The ‘risks’ with Swine Flu

By John Silveira Issue #118 • July/August, 2009 Do we have anything to worry about the reemergence of Swine Flu — Novel Influenza A (H1N1) — this fall? The short answer is: Probably not. There are...

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...

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 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:...

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...

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...

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...

Gee-Whiz: From Paper to Canning

By John Silveira (aka O.E. MacDougal) May/June 2017 Backwoods Home The greatest inventions in history are the ones we now take for granted. Fire and the wheel-axle combination are among them. If we weren’t taught in...

The many benefits of garlic

By Joe Knight Issue #113 • September/October, 2008 Garlic, used throughout the world for the taste it adds to foods, is also well known for its medicinal benefits. Known as Allium sativum in the botanical world,...

Gee-Whiz: Coffee

By O.E. MacDougal May/June 2018, Backwoods Home Every second of every day about 26,000 cups of coffee are drunk around the world. That’s about 2¼ billion cups a day. But it’s still not the most widely...

The threat of electromagnetic pulse!

By John Silveira Issue #132 • November/December, 2011 I like "doomsday" scenarios — even ridiculous ones, such as the supposed Mayan calendar prophecy for 2012 or what had been Y2K doom-and-gloom leading up to the year...

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 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...

Gee-Whiz: Insects

By O. E. MacDougal November/December 2015, Backwoods Home Some 400 million years ago, in the Devonian Period, insects evolved from crustaceans. Since that time, they have been one of the most successful life forms on the...

Theories of the universe

By Dave Duffy Issue #66 • November/December, 2000 In a relatively short span of time, mankind has travelled from profound ignorance of our planet and the world in which we live to a rather detailed picture...

Gee-Whiz: Bad Fish, Big Fish

By O.E. MacDougal January/February 2015, Backwoods Home Fish were the very first vertebrates. That is, they were the first animals with backbones, the purpose of which is to sheathe and protect the nerves in the spinal...