A Bunch Of Questions.

Someone did a blog and asked a ton of sciency questions and I, being a nerd, could not help but answer them.  I did not use google or wikipedia or books once in my response (just stating my nerd credentials).

Here goes:

“What is an earthquake?”

A crack or “fault” in the earth’s crust on which one side is moving one direction and the other side is moving in the other direction (due to continental drift), building up tension due to the tremendous pressure holding them against each other until it finally “snaps” and releases all of that energy building over decades or centuries in a violent shockwave, like pulling a rubber band gradually until it breaks.

“What is a tsunami?”

The shockwave(s) of an earthquake under the ocean which gradually forced upward by the shore and manifests in a series of large waves on land.

“What is an eclipse?”

A planet or moon falling into the shadow of another planet or moon.

“What is the largest fish?”

No idea.

“How do boats float?”

Gravity pulls things toward the earth depending on their density and weight, water is more dense and heavy than air or wood and so as it is pulled toward the earth it pushes up the lighter materials floating in the water – as a boat takes on water it loses it’s buoyancy due to the air in it being replaced with heavier water and it sinks.

“How do airplanes fly?”

The wing of an airplane is smoother on the bottom and fatter on the top, making the bottom have less wind resistance – as a result air travels faster on the bottom than the top producing lift.

“Where are the stars in the day?”

The stars are there always, but a “morning star” is typically a planet or moon.

“Why is the sky blue?”

The same reason anything else is blue, the part of the light spectrum that we perceive as blue is not absorbed by it, but rather than being reflected off of it, in the case of the atmosphere it simply passes through it.

“What is rain?”

Water which has evaporated, crystallized at high altitude and gathered until it fell back to earth, melting as it fell and got closer to the surface of the earth warmed daily by the sun.

“What is lightning?”

The same as a spark when you touch something metal on a dry day.  Positively and negatively charged electrons exist all around us, but repeated friction like rubbing your feet on the carpet (especially with insulation like the rubber soles of your shoes and especially on dry days) can cause more positive or negative electrons to build up in us, creating static electricity.  Electricity always seeks an equilibrium, so when you touch something that conducts electricity (like metal) and has fewer of the electrons in your body the amounts more or less equalize, resulting in a brief discharge or “zap”.  Lightning is the same thing, only much more massive – a much larger buildup of electrons is caused by the friction of the atmosphere against the earth’s surface, which is eventually discharged when an excellent conductor of electricity (water) passes between them.  A shock when you touch something metal is literally very small lightning.

“What is a rainbow?”

Light being refracted (bent) by water vapor as it is by a prism.

“What is evolution?”

A series of mechanisms which produce novel genes and increase or decrease the rate at which they exist in a population – a sort of trial and error process of modifying life which results in more infectious diseases, cancer cells adapting to chemotherapy and radiation, pesticide resistant insects and so on.  I can go into more detail if you like.

“How big is the sun?”

A few million times the size of the earth (which is about 26 thousand miles around), give or take.

“How come people get sick?”

Illnesses are caused by viruses, bacteria, genetic conditions, environmental toxins, and a number of other things.

“What is the Milky Way?”

The galaxy we inhabit – a galaxy is a collection of billions of stars (in our galaxy as many as half a trillion) revolving around a super-massive black hole – black holes are formed when a very, very large star (much bigger than ours) explodes, then collapses in on itself and becomes so dense and it’s gravity becomes so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape.  Modern physics hypothesizes that some forms of radiation (light) may be able to escape.

“Where is earth in the universe?”

There is no way to answer that question as there is no objective point of reference.  We are near the edge of our galaxy, any point we call the center of the universe is arbitrary, like calling a street main street.

“How fast is the earth moving?”

It is spinning at a little over a thousand miles per hour and moving through space around the sun around 60 times as fast, our solar system is moving much faster than that, and our galaxy is moving much faster than that.  You can google it though.

“How are mountains made?”

Lava from the core of the planet pushes layers of rock and dirt miles deep up gradually over millions of years – if the lava punches through and drips out of the surface it is a volcano, if it does not it is a mountain.

“What is a snowflake?”

Crystallized water.

“Where is the ozone layer?”

In the upper atmosphere.

“What is the fastest animal?”

The cheetah is the fastest land animal, there may be faster birds or something.

“Can animals talk?”

Yes, parrots can be trained to meaningfully speak, chimps can learn sign language and many species have crude languages and gestures.  Dolphins also identify each other individually as by name and exhibit high level language abilities.

“What is a dream?”

No one knows for sure, people have speculated that it is everything from your mind trying to interpret random discharges from your brain stem while you sleep to our mind’s way of processing memories and thoughts, to a sort of VR (virtual reality) simulation that allows us to better learn from our experiences and prepare mentally and emotionally for dangerous situations.


About agnophilo

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20 Responses to A Bunch Of Questions.

  1. Crono09 says:

    “What is the largest fish?”I think that the largest living species of fish is the whale shark.

  2. Crono09 says:

    I just checked Wikipedia to confirm:”The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is a slow-moving filter feeding shark, the largest living fish species.”

  3. This is great! Who is the blogger who inspired you, if I might ask?

  4. YouToMe says:

    These were great answers, and great effort, Mrkworth. I don’t think mine would be as good from memory alone. ( well, except for this one : “No idea.”. Lol)Fun, informative. Glad i got to see it.

  5. You’re a smart feller!

  6. jenessa1889 says:

    The largest fish is the whale shark!you can’t see stars during the day because the sun is so much brighter; it’d be like trying to see the beam of a flashlight outside on a bright sunny day.   but they are always thereon dreams: one interesting fact is that they are vital!  In one experiment, soldiers were awakened every time rapid eye movement began, preventing dreams (note: you fall into stage 4 sleep BEFORE your first REM cycle so they still got deep sleep).   After a few days the experiment was called off as the participants became seriously ill, mentally and physically, and the doctor became concerned that they could die

  7. TheBillion says:

    I was hoping I’d see the question, “What is death?”

  8. Most boats these days are made of steel, which is considerably more dense than water.  What holds them up is the surface tension of the water (in some cases) or compartments which hold a combination of air and water (which can be changed based on the desired depth, such as in a submarine).Airplanes fly because of the shape of the wing, yes, but not because of the friction (wind resistance) but because the volume of air going over the wing and the volume of air going under the wing is the same, but because the top of the wing is curved, the air on the top has to travel faster in relation to the wing and so it causes lower atmospheric pressure on the top of the wing vs the bottom of the wing which causes the plane to be pushed upward by the higher atmospheric pressure under the wings.

  9. This was VERY interesting and fun to read! HUGS!

  10. leaflesstree says:

    If I remember right, the peregrine falcon is capable of doing dives at upwards of 100 miles an hour, making it the fastest bird. But the cheetah is the fastest land animal. 🙂

  11. kk_grayfox says:

    @leaflesstree – Actually, 200 mph! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peregrine_Falcon(almost everyone commenting on this page is a nerd…lol)

  12. kk_grayfox says:

    …and the tiger beetle runs at a rate that, given its size, would be the equivalent of a human running 480 mph (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_beetle)

  13. Randy7777 says:

    Your last question caught my attention because it’s what I posted on today.  It’s an interesting question.

  14. db_11 says:

    Cool answers! thanks for even taking the time agno. When i go back to work on monday ill post the results of my exploration here, if you dont mind. (i did use outside sources to find my answers, but the answers were not the whole reason behind the questions)two questions that i gave up on were: why is the sky blue? (it was redundant after answering what a rainbow was and why you cant see stars in the day)how does a plane fly? (that is complicated shit, much more complicated than most people assume [pilots and engineers struggle to answer definitely])i’ve also added a few more questions (eg. why does cutting an onion make you cry?)how did you find my site by the way? you might be the first in months.

  15. db_11 says:

    @blonde_apocalypse – i like your how do airplanes fly answer… but is it everything?

  16. @db_11 – Definitely not.  The principle behind any “typical” horizontal lift, fixed-wing plane (which are the vast majority of all flying machines ever designed) amounts to the differential in atmospheric pressure between top and bottom of the wing caused by the shape of the wing.  Even the lift force behind flying boulders like the C-130 essentially amount to this principle (even though it relies heavily on the “given enough thrust, even a rock can fly for a while” principle as well).  Most of the engineering done on these types of craft are devoted to how to convert the least thrust in to the most lift.  But it doesn’t explain at all how helicopters fly (which rely on building columns of wind like a tornado), how zeppelins fly (blimps, balloons and whatnot which rely on lighter-than-air materials) or the many versions of vertical lift crafts (VTOL’s) such as the Harrier, the VJ101, or the ill-fated Lockheed XFV1 (which use the pressure differential to maintain lift, but, to be honest, I don’t really know which principle is behind achieving it in the first place.)

