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Posts Tagged ‘Science’

I love the Internet. Full of brilliant people asking brilliant questions, and brilliant people giving the most amazing answers. On Reddit, user Chalkup asked, “If you could compress a lifetime worth of farts into a single fart, how far would the thrust propel you into the air? (if at all)” The answer (courtesy of Brisco_County_III), as it turns out:

Estimated total volume of farts per day: Call it around a cup, or 250mL since I’m doing the math metric.
Estimated duration of the fart we’re compressing this into: Around two seconds. That’s actually a damn long fart, if we assumed it were shorter you’d get more energy out of it. Estimated size of asshole: We’ll call it 1cm radius.

So let’s start with 40 years’ worth of farts, for the sake of simplicity. That’s 3650 liters of fart (or about 1000 gallons), or 3.65 cubic meters.

So we’re going to jam that lifetime of farts into 2 seconds. Now, I’m going by volume here, not by energy; if I were going by energy, this would be a lot more boring, because it doesn’t add up anywhere near as spectacularly. Regardless, let’s treat this as a rocket problem, where the only major factor is how fast the reaction mass (your fart) is leaving, rather than any resistance of the air to passage of the fart, nothing fancy.

Now, you need to get all of that gas out of your asshole in two seconds, through a 2cm-diameter hole. This is the same as figuring out how long a column of air of 2cm diameter would have to be to contain 3650 liters. That circle has an area of pi cm2, which converts to 0.000314 square meters. You need to get 3.65 cubic meters through that hole in 2 seconds. So… you see where I’m going with this? That gas is going to be shooting out of you real, REAL fast. How fast?

That column of air would have to be 11,618 meters long, which means that it would have to be traveling at 5.8 kilometers per second .

Aside from blowing your asshole apart like a hot dog with an air compressor nozzle stuffed in it, this is a lot of energy. We’ll assume your asshole can take it. This means the total impulse it will transfer to you as it leaves is fucking big. Let’s say you weight 100kg, because it takes a big man for a big fart. How much does this transfer to you? Well, 4.5kg of air, moving at 5.8km/s, will transfer 26,000 Newton-seconds of impulse to you, which divided by your weight…

You will be traveling at 130 meters per second after this fart, or about 300 miles per hour.

How high does that get you? About 1300m in the air. Long story short? Assuming you’re talking about volume, that fart would shoot you a fucking mile into the air.

(Header image from Reddit user gary_mthafkn_oak)

[Source: Reddit.com]

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It’s been a very long time since a video made me laugh so much that I

(a) couldn’t breath

(b) cried

(c) almost peed myself

Background: I have a cat, and I’m married to an engineer. This video proves that cats are all alike, and engineers are also all alike…

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Looks like we might have to say goodbye to wheat products if the fears of a group of scientists are realized. These products include bread, cereals, cakes, and biscuits. A fungus that infects common wheat, Ug99, appears to be spreading around the world fast, and might quickly kill off one of the world’s largest cash crops if something isn’t done to stop it. According to the article in the LA Times:

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico
estimates that 19% of the world’s wheat, which provides food for 1
billion people in Asia and Africa, is in imminent danger. American
plant breeders say $10 billion worth of wheat would be destroyed if the
fungus suddenly made its way to U.S. fields.

Scientists have perhaps managed to breed a strain of wheat that is resistant to Ug99, but it would mean replacing and propogating this new breed across the world.

It highlights a larger problem with world cash crops in general: they’re highly prone to sudden attacks from a single source, purely because, through farming methods, genetic diversion isn’t happening anymore. Bananas are a very good example of a crop that is in danger of being wiped out as a human-consumable food. This is the precise reason, for example, that Australian immigration is very tough on what comes into the country.

So enjoy your breads while you can!

[Link: LA Times - A 'time bomb' for world wheat crop]

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Philips–you know, the guys that make TVs–also happen to make hospital electronics, so it’s not just entertainment and lightbulbs. They’ve managed to invent a smart pill that is designed to not only release medication in certain parts of the body, but also monitor patients from the inside. The pill is still a prototype, but it may just be soon that we start seeing these around instead of the standard pills.

So here’s my question: are these recyclable? Doe the doctors want stool samples in order to retrieve the pills? Would you want to take the pill if you know that its already been through someone’s system?

