Spot a cockroach and most people will have similar reactions.
First, you’ll feel fear. Just admit it.
Then you’ll probably want to kill it. That’s actually pretty mean. But I get it.
But here’s the thing.
While they may not be cute or cuddly (quite the opposite you might agree) cockroaches are pretty impressive creatures.
Did you know if Robespierre had waged his reign of terror during the French Revolution on cockroaches rather than people he would not have been in power long, as cockroaches can survive without their head for up to a week! They can do this because they don’t need their mouth to breathe as they can breathe through holes in their bodies. Of course, they will eventually die of thirst as they need to stay hydrated and they do need their mouth to drink. But still.
What if, on the other hand, they lived in Medieval England and were accused of witchcraft and drowned. Nope. These little buggers can hold their breath for half an hour so would have probably fooled the executioner on that one too.
You sure you packed that picnic for the hike in case you need a snack? Cockroaches can go for a month without food so don’t bother packing them one.
Sorry to burst your bubble but no, they cannot survive a nuclear explosion.
Still, not bad for a little roach.
Ever wondered when you turn on the cold water tap followed by the hot water tap why there is a notable difference in sound (assuming flow rate and pressure are more or less the same)?
It’s actually to do with the viscosity (or thickness) of the water at different temperatures. Hot water is less viscous than cold water because its molecules are moving around more rapidly (think of the water in a kettle bubbling) and therefore hot water is less dense than cold water.
This difference in density has an effect on the sound it makes when poured. Try it next time you pour yourself a glass of water or a cup of coffee. You will probably notice that hot water is more high-pitched.
Let’s say you were in the market to buy an authentic Leonardo Da Vinci painting. You will need two things.
First, a lot of money.
Second, a knowledge of nuclear bombs. Or, more specifically, isotopes created by the detonation of nuclear bombs.
Isotopes (atoms that have different numbers of neutrons than the standard for that element and therefore a different atomic mass) such as strontium-90 and cesium-137, did not exist in nature until 1945 when the first nuclear bombs were detonated.
Nuclear bombs (both the ones dropped over Japan in 1945 and the hundreds detonated in tests during the early Cold War period) created a thermonuclear explosion which resulted in neutrons of radioactive elements colliding in massive quantities to create new isotopes.
What does this have to do with buying a Da Vinci painting?
Well, Da Vinci lived during the 16th century, well before anyone had developed, let alone detonated, a nuclear bomb. And if you were to spend a fortune on a Da Vinci painting you would probably want to ensure it’s authentic.
One way to do that is to check for isotopes. If it is a masterful forgery (and many forgeries these days are highly convincing and often fool even expert art dealers) you should check whether the painting contains traces of these isotopes. If it does, you will know that it cannot pre-date 1945. So if the seller is purporting to offer an authentic Da Vinci and it contains these isotopes, you will know it’s a fake.
Of course there are other considerations to check for authenticity, but this one is pretty helpful. And it could save you a lot of money!
While the world is currently enduring it’s most recent pandemic with Covid-19, it is interesting to look back in time at how we coped, and what we learned, from previous pandemics.
In the 14th century, the Black Death (or plague) killed around a third of the population of Europe.
As horrible as that was, it apparently also made 10% of Europeans immune to another deadly virus – HIV (although some scientists give the credit to smallpox instead arguing that the plague was not in fact a virus and could therefore not provide a trigger for possible immunity). Notwithstanding, at some point in time a genetic mutation (known as CR5-A32) created a virus-blocking immune-defence in humans that would later (much later!) be found to be effective in some people against HIV.
How? Well, there is a growing body of scientists that think that this genetic mutation has been around for around 2,500 years. This is when Darwin’s theory of evolution and ‘survival of the fittest’ gets real. Over many centuries outbreaks of a virus (more than one) killed people who did not have this mutation, leaving a higher proportion of those with it to live on and reproduce. As this process repeats in generation after generation, the mutation becomes more common. While it is estimated that 1 in 20.000 people had the mutation 2,500 years ago, scientists believe that now 1 in 10 people have it.
