Proof That We Are All Living In The Past, Literally

“Living in the Now” so hard? What if I tell you that you never live in your present, in fact, you always live in the past.

What is living? A sight of something, a taste of something, a touch of somebody – in short – all our senses together but mostly seeing and reacting to that sight is living.

Our Eyes Never See the Present

Believe it when I say that our eyes can never have a current glimpse of any object around, ever; we are always fenced in the aged collection of flashes. Sounds kooky? Grant me a chance to prove myself right.

Verification of this fact requires basic knowledge of how we see objects. Every object in our environment reflects the light which falls upon it and we are able to see that object via reflected light a few nano seconds later.

Since light travels approx. a standard foot (12 inches) every nanosecond, that means an object 10 feet from us is always 10 nanoseconds newer than what we’re seeing of it.

the_old_man_in_the_mirror_by_vergyl

We see years old stars, eight minutes older sun and a 1.3 seconds old moon and never a later version of theirs. A star on the clear sky might already be dead for years and yet we are being served with its outdated version. Sun, that we see, is actually about eight minutes old and if, hypothetically, it disappears at once, we will keep seeing it for good eight minutes.

Believe is Astrology? I have a news for you – we can never see the actual state of a star at this very moment – our eyes are served with its outdated version, maybe, years older.

Every visible object is reflecting or radiating light to get marked in our eyes. Light takes time travelling distance even if it is just a few centimeters. Obliged to these natural laws, images our eyes see are of the past already. How long in the past depends on the distance of the objects, makes a fairly good case for heavenly objects and a weaker one for the earthly.

What Really Drives Death Valley’s Roving Rocks?

The moving, sailing and sliding rocks of Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park in California have garnered the attention of many scientists and visitors throughout the years. The Racetrack Playa is a dry lake featuring the race track imprints of the moving rocks. The moving rocks are a geological phenomenon where the rocks, some weighing about 318 kgs, move without any human intervention.

roving-rock
Photograph by Pete Ryan

There have been many theories regarding the motion of these rocks. Research on this phenomenon started as early as 1915 when theories suggested that the wind had a role to play in moving the rocks. However, with some stones weighing 318 kgs, it is not probable for the wind to move them. Therefore this theory was discarded. In 1955, George Stanley, a geologist did extensive research on the phenomenon and stated the theory that ice sheets around the rocks help to catch the wind, initiating the movement. His theory again stressed that wind plays a role in the rocks’ movement.

Credit: Maggie McAdam

Further research was done in the 1970s by Bob Sharp and Dwight Carey where they monitored the rock movement by naming the rocks and keeping a record of their changing positions over a period of seven months.

The research continued in the 1990s by the research students of Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The movement of the stones was evident to be the result of two factors: wind and ice floes. In 1996 it was discovered that the wind blowing on the Playa could be intensified and compressed due to its smooth surface and the wind gusts initiate the movement while the moment keeps them moving.

Ice and Wind

In 2006, Ralph Lorenz, a NASA Scientist, investigating the weather conditions on other planets started researching on the moving rocks. Lorenz compared the meteorological conditions of the Racetrack Playa, Death Valley to those near Ontario Laucus, a vast hydrocarbon lake on Titan, a moon of Saturn.

Lorenz conducted a simple experiment where he placed a small rock in a Tupperware filled with water so that there was an inch of water with a bit of the rock sticking out. Next, he froze the Tupperware so that there was a small slab of ice with a rock embedded in it. He then placed the ice bound rock in a container of water with sand at he bottom. In order to move the rock across the water, he just gently blew on the rock and it slid. As the rock moved, it imprinted a track in the sand.

Ralph Lorenz’s home experiment
Ralph Lorenz’s home experiment

Research in 2011 established that the existence of many of the rock-carved trails at Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park is predominantly due to the effect of arbitrarily weak winds on rocks that are floated off the soft bed by small rafts of ice, the ‘ice raft theory’.