  17. Aloysius_son says:

    @leaflesstree – over 200 MPH!”What is an earthquake?” Something you want to feel while making love.”What is an eclipse?” A brand of breath freshening gum.”What is the largest fish?” The one that got away.”How do boats float?” Usually on top of the water.”How do airplanes fly?” a combination of horizontal thrust and engineered airfoil creating diametrically opposed pressure zones above and below the wing, the greater being below and the lesser above. This is achieved by forcing two equal volumes of air to travel, one a greater distance over the top of the wing than the other which travels under.”Where are the stars in the day?” Sleeping off a night of drinking and engaging in Hollywood debauchery.”Why is the sky blue?” It isn’t always blue. Sometimes it appears a salmony hue of reddish pink. When it is blue it is because the shorter wavelenghts of blue light are more readily refracted through the atmosphere vertically”What is rain?” A mystical coalition of condensed water molecules that falls softly on the plains in Spain.”What is lightning?” Lightning is the visible result of a super heated column of air which produces photons when electrons jump from one suborbital to the next. The transfer of electrons resuts from charge diferentials created by the the stripping away of electrons due to friction as two air masses of differing densities collide. As the super heated air mass expands and contracts it attains supersonic velocities, producing the thunder clap “What is a rainbow?”Light being refracted (bent) by water droplets as it is by a prism.”What is evolution?” The mechanism of gradual changeHow big is the sun?” I don’t remember exactly, but its size fluctautes and varies across perpendicular diameters”How come people get sick?” This is a more complex question than can be answered in a short quip. In many cases there becomes an imballance between the auto immune systems ability to ward off infection and invasive antibodies, or in which toxins accumulate and destroy cellular structures and organs.”What is the Milky Way?” A candy bar produced by the Mars Candy Company”Where is earth in the universe?” There is currently no way to answer that question acurately as there is no objective point of reference.  “How fast is the earth moving?” Speed is relative to the objects against which time and distance are measured, thus the rate at which the earth is moving is relative to the frame of reference you are imvoking.How are mountains made?” The subcontinental plates which comprise the outer crust of the earth’s surface are forced into motion by a geothermic conveyor belt. As these plates move they either collide with or drift away from other plates.When two plates collide one is driven beneath the other and the other is pushed upwards. “What is a snowflake?” One of them is a thing of beauty, a billion of them are a hideous and obscene obstruction to the civilized flow of vehicular traffic.Where is the ozone layer?” Between the n and p zones”What is the fastest animal?” The paragrine falcon which can dive at speeds over 200 MPH!”Can animals talk?”Yes,”What is a dream?” A dream is the self realized conscious revisiting, reorganizing and reprocessing experiences through recalled visual and auditory sensory inputs. As these inputs are imprinted into the neural network via neural impulses they are often reinforced by subliminal repetition. Often dreams consist of audio visual imagery and less often olfactory, tactile, or gustatory constructs. Dreaming most often occurs as an individual transitions between consciousness and unconsciousness through the sub or semiconscious state. Dreaming is associated with high levels of electrical activity in various areas of the brain.

  18. Mikke3vArt says:

    that just gave me a months worth of snapple facts xD

  19. db_11 says:

