Jan 3, 2014
The earth has a lot of secrets and a lot of things that aren’t so secret. This is especially true when it comes to the minerals and metals that it harbors. Some metals and minerals are very common while some are so rare that you may never see them in your life. Below are 5 rarest metals on earth and what they are used for.
Iridium – this metal is silvery white in color and rather brittle. It also mixes will with platinum and that is the state when it is at its most workable. Most of the time, iridium can be found in comet or meteorite crash sites. It makes you wonder why there is so much iridium out in space and so little of it on earth but that isn’t exactly true. There is a lot of iridium on earth but because it is so dense, it has sunk into depths that are impossible for people to reach. Better to get it out there than to dig for it here.
Indium – if metals were given personalities, Indium would be the crybaby. It’s a softy (literally and figuratively speaking), it is blue on the inside, and even lets out a “cry” when it is bent out of shape. As it happens, indium is a very rare metal that is made during the zinc-ore processing method. In its purest form, it is a white colored metal that is quite shiny and very malleable.
Rhenium – this metal is not as well-known as other metals but it is one of the densest metals in the world and has the third highest melting point. Rhenium is a molybdenum by-product which means it is a by-product that comes about when people mine for copper.
Osmium – this is one of the densest elements on earth and looks silvery-blue. There is still a debate whether osmium is heavier than iridium. This metal is usually mixed with platinum group metals that are in nickel heavy ores. The trading price for this rare metal is at $380per troy ounce.
Gold – it is no wonder why gold makes the list. It is not only rare but it is also used in a lot of things and this is why it tends to be really expensive. It is all in the law of supply and demand and when the demand for gold is sky-high and there isn’t a lot of it, you can bet prices will soar through the sky.
Dec 26, 2013
What do you think of when someone says the word “corn”? Some of you may think of creamed corn on the cob with steaming hot yellow kernels smothered in butter. Some of you may imagine yellow kernels just waiting to be popped to make delicious and healthy popcorn. Whatever you picture corn to be, it is almost a given that you do not equate corn with rainbows or gems but this is only because you have not yet been dazzled by the opalescent kernels that belong to the Gem corn.
What is this Gem corn, you may ask? Well, it is corn still but what sets it apart is that the kernels come in different colors and they practically look like little precious gems stuck on a cob. Just take a look at the gleam and the shine of those kernels! They are practically begging to be strung up and worn as jewelry!
Indeed, it is easy to think that this is all a hoax because who would believe that something as normal as corn could be so remarkable? Rest assured though, the gem corn does exist and it is all thanks to Carl Barnes.
Who is Carl Barnes?
If you love how the Gem corn looks then you have to Carl Barnes to thank for its creation. He is a part-Cherokee farmer and he is the person responsible for holding on to the seeds of the Gem corn. See, he was a corn farmer and while he was collecting harvest, he realized that some ancestral types of corn were popping up here and there. He collected the seeds and crossed them so he could make sure that their genetic pool was widened and this is how the Gem corn came to be.
There was a time when this type of corn wasn’t often seen but all thanks to Carl Barnes and is one seed preservation organizations, it really does seem like this is one type of corn that is on its way to the top. If you too would like to plant your own Gem corn, you can order the seeds online although there may be a waiting period since the demand is high and supply is limited for the time being. Also, you best know that while it can be cooked an eaten, it is largely an ornamental corn that is meant to be displayed and marveled at.
Dec 17, 2013
It can be said that Leonardo Da Vinci was a man who thought well ahead of his time. With his numerous inventions, he had been able to create many firsts. Not just an artist known for his technique called sfumato, Da Vinci designed several contraptions – some of which are still used today!
Ball bearing – Although it does not seem all that impressive, a lot of today’s modern machines make use of Da Vinci’s ball bearing. It allows the smooth movement of drive shafts, factory ramps, and most other mechanical devices that require movement and transition. This invention reduces the friction between two different moving surfaces and helps make machines more efficient.
Parachute – This one is pretty self-explanatory. Simple as it seems, the parachute allows an individual to fall from great heights with a slow momentum—allowing for safe landing. Parachutes increase a falling body’s resistance and since Da Vinci was also interested in human flight, he had come up with the parachute to break the fall of a person.
Machine gun – Though not in the modern sense of being a machine gun, Da Vinci invented the first weapon which can fire volleys at rapid intervals. It is more popularly known as the triple-barreled canon which would have been a deadly weapon for armies in the field. It was a portable, fast, and light weapon with a lot of firepower. The machine had 11 guns which could all be fired at once
Diving gear – Da Vinci had entertained the idea of being able to repel and intercept invading ships. His thought was to send actual men underwater to damage the hulls of the ships! It was far-fetched and tedious to actually carry out, but this thought had inspired the creation of today’s modern diving suits and scuba gear. A practical point from Da Vinci’s creation was how the divers would have to carry a bottle which they can use to urinate in—allowing them to stay underwater for indefinite periods of time!
