There's nothing we love more here than some random information. The world is full of interesting things, so why limit yourself to one topic? This article is jam packed with tidbits from very different topics, from evolution to bionic limbs. Absorb that info, my friends.
54 Million Year Old Gecko Preserved in Amber
It doesn't look that different to a modern-day gecko, does it? That's what scientists thought, too, when they first found a collection of small lizards preserved in Amber inside a Burmese mine. These lizards, which come from the Cretaceous period (when dinosaurs were still around), are ancestors to the geckos and chameleons of today. It is assumed that the lizards crawled up coniferous trees to hide from predators and got stuck in the amber. Lucky for us, because their bodies are almost perfectly preserved. Scientists were able to 'digitally dissect' their bodies using CT scanners, and they discovered that, aside from a few evolutionary mutations, these lizards aren't so different to the lizards of today.
What Brings People Out of Comas
You might not know his name, but you definitely know his voice. This is Mel Blanc, the voice actor of Bugs Bunny and nearly all the characters in Looney Tunes, the American animation that began in the 1930s. Blanc was a notoriously hard worker, and voiced 1000 characters over his career. And this is what saved him.
One day, Blanc had a terrible car crash and slipped into a coma. After two weeks of being unresponsive to his family and friends, a doctor asked him, "Bugs Bunny, how are you doing today?" to which Blanc responded in a weak, yet unmistakable Bugs Bunny voice, "Myeeeeh. What's up doc?" Using this technique, the doctor helped him to come out of his coma.
Comas are caused by a traumatic brain injury, a stroke or lack of oxygen. However, even though the person's body is unconscious during a coma, their brains can still process their environment, i.e. hear the sounds around them. Many tests have been done using Electroencephalography (EEG), which monitors the electrical activity of the brain. These tests show that when a family member of friend tells the comatose person a story from long ago, invoking a long-term memory (which are less likely to be lost during a coma), there is a much higher chance that the comatose person will recognize the story and awake from the coma.
Liquefaction in Soil
This video is showing the effects of liquefaction in soil. Soil liquefaction occurs when wet soil loses it's strength and stiffness when it experiences stress or shaking. In other words, the soil suddenly acts like a liquid, when it's normal state is solid. It usually happens on sandy soil, where the water table is not far below the surface. Soil liquefaction commonly happens during earthquakes, as seen in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the 1964 Niigata earthquake and the 1964 Alaska earthquake. When soil liquefaction happens in residential areas, or near buildings, the results can be calamitous (watch this video to see some pretty crazy soil liquefaction in action).
Quicksand is also a form of soil liquefaction. That is why, if stuck in quicksand, one should never struggle because this movement will make the sand become more liquefied. Instead, one should stay still and attempt to lie horizontally on top of the quicksand.
A Plane Flying Through the Eye of Hurricane Dorian
This is a photo of a plane flying inside the eye of Hurricane Dorian, the category 5 storm that battered the Bahamas in late August 2019. While your first instinct would be to run from the hurricane, rather than fly straight into it, the people on this plane have a mission. They are Hurricane Hunters, and they are retrieving weather data about the hurricane.
But don't we have technology that can collect this data, rather than sending people to their imminent danger? Not really. While satellites can detect storms before they form, the only way to measure the barometric pressure and wind speed information from inside a storm - is to go inside and test it. With this data, meteorologists can accurately predict the development and movement of a hurricane. Although this may seem like a nightmare for some people, the Hurricane Hunters don't seem to mind the turbulence.
Making a Tornado Inside
This video shows university students made an indoor tornado. Although it looks like magic, it's actually very simple. To make an indoor tornado, you'll need at least four ground fans and some dry ice. Position the fans in a circle, all slightly at an angle so the air is blowing in one direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise). You'll also need a fan placed above the center of the circle that will pull the air upwards. Place the dry ice in the center of the circle and pour warm water on the dry ice. This will cause it to produce it's 'smoke' and, if the fans are positioned correctly, the smoke should spiral upwards until an indoor tornado is formed. Voila! You are now a weather god.
Fish Swimming in a Circle
Most types of fish like to stay together in schools, and use the technique seen in the picture to confuse predators. It's much harder to catch a single fish when they are all swimming and moving as one being. There is no leader in a school of fish; rather, they are always watching each other for the tiniest movements. When one fish turns the other way, the other fish follow until the whole school has changed direction. It may appear that the fish are all reading each other's minds, but they are actually just following each other.
The Girl With Bionic Arms
This is Tilly Lockey, a 13 year old who lives in England. When she was 15 months old, she lost both forearms to Meningitis and Septicaemia. Eventually, she was given a pair of bionic arms by Open Bionics. Since then, Tilly has become very popular through her ambassador role for Open Bionics, and her social media accounts. She has met the Dalai Lama, and was given a new pair of bionic arms by the directors of the movie Alita: Battle Angel. She is also well-known for her fashion tutorials, which she wouldn't have been able to do without her bionic arms.
Prosthetic arms have come a long way. What used to be made out of wood or metal, then turned to plastic, and now, bionic arms like Tilly's pick up signals from the user's muscles. In a nutshell, when the users imagine the action they want their hand to do, it does it!
Why Images Invert Through Lenses
You may now know it, but when your eyes see an image, they actually see it upside down. Our brains take this raw, unprocessed data and turns it into a coherent image that makes sense. Our brain knows which way is up and down. Cameras act in the same way, and so do raindrops. This is because, typically, a lens (whether that's eye, camera or a drop of water) inverts the image you're seeing. So when you see something upside down, it's actually the right way up! Confusing, right?
Words That Are Hard to Translate into English
I know exactly the moment they're talking about. If only English had one word for it. Here are some more moments that we all know, but they're are too difficult to translate into English.
From Indonesian, meaning a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.
In both Czech and Slovak language, this word means to call a mobile phone only to have it ring once so that the other person would call back, allowing the caller not to spend money on minutes.
In Japanese, this word refers to a mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement.
A Scottish verb meaning to hesitate while introducing someone due to having forgotten his/her name.
From the Inuit, meaning to go outside to check if anyone is coming.
From Brazilian Portuguese, meaning to tenderly run one's fingers through someone's hair.
From German, this word literally means "gate-closing panic" and is used to describe the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages. This word is most frequently applied to women who race the "biological clock" to wed and bear children.
From the Pascuense language of Easter Island, it is the act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.
From the Tshiluba language spoken in south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, this word has been chosen by numerous translators as the world's most untranslatable word. Ilunga indicates a person who is ready to forgive any abuse the first time it occurs, to tolerate it the second time, but to neither forgive nor tolerate a third offense.
Yep, it's real. This type of corn is called Glass Gem corn, and it has a pretty amazing story. Years ago, a farmer in Oklahoma called Carl Barnes, who is half-Cherokee, began to grow older corn varieties to connect with his heritage. He was able to identify and isolate the ancestral types of corn that had been lost during the 1800s, and soon he was meeting people all over America to exchange ancient corn seeds. In this time, he was selecting, saving and replanting the seeds from the most colorful cobs of corn. Over time, the genetic mutation of the different types of corn resulted in a new type of rainbow corn.
Today, you can buy it online from websites like Rare Seeds. If farming the corn, you can save the colored kernels that you love the most - blue, purple, red, pink, green, orange - and plant them straight in the ground. The plant that grows will most likely be the color of the kernel you planted. How cool is that!
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