We all see many things around us on a day-to-day basis that makes us question their veracity. We even decide to find out answers from Google because who else other than that marvelous search engine could give us better answers? But, if we weren’t so lazy, we would have found out a lot of very interesting things. Well, if you too are putting off finding answers for the daily situations happening around you, here are some interesting facts that you have been too lazy to Google!
1. How do vacuum flasks help in keeping the hot liquids hot and the cold liquids cold?
Vacuum flasks are a type of insulator, which means it doesn’t allow heat to transfer easily. You would have noticed that if you fill a vacuum flask with a hot beverage. It stays hot, close to the same temperature for hours. Similarly, it keeps the cold drink cold. The vacuum flask has two different vessels that are placed within one another and then joined up by the neck. There is a slight gap between these two vessels which is partially evacuated of air.
It is this gap that creates a partial vacuum that, in turn, reduces the conduction or convection of heat. In simple terms, it prevents the transfer of heat. The heat transfer through thermal radiation is minimized as well since the flask surfaces facing the gaps are coated with silver. Similarly, it keeps the colder things cold for a longer time. The vacuum flask doesn’t contain any cooling device, but it is the same vacuum created between the gaps of the flasks that maintain the cold temperature. The heat transfer is prevented reaching the colder contents of the flask due to the vacuum between the walls. (source)
2. Why do small temperature changes make our bodies sensitive?
This would have happened to you at least once when the temperature of your surroundings changes and your body gets affected and reacts to the change. But, have you ever thought why even a degree of temperature affects your body so much? Researchers have discovered that there are four types of ion channels in your body. They are minute pores made of proteins that are situated on the cell surfaces. These channels regularly open and close which regulate the charged particles’ flow. This, in turn, creates a difference in voltage and makes you feel warm. But, it was a mystery of just how could just four sensors give us the warmth and recognize a change in body temperature.
The General Physiology Journal has a recent publication in which the UC Davis scientists have a theory. They say that the four ion channels can reassemble themselves and form temporary channels. These additional channels forming in our body is the reason we are so sensitive towards a small change in the temperature. The cells in the ion channels help us to sense pain as well. (source)
3. Why are tires hollow and filled with air and not entirely made of rubber?
If you are driving a vehicle, you would know that the tires of your vehicle need to be filled from time to time if something happens that reduces the air pressure. But, have you wondered why these tires hollow and not made entirely of rubber? Wouldn’t the air pressure increase make the tires burst like balloons? Well, a tire completely made of rubber has many disadvantages. When it comes to the design of the tires, the most important consideration is that the air should be compressed and easily adjust its volume. Anything made of a solid material won’t be able to do so.
Imagine you are driving on the road at a speed of 60 mph and you strike a small obstacle, be it a stone, or even a tiny bump. The air-filled tires immediately absorb the shock and let you have a smooth ride. But, in the case of solid tires that don’t have air, it would pass the shock to the vehicle and make it uncomfortable to drive. Also, the air-filled tires offer you low, rolling resistance, meaning, that it reduces energy-loss as the tires roll. This, in turn, reduces the rolling effort which is needed. This is totally not the case in solid-rubber tires, and so, hollow tires are preferred. (source)
4. Why does standing for a long time hurt your legs more than walking for the same amount of time?
You might have stood in those long queues at the shopping malls, and found your legs started to hurt. This might have caused the same amount of pain as if you had walked. The reason why your legs hurt more when you stand and not when you walk is quite simple. When you stand at one place for a long time, your legs aren’t at rest. The calf muscles not only support the entire weight of your body but also work to keep you upright. They make tiny adjustments that you probably don’t realize consciously. On the other hand, when you walk for the same amount of time as that of standing, the bodyweight is distributed among several groups muscles.
Also, when you stand still, each of your leg and foot supports half of your body weight without resting. But when you walk and raise your foot, each time, the muscles that help you in balancing gets a little rest just like your foot. (source)
5. Why does a continuous line of bubbles form coming up from the bottom of a champagne glass?
You might have noticed that when you pour champagne into a glass, tiny sparkly bubbles start to form at the bottom of the glass and move upwards. But do you know what makes the bubble travel upwards and just in one direction? Well, they don’t form unless there’s a starting point. Even a slightly rough surface gives an opportunity for the bubbles to form. If your glass has even slightest amount of fiber or dust, bubbles will start to form from that particular point. Usually, bubbles start to form at the bottom of your glass. Most of the champagne glasses have a slightly rough surface at the bottom to allow the bubbles to form at the bottom. If the glass is clean, the bubbles start to get larger and faster as they rise from the bottom to the top.
