Category Archives: How To

We’re Not in Phoenix Anymore: How Radio Signals “Skipped” All the Way to Kansas

Yes, it’s that exciting.

Unlike AM signals, FM is confined to line-of-sight, so Phoenix’s KBAQ radio station doesn’t typically reach much beyond the Valley of the Sun, let alone to a Volkswagen Beetle 875 miles away. So it’s no wonder that Ken Baker of the Radio Kansas Network was surprised to see what resolved on his HD tuner that day.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
How Phoenix-Area Radio Signals Can Bounce All The Way To Kansas

eSports: So Maybe You Can Make a Living at That

League of Legends Championship Series. Photo by Gabriel Gagne.
League of Legends Championship Series. Photo by Gabriel Gagne.

Yep, after decades of false starts, it is now possible – for the few, the young and the obsessive – to make  a living playing video games. Sprung from LAN party tournaments played for beer money stakes, eSports has today evolved into full-blown sporting franchise, complete with teams, groupies, college athletic programs, dedicated media, arena-filling crowds and tournament prize pools ballooning into the tens of millions of dollars.

For many, this development raises a number of questions. Are these really athletes? (Hint: the U.S. government thinks so.) Why was Amazon willing to pay almost a billion dollars for And, well, just how does professional gaming work?

How Professional Gaming Works

The DaVinci Clothes: Deciphering Care Label Symbols

A clothing care labelOur clothes-care-labeling system is a wonder of efficiency — if you speak the language. But can you honestly say that you know what every single one of those triangles, exes, squares and squiggles on your tags are telling you? If you answered “no,” then you’re in good company. You’re also in luck, because I’ve broken them all down for you in a brief and handy-dandy article called (descriptively enough) …

What’s the deal with those laundry symbols, and how do I tell them apart?

Coming to Grips with the Impalement Arts

A woman fastened to a spinning wheel has knives thrown at her.
The Wheel of Death: It’s a living. Photo by Ellin Beltz.

No one can say when people first started throwing knives, but I’m willing to bet that it was the result of boredom, desperation or an ill-thought-out dare.  How we got from there to the Wheel of Death involves a journey from Africa, through the Wild West shows and circuses of the 1800s, and finally to our own  backyards.

Knives hardly sail through the air like arrows, but throwing them is not a difficult as it might seem. So grab your weapon of choice and join me as I explain …

How Knife Throwing Works

The Science Behind Weather Superstitions

Photo of Grounghog Day from Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Ignore the shadow of the lowland marmot at your peril! (Or not). Photo by Anthony Quintano.

Weather. It can destroy homes and harvests, shut down entire regions and re-sculpt coastlines in a matter of hours. It’s small wonder we tend to be a bit superstitious about the subject, or that we’re loath to let go of the received wisdom of family, friends and the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Then again, maybe those old wives tales contain a kernel of truth. Sometimes there’s a reason to the rhyme, as I reveal in this list of …

10 Scientifically Sound Weather Superstitions