunity to COVID-19 be lifelong or short-lived? Some diseases, like the measles, infect us once and usually grant us immunity for life. For others, like the flu, we have to get vaccinated year after year. So why do we develop lifelong immunity to some diseases but not others? And where does the novel…

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How Did the Pentagon Building Get Its Shape?

  How did the Pentagon get its name? Well, that’s a no-brainer. But how did the Department of Defense’s (DoD) giant headquarters get its shape? That’s a longer story. The building was originally designed to fit onto a tract of land with borders on five sides. In the end, it was built elsewhere, at a site where…

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Do Smokers’ Lungs Heal After They Quit Smoking?

  Cigarette smoke can have wide-ranging health effects on the body, and the lungs and airways are two of the hardest-hit areas. But the good news is that after a person quits smoking, the lungs can heal to a certain extent, said Dr. Norman Edelman, a senior scientific advisor for the American Lung Association and a…

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What’s the rarest blood type?

  Here’s a breakdown of the most rare and common blood types in the U.S. In general, the rarest blood type is AB negative and the most common is O positive. Here’s a breakdown of the most rare and common blood types by ethnicity, according to the American Red Cross. O positive: African-American: 47% Asian: 39%…

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Are you safe from lightning if it’s not thundering?

  The ability to tell when you should avoid being outside sounds simple enough. Say, if it’s pouring rain, your brain might give you a heads-up that you’ll get wet. Maybe it’s so windy that a tree has fallen across the sidewalk: The old noggin might kick in and tell you to stay inside to…

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Why do we have different blood types?

  Why are some people O+ and others B-? The type of blood coursing through your veins is likely different from the blood in your friends and maybe even your family. Knowing your blood type is important for blood transfusions and other medical purposes, which raises a question: Why do humans have different blood types?…

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What is Athlete’s Foot?

  If you’ve ever spent much time playing outside on a warm day, you may have noticed that your feet got a little… well, sweaty. And why wouldn’t they? Imagine being wrapped up in a sock and stuffed inside a tennis shoe. It has to be stifling in there! It’s normal for feet to sweat. But it can…

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What Was the Green Book?

  It’s no secret that the automobile changed the world. What was it like to travel before cars and trucks were around? People relied on boats and trains to go long distances. With automobiles came new freedom to travel where and when they wanted. As more people started buying cars in the early 20th Century, road trips became more…

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Can Birds Fly in the Rain?

  Let’s start today’s Wonder of the Day with a joke. Okay, here it is: What do you call a bird that’s afraid to fly in the rain? Any ideas? That’s right, it’s a chicken! Ha! Of course, chickens don’t spend much time flying anyway—rain or no rain. But rain does affect the flight habits of…

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How Did Motocross Begin?

  Racing sports are some of the most thrilling events around. From the Olympic 100-meter final to the Indy 500, races draw fans from all around the world. But there’s one such sport that’s growing especially fast nowadays. What are we talking about? Motocross, of course! What is motocross? It’s a type of motorcycle racing. The riders take…

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What Do Your Intestines Do?

  Has anyone ever told you, “You are what you eat”? It’s an old saying, but it’s also true! That’s why it’s so important to eat healthy food. Your digestive system breaks down what you eat and sends it all over your body. Today’s Wonder of the Day covers a very important part of that process—your intestines.…

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Do Rusty Nails Really Give You Tetanus?

  When you think of tetanus, does a rusty nail come to mind? Well, that image might be a little rusty, as tetanus has nothing to do with rust itself. Tetanus is a serious infection caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria. These bacteria are found throughout our environment, dwelling in places such as soil, dust and feces. Tetanus bacteria…

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What Is a Perfect Square?

You know what a square is: It’s a shape with four equal sides. Seems hard to improve upon, right? What, then, is a perfect square? In order to explain that, we’ll have to get a little math-y. “Square” is one of those words that can refer to a shape, but it can also mean multiplying a…

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Cinco de Mayo 2022: Facts, Meaning & Celebrations

    Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. The day, which falls on Thursday, May 5 in 2022, is also known as Battle of Puebla Day. While…

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Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” recovered after theft

  On May 7, 1994, Norway’s most famous painting, “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, is recovered almost three months after it was stolen from a museum in Oslo. The fragile painting was recovered undamaged at a hotel in Asgardstrand, about 40 miles south of Oslo, police said. The iconic 1893 painting of a waiflike figure…

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Sperm whales: The biggest toothed predator

KEY FACTS Size: Up to 59 feet (18 meters) long Life span: Potentially more than 70 years old Conservation status: Vulnerable Sperm whales eat giant squid for breakfast. Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are the largest toothed whales, with enormous square-shaped heads and the biggest brains of any animal on Earth. These deep-divers are known for hunting down giant squid…

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Why Didn’t Canada Buy Alaska?

