Random Wonders

Posted on November 1, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber
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Do you know what random wonders are all around you?

After 18 months of writing for EWC, I thought it was time I shared some articles that I’ve found myself quoting constantly. So, here are some of my favorite “fun facts” and random wonders!

I hope they will leave you walking through life looking at things with a little more awe and appreciation for how amazing this world is!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!



Driverless Cars: How Our Bodies Can Inspire the Future

Posted on October 28, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What can our bodies teach us about making your morning commute more enjoyable? How can your blood cells inform the future of driverless cars?

It turns out, the systems that nature has nature has spent billions of years perfecting can translate beautifully to the way we design and build feasible futuristic transportation!

Image: Futuristic Driverless car from 1960
Source: Seattle Municipal Archives // Flickr

Think about it. The way our blood moves throughout our bodies is a pretty efficient design. It fits hundreds of thousands of miles of roadways into our bodies, and then moves trillions of blood cells through them with little wasted space, energy, or time. Imagine if getting to work in rush hour worked that smoothly!

For self-described “transport geek” Wanis Kabbaj, translating these natural systems to our highways, streets, and cities is not an experiment in distant, science fiction thinking. It is a reality we could see in the near future, and a dream powered by the driverless cars of today!

So, buckle up, and enjoy this thought-provoking and possibility inspiring Talk from the TED stage. (more…)



Plants Can Talk to Each Other?

Posted on May 12, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

There is nothing that signals the start of summer like the smell of fresh cut grass, but did you know that smell is actually a kind of plant communication?

It turns out plants can “talk” to each other!

Image: Aphid on a little flower, plants can talk to each other

So, that “freshly mowed grass smell” is actually a warning sign from your lawn to fellow plants that danger is about.

Plants communicate using pheromones that can not only be understood within a species but also by their neighbors.

This fascinating bit of science serves as an important reminder that there is so much out there for us to learn if we try and look at the world the way other organisms do.

Here’s TED-Ed with this incredible story… (more…)



The Tale of the Flapper and the Panda

Posted on September 12, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

The panda, it’s an animal with a cult following, but how did we get here? How did the panda become a cultural icon around the world?

It turns out, it’s a fascinating story that started with an adventurous flapper, and a panda named Su Lin.

Image: A panda relaxing on a tree with its tongue out a tiny bit

So, who was this woman? Her name was Ruth Harkness, and in 1936 she set off to China with a mission to be the first person to bring a panda back from China alive.

Here’s The Brain Scoop with her remarkable story, and a little history on where all this panda-monium started…




What are Gravitational Waves Anyway?

Posted on July 29, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Gravitational waves, they are something that we’ve heard a lot about recently, but do you really know what they are?

A few months ago you may remember hearing that science had confirmed the existence of gravitational waves. If you are anything like me, your first question was, “What are gravitational waves?” followed by, “And why is this such a big deal?” I have finally found the answer to both those questions in language I can understand and will share them with you today!

Image: Gravitational waves and Einstein

In the most basic sense, gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime. A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, as a part of his theory of general relativity. Up until recently, the existence of gravitational waves was still theoretical. That is until LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, detected gravitational waves for the first time.

Explaining gravitational waves much beyond that is best left to the professionals, so here is The Good Stuff to help us fill in why this was such a tremendous discovery… (more…)



Perfecting the Hardest Move in Ballet

Posted on June 22, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

The human body is capable of incredible things. When paired with our own boundless creativity, and a lot of practice, it can transform into a marvel and a work of art.

When it comes to combining physics, music, and remarkable feats of athleticism, ballet is almost unrivaled in the expanse of its expression.

Image: Huston Ballet production of Swan Lake, principal dancer centered with corps de ballet surrounding

Amid all of the beautiful and awe-inspiring moves in ballet, one rivals them all in its technicality, physicality, and artistry: the fouette.

Sometimes called the hardest move in ballet, the fouette combines dance with physics to leave audiences riveted.

So, what is this science behind this piece of artistry? Here’s TED-ed to enlighten us… (more…)



Liesl Ulrich-Verderber is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yoga lover. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV