Understanding coronavirus and how germs spread (3)
Hygiene Hank: So watch out Coronavirus -- this is how we're gonna protect ourselves. See you in the ring CV. And remember -- Hygiene Hank…
PJ McSuds: And PJ McSuds….
Hygiene Hank: Are bringing the smackdown to Virus Town.
PJ McSuds: Boo yah!
Molly: So, like with any sickness, it's a great idea to keep calm and hygiene on. It's also great to stay up to date with the latest news. But how do we know who to listen to? Gus, how do you figure out what the best information is?
Gus: Well, I basically check facts about if it really is truth or fact and I say, “Oh thanks that's good information.” Or just say “No, I'm not going to listen to you.”
Molly: That's good. It's good to check your facts. So what are the places that you feel like, “Ok, I will check my fact here, and I think that's a good place to check it.”
Gus: A good place to check your facts or to get your information is from KUOW where we are now or other news stations that have good information. I think that a bad place to get information is maybe in a place where you don't know people very well or if you don't know if people are telling the truth or if they're lying. Or if you're at school and someone says, “Hey… blah blah blah. You should totally believe it. I heard it from my parents” maybe. I don't think that's a good place to find information.
Molly: So you want to know where that information is coming from.
Gus: Yeah, you probably shouldn't get your information from anywhere that you don't know will give you the truth.
Molly: We asked JoNel Aleccia, a reporter for Kaiser Health News, to fill us in on where to get good information.
JoNel: When it comes to viruses and infections, it's best to trust people whose job it is to study these things. That often means government scientists, like those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Institutes for Health, or at universities all around the country. They're not always perfect, and they don't always have all the answers, but they have chosen to spend their lives making people healthy. So they are good sources of information.
You can trust news sources that depend on scientists to get their information. There are all kinds of people to turn to for answers. I mean, parents are always a really great source of information. I would ask a teacher to explain it to you.
Maybe, don't just believe what your friend said or, or something a friend's parents said. It's not rude at all to ask a question like, "Well, how do you know that?" when you hear something that you have a question about.
And so really the best advice is to trust people who have studied this information.
Molly: We have a whole series of episodes about how journalists and scientists work to find the facts -- and how to spot good information when you see it.
Gus: That four-part series is called Prove It, and you can find it on our website, brainson.org, or wherever you're listening to this right now.
Molly: Being able to sort facts from fluff is sort of like having a powerful immune system for your mind.
Gus: Totally. Gotta keep that brain healthy too!
Molly: This coronavirus is new, so it's getting a lot of attention.
Gus: Scientists are working hard to learn more about it.
Molly: The best way to stop the spread of the virus is to practice good hygiene.
Gus: Wash your hands, cover your coughs -- and stop touching your face.
Molly: That's it for this episode of Brains On!
Gus: Brains On! is produced by Menaka Wilhelm, Sanden Totten, Marc Sanchez and Molly Bloom.
Molly: We had production help from Elyssa Dudley, Ruby Guthrie and Kristina Lopez, and engineering help from John Miller and Robert Jacobs-Springer. Many, many thanks to John Huddleston, Katie Gostic, Phyllis Fletcher, Tracy Mumford and Anna Weggel.
Gus: Brains On is a non-profit public radio podcast. You can support the show at brainson.org/fans. Now, before we go, it's time for our Moment of Ummmmmm…..
Nolan: My question is: How do shoelaces come untied?
Kristine Gregg: So there's two things that contribute to your shoelaces coming untied. There's the fact that you're swinging your leg back and forth as you take a step, and there's also the fact that your foot is impacting the ground and that impact is shaking up the knot and causing it to loosen.
Hi! My name is Kristine Gregg and I'm an engineer who studies how things move and break. I was really excited about this question because it's something I deal with all the time. It's one of those fun mysteries that we find in our everyday lives.
When we ere first investigating why these shoelaces became untied, we tried a lot of things. I sat on the end of a table and I just swung my legs back and forth for an hour and I noticed that my shoelaces didn't come untied. But I also just stood still and stamped my foot on the ground, just putting the impact and it still didn't come untied.
We noticed that my shoelaces -- when I was walking down the hallway -- it would be fine, and then suddenly in one step, boom! It would come untied very quickly so that I couldn't see it with my naked eye. So, we used a very high-speed camera so that we could look at the untying process in really slow motion. That's what helped us understand that it really is the combination of the swinging motion and the fact that we're impacting the ground.
What surprised me most is that the length of the loop or the free end in your shoelace knot can influence how quickly it becomes untied. So, if we look at your shoelace knots, you have two loops and then you have the two just single strands of the know. We call the single strands the free end. There's kind of a tug-of-war with between the loop and the free end as it goes through the knot. And if you have a really heavy -- and that's actually how we studied it, we added weights to the free end when we were swinging and impacting that knot. And we saw that if you have a really long or a heavier free end, it's going to win the tug of war with the loop much more quickly and come untied.