Did You Know?
•        If a virus were about the size of a baseball, then a bacterium would be very
close to the size of a pitchers mound and a human cell the size of a baseball field.

•        There are more bacteria in and on your body than there are cells in your
body.  This is a huge number when you consider that the average adult has around
100 trillion cells. Bacteria are relatively very small and it could take as many as
50,000 bacteria to cover one square inch.

A Little About Bacteria
At one time these tiny organisms were classified as animals because of their ability
to move and respond to stimuli.  Later they were classified as plants because of the
way that they are enclosed within a cell wall.  Now they are classified as monera
and are generally thought to have characteristics of both animals and plants.  It is
interesting to note that the single celled ancestors from which both plants and
animals evolved were similar in many ways to modern day bacteria.
Learn more.

•        There are one million, trillion atoms in one cubic centimeter of air at sea level.

•       There is only one atom per cubic centimeter in the void (the vacuum) between

Where Did The Matter Come From
The Big Bang produced huge amounts of energy, some of which took the form of
highly energetic photons of light.  Many of these photons were powerful enough to
transform into matter, and they took the form of protons and neutrons. These
protons and neutrons naturally exhibit the tendency to link up and soon they began
to form the atoms of some of our lightest elements like hydrogen and helium.  This
ancient process accounts for why hydrogen, and helium are the two most plentiful
elements in the universe.
Learn more.

•       The air that surrounds a lightning bolt is superheated to a point where it is
forced to expand faster than the speed of sound.  We hear this compression, and
the resulting shock wave, as thunder.

Where Does Our Biological Mass Originate From?
We get two things from the matter that we consume, materials to build our bodies,
and energy to move and breathe.  The materials come mostly from the air, and from
water, and the energy comes from the sun.  These materials, and the energy
contained inside of them are neatly packaged for us by plants.  Plants use
photosynthesis to unite carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water from the
ground. Our consumption of plant matter, or our consumption of those animals that
eat plants, allows us the building blocks to build our bodies and allows us the
energy that we need to move.  We are made out of the same hydrogen, carbon and
oxygen atoms that plants once pulled out of the water, and out of the air.  

•        Many forms of life that live under the water are able to live without
photosynthesis, sunlight, or air.  In fact life began on the early earth, deep under
ancient oceans, without any of the three.  These life forms took their energy from
non-organic chemicals in their environment.

Relative Age
Our Universe is about 14.5 billion years old and it is predicted that it will last
indefinitely. The earth and our solar system are about 5 billion years old.  Life has
existed on earth for about 3.85 billion years.  For the first two billion years of life on
earth there were no plants or animals and life was composed strictly of single cell
organisms.  Modern humans have existed for merely 100,000 years.  
Learn more.

•        Light travels at C or 186,000 miles per second.  At this speed it takes light 6
hours to travel between the earth and Pluto, 8 minutes to travel between the earth
and the sun, and 1.3 seconds to travel between the earth and the moon.  

Newton’s Legacy
Soon after the time that Isaac Newton published his book The Principia
Mathematica, many scientists of his day believed that he had fully explained the
mechanics of the universe with the equations and axioms that he derived.  It turns
out that he laid the groundwork for classical physics, but, quite similar to the state of
affairs that we find ourselves in today, he was far from explaining the physical laws
that govern our universe in their entirety.  Since Newton we have made tremendous
strides in physics, yet now we are able to see that the puzzles that we are trying to
solve are somewhat more complicated than they may have seemed in Newton’s
time.  Still we are finding that physical phenomenon can be understood in terms of
mathematical computation. Newton was one of the first to truly show that physical
systems can be represented by equations and laws, and so, his legacy lives on.
Learn more.

•        A sea squirt found in Japanese seas reaches maturity then permanently
attaches itself to a rock.  It then proceeds to eat its own brain.  It does this because
it will no longer use its brain and also it proves to be a good source of nutrients and

•        Two women that are very close for a number of months may begin to see
that their periods synchronize.  Chemical messengers that are excreted by the skin,
called pheromones, are responsible for the synchronization.

