Joanna Thompson is a freelance journalist based in New York City. A certified nerd, she loves delving into the nitty-gritty of all things science for HowStuffWorks. Her other loves include baking, reading pulpy sci-fi novels, and her pet gecko. Also, sometimes she runs fast. You can find more of her writing at Audubon Magazine, Scientific American, Atlas Obscura or on her website, joanna thompson.work.

Frances Kelsey saved countless lives when she decided not to approve a drug for morning sickness in the 1960s. Her instinct was spot-on and has had lasting effects on FDA drug approval ever since.

By Joanna Thompson

CRISPR is the genius behind innovations that seemed impossible a decade ago. Could you grow tomatoes with the kick of hot sauce or ferment wine that doesn't cause a hangover? That's just two of the things scientists are looking into.

By Joanna Thompson

Whether bone or stone, plastic or fuzz, dice have been rolled by people looking for a little luck in civilizations throughout recorded history.

By Joanna Thompson

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Vaccines stimulate our immune system to help protect us from a specific disease or virus, like COVID-19. But sometimes that protection wanes and we need additional doses, or booster shots.

By Joanna Thompson

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, plays an essential role in regulating ocean temperatures, but it looks as if it may be collapsing. What happens next?

By Joanna Thompson

Blood flow restriction training, or BFR, is a technique in which athletes intentionally limit the blood flow to a specific area of the body during a workout using a band or cuff. But can anyone benefit from this technique?

By Joanna Thompson

New data released today from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is behind the agency's updated mask guidelines. What so alarmed the CDC that it's telling even the vaccinated to wear masks again?

By Joanna Thompson

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What in the world is monkeypox, and should Americans be worried about another contagious virus spreading across the country?

By Joanna Thompson

Researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz determined that only about 1.5 to 7 percent of the modern human genome is unique to humans. The rest we share with our relatives the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.

By Joanna Thompson

Pfizer says COVID-19 booster shots are necessary, but the CDC and FDA say they're not. Are these mixed messages only going to confuse those who are still not vaccinated? We asked some expert vaccinologists for their opinion.

By Joanna Thompson

Nearly 90 percent of the Western U.S. is gripped by an "apocalyptical" drought that only continues to worsen. Even if you don't live in the area, it affects you — and what you do affects it.

By Joanna Thompson

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FUTA, the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, was written into law in 1939 in response to the Great Depression and, as we discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic, it still has great relevance today.

By Joanna Thompson

Experts say the U.S. government is designed so a coup d'état would be highly unlikely ever to occur. But deep political polarization can precipitate one, so does that mean a coup is marginally more possible?

By Joanna Thompson

In 2016, U.S. diplomats in Havana, Cuba, reported strange sounds and steady pulses of pressure in their heads. Many still have unexplained illnesses. Now at least two incidents have occurred in D.C. What's going on?

By Joanna Thompson

Chastity belts were supposedly worn by women in the Middle Ages to keep them from having sex. A literal lock for a woman's nether regions. But how much truth is there to this torture device?

By Joanna Thompson

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So you've finally gotten up the guts to go skydiving. But what if you finally jump out of the plane and your parachute doesn't open? Are you a goner or do you have a good chance of surviving?

By Joanna Thompson