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Halloween. A time for telling ghost stories, extorting candy from your neighbors, and yes, contemplating the many science lessons wrapped up in this popular holiday. Start with a look at the science behind the myths of zombies, vampires, and witches in the first Web site from studentBMJ, a monthly medical journal for students with an interest in medicine (1). The next Web site from Washington State University offers a closer look at ergot, the wheat fungus that may have sparked the Salem witch trials (2). Next, spiders and pumpkins. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture clears up misconceptions about the much-maligned spider (3), and the Home and Garden Television network provides tips on growing your very own enormous pumpkin. And why make a mess bobbing for apples when you can instead learn all about them in a great Web site from the University of Illinois Extension (5)? And has answered the age-old question of what to do with your Halloween candy score -- use it to model DNA (6). Why not? The following site is the online companion to Red Gold: The Epic Story of Blood, an excellent PBS series that premiered in June of 2002 (7). Last, National Public Radio's Science Friday produced a Halloween show in 1997 -- an interesting look at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, leeches and maggots, and other things properly Halloween-ish.
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Date of Scout Publication 2003-10-31
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