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

Recent Contributions

As a zealous advocate for marginalized people in the LGBTQ community, Sylvia Rivera was a progressive and important figure in the movement.

By Kate Kershner

The identical ranks of cookie-cutter neighborhoods have been immortalized (and often satirized) in American pop culture, but who first came up with the idea for these "little boxes on the hillside?"

By Kate Kershner

The Interwebs are full of freebies, especially when it comes to software. But before you click on that tempting free download, you might want to think twice -- and do your homework first.

By Kate Kershner

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If the legend is true, at the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold. Does that mean if triple rainbows exist, you'll find three pots of gold?

By Kate Kershner

If you're in a thunderstorm, then your top priority is safety. It might sound like a good idea to call your loved ones and let them know you're okay, but hold the phone a moment. See those lightning bolts outside? They've got other ideas.

By Kate Kershner

It would be nice if our electronic devices doubled as handy, lightning-proof talismans to ward off danger during a thunderstorm. Sadly, that sounds more like sorcery than science. In the meantime, maybe you should just leave them off and unplugged.

By Kate Kershner

Most of us don't intuitively classify electroshocks as therapeutic, but this 1950s-era treatment has changed a lot since it was first introduced. When and why do mental health experts now turn to it?

By Kate Kershner

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Determining the safest place on Earth can be a little tricky. After all, if we all knew where it was, wouldn't we all be clamoring to live there already? And anyway, what do we even mean by "safe" -- and safe from what?

By Kate Kershner

Every year during tornado season, we see devastating effects of twisters in flat regions. But what about mountains? Do tornadoes steer clear of mountainous landscapes?

By Kate Kershner

Some things in this world you can just count on. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Certain types of birds will always fly south for the winter. But do tornadoes really only move from west to east -- and if so, why?

By Kate Kershner

Star jelly sounds like it could be some sort of cosmic spread for toast -- complete with a flashy label boasting, "Now with 50 percent more universe!" Unfortunately, the real story of star jelly is far less tasty -- and far more terrestrial.

By Kate Kershner

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You might argue we have scientists to thank for our own survival. What breakthroughs have kept the human race from dying out?

By Patrick J. Kiger, Colleen Cancio & Kate Kershner

If humid air is just air plus water, then it has to be heavier than dry air, right? Sure, if it was only a matter of simple addition, but molecular physics is a lot like a bouncer at a club: Nothing gets in unless something else goes out.

By Kate Kershner

Summertime fashion — light in weight and light in color. Are these pastel colors a designer's choice? Or do light colors actually keep you cooler, as some say? Read to find out if you should ditch the goth wardrobe this summer.

By Kate Kershner

Humans riding dinosaurs: Sounds like a kid's dream come true! History tells us this couldn't possibly have happened, but the Ica stones say otherwise. So is there any truth to these allegedly ancient carvings, or are they just an elaborate hoax?

By Kate Kershner

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We argue that living well requires wine and cheese, but what does living at all require? You might be surprised to find out that there's no single definition.

By Kate Kershner

We humans have no problem dreaming up superpowers we wish we had. There's flight, invincibility and super strength. But what about pyrokinesis or starting fires with our minds? Is that a real-life thing or comic-book fantasy?

By Kate Kershner

Humans can certainly claim some of these, but sloths, giraffes and pandas wanted a piece of the action, too. The hyena adaptation, however, may just blow your mind.

By Kate Kershner

One of the best things about autumn is watching the leaves change color to fiery hues of red, gold and orange. Some say a rainy summer leads to an extra-vivid leaf show. Is that true?

By Kate Kershner

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We don't know the answer to how many civilizations might exist in the universe. But we do know the factors that allow life on Earth. Are there other planets that fit the bill? Oh yes indeed.

By Kate Kershner

Your grandfather may swear that he can feel the onset of a harsh winter in his bones — and your family may swear it's true — but a lot of us would prefer a more scientific method for predicting what the winter may have in store for us.

By Kate Kershner

Ancient caves! Mysterious stones! Tiny little beings with strange heads! Sounds like the plot of an Indiana Jones movie, doesn't it? The legend of the Dropa stones has persisted for over half a century now, but is any of it actually true?

By Kate Kershner

These African American men and women were trailblazers, and in some cases, business leaders in the field of engineering.

By Kate Kershner

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It may shock you, but there's never been a widespread study conducted on the sanitation or the necessity of the courtesy flush. Can this practice inflict grievous bodily harm on your hindquarters — and the environment? HowStuffWorks weighs in.

By Kate Kershner

From tropical islands to arctic tundra, we humans appear capable of living just about anywhere. But do different groups of people fare better in certain types of climates, or are we just really good at adapting to the environment around us?

By Kate Kershner