Where did Bugs Come From?
Insects (just like all earth based life forms) evolved from ancestors that, at one time,
were only able to live under water.  Insects did not make the move to land with our
ancestors (amphibians) though.  Insects are actually the decedents of certain
arthropods like crabs, lobsters and shrimp.  The similarities between insects and
arthropods are apparent in their body shape, eyes, antennae, legs and
exoskeletons.  Unlike some of their relatives that they left behind, insects adapted to
life on dry land.  In much the same way, our ancestors (monkeys) would have a
very difficult time surviving without the benefits that they gain from living in or
amongst trees.  Usually a wide variety of significant adaptations are necessary to
alter a species’ preferred or necessitated habitat.  
Learn more.

•        Evolutionary biologists estimate that cockroaches have not changed or
evolved in any obvious ways for about 250,000,000 years

•        An oyster is capable of changing its sex a number of times during its lifetime.

Symmetrical Animals
Some animals like jellyfish and ctenophores exhibit radial symmetry.  This means
that they are arranged circularly, with an easily identifiable bottom and a top, but no
true sides.   Humans and most animals that you can think of are bilaterally
symmetrical.  This means that they have a bottom and a top, along with two sides
that are nearly identical.  Most bilaterally arranged animals show signs of
cephalization, or a concentration of sensory and nervous structures within the head.  
Radially symmetrical animals don't seem to show this trait and therefore have more
simplistic nervous systems (minds).

•        The turtle’s shell evolved as its ribs and spine fused.

•        A rhino’s horn evolved as hairs on its snout became more and more

Galactic Collision
In about 5 billion years the Milky Way galaxy will collide with the Andromeda
galaxy, currently our nearest, largest neighboring galaxy. The two galaxies are about
2 million light years apart and are on a collision course. The collision won’t really
look like two disks hitting one another. Instead they willpass through each other and
then start swirling together and merging because of their considerable gravities.

•        Some male monkeys lose the hair on their heads in the same way men do.

•        Relative to their weight and size, birds are much stronger than people.

Einstein’s Energy Mass Equivalency
Every second the earth is struck by energy in the form of sunlight that is equivalent
to about 4.5 pounds of matter (according to special relativity).  Relativity shows us
that E=MC².  This means that a great deal of energy can be transformed into a
small amount of mass, and conversely a small amount of mass can be transformed
into a large amount of energy (an example of the latter is an atom bomb).  This is
why we can measure light in pounds just as we can measure height in miles.

The Importance of the Immune System
To understand exactly what our immune systems do for us first consider a dead
animal.  Once an animal is dead, the many electrical and chemical based systems
within its body shut down, including the immune system.  Once the immune system
is inactive the body is no longer able stop bacteria, and other microorganisms from
invading and consuming the body.  A freshly dead corpse can be thoroughly
permeated in a matter of hours, and it can take as little as a few weeks before the
microorganisms have devoured all of the flesh, leaving behind only a skeleton.  The
immune system performs a pretty amazing and complex job, and it is always at

•        15 million blood cells are produced and destroyed within the human body
every second.

Audible Vibrations
For an object (such as a fork, a speaker, or our vocal cords) to make a sound it
must move the air that surrounds it very quickly.  Anything that vibrates creates
areas of low and high density, in the air.  These density fluctuations (sound waves)
travel at the speed of sound, 340 m/s.  If an object vibrates back and forth 20 times
per second, it will be audible to the human ear, and will sound like a low pitched
hum.  The faster it vibrates the higher the pitch; the “bigger” the object, the louder
the noise.  Humans can hear anything between 20 and 20,000 vibrations per
second (also know as hertz or Hz.).  The range of the human voice is between 80
and 300 hertz.

•        Many animals can become alcoholics and drug abusers if such substances are
readily available to them.

