It’s common to use sugar in the canning and freezing of fruits to improve flavour, texture, and to preserve their natural colour and shape. But what gives sugar this magical power? Denaturation of fruits is caused by the action of microorganisms. Due to the bone crystalline structure of sugar it loves to bind with water. As such can reduce the level of freely available water, within the fruit making it unfavorable for microorganisms to survive.
Water flowing out of the shower causes the air through which the water moves to start flowing in the same direction as the water. As Bernoulli’s principle explains, when the speed of moving air gets higher the pressure gets lower. This results a low pressure inside the curtain compared to the pressure outside, causing it to move inward.
Maybe it happened to you this morning: you entered the shower and the shower curtain moved in to engulf you. If the curtain is not a very heavy one it can suck inward irrespective of whether it’s a hot shower or a cold shower. Explain why.
On cold rainy days it is very common to get fogged windows in cars. This effect is multiplied when things like wet umbrellas and wet jackets inside the vehicle is increased. But why? Previously we said that fog is formed when the atmosphere inside get saturated and vapour reaches its dew point. When the amount of water molecules present inside is high, the possibility of getting saturated with vapour also improves.
Do you believe that the inspiration to create novel airplanes that can fly high was given by the humpback whales? Special bumps found on pectoral flippers of these whales help them to make tight turns when catching fish. Structure of this efficient device created by nature for moving has been used to design airplanes with bumpy wings.
From days of yore it has been said that it’s not good to drink tea immediately following a meal. Did you know there is a scientific reason behind this? Tannins in the tea can form a sediment combining with proteins and reduce absorption of both protein and iron present in food. It can lead to iron deficiency if meals are always followed by tea.
Continuous draw of water through the stem keeps the flowers fresh. When taking flowers out of the vase, it can make air bubbles blocking the flow of water. Also cells at the end of the stem may dry out or die, making it difficult to absorb water. Trimming the stem immediately before putting them into the vase, expose fresh cells that can absorb more water efficiently and maintains the continuous flow of water keeping the flowers alive.
When transferring cut flowers to a vase and in each time when changing water in the vase, people use to trim at least a half inch stem off the flowers. Why do they trim the stems again and again? Explain the reason.
Mercury is the liquid used in clinical thermometers we have at home. Have you ever accidentally broken that thermometer and got mercury out of it? If this mercury spill on to a gold ring or any other gold jewelry, they will lose original luster and form a silvery substance. Want to know why? Reason is mercury amalgamation! So next time be more cautious with your thermometer.
Velcro the ‘zipperless zipper’ exists on a variety of products from children’s shoes to laptop bags and blood pressure gauges. Did you notice, the way Velcro works is similar to the action of thorny burrs of burdock plants that clung to clothes and animal fur which are removable yet easily reattached. Small hooks found at the end of these burr needles have been the inspiration to create Velcro.
Mice are omnivores who normally feed on whatever is available, including meat, sugar and nuts. But did you know that a starving mouse will eat even its own tail? However this tail won’t grow again!
Ignition requires fuel, oxygen and ignition temperature. Since damp wood contains water, its ignition point is comparatively high. So a large amount of heat energy should be provided to heat it upto this point. A firelighter or a blow torch can fulfill this energy requirement whereas the heat of a spark is not sufficient for this. Even the spark can extinguish due to moisture of wood.
Lighting damp wood with a blow torch or firelighter is possible, but with a spark it’s almost impossible. Explain why?
Have you sensed the pleasant earthy smell caused by rain especially after a dry spell? Actually that isn’t brought from the sky but is generated from the ground itself. Certain bacteria found in soil produce spores during overly dry periods. A chemical called ‘Geosmin’ is excreted during this process. The wetness and force of rainfall kick these tiny spores up into the air where the moisture after a rain acts as an aerosol and spread the smell of geosmin to us.
Did you know that a pomelo fruit dropped from a 10m tall tree can reach the ground without showing any significant outer damage? Secret is the excellent resistant properties of its fruit peel. Superb mechanical characteristics of this structure has been an inspiration in making low weight metal sheets with excellent damping properties that can absorb vibrations effectively.
How big something looks on the back of our eye depends on the angle it takes up in front of us. If two things are a very small angle apart they look very close together and if there’s a big angle then it looks bigger. The angle formed by the gap between the railway lines nearby is larger than the angle formed by the gap long way away from us. So we see as the gap between two parallel lines gradually decreases with distance and converges.
Have you noticed that when we stand amidst two parallel long railroad tracks and look at it, we see as that converge away from us? Explain why these parallel lines seem to converge.
Do you know that apple growers in Japan use simple tricks to get bigger, sweeter apples and improve their harvest? They make a nonlethal spiral slash around the bark of trees destined for removal after the growing season. This prevents optimal bulk flow of the phloem sap to the root. Therefore more phloem sap can move from the source leaves to the fruit sinks making them sweeter.
How many times have you seen an advertisement for a toothpaste telling, unless you have shiny white teeth, you need to take care of your dental hygiene? But actually the strongest teeth are slightly yellow in color. This can be corrected by a combination of bleaching and polishing off the top layer of enamel, but both of these will permanently weaken the teeth. Glowing white teeth may look better but they’re not as resistant to decay as the yellow ones!
What is the biggest thing a blue whale can swallow? You better think that it can swallow small ships, cars, even people! But to be honest a grapefruit is the biggest thing a blue whale can swallow because its throat takes the size of a small salad plate. Actually they feed on plankton, small fish and marine crustaceans. But from the juices inside its stomach we would die in like 15 seconds!
If you were asked “how to identify wind?” you would most probably say we feel it and we hear it. But did you know that a steady wind doesn’t make a sound until it blows against an object? That’s because the pressure from a constant wind is constant. We only hear a sound if part of the air moves faster relative to all the rest. Anyway we can’t change the direction of the wind but can adjust our sails to always reach our destination in this New Year.