    anything in quotes is copy pasted from somewhere in the vast library of the internet. Generally i believe all questions are worth asking (some are better to ask yourself than others)this was a bit i wanna know and a bit someone else asked me to turn something out. the result is a mix of creativity, piracy and research. i posted the questions and agno responded (response is like eclipse in the desert of my page) Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-parent:””;mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0in;mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:10.0pt;font-family:”Times New Roman”;mso-ansi-language:#0400;mso-fareast-language:#0400;mso-bidi-language:#0400;}What is an earthquake?“An earthquake is the shaking and vibration at the surfaceof the Earth caused by underground movement along a fault plane or by volcanicactivity.” Ideas for homeexperiment:Split a flat piece of stiff Styrofoam in two. These piecesrepresent tectonic plates, and the split represents a fault line. Constructbuildings on the Styrofoam out of toothpicks and marshmallows and pour pepperonto the Styrofoam to represent humans. Slowly rub the pieces of Styrofoamagainst each other; dragging one along the fault line of the other. Whathappens to the little pepper people? What happens when a building has deeperfoundations in the Styrofoam. What happens when a building is taller? What is a tsunami?“A tsunami is a series of waves with extremely longwavelength that results from an underwater disturbance such as seismicactivity, volcanoes, meteorite impact or landslides. These giant waves aredangerous and destructive when they approach a coastline, wiping out entiretowns in seconds. They are long but don’t have much height in the open ocean.When they move to shallower water, they become much shorter and can reach 30meters in height.” Ideas for homeexperiment:Fill a paint tray about half way with water. Fashion acityscape out of paper; either individual buildings or a whole skyline. Putthese just beyond the water level on the paint tray slope, as most seasidecities are positioned. You may want to have a few small boats (Styrofoam packingpeanuts?) one deeper in the tray and one more shallow to show the effects ofthe wave on boats in deep water vs. more shallow water. Tie a string to a brick,or a small water bottle filled with water and sealed, and put this gently atthe deep end of the paint tray leaving some space between the brick/bottle andthe back of the tray. Holding the tray in place with one hand, pull the stringand the brick/bottle towards the back of the tray with the other. This willforce the water back, and then a wave will move forward, up the paint trayslope towards the city. What do you observe? What if you pull the brick/bottlefaster? What is an eclipse?“An eclipse occurs when one object gets in between you andanother object and blocks your view. From Earth, we routinely experience twokinds of eclipses: an eclipse of the Moon and an eclipse of the Sun.” Ideas for homeexperiment:Use a lamp and soccer or volleyball, or even a tennis ball.Position the lamp somewhere that it won’t move, but where you have an arms lengthof space to spin. The lamp is the sun. Your head will be the earth, and theball will be the moon. Turn off the other lights in the room. Rotate with theball in your extended arm. Pause when the ball is between the lamp and yourline of vision. This is a solar eclipse. When your head is between the lamp andthe ball the ball is cast in shadow, this is a lunar eclipse. Can you identifydifferent phases of the moon? What is the largestfish?“The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is aslow-moving filter feeding shark, the largestliving fish species. Thelargest confirmed individual was 12.65 metres (41.50 ft) in length and theheaviest weighed more than 36 tonnes (79,000 lb).” “It swims with its mouth open, sucking in huge amounts ofwater filled with small animals and plankton. This water is then filteredthrough spongy tissue around its gills. After the whale shark closes its mouth,it uses gills rakers, which are thousands of bristles around 10cm long in itsmouth, to filter and eat the tiny plants and animals, which can include smallfish, crustaceans and squid.” The biggest creature in the sea is the blue whale. “Blue whales are so big they are the BIGGEST creature everto have lived on earth – even bigger than the biggest dinosaurs! The LARGESTwhale ever measured was a female weighing 171,000 kg and measuring over90ft./27m long. The LONGEST whale measured in at over 110ft./33m.” Ideas for homeexperiment:Perspective: imagine that you are a whale shark, and you arealmost forty feet in length and weigh ten tonnes. How much plankton and tinysea creatures would you eat everyday? Roughly 200 kg of food per day! 1 tonne = 1000kgWhaleshark = 10,000kg200/10,000 = .02The whale shark eats roughly 2% of its body weight each day.One fish stick is 33 grams. Roughly thirty fish sticks makes1 kg. How many fish sticks would you need to eat in one day tohave eaten 2% of your body weight? Now imagine you are the largest mammal: a blue whale. You weigh 100 tonnes, 100,000 kg!In one day a blue whale eats roughly 4 tonnes of krill.4/100 = .04The blue whale eats roughly 4% of its body weight each day. How many fish sticks would you need to eat in one day tohave eaten 4% of your body weight? How do boats float?“An object in a fluid experiences an upward force equal tothe weight of the fluid displaced by the object. So if a boat weighs 1,000 pounds(or kilograms), it will sink into the water until it has displaced 1,000 pounds(or kilograms) of water. Provided that the boat displaces 1,000 pounds of waterbefore the whole thing is submerged, the boat floats.” Ideas for homeexperiments:Use modeling clay to try molding different hull shapes anduse coins to determine which hull shape can carry the most weight. Have acontest with friends to see whose ship design can carry more cargo. Why aren’tall boats built flat and shallow? Can you think of any reason why some are moresleek? Where are the starsin the day?The nearest star to earth is our sun. In the day time it istoo bright to see the faintly shining stars. “When the sun is up, the bluecolor in sunlight gets scattered all over the atmosphere, turning the sky thefamiliar bright blue color. This blue light is much brighter than the faintlight coming from the stars, so it prevents us from seeing them.” But, they arestill shining as bright as ever.  Ideas for homeexperiments:Holding a flashlight and a piece of paper which you havepunched different sized holes in, turn the light off in your room. Next shinethe flashlight through the paper so that little ‘stars’ are projected onto yourceiling. Are some stars brighter than others? Next, turn on the light in yourroom. Can you still see the stars on the ceiling? Where did they go? What is rain?Rain is a typeof precipitation, a product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor thatis deposited on the earth’s surface. It forms when separate drops of water fallto the Earth’s surface from clouds. Not all rain reaches the surface; someevaporates while falling through dry air” Ideas for homeexperiment:Conduct a condensation experiment with two rocks and plasticwrap. Show that water is present in the atmosphere. Early in the morning dewcan be seen condensing on plants. Can you devise a way to collect the dew? Why does it hurt whenI fall?“Pain is the way your brain interprets information about aparticular sensation that your body is experiencing. Information (or”signals”) about this painful sensation are sent via nerve pathwaysto your brain.” Sometimes when you fall it doesn’t hurt and you can get back upquickly. But sometimes you may scrape your skin along a rough surface causingbleeding, or bang something against a very solid surface causing bruising. Oreven worse you may break a bone.  Ideas for homeexperiment:We don’t want to fall down to measure what hurts and whatdoesn’t so we will use an apple to determine which falls are more severe.Apples bruise just like people. We will try 4 experiments. You can use 1 applefor all 4 experiments, but it would be better to use a different apple foreach. Green or yellow apples are best as it is hard to see bruising on redapples. 1)      Scrapean apple along concrete. What happens to its skin?2)      Dropan apple from waist height. Any bruising?3)      Dropan apple from as high as you can reach. Is the bruising worse?4)      Nowthrow an apple up in the air. Make sure no one is around that you might accidentallyhit. Wouldn’t want to bruise them! What happens to the apple uponlanding?  Why does cuttingonions make people cry?Cutting onions releases a fine mist which turns to an acidwhen it hits your eye. Your eyes are very sensitive and when they are exposedto this chemical they begin to tear up; you cry in an effort to rid the effectsof the acid on the surface of your eyeball.  Ideas for home experiment:You’re going to need 4 onions, a knife, a pair of goggles, anose plug (a clothespin will work, or you can put some ear plugs in yournostrils) and a little bit of time between each stage of the activity. First,have an adult cut the onion while looking directly over it. Be careful with theknife. Do you cry? Next try cutting a new onion wearing the goggles. Do youcry?Now try without the goggles, but cover your nose with thenose plug. Do you cry?Lastly, use the goggles and the nose plug when you cut theonion. Any effect? What is lightning?“Lightning is a discharge of atmospheric electricity whichis triggered by a buildup of differing charges within a cloud. The result is asudden release of electricity which causes a distinctive bright flare, followedby a thunderclap. Lightning is most common around the equatorial regions of theworld, although it can potentially strike anywhere, and it appears in a varietyof guises, depending on atmospheric conditions.” Ideas for homeexperiments:http://www.ehow.com/how_4450498_make-lightning.html What is a rainbow?“A rainbow is merely a large band of parallel stripes,blended at the rims, which displays the full spectrum of colors that make upthe sun’s white light. This brilliant display appears to the naked eye when thesun’s light breaks up as it passes through, the prism-like raindrops during arain-shower.” Ideas for homeexperiment:Water refraction using container, mirror, water and flashlight (as described previously). What is evolution?“Evolution is a gradual processin which something changes into a different and usually more complex or betterform.” As it is most famously used, “evolution” is the processby which an organism becomes more sophisticated over time and in response toits environment. The Theory of Evolution is currently the most popular conceptof how life reached its current state.” Ideas for home experiments:??? How big is the sun?“The mass of the Sun is 1.9891 x1030 kg… that’s 333,000 times themass of the Earth…The Sun’s diameter is 1.4 million kilometers (the circumference is 4.4 millionkm around). You could fit 109 Earths side by side to match the diameter of Sun…The Sun’s total surfacearea is 6.1 x 1018 square meters. That’s the same as 11,900 Earths.And here’s the big difference. The total volume of the Sun is 1.4 x 1027cubic meters. You could fit 1.3 million Earths inside the Sun with room tospare.” Ideas for home experiment:You will need a field, a button or coin and a ruler (a meterstick would be good) for this activity. Measure the diameter of the coin. Nowmultiply the length by 109. How big is your sun in comparison with the earth? (If the coins diameter is 2cm, the suns is 218cm/ 2.18m)The diameter of the earth = 12,756.2 kilometersThe average distance (the mean distance) between the Earthand the Sun is about 150 millionkilometers.150,000,000 /12,756.2 = 11,759 (the average distance between the earth and the sun is thedistance of 11,759 earths side by side) 2 * 11,759 = 23, 518 cm = 235.18m = .23518 km If the earth is 2cmin diameter, and the sun is 2.18 m in diameter, the distance between them is235.18 meters!  How do people getsick?“There are two major kinds of diseases: infectious andnon-infectious. Infectious diseases are caused by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi andparasites. These pathogens can enter the body through the air we breathe, thefood and drink we consume or through openings in the skin, such as cuts. As anexample, think of a person who has a cold. That person may cough into his orher hand and then touch a doorknob, thus placing the cold virus on thatdoorknob. The virus may die on the doorknob, but it’s also possible that thenext person to touch the doorknob will pick it up. If that person then touchesfood with the unwashed hand and consumes the food, the virus is now inside thebody.” Ideas for homeexperiment:Some sickness is a result of environmental and geneticfactors, and this kind of sickness is generally difficult to avoid. But otherkinds are a result of what we consume and how we live. As the saying goes, youare what you eat. Do some research about what food is good for you and whatisn’t and see how your diet stacks up. Record what you eat and drink for a week;every little snack and giant meal. Is your favorite food good for you, or couldit contribute to a deterioration in your health? Do you need to change yourdiet? Do you want to? What is the healthiest thing you eat? What is the MilkyWay?