Revolving bridge – Because he had written how he hated wars battle weapons had been a specialty of Da Vinci and used his inventions to support his household. Da Vinci devised his own way for a quick getaway when things get nasty while surrounded by a body of water. The bridge is made up of lightweight materials and had a rope-and-pulley mechanism which would allow armies to move quickly away from danger.
The above are just some of the many useful inventions that have made Da Vinci one of the most timeless inventors in history!
Dec 11, 2013
To a lot of people, cooking is a fun and fulfilling activity while other just view it as an impossible task. Whichever field of thinking you belong to, do know that cooking can be made just a little bit easier with the use of science. After all, cooking is a science and the more you understand the scientific mechanisms that make cooking work the easier it will be for you to come up with mouth-watering eats.
Below are some cooking tips based in science that will ensure that everything you cook tastes and feels yummy and the best part is you do not need any fancy schooling to follow these science-based cooking tips!
The reverse sear
A lot of cookbooks will tell you that to really get the most flavor and juice in your meat, you sear it. This is a process where in you introduce the meat to searing high heat for a few minutes to lock in the juices and one that is generally accepted. However, if you let science do the talking it will say that searing the meat is actually one way to lose more juices and the reverse sear is a much better option.
What is this reverse-sear you may ask? It is exactly as it sounds and instead of introducing the meat to high heat first, you let it cook in low heat for several minutes and you turn up the heat at the end instead. Not only do you get a nice, browned surface but you lock in the juices and you allow the meat flavors to really develop.
Use salt for marinating
You already know how important salt is when cooking but do not forget to make use of it when marinating as well. Salt not only tenderizes your meat but it also helps the meat flavors to develop. Using acidic marinades like lemon juice, Italian dressing, or vinegar will just break down the outer tissues of your meat in an enzymic reaction and will turn it all gross and mushy which is the last thing you want to happen to your prime rib or tuna fillets.
Melted butter for chewy cookies
Most cookie recipes will ask that you “cream” the butter which means you beat it with sugar while it is softened and this is fine if you are after crisp cookies but if you want the soft and chewy kind, melt your butter! The reason for this is that butter contains about 18% water and melting it means the water will with flour proteins which is what allows gluten to form. Gluten is the stuff dreams are made of if you want chewy cookies and bread.
The “umami bomb”
If you want to add extra savories to your dishes, forget about fancy truffle oil or whatnots since all you really need to add that extra “oomph” to your dishes is a bit of anchovy. You may also use soy sauce or marmite since they all add flavor to dishes without adding their own flavors to what you have prepared.
Dec 3, 2013
There is something about mad scientists that just capture the imagination and why not? They are men and women with brilliant minds and dubious morals and strange habits. They twist science and come up with many wonderful and sometimes crazy inventions that may or may not end the world and spell doom for man-kind. Sometimes, they just do harm to themselves and think nothing about it since everything they do is in the name of science. Below are some mad scientists that deserve to be applauded and feared for what they have managed to do.
Werner Forrsman - now this guy was something else because it seems nothing and no one could stop him from sticking a rubber tube up his veins and reaching his heart. His boss, being a scientist of the non-mad kind, explicitly told him not to do it and even took measures to make sure he never got the materials he needed. But Forrsman was mad and he was a genius so he tricked a nurse into thinking he was in love with her so he could get the materials he needed. On the night of the operation, he strapped her to a table to make sure she didn’t stop him. In the end though, his experiment was justified as he paved the way for heart catheterizations and even won a Nobel Prize.
Kary Mullis – why do people try LSD? To feel groovy? To feel in? Kary Mullis on the other hand tried LSD for the very first time back in 1966 and after it was made illegal, he and some other students mixed it with legal hallucinogens. According to him, he had to thank the drugs for allowing him to train his mind to better process ideas in a visual way and this helped him figure out how to copyright DNA. Thanks to the drugs, he said he could imagine himself being with the molecules. He confessed that he would never have had the ideas it if weren’t for the drugs so you can say that he could thank the drugs for the Nobel Prize he won in 1993.
There are many more mad scientists out there and these geniuses may not act within the set rules of society but maybe that is what makes them so brilliant in the first place. After all, for them to come up with genius ideas, they had to think outside the box.