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Jesslyn Shields

Jesslyn Shields is a freelance science writer working out of Athens, Georgia. She writes about brand new research for HowStuffWorks. Since 2010, Jesslyn's written science news and content for educational videos, because she loves to always have something new to yammer on about at parties. You can find her online at www.jesslynshields.com

Recent Contributions

Derechos Are Thunderstorms on Steroids

This unusual storm called a derecho can be as frightening as a hurricane or a tornado and can travel hundreds of miles sowing destruction in its path.

Aardwolf: Aaarvark? Wolf? Nope, It's a Tiny Hyena

Aardwolves aren't closely related to either aardvarks or wolves, but these little hyenas resemble both in some ways.

The Luna Moth Is Beautiful and Common — But Rarely Seen

While luna moths aren't exactly rare, they're hard to find so every encounter seems extra special.

What Is Boyle's Law and Why Do I Already Know It?

Boyle's Law describes the relationship between pressure and the volume of a container with gas in it. As the volume of the container decreases, the pressure inside the container increases.

The Toucan Is Far More Than the Froot Loops Mascot

Generations of cereal eaters grew up sharing the breakfast table with Toucan Sam, famous for following his long, colorful nose — but what's that bill for besides hawking cereal?

The Andean Condor: 100 Miles, 5 Hours, 0 Flaps of Its Wings

The energy efficiency of the Andean condor is the avian embodiment of the phrase "work smarter, not harder."

Lemmings Jumping Off Cliffs En Masse Is a Myth

Lemmings don't commit mass suicide as is popularly believed, but they are aggressive and have even been known to charge larger predators.

Electronegativity Is Like an Atomic Tug-of-War

Electrons are attracted to some atoms more than others. If two atoms are of equal strength, the electrons will be equally shared. If one atom is stronger, the electrons will be pulled in that atom's direction.

Swordfish Are the Natural-born Gladiators of the Sea

The swordfish's nose might look crazy weird, but these gladiators of the sea are perfectly outfitted for ocean battle.

The Golgi Apparatus Acts Like a Mail Room for Eukaryotic Cells

The Golgi apparatus is the mail room of the cell, packaging up proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum and sending them to their final destinations.

'Veni, Vidi, Vici' Is Not a Humble Brag at All

"I came, I saw, I conquered" encapsulates Julius Caesar's entire approach to ruling.

What Does the Endoplasmic Reticulum Do?

The part of your cells that helps you recover from a hangover is shaped like a maze of tubes and is made of two parts — the rough endoplasmic reticulum and the smooth endoplasmic reticulum.

Honeyguide Birds Lead Humans Straight to Beehives

A remarkable partnership has formed over centuries between honeyguide birds and humans — and both species benefit when the honey is found and the comb is cracked.

Commensalism: I Benefit, You Don't, but It's All Good

Commensalism is a form of cooperation among species in which one species benefits from another without the first one suffering any harm from the relationship.

Denatured Alcohol: Great for Your Camp Stove, Not Your Margarita

Denatured alcohol is useful for lots of things, but drinking definitely isn't one of them.

What's the Difference Between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells?

Prokaryotic cells are like single-room efficiency apartments while eukaryotic cells are like mansions with many rooms — and they are the only two kinds of cells in the world.

The Predatory Snakehead Fish, or 'Frankenfish,' Can 'Walk' on Dry Land

The snakehead fish can breathe air, double its population in 15 months and has a huge appetite, which is not a good thing for native species.

The Ancient Element Bismuth Is the Pink in Today's Pepto-Bismol

Bismuth is a naturally occurring element with many applications in our daily lives, but even more than that, it looks amazing when it cools!

Spider Monkeys Are the Trapeze Artists of the Treetops

Spider monkeys, an endangered species, are the largest monkeys in the Americas and live in the forest canopy, where they swing through the trees with the greatest of ease.

Moths Are Mother Nature's Secret Pollinators

Bees get a lot of credit for pollinating important food crops, but they get a lot of secret help from their nocturnal friends, the moths.

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