The Epiglottis
The epiglottis is a small flap of cartilage that closes off the entrance to the lungs,
when food or drink is detected by the lower throat.  This rather small structure
keeps air from entering the digestive tract (the stomach) and it also keeps food and
liquids from entering the respiratory tract (the lungs).

•        Gorillas beat their chests when they become nervous or anxious.

A bird will not learn its species song, unless it hears it at an early age.  Male birds
do most of the singing, and they do so mainly for sexual and territorial reasons.  
Females often select those males who sing the most because their singing is
indicative of food storage and other resources.  Male birds that have stockpiled
more food (or have a territory rich in food sources), have to hunt less and therefore
they can sing more.  Many species of birds show tendencies toward devoted
relationships and they happen to be one of the few types of animals, and life forms
for that matter that consistently practice monogamy.

Knuckle Cracking
The sound that is made when you crack your knuckles is actually made by a burst
of gas within your joint.  A think, clear lubricant called synovial fluid is found within
the joints between your bones.  When you stretch a joint this fluid becomes
pressurized and a gas within the fluid comes out of solution and expands very
rapidly. This process is called cavitation, and it is what makes the cracking sound.  
After a knuckle has been cracked it can take up to one half hour for the gas to
dissolve into the joint fluid, but once it has, it is able to be “cracked” again.  Joint
cracking is habit forming, partly because the cracking is usually accompanied by a
release of endorphins.  Because endorphins are natural chemicals that make you
feel good, cracking is a hard habit to break.

•        The barbiturate known as sodium pentothal is also known as the “truth
serum.”  This sedative does not force people to tell the truth, rather it lowers one’s
inhibitions on a neural level and usually results in making people much more

Finally Cooled Off
Because of the gravitational forces inherent in matter, matter tends to clump
together.  Around 4.5 billion years ago this tendency led to the formation of our
earth.  It was a small piece of a giant ball of gas and dust- our sun’s solar nebula.  
For the first billion years on the earth, know as the Hadean Period, the earth
featured some pretty harsh environmental conditions.  The seeming ubiquity of
volcanoes from the ground and asteroids from the sky left the surface of the earth
too hot and too violent for the formation of life.  After a long while the earth, the sun
and the rest of the planets swept up most of the floating debris in the solar system
(by the process of planetessimal accretion) and the earth’s core cooled.  This
allowed the formation of both oceans and an atmosphere, and these were the key
ingredients for the development of life.  
Click here to read more about the early

•        Things that are more massive have a stronger gravitational pull. A person
weighing 150 pounds on the earth would weigh 2 tons on the sun.  

Life is Resourceful
Life is amazingly resourceful, and it permeates the surface of our planet.  Forms of
life can be found in the driest deserts, the coldest glaciers, the tallest mountains, and
the deepest parts of the ocean.

•        Less than 10% of U.S. criminals commit around 67% of all domestic crimes.  
In societies of apes, there are usually only a few repeat offenders, and these are
often ostracized.

Mind Mass
The animal brain is made up of specialized cells called neurons.  These neurons
send chemical and electrical information to one another at junction points where
they connect, these points are called synapses.  A single neuron can connect with
thousands of other neurons.   The human brain, more specifically the cortex,
contains about 30 billion of these neurons.  Chimps and gorillas have between
seven and eight billion neurons in their cortices. A rat has around 65 million
neurons.  The number of neurons does correspond to intelligence, but it also
corresponds to body mass.  This is because bigger animals require bigger brains in
order to manage their musculature.

•        A person locked in an airtight room will die of carbon dioxide poisoning
before they die of oxygen deprivation.

•        The ashes of an average cremated person weigh around 10 pounds.

•        Fossil evidence and skull size indicates that the Neanderthal brain was
significantly bigger than the human brain.

Like the Heat?
Certain archaea, very primitive forms of cellular life, can grow at temperatures that
exceed 105 degrees Celsius.  Life forms that are able to live and grow at such high
temperatures are called thermophiles.  They have special adaptations that allow
them to perform the processes necessary for living matter, at very high
temperatures.  These adaptations can be foundational and certain thermophiles are
able to regulate their bodies (eg. synthesize proteins) in radical and resourceful

•        Elephants and certain species of shrews necessitate only 2 hours of sleep per

•        Ants do not sleep but they have the largest brain to body ratio of any animal.

