Have you too experienced that the paper cuts sometimes we get while dragging our fingers along the pages of a book, become surprisingly painful even if they don’t pierce the skin! Do you know why? Our fingertips are very sensitive and contain more nerve fibers. Paper cuts tend to be shallow and bleed little. As such many damaged nerve endings are left exposed and can be irritated easily, resulting in more pain signals being sent to our brain.
Imagine being able to look at something straight in front of you, and look over your shoulder at the same time. It may seem impossible but chameleon does it every day! Chameleons are the only lizards who can see in two different directions at once. They can rotate and focus separately which lets their eyes move independently from each other.
Did you know that bumblebees mark the flowers they’ve visited with smelly footprints, just like we leave fingerprints on whatever we touch. They secrete a substance whenever they touch their feet to a surface. This helps to discriminate among new flowers and those already scavenged by themselves or their fellow fliers leading them to more rewarding food sources.
Bottled water has a lot to answer in terms of plastic waste. An edible water ball called “Ooho!” that hopes to replace millions of plastic bottles thrown away, has been designed using a seaweed extract. Tasteless membrane of these balls are biodegradable, can be swallowed and fully digested. This invention could contribute in avoiding further ‘man made garbage dump disasters’ in future!
Salt dissolves in the film of liquid water present on the ice surface, and lowers its freezing point. Ice in contact with salty water melts, creating more liquid water which dissolves more salt, thereby causing more ice to melt. This also prevents falling snow or rain from being able to freeze minimizing the inconvenience caused on roads.
During the winter season snow accumulates on side streets making it difficult to get around. Therefore trucks drive up and down the icy sidewalks, dumping salt all over the place. Explain why?
With their pink and crimson plumage, long legs and necks flamingos cannot be mistaken for any other type of bird. Yet can you believe that they are actually not born pink, but with grey feathers? What they eat makes them gradually pink! Carotenoid pigments in their diet of brine shrimps and blue-green algae is the reason behind this. If these carotenoids are not obtained they’ll lose most of their distinctive pink colouration.
What’s the first thing you do when you get down from the bed in the morning? It feels great to have a big stretch after a good sleep, and your muscles agree. Want to know why? When we sleep muscles lose tone and fluid tends to pool along our back due to lack of movement. Stretching loosens and realigns muscles, improves circulation and also relieves tension. Not only humans, animals too pandiculate for the same reasons as above.
Though we all have encountered the dawn of New Year, the celebrations are still alive. Rhythm of the ‘rabana’ can still be heard blending with ‘raban kavi’ songs. But did you notice that before playing the rabana, it is placed upon three wooden trunks and a fire is kindled underneath it? Ever wondered why? Heat takes its effect upon rabana’s tautly stretched animal skin membrane and tightens the hide. This tunes the instrument by giving a good tone and a higher resonance to the drum.
Each year we remark the dawn of the New Year by allowing milk to boil over in a new earthen pot. You must have witnessed this for years, yet ever wondered why milk spills over like this? Milk consists of several substances including water, protein, fat and sugar. When milk is heated, fat and protein with a low density separate forming a cream film at the top of the pot. In the meantime some of the water underneath converts into vapour. Expansion of these steam bubbles cause the cream layer to rise making the milk overflow.
Though locusts migrate in highly dense swarms they manage to avoid crashing into each other and mouths of predatory birds. Isn’t it amazing that scientists have created a revolutionary technology to save countless lives by preventing car crashes, inspired by these insects? They’ve adopted key features of the locusts’ eyes and neural system, to develop a computer system for highly-accurate collision sensors in cars.
Lobsters and crabs have a carotenoid pigment in their shells called Astaxanthin, which normally appear red. When alive these pigments remain hidden covered with other proteins that gives the shells brownish green color we see. Exposure to heat during the cooking process, destroys this protein coat and let heat stable astaxanthin’s true bold red color shine through.