Page 189 - Science Facts

The radiation from smoking a pack of cigarettes a day compares to almost 2,000 chest x-rays!

Ever been annoyed when you had to strap on that lead vest while getting an x-ray? Just think of all the radiation you would be exposed to if you didn’t have that blocking a lot of it. Now then think that if you smoke cigarettes, you get that much radiation anyway! Scientists had trouble determining why exactly cigarettes were so dangerous and caused so many health risks. 

Statistically, the chemicals in tobacco are far less dangerous than most people think, and the numbers don’t exactly add up. However, scientists have determined that tobacco is so bad for you because it’s actually radioactive. In the 1930’s farmers began using a cheap fertilizer called apatite, which causes the tobacco to taste sweet, but also has uranium in it. By inhaling the smoke from this apatite, we inhale radioactive particles, severely damaging our body and organs. 

Scientists recorded a song on bacteria!

As ridiculous as is sounds, back in 2003 scientists successfully translated the Song “It’s A Small World” into the DNA of the bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans! What exactly does this mean? In this project scientists wanted to prove that bacteria, or a living thing, was capable of storing information that could survive a nuclear catastrophe!

Scientists did this in hopes that not all of the information and knowledge we have gained would be destroyed if there were a nuclear war. They purposefully picked the most radiation resistant bacteria to imprint the information on so that data could be kept through “very extreme conditions.” The next step is to encode much larger amounts of information in an even more durable bacteria. I wonder when the first Bacteria USB drives will become available...

The Sun is actually white!

Contradicting everything that you learned in kindergarten and coloring our sun, the sun actually is white and not yellow. It is our atmosphere that gives the sun the yellowish tint that we are familiar with.

Stars have different colors depending on what stage of their lifecycle they are, and what temperature they're burning. Stars that are relatively cool, and burn at around 3500 Kelvin will be red. Stars that are really hot, over 10,000 Kelvin, will be blue. Our sun burns at approximately 6,000 degrees kelvin, which means there is only one color it can be; white!


Some awesome lists!

Those who were born completely deaf and only learned sign language will think in sign language.

They can 'see' themselves signing in their mind in the same way that most people 'hear' themselves talking when they think. However, the level at which this happens depends on how early the hearing loss was, and what kind of languages they have learned.

Those who were born deaf but have had vocal training, will sometimes think in the language that they have learned. Deafness changes the way that the brain works in a more dramatic way than blindness does. In the past, people tried to teach deaf people how to interpret spoken language before teaching them to sign. This is completely changing, because research has shown that even if they learn spoken language, the brain never associates it with thoughts, so they don't develop an inner voice. Teaching them to sign allows them to develop the inner voice.


A river in Thailand randomly shoots red fireballs into the air. No one knows why.

About 70 - 100 km downstream from Vientiane, capital of Laos, the Mekong River does something really strange. At night, the river produces red fireballs that rise up into the air and disappear without making any noise. The balls are usually small, but some have been observed to be the size of basketballs. While it might seem mysterious and remote to most of us, the area along the river is heavily populated with homes and roads, and people have gotten used to it.

People from the area confirm to witnessing the fireballs their whole life and that their parents and grandparents did too. So far there is no scientific explanation for the phenomenon. There are, however, myths about the fireballs have been formed over the years. The most famous is of a naga, dragon or snake, which crawled through the mountains where the Mekong is now. The naga continues to pass through the area, but now underwater, and like a good dragon it spits fireballs into the air from the river bottom.

At the end of every October, a festival is held in celebration of the mysterious fireballs. Tens of thousands show up every year, but the balls are random and some years aren’t even witnessed during the festival. 



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