When the bubbles pop up, tiny droplets are spit upwards and the aroma molecules travel to the top. The pressure inside the champagne which has been built up during its fermentation process is immediately released when you pour the champagne in the glass. This pressure arises from micro-farts. The yeast used to make the drink feeds on the sugar content and uses its energy. This leads to ejection of carbon dioxide that forms the bubbles in the champagne. Now you know why the bubbles form a continuous line coming up from the bottom of the glass. (1, 2, 3)
6. Why do bald men have heads with a shinier surface than the rest of the body?
You might have noticed many bald men with a smooth, shiny head and the rest of their body is totally the opposite. We often get curious as to why the skin on the bald head is shiny while the rest of the skin looks dull. The reason is quite simple. Most of the skin on our body is covered with tiny hair, known as “vellus hair.” These hairs give our skin a bit fuzzy and velvety appearance and make it look dark. But when it comes to the baldness in males, the follicles of the hair are shrunk and change into the skin cells. There’s no trace of a single hair on the skin.
The scalp of a bald man appears shiny, and it’s all because of the sebaceous glands present beneath the skin. The sebaceous glands are found all over the skin of our body and secrete oil to keep the skin moist and supple. However, our scalp has the maximum amount of these glands and secrete more oils compared to any other body parts. These oils, when secreted onto the scalp, coat it entirely and makes it look reflective and shiny. (1, 2)
7. Why do we occasionally hear high-pitched sounds from a microphone?
The noise from the microphones is quite common and occurs frequently. The reason is an unusual physics phenomenon that is related to the screeching sound called “audio feedback.” This feedback is the high-pitched noise that you hear while speaking on the mic. The audio system used consists of three components: speaker, microphone, and amplifier. When all these three are present together, there are chances of feedback occurring.
Let’s take an example. You are delivering a speech in front of a huge audience. When you speak into the mic, your voice is transmitted from the mic to the amplifier. The amplifier helps to enhance the signal amplitude which is received from the microphone. Once the signals are amplified, the speakers receive them, and that is where the audio output occurs. The electric signals are then converted to sound signals and are then delivered to the audience. But, if the sound from the speakers travels back to the microphone, the entire process starts again. That is the microphone sends the sound signals to the amplifier, which transfers them to the speaker, and then back to the microphone. This keeps going on and on, over and over again, which is why you hear a squeaky, ear-piercing noise from the microphone. (1, 2)
8. Why does fire flame change colors from orange to blue while the color of the Sun remains the same?
You would have often seen fireplaces where the color of the flame keeps changing with the temperature. The flame is white in color near the logs and yellow in the middle where the temperature is the hottest. Above the yellow, you might notice that the flame is orange and becomes red as it grows. The flame gets cooler then, and you might notice that the flame after red is either blue or black.
This is because there is no combustion as the flame tapers at the top. The different colors of the flame are due to the spectral band emission and black body radiations. Another factor that plays a major role in different hues of the flame is the amount of oxygen supply and the extent to which the fuel and oxygen mix. This, in turn, determines the combustion rate, temperature, and path of reactions which leads to producing different colors in the flame.
When it comes to the Sun, it appears nothing but orange. The truth is that the color of the Sun is white if you look at it from outer space. Our atmosphere scatters sunlight of shorter wavelengths, which is blue in color. As a result, the Sun appears orange and not white. Also, the temperature of the Sun remains constant, unlike the flame, which is why it appears orange and not any other hue. (1, 2, 3)
9. Why do we feel muscle soreness after 24 hours of a workout and not immediately?
Many of us who work out regularly would have experienced that our body starts to ache a day or two after we’ve hit the gym. We often experience weakness, aching, burning, and jelly-legs after we’ve exercised. But do you know why this does not happen immediately after we’ve exercised? The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) refers to this as “delayed onset muscle soreness” (DOMS), which occurs between 24 to 72 hours after you exercise. This muscle soreness doesn’t occur immediately after workouts and not every day. It happens only when you are introduced to newer exercises, or when you workout in excess.
The soreness in your muscles is due to eccentric exercising, meaning the workouts that consist of contractions of your muscles. You feel the muscle stiffness and tenderness when your muscles are contracted, stretched, or undergo any kind of pressure. The pain that you feel when your muscles hurt is a type of side effect of the muscle-repairing process. (1, 2)
10. Why do things appear darker in color when they get wet?
You might have often noticed dark patches on your clothes when it gets wet due to perspiration. And that often makes us wonder why it is dark in color when it’s wet. Well, it’s all in the perception of light in our eyes. The things we see is all due to the light coming from them. Different wet objects undergo light refraction in different manners than when they are dry. The wet objects that we see aren’t really darker than their drier counterparts. It is our eyes that perceive them darker. When light from a source strikes an object, some of it is absorbed, while the rest is reflected. The wavelength from the reflected light from the object hits our eyes, and this is what determines the colors of the objects that our eyes perceive. (1, 2)
We hope you found some answers to some of your questions here and knowing the answers made your life easier. And, you won’t have to search for them through pages and pages on Google now!