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Showing posts from July, 2018

How Do Chameleons Blend Into Their Background?

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Of all the bizarre creatures of the Animal Kingdom, chameleons easily rise above the rest. They have an extremely long, sticky tongue that can be fired out of their mouths in a fraction of a second, a unique set of eyeballs that enable 360-degree vision, and, of course, their calling card: their immaculate camouflage. But how exactly are chameleons able to change their skin color? Well, the key to the chameleon’s camouflage lies in its skin. Beneath their skin, is a layer of cells, called iridophore cells, which have the ability to store pigments and reflect light. By exciting or relaxing the skin, the chameleon can stretch or compress the iridophore cells. In doing so, they adjust the distance between these cells. When the distance between these light-reflecting cells change, the wavelength of the light reflected is altered, which is observed as changing colors. But that still begs the question: How do they match their skin colors to the background? The answer

Does Fire Have Mass?

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History shows us that ability of early humans to create and control fire helped mankind jump to the top of the food chain. We can simply define fire as a visible effect caused by the chemical process of combustion. Speaking of fire, does it have mass? Let's use burning wood as an example: C 6 H 12 O 6 (wood) + 6O 2 (Oxygen) → 6CO 2 (Carbon Dioxide) + 6H 2 O (Water). When wood burns, both the reactants (wood and oxygen) and the product (carbon dioxide and water) have mass but we don’t see them. Instead, we see the process as fire and feel it as heat. In this chemical reaction, carbon dioxide and water persist as gases due to the high temperature of the flame. This means that the fire contains carbon dioxide and water, so by extension we can conclude that flames does have mass.             Essent ially, a flame is hot air, meaning it has a density less than air (around ¼ the density of air). With the calculations, we can determine that fire weighs about 0.

Why Do Most Prices End With $0.99?

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Have you noticed that the price of lots of things in stores end with 99 cents? Why not just round it up to the next dollar? It could make life simpler for both the customer and the cashier and even better, increase revenue for the store owner. Turns out, this is a clever marketing strategy. When we shop at a store, we walk along the aisles scanning the shelves (“Free”, “Sale”, “Buy One Get One”), but not really paying much attention to anything in particular. When that lucky something catches our attention, we glance at its price. During a quick glance, human mind pays more attention to the digits in the price (dollars) and tend to ignore the decimals (cents). That salmon fillet at $10 is a rip off, but it is value for money at $9.99! Store owners know this “fact” and work hard to give you value for money. The “psychological pricing” also works as an anti-theft mechanism. When things are priced with rounded prices, a clerk could simply bypass the cash register and poc