Credit: Anatoliy Lukich
Credit: Anatoliy Lukich

These ice cakes need not have a particularly large surface area if the ice is adequately thick-the ice cakes allow the rocks to move by buoyantly reducing the reaction and friction forces at the bed, not by increasing the wind drag. The parameter space of ice thickness and extent versus rock size for flotation is calculated and found to be reasonable. Lorenz’s experiment illustrated this ‘ice raft theory’. Therefore, wind and ice were both the favoring theories responsible for the phenomenon.

30 Jokes Only Intellectuals Will Understand

intellectual_jokes
Don’t burn your eyes trying to read the explanation – copy/paste it into a notepad before reading.

1. It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

Pun is wordplay with two meanings, one literal the other humorous. kleptomaniacs is someone who ‘take things’ (steal).

2. What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?

What do you get when you cross an XXXX with a YYYY” is a common opening to a joke, leading the listener to prepare for the expected joke template and punchline. A rhetorical question is a question asked or stated to make a point, and not an actual inquiry with an expectation of an answer. The joke is that that sentence is a rhetorical question. So the answer is you don’t really get a joke, you just get a meaningless rhetorical question. Which is sort of funny, which actually does make it a joke. [Thanks verywary & rocketvat]

3. Three logicians walk into a bar. The bartender asks “Do all of you want a drink?” The first logician says “I don’t know.” The second logician says “I don’t know.” The third logician says “Yes!”

Explanation: If any one of the three logicians does NOT want a beer, the answer to the bartender’s question is “No.” The first logician wants a beer, but doesn’t know whether his two friends do. So he says “I don’t know.” The second logician now knows that the first logician wants a beer, because if he didn’t he would have said no. And though he does want a beer, the he still doesn’t know whether the third logician wants a beer. So he says “I don’t know.” The third logician now knows that the first two logicians want beer, because otherwise one of them would have said no. So, as he also wants a beer, he now knows that all three logician wants a beer. So he can say “Yes.” [Thanks methamatician]

4. Einstein, Newton and Pascal are playing hide and go seek. It’s Einstein’s turn to count so he covers his eyes and starts counting to ten. Pascal runs off and hides. Newton draws a one meter by one meter square on the ground in front of Einstein then stands in the middle of it.

Einstein reaches ten and uncovers his eyes. He sees Newton immediately and exclaims “Newton! I found you! You’re it!”

Newton smiles and says “You didn’t find me, you found Pascal!”

Pascal is Newton over a square meter.

5. How can you tell the difference between a chemist and a plumber? Ask them to pronounce unionized.

The difference b/w un-ionized and union-ized.

6. Why do engineers confuse Halloween and Christmas? Because Oct 31 = Dec 25

We use the Decimal base (shorthand DEC) for our number system. Octal is another base system (shorthand OCT) if you convert Decimal 25, it is equivalent to OCT 31.

7. An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The bar tender: “What’ll it be, boys?” The first mathematician: “I’ll have one half of a beer.” The second mathematician: “I’ll have one quarter of a beer.” The third mathematician: “I’ll have one eight of a beer.” The forth mathematician: “I’ll have one sixteenth of a …” The bar tender interrupts: “Oh, fuck the lot of ya!” …and he pours a single full beer.

In mathematics, the infinite series 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + · · · converges to a sum of 1.

8. Two kittens on a sloped roof. Which one slides off first?

The one with the lowest mew.

Mew here means friction. coefficient of friction -> μ -> mu -> mew

9. A Roman walks into a bar, holds up two fingers, and says, “Five beers, please”.

5 in Roman = V

polar_bear

10. The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.

“Why did you buy 12 loaves of bread!?”, his wife screamed. “Because they had eggs!”

11. A programmer’s wife sends him to the store and says “get some bread, and while you’re there pick up some eggs” The programmer never returns.

The ‘while’ statement in programming languages never ‘returns’ unless something breaks it.

12. A logician’s wife is having a baby. The doctor immediately hands the newborn to the dad.
His wife asks impatiently: “So, is it a boy or a girl” ?
The logician replies: “yes”.