•        Hummingbirds cannot walk.

Our Earliest Ancestors
Based on what we know about organic chemicals and the early earth environment
we can make many predictions about what the first life forms were like.  Life
probably formed near the bottom of the oceans near volcanic, hydrothermal vents.  
These organisms most probably could not have tolerated oxygen (they had an
anaerobic metabolism), they would have necessitated very high temperatures (they
were hyperthermophilic) and highly salty environments (they were halophilic).  They
used C02; just as we (indirectly) do, to build their bodies… and they would have
metabolized available chemicals, just as we do, to get their energy.  These creatures
might not seem very interesting at first, but once you recall that they are our direct
ancestors the similarities, and differences can seem fascinating.  
Click here to read
more about the earth's early replicators.

•        Hydrogen burns invisibly during combustion. If you light a balloon of
hydrogen it will explode but the explosion will only produce light in the UV
spectrum, not in the range of visible light.  

•        The sun burns hydrogen and causes it to produce a vast amount of visible
light.  The sun does not burn hydrogen by combustion though.  It uses fusion, a type
of burning that takes place under tremendous pressures.

Viruses are not Alive, But They Are Pretty Close
Viruses are considered by biologists to be nonliving entities even though they have
many characteristics of living entities.  They do have either DNA or RNA, they are
parasites on living organisms and they are able to “reproduce.”  Viruses do not
have metabolisms and therefore have no source of energy.  Because they have no
energy source, they cannot move by themselves.  Without an ability to move they
only have one option, one way to reproduce…   Their pointed bodies enable them
to penetrate the membrane of living cells.  They are able to interact with the host
cell in a way that forces the host to use its resources to produce many replicates of
the virus.  Even though they are not “alive” they have a viable method of replication
analogous to our own.

•        A cockroach can live up to nine days without its head before it dies of

•        Starfish do not have brains.

The African lungfish can live out of water for up to four years. It is a strange looking
fish that buries itself in mud, when the water that it previously lived in dries up.  It
hibernates there in a film of mud, mucous and other secretions, breathing through its
two lungs, awaiting rainfall.

•        The longest living cells in the body are brain cells, neurons, which can last an
entire lifetime.

The Rate of Time is Variable
Einstein’s theory of relativity correctly predicted that time would move more slowly
in areas that experienced more gravitational force.  You will experience time more
slowly than your friend who chose the top bed in the bunk bed because you are
closer than they are to the center of the earth.  However; the difference would be
so small that it could not be perceived or measured by modern means.  Near a
super-massive black hole though time slows down considerably. In fact, in the
center of a black hole time is completely stopped.  
Click here to read more about
general relativity.

•         Einstein’s relativity predicts that if one object moves faster than another
object, then time will pass more slowly for the faster object.  If someone were able
to travel near the speed of light, time would slow down for them considerably, and
if they reached the speed of light, time would stop altogether.  So why does light
not freeze you ask… well the answer is that it has no mass.
Click here to read more
about special relativity.

•        Crickets hear through their knees.

House Cats
The majority of house cats can run slightly more than 30 miles per hour.  House
cats spend about 70 percent of their day sleeping and 15 percent of their day
grooming. Cats were brought to North America by colonists to protect their
granaries. As settlers moved west, some of these same cats went along in covered
wagons. Cats were domesticated house pets more than 4,000 years ago, although
at that time they had not been bred by humans, and thus many looked somewhat
different than the ones we see today.