“The Milky Way is the galaxy in which we live. It is aspiral shaped galaxy that contains about 200 billion stars, including our Sun.It is about 100,000 light-years across and about 10,000 light-years thick. Ifyou are at a place which has a very dark night sky, you can sometimes see theMilky Way as a thick band of stars in the sky. We live near the edge of theMilky Way.” Ideas for homeexperiment:Unfortunately light pollution is making the stars harder tosee. If and when you find yourself in a very dark and natural environment makesure to look up at the night sky. Give your eyes at least 10 minutes to adaptto the darkness though. Your eyes become more sensitive to low light levelafter spending a while in the dark. Because the Milky Way is a large diffuse object in the sky, binoculars andtelescopes don’t really help your viewing of it. You can look online to findspecific times and dates that the Milky Way will be most visible!  How fast does theearth move?“We are moving along an orbit around the sun at almost 30kilometers per second, or just over 67,000 miles per hour… Our Solar System istucked away in an arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Our galaxy is rotating, and weare rotating around the galaxy’s center at about 220 kilometers per second(490,000 miles per hour!). Our Milky Way galaxy is part of a cluster ofgalaxies we refer to as the “local group.” Together, they are cruising throughspace at an astounding 1,000 kilometers per second.” Ideas for homeexperiment:How fast something appears to be going is dependent on aframe of reference. The earth is moving extremely quickly but if you aresitting on the couch you can’t feel the motion. Try this: next time you are ina car open the window and look at the ground passing by. Next, look at anobject in the distance; a mountain or tower. Which appears to be moving faster,the ground beside the car or the tower in the distance? Neither the tower northe ground is moving, but the car and you are. Your frame of reference is from inside the moving car, soeverything else appears to be moving around you. This is why early astronomersbelieved the sky and sun were rotating around the earth, and not the other wayaround. Ask how fast the car is going. 67 miles per hour is fast ina car, but remember, the earth is moving around the sun at 67,000 miles per hour!Talk about an expensive speeding ticket… How are mountainsmade?“Mountains are made up of earth and rock materials. Theoutermost layer of the Earth or the Earth’s crust is composed of six plates.When two plates move or collide each other, vast land areas are uplifted,resulting in the formation of mountains. Depending upon the geological process,as to how the mountains are formed and the mountain characteristics, there arefive major types of mountains. Fold Mountains: Fold mountains are the most common type of mountains. Examplesof fold mountains are the Himalayas (Asia), the Alps (Europe).They are formed due to collision of two plates, causing folding of the Earth’scrust. The fold that descends on both sides is called anticline; whereas, thefold that ascends from a common low point (on both sides) is called syncline. Fault-Block Mountains: As the name suggests, faultmountains or fault-block mountains are formed when blocks of rock materialsslide along faults in the Earth’s crust. There are two types of blockmountains, namely the lifted and tilted. In the former type, the mountain hastwo steep sides; whereas, the tilted type has one steep side and gentle slopingside. Example of fault-block mountain is the Sierra Nevada mountains (North America).Volcanic Mountains:Volcanic mountains are formed due to volcaniceruptions, for e.g. Mount Fuji (Japan). They are formed whenvolcanic magma erupts and piles up on the surface of the Earth. Dome Mountains: Dome mountains are formed when the hot magma rises from themantle and uplifts the overlying sedimentary layer of the Earth’s crust. In theprocess, the magma is not erupted, but it cools down and forms the core of themountain. Example of dome mountain is the Navajo Mountain in Utah. They are called dome mountains due totheir appearance that resembles dome shape.Plateau Mountains: Plateau mountains are pseudo mountains that are formed becauseof erosion. An example of plateau mountain is the Catskill Mountains (New York). They usuallyoccur near the fold mountain ranges.” Ideas for homeexperiment:First separate molding clay into two pieces to model two ofthe six crusts on the earth’s surface. Flatten the clay out so that both piecesare thin like pancakes (not too thin). Place each crust at the edge of a pieceof scrap paper or old newspaper; so that you can push the two crusts towardseach other without them getting stuck on the table surface (we don’t want tocause an earthquake). Push the two pieces together slowly, what happens wherethey meet? What happens where your fingers are pushing? What kind of mountainhave you made? What is a snowflake?“When droplets of water in a cloud come into contact withtiny particles-specks of dust, tiny pollutants, minuscule pieces of vegetationthat have been carried up by wind-they freeze into ice crystals and begin tofall. Traveling through a cloud, these ice crystals may pass by air containing supercooled droplets, which is water that is below the freezing point but remains aliquid. These droplets attach themselves to the sides of the ice crystals,where they freeze, forming snowflakes. When water freezes it forms flat,six-sided ice crystals (though the way the crystals clump together accounts fora number of different snowflake shapes). As these crystals increase in size,they fall to Earth. If the cloud from which they fall is low in the sky, thesnowflakes are likely to stay frozen and will fall to the ground as snow.”  Ideas for homeexperiment:Make an ice balloon or an ice hand to explore the freezingproperties of water. ORUse three pieces of pipe cleaner, string, a pencil andsolution of 1 cup water with 3 tablespoons borax. Twist the pipe cleaner into asix pointed snowflake shape and suspend it in borax solution using string tiedto a pencil. Leave it overnight and the next day you will have a snowflake. It’snot a real snowflake, but your home-made snowflake shows how crystals form. What is the ozonelayer?“The ozone layer is a deep layer in the stratosphere,encircling the Earth, which has large amounts of ozone in it. The layer shieldsthe entire Earth from much of the harmful ultraviolet radiation that comes fromthe sun. Interestingly, it is also this ultraviolet radiation that formsthe ozone in the first place. Ozone is a special form of oxygen, made up ofthree oxygen atoms rather than the usual two oxygen atoms. It usually formswhen some type of radiation or electrical discharge separates the two atoms inan oxygen molecule (O2), which can then individually recombine withother oxygen molecules to form ozone (O3).” Ideas for homeexperiment:??You’ll need a stop watch and two balloons. The ozone is sortof like a tree shading us from the sun. Fill two water balloons equally full ofwater. Put them in the freezer and leave it over night. Cut and remove the rubber from the frozen balloons and placethem in two identical bowls. Place one bowl under the shade of the tree, andone bowl in the direct sunlight. Do you live in a warm or cold climate? Whattime of year is it? Time how long it takes the ice to melt in each bowl. Thismay take some patience; while you are waiting stand in the sunlight and standin the shade. Which do you prefer? What happens to the ice? What if it waswinter and you lived near the North Pole? At your local science store it is possible to buy an ozonetest, which you can use to detect how much ozone is in your surroundings.  