Any questions that use “and” or “or” are logical questions, that is, can either be “true” or “false”. Is it a boy or a girl? Yes (it’s one of them).

13. Entropy isn’t what it used to be

In any real thermodynamic process or a system the total entropy of the at the end versus the beginning is always bigger i.e. it always increases.

14. Helium walks into a bar and orders a beer, the bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve noble gases here.” He doesn’t react.

In chemistry, Helium belongs to the noble gases that doesn’t react to any substance.

15. Schrödinger’s cat walks into a bar. And doesn’t.


It refers to the famous Schrödinger’s experiment where he put the cat with a radioactive substance in a box. The experiment postulates that the cat can either be living or dead but we don’t know until we open the box.

16. Two men walk into a bar, the first orders H2O, the second says “I’ll have H2O too!” The second man dies.

First guy says H2O (meaning water). Second guy says H20 (too) as in H202 (meaning hydrogen peroxide). Hydrogen peroxide ishighly reactive and will kill you.

17. A neutron walks into a bar. He orders a beer and asks the bartender how much he owes. The bartender replies, “For you? No charge.”

Atoms are composed of positively charged protons, negatively charged electrons and neutrons with no charge on them.

18. There are 10 types of people in the world: Those who know binary and those who don’t.

In Binary the value 2 is represented by 10 (a one and a zero).

19. A physicist, a biologist and a mathematician are sitting outside of a bar when two men walk into the house across the road… Ten minutes later, three men walk out.

The physicist looks confused and says “There must an error in the measurements.”
The biologist retorts “No, they must have reproduced!”
To which the mathematician says “If one person goes inside, the house will be empty.”

From an outside perspective, there are 0 people inside. Add 2 people to the house, now the house has 2 people. Subtract 3 people (pretend a person materialized out of no where and is missing a person). Now the house has -1 people. So adding 1 person would make the house contain 0 persons, or as we understand it: be empty. [Thanks ibcooley]

20. A Photon checks into a hotel and the bellhop asks him if he has any luggage. The Photon replies “No I’m traveling light”

Photon is a light particle

21. Two atoms are walking down the street. The first one stops and says “I think I just lost an electron!” The second one replies “Are you sure?”

“I’m positive!”

An atom with one less electron is a positively charged atom.

22. A farmer has a problem with foxes eating his hens. So he asks his physicist friend to help find a solution. The physicist spends a day thinking, then replies “Well, I’ve found a solution, but it will only work for spherical chickens in a vacuum”.

Basically, the joke is that scientists can ‘theoretically solve anything’, but the practical application of their work is often hindered greatly by physical effects (such as resistance, gravity, etc.). Hence, spherical chickens (a sphere having equal distribution of forces applied on its surface) and in a vacuum (where there is no resistance). [scepticalprophet]

Physicists always find a solution for ideal condition like “If we have an object moving with x speed and blah blah, ASSUMING there is no other forces and blah, blah”. Well assumptions are like “the object is a perfect sphere” or “there is no frictions, as if we were in vacuum”. Things like that. [Thanks Copioli]

23. Q: What do you get when you put root beer in a square glass? A: Beer

In mathematics, ‘root’ and ‘square’ cancel out each other.

24. A man is on his first visit to Boston, and he wants to try some of that delicious New England seafood that he’d long heard about. So he gets into a cab, and asks the driver, “Can you take me to where I can get scrod?” The driver replies, “I’ve heard that question a thousand time, but never in the pluperfect subjunctive.”

In English, the Pluperfect Subjunctive tense of ‘screwed’ is ‘scord’. And scrod is a type of fish. The driver has heard people asking him to take some place where they can get screwed.

25. Who does Polyphemus hate more than Odysseus?

Nobody!

In “The Odyssey,” the classic sequel to Homer’s “Iliad,” Odysseus goes through a lot of stuff trying to get home…
One of these things is crashing on an island and being captured by a cyclops, who was going to eat him and his crew.
The cyclops’ name is Polyphemus.

