Tuesday, June 10, 2014

science and Reddit trivia that changed my perspective on things

  • Technically, you're not necessarily looking "up" at the stars--since directions can be arbitrary/relative, you could also be looking "down" at the stars, considering where you are on earth and where we could consider to be "up" (i.e. outwards of the perimeters of the earth? upwards in terms of the "plane" that the orbits of the planets are generally forming? north pole?).
  • Everybody that was alive when the oldest living person was born is dead now. All of them. On the planet.
  • In fact, 54 million people that are alive right now will be dead within the next 12 months.
  • In 100-120 years, it will be a whole new crop of people inhabiting this earth. Rinse and repeat.
  • Before wishing for invisibility as your superpower, think again--being invisible means you would be blind as well. If your eyes are invisible, then the light has nothing to bounce back to, rendering you incapable of seeing anything.
  • There are many bug-parts in chocolate, as bugs can't really be kept out of the cocoa beans. The FDA allows a certain percentage of bug parts per ounce. When someone is allergic to chocolate, generally, they are allergic to the bugs and not the chocolate itself.
  • The smell of fresh-cut grass is actually a distress signal from the grass being cut. It 'warns' other grass blades that destruction is near, and upon being warned, the grass redistributes most of its nutrients closer to its roots so that its losses are minimized. Basically, plants are more metal than I thought.
  • Eating one single banana exposes you to more radiation than being within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant for one year. Note that this is a testament to the safety of nuclear power plants (so long as it is in compliance with regulations), not the radioactivity of bananas; the stigma around nuclear power plants is rather misleading.
  • Arthur C. Clarke: "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."
  • Mathematically, there have to be other lifeforms in the galaxy, and it's almost certain that some of them are intelligent--maybe as many as 10,000 different civilizations. The catch is, space is so big that as far as we can determine right now (some 15 billion light-years across), given an even random distribution (unless it's not so random... but that's to contemplate another time I suppose), none of us will ever likely meet each other or even detect each other. For all intents and purposes, then, we are alone in the universe. Any intelligent alien races likely suffer the same lack of significance as humans do. Not only is it improbable that alien life exists within reach, but it's even more improbable that we are co-existing at the same time.
  • If the acceleration model of the expansion of the universe is correct, things will start disappearing from our visible sky. People of the future (provided that human civilization can last that long) will have no way of knowing these things ever existed through their own direct observation; they'll have to rely on our documentation.
  • We don't use "10% of our brains." We use all 100%. There is no secretly-unexplored chasm of superpowers in our brain. We just happen to not use all 100% at the same time, since each part of the brain does something different. We aren't doing math and writing a symphony and playing soccer at the same time (although I'd like to see that).
  • The stronger the smell of chlorine in a swimming pool, the more contaminated it is with sweat/fecal matter/urine. Sometimes I forget that the nostalgic smell of summer is really the smell of stank.
  • Our monetary system has been set up so that there will always be more debt in existence than there is money to pay it all off. We will never be out of debt until the USD (and subsequently every other world currency) collapses.
  • Eggs are basically a chicken's menstruation.
  • When you eat figs, you are basically eating wasps; figs can't become the way they are without a female fig wasp flying into the center of the syconium to lay her eggs; one inside, there's no getting back out.
  • Ladybugs have the highest STD-rate among animals.
  • Green apple seeds contain cyanide.
  • Red-colored candy and soda is made out of ground up beetles; see if you can find "carmine" as an ingredient in these items. Gelatin is also made out of horse/cow hooves and is an ingredient in most types of candy and gum.
  • Flipper (the dolphin) committed suicide. The majority of dolphins held in captivity commit suicide.
  • You have never actually been 'touched' the way you think you have. Our atoms all repel each other and don't actually 'touch' because of the electron cloud. The tactile sense you feel is really just the repulsive forces occuring on the molecular level.
  • Statistically, American women have a better chance at becoming princesses than Supreme Court Justices. More American women have become (or always been) a part of some royal ancestry than they have become Supreme Court Justices.
  • The idea that racism is bad is newer than the automobile.
  • Bread is actually bad for ducks. You are slowly killing them when you feed them bread.
  • Sometime in the future, you will be thought of for the last time.
  • Bats have the highest percentage of homosexuality among all animals. (Keep this in mind when Batman vs. Superman comes out...)
  • Every dog in that movie or TV show you like so much is dead now.
  • Hugo Boss designed and produced the uniforms for the Nazis.

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