  Today’s Wonder of the Day is all about the U.S.A.’s largest state. It has over 100 volcanoes, 3,000 rivers, and 3,000,000 lakes. Sometimes, its days and nights last months. And it’s one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re talking about Alaska! If you…

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How Many Emoticons Are There?

  How do you usually communicate with others? Talking with someone face-to-face is the oldest form of basic communication. Over time, though, all sorts of other methods have been invented and gained — and lost — popularity. For example, writing letters by hand used to be very popular. After the telephone was invented, people found it nice to be able to call someone…

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What is a Semipermeable Membrane?

  You may have learned in school that every living thing is made up of cells. House plants, giraffes, nudibranchs, even human beings—we’re all alive thanks to these tiny building blocks of life. They may be small, but cells are made up of even tinier structures. Today, we’ll learn about a very important part of the…

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How Cinco de Mayo Helped Prevent a Confederate Victory in the Civil War

  When a small, scrappy Mexican force handed the French army a surprise defeat in 1862, the Confederacy was denied a potential ally.   There can be confusion over the origins of Cinco de Mayo. Some think it’s a holiday celebrating Mexican independence from Spain (that’s actually September 16), or the 1810 Mexican Revolution (November 20),…

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Why is it called ‘Wall Street’?

  Was there an actual wall? As the drama of the civil fraud lawsuit against Goldman Sachs continues to unfold, all eyes are focused on Wall Street. The reverberations from Goldman’s public flogging at the hands of lawmakers and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will be felt throughout the financial industry. But, while…

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How Are Magnets Used?

  If you’ve ever used a magnet before, you may have seen that punchline coming. That’s because magnets attract many objects made from metal—including paperclips, nails, keys, and many other items. You’ve probably been around more than a few magnets in your day. But have you ever WONDERed how they work? Magnets are usually made of iron or a material that…

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When U.S. Congress declared war on Mexico

    On May 13, 1846, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly votes in favor of President James K. Polk’s request to declare war on Mexico in a dispute over Texas. Under the threat of war, the United States had refrained from annexing Texas after the latter won independence from Mexico in 1836. But in 1844, President John Tyler restarted negotiations with the…

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7 Things You May Not Know About Cinco de Mayo

  The annual Mexican holiday marks the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla.   Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is a holiday that celebrates Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It does not, as many people assume, commemorate Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years…

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What is an Icequake?

  Would you like to live in Antarctica? The average temperature of -30°F (34.4°C) might stop many from moving there. But it’s not all bad! You could live next to a penguin. You’d have six straight months of sunlight. And, of course, you’d get to experience one of Earth’s rarest geological events nearly every day. What are we talking…

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What Music is in Your DNA?

  Science and technology move at a fast pace. One area that’s growing very quickly is genetics. Modern researchers have learned a lot about human genes. They’ve found that genes help shape who people are and how they behave. They can even influence what illnesses people have. Does DNA decide peoples’ interests? How about their special talents? Think about music—are musicians born with…

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Steganography: The Art of Hiding Messages in Plain Sight

And you thought your tattoos were provocative. In the year 499 B.C.E., Histiaeus — a Greek adviser to the Persian King Darius I — ordered an enslaved person to visit his son-in-law, Aristagoras. When the man arrived, he asked that his head be shaved. There, tattooed on the enslaved person’s scalp, was a hidden message from Histiaeus. It told Aristagoras…

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Battle of Chancellorsville begins

  On May 1, 1863, the Battle of Chancellorsville begins in Virginia. Earlier in the year, General Joseph Hooker led the Army of the Potomac into Virginia to confront Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Hooker had recently replaced Ambrose Burnside, who presided over the Army of the Potomac for one calamitous campaign the previous December: the Battle of Fredericksburg. At…

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Could a Cockroach Survive a Nuclear War?

  Have you ever been cleaning out the garage or the basement when a hard-shelled bug crawled out from under something and scared you? You might have shouted, “Eek!” or “Yikes!” or even “Ewww!” Today in Wonderopolis we’re going to be taking a closer look at one of the most hated of all creepy crawlies: the cockroach. Although…

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Can You Predict the Future?

  Do you love to watch movies? Who doesn’t, right? As you watch a movie, you often think ahead, WONDERing what’s about to happen next. Some of the best movies surprise us with things we never saw coming. Each day, we spend time thinking about the future and what lies ahead. While we live in…

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