Odysseus gets the cyclops drunk, and Polyphemus asks Odysseus what his name is. Odyssesu says his name is, “Nobody.”

Odysseus blinds the cyclops while he’s sleeping, and then convinces him that the prisoners are escaping through the cracks between the cave entrance and the huge boulder he uses as a door (the cyclops is very dumb).

So Polyphemus opens his cave and shouts out to the other cyclops, “Help! Nobody is attacking me!” or some variation on that. Naturally, the other cyclops think he’s still drunk or insane or whatever and do nothing. Odysseus and his men escape. [Thanks el Águila]

26. A mathematician finishes a large meal and says: √(-1/64)

Explanation: √(-1/64) = √(-1)/(8) = i / 8 = (i over 8)

27. Did you hear about the man who got cooled to absolute zero?

He’s 0K now.

0k = zero Kelvin is equivalent to −273.15°C also known as absolute zero. He’s not OK, he’s 0k

28. There’s a band called 1023MB. They haven’t had any gigs yet.

One gigabyte or one gig in computer storage is 1024 megabytes or 1024MB.

29. A Buddhist monk approaches a hotdog stand and says “make me one with everything”.

The joke is a play on words, as the oft-quoted Buddhist “motto” is to “be at one” or “be at peace” with everything natural in the world.

30. The vendor makes the hot dog and hands it to the Buddhist monk, who pays with a $20 bill. The vendor puts the bill in the cash box and closes it. “Excuse me, but where’s my change?” asks the Buddhist monk. The vendor replied, “Change must come from within.”

When the Buddhist asked for his change, the vendor also used play of words by quoting a famous Buddhist statement “Change must come from within.” 

Source: Reddit

Fact: Corals are Animals, Not Plants!

The beautiful coral reefs you see underwater are actually animals and not plants!

Coral is any structure that is made up of hundreds of thousands of tiny coral creatures called polyps. They are translucent animals of a sessile nature, which attach themselves to the ocean floor, ‘taking roots’ just like plants.

But, How?

The major differentiating factor between plants and animals is that plants can produce their own food through photosynthesis while animals have to rely on food sources.

coral-of-the-belize-barrier-reef

The basic structural material of plants is polysaccharide such as cellulose and they lack muscle, nerves and digestive tissues. On the other hand, animals necessarily have muscle, nerves and digestive tissues and their basic structural material is minerals, protein and a polysaccharide such as chitin but never cellulose. This all makes corals more of animals than plants.

What do they eat?

Corals are animals with a have tiny, tentacle-like arms that they use to capture their food from the water and sweep into their inscrutable mouths. Therefore, they have a means to collect food, they have a large percentage of their body devoted to capturing their prey. Their external skeleton comprises of protein and calcium carbonate.

A purple plate coral eating krill.
A purple plate coral eating krill.

Though, reef building corals do contain algal cells that photosynthesize, producing sugar and other chemicals. However, all reef corals require additional sources of nutrition, are most active predators and must feed. Most corals are not reef building and are found as individual polyps in deep water, lacking the symbiotic algae and are incapable of photosynthesis.

Reproduction

Corals are typically capable of reproduction with sexual and asexual phases, but these are not comparable to the gametophyte and sporophyte generations of plants. Unlike most plants, all corals are capable of locomotion at some stage in their life cycle, typically as a swimming dispersal stage called a planula larvae. Note that plants lack larvae.

Coral releasing eggs during a spawning event. Photo credit: Emma Hickerson
Coral releasing eggs during a spawning event. Photo credit: Emma Hickerson

Corals have nerve tissues as they are highly capable of sensing the environment. They also have the ability to move, hence they have muscle tissue as well.

They surely know how to defend themselves

An Anemone Swims Away From Sea Star

Science Books Lie about the Solar System

Classic illustrations in Science books of the solar system are not according to scale and are only merely for illustration purposes. The distances between the planets are so exceedingly vast that there could not possibly be a scale model in text books.