Escape Velocity
In order to escape the gravitational pull of the earth you must be traveling
sufficiently fast.  If you could leave the earth at 25,000 miles per hour (7miles per
second) you could escape the Earth’s gravity without applying any additional force.  
This is not what space shuttles do; they continually apply the same force over
several minutes to exit the atmosphere.  The escape velocity for more massive
bodies is higher than that for earth.  The escape velocity for a black hole is higher
than the speed of light; this is why they do not shine at all- because no light can
escape from them.  Black holes cannot be detected by optical telescopes, or our
own eyes.  We actually infer their existence from the gravitational effects that they
have on other celestial objects.  
Click here to read more about gravity.

•        A type of bumble bee bat that lives in Thailand weighs less than a single

Modern researchers have been able to create amino acids in laboratories by mixing
a few basic chemicals and exposing them to certain processes that attempt to mimic
the conditions of the primordial earth.  Amino acids are complex molecular
structures that are precursors to the proteins that cells are composed of.  

•        250 million years ago the continent of Antarctica was covered in dense, lush
jungles.  At this time all of the continents on earth were conjoined to form Pangaea.

Honeybee Navigation
Honeybees use the sun as a point of reference to help them navigate and find their
way around.  Even when the sun is hidden behind cloud cover, bees can estimate its
place in the sky by referencing the orientation of the polarization of ultraviolet light
from small patches of blue sky.

•       Out of 20,000 species of bees, only four make honey.

•        Mice, whales, elephants, giraffes, and humans all have seven neck vertebrae.  
Mammals share a vast number of physical traits and this is because we all came
from the same ancestor.  

Terminal Velocity and Non Lethal Raindrops
In the airless vacuum of outer space, an object that has a force continually applied
on it will continue to go faster and faster unless obstructed.  Within a gas, or in the
earth’s atmosphere, it will stop accelerating due to air friction.  The heavier the
object, the longer it takes for it to reach its terminal velocity.  A person will reach
their terminal velocity at about 130 miles per hour.  Luckily the terminal velocity for
raindrops is only 20 miles per hour because if they were not stopped by the
“viscous drag” or air resistance they would continue accelerating and would be
lethal to us on the ground.  
Learn more.

•        Mercury is the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature (at 1

•        Air is less dense in hot weather and in higher altitudes.  A wind in the winter
can exert 25% more force than a wind of identical speed in the summer.

A Cosmic Year
Just as the earth orbits around the sun, the sun orbits around the Milky Way
galaxy.  It takes about 225 million earth years for the sun to make one complete
revolution.  The sun is estimated to be about 5 billion years old and this equates to
between 20 and 21 cosmic years.

•        A monkey is the only animal besides a human that is able to recognize itself in
a mirror.

•        Humans are the only animals that sleep on their backs

The Coldest Cold
Matter can get no colder than -273 degrees Celsius, or 0 degrees Kelvin.  At this
temperature, which has been dubbed “absolute zero”, all of the atoms and
molecules within an object are motionless.  Scientists have been able to reach this
temperature (actually within a very small fraction of it) in laboratory
experimentation.  Because our universe is gradually cooling and expanding, all of
the matter within it is approaching this temperature (very slowly of course).

•        Each worker bee only produces 1/12 of a teaspoon (4.17 ml.) of honey in its
entire lifetime.

•        The highest temperature ever recorded in a laboratory was 920,000,000
degrees F at the Tokamak Fusion Reactor in Princeton New Jersey.  

Color Blindness
A few species of animals are able to see the full spectrum of colors that humans
can, these include many monkeys, apes, birds and fish.  The majority of animals see
their world in shades of gray.

•        Humans have around 100,000 hairs on their head; sea otters have more than
this in one square centimeter of their pelt.

Aurora Borealis
An aurora is a large glowing region of the atmosphere that is caused by particles
traveling along the earth’s magnetic field.  These high energy particles are emitted
by the sun in large amounts through what is called the solar wind.  The particles are
channeled towards the North and South poles by the earth’s magnetic field.  When
these particles pass through the atmosphere, they glow and in large numbers they
may glow in a way that is visible from the earth’s surface.  

