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Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and novelist whose work has appeared on NYPost.com, PSMag.com, the Intuit Small Business Blog, and many others. She is the Simon & Schuster author of 8 children's books, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series, 25 Roses, and 30 Days of No Gossip.

Each year, beekeepers lose a percentage of their population, with up to 15-percent loss being sustainable. Unfortunately, in recent years, those annual losses have topped 28 percent, making it a serious problem. One cause of colony loss is something called “colony collapse,” which happens when disease impacts some members of a honeybee colony, causing it to spread to other bees. Even though the rate of collapse has dropped in recent years, dwindling colonies remain a serious issue.

One way to protect the bee population is to for beekeepers to find a way to reduce the spread of disease within their colonies. Researchers believe they may have found the key to that. It starts with identifying those bees that have a higher level of cleanliness in their colonies, then breeding those bees to increase their population.

Optical illusions have fascinated people for decades, gaining more attention than ever in the social media era. As you’ve scrolled through your feed, you’ve likely seen a picture of a stationary object that seems to move in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, known as an optical illusion. The formal name for this type of image is “Pinna-Brelstaff figure.”

Scientists may be a little closer to understanding how the mind tricks us into believing these still objects are in motion. A team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences had already identified the area of the brain that creates that illusion, so they set out to get to the “why.” Looking at male rhesus macaques, which process the illusion similarly to people, they found cells within that part of the brain that perceive the images as being in motion.

Disturbingly, studies have discovered that today’s furniture is far more flammable than furniture built several decades ago, a problem if your home catches on fire. This discovery has led scientists to seek out materials that will possibly slow down a home fire, giving occupants a chance to exit and firefighters more time to extinguish the blaze.

The mechanical engineering department at Texas A&M has come up with a coating that may do the job. The coating has the potential to cut down on the flammability of the polyurethane foam found in much of the furniture sold today. Best of all, the coating is made from natural elements.

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