The gee-whiz! page — Cats: Why they rule our world

By O. E. MacDougal Issue #170 • March/April, 2018 House cats A recent Gallup poll showed that cat ownership is pretty much evenly distributed between men and women, and that roughly 34 percent of all U.S. homes...

A brief history of health and medicine

By John Silveira Issue #100 • July/August, 2006 As little as a century ago, the average life span in the United States was 49 years. Today it is 77. Fifty years ago, the average life span...

How big is the solar system?

By John Silveira Issue #60 • November/December, 1999 In artists' renderings of the solar system we often see the sun represented by a small sphere with the planets drawn fairly close by. In truth, drawings like...

Science and truth. Are they related?

By John Silveira Issue #46 • July/August, 1997 It was an argument about science. Dave and I were on one side, Dave's friends Tom and Bill, though curiously nonallied, were on the other. I say nonallied...

Gee-Whiz: Time

By O.E. MacDougal July/August 2016, Backwoods Home Time. We can’t see, feel, hear, smell, or taste it, but we can measure it and we break it up into smaller and smaller increments. We’ll probably never know...

The coming ice age

By John Silveira Issue #139 • January/February, 2013 I'm putting my apocalyptic ice age novel, Danielle Kidnapped, on Amazon's Kindle and also producing a paperback version on Amazon's website. (See the ad on page 65.) The...

Three more ways the world can end … and I’m not kidding

By John Silveira Issue #155 • September/October, 2015 "What are you doing?" a voice asked. I looked up and saw O.E. MacDougal, Dave's poker-playing friend from Southern California, and he's now my friend, too. Accompanying him was...

The world is coming to an end… and this time, I’m not kidding

By John Silveira Issue #114 • November/December, 2008 If you haven't already heard, on September 10, 2008, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located on the border of France and Switzerland, was turned on for a test...

Testing Soil

By Tom Kovach Issue #119 • September/October, 2009 Testing the soil content of a garden is very important and is quite easy to do. Soil tests are needed because some plants prefer slightly acidic soil, while...

Gee-Whiz: Alcohol

By O.E. MacDougal Backwoods Home Did early man first cultivate grains just to get drunk? The brewing of beer is older than civilization and goes back at least 9,000, and perhaps more than 12,000, years. Evidence of...

Gee-Whiz: Ice Ages, Past and Future

By O. E. MacDougal January/February 2016, Backwoods Home Most people don’t know that we’re currently in an ice age and have been for the last 2.58 million years. It’s called the Quaternary Ice Age. Again and...

Gee-Whiz: Sleep

By O.E. MacDougal November/December 2017, Backwoods Home For thousands of years, sleep has been one of life’s great mysteries. As humans, we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, though as babies we spent about 16...

The coming ice age

By John Silveira Issue #86 • March/April, 2004 As little as 30 years ago the talk wasn't about global warming, it was about an imminent ice age. Is an ice age likely? Even possible? Consider this:...

Gee-Whiz: Dinosaurs

By O.E. MacDougal July/August 2014 Backwoods Home Biologists and paleontologists are now pretty certain that birds are part of the dinosaur lineage. Their extinct relatives include the T-Rex and velociraptors. So, dinosaurs are not really extinct,...

Subduction zone tsunami — What the residents of the Pacific Northwest have to fear

<!-- Subduction zone tsunami --> By John Silveira Issue #94 • July/August, 2004 I was sitting in my cubicle poring over a map of the Oregon coast—actually, just that part of the coast that is Gold Beach where Backwoods...

A doomsday scenario to sleep on

By John Silveira Issue #109 • January/February, 2008 I once wrote a science fiction novel that I never tried to sell. Titled The Perfect Defense, its first chapter appeared in the premier issue of BHM in...