If sun is the size of a tennis ball, a true to scale model of our solar system would be half a mile wide. (Tweet this)

The only scale model of the solar system is presented is created with the aid of Ron Hipschman’s scale model, where the size of the sun is entered as 65 mm (almost 650 pixel in diameter) and all the other sizes of the planets and their distances from the sun are measured accordingly, where the solar system is half a mile wide on this webpage.

The planet sizes are rounded to the nearest pixel and an image was created to a diameter of that size. CSS margins are then used to pad out the spacing between the planets. The website is hence over 2.7 million pixels in height. The conversion rate used means that each pixel equates to over 2100km in real terms. In our textbooks, the model of the galaxy is only for the purpose of illustrations without paying attention to accurate scaling as utilized by Ron Hipschman.

Drawn to Scale - © Andrew Corden
Drawn to Scale – © Andrew Corden

Textbook illustrations of our galaxy are highly misleading as it does not consider the large distances between the planets and their large distances from the sun. Utilizing Ron Hipschman’s scale, the galaxy occupies half a mile on the website which brings the inaccuracies into a perspective. Such a large scale could not possibly be illustrated in textbooks due to the exceptionally vast space between the planets.

6 Animals that are Biggest in Size in Australia

Chills went down my spine and goose bumps tickled my insides as the mammoth creatures glared at me from my laptop screen. My search for Australian wonders had led me to some surprising results.

Disclaimer for the faint hearted: Hold your hearts. Be afraid, be VERY afraid!!!

1. Earth Worms

Size: 3-9 foot long.

Known to be the world’s largest worm – this beast is one which does not need legs to slither around you. They range from 3 feet to 9 feet long. It is very unusual for invertebrates to survive up till 10 years but this one seems immortal in insect terms, as many have the potential life of 10 long years.

Australian-Giant-Gippsland-Earthworm
source: trasyy.livejournal.com

The favor which this creepy crawly does to mankind is that it chooses to stay hidden most of the time. They are usually only visible when they are slithering in and out of their burrows. If you hear some rippling under Australian soil, you will know who it is. They are abundantly found in Gippsland in south-eastern Australia. You think I’m kidding? Go Google “Gippsland Earthworm”.

2. Spiders

How big? You can find them with leg span of 1-foot across.

Acrophobic? Check off the fear of spiders now or tell yourself that you are about to give it a try, at least. An animal which is ‘supposedly’ a small creature knitting some cobwebs behind your doors or clinging from your roofs, is not that miniature in Australia. They can fit exactly on to the palm of your hand while you are asleep or just lay around in your drawer –BEWARE. Their bites can be fatal!

spider

3. Ants

Not Ants, but Bull Ants.
Size: 0.5 – 2.0 inch long

As evident from the mighty name, expect them to be very daring and fearless. Just to clarify, they’re also called ‘bulldog’ ants. They can grow up to 40 mm and their extensively large bright eyes give them the spying ability of being able to track humans. They feed on plant juices and animal pray as well.

credits: Robert Welsh
credits: Robert Welsh

They exist in a diverse variety of over 90 species with their names indicating their behavior and life cycles. For example, the jumper category can even pounce at you with a painful sting if they see you as an intruder. They hunt alone by a lethal combination of venom, vision and ferocity. Stay alert for the giants of the ant world!

4. Procoptodon (Kangaroos)

Upon reading the word ‘kangaroos’, a picture of the Australian wilderness probably pops into your head. While kangaroos are native to Australia, and many can still be found there, many species have become extinct.

credits: YouTube user mazjai3
credits: YouTube user mazjai3

For example, the species named Procoptodon were known to stand up to almost 6 feet in height, and they weighed almost 230 kg. These short-faced giants were made to survive in the wild with horse’s hoof-like toes on each foot. Imagine them pick pocketing humans and running off back to the wild.

5. Bats

Wingspan: Above 3 feet.

