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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Spitting for Science
10 June 2010 4:36 pm
Drop a glob of spit on your index finger, press your thumb on top of it, and slowly pull your thumb away. See those little beads that appear as the spit stretches between your digits? Scientists have finally figured out why they form. They reported online 6 June in Nature Physics that a computer model reveals that saliva and other fluids such as shaving cream contain long polymer chains that, when stretched, form beads. Water and other fluids don't contain polymers and don't form the beads. For the beads to form the fluid's inertia has to be large enough and its viscosity small enough, the researchers say. The information could be used to prevent those annoying beads of ink that smear all over documents from inkjet printers. Something to remember the next time you spit on your finger. And don't forget to wash your hands.
See more ScienceShots.