Kate Kershner has a degree in creative writing from Western Washington University and has written more than 400 articles for HowStuffWorks.

Recent Contributions

Leash your cheetah, buckle your seatbelt and tell Usain Bolt to take a knee. We're about to power through some of the speediest stuff this universe – both in the real world and in fiction – has to offer.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus & Kate Kershner

Forget George Washington’s cherry tree and Ben Franklin’s inveterate womanizing. You're about to meet patriots you've never heard of, plus a few you thought you knew.

By Kate Kershner

From Margaret Wise Brown to Beatrix Potter, some children's authors have reputations for disliking kids. Are the rumors true?

By Kate Kershner

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Chicago has long been known as "The Windy City." It's a pretty cool nickname, but does it live up to it?

By Kate Kershner

Every year a bunch of guys in top hats pull a wriggling rodent out of a hole and allow him to predict the weather. And we all take this seriously. Is Phil the groundhog really accurate or is he secretly giggling at us?

By Kate Kershner

Women looking to stop smoking may have more success if they time it with their cycle, a small, new study suggests.

By Kate Kershner

In an era of strict social rules, dance cards let gentlemen "claim" ladies for their turn on the floor. A full dance card was a sign of popularity.

By Kate Kershner

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Have you ever met someone with a unique first name, and then all of a sudden you hear the name everywhere you turn? That's the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon at work. How did it get that handle?

By Kate Kershner

There's a tornado coming! What do you do first? Grab your valuables? Seek shelter? Panic? Open the windows? Wait, what? Some say opening the windows in your house makes a tornado cause less damage. Read on to find out the truth.

By Kate Kershner

Thunder in the winter is a pretty cool phenomenon. It's unexpected, plus some say when you hear it, snow will arrive within seven days. If you hear thunder during the winter, should you get your snow shovel ready?

By Kate Kershner

A double rainbow, man! Just the sight of one can send us babbling into happiness. And why not? Rainbows are beautiful. And two rainbows at the same time? Even better. But just how rare are these colorful arcs?

By Kate Kershner

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Seven ounces a ray! No, that's a lie. Measuring the weight of light is not as straightforward as that. So what's the more complicated explanation?

By Kate Kershner

A snow day is the best. Everyone misses school, and you get to sleep in and spend the day in glorious, chilly nature. But then everyone gets sick of being cold, and suddenly the house seems extremely small. We can help.

By Kate Kershner

We humans have figured out a lot of strange ways to measure the weather. A cricket's chirps can tell us the temperature. The open scales on a pinecone signal a dry spell. But can a ring around the moon really predict rainy days ahead?

By Kate Kershner

Turning saltwater into tasty, drinkable H20 at desalination plants like this one is probably the biggest selling point of reverse osmosis, but let's back up a minute. What's osmosis, and why -- and how -- is reversing it useful to us?

By Kate Kershner

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For your average computer user, operating systems like Windows or the Mac OS are par for the course. But what if there wasn't an OS? Would the computer still, well, compute?

By Kate Kershner

There's still a lot we don't know about the world. A thousand years ago, we thought we could literally sail off the edge of the planet. Good thing we're quick learners. But while space may be the final frontier, the ocean may be the greater mystery.

By Kate Kershner

C'mon. You know you've thought about this. We have, too. Want to see how your list compares with ours?

By Kate Kershner

Wacom tablets aren't your average tablet PCS. They're pen tablets that allow artistic professionals and hobbyists alike to capture their art in a digital fashion.

By Kate Kershner

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You moved from one state to another last year, and now it's tax time. Don't freak out. Paying income taxes in two states is actually a pretty simple process, if you know all of the IRS rules.

By Kate Kershner

Is the world really connected by an intricate, invisible web of knowledge-expanding energy waves? Sure, it's called the Internet -- and you're channeling it right now! Oh, you were asking about the ley lines? We've got an answer for that too.

By Kate Kershner

The Zone of Silence sounds like a good place to get some studying done -- just kick back, relax and absorb knowledge. What's that? It's in the middle of a Mexican desert? Well, scratch the studying and find out what it really is.

By Kate Kershner

Obviously, if we had more evidence of the existence of ghosts, we wouldn't all spend so much time debating the matter. Believers in the supernatural, however, are convinced a substance called "ectoplasm" proves ghosts are real -- but are they right?

By Kate Kershner

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Three attacks on female runners prompted us to check out what apps and tech are out there to help keep runners safe and logging those miles.

By Kate Kershner

Although you can't write off home improvements on your taxes, there are several ways you can get tax breaks for home renovations if you follow the guidelines.

By Dave Roos, Patrick J. Kiger & Kate Kershner