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Trivia about nature

This thing of which I speak gives off 3,750 million kilowatts of electrical energy and raises the temperature of the air around it to 14,982(C. Can you guess what it is? It is lightning. The rise in temperature causes the air to expand which makes sound waves, yes thatís right Ė thunder which can be heard up to 29km away. A lightning bolt generates a temperature 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun. Every second, lightning strikes the earth a hundred times. These bolts are created from the 1,800 thunderstorms which are occurring at any given moment on the earth.

Earth PictureThere is a tremendous amount of energy in a breaking ocean wave. Sometimes its force can equal a pressure of 2,721.5kg or 6,000 pounds per square foot. If you could harness the energy of a 1.2m wave moving along a 161km front, it could supply power to a very large city like Seattle for almost 24 hours. Water is pretty incredible. It is the ONLY thing on earth that is present (in quantity) in three different forms. The polar caps have km of ice. The oceans are full of water and in the atmosphere there is water vapour.

Are you a bit of a gardener? Either way, I suggest that you donít plant bamboo! Some species are known to grow at a rate of 91cm per day. There's even been suggestions that damage caused to neighbours properties by invading bamboo, should be borne by the person growing it, even if it's a few houses away!

Have you often wondered why there are 7 days and 12 months or 365 days to the year? Days are related to the spin of the earth, months to the phases of the moon and of course a year is the time it takes for the earth to journey around the sun. But not all cultures have measured time in the same way. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians had months of 3 ten days weeks. The ancient Assyrians had six day weeks and some West African tribes had 4 day cycles. In 1762 a whaling ship called the Aurora spotted 3 islands which became known as the Aurora Islands. In the late 18th century the captain of the Atrevida sketched, charted and named the islands. Several vessels visited their documented location during the 1820ís but the islands seem to have vanished without a trace. It seems that many islands over the years have appeared and some have disappeared. Sometimes this is caused by volcanic activity.

There is a lot of water vapour in the earthís atmosphere. If it could all be condensed and made into liquid water all at once, there would be enough water to cover the whole of the United States in 7.62m of water or the whole of Australia in 9.5m of water, or there would be an additional 7.6cm of water over the entire earth's surface.

If we were able to burn all of the oil, coal and wood on the planet, it would only supply as much heat and light as the sun does in a few days. And yet here on earth we receive only Ĺ of one-billionth of the sunís light energy. On 27 Aug 1883, the world experienced the greatest explosion in historic times. This occurred when Krakatora erupted. Dust fell 5,330km away 10 days later and pumice was thrown 55km into the sky. The noise itself is estimated to have been heard over 8% of the earth and the explosion is estimated to have been about 26 times the power of the largest h-bomb test.

Manís eyesight is very good. If a person were to stand on a mountain peak on a clear, moonless night, they could see a match being struck as much as 80.5km away. When astronauts were orbiting around the earth, they could see the wakes or paths of ships.

The human body is truly amazing. It consists of about 60 trillion cells and each one of these cells has about 10,000 times more molecules than the milky way has stars. The cornea which is in the eye, is the only part of the human body that has no blood supply. The cornea takes its oxygen directly from the air. Did you also know these interesting facts: as you focus on each word in a sentence, your eyes sway back and forth 100 times a second, and every second, the retina completes 10 billion computer-like calculations.

Imagine in your mind a set of very precise fine scales using for weighing objects. One side of the scales is placed in the dark and a light is allowed to shine onto the other side. The lighted scale will slowly sink because light has weight. On the earthís surface, the pressure of light is calculated at 0.9kg or 2 pounds per square mile.

Human skin is completely reprocessed every few weeks and we gain another 2m2 of perfectly fitting skin. There are 100 sweat glands in each square centimetre of skin and these glands release salty water which evaporates and keeps the body cool. Just below the outer cells of our skin are millions of nerve endings that give us a sense of touch. Within the fingertips and lips there are as many as 200 touch receptors in every square centimetre.

Did you know that the moon is falling? Now donít panic - it has a falling motion that is balanced by a sideways motion. But because both motions are balanced, it stays in the same orbit around the earth, never quite falling and never quite escaping.

The moon fits exactly over the sun and this is what makes a total eclipse possible. Some suggest that this is just an accident. Seen from the earth, the moon is just large enough to cover the sun completely. And yet it is small enough that during the eclipse the sunís radiance is still visible. According to theory of evolution, there is no logical reason why the sun and moon should fit so well. And yet out of all of the planets in this solar system, the earth is the only one where this phenomenon exists.

Youíve probably heard the expression, once in a blue moon, which is the event that occurs when we have a full moon twice in one month. Did you know that there has really been a moon coloured blue? During 1950 there was a large forest fire in Canada that caused huge amounts of fine dust to fly up into the atmosphere. There was so much dust that cars had to turn their headlights on during the daytime. The phenomenon lasted at least two days. It was during this time that many people reported seeing a blue moon. There have even been reports of red moons, but the very rare green moon has only been seen twice.

When you think of the Sahara you probably automatically think of boiling hot sand, and yet the Sahara does have typical climate changes. Yes itís high temperatures can go up to a blistering 58C, but in the Tibesti mountains in midwinter, it can also get as low as Ė15C.

When your child reaches their second birthday, if you measure their height and then double it, you will have their approximate height as adults.

Despite the fact that the brain accounts for only about 3% of our body weight, it uses 20% of the calories in the food we eat, about 15% of the bodyís blood supply and about 20% of all of the oxygen we breathe.

The adult human body is a marvel. There are 206 bones in the body, with almost half of these bones in the hands and the feet. Babies are born with 300 bones but 94 fuse together during their childhood. There are also over 100 joints & 650 muscles, 100,000km of blood vessels and 13,000 million nerve cells.

Within the lungs there are 300,000 million capillaries which are tiny blood vessels. IF they could be laid end to end, they would measure 2,400km.

The human body contains about 45 litres of water that accounts for 65% of our weight. But within the body there are other interesting substances as well. There is enough iron to make a 25mm nail, carbon which is equivalent to a 12.7kg bag of coke, enough lime to whitewash a small shed, and enough phosphorous to make 2,2000 matchheads.

The human body is naturally radioactive because it contains potassium. This potassium contains a small amount of the radioactive isotope potassium-40. Also within our bodies is radioactive carbon-14 which is produced in the atmosphere and absorbed by our bodies.

A deaf person who comprehends the physics of sound, can then be able to tune any stringed instrument. This is because the particular sound made by a vibrating string depends on its mass, its length and how much it is stretched.

Experimentation has shown that trees are able to communicate with others of their own kind. Two American biologists of the University of Washington placed predatory caterpillars and webworms on the branches of willows and alders. It seems that within hours the leaves began to change their chemical composition which would make the leaves less tasty to the invaders. Also the protein in the leaves changed in a way that made them indigestible. Soon the insects began dying. But what was more remarkable was that nearby trees which were not under attack also began to produce the same chemical defences although they were a long way apart and were not connected to the first trees in any way. Perhaps they ďbarkĒ at each other!! Ok, Iíll ďleaveĒ that one alone.

Earth PictureOur planet earth is more wide than it is tall. When we think of the earth as a sphere, we imagine that it is fairly even all around. In fact this is not true. The Poles are slightly flattened. If you were able to measure the circumference of the earth around the equator and than compare to the circumference around the poles, you would find that the measurement around the equator would be approximately 68km longer.

Have you ever walked on a beach and heard the sand squeak under your feet? There is a beach on the Isle of Eigg off the west coast of Scotland that has even more unusual sand. It sings when you walk on it. In fact it sings in different notes ranging from high soprano to low bass. Scientists believe that the music arises from the sand material that is made up of tiny grains of mineral quartz. Because the sand has been ground to a round shape and each grain is surrounded by a tiny pocket of air, the friction between the air and the grain makes a vibration that creates a musical note. If there is lots of moisture in the atmosphere, the pitch of the notes may change.

If I ask you how many colours there are in a rainbow, you would more than likely be able to tell me that there are 7 colours which are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. But this is not always the case. On very rare occasions a person may be fortunate enough to see a rainbow that is all purple, or all white or even all red. In fact some rainbows may stand completely straight up like a glowing column or even lie flat. If you could see a rainbow from an aeroplane you might be able to see a complete circle. You just have to be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to see this unusual spectacle.

If you can imagine a rock or a boulder in your head you do not think of it as a moving object do you? Rocks just sit there donít they? They canít move by themselves. Well there is an unusual place where rocks actually do seem to move by themselves. In Death Valley in California rocks of all sizes from pebbles to boulders do move. Stretching out behind the rock is a trail leading from where the rocks have come. Some of these tracks are hundreds of metres long. So how do these stones move? One study showed that one particular rock moved 262m. The study eventually concluded that wind and water caused the rocks to move. Even though the area is very dry, a small amount of rain causes the clay soil of the valley to develop a slick surface. Then the powerful wind pushes the rocks along the slippery surface.

Next time you do some gardening and you pick up a handful of soil, you will know that there over a billion forms of life in that one handful. There are millions of bacteria that are the smallest life-forms, then protozoans which are slightly larger. You would probably also be holding quite a few thousand small worms called nematodes, and a variety of insects in young or larval forms. There may also be some termites and ants, a few mites and perhaps a spider or even an earthworm. Actually that sounds a really good reason for wearing gloves when doing the gardening.

During the Apollo expeditions, it was discovered that the moon rings like a gong or a bell when struck. Parts of the 2nd and 3rd stages of the rocket crashed onto the moon and caused the gong sound. It has been revealed that the echo lasted almost an hour on one occasion and up to 4 hours on another. The scientists are baffled as to why the moon should sound like a bell or a gong when struck.

Some seeds which were found in the ancient Egyptian tombs have blossomed into flowers after being planted. The seeds had been in the tombs for over 4000 years and yet still had life in them.

If man were to make an electronic equivalent of the human brain, it would need a very large building to house it, and all the electricity generated at Niagara Falls to operate it.

Alaska is a remarkable place. It s the western-most, eastern-most and northern-most state in the USA. And that is the mostest most most statement I have ever made.

Next time you have a tuna sandwich, remember that if a tuna lived to 15 years, it would have swum 1,609,344km, which is about 40 times around the world. And after all that work Ė YOU ate him!

In 24 hours the average adult accomplishes much: your heart beats 103,689 times; your blood travels almost 270,370km; you breathe 23,040 times; you inhale almost 40.7 cubic metres of air; you eat almost 1.59kg of food; you drink 2.9 quarts of liquid; you lose 10.26kg of waste; you speak 4,800 words; you move 750 muscles; your nails grow 1.1684cm; and you exercise 7,000,000 brain cells. It's no wonder you feel tired!

Natural blondes have more hair on their heads than a brunette or a redhead. A blonde has about 120,000 strands of hair, while a redhead has about 30% less strands than a blonde with about 80,000 strands. Brunettes have somewhere between the two, ie between 80,000 and 120,000 strands.

Did you know that the sun is NOT a huge ball of fire? Thatís right. There is no fire on the sun at all. To have fire there would need to be fuel, temperature and oxygen, but the sun has no oxygen at all. So why does it look like a huge ball of fire? The main source of energy is the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium atoms which occurs in the 15,000,000oC core. This causes energy to be released, much of which ends up as light and heat. What we think looks like fire is called the photosphere and the chromosphere. To make it easier for you to understand, just imagine sitting in front of an electric heater. Although the heater gives off light and heat, thereís no fire is there?

We all know that Pluto is the furthest planet away from the sun donít we? Well, that is not actually true! Yes, Pluto usually is the furthest away, but because itís orbit is more egg-shaped than circular, it is occasionally closer to the sun than Neptune is. To complete one complete orbit of the sun, Pluto takes approximately 247.7 earth years, but for approximately 20 of those years. Pluto is inside of Neptuneís orbit. In fact from January 1979 to March 1999, Neptune was actually the furthest planet away from the sun.

We all know that air is made up mostly of oxygen donít we? Well, if it was, weíd have some trouble breathing! Air is mostly made up of nitrogen! There is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and the remaining 1% is made up of hydrogen, carbon dioxide, krypton, helium, xenon, neon and other gases. Well thatís what clean air is made up of, donít ask me whatís in polluted air.

Do you know which continents have no volcanoes? Australia is an obvious choice, and most people would also say Antarctica as well. But in fact, Antarctica had volcanoes erupt in 1960, 1970 & 1991. The only continent on this planet that does not have volcanoes is Australia.

You may have heard of the Amazon River which is supposed to be the worldís longest river. Well the Amazon is certainly the widest river on earth and but it is not the longest. It even covers a larger area than any other river. One fifth of all of the moving fresh water in the world pours out of the Amazon Riverís mouth. The longest river in the world is in fact the Nile River.

Niagara Falls is one of the most well known waterfalls in the world, and itís also the highest Ė right!? No, in fact, it pales in comparison to the height of Angel Falls in Venezuela which is 979m high or 19 times taller than Niagara Falls. In fact Angel Falls is three times taller than the Empire State Building. Niagara Falls is well known for their beauty and the enormous amount of water that pours over it. Niagara is much wider than Angel Falls, although both pour about the same quantity of water over the top, which is about 2.8 billion litres per second.

Why is much quicker to make a cup of tea at the top of Mount Everest than it does when youíre at home? The higher you get, the more atmospheric pressure drops. The more atmospheric pressure drops, the more the boiling point of water decreases. At home, water boils at 100C, but at the top of Mount Everest it boils at only 70C.

Here is some information that may just help you to recognize how very incredible and sensitive your senses are:
- Did you know that in very quiet conditions, you can hear a watch tick from 6 metres away.
- You tongue is so sensitive it can taste a gram of salt which has been mixed up in 500 litres of water.
- On a clear, dark night, you can see the flicker of a candle from 50 km away.
- Your remarkable nose can smell a single drop of perfume which as been diffused in three rooms.
- And your sense of touch is incredible too Ė if a bee flew over and dropped its wing onto your cheek from the height of one centimeter, you would actually be able to feel it touch you.

In 1933 during a hurricane, a sea wave 34m high was measured between Manila and California.

Ten minutes of one hurricane has enough energy to match all of the nuclear stockpiles in the world. In fact, if the energy of an average hurricane could be harnessed, it could supply all electrical needs for Australia for more than 6 months.

Earth Picture
In September, the earth spins fast than it does in March.

Pluto only has one moon and it moves at the same speed as the planet revolves. If you were living on Pluto this means that you would either only see one side of the moon forever or if you were living on the other side of the planet, you would never see the moon at all.

It take light from the sun about 8 minutes to reach us. Therefore, the sun has already risen 8 minutes earlier than we think it has at dawn.

In the northern hemisphere, rivers erode their right-hand banks more severely than their left-hand banks. This is caused by the rotation of the Earth.

Selenologists study the Moon, as geologists study Earth.

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