Famous Scientists

6 Awesome Accidental Discoveries

Author: Heather Brown

Timeless inventions are still present in today’s society. However, did you know that some of your favorite inventions were actually discovered by accident? Here are 6 awesome accidental inventions:

Post-it notes – Arthur Fry conceived Post-it notes in 1974 as a way of holding the bookmarks in his hymnal for the church choir. Spencer Silver, a co-employee at 3M, developed and adhesive in 1968 but there was no use for the adhesive until Arthur Fry used it for the Post-it idea.

Slinky – This toy for children which is also often used for physics experiments and demonstrations was created by Richard James, a naval engineer who was looking to develop a spring to support sensitive ship equipment. One of the slinkies fell off a shelf and this was when he got the idea to turn it into a toy.

Penicillin

Penicillin – Alexander Flemming took a vacation and left the staphylococci culture he was studying. Upon his return, he found a fungal growth on the cultures which was battling the staph. He grew a pure culture of this mold and to this day, penicillin is still used as an effective antibiotic.

Potato chips – A certain customer of Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York consistently complained that his fried potatoes were too soggy. Chef George Crum got tired of the situation and sliced the potatoes as thinly as possible, creating this salty snack which was initially known as “Saratoga Chips.”

Popsicles – Frank Epperson invented popsicles when he was only 11 years old and he kept this invention secret for 18 years! It was in 1905 when he accidentally left a powdered soda and water mixture out on the porch where he found it frozen in the morning. This fruit-flavored creation was initially called the “epsicle” but was later on patented as “popsicle.”

Microwave

Microwave – Whoever thought this highly functional kitchen appliance was the product of an accident? Percy LeBaron Spencer who worked for the Raytheon Company once walked past a radar tube and noticed how the chocolate bar in his pocket melted. He realized how he might have been in front of a potential new product. As an experiment, he placed a bowl of popcorn in front of the radar tube. To his surprise, popcorn was all over the place and today, microwaves are still a big thing among modern kitchen appliances.

These accidental inventions are still enjoyed by people today despite their often comic origins!

5 of the Worst Diseases Today

Author: Heather Brown

The Worst Diseases Today

What would count as the worst killer in the world is disease. Over hundreds and thousands of years, diseases have shown a track record of occurring anywhere and anytime, bringing not only sudden death at times, but a period of pain for those who suffer from them. Here are some of the worst diseases today:

AIDS

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. It was first discovered in 1981 and has claimed over 25 million lives since then. It opens the human system up to deadly infections by heavily disarming the body’s immune system. Today, there are over 38.6 million people living with AIDS and HIV, with no cure still in sight.

Malaria

Malaria is an infectious disease that comes from a mosquito bite. It causes it victims to have extremely high fever and migraines, which could eventually lead to coma and death. A disease that is usually rampant in tropical areas, anti-malaria drugs are often used as a counterattack. It causes an annual average of 2.7 million deaths, a high percentage of which are children.

Ebola Virus

First discovered in 1976, the first symptoms of the Ebola virus include vomiting, fever, diarrhea and malaise. In some cases, external and internal bleeding are also observed. It has claimed over 160,000 deaths since the year 2000 alone, and no cure or treatment has been found just yet.

Cholera

Cholera is an infection in the digestive system caused by the bacteria called Vibrio Cholerae. Although it is possible to cure the disease, time is often the biggest enemy in trying to contain the disease. In its strongest form, a victim could die of dehydration a mere 2 to 3 hours after exhibiting the symptoms. Every year, over 100,000 people die of this disease. Countries that have minimum hygiene standards are often the ones most affected.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is another fatal disease that affects 1 out of 5 people in the world today, killing 1 out of 3 of this ratio. Often brought about by an unhealthy lifestyle, the people affected by the disease are getting younger and younger in recent years. Heart attacks are usually caused by the lack of oxygen and blood brought to the heart. This is a direct effect of any blockages in the arteries, usually caused by high amounts of cholesterol from the kind of food that you eat.

What You Need to Know About Global Warming and Climate Change

Author: Heather Brown

What You Need to Know About Global Warming and Climate Change

Global warming and climate change have been a recurrent theme in blockbuster summer movies – although you may not exactly realize it is what is behind the catastrophic end of the world scenarios being portrayed. You may be thinking that these environmental changes won’t be happening in your lifetime, but being made aware of the irreversible damage that these can bring is something which may help you change your mind about how you are currently living and enjoying the world as you know it.

What is Global Warming and Climate Change?

Both global warming and climate change refer to the increase in the average temperature around the world. Natural occurrences as well as human activity are the contributing factors which add to the increase of the temperature in all parts of the world. Global warming is primarily caused by an increase of the “greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere; one such gas is carbon dioxide emitted from vehicles and factories.

When a planet becomes warmer, noticeable climate changes are also observed. While the greenhouse effect where the sun’s energy changes the climate as well as the energy which the earth radiates back to space, the additional greenhouse gases from human activities further increase the planetary warming earth experiences. This is what leads to the catastrophic effects of global warming such as erratic climate patterns and the melting of the poles which may cause a significant and ultimately permanently damaging rise in the volume of the oceans.