The Body Pro
A volcanic plume (the cloud of ash that bursts out of an active volcano) are made up of highly compressed particles as they have been underground for many thousands of years.
When a volcano erupts and spits out its ash plume, these particles mix with the air in the atmosphere, which is much less dense. As the particles are bashed together violently within the plume, they create friction and become electrically charged and separate from other air particles causing a mix of positive and negative particles. The electric field that connects the positively and negatively charged particles results in lightning.
A rainbow is a multicolored arc made by light striking water droplets.
A rainbow is an optical illusion and does not actually exist as a standalone phenomenon although visible to us. The appearance of a rainbow depends on where you’re standing and where the sun is shining.
Rainbows are formed when light rays enter a water droplet and are are bent (or refracted) inside the droplet until the ray hits the back of the droplet which reflects it. As this reflected light leaves the droplet, it is refracted again and spread out across a wider area. It is this that forms what we see as a rainbow.
Full article originally published in National Geographic.
Light travels in waves. These waves have different lengths and each length has a corresponding colour. For example, blue light waves are shorter than red light waves.
Key to understanding how ‘colour’ works, is the basic premise that light particles (known as photons) travel in a straight line. It only bends (refracts), bounces back (reflects) or scatters if it passes through or comes into contact with other particles. something
When the light rays from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere they bump into the gases and particles that make up our atmosphere. This collision scatters the light particles in every direction. As blue light waves are shorter and more easily derailed than longer light waves (such as red) they are the ones scattered most widely. This is why we see a blue sky most of the time.
Read full article originally published on NASA.
You may or may not have pondered why your breakfast cereal tends to clump together or cling to the sides of a bowl of milk. Dubbed the Cheerios Effect by scientists, the surface of a liquid (in this case milk unless you use something else with your cereal)’s actually forms a type of crater.
This is because the water molecules in the milk are charged and attracted to the glass surface of the bowl (works with ceramic as well) which means that they pan out from the centre of the bowl taking with it some of the mass (and form) of the liquid. This is how the slight crater forms and the flow of water molecules to the inner rim of the bowl take with it some of the floating cereal near the edge.
Read the full article in Live Science
Everyone in the world is made up of atoms. Atoms, if observed on an atomic level, contain a whole lot of…well…nothing. It follows that humans are made up for the most part (around 99%) of nothing. How’s that for an anatomical ego boost?
Ever heard the expression, “you’ve got the whole world in your hands?”
In fact, every human being on earth, all 7.6 billion of us (and counting), could fit into the palm of your hand. Literally.
All of us could be compressed (I know it sounds grim and would take some serious hydraulic power) into a solid cube with the equivalent size of a sugar cube – all because the atoms of which we are all composed are made up of 99% space and 1% matter. Roughly.
What we perceive as solid objects like desks, chairs, cars, even ourselves, is actually just a big conglomeration of tiny particles separated by what is practically infinite nothingness.
It all comes down to the composition of atoms. The fundamental building blocks of all matter – including us.
Anything that has a mass and occupies a given amount of volume is rudimentarily defined as matter. Everything around us is made up of matter made up of atoms. Atoms make up everything, but their internal components (nucleons and electrons) when measured relative to their size against the size of the atom as a whole also exist very far apart. There is much more empty space in an atom than there are particles that make up the structure of that atom.
Take away that empty space and extract the matter, and you’re not left with much.
Read full article on Interesting Engineering website.
Next time you’re in Sardinia and you’re enjoying a nice bottle of Chianti with some cheese and grapes, you might want to forget this story.
Casu Marzu is a Sardinian cheese with a little something extra. You could say it’s alive. Very alive.
To produce Casu Marzu, cheese makers allow a species of flies to lay eggs inside of it. Once these hatch the the maggots feed on the cheese aiding fermentation.
The story goes that local Sardinians will tell you the cheese is only okay to eat if the maggots are still moving. Apparently, once the maggots are dead, the Casu Marzu has gone bad.
This is taste-testing at another level.
The EU has declared Casu Marzu illegal based on hygienic standards. It can cause severe illness or even death if congested.
Article originally published on ilovecheese.co.uk.