While climbing a hill we automatically try to bend forward. Yet we lean downwards to balance when going down a slope. Explain why?
Getting a puncture in the tire and not having a spare wheel, is one of the worst situations possible to happen in a journey. This could be definitely avoided if the tires don’t need to be filled with air! Bridgestone Company has initiated to create ‘Airless Tires’ made of thermoplastic resins having a unique spoke structure designed to support the weight of a vehicle. With these, flats are an impossibility and tires will never need to be refilled.
If you’ve seen dead cockroaches in your kitchen, you might have noticed that most of them lie on their back with legs in the air. Not all cockroaches fall on their back before departing the world forever. Probably they are the ones who were attacked by insecticides! All six legs of a cockroach need constant nerve stimulation to remain in a ‘tucked’ position beneath the body. Most insecticides contain neurotoxins and block these nerve signals.
Turn on your porch light after sunset, and you’ll be treated to an aerial display by dozens of bugs. Do you know why insects circle around light like this? Night flying insects evolved to navigate by the light of moon. By keeping moon’s reflected light at a constant angle, they can maintain a steady flight path. So they try to do the same thing with our artificial lights. But since light bulb radiates on all sides, instead of the straight path they end up caught in an endless spiral dance around the bulb.
There are minute gaps between fibers that form a cloth. When light falls on it some get absorbed and some are reflected back to our eyes giving the dress a certain level of brightness. But when it is wet, gaps between fibers get filled with water and the reflective medium changes. As a result total internal reflection occurs on the water surface and a larger portion of light gets absorbed. Even most of the reflected rays bend in different angles away from eyes making the wet area appear darker.
Accidentally if you spill some water on your shirt while drinking, not only you get wet but everybody will notice that you’ve messed up because it leaves a dark patch on your shirt! Why do clothes appear dark when they get wet like this?
We don’t smell anything when we cut on our nails or when trimming branches of a tree. Yet Grass releases a very distinctive smell when it’s trimmed. Did you know that this fresh-cut grass smell is caused by the release of enzymes released into the world as ‘distress signals’, similar to how people sweat when they are stressed. This scent repels plant eating insects and attracts their predators. The smell is ultimately a survival mechanism that grass has evolved over years to keep enemies at bay.
You already know that octopus tentacles have been mimicked to design bizarre robotic arms. Furthermore the sucker discs on these tentacles have inspired a novel type of adhesive pads that are reversible, reusable, fast-acting, and effective even in wet conditions! Tiny pores in these adhesive pads can open up and close in response to temperature, just like the cavities in octopus suckers function with the muscle tissue contractions.
Squids may not have cat calls, but they can signal to their mates in another way with the use of a unique secret skin-powered alphabet! Did you know that oval squid’s language of love is not limited to sounds but is fascinated with vivid colors and patterns? They’ve got color-containing cells called chromatophores to paint lines, spots, and stripes on their own skin as a way to communicate with one another.
Leaves are colored by molecules called pigments. Green color is given by chlorophyll pigment which is important for plants to produce food using sunlight. In the autumn as night time increases and sunlight gets limited, chlorophyll production slows down and available chlorophyll breaks down. As a result other pigments like carotenoids and anthocyanin present in the leaf are unmasked and expose their colors of orange, yellow and red. Being sensitive to changing weather and managing the pigment production accordingly, help these plants to survive through winter.
When seasons change from spring, summer, autumn to winter nature too changes its hues. How the green palette of summer foliage is transformed to vivid autumn palette of red and orange is striking among them. Why do leaves change color like this?
Did you know in ancient China crabs were smashed open and thrust into wounds in battles to make them heal faster? Mineral chitosan found in crab shells is rich in antimicrobial properties, meaning that it heals wounds and kills bacteria. After unveiling this secret hydrogel bandages and plasters fitted with crab shell extracts have been designed to trigger the healing process!
You too might have experienced that when memorizing facts, arranging them so as to create a singsong pattern can make it easier to remember! That’s because rhymes are one of the simplest ways to boost memory. This happens through a process called ‘acoustic encoding’. By rhyming information our brains can encode it more easily. So next time when you need to remember something, try to make it rhyme!
Sharks are literally wired for hunting. How these ferocious predators hunt for prey in a dark oceanic world has been an enduring mystery for some time. Now it has been found that even electrical signals guide them to find preys. All living creatures produce an electrical field via muscle contractions, including that of the heart. Sharks are gifted with some of the highly sensitive electroreceptors and are capable of sensing these weak electrical stimuli that emanates from their prey!
Since wood is a porous material it can absorb moisture. During the rainy season humidity of atmosphere increases. Then wood absorbs moisture and expands. This reduces the gap between wooden doors or windows and their frames making it difficult to open and close them.
During the rainy season sometimes we face lot of trouble when dealing with wooden doors and window frames. It becomes very difficult to close them after opening. Why is that?
The furry mammals known as ‘Sloths’ who are found on treetops of Central and South American rainforests are already branded as lazy creatures. Yet did you ever wonder why do they live life in slow motion? Sloths feed on tough rubbery rainforest leaves and therefore bear the slowest digestion rate of any mammal! As such they get less energy and to compensate it they act very slowly minimizing the energy expenditures.
Haven’t you experienced that when we are suffering from a fever, we tend to have more nightmares and weird dreams than usual? Ever wondered why? Temperature affects the way our brain works and brain cannot function properly when it is over heated. Thereby fever can increase the electrical activity in the brain and produce waking illusions and vivid imagery as well as nightmares.
Buildings in many cities bear the stains left by decades of heavy traffic and pollution. What if buildings could change this by actually cleaning the air around it? A new type of concrete capable of cleaning pollutants from the air, by a catalytic reaction powered by sunlight that converts them into harmless salts has been invented. Produced salts are washed away by rain. ‘Palazzo Italia’ building found in Milan is a fine example for this.