[Link: InventorSpot - Scientists develop "intelligent pill"]

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Scientists at the School of Anatomy and Human Biology have grown a leather coat from stem cells, which is all kinds “weird science”. They’ve even named the coat “victimless leather”. Despite the coat being so small, it’s…well…bizarre. We seem to have no problem in using leather from dead cattle (or other animals, for that matter), most likely because the hide would have otherwise gone to waste, and because it’s a byproduct of a living creature. This coat is alive until fully grown. I assume that after it’s taken off life support, it’d still have to be cured.

Unfortunately, while this coat was on display in New York, it was pulled from life support when it grew too large for the container.

I had a thought, tho…Hmm…coatburgers.

[Link: InventorSpot: Victimless leather Coat Falls Victim to Science]

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Try out this quick test at News.com.au to see if you’re left or right brained. Turns out I’m about as right-brained as they get (which by looking at the list they provide, I could have told you), but I’m still not certain how this works. The entire test consists of looking at an animation of a spinner dancer’s silhouette and determining which direction she’s spinning. If she’s turning clockwise, you’re right-brained, and if anti-clockwise, then you’re left-brained. With a lot of concentration, I managed to get her to spin the other way, but for some odd reason, it deeply distresses me because it looks “wrong”. Don’t ask. Anyhow…your experiences in the comments!

[Link: News.com.au - Left Brain v Right Brain Test]

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OLED!

Holy frak. It’s not every day you hear about something that makes you start dreaming up sci-fi inspired alternative realities and possible futures. GE’s OLED printing machine is one of those things.

The size of a semitrailer, the OLED printer coats an 8-inch wide plastic film with chemicals, then seals them with a layer of metal foil. Apply electric current to the resulting sheet, and it lights up with a blue-white glow.

The sheet can be tacked to a wall, wrapped round a pillar, and the translucent version taped to a window. Unlike every other source of lighting, it doesn’t need a lamp or conventional fixture for these sheets, though they need to be plugged into an outlet.

[ Link: Yahoo tech: Flexible OLEDs could be part of lighting's future]

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Scientists have found a way to create bio-batteries, similar to the electrocytic cells of electric eels and other such electric animals. The idea behind this is to power artificial limbs and internal machinery, but of course, the idea could be taken a step further and into the creation of “wetware”, or cybernetic implants. Mind you, according to the article:

There’s a long way between the drawing board and the cyber-implant in the world of biotechnology, at least for those of us outside of Marvel, and several “How do we actually build this?” questions have to be answered.

Ok, so it’s not quite reality yet, but the fact that there are blueprints means that at least it’s a big step toward seeing this come to light.

I’ve recently been watching Doctor Who, so of course, the first thing to that came to mind was that, if these cybernetic implants come to be, we might need The Doctor to come and bail us out…

[Link: The Daily Galaxy - Super Cells to Power Cyborgs]

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‘The big decisions in life are best made on a full stomach’, says this article in the Telegraph.

Skipping meals can lead to reduced levels of a brain chemical that helps to keep careless and impulsive behaviour in check. Equallly, a good meal can help prevent people behaving in a cranky, aggressive and unfair way by maintaining levels of serotonin, says a study by a Cambridge University team.

I know I definitely have those cranky episodes when I’m hungry and I’m fine once I’ve eaten something. I’m not sure how it affects my decision-making abilities but the next time I do any impulsive shopping, it’ll be good to blame it on my tummy!

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The brainy chaps at Lancaster University have managed to create something a lot like a universe the size of a marble. According to the article:

By placing helium in a state which most closely resembles the form it held at the beginning of the universe, scientists have created an opportunity for the gas to go through several low-energy evolutions. These defects in space-time, are represented by tiny whirlpools in the helium, which are created by the rapid expansion, and equally rapid slowing of the expansion; something that it’s believed our own universe did at the big bang and in the moments thereafter.

Is it just me, or is this somewhat remniscient of Terry Pratchett’s book “The Science of Discworld“? The reason that these miniscule universes are great for research is that you generally don’t want to go messing with the kinds of forces that helped create the universe in the first place. As noted in the article:

Black holes and supernovas aren’t pleasant lab partners.

I’ll say. Wonder how long it’ll take for the bruhaha to start up in the same way it did about the Large Hadron Particle Collider at Cern…

[Link: Environmental News Blog]

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