Jessika Toothman

Jessika Toothman

HowStuffWorks

Jessika has lived all across the U.S. — in Washington, New York, Wisconsin, Colorado and, of course, Atlanta. There, she earned two undergraduate degrees from Georgia State University, one of which is in print journalism, but after spending some time in the newspaper biz, she decided the web was where it's at.

As a former staff writer and blogger for HowStuffWorks, Jessika enjoys painting, expanding her vegetarian recipe repertoire, walking her cat and spending afternoons by the pool. She's also a junkie for modern American literature, although she pours over nonfiction books from time to time, too.

Recent Contributions

Kids go crazy with the crayons? Co-workers leave a trail of scuff marks wherever they walk? Erasers made with melamine foam might be just what you need. How do these erasers get the stains out? And are they really magic?

By Jessika Toothman

The only thing that's lurking in the shadows during a lunar eclipse is the moon. When Earth's shadow blocks sunlight from directly illuminating a full moon, you're witnessing a lunar eclipse.

By Jessika Toothman

Most people who've driven a trailer have experienced at least a few heart-pounding moments when the trailer started to sway and they worried they might lose control of the vehicles. A weight distribution system can help.

By Jessika Toothman

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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed until the summer of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people thought they should have been canceled outright, but has that ever happened before?

By Jessika Toothman

Never wish a jockey good luck by saying "break a leg." Horses with broken legs might face a grim future, but does that mean they must stare down the barrel of a shotgun?

By Jessika Toothman

Humans in space may age just a bit more slowly than the rest of us, but they also experience rapid muscle and bone mass loss. Why does this happen, and do astronauts recover?

By Jessika Toothman

Every morning you scoop in the coffee, add the water and turn it on, but have you ever wondered what is happening inside your coffee maker? Find out how that precious gadget delivers your wake-up dose.

By Marshall Brain & Jessika Toothman

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The practice of blowing glass may seem hip and modern if you've recently hit up an art exhibition by Dale Chihuly or Harvey Littleton. But the history of glassblowing is actually long and rich, dating back to the Roman Empire.

By Jessika Toothman

You just exercised and worked up a good, healthy sweat -- except that "healthy" rarely smells like industrial strength cleaner, right? Why does sweat sometimes reek of ammonia, and what can you do to stop it?

By Jessika Toothman

They have a lot of the same perks that condos do, but in a townhome, you're only sharing the walls with neighbors, not the ceiling and floor. You'll need to keep a few questions in mind if you're thinking of buying one, though.

By Jessika Toothman

Disagreements between neighbors can really sour a living experience. Unfortunately, those sorts of feuds can be fairly common in condominium complexes. Keep reading to learn important questions to ask when buying a condo.

By Jessika Toothman

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Whether it's the inviting blue of a clear summer sky or the cold, impersonal gray of a waiting room, color can actually have a psychological and physical impact on us. But is the impact enough to sell your home?

By Jessika Toothman

A sculpted mammoth shows visitors to the La Brea Tar Pits what these ancient animals might have looked like, but the pits themselves have looked the same for thousands of years. How did they form, and what discoveries lie beneath the sticky surface?

By Jessika Toothman

Sixteen acres of land surrounding the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center have been rebuilt. Eight are devoted to honoring the victims.

By Jessika Toothman

Between the early rising and intense crowds, it's no wonder many shoppers skip out on Black Friday. But shopping on Cyber Monday instead can result in bigger savings.

By Jessika Toothman & Kathryn Whitbourne

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Many people assume that the World Wide Web and the Internet are one and the same. But despite its size, the Web contains only a small fraction of the content on the Internet.

By Jessika Toothman

Wildfire isn't always bad for a forest -- it can clear brush, fertilize soil and open new space. But if a prescribed burn or even a small campfire gets out of control, it can quickly destroy forest, homes and wildlife. How do wildfires start?

By Jessika Toothman

Smokejumpers are the men and women who specialize in fighting blazes their ground-bound peers can't reach. So who are they, and what's the "Mutilator"?

By Jessika Toothman

Admit it: You cry every time you watch the parade of athletes in the opening ceremony. We do, too. What other official stuff goes down at this ultimate Olympic gala?

By Jessika Toothman

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On its good days, science is incredible and enlightening. On its bad days, science can be anywhere from gross to downright bizarre. What are some of science's craziest questions? (And why did anyone want to answer them?)

By Jessika Toothman

We get it. Movies are fiction. But for those of us who love science, seeing even fictional worlds behave in a way that's flat-out wrong just rankles.

By Jessika Toothman

The blood in your veins is blue. Glass is a slow-moving liquid. If you touch a baby bird, its mother will abandon it. Not so fast –- if you learned any of those "facts" in school, what you learned was wrong.

By Jessika Toothman

We have science to thank for mind-blowing discoveries like DNA and the Higgs boson. And, sometimes, for ones that are mind-numbingly obvious. Here's one of our 10 shockers: It's nice to have friends around.

By Jessika Toothman

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If you're a nail biter (or hair twirler or finger tapper), there's a good chance your habit started during childhood. Scroll through these nail biting photos to learn how to kick the habit.

By Jessika Toothman

The sun. People have worshiped it for thousands of years. But only in the last century have people worshiped the sun by baking themselves to a golden tan, which often masks an angry red burn. Scroll through these photos for some sunburn home remedies.

By Jessika Toothman