Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist who's written on everything from the Beagle Brigade and border walls to cricket farms and TV scheduling for HowStuffWorks. She earned her master's degree from U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and she's written on health and wellness topics for outlets including Cosmopolitan, O: The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue and more. Michelle loves music, manatees and terrible teen movies from the early 2000s.

Recent Contributions

How did the Greek goddess Lamia, once said to be a queen of Libya, become a child-murdering monster feared for her malevolent nature?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

On July 20, 2021, Wally Funk will blast off. Her trip to space has been delayed since 1961, when the 'Mercury 13' Woman in Space Program was cancelled.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Manatees are so gentle and sweet they'll break your heart, but in 2021, there have been more manatee deaths than in any year in previously recorded history. Why are these gentle giants dying in such unprecedented numbers?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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The lyre is a small U-shaped harp that has appeared all over the world, from the ancient Greco-Roman culture, to India, Africa and beyond. Do people still play this ancient stringed instrument?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Nearly every living cell is made of DNA, and every chromosome contains exactly one molecule of DNA. But not all cells are made of the same number of chromosomes.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

A fertilized egg travels through the fallopian tube, implants in the uterus and nine months later, a bouncing baby is born. But what happens if the egg implants and begins to grow somewhere other than the uterus?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Muir was personally involved in the creation of Yosemite, Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon national parks and earned the title of "Father of Our National Park System."

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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In our modern vernacular, the phrase "that's just semantics" has somehow become shorthand to insinuate the speaker has argued something trivial or unimportant. But what does it really mean?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Ubiquitous in the 1970s, the papasan chair has a colorful history.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

The dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the largest masonry dome ever built and still defines the city of Florence over 500 years later.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Primary colors are the blocks from which all other colors are built. But there's a lot more to know about them than the basic red, yellow and blue we learned about in kindergarten.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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Cultures all over the world have treasured turquoise for its color and rarity for thousands of years — from Native American jewelry and Aztec and Mesoamerican art to King Tutankhamun's death mask.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

You've probably heard of the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, but do you know the difference?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

These majestic trees send their roots down in pillars from branch to ground, can form a canopy over 80 feet high and can live to be 250 years old.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

The practice of shamanism has mystical and spiritual connotations, but it's not tied to any specific religion or creed. So, what exactly is shamanism?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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Bach was and is a towering figure in musical history, but what is it that makes him so great?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Like many other Chinese-Americans, Anna May Wong endured racism during her lifetime. But she persisted and eventually broke down barriers to become the first Chinese-American film star.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

She was said to be the most beautiful woman in Greece and the bearer of the "face that launched a thousand ships." But who was Helen of Troy, really?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Frédéric Chopin gave only 30 public performances of his stunning piano works during his lifetime, but his influence on the soul of classical music was immeasurable.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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Lady Day, as her fans called her, had a captivating vocal style. But it's the way she poured her life into her songs that made her so memorable. Here are five songs you should know.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

An intrepid world traveler, skilled mountaineer and noted archaeologist, Gertrude Bell broke all the rules at a time when women lived under the oppressive thumb of Victorian-era England.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Mochi is a super-chewy traditional Japanese delicacy, made from mochigome, a short-grain glutinous rice.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

If bananas are berries and strawberries and raspberries are not, what in the world is a berry anyway?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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Sassafras has a long history of culinary, medicinal and aromatic use, but safrole, a toxic compound found in its essential oils, has been banned by the FDA because of its potential carcinogenic properties.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Truffles are prized the world over for their pungent, earthy flavor, but what's so special about them, and why is the truffle trade so cutthroat and secretive?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky