Science Facts of August - 2016

31

Wednesday

Today’s Science Message

Did you know that an ant can fall from any height and still be alive? It is because the air resistance stops the ant from falling at a deadly speed. The resistive force, increases with the speed. Eventually, an object falls fast enough so the resistive force becomes equal to the weight, and the object no longer accelerates (falls at a constant speed). As the weight of an ant is small, the needed resistive force is small and is acquired quickly. So, the ant gets a comfortable speed for landing.


30

Tuesday

Today’s Science Message

A photon takes only 8 minutes to travel from the surface of the sun to Earth. But, it takes thousands of years (10,000 -170,000 years) to travel from the core to the surface of the sun! The reason is that a photon makes billions of collisions with charged particles inside the sun and gets diverted in many directions.


29

Monday

Answer for the Question of the Week

Apatite contains phosphorous, an essential nutrient for plant growth. But plants can only absorb phosphorous which is dissolved in water. As apatite has a very low water solubility, by the time phosphorous dissolves, short term crops have already lived their lives. So, only long term crops get the benefit. To gain water solubility super phosphate is made by reacting apatite with strong acids.


26

Friday

Question of the Week

The Eppawala apatite deposit is very valuable for Sri Lanka because apatite is a good fertilizer. But it is only suitable for long term crops, not for short term crops. Do you know why?


25

Thursday

Today’s Science Message

In Mozambique, the honeyguide birds (scientific name-Indicator indicator) communicate with local hunters to guide them to beehives! Humans and honeyguide birds use special sounds for this.As these birds love to eat the wax of beehives, they have evolved communicating skills with humans to get it. This is what love for food can do to you!


24

Wednesday

Today’s Science Message

Some fungi have adapted themselves to get energy from gamma radiation and produce food! The process is an alternative to photosynthesis. Guess what pigment does the job? It’s our skin pigment melanin. If the fungi genes are introduced to plants they’ll be able to colonize other planets!(as space has high radiation levels)


23

Tuesday

Today’s Science Message

Did you know that the sun’s magnetic poles flip approximately every 11 years? The sun’s polar magnetic fields weaken, go to zero and then emerge again with the opposite polarity. But, this “big” event doesn’t interfere with our daily lives.


22

Monday

Answer for the Question of the Week

Most think the complexity of two-legged-walking is why we take longer to walk than other mammals. But that’s not the main reason. To be able to walk, the part of the brain which controls movements has to reach a certain maturity. Unlike other mammals human babies are born with underdeveloped brains. Why weren’t we born with bigger brains? It is because the mother wouldn’t have been able to provide enough nutrients for “brainy” babies. Also, walking on two legs has made the mother’s birth canal narrow. Then big brains would get stuck at childbirth.


19

Friday

Question of the Week

18

Thursday

Today’s Science Message

New observations have shown that the ozone layer has started healing! Banning harmful chlorofluorocarbons worldwide has given us this earlier-than-expected gift. Being able to right the wrong we have done is exciting news. But let’s not forget that we should continue the good work!


16

Tuesday

Today’s Science Message

Did you know that sprouted,green potatoes can cause poisoning? It is because they contain a poisonous compound called solanine. Light exposure increases the solanine content in potatoes dramatically. Removing the sprouts thoroughly will make it somewhat safe to eat. But if you see a green part on the skin it should not get a place in your plate!


15

Monday

Answer for the Question of the Week

Gravity pulls the ink down onto the ball of the ballpoint pen which transfers ink as it is dragged along paper. But in space, astronauts are in a microgravity environment. So, the ink doesn’t get the force to come out, which makes the pen useless. Then some astronauts started using pencils but, as the graphite particles could harm astronauts and equipment, a “space pen” was made. The ink in this pen doesn’t rely on gravity as it is pressurized by nitrogen gas trapped inside the pen.


12

Friday

Question of the Week

Space missions often inspire astronauts to write about their experiences. But having a ballpoint pen to write in space would be pointless. Do you know why regular ball point pens don’t work in space?


11

Thursday

Today’s Science Message

We are never alone, because bacteria are always with us. But having some of them around is not a good idea. Specially, bacteria resting on surgery tools, as they might infect patients. That’s why scientists have found a new polymer type which resists bacteria. This material coated devices stop bacteria attachment.


10

Wednesday

Today’s Science Message

Dogs’ super “smelling” abilities help us humans even in bomb detection. Now studies have confirmed that they can smell cancer too! With such great power comes great responsibility! So, dogs are being trained to detect prostate cancer by sniffing urine samples and they have been accurate 93% of the time.


9

Tuesday

Today’s Science Message

Do you know why the earth rotates? The earth was formed by a rotating mass of gas about 4.6 billion years ago. Unless an external torque is applied, rotating bodies will keep rotating. As frictional and other forces in space are very small, the Earth will keep spinning.


8

Monday

Answer for the Question of the Week

When a wound heals, first, an immune response causes the wound to become inflamed to prevent infections. Then, new tissue form over the wound. Diabetes weakens the immune system and increases the risk of infection. Also, to form new cells, a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients are needed. But glucose causes narrowing of blood vessels, leading to poor blood circulation. Besides, diabetes lessens the sensitivity of nerves, making patients even unaware of the wound until it gets worse.To avoid all these completely, eat wisely! After all, we are what we eat.


5

Friday

Question of the Week

4

Thursday

Today’s Science Message

A versatile robotic arm has been invented mimicking the elephant trunk. This arm can stretch in any direction to reach out and grab something, just as an elephant does with its trunk. The movements are controlled by inflating interior air chambers separately. It can even pick up an egg and safely move it around a small area! This arm can be used by handicapped people and to handle assembly processes in factories.


3

Wednesday

Today’s Science Message

Water holds the key to life. However, dirty water might send us to afterlife. Therefore, having clean drinking water is essential. A new inexpensive nanomaterial with a layer of light absorbing graphene oxide introduces an innovative way to purify water. In sunny countries, it’ll be possible to filter and evaporate water using this material, and collect fresh water.


2

Tuesday

Today’s Science Message

Even after we die, isn’t it a wonder that our organs can give life to another soul? But a major problem in organ transplantation is keeping an organ alive until surgery. Traditionally, donor organs are placed in a cool-box. But a new machine, “organ care system” pumps blood to the organs and keep them active outside the body! The new method can keep organs healthy for at least 8 hours, which was previously just 3-4 hours maximum. Also, doctors can easily recognize whether the organ is still working(e.g. you can see the heart pumping!).


1

Monday

Answer for the Question of the Week

The first reason that rain falls in drops (not in one big splash) is because a rain cloud is made out of tiny droplets of water (not a water tank). As these droplets are lighter than air, they float. When these condense onto dust particles, they get heavy and fall as rain drops. While falling, rain drops collide with each other. Collisions either break drops into smaller ones or combine them into one large drop. The second reason for rain to be falling in drops is that air resistance breaks the large drops again into small ones. So, the drops won’t be able to get larger and larger and fall down as a waterfall!