15 Science Factlets You Don’t Know
Now that we are fully settled into the New Year, it is time to refresh our brains with another list of fascinating factlets. These mini-facts are all science based and, for the most part, should be news to most readers. Let’s get the New Year off to a good start with some learning!
1. Raindrops are not shaped like a teardrop (as they are almost always depicted in drawings) – they are actually spherical.
2. When something “sublimes” it turns directly into a gas from a solid – bypassing the liquid state. This is what would happen if you throw dry-ice into a fire.
3. Gorillas sleep in nests (pictured above) – they weave together soft foliage and bent branches from trees. Males tend to like sleeping on the ground while females like to have their nests in trees.
4. Champagne doesn’t fizz because of carbon dioxide – it fizzes because of dirt or dust. In a completely smooth glass with no dust molecules in it, champagne would be completely still.
5. Most digestion occurs, not in the stomach, but in the small intestine. This may be the reason that a person can be bulimic whilst still staying fat.
6. The red juice that comes out of rare steak is not blood – it is myoglobin a close relative of blood. Almost all the blood has been removed from a steak by the time it hits the market.
7. Plastic bags are better than paper bags for the environment. The manufacturing process that makes paper bags requires far more energy than that which produces plastic. Recycling paper bags takes more energy than recycling plastic, and paper bags take up more space in a landfill. Because landfills are usually airtight beneath the surface, paper and plastic are equally bad at biodegrading.
8. Polar bears are fascinating creatures. Their fur is transparent (not white), their skin is black (not white), and when kept in warm humid environments, their fur can turn green from algae.
9. Pet allergies are usually not allergies to fur but allergies to the animal’s dead skin, saliva, or waste matter. Regularly cleaning pets can dramatically reduce allergies.
10. The tongue map is a lie – you can taste all tastes on all parts of the tongue. The tongue map is derived from a discredited German paper from 1901.
11. When you hold a shell to your ear to hear the sea, the sound you hear is actually your own blood rushing through your veins! You can use any cup shaped object to hear this effect.
12. When you are alive, your brain is pink. When you die, it turns grey. While we describe the brain as “gray matter” and “white matter”, this is not a true description of its color.
13. Mercury, the fascinating liquid metal is not the only liquid metal. Gallium (Ga – pictured above) is solid at room temperature but will melt if held in your hand, caesium (Cs), and francium (Fr) – the second rarest naturally occurring element, can also be liquid at or near room temperature.
14. Dolphins don’t drink water – if they drank sea water it would make them ill and potentially kill them. They get all of their liquid needs through the foods they eat.
15. The Soviet Union was the first country to have a spacecraft on the moon – not the Unites States. In 1959, Luna 2 was the first craft to crash-land on the moon. In February, 1966, Luna 9 was the first soft-landed craft on the moon which relayed back pictures. Four months later, the United States landed its first craft on the moon (Surveyor I).