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Cool & Crazy Science Facts

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posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 12:50 PM
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I just finished reading the book, “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson. Here is a link to some information on the book –

en.wikipedia.org...

This book was a really interesting read, it is a book about science and tries to cram a ton of info into about 500 pages. I was interested if anyone else on ATS has read it, and what there thoughts are on the book. The information in this book seems like it should be common information taught in high school, but I was amazed by how much I would have never heard of if I didn't seek it out on my own.

I thought some of the same things that interested me would interest fellow ATSers. So below is some scientific info from the book that I thought was cool. Please post any other cool science facts that you know!

Let's make this a thread full of cool/interesting/odd science facts!!

“Protons are so small that a little dib of ink like dot on this i can hold something in the region of 500,000,000,000 of them, rather more than the number of seconds contained in half a million years.”

“The current best estimate for Earth's weight is 5.9725 billion trillion metric tons...'

“Particles have a quality known as spin and, according to quantum theory, the moment you determine the spin of one particle, its sister particle, no matter how distant away, will immediately begin spinning in the opposite direction at the same rate. It is as if, in the words of the science writer Lawrence Joseph, you had two identical pool balls, one in Ohio and the other in Fiji, and the instant you sent one spinning the other would immediately spin in a contrary direction at precisely the same speed.”

An interesting quote in the book, “The history of any one part of the Earth, like the life of a soldier, consists of long periods of boredom and short periods of terror.” -British Geologist Derek V. Ager.

“As of July 2001, twenty-six thousand asteroids had been named and identified – half in just the previous two years. With up to a billion to identify, the count obviously has barely begun.”

“An asteroid or comet traveling at cosmic velocities would enter the Earth's atmosphere at such a speed that the air beneath it couldn't get out of the way and would be compressed, as in a bicycle pump. As anyone who has used such a pump knows, compressed air grows swiftly hot, and the temperature below it would rise to some 60,000 Kelvin, or ten times the surface temperature of the Sun. It this instant of it's arrival in our atmosphere, everything in the meteor's path – people, houses, factories, cars – would crinkle and vanish like cellophane in a flame.”

“We know amazingly little about what happens beneath our feet. It is fairly remarkable to think that Ford has been building cars and baseball has been playing World Series for longer than we have known that the Earth has a core. And of course the idea that the continents move around on the surface like lily pads has been common wisdom for much less than a generation.”

“The distance from the surface of Earth to the center is 3,959 miles, which isn't so very far... Our own attempts to penetrate toward the middle have been modest indeed. One or two South African gold mines reach to a depth of 2 miles, but most mines on Earth go no more than about a quarter of a mile beneath the surface. If the planet were an apple, we wouldn't yet have broken through the skin. Indeed, we haven't even come close.”

“The largest earthquake since the scale's invention was (depending on which source you credit) either one centered on Prince William Sound in Alaska 1964, which measured 9.2 on the Richter scale, or one in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile in 1960, which was initially logged at a magnitude of 8.6 magnitude but was later revised upward by some authorities...to a truly grand-scale 9.5”


more to come.......




posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 01:13 PM
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reply to post by Ace High
 



Here is a few I pulled from This Site



10. Lightweight

Fact: If you put Saturn in water it would float

The density of Saturn is so low that if you were to put it in a giant glass of water it would float. The actual density of Saturn is 0.687 g/cm3 while the density of water is 0.998 g/cm3. At the equator Saturn has a radius of 60,268 ± 4 km – which means you would need an extremely large glass of water to test this out.


5. The Big Dipper is not a constellation

Fact: The Big Dipper is not a constellation, it is an asterism

Many people consider the big dipper to be a constellation but, in fact, it is an asterism. An asterism is a pattern of stars in the sky which is not one of the official 88 constellations; they are also composed of stars which are not physically related to each other and can be vast distances apart. An asterism can be composed of stars from one or more constellations – in the case of the Big Dipper, it is composed entirely of the seven brightest stars in the Ursa Major (Great Bear) constellation.


1. Cold Welding

Fact: If two pieces of metal touch in space, they become permanently stuck together

This may sound unbelievable, but it is true. Two pieces of metal without any coating on them will form in to one piece in the vacuum of space. This doesn’t happen on earth because the atmosphere puts a layer of oxidized material between the surfaces. This might seem like it would be a big problem on the space station but as most tools used there have come from earth, they are already coated with material. In fact, the only evidence of this seen so far has been in experiments designed to provoke the reaction. This process is called cold welding



I'm looking for more info on # 1 - 'cause that's crazy...