Effects of Global Warming

Global warming and climate change is already being felt. Seasons all over the world have changed compared to how they were decades ago, and older generations will attest to nights which warm faster than days, much colder winters, and dreadfully smoldering summers. These are all effects of global warming.

There is now less oxygen in the air compared to how it was before, and it is steadily being polluted by more fossil fuel carbon which is trapped in the atmosphere. It is for this reason that scientists are now finding more ways to live a more eco-friendly life where renewable energy sources such as solar energy, hydro energy, and wind energy are being utilized to have close to zero negative impact on the already damaged atmosphere that the planet currently has.

Over the past few years, climate change and global warming has been felt in a more aggressive manner, and scientists, environment advocates, and even private individuals are adopting environmentally friendly lifestyles to minimize the impact of global warming.

Mythical Creatures and Real-Life Counterparts

Author: Heather Brown

You may have heard the stories or may have even “seen” them with your own eyes. Mythical creatures have always held a fascination for some people. It is the unknown element about them that makes people chase after them. Folklore and legends have sprouted from these mythical creatures, and to this day, some people from different cultures still believe in their existence.

Science, on the other hand, has an explanation for these mythical creatures—they are actually real creatures which may not have been known previously to the very first people who saw them. Here are four of the most popular mythical creatures and their real life counterparts:

Mermaid

Mermaids

Mermaids are known to be beautiful creatures with long flowing hair—upper half of the body being a human’s and the lower part being a fish’s. The explanation for mermaids in real life are dugongs. Underneath the water, and depending on the lighting, they can be seen as human-like creatures because of the orientation of tales made about them.

Dragon

Dragons

What inspired the tales about dragons are most probably the remains of dinosaurs and crocodiles which may look like mythical beings to the first people who unearthed them. More particularly, the Megalania is an ancient relative of the big lizard called the Komodo dragon which can grow up to 26 feet! It is truly worthy of being classified as a creature worth of myth and legends.

Kraken

The kraken is a mythical creature which, like mermaids, dwells in the seas. Unlike mermaids which can be seen in smaller bodies of water, the kraken is something that only fishermen out in the ocean know of and claim to have seen. It is a big sea monster with tentacles strong enough to break fishing vessels. The actual explanation? This monster is a giant squid and it actually exists. Just recently, a colossal squid was discovered in the Southern Ocean and it is even bigger than the giant squids. It has a much huger beak and suckers with sharp hooks that can really do quite a lot of damage to anyone who gets in its way.

Scylla and Charybdis

A mythical tandem from Greek mythology, Scylla and Charybdis are monsters in the Straits of Messina which were said to have been seen by the hero Odysseus. Charybdis, in that area, is actually a whirlpool but is not big enough to be a monster. The rocky shoals nearby may have inspired the thought of the monster Scylla.

Although these mythical beings are debunked, the real life explanations are still pretty cool!

The Most Important Chemical Compounds

Author: Heather Brown

The Most Important Chemical Compounds

We are living in a world filled with chemical compounds, some of them being the most important things we use on a regular basis. Here are a few of the thousands of compounds that are most useful in our daily routines:

•  Water (H2O) – No explanation is needed as to how important water is in our life. Basically, water is something that could help us survive even if we don’t have anything else.

•  Sodium Chloride or Table Salt (NaCl) – Salt is used not only in cooking, but in cleaning as well. In fact, it is said that there are more than 14,000 specific uses for salt all in all.

•  Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate or Baking Soda (NaHCO3) – Baking soda does not only have benefits around the kitchen, but is also used in beauty and health. It can be used as a cleaning and whitening agent, and is a great deodorizer as well.

•  Sucrose or Table Sugar (C12H22O11) – Sucrose is used mainly in cooking and as a sweetener.

•  Sodium Hypochlorite or Bleach (NaClO) – Bleach is used as a stain remover, disinfectant and deodorant. It is also used to treat water and to reduce skin damage.

Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) – This is used as a germicidal agent and is the only one of its kind that is composed of oxygen and water. It is an alternative to bleach and is a potent disinfectant. It is also used in personal hygiene products like mouthwash and toothpaste, and is used to lighten hair. It is also used to sanitize meat and other food products.

Acetone ((CH3)2CO) – Acetone has a number of medical and cosmetic uses, the most popular being as a nail polish remover. It is also a popular solvent and is used for other domestic and laboratory processes.

Methane (CH4) – Methane is a natural gas that is used to refine crude oil. It is also used as a reactant to produce other substances such as chloromethanes and ammonia.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – Carbon dioxide is used in the content of fire extinguishers and in the production of dry ice. It is also used in the production of carbonated drinks.

Citric Acid (C6H8O7) – An organic compound, it is usually found in citrus fruits. It is used for culinary and medicinal purposes.

Sodium Nitrate (NaNO3) – Sodium nitrate is used in the food and agriculture industry. It is also the prime ingredient in fertilizers.

Ammonia (NH3) – Ammonia reacts with acids to produce salts. It is used in a lot of cleaning products.



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