Holiday

Why Does Friday the 13th Scare Us So Much?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 12, 2013   View Article

It’s Friday the 13th, and millions of people are on edge, fearing a calamity with personal or global repercussions-a broken leg, a stock market crash, or the trigger pulled for World War III.

Why all the anxiety? In short, because the fear is ingrained in Western culture, according to experts.

“If nobody bothered to teach us about these negative taboo superstitions like Friday the 13th, we might in fact all be better off,” said Stuart Vyse, a professor of psychology at Connecticut College in New London.

Be green this holiday without being a Grinch

Publication: NBC News   Date: December 20, 2013   View Article

Have you heard about the great Christmas tree debate? The one where you try to figure out which is worse for the environment, chopping down a perfectly good live fir or shipping a factory-made plastic one all the way from China? Well, the truth is, it’s not that big of a deal. If you’re dreaming of a green Christmas, there’re other issues that take precedence.

“You can have the most leverage elsewhere,” Jean-Sebastian Trudel, founder of Ellipsos, a sustainable development consulting firm in Montreal, Canada, told NBC News.

Laser-cut gingerbread house is perfect … if you don’t taste it

Publication: NBC News   Date: December 18, 2012   View Article

Gingerbread houses are a much-admired and tasty holiday tradition in many parts of the world. Yet until now, no one we know of has tried to improve their design and construction by using lasers. That’s precisely what one engineer with a second-hand laser cutter and some architectural curiosity did. The result is high precision … but you don’t want to eat it.

Johon von Konow, an engineer in Sweden, spends his days developing mobile phone concepts for Sony Ericsson and Huawei. At night, he and his wife, Maria, are always on the lookout for new things to try.

New Calendar Would Add Extra Week to December

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 17, 2012   View Article

Wish you’d had an extra holiday week this year? If a proposed permanent calendar is adopted in the next few years, you’ll get one at the end of 2017.

This “leap week” would occur every five or six years under the proposed Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar.

The occasional extra December week would keep the months in tune with the seasons in a calendar that would otherwise stay the same year after year after year.

New Year’s Resolution: Get fit, make electricity

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: December 31, 2011   View Article

A new generation of workout machines that generate electricity as you work up a sweat are poised to invade fitness centers and help you keep your New Year’s resolution to trim down your waistline.

The electricity generated by the machines is fed back into the grid, helping the gym save on its utility bills.

New Year’s Resolution: Get fit, make electricity

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: December 30, 2011   View Article

A new generation of workout machines that generate electricity as you work up a sweat are poised to invade fitness centers and help you keep your New Year’s resolution to trim down your waistline.

The electricity generated by the machines is fed back into the grid, helping the gym save on its utility bills.

Eight great American discoveries in science

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: July 4, 2010   View Article

When the colonies declared independence from Great Britain in 1776, scientists in the Americas, with a few notable exceptions, were largely dependent on Europeans — shipping botanical specimens, for example, across the Atlantic for study and classification, according to Marc Rothenberg, the agency historian with the National Science Foundation. But in the 19th century, the infrastructure was put in place for homegrown American science and engineering.

“In the 20th century we really become an international leader,” Rothenberg said. Follow along as msnbc.com takes a look back at some of the achievements and discoveries that gave the U.S. a leadership role in the sciences.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach