Nicholas Gerbis is a freelance writer and editor specializing in science reporting and pop culture. He has written over 100 articles for HowStuffWorks on topics ranging from maggot therapy to the most destructive storms to the history of golf. He also writes for LiveScience and is the senior science correspondent with the KJZZ science and innovation desk.

Recent Contributions

The labels on your clothes have all types of laundry symbols on them. Here's what all those symbols mean.

By Nicholas Gerbis & Yara Simón

Hard water can be a problem because it causes pipes to clog. Using a water softener can help solve this problem, but how does it work?

By Nicholas Gerbis

Underwater tunnels are so commonplace that we rarely think of the great dangers -- and extreme construction techniques -- these modern wonders require. With the opening of the Marmaray Tunnel in October 2013, it's time to take a second look.

By Nicholas Gerbis

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If you step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back. Surely you know this jingle from childhood. It's a silly example of a correlation with no causation. But there are some real-world instances that we often hear, or maybe even tell?

By Nicholas Gerbis & Melanie Radzicki McManus

We've all probably looked up and wondered why the sky is blue instead of, say, brown. The sky is blue because of the way Earth's atmosphere scatters light from the sun.

By Nicholas Gerbis

A lunar land rush is the most likely thing in the world (or, rather, out of it). As private companies gaze spaceward with dollar signs in their eyes, it's time to start settling some questions about space ownership, use and management.

By Nicholas Gerbis

Since the 1960s, we've been captivated by the planet Mars. How different is our neighbor, and what have we learned about the most explored planet?

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D., Nicholas Gerbis & Mark Mancini

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Mathematics achieves the sublime. Sometimes, as with tessellations, it rises to art. In their simplest form, tessellations consist of a single shape that repeats over a two-dimensional plane without any gaps. Why was M.C. Escher so fixated on them?

By Nicholas Gerbis

Until a certain female NASA mission specialist unwittingly propelled adult diapers into the media spotlight, we never gave this question much thought. How else has the space agency changed the business of elimination?

By Nicholas Gerbis

There's no question that people are interested in solar energy. The problem has been how to store it. Could the much-hyped Powerwall home battery change that scenario?

By Nicholas Gerbis

You likely heard that paleontologists uncovered a cache of dinosaur embryos, bone fragments and eggshells in China. You also may recall that we've made crazy leaps forward in genetics and genomics. Can we put the two together and create a dinosaur?

By Nicholas Gerbis

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NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will look back in time to see the earliest stars in creation, and serve as the premier deep space observatory for the next decade. Ready to meet the mighty Webb?

By Nicholas Gerbis & Sarah Gleim

It's a pretty straightforward question with an obvious answer, right? Well, yes, until you start peering at both federal and state laws. That's when things start to get interesting.

By Nicholas Gerbis

Ask a card-carrying member of the NRA and you'll get one answer. Ask a member of Everytown for Gun Safety and you'll get another. We look at the research that underlies this controversial topic.

By Patrick J. Kiger & Nicholas Gerbis

He built President Eisenhower an indoor golf-training machine, analyzed the Zapruder film and searched for an Egyptian pyramid's treasure chamber using cosmic rays. Aren't you dying to meet this wide-ranging scientist?

By Nicholas Gerbis

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Pheromones are a powerful means of controlling behavior among members of a social group or species. They can indicate danger, territory or even readiness to mate. But what exactly are pheromones, anyway?

By Nathan Chandler & Nicholas Gerbis

There's little we can imagine that Mother Nature hasn't already dreamed up in one of her fouler moods. Care to meet some creatures with frightful features?

By Nicholas Gerbis & Melanie Radzicki McManus

Dreams really can come true, gamers.

By Nicholas Gerbis

Identity errors have led to a range of awfulness, from lengthy prison sentences to the wrong person being declared dead.

By Nicholas Gerbis

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If people had exoskeletons and wings maybe they'd be around forever, too. Insects are born survivors because they have certain traits that other animals don't.

By Nicholas Gerbis

As technologically advanced as we are, could we have been even farther ahead if we hadn't forgotten so much of what we'd learned centuries ago?

By Nicholas Gerbis

Marine biologists have discovered a lot about the ocean's residents while you were busy dozing on the beach. We've dug up 10 of their coolest discoveries.

By Nicholas Gerbis

You might not be whipping knives at the wheel of death by the time you finish reading this article, but you'll be on your way. Ready to learn about this awesome pastime?

By Nicholas Gerbis

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Modern medicine may be here, but there are still plenty of infectious diseases to combat, and the CDC is really busy doing that. Get to know 10 of these public (health) enemies.

By Nicholas Gerbis

Sudden cardiac death is a huge global killer. Even if you survive such an incident, your neurological outcome isn't so hot. A serious chill could change that.

By Nicholas Gerbis