Boredom in Parrots
Boredom can lead to insanity in parrots.  When caged alone and neglected for long
periods, these very sociable and intelligent birds can easily become mentally ill.  
Many develop certain tics, inflict wounds upon themselves and rip out their own

•        South of Japan in the Pacific Ocean, the sea floor at the Mariana Trench has
been recorded to be as deep as 36,198 feet (or 6.9 miles).

•        The diameter of the earth is 7,921 miles.  The distance to our moon is
238,774 miles.  The distance to our sun is one AU, or 93,150,000 miles.  The
distance to the nearest star is 4.3 light years. One light year is equal to 5.9 trillion

The Fossil Record
Scientists use something called the fossil record to keep track of what we know
about ancient animals.  This “record” contains details about the findings of
paleontologists, especially about the preserved evidence of animal remains.  We
have used the fossil record to trace the evolutionary history of certain extant and
extinct animals.   We use geologic markers and radiocarbon dating to find out what
time periods certain fossils came from.  Scientists look to the fossil record to help
us answer a large variety of questions involving the origins, and history of biological

•        There are three golf balls sitting on the surface of the moon.

The First Reflexes
Most healthy babies are born with many reflexes at birth.  These include breathing,
choking, coughing and crying.  Another reflex called moro is marked by the ability
to extend the arms when a newborn feels a loss of support.  Palmar is a reflex that
most newborns exhibit and it is marked by hand grasping.  Rooting is yet another
reflex that happens when an infant turns toward an object, brushes its cheek past it,
and begins to suck.

•        There is only one known animal that has a single eye, the tiny sea crustaceans
known as copepods.

What a Mirage is
When layers of air of differing densities (temperatures) are placed on top of one
another they can act like a lens, effectively bending light.  When the air just above a
hot object is very warm (like the air above an asphalt road) it can reflect and bend
light at a variety of angles.  Often such heat will reflect the light from the sky in a
tumultuous way, making it appear as if there is shimmering water on the ground
below it.

•        Escaping the grip of a crocodile’s strong jaws is very difficult.  If you know
to press your thumbs into each of its two eye balls, it will release its grip instantly.

Microbes Involved in Food Preparation
Did you know that humans use tiny, mostly one celled organisms, to help them
develop certain foods.  Yeast cells, which are a type of fungi, are vitally important in
the production of bread, cheese, beer, wine and soy sauce.  Bacteria are used to
prepare vinegar, sauerkraut and a few types of vitamins as well. Certain types of
bacteria are purposely added to some types of food (especially canned food)
because they consume other toxic microbes protecting the public from botulism and
many other types of deadly diseases.

•        The average person will experience around 2 billion heartbeats in their

The Crack of a Whip
When a whip cracks, the end piece is actually traveling faster than the speed of
sound.  The noise that is created is in fact a small sonic boom.

The Cosmological Principle
This principle states that any observer in any galaxy will report seeing the same
general features pertaining to the universe that any other observer will.  This is
based on three assumptions: Homogeneity, the assumption that matter is uniformly
distributed throughout space.  Isotropy, the assumption that the universe looks
similar no matter what direction one looks.  Universality, the assumption that the
laws of the universe are the same in every part of the universe.

•        Butterflies taste with their feet instead of their mouths.

Science – Unpopular?
Neo Darwinism, a variation on the evolutionary theories proposed by Charles
Darwin, is accepted by the modern scientific community to be more or less
indisputable.  However, according to an accepted interpretation of a 1999 Gallup
poll, less than 10% of Americans believe in the naturalistic theory of evolution, i.e.
neo Darwinism.  About 40% believe in some form of god guided evolution and
45% reject evolution altogether (i.e. creationism).

•         It is estimated that our Milky Way galaxy contains somewhere near 400
billion stars.  We are located a little less than half way from the center on a long
spiral arm of stars.

•         It is estimated that the average adult body probably has around 100 trillion
cells.  "We" are located somewhere among the 100 billion neurons in our brain.

•        Armadillos are the only animal besides humans that can contract leprosy.