How is cotton candymade?Contrary to popular belief cotton candy is not derived fromclouds turned pink at sunset and collected by helicopter. Most cotton candy ismade from sugar that has been melted into a liquid form and then forced throughtiny holes in a cotton candy machine. These holes shape and then cool the liquid sugar.  When it finally cools, the sugar changes backfrom a liquid state to a solid state where it can be collected and spun arounda stick for you to enjoy. Clouds do not taste as sweet as they look at sunset.   Ideas for homeexperiment:If cotton candy looks like clouds we’re going to makecrystal candy that looks like it came from a cave deep within the earth. You’llneed a wooden chopstick a clothespin and a tall skinny glass. With an adultshelp dissolve ¼ cup sugar in warm water, and continue to add a little moresugar until it won’t dissolve anymore. Have the adult pour the solution intothe glass and then suspend the chopstick inside the sugar solution using theclothespin. In 3 to 4 days the super saturated solution will form sugarcrystals on your chopstick. Enjoy! What is the fastestanimal?“On land, thefastest animal is the cheetah. Cheetahs can run up to 70 miles per hour!To understand how fast this is, think of it as a little faster than a car goeswhen it’s on the highway! In thewater, the fastest animal is the sailfish. This special fish can movealmost as fast as a cheetah: It’s been measured at swimming up to 68 miles perhour! However, both of these neatanimals cannot be beat by the speed of a peregrine falcon. That’s right:The fastest animal of all is a bird! Although the peregrine falcon doesn’tclock in at an exceptionally fast speed when flying, it’s speed when divingbeats any other animal on Earth: It can reach over 200 miles per hour when in adive!! Remember how fast the cheetah and the sailfish were? Well, the peregrinefalcon is almost three times that quick!” Ideas for homeexperiments:The fastest a human has ever run is approximately 26 mph(for a very short distance). See how fast you can run. What you’ll need is astop watch and a distance whose measurement you know. If there is a basketballcourt near you that is a good place to find out your speed. Most basketballcourts are fifty feet in width. Use the stop watch to determine how long ittakes to sprint across the width of the basketball court.  x = your time1 mile = 5280 ft1 hr = 3600 seconds50/x ft per second = your speed in feet per second((50/x)3600)/5280) = your speed in mph. A quick way to estimate your speed in mph is to add fiftypercent to your time in ft per second. If you ran across the width of thebasketball court in 6 seconds your speed would be 50/6 = 8.333 ft/sec8.333/2 = 4.168.333+4.16 = 12.5 mph (keep in mind this is a roughestimate) So, how fast are you compared to the fastest human?  Can animals talk?“The neigh of a horse, the braying of a donkey, the moo of acow, and the trumpeting of an elephant carry with them different feelings,meanings and emotions. Some of these can be understood by human beings, whereasmost of the other language of the animals remains unknown to us. Nevertheless,studies reveal that animals can clearly communicate with each other, and makethemselves understood to other animals of their own kind.” “Other animals usesignals and sign language to talk to each other. Bees do a complicated dance totell other bees in which direction to go to find food. To us, it just lookslike a figure of eight with a bum-waggle in the middle. But, if the bee ‘draws’the eight upright, it means ‘head towards the Sun’; if it draws it at an angle,that tells the other bees what angle from the Sun they should head away fromthe hive at. (So, for example, an eight on its side would mean ‘head off at 90°to the sun’). A gorilla leading a troop through the forest will do a similarthing – by thumping two trees, one after the other. The line between the twotrees tells the other gorillas which way they’re headed for the day, and theyall understand at once.” “Dolphins and whales have pretty complex brains, too,and we still don’t understand what all their clicks and whistles mean, so theycould be talking in full sentences for all we know. Some types of octopus andsquid might even be able to do it. Some cuttlefish can hold ‘conversations’with up to four friends at once, by using different sides of their bodies tomake patterns of light and colour 21 – patterns that change so fast we canhardly see them.” Even if they cant talk to us animals cant certainlycommunicate with each other.  Idea for homeexperiment:This will require some patience. In a backyard or at a parkbring a piece of foor; a slice of fruit, candy or maybe even a piece of adonut. Look around for some ants. Ants live in almost every climate on earth soyou should be able to find some. Leave your piece of food somewhere there is anumber of ants. Now watch very carefully. If one ant finds the food, will iteat first, take some food to go, or leave to tell other ants? If and when theant leaves move the piece of food slightly, not too far but not too close;maybe half a foot away. Can the ants find the food? Is it where the originalant ‘told’ them it would be? Do you believe animals can communicate? What is the ice age?“An Ice Age is a period oftime, typically about 30 million but occasionally as long as 300 million years,during which ice sheets cover at least theEarth’s polar areas. Individual Ice Ages havesub-Ice Ages, called glacials (when cold) orinterglacials (when warmer) that operate in cycles of 40,000 and 100,000 years.When the term “Ice Age” is usedcolloquially, it often refers to these shorter glacials, periods when the ice caps extend significantly beyond the poles and intothe hearts of continents such as North America and Eurasia.In this sense, “the last Ice Age”refers to what is formally called “the last glacial period”, whichbegan about 70,000 BP and ended between 15,000 and 10,000 BP. This is the Ice Age that was experienced by early man.” Ideas for homeexperiment:??? plant in a freezer? How strong are ants?