Science and Technology

Choo-Choos for You

Clickety-clack, down the track, faster, faster goes the train. Puff, puff, toot, toot, off we go. Grab a train book and settle in for story time where excitement waits around every bend.

Sailing Away

Have you ever wanted to sail away across the water? For people today, sailing is something that's done for fun, but not so long ago sailing ships were the only practical way to travel across the vast oceans. For sailors to rely on only wind power called for courage, intelligence, stamina, and strength.

Netbooks for Newbies

Netbook use is on the rise everywhere--including your local library! Find outwhat you need to know about these tiny, affordable computers before you purchase. 

Beetles and finches and worms, oh, my!

This year marks the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his ground-breaking book, “On the Origin of Species.”  Kathryn Lasky’s new illustrated biography, “One Beetle Too Many,” makes an appealing introduction for nine- to twelve-year-olds to the man and his “idea that scared the world.”

The Power of Magnetism

What do the Earth, electric motors, and your computer all have in common?
These things are all influenced by magnets.

The Earth has a liquid metal core that acts like a bar magnet. It gets its magnetism from being near electrical currents beneath the surface. Because the Earth is not perfectly shaped, every so often the direction of the field will change. Scientists have found evidence that this has occurred at least 171 times over the past 71 million years. How do they know that? Magnets!

Good Germs, Bad Germs

The microbes we call germs have been around for a loooong time, and, tiny as they are, they are excellent survivors. You can find traces of microbes in meteorites that have crashed to Earth from other planets and moons, on the tops of the coldest mountains, and bubbling merrily in deep sea volcanic vents. Microbes are survivors. If they "know" anything, it's how to spread and how to live in the most unlikely places.

Netbooks for Newbies

It has been fascinating to observe the rising adoption rates of netbooks. Think of netbooks as filling the technological niche between smartphones (such as the Blackberry and the iPhone) and full-sized laptops: they are compact, light-weight, and inexpensive computers for the price-conscious mobile user. Netbooks generally feature a diagonal screen size of 7–10 inches, wi-fi, a slower processor which consumes less power (resulting in often considerably longer battery life), a smallish hard drive, and no built-in optical drive (CD/DVD).

Discovering Jacques Cousteau

Naval officer, inventor, explorer, environmentalist, filmmaker, writer, and international media sensation—Jacques-Yves Cousteau's life was the stuff of legends. He was born in June of 1910. In our modern era of environmental concerns and done-nothing celebs, it's time to revisit the life and work of an extraordinary man.

Childhood among the Rich

Matthew Fontaine Maury: Pathfinder of the Seas

This article was first printed in the May 1978 issue of the Fredericksburg Times magazine and appears here with the author's permission.

This American who is truly deserving of the terms "great" and "famous" was born January 14, 1806 in Spotsylvania County. He was the seventh child of Richard and Diana Minor Maury.

365 Days of Astronomy

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is a project that will publish one podcast per day, for all 365 days of 2009. The podcast episodes are written, recorded and produced by people around the world.