You Would Not Sink in Lava

Golum in LavaContrary to what you might have seen in movies, if you jumped into lava you would not sink. Lava is nothing like water. Lava is a term used for molten rock on the surface of the earth and is incredibly dense, over 3 times the density of water.

Water has a density of 1000 kg/m3 and Lava has a density of 3100 kg/m3

Humans have a density of around 1010 kg/m3 which is very similar to water and this is the reason that we can float and not sink in water. However lava has a density much higher than our own so we would not sink or float, we would be stuck on the surface.

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You Can’t Smell Gas

gas_flame

Natural Gas is odorless. It is comprised mainly of methane which does not smell, however when you turn on the gas on your stove it gives off a very strong stench!

This is because of a chemical known as Mercaptan (also known as Thiol). This is added to Natural gas in order to make it smell! It is a harmless gas which is a waste product of normal metabolism and is found naturally in living organisms.

The chemical features very few useful qualities, bar one, it gives off an incredibly pungent smell. Even in the smallest quantities the human nose can still detect it. It is the world’s smelliest substance and is unbearable in its concentrated form.

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The Smouldering Ghost Town of Centralia

centralia-45Founded in 1862 the mining town of Centralia in Pennsylvania was created due to the demand for coal as a primary fuel source, throughout the 19th and 20th Century a mass web of mines, tunnels and underground gangways were constructed to get at the coal resources deep under ground. It is estimated that 95% of Anthracite coal (a very high energy form of coal) is located underneath Pennsylvania and there was an estimated 25 million tons of it under the town of Centralia.

However during the mid 20th century the demand for coal reduced in favour of other fuels such as gas and oil and the vast web of mines underneath the town of Centralia were eventually abandoned.

On the 27th May 1962 the mine shafts under Centralia caught fire, it is still debated how the fire initially caught ablaze but the main assumption is that a fire was purposely ignited in an attempt to clear up a rubbish tip, beneath this rubbish tip was a hidden mineshaft entrance where the fire began to slowly wind its way through the labyrinth of underground mines beneath the town.

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China Have a National Song for Going Home

Kenny GChina has adopted a jazz song from 1989 as its national anthem for going home. “Going Home” by American saxophone star Kenny G is played all over China as the cue for the time to go home. The song is played in shopping malls, schools, train stations, gyms and library’s as well as many other places across the country.

However the composer of the song, Kenny G, doesn’t receive a penny for the widespread use of his song in China. He doesn’t understand or question the popularity of the song, when touring in China in the 1990’s he heard the song playing in Tiananmen Square, in Shanghai, on a golf course and “in a restroom in the middle of nowhere,”. He has since performed in China many times and always has to make sure he plays “Going Home” last in his set to make sure people don’t accidentally leave early.

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Certain Skyscrapers have Massive Concrete Stones on the Top Floor to Stop them Swaying

Taipei 101 - Tuned Mass Damper
They are called tuned mass-dampers and are used in engineering all over the world. A mass-damper consists of a huge concrete block or steel body that is suspended on the top floor of very large skyscrapers which can weigh over 1000 tons depending on the size of the building. In the event of movement of the building the pendulum moves in the opposite direction, usually on hydraulics or springs which counteracts the initial movement so the building doesn’t sway from side to side, this prevents the people inside from receiving motion sickness and a crippling fear of skyscrapers.

The movement of the building can be caused by various effects, one of the major contributors is wind. Some of the larger skyscrapers in the world can reach over 2000 feet into the sky and up there the wind currents can be much stronger. The strong currents can push the building, the mass-damper comes into play here and pushes back against the wind causing the building to remain stable so no one inside will notice the change.

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In 1956 a Man Broke the Current Javelin World Record by Spinning it Around Like a Discus

javelin-usaIn 1956 a Spaniard named Felix Erausquin introduced his own technique for throwing the javelin where he would spin around on the spot and release the javelin, similar to a discus throw, this was dubbed the “Spanish Style” of javelin throwing and enabled the throwers to achieve incredible distances before it was banned almost immediately by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for being an incredibly dangerous method of throwing.

The furthest that a javelin has ever been thrown in an official Olympic event is 104  meters which was thrown by Uwe Hohn in the 1984 Olympics, however under the spinning technique Erausquin managed to throw the javelin 112 meters, smashing this record by 8 meters! However the throw was disqualified by the IAAF and not acknowledged. At the time of the throw the world record was 83 meters with Erausquin’s throw being vastly superior.

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Why are British Electrical Plugs the Best in the World?

plug annotatedThere are many different plug designs throughout the world, the British plug might appear to be quite bulky compared to its European and American sleek, twin pronged brothers. However there are many reasons why the British plug is one of the best inventions in the world.

First of all its important to understand what each of the 3 prongs on the plug do, the large one at the top is the earth pin which is used to ground electricity should anything go wrong, it sends electricity back away from you instead of through you and through your heart. The other two pins are live and neutral these two are the ones that must connect to the contacts in a socket to cause an electrical circuit.

You may have noticed that the ground pin is slightly longer than the other two pins, this is for a very important reason. If you look at a socket in your house and look where the live and neutral pins would have to be inserted you might notice something, there are plastic shutters covering the metal contacts that you won’t be able to open, no matter how hard you try. In order to open these shutters you must first insert the earth pin, this causes the shutters to open and the live and neutral pins to make contact with the metal inside to complete the circuit. This makes it extremely difficult for a child with a fork to electrocute themselves by accident as they have to simultaneously open the shutter and insert the fork at the same time.

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