Page 9 - Science Facts

We transform matter into energy all the time, but never energy into matter...but that could change!

We all know the famous equation thought up by Albert Einstein, "E=mc2." It means that matter and energy are the same thing and can be converted back and forth. We see this all the time, from gasoline to atom bombs. But we only see one side of the equation: turning matter into energy. Now there is a plan to make energy into matter.

It hasn't happened yet, but Oliver Pike, the scientist who proposed the experiment, hopes that it will happen by 2015.

Although it's never been done in the lab before, the process is thought to be fairly straightforward. Scientists are going to smash together photons much like they do with particles in machines such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

The only hard part about this should be finding the right place to do it. The experiment requires two powerful lasers and vacuum conditions, but Pike says several scientists are interested in trying it out, so it shouldn't take too long to find a place.

The experiment design relies on a hohlraum, a small metal cylinder that holds hydrogen fuel in laser fusion experiments. Heating a hohlraum with a laser produces a dense field of X-ray photons inside. Pike's team estimates that passing a jet of high-energy gamma-ray photons through the laser-excited hohlraum would make enough photons collide to produce up to 100,000 pairs of electrons and positrons.


Loud noises are quieted thanks to your ear muscles. Try not to work them out too much, thoiugh!

When that jackhammer starts outside your bedroom window, you'll be happy (or at least less angry) to know that there is a muscle in your ear that contracts to block the high-intensity sounds that potentially could cause major damage. The acoustic reflex just so happens to let you hear for another day!

The muscle contraction is completely involuntary and occurs in the middle ear of mammals. When a high-intensity sound stimulus appears, the stapedius and tesnor tympani (fancy medical terms for muscles in your ear) contract. The reflex itself, which pulls and stiffens ear muscles, decreases the vibrational energy to the cochlea (the place where the vibrations are converted into electrical impulses that the brain processes into sound).

The reflex can reduce the sound's intensity by about 20 decibels in the inner ear simply by anticipating the intensity of the sound as it reaches the outer ear. This makes the signal that is sent to the brain a little less intense. The brain can only process so much sound before you feel your head start to throb.


Alcohol cooked in food still has up to 85% of the original alcohol content!

It is commonly believed that when you use alcohol in cooking all of the alcohol is burned off. In general people believe that the processes of cooking mean that none of the alcohol remains in the dish, only the flavor of the alcohol. 

The reality is that the amount of alcohol that remains in the food varies greatly depending on time cooked and many other factors. Studies done on the alcohol remaining in food varied widely. 

On the high end, 85% of the alcohol remained in the food, and that was when the food was prepared by adding alcohol to a boiling liquid and removing it from the heat. By cooking a food for about two and a half hours you can burn off about 95% of the alcohol, but it’s still likely that you have a small amount of alcohol still remaining. 

It seems like the best way to ensure you have absolutely no alcohol would be cooking if for three or more hours! Although, you may be able to cut down on this time slightly by using a larger pan, which gives the alcohol a greater surface area to evaporate from. 

For people who don’t drink alcohol for ethical or religious reasons or for parents, this is a significant finding. People might accidentally be getting alcohol from dishes they believed no longer contained alcohol! 


Some awesome lists!

A 'jiffy' is an actual unit of time, but it means different things across various fields of study

The term "jiffy" is often used to describe a very short but unspecified period of time, for example: "I'll have it sorted out in a jiffy!" The exact origin of the word is unclear, but it was first attested in 1785.

Gilbert Newton Lewis (1875–1946) proposed a unit of time called the "jiffy" which was equal to the time it takes light to travel one centimeter (approximately 33.3564 picoseconds). Since then, it has been redefined and used for different measurements in different fields of study.

In electronics, a jiffy is the time between alternating current power cycles (1/60 or 1/50 of a second). In computing, a jiffy was originally the time between two ticks of the system timer interrupt. The term "jiffy" is sometimes used in computer animation as a method of defining playback rate, with the delay interval between individual frames specified in 1/100th-of-a-second (10 ms) jiffies.

In astrophysics and quantum physics a jiffy (as defined by Edward R. Harrison) is, the time it takes for light to travel one fermi, which is approximately the size of a nucleon. One fermi is10−15 m, so a jiffy is about 3 × 10−24 seconds. Informally it has been defined as "one light-foot," which works out as approximately one nanosecond.


It's possible to knock the Empire State Building over with dominoes--all you need is physics

Physics is crazy, and some simple slabs of wood or steel can lead to a storm of released energy that is enough to knock just about anything in the world over with enough of them.

Domino Magnification is the effect where any domino can knock over another one that is about 1.5 times larger than the one before.

With this logic, you can use a domino the size of a brick, find another 1.5 times larger than it, and pretty soon, by the 32nd brick you'd have one large enough to topple the Empire State Building. The video included in the source is the perfect example of how a domino the size of a bean can knock down a 100 pound slab in only 13 steps.



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