Einstein Wrong?
It seems to most modern physicists that Einstein was wrong when he attempted to
denounce some of the tenants of quantum theory (mostly pertaining to the
randomness found in subatomic particles) when he said “God does not play dice
with the universe.”  His stand on the issue represents one of the two stands that
physicists and philosophers take.  We still do not know how classical physics (the
study of large, visible objects) interrelates with quantum physics (the study of the
extremely small).  If we can understand the inconsistencies that keep popping up
between these two paradigms we should be able to answer certain questions
regarding fate, determinism and free will definitively  
Learn more.

•        The unifying theme in biology explains that all of the organisms on the face of
the earth are related to one another through common ancestry.

•         Bacteria live among most of the cells in our bodies and are actually present
within the digestive tracts of all animals.  Without their presence we would die
because we would not be able to extract energy from the food that we eat.

•         Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is a flattened spiral galaxy that is around 70,000
to 100,000 light years across.  Meaning that even if we could travel at the speed of
light, it would take over 70,000 years to get from one end to the other.

Nitroglycerine to Dynamite
In 1846 nitroglycerine was invented by Ascanio Sobrero and was a highly potent
explosive.  It was used for many commercial and government projects, namely the
Central Pacific Railroad where it caused many terrible accidents.  Nitroglycerine
explosions travel at 17,000 miles per hour and are incredibly violent.   It was not
until 1867 that Albert Nobel devised a way of mixing nitroglycerine with silica,
creating dynamite, a less volatile and easier to ship form of the explosive substance.  
He slapped fuses on them, wrapped them in heat resistant paper and sold them as
dynamite.  This was the same Albert Nobel that gave up on chemistry to found the
eponymous Nobel Prizes.

•        After a full meal of blood a leech can live up to six months without consuming
any other foods.

Coffee Solutions
A cup of coffee that is filled to the brim will not overflow even if several
tablespoons of sugar are slowly added.  Because of the way that sugar forms a
solution with water, adding sugar increases the mass of the liquid inside the cup, but
not the volume. Dissolved salt makes up about 3.5 % of the oceans mass.

•        Every cubic mile of seawater contains more than 150 million tons of minerals.

Is the Universe Smooth or Grainy?
Plank scale physicists attempt to study very small portions of space and time. They
study energetic activity at scales that are smaller than the scales studied by most
quantum physicists.  One of the biggest questions that Plank scale physics
considers, asks weather space and time can be divided into ever smaller units.  It
seems that one could keep dividing a second, or a meter in half forever, but this
may not be so.  The current consensus (which is far from definite) among physicists
claims that neither space nor time are continuous, and are in fact composed of
indivisible portions.  To find an answer scientists are looking to many different
phenomena: the echo from the big bang, the movement of particles within particle
accelerators, and certain qualities of the light coming to us from distant galaxies.

•        Most varieties of snake can go an entire year without eating a single morsel of

An Interesting Trend that Began on the Early Earth
The conditions on our early earth, about 3.5 billion years ago, allowed a chemical
process to occur that is extremely rare in our observable universe.  Certain
microscopic chemicals were able to form under the earths oceans that had the
ability to replicate.  These complex molecules could easily be torn apart by the
violent environment.  Also just like all complex chemicals they tended to disintegrate
after short periods of time.  So the molecules that were able to replicate before they
were destroyed began to grow in number.  These chemicals changed with the
conditions of the earth, they also varied and changed within their immediate
environments.  After a while these complex molecules began to compete with one
another for resources, this competition along with harsh environmental conditions
allowed for the selection of only the most well formed chemical combinations.  This
long but successful process of natural selection created a vast number of chemical
combinations including us.  

•        Most tropical fish could survive in a tank filled with human blood.