“Ants are extremely strong. We’ve all probably seen an ant marching along,carrying a crumb of food that outweighs it. An ant has very strong legs andjaws, enabling it to be able to carry things as heavy as five times itsweight.” “Ants were found to be capable of lifting an object weighing 5 timesas much as their own weight at the maximum in their mandibles. Furthermore, itwas also shown that an ant of the species is able to carry an object weighingup to 25 times as much as its own body at the maximum by dragging it along theground to the nest. Variation with species is also seen in the method ofcarrying food to the nest. Large species carry food individually or by workingas a team of 3-4 ants at the most. On the other hand, in small species, a teamconsisting of as many as dozens of ants carries the food, or tears the foodinto pieces and then carries each piece independently.”Ideas for homeexperiment:Multiply your weight by five. Can you think of an objectthat might weigh that much? Do not try to lift it! If you were the size of anant and the object was a relative size you might manage. Humans are bigger andas bigger animals physics says we have to raise a different volume in the formsof our arms and bodies. Plus ants have six legs! Try leaving different types of foods out, and watchcarefully. Which food is heaviest? Which one does the ant like the most? Doesit lift the food in its mouth or drag it along behind? Does anyone come to helpcarry the spoils or does a lone ant carry away the jackpot on its own?   How does a seed grow?“In order to grow seeds require certain necessities such aswater, air, soil and sunshine. When a seed receives water it begins to grow.The process of a plant developing from a seed is referred to as germination.The seed contains enough nutrientsand energy within it to start out on its own. It begins by sending out a radical which travels towards the ground and triesto draw nutrients from the soil. This is followed by the appearance of theplumule or stem of the plant which travels upwards and will become the stalk ofthe plant in the future. The radical starts forming roots and the plumuledevelops leaves. The seed is no more and it has given way to a brand new plant.Simple experiments of placing seeds in wet cotton over a period of days willreveal the process of growth.” Ideas for homeexperiment:You’ll need two seeds for this activity, and be warned,seeds take time to grow; this does not happen overnight. You can either getthese from a fruit or buy a pack of seeds from the supermarket. Put one inbetween two sheets of dry paper towel. Put the other seed in between two sheetsof wet paper towel. Keep the wet paper towel as moist as possible, and observethe progress of each seed. Can you see a plant sprouting from one? How aboutthe other? So what does a seed need to grow? Plant them both outside, somewherethey won’t be disturbed and can get some sunlight. Did the other seed startgrowing yet? Maybe in a few years your seeds will be trees!  How do lizards growtheir tails back?“All lizards have tails and all lizards can lose theirtails, but not all lizards can grow them back. The tail is an importantstructure. We know that individuals with tails can run faster than thosewithout tails. We also know that lizards that lose their tails lose animportant source of energy because these animals store fats at the base oftheir tails… the tail bones have central regions that break easily when thetail is pulled. The muscles of the tail pull apart easily and the blood vesselsconstrict to stop the wounded tail from bleeding. So, if a predator attacks alocal lizard, the tail is designed to separate from the body, allowing thelizard to escape while the predator eats the tail. In species like Broad-headedSkinks, the tail is brightly colored (blue in this case) and is frequentlytwitched by the lizard so that predators see and attack the tail but not thebody. Lizards that lose their tails in this way can grow them back but thereplacement tail is never as long as nor as colorful as the original one.Replacement tails grow back in as little as three months or as long as twoyears… big ones like iguanas and Komodo Dragons, the tail bones are notdesigned to break and the tail muscles are not designed to pull apart. Theselizards can lose their tails, but it takes a much stronger pull to make thishappen. The wound will heal, but the tail does not grow back… We do not fullyunderstand how this happens.” Ideas for homeexperiments:Even though it will probably live it is not recommended thatyou take a lizards tail, these are important stores of energy resources for alizard and could protect it from another predator who is actually trying totake its life. Plants also have the ability to grow back branches that areforcefully removed. Find a tree and snap a small young branch (a twigessentially) from it. Plant this twig in the ground beside the tree (who knowsmaybe it will grow backwards!).  Checkback on the part of the tree that you snapped off every couple of days. Isanything new growing in place of the missing branch? Why do snakes shedtheir skin?“Snakes grow, but their skin doesn’t! So snakes have to shedtheir skin every so often. How often depends on the species of snake, but onaverage, healthy snakes shed their skin 6 to 8 times every year, with younger,faster growing snakes shedding their skin 8 or more times per year. Snakes tryto shed their skin in one piece, unlike lizards and some other reptiles. Theyshed from nose (including eye caps) to tail. It can take up to 14 days tocomplete the shedding, during which time the snake does not eat.” You might besurprised to learn that humans shed their skin as well! Unlike snakes we shedour skin cell by cell as it gets warn down and we grow. Humans shed their skinevery 25-45 days and we have a Brand NEW layer of skin! Have you ever beensunburned? Your baked skin peels away just like a reptiles! Ideas for homeexperiment:You’ll need an onion for thisexperiment. Pretend it’s our snake. Even though it is not going to show growthwe will use this onion to show how every layer of skin has a new one growingunderneath. The outer most layers are the toughest and the driest. This isbecause just like our outer most layer of skin, the outer most layer of an onion’sskin is dead! What is a dream?Some say dreams are everything you don’t know you know. Othersclaim they are full of meaning begging interpretation. Dreams are looselydefined as a series of thoughts, images and emotions that occur while one isasleep; imaginary visions when one is less than conscious. As with everythingelse in the world of science, there is so much that humans don’t understand.Everyone dreams, unborn babies and most animals are known to exhibit dreamlikebehavior.  Ideas for homeexperiment:Keep a diary beside your bed. Record your dreams. If a dreamis not real, and is only a figment of your sleeping imagination, can you controlyour dream? Record your progress in this endeavor. 

Speak yer mind.

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