Ever seen these dark knights hovering around your heads? They have the giant tendencies too. From what the name (mega-bats) indicates, they are commonly known as flying foxes. They are tropical animals but they exist in the Asian and Pacific Ocean areas, apart from Australia.

credits: Chi Liu
credits: Chi Liu

They reside in tropic areas because they like to feed on fruits and pollen. They even catch insects in mid-air but crashing down on spotted prey is what they do best. These giants may not be able to rule for long as nature is imposing threats to their survival.

6. Cockroaches

Size: 3 inch in length.

From the mega world of Australia, the last specie is giant cockroaches. The most prominent of them all is the giant burrow cockroach. They happen to be the gang leaders in the creepy cockroach world. They do not have wings but they burrow down into the Australian grounds and live up to 10 years.

credits: GazstronauT
credits: GazstronauT

Moreover, these life-size roaches weigh about 35 grams. However they are a little less detested in comparison to their American relative.

Scared? I guess Australia is out of your bucket list!

“I never said she stole my money” has 7 Different Meanings

“I never said she stole my money” has 7 different meanings depending on the stressed word.

Whether it is verbal communication or written, how you structure your words can play an integral role. It is very important to emphasize the correct words if you do not want there to be any miscommunication. On which word the emphasis is placed can completely change the meaning of what we are communicating.

7-meanings

In any language, even the most simplest of sentences can have many levels of meaning based on the word you stress. We will illustrate this phenomenon using an example. Consider the following sentence someone may have said upon having money stolen:

“I never said she stole my money”

Simply read, the sentence can be taken to mean that the person never said that their money had been stolen by the girl/woman. However, this sentence can have seven different meanings, depending on which word we put an emphasis on. We will explain each of them separately. “I never said she stole my money” When the emphasis is placed on “I”, the person means to say that THEY never said that she stole their money. Rather, someone else had said it and this person implicitly agreed with them. “I never said she stole my money” If emphasis is placed on “never”, the person may be trying to imply that the entire idea of someone stealing money is downright outrageous. In other words, they are denying ever blaming the girl/woman for stealing the money. “I never said she stole my money” When the emphasis is being placed on “said” the person may be implying that she stole their money but never said it out in these words. In other words, there is no way to prove that the person blamed her for stealing the money. “I never said she stole my money” If the person places emphasis on “she”, they are stating that they never implied that the girl/woman stole their money. Rather, they are trying to explain that someone did steal their money but not necessarily her. “I never said she stole my money” When the person emphasizes the word “stole”, they mean to say that they never considered their money STOLEN by the girl/woman. Rather, the money had been missing and it was her who had it but it could have been borrowed. “I never said she stole my money” When emphasis is placed on the word “my”, the person considered the money stolen but not their own money. So when they said these words, they were trying to saying that they never said their own money was stolen, rather they were referring to someone else’s stolen money. “I never said she stole my money” If the individual is placing emphasis on “money”, they are trying to say that it was not money that was stolen. In other words, they did not say that the girl/woman stole their MONEY, rather something else. The person may be trying to say that she stole stuff which cost them money to replace. As we can see, there are many different ways in which this sentence can be understood. A simple act of shifting the emphasis can completely alter the meaning implied by the speaker or the writer. The important point to remember is that the true meaning of the sentence is also expressed through the stressed word or words. It does not just end at the emphasized words. In more complex sentences which employ punctuations, the placement of a comma or colons can also change the meaning of the sentence significantly. We can illustrate this using a classic example:

  • A woman without her man is nothing.
  • A woman: without her, man is nothing.

The first sentence implies that a woman is completely dependent on a man i.e. she would be nothing without him. By just adding the colon and comma in the second sentence, we have changed the meaning of the sentence into something opposite. It now implies that it is the man who is dependent on a woman, without whom he would be nothing. Using another example, we can show that even something as small as a hyphen can completely change the meaning of a sentence.

