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.

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

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

What in the world is monkeypox, and should Americans be worried about another contagious virus spreading across the U.S. and Europe?

By Joanna Thompson

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How this forgotten cowboy king of the Wild West lived isn't so much a secret. It's how Johnny Ringo died that's still shrouded in mystery.

By Joanna Thompson

Ancient Greeks and Romans used thin strips of lead to vent their frustrations or write messages to the gods.

By Joanna Thompson

Compression socks, sleeves and other garments are worn by both patients and athletes to help enhance their performance and improve their post-op recovery. But do they work?

By Joanna Thompson

Science has made it possible for some apples to be stored as long as a year before selling. How is that done, and is it safe?

By Joanna Thompson

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Who gets long COVID and why still remains a mystery, but several new studies are showing it's much more widespread than we initially thought. So what is long COVID and how can it be treated?

By Joanna Thompson

In the latest COVID-19 surge, many hospitals across the country are on diversion, meaning they're asking ambulances to take patients elsewhere. Here's how that could affect you.

By Joanna Thompson

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

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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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

A new project aims to document the possible demise of Planet Earth due to climate change. It's called Earth's Black Box and the creators hope this will be a warning to all Earth-dwellers to take global warming seriously.

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

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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