Why do fizzy drinks have bubbles in them

Japan saw the launch of a new ‘fizzy’ drink called Unagi Nobori or ‘Surging Eel’. The yellow-colored fizzy drink contains extracts from the head and bones of eel plus five vitamins that are contained in the fish. It’s said to be the best way to stay cool in hot weather. Source: foxnews.com

Fizzy drinks or soda pops are popular throughout the world. Fizzy drinks and a box of crisps are the most talked about junk food attributed to obesity and health concerns all over the world.

What are fizzy drinks?  Fizzy drinks are carbonated drinks with carbon dioxide dissolved in the drink. When the top of the pop is opened, carbon dioxide trapped inside escapes forming foam on the top as bubbles. Effervescence is the scientific term to explain the escape of gas from a solution. In some instances, when gas escapes from a high pressurized carbonated drink, bubbles are formed in the surface of the solution at the time of depressurization. If effervescence is accompanied by formation of bubbles with sound, on the surface of the solution it is commonly known as Fizz, the process that gave carbonated drinks its name as fizzy drinks.

Carbon dioxide is used in the drink because it dissolves well and is available free – Yeast being the main source of carbon dioxide production. Most of the fizzy drinks combine yeast and sugar to create the fizz. Carbon dioxide does not react with the drink; it remains a neutral gas unlike other gases that react with the solution changing the nature of the drink. Carbon dioxide when dissolved at low pressure becomes carbonic acid with a tasty, lemony tingling taste with fizz that lasts longer.

Shaking of champagne before opening is a common procedure seen in celebrations. It is presumed that champagne inside builds pressure on shaking. Fact is no increase was observed in the pressure of the liquid during shake to attribute the fountain effect to the pressure built up on the liquid inside. Tiny bubbles are formed during shake and become larger in size rapidly due to reduction in temperature caused by opening the drink. Increase in size of the bubbles yields excessive foam and the natural tendency of the gas to escape on opening creates the fountain effect of champagne.

With the increasing usage of fizzy drinks and medical world attributing fizzy drinks as a cause to various diseases, scientists in St. Louis university have discovered a replacement to conventional battery called fuel cells that produce electricity using fizzy drinks and other potential sources of sugar.

Goose bumps – reflex or reaction

It is quite common to talk about hair raising personal experiences when watching an eerie movie or exposed to very cold climate conditions. This hair rising phenomenon is due to innate reflex or a psychological reaction commonly known as goose bumps.  Goose bumps are messages from the brain to the skin to react to the animal oriented phenomena of fight or flight. Porcupine raising its quills on seeing a threat is a good example to understand goose bump and its nature.

Since human body cannot differentiate between real and imaginary conditions, goose bumps can be a reflex to a physical condition or a reaction to a psychological condition. Goosebumps are directly related to the adrenaline rush that flows through the body. Adrenaline rush can be triggered by fear or emotional reactions. Emotional reactions can be positive or negative, powered by intense ‘stress’ to induce the emotional welling up to trigger goose bumps.

Skin of a goose or chicken has a bump at the place where feather is attached to the skin. In the event of a hair rising phenomenon, each spot on the human skin has a bump similar to the goose bump, and this connection must have given this phenomenon its name as goose bumps.

Animals are warm-blooded and maintain stable body temperature. Animals do not display variance in temperature in excess of 2 deg even during hectic working conditions. Normal muscle and blood activities help the animals to maintain the stable temperature under different climate conditions. During extreme cold conditions, hair is used as a mechanism for heat retention. Air acts as an excellent insulator. Tiny muscles, called arrector pili muscles, exist under the skin that pulls the hair base on exposure to cold or scary conditions. Pulling of the hair base fluffs the hair or fur trapping the extra air between the skin and the environment. Air thus trapped acts as an insulator to protect the animal from cold conditions. Fluffy hair contributes to the size of the animal making it seem bigger to the threatening enemy. Due to skimpy fur, human do not exhibit a change except the hair rising phenomenon.

Scientifically, Goose bumps are called Piloerections. Piloerections are emotion based autonomic reflex reactions routed through the limbic system. Piloerections are similar to blushing or feeling butterflies in the stomach. Limbic system controls primitive drives of hunger, sex, fear, anger and aggression. Limbic system anatomically has thalamus, a major structure in control of the sensory inputs. Medial forebrain bundle and the hypothalamus play a major role in the invocation and mediation of the autonomic reflexes.

Goose bumps have been observed on head or scalp on scary occasions but goose bumps on a face requires well formed arrector pili muscles. Every arrector pili muscle does not have hair attached to them. Arrector pili with hair are found in areas with thick hair. Human facial hairs are extremely tiny and thin. So Goose bump in face is a rare occurrence.

Is a funny bone funny

Ever got hurt in the funny bone? Can the sensation be termed funny? Of course Not! When the funny bone is hit, restraining from cursing is seen as the biggest challenge. Detailed list of the bones in the body finds no mention of funny bone in the list.

The term funny used in the funny bone is used to describe the tingling sensation felt when hit on the inside of the elbow at the centre with a hammer. Odd feeling or a feeling of discomfort is a better term than funny.
Basic understanding about a funny bone reveals that a Funny bone is not a bone but the area of the exposed ulnar nerve in the elbow.

Ulnar nerve is the largest unprotected nerve of the body that runs along the inner part of the hand towards the brain. Ulnar nerve lets the brain know about the feelings in the fourth and fifth fingers. Ulnar nerve is one of the main nerves in the hand that controls certain movements of the hand. This nerve connects the little finger to the brain. This nerve cannot be classified as a sensory nerve.

Humerus is a part of the arm covers the elbow and the shoulder. Ulna is the bone that runs from elbow to the little finger. Funny bone is a highly sensitive area at the back of the elbow, where the ulnar nerve passes close to the surface of the skin in groove between the humerus and the ulna.

Nerves are protected by bones, muscles and ligaments to protect from small hits. Ulnar nerve on the other hand, is covered by skin and a few fat cells. Protection of ulnar nerve is not strong to buffer it against small hits resulting in pain. A hit on the elbow is medically a hit on the ulnar nerve against the humerus that sends a tingling sensation as a shock to the last two fingers of the hand. Tingling sensation is a painful electrical impulse experienced as a result of the hit. Painful electrical impulse can be moderate to severe depending on the sensitivity of the person. Severe pain prolongs for days resulting in surgery in rare cases.

It is obvious that the term funny bone is a misnomer. It is possible that the involvement of humerus bone got misinterpreted as humorous and subsequently became funny bone. Funny bone has found its place in the language