  • You will be required to work twenty four-hour shifts.
  • You will be required to work twenty-four hour shifts.

In conclusion, it is pretty evident that the words you stress and the placement of punctuations can fully modify the underlying meaning of a sentence. This is why we have to be very careful in making sure our words are not misinterpreted. This is especially important when it comes to written communication where the tone cannot be judged easily. You never know when a small comma or an incorrectly emphasized word can end up causing a huge amount of misunderstanding

50 Facts You’re Better Off Not Knowing

1. Most dust particles in your home are your own dead skin. (Tweet this Fact)

2. Newborn babies are given to the wrong mother in the hospital 12 times a day worldwide. (Tweet this Fact)

3. A duck’s quack will not have echos, the reason til now is unknown. (Tweet this Fact)

4. There are between 5,000 and 7,000 tigers kept as pets in the United States. (Tweet this Fact)

5. Sharks can smell one drop of blood from up to a mile away. (Tweet this Fact)

finding-nemo

6. Ancient Egyptians slept on pillows made of stone. (Tweet this Fact)

7. A paper cannot be folded in half more than 13 times.
(Tweet this Fact)

8. You have approximately 4,000 wax glands in each ear. (Tweet this Fact)

9. Heating up a rock in the microwave oven will cause the rock to explode.

10. In space, astronauts are unable to cry or shed tears because there’s no gravity pull for tears to come out.

11. Peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite.

12. “Sixth Sick Sheik’s Sixth Sheep’s Sick” is one of the hardest sentences to pronounce in the English language.

13. It is impossible to lick your elbow.

14. Seawater contains up to 50Kg of gold dissolved per every cubic kilometer.

15. The song ‘Happy Birthday to You’ is copyrighted.

16. You see your nose at all times, your brain just chooses to ignore it.

17. A newborn kangaroo is about 1 inch long and weighs less than a gram.

In the Womb: Extreme Animals NGCUS  - Ep Code: 3708

18. The sound you hear when you crack your knuckles is actually the sound of carbon dioxide gas bubbles bursting.

19. Mosquito don’t just bite you. They also urinate on you after sucking your blood.

20. Ink for your printer is literally more expensive than blood.

21. The cost of a standard NASA spacesuit is about $12 million.

22. And the cost of Space Shuttle Discovery was 196 billion USD.

23. Japan uses 24 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks each year, China uses 45 billion – That’s 25 million trees used every year.

24. More than one in every 10 banknotes in circulation in Britain is contaminated with cocaine.

25. There are more plastic flamingos in the U.S. than real ones.

26. The pistol shrimp makes such a loud noise that it can kill fish.

27. It is impossible to hum if your nose is plugged.

28. A Kiwi bird is similar in size to a chicken, but its egg is six times bigger than a chicken egg.

29. There is a village in England called bitchfield.

bitchfield

30. Koalas actually eat their mom’s poop.

31. If you smell something, molecules from that object are sticking to the inside of your nose.

32. The chance of you dying on the way to get your lottery tickets is actually greater than your chance of winning.

33. More than 40,000 parasites and 250 types of bacteria can be exchanged in one kiss.

34. Approximately 2,500 left handed people die every year as a result of using equipment designed for right handed people.

35. 15% of the air you breathe in an average metro station is human skin.

36. There are over 200 corpses on Mount Everest and they are used as way points for climbers.

37. The Romans used crushed mouse brains as toothpaste.

image credits: list25.com
image credits: list25.com

38. Mario’s name used to be “Jumpman”.

39. To burn off 1 M&M candy, you need to walk the full length of a football field.

40. Every unborn baby grows a moustache in the womb, which then spreads to cover the entire body. The baby then eats this fine hair called lanugo and excretes it after birth with their first bowel movement, which is a substance called meconium.

