Technically Fiction

Finding facts in the fantastic

  1. Physics

    Staying grounded in space requires artificial gravity

    On TV, people in space walk around like they’re on Earth. How can science give real astronauts artificial gravity? Spin right round, baby.

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  2. Animals

    How do you build a centaur?

    A centaur has the torso of a human and the body of a horse. It may sound cool, but it wouldn’t work very well.

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  3. Tech

    Tracking Santa with science

    Santa may be magical. But the North American Aerospace Defense Command (or NORAD) uses science to track his journey.

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  4. Plants

    Here’s how giant pumpkins get so big

    Cinderella took a ride in a pumpkin coach. Though real pumpkins do get big enough, here’s why their ride would be uncomfortable at best.

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  5. Archaeology

    Women like Mulan didn’t need to go to war in disguise

    Female skeletons in Mongolia show injuries like those of fighting men — evidence that they could be warriors, too.

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  6. Animals

    Minecraft’s big bees don’t exist, but giant insects once did

    Big bees buzz in Minecraft. In our world, blocky bees might starve and be stuck on the ground. Yet long ago, giant insects did roam our planet.

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  7. Genetics

    What would it take to make a unicorn?

    Onward’s dumpster-diving unicorns seem like an impossibility. But scientists have some ideas about how unicorns could become real.

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  8. Physics

    Frozen’s ice queen commands ice and snow — maybe we can too

    In the Frozen movies, Elsa magically manipulates snow and ice. But scientists, too, make snowflakes. If they reinforce it, architects can build with ice and snow.

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  9. Animals

    Could Wednesday Addams really jolt a frog back to life?

    A spark that recalls some science history brings a dead frog to life in The Addams Family. Scientists are now using electricity to build the body.

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  10. Space

    Could humans build a tall tower or giant rope to space?

    The movie Ad Astra shows a space antenna, a spindly structure reaching up into the stars. We look at what it would take to build something that big.

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    Health & Medicine

    Fighting spider-fear with a little Spider-Man

    Many people are afraid of spiders or ants. Watching a movie clip with the critters in it might help make people more comfortable with them, a new study shows.

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  12. Animals

    Let’s turn a genie blue

    Aladdin’s genie is very magical. He’s also blue. What might explain that? Nature has some tricks on offer.

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