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10 Facts that Will Change your Perspective

6. The earth’s atmosphere extends far beyond the Moon.

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The Earth’s air reaches far beyond the orbit of the Moon stated a study. A cloud of hydrogen atoms from Earth called the “geocorona” extends up to 100 Earth radii in space and is invisible to the human eye. The moon orbits the Earth at a distance of 239,000 miles. Space begins at approximately 100 miles from the surface of the Earth. Hydrogen is the lightest air molecule on the Periodic Table which is the reason why it easily drifts off to space while the other heavier elements cling closer to the surface. According to Igor Baliukin, the lead author of the study and a space physicist at Russia’s Space Research Institute in Moscow, “The Moon flies through the Earth’s atmosphere.”

Twenty years old observation from SWAN, an ultra-violet light recording instrument aboard the SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) in space, were reanalyzed. The team of scientists found that the “geocorona” extends beyond the Moon’s orbit even on the side of the Earth that faces the Sun. On the side of the Earth where there is night, the Earth’s atmosphere is pushed outwards due to the pressure from the solar winds which extend up to 391,000 miles into deep space. The density of this hydrogen cloud is very low which means that there is still a vacuum wherever it is present. (1, 2)

7. If the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos, asked you to spend one million dollars of his money every day from the day you were born until you turn 100, you will have spent roughly 1/4th of his total net worth.

Jeff Bezos
Image credits: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

Jeff Bezos, who is the world’s richest person and the founder of several companies including Amazon, had a net worth of about 150 billion US dollars in July 2018. If he asked you to spend one million dollars every day, you will spend 365 million dollars in one year. In 100 years, you will spend 36.5 billion US dollars which is less than one fourth (37.5 billion) of his total net worth. Jeff Bezos’ net worth drastically increased in 2017 and 2018. In July 2017, his estimated net worth was over 90 billion US dollars. In November 2017 it was over 100 billion US dollars. In March 2018, he had a net worth of 112 billion US dollars. It became 150 billion US dollars in July 2018. In one year from July 2017 to July 2018, his net worth increased by 70 billion US dollars. (source)

8.  All early human beings were “lactose intolerant” at the end of infancy. In 10,000 BCE, one human passed a genetic mutation that spread quickly allowing humans to digest milk and other dairy products for life.

Early Human
Image credit: Beth Kanter/Flickr

For thousands of years, humans became naturally lactose intolerant once they did not need to be fed breastmilk by their mothers at the end of their infancy. This was the “normal” then. But around 10,000 BCE things changed. A genetic mutation that made humans lactose tolerant was passed on to the next generation somewhere in modern-day Turkey. Scientists think that the genetic mutation occurred in a male. This made it possible for people to drink milk for all of their lives.

Through genomic analyses, it was found that this genetic mutation spread quickly throughout Eurasia and then spread to other parts of the world within a few thousand years. Independent genetic mutations for lactose tolerance occurred in parts of Africa and the Middle East as well. Evolutionary biologists and evolutionary geneticists are still working on finding a reason why this mutation occurred and spread so quickly. Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of London, stated that milk soon had become so important for people that in certain cases it was essential for survival. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Genetics Home Reference, nearly 65% of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy, and in people of East Asian descent, it can be more than 90%. (source)

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9. About 33% of the world’s food is wasted or lost. A lot of that is before it hits the shelves.

Food Wastage
Image credits: jbloom, USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency via Flickr

It is estimated that one-third of the food produced in the world is wasted or lost which amounts to around 1.3 billion tons in one year. “Food loss” is the food that is produced but does not reach the market. It is the food that is lost in the supply chain between harvest and consumption. “Food waste” refers to the food that can be consumed but is discarded either by choice or because it is no longer fit for human consumption. After including the social, environmental, and production costs, the value of the food lost and wasted amounts to approximately 2.6 trillion US dollars in a year which is almost equal to the GDP of France according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United States. The amount of food lost is more than the amount of food wasted.

The reasons of the food loss and wastage in developed countries are producing larger quantities of food than the requirement, discarding food that does not meet high consumer “appreciation quality standards,” preference to discarding than re-using the food as the former is cheaper, and a general attitude of people that abundance of food means it is okay to waste food. In developing countries, the reasons include harvesting before time, insufficient storage facilities to preserve food, lack of infrastructure, not enough processing facilities, etc. (1, 2)

10. The speed of over 100 kilometers per hour was first reached by a car in 1899. That car was fully electric.

La Jamais Contente
Image credits: Wikimedia

An electric car named La Jamais Contente which translates to “The Never Satisfied” was the first road vehicle to surpass the speed of 100 kilometers per hour. The record was established in Paris in 1899. The car was a Belgian vehicle with direct drive Postel-Vinay 25 kW motors, batteries, Michelin tires, and a light alloy, torpedo-shaped bodywork. It was driven by Camille Jenatzy, a Belgian driver and engineer. He reached a speed of 105.882 kilometers per hour. It was manufactured by Compagnie Internationale des transports automobiles électriques, a Belgian vehicle brand. (source)

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