Top 10 Highlights
It is said that fact is stranger than fiction and this list proves the point. There is no way we could have made this stuff up.
10. World’s Largest Cemetery
The worlds biggest cemetery is the Wadi Al-Salam cemetery in Najaf, Iraq. It was established 600 years after Jesus was on earth, is 1,500 acres in size and contains more than 10 million graves. It is considered the most holy of Islamic cemetery’s and people bring their dead here from all over the world.
Up to 500,000 people are buried here each year.
9. Deepest Ocean
The Mariana Trench has the deepest point of any ocean or sea in the world. It is located just east of the US island of Guam in the west Pacific.
The deepest measured point of the trench is 10.911 km or 6.831 miles. You could stack 33.7 Eiffel Towers, or 28.6 Empire State Buildings, or 117.3 Statue of Liberty’s, or nearly 6,000 people in it.
8. The Shortest War
The shortest war in history occurred when the Sultan ruler of Zanzibar died in August 1896. His replacement, Sultan Khalid bin Barghash, was not a ruler that the British approved of. Britain and Zanzibar had signed a treaty in 1886 which included a clause that Britain must approve new rulers before they took power. In accordance with this treaty Britain asked Sultan Khalid to stand down. Instead he blockaded himself and his elite guards in his palace.
The British had set a deadline of 9 am, August 27, for a response from the Sultan. It was not forthcoming. The British had three cruisers, two gun boats, 150 marines and almost 1,000 local soldiers. The Zanzibaris had about 2,800 soldiers with a number of artillery pieces and machine guns.
At 9.02 am the British started a bombardment of the palace, set it on fire and eliminated the opposition artillery and machine guns. The British ships sunk the Zanibari Royal Yacht and a few other craft. Troops approached the palace and by 9.40 am fighting had ceased.
The Zanzibar forces suffered around 500 casualties. The British, 1 injured sailor.
The war had lasted 38 minutes.
7. QE2 Fuel Consumption
The Queen Elizabeth 2 has nine 9 cylinder turbo diesel engines. Each engine weighs 120 tons. The nine engines weigh in at 1,080 tons in total.
Each engine is roughly the size of a double decker bus.
Not surprisingly, fuel consumption is not that good. They measure fuel usage in tons per day. Tons. The QE2 uses 380 tons of diesel fuel per day at Service Speed. This equates to something like 50 ft per gallon or, wait for it… 2.25 million litres per 100km (0.0095 miles per gallon) in car terminology.
6. Sea Level 20,000 Years Ago
20,000 years is not a lot of time in the grand scheme of things. If you were around then you would be a lot further from the seashore than you are now as the sea level was 140 m (460 ft) below current levels. The rise in the sea level over the last 20,000 years has been quite quick at times; up to 4 m (13 ft) per century. The sea level has been above current levels only once in the last 400,000 years and then only by a few metres.
There has been almost no change in the sea level over the last 2,000 years. Scientists know this because the sluice gates in fish traps used by the Romans are still at the right level versus the sea. It has been a very stable time for the sea level. In most other 2,000 year periods over the last 140,000 years there has been significant change.
Depending on the slope of the land (or sea floor as it is currently), a 140 m (460 ft) drop could place the sea shore several kilometres from its current position
5.Nature Is Seven
Ancient Egyptians believed that seven was a ‘God’ number and the Pharaohs would do things in multiples of seven. The number seven features in many aspects of the universe, to the point where we can safely state that it is the most natural of all numbers. Here are some examples:
– There are seven colours in a rainbow
– Seven notes in a musical scale
– Seven days in a week
– When you roll two dice the number seven is more likely to come up than any other number.
– Put six identically sized circles in a circle, the space in the centre will be exactly the right size for a seventh circle.
– There are seven objects in the sky we can see moving with the naked eye – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, the Moon and the Sun.
– On a flat surface such as a map, at least four colours are required to differentiate countries if no adjacent countries are to have the same colour. However on a 3 dimensional object such as a torus (which is used to represent the universe), seven is the minimum number of colours required to differentiate areas if no adjacent areas are to have the same colour.
Interestingly, if a donut torus is cut, twisted three times and rejoined, all seven colours will be touching each other.
4. Polar Bear Fur Is Not White
Polar bear fur is not white although it certainly looks that way. Each hair is actually transparent. Totally clear and without pigmentation of any kind. In addition to this, a polar bears skin is black. Polar bears look white because of the way that light is reflected through the hair. The same is true of snow. Snow is made of water which has no colour and yet it looks as white as white because of the way light is refracted.
While we’re on the subject of polar bears, they have a layer of fat under their black skin that is up to 11.5 cm (4.5 in) thick. When they are on land and dry it’s their fur (clear fur) that keeps them warm. When they are in the water and wet it’s their fat that keeps them warm.
3. Time Dilation
A person sits at home on earth with a watch. A second person goes to the moon in a rocket and returns to earth, also with a watch. When they compare the times shown on their watches one of the watches is slightly behind the other. If each person could see the other person watch in real time, both would see the other persons watch going slower than theirs, and their own watch as showing a ‘normal’ time.
The person who went to the moon accelerated and decelerated and these changes bent space-time meaning that the person went further than the person on earth who did not accelerate or decelerate. As both people end up together in the same place at the same time, the time taken to do the trip is the only variable that can change and therefore the watch that went to the moon had slowed slightly to allow for the further relative distance travelled.
2. Hot Water Is Heavier
…than cold water. That’s right. If you put 1 litre of cold water into a saucepan and heat it up for 10 minutes (keeping the lid on the saucepan to retain the escaping steam), you will still have 1 litre of water except now it will be hot, and it will be heavier.
Nothing has been put into the saucepan so how does this happen? Einstein gave us the equation E=mc2 (Energy equals Mass x the Speed of Light in a vacuum). We’ve increased the energy levels of the water in the saucepan. The speed of light is constant so the only other thing that can change is the Mass.
Strange, but that’s a fact.
1. Graphene Strength
The material graphene is made of carbon atoms in a honeycomb (hexagonal) crystal lattice configuration that is just one atom thick. It’s graphite, like the lead in a pencil, except incredibly thin. As thin as anything can be. In fact graphene is described as a 2 dimensional material as it has height and width, but effectively no depth. It was discovered, or first produced, in 2004.
It has some amazing properties including being super light and tremendous strong. It is 100 times stronger than steel. If you had a one square metre sheet of graphene and pinned it up like a hammock it could support a 4 kilogram cat. Remember it’s one atom thick. This one square metre sheet of graphene would weigh about as much as one of the cat’s whiskers. One cubic inch of graphene could rest on top of a blade of grass.
Graphene is the strongest material in the world.
Many people believe that a woman can’t get pregnant while she’s menstruating. This is a myth, not a fact. Sperm can live for up to 72 hours in a woman’s reproductive tract so if the woman has sex towards the end of her period she may get pregnant.