• Just Explain It: The Truth About Left-handed People

    About 90 percent of people in the world today are right-handed.  That makes life for the other ten percent who are left-handed a little more complicated, including, by the way, the President of the United States.

    Every day, left-handed folks quietly face obstacles most right-handed people will never know.  It could be something as simple as driving a car, or using a can opener or a pair of scissors.

    In this Just Explain It, we’ll look at the truths and expel myths about left-handed people.
              
    First, did you know that five out of the last seven United States presidents were left-hand dominant? In 1992, all three major presidential candidates were left-handed. Four years later in 1996, the top three candidates for president were again lefties. Of the three, Senator Bob Dole was the only one who was originally right-handed.  He learned to use his left hand after a World War II injury paralyzed his right hand. Then in 2008, long-time Senator John McCain campaigned against then SenatorRead More »from Just Explain It: The Truth About Left-handed People
  • Just Explain It: Protecting Treasures

    We're celebrating 237 years of American independence as it's enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. The document is something we treasure and want to protect because of its value to us as a country.

    Besides the Declaration of Independence, there are many things that we collectively treasure around the world: gold, rare objects, and historical artifacts to name a few.

    In this Just Explain It, we'll look at some treasures and find out how they are stored, preserved and protected.

    Even though it’s one of our founding documents, the original handwritten Declaration of Independence wasn't preserved very well for most of its existence. The rolled up parchment was carried around with the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War. After that it was in many locations in or around Washington D.C., where it was exposed to light and other harmful elements.

    In 1921, the Declaration was moved to the Library of Congress, where it was not only displayed, but for the first time, expertly Read More »from Just Explain It: Protecting Treasures
  • Just Explain It: How animals grieve


    Animals are known to grieve. How does that help us understand them?

    We may not think animals have feelings, but, in fact, science has proven that they experience a range of emotions, particularly grief.

    In August 2011, when Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson’s helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, killing him and 29 other American troops, it wasn’t just people who mourned his loss. At Tumilson's funeral, his Labrador, Hawkeye, walked to the casket, sighed, and then laid by the coffin for the rest of the service.

    In this Just Explain It, we'll look at some of the evidence surrounding animal anguish, and how to help a pet get through the loss of a caretaker or pet companion.

    In the book "How Animals Grieve," anthropologist Barbara King documented this phenomenon in the wild. She found that grief is displayed when an animal, "acts in ways that are visibly distressed or altered from the usual routine," in response to something like a companion animal's death.

    Elephants have been observed staying with Read More »from Just Explain It: How animals grieve
  • Just Explain It: Why Are Some of Us Horrible Singers?

    Not everyone has a voice like Whitney Houston, and there are plenty of YouTube clips to prove it.

    Over the last decade though, we’re seeing more and more amateurs get a shot at stardom than ever before.  Shows like American Idol, The Voice and The X Factor, have provided a stage for wannabe pop stars.

    Some are talented, but others… let’s just say, should keep their day jobs.
     
    In today’s Just Explain it, we’ll explore why some of us have voices of angels and well, others don't!

    When we listen to professionals, singing might seem easy, but it’s not for most of us.  At it's most basic level, experts say singing is a complex act that involves good coordination between parts of your body like your brain, ears, throat and lungs.  To be a successful singer, you need to accurately perceive a note and match it using your vocal muscles.

    But good coordination alone might not make you a great singer. 

    The physiological shape of your vocal tracts can determine the quality of your voice.  That means Read More »from Just Explain It: Why Are Some of Us Horrible Singers?

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