Allison Troutner is a freelance writer with a master's degree in cultural anthropology. She's fascinated by the unusual, taboo, and avant-garde because pushing the boundaries of science and technology keeps the world going 'round (and a more interesting place to live in). She specializes in health and environmental sciences, cannabis and hemp agriculture, and cybersecurity. She's called mom by two toddlers who tolerate her and some houseplants that don't. You can find her at www.allisontroutnerwriter.com.

Recent Contributions

The rose-red mineral rhodonite was first discovered in the 1790s in the Ural Mountains of Russia. Today it's found globally and is associated with compassion, love and healing.

By Allison Troutner

UFOs and UAPs both refer to unidentified objects in the sky, but scientists prefer the term UAP. And that's because when we hear UFO, we automatically assume aliens.

By Allison Troutner & Austin Henderson

Discovered in the early 1800s from a chunk of smuggled platinum ore, rhodium is the most valuable precious metal on the planet today, used mainly for keeping car emissions in check.

By Allison Troutner & Austin Henderson

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Superacids are those with an acidity greater than sulfuric acid. So which is the most super of superacids and what exactly is it used for?

By Allison Troutner & Austin Henderson

Ken Webster moved into an 18th-century cottage in the tiny town of Dodleston, England, and soon found himself cyber-communicating with someone from the year 1546.

By Allison Troutner

Cadmium is a natural metal and the leading component in rechargeable batteries and solar cells. It is also highly toxic and heavily regulated.

By Allison Troutner

We all have favorite colors. But have you ever considered why you like one color more than another?

By Allison Troutner

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The world's population passed 8 billion in 2022, but which countries contributed the most to the increase? Here are the seven countries with the biggest populations.

By Allison Troutner

Few Americans like the switching between Daylight Saving Time and Standard Time, but there's conflict on whether to switch permanently to DST or to ST. What are the pros and cons of permanent DST?

By Allison Troutner

For centuries, Razzouk Tattoo in Jerusalem has provided tattoos to both pilgrims and posers, using hand-carved wooden stamps, some of which are 500 years old.

By Allison Troutner

Soon you'll have to stop borrowing your best friend's mom's cousin's account and get your own. But how does Netflix know you're freeloading?

By Allison Troutner

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Native to East Asia, the Joro spider has adapted to life in the southern U.S. and, as far as we know, is a beneficial addition to the ecosystem.

By Allison Troutner

Your body replaces billions (with a b!) of cells every day. In about 100 days, 30 trillion be replaced, but does that mean you're a new person, too?

By Chris Opfer & Allison Troutner

In Germany, death may be permanent, but gravesites aren't. They're leased until the next "resident" moves in. That's just one grim regulation surrounding funerals and burials.

By Allison Troutner

Tattoos age just like we do. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. There are simple ways to make them pop and look good, no matter how old they are.

By Allison Troutner

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It's hard to imagine Nemo catching some z's in the Great Barrier Reef. But fish do need rest. Do they sleep like we do?

By Allison Troutner

All bubbles pop — that's a fact of life. But what's the science behind the short life and inevitable pop of a bubble?

By Allison Troutner

Never heard of the tarsier? Well it's one of the smallest primates in the world but has some of the biggest bug eyes you've ever seen.

By Allison Troutner

Though the terms closed caption and subtitles are used interchangeably, the two are quite different. Do you know the distinction?

By Allison Troutner

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For decades scientists assumed these insects looked so much like orchids as a form of camouflage. But they were wrong. They look this way because they're deceptive predators.

By Allison Troutner

An orangutan who could unscrew bolts to bust out? A gorilla who climbed the vines out of her enclosure to just roam the zoo? These are wild animals, and these are their wild escape stories.

By Allison Troutner

You might see them hanging out around your kitchen drain. They're annoying yet tiny — they're drain flies. So how do you get rid of them?

By Allison Troutner

If you want to prevent a "whoopsie" litter of puppies but you're not quite ready to spay or neuter your dog, try a dog chastity belt. A no, we're not kidding.

By Allison Troutner

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Buckle up Fido! That's right. Your furry friend should be wearing a seat belt in the car. Not just for their safety, but for yours, too.

By Allison Troutner

Don't let the word "acid" scare you away. Because when the job gets too tough for your standard household cleaner, it's time to try muriatic acid.

By Allison Troutner