Mayfly Lifespan
Mayflies actually live for up to three years as nymphs.  In this larval stage it lives
under water, breathes through gills located on its abdomen and eats in order to
grow larger.  After the nymph stage, the mayfly becomes an imago; it surfaces and
sheds its skin to reveal wings, and a dull body.  About a day later the mayfly
assumes its adult form and it sheds once more revealing a small, shiny body.  After
attaining is adult form, the mayfly will never eat again, in fact it no longer has a
functioning mouth.  An adult mayfly lasts for only a few hours, but its life is not in
vain if it makes it to the mating swarm.  Here it mates with a mayfly of the opposite
sex.  The males die shortly before the eggs are laid and the female dies shortly after.

•        Rats that were given a chance to sober up after learning to run a maze while
intoxicated have trouble remembering how to complete the maze.  After a couple
more drinks though they can find their way to the cheese with no difficulty.  To learn
more about state dependent learning
click here.

•        There are more bacteria in your mouth than there are people on the earth.

Mosquito Feeding
Mosquitoes are drawn to animals that consume above average amounts of sugar,
they are also attracted to those animals that are more active that others.  They are
able to detect blood sugar levels (which increase with sugar consumption) and lactic
acid levels (which increase with muscle activity) and mosquitoes are actually
somewhat picky eaters.  When a mosquito bites, it injects its saliva into the opening;
this saliva keeps the opening from bleeding.  The skin becomes inflamed as a
reaction to the saliva. This creates an area that is raised, and filled with blood- this
lump is an attempt by the immune system to break down the foreign chemicals
within the saliva.

•        The male mosquito is a strict vegetarian.  It will never bite another animal and
it never sucks blood.  It lives on nectar and fruits.

•        Bacteria can reproduce sexually.

•        The bite of a leech is painless because it provides its own anesthetic.

Particle Antiparticle Duality
The earth and the majority of the matter that we observe in our universe is normal
matter.  However, for every particle of matter in the universe there exists
somewhere an antiparticle.  Particles and their antiparticles are identical except for
the fact that they have opposite electric and nuclear charges.   Physicists have been
able to observe anti particles in the laboratory.  One interesting characteristic of
particles and antiparticles is: when they meet, they undergo an immediate process
called annihilation, where they explode and release energy in different forms.

•        The bones of a pigeon weigh less than its feathers.

A Red Giant
In about 5 billion years our sun will exhaust its hydrogen supply and begins to burn
helium.  Helium burning will cause the sun to expand greatly.  Because of the
pressure and radiation differences inherent in burning helium the sun will become a
red giant and will completely engulf the earth and reach out toward Jupiter.

•        The hooves on horses, goats, sheep and pigs evolved as their toes fused

Alcohol Feels Hot
Allowing alcohol to come into contact with skin or other tissues can feel painful, or
hot, this is because alcohol lowers the VR1 threshold.  VR1 receptors are special
cells in the skin that allow us to detect heat.  These receptor cells respond to
alcohol in the same way that they respond to heat, they release certain
neurochemicals in order to pass the message on to the nervous system, and to our
brain.  Alcohol feels harsh and hot to the throat, to the skin, and especially to open

•        There are 206 bones in the adult human body yet 300 in a child’s body, this
is because as we mature, some bones actually fuse together.

Alcohol Kills Bacteria
Alcohol kills bacteria, viruses and other microbes.  It actually kills 99.99% of the
bacteria on a normal surface within 15 seconds.  Using it on the skin can help if a
dirty object has punctured or lacerated the skin.  It is usually best to use alcohol
before a cut, or incision in made because if applied afterwards the alcohol actually
kills the cells that are trying to heal, inviting future infection.  
Learn more about the
effects of alcohol on our brain cells.

•        The most dangerous animal in the world may be the common house fly.  
Because of their ability to absorb nutrients from animal waste they pick up and then
transmit more deadly diseases than any other animal.

•        The longest cells in the body are motor neurons.  Although very thin, they can
extend up to 4 and a half feet- from the spine to the big toe.

•        Fingernails and toenails take about 6 months to grow from base to tip.

•        By age 70 your heart will have beat around 2.5 billion times.

Organization for the Advancement of  
Interdisciplinary Learning