41. If you’re attacked by a bear, it won’t try to kill you like other predators would, it’ll just start eating.

42. Cockroaches can live for weeks without their heads before they starve to death.

cockroach
image credits: learnsomethingeveryday.co.uk

43. Astronauts in orbit feel weightless because they are constantly falling, not because there is no gravity in space.

44. Tomatoes are a fruit.

45. Alcohol kills more people than all illegal drugs combined.

46. The top richest 1% of Americans own 42% of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom 80% own just 7%.

47. There is only one place you can tickle yourself: the roof of your mouth.

48. You swallow a quart of saliva every day.

49. Every day, 150-200 species go extinct (but they’re mostly bacteria).

50. Mouse sperm is larger than elephant sperm.

Why do I Yawn When I See Someone Else Yawning?

Yawning yet? Well, give it some time and you will be soon enough.

See a person yawning around you, you will end up yawning. Catch someone else watching you? Soon, they’ll be yawning as well. Even writing this article and typing the word ‘yawning’ has that contagious effect.

Why does this happen? According to Italian scientists, yawning is like an act of transmission, the same as a smile or a mere hug. This is one of the many ways humans, and even animals, connect – an emotional expression.

image credits: Marc Rosenthal
image credits: Marc Rosenthal

Yesterday, in a so-boring-you-could-cry economics class, even though I had had a great night’s sleep, my professor caught me yawning right in the middle of her lecture. The reason for this was that I had just been watching my friend, a partying enthusiast who had no doubt had a late night, shielding her sleepy self with a textbook.

Little did I know, human instinct had played a part in inducing me to yawn. That instinct is generated by the brain and the social atmosphere which binds with the brain and emotional functionality of individuals.

How is yawning contagious?

This was researched upon by many scientists as a prime area of interest; they found out that it is similar to any other human action. Studies have proven how it is more of a social phenomenon where the act is performed between humans and animals unconsciously.

image credits: Ona Linda Johnson
image credits: Ona Linda Johnson

The instinct of self-recognition and self-awareness triggers the yawning catch, making it fast and automatic.

Neuroscience describes the phenomenon in detail where it analyses the brain’s functions as to how different parts operated during a video screened in front of the study’s participants. It was observed that the temporal sulcus was active in each hemisphere. These parts are directly linked to social activation, not to the mirror neuron system which associates with the mind theory. The participants who yawned also had a decreased activity in their left periamygdalar region, which affects facial expressions.

The two findings are rather complex and somewhat do not support Platek’s theory. It is rather evident that the theories of mind abilities do not have any direct link to contagious yawning. An imaging study carried out by Platek used videos containing yawning and matched them in contrast with laughing and neutral videos; the results state that yawning videos stimulated those regions of the brain that entail memory, emotions and the ability to asses one’s own self. Thus, this forms a dichotomy where Platek’s findings can be applied to his own theory but not with the sole imaging study regarding contagious yawning.

Not only is this not limited to humans, but contagious yawning has also been found present in chimpanzees – this is a result of their instinctive sense of self-awareness and empathy. Chimpanzees share this trait with their in-group species; they will yawn if they see their group members yawning. This is similar to experiencing pain if another member does. Interestingly, dogs have been observed to “catch” a yawn from their owners.

Yawns – Connecting people.

As mentioned earlier, like chimpanzees having the greater yawning tendency with their in-group members, humans share that close bond with their friends and blood relations. Yawns do not get passed on just like that, it is more of a “best-friend” thing. It has been claimed by several researchers that the closer you are to someone, the higher the chances of catching a yawn. This is where the empathy theory can be perfectly applied. This is how humans or animals connect and the social atmosphere bond between them is strengthened.

yawn_in_love
image credits: Ona Linda Johnson

Hold in your yawns, we’re almost finished!

In conclusion, we can see that contagious yawning cannot be defined or explained without ambiguity. The social information process does play a significant role in acting as a trigger but what other factors are involved in bringing about this phenomena are yet to be found. It cannot be said for certain that factors like empathy and awareness of one’s self are agents to stimulate this. For now, all we can do is catch a good night’s sleep.

P.S. Did you yawn while reading this article? Tell us in comments!