Edit to add This




 
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[edit on 6/14/2009 by chapter29]

[edit on Sun Jun 14 2009 by Jbird]



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 01:20 PM
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I love this topic already.
I have a few really cool books I will flip thru and give you some quirky facts.(the handy science answer book as well as the handy oceans book and handy bug book)
However I have to go out for a bit and will be back later to contribute to this thread.

Heres food for thought.
Sunday was named after the sun
Monday was named after the moon
Tuesday was named after tui the anglo saxon god of war
Wednesday was named after Woden the anglo saxon equivilent of Odin the cheif norse god.
Thursday was named after thor the norse god of thunder
Friday was named afterFrigg the norse god of love and fertility
Saturday was named after saturn the roman god of agriculture.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 01:20 PM
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Originally posted by Ace High
“Protons are so small that a little dib of ink like dot on this i can hold something in the region of 500,000,000,000 of them, rather more than the number of seconds contained in half a million years.”


Err, there must be a mistake here I think...

60 x 60 = 3,600 seconds in one hour.
3600 x 24 = 86,400 seconds in one day.
86,400 x 365 = 31,536,000 seconds in one year (one year of 365 days each exactly 24 hours)
31,536,000 x 500,000 = 15,768,000,000,000 seconds in half a million years...

You said 500 Billion is rather more than 15 trillion, 786 billion - you see the problem?



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 01:27 PM
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reply to post by chapter29
 


Crazy stuff man....yeh #1 is crazy!!



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 01:29 PM
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Originally posted by DrumsRfun
I love this topic already.
I have a few really cool books I will flip thru and give you some quirky facts.(the handy science answer book as well as the handy oceans book and handy bug book)
However I have to go out for a bit and will be back later to contribute to this thread.

Heres food for thought.
Sunday was named after the sun
Monday was named after the moon
Tuesday was named after tui the anglo saxon god of war
Wednesday was named after Woden the anglo saxon equivilent of Odin the cheif norse god.
Thursday was named after thor the norse god of thunder
Friday was named afterFrigg the norse god of love and fertility
Saturday was named after saturn the roman god of agriculture.



Yeh man get the info together, I love stuff like this.

I figured as much about Sunday, the rest is new to me, thanks for the info.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 01:31 PM
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reply to post by Now_Then
 


Thanks for the math man!!!

I took it straight from the book so I am glad you caught it.

Please post any other cool facts you might have.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 01:34 PM
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The biggest plant is the Banana tree, also, the banana is not a fruit but it is a herb.

I love me bananas,lol, oh and heres a link to a site with many fact about bananas....

www.funfacts.com.au...



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 02:15 PM
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a few more facts from the book -


We know that Earth's magnetic field changes in power from time to time: during the age of the dinosaurs, it was up to three times as strong as now. We also know that it reverses itself every 500,000 years or so on average, though that average hides a huge degree on unpredictability. The last reversal was about 750,000 years ago.”

“The Yellowstone eruption of two million years ago put out enough ash to bury New York State to a depth of sixty-seven feet or California to a depth of twenty...The ash fall from the last Yellowstone eruption covered all parts on nineteen western states (plus parts of Canada and Mexico)...It took thousands of workers eight months to clear 1.8 billion tons of debris from the sixteen acres of the WTC site in New York. Imagine what it would take to clear Kansas.”

“The warmest organism found so far, according to Frances Ashcroft in 'Life at the Extremes', is Pyrolobus fumarii, which dwells in the walls of ocean vents where the temperature can reach 113 degrees C (248 degrees F). The upper limit for life is thought to be about 120 degrees C (248 degrees F), though no one actually knows. At all events, the Brocks' findings completely changed our perception of the living world. As NASA scientist Jay Bergstralh has put it: 'Wherever we go on Earth – even into what's seemed like the most hostile possible environments for life – as long as there is liquid water and some source of chemical energy we find life.”


If you have any cool science facts please post!

 
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[edit on Sun Jun 14 2009 by Jbird]



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 02:33 PM
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oh man this book sounds epic

i have got to land a copy of this, i LOVE random science facts

thank you so much for bringing this great work to my attention



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 02:41 PM
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reply to post by muzzleflash
 


I enjoyed it immensely! Keep an eye on this thread, I have quite a few more tidbits of info I will be posting. By the way I love to trade books with ATS members. Shoot me a U2U with your address and I will ship it to you, all I ask is that you return it when you are done reading it and ship me an interesting book while you have mine.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 02:49 PM
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Thanks for these, I love these kind of facts, here's one I found odd a while back, about the 'speed of an electric current'



Since nothing visibly moves when the charge-sea flows, we cannot measure the speed of its flow by eye. Instead we do it by making some assumptions and doing a calculation. Let's say we have an electric current in normal lamp cord connected to bright light bulb. The electric current works out to be a flow of approximately 3 inches per hour. Very slow!


www.eskimo.com...

He goes into it a lot more on that page, giving the way he works it out. It really blew my mind when I read that. The guy who runs that page is a "Research Engineer on staff at the University of Washington in Seattle", so seems fairly qualified to talk about such things. His website covers a lot of common science misconceptions, and cool weird science.

www.eskimo.com...



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 02:54 PM
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It is an excellent book... and an excellent primer for the non science background reader.

I read it about a year or so ago and was impressed since Bryson is primarily a writer of humor... his "A Walk in the Woods" is a side splitter.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 03:34 PM
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Originally posted by jimminycricket
Thanks for these, I love these kind of facts, here's one I found odd a while back, about the 'speed of an electric current'



Since nothing visibly moves when the charge-sea flows, we cannot measure the speed of its flow by eye. Instead we do it by making some assumptions and doing a calculation. Let's say we have an electric current in normal lamp cord connected to bright light bulb. The electric current works out to be a flow of approximately 3 inches per hour. Very slow!


www.eskimo.com...

He goes into it a lot more on that page, giving the way he works it out. It really blew my mind when I read that. The guy who runs that page is a "Research Engineer on staff at the University of Washington in Seattle", so seems fairly qualified to talk about such things. His website covers a lot of common science misconceptions, and cool weird science.

www.eskimo.com...


Very cool thanks for the info and link



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 03:36 PM
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Here are a couple more I thought were cool:



Without assistance, the deepest (in the ocean) anyone has gone and lived to talk about it afterward was an Italian named Umberto Pelizzari, who in 1992 dove to a depth of 236 feet, lingered for a nanosecond, and then shot back to the surface. In terrestrial terms, 236 feet is just slightly over the length of one New York City block. So even in our most exuberant stunts we can hardly claim to be masters of the abyss.



Excellent location. We are, to an almost uncanny degree, the right distance from the right sort of star, one that is big enough to radiate lots of energy, but not so big as to burn itself out swiftly. It is a curiosity of physics that the larger a star the more rapidly it burns. Had our star been ten times as massive, it would have exhausted itself after ten million years instead of ten billion and we wouldn't be here now.


Come on, I know some of you have some cool science facts?

 
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[edit on Sun Jun 14 2009 by Jbird]



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 04:15 PM
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reply to post by Ace High
 


Re: the earth's magnetic field. Did you know.... That pottery is an excellent sort of 'time capsule' or a recorder of the orientation of the magnetic field (north south) and also the strength.

At the point the pottery is fired that information is stored forever, boffins do actually use bits of pottery to gauge the changes given they can date them and pretty much locate the area they were fired.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 05:26 PM
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reply to post by jimminycricket
 


Thank you for the speed of electric current factoid. I learned this bit a whilel ago as well and was a bit surprised. Then it was explained to me that it's not the actual flow of electrons that causes electricity it is the potential energy transfered in a wave along the outside of the wire (the actual EM field) that causes electricity.

To put a realistic example.. when people are doing "the wave" in a stadium, the people don't actually move from seat to seat. Instead they exert energy upwards and the downwards. The "wave" doesn't exist as a standalone entity but rather as a composite entity that results from the action of the induviduals. Electrons generate an EM wave the same way by jumping to a higer energy state and then back down.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 05:31 PM
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Here is another interesting factoid. While the human brain is obviously important for day to day function of the human machine, it in itself does not control all aspects of the human body.



The gut possesses its own nervous system which can function independently of the central nervous system. The gut and brain do engage each other in two-way communication, but, with exceptions such as swallowing and defecation, the functions of the alimentary system are not under voluntary control. Moreover, the normal processes of digestion do not involve consciousness, even though expressions of the sensations attributed to digestion are commonplace (gut feelings, etc.).

www.answers.com...

Personally, I think the artifact of sentience is a composite entity that is caused by the total function of all nervous systems all the way down to the cellular level.. But that's an opinion, not a factoid.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 06:06 PM
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reply to post by rogerstigers
 


Thanks for the info, that was a new one to me!




posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 06:14 PM
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    On average 10 million stars die per day

    In the universe 100 supernovas per second

    Women use about 20,000 words per day and men use about 7,000

    America has the largest railway system

    We produce new skin at 0.25 m2 per day

    Average human produces 300grams of pooh (number 2's) per day

    Somalia has the most Camels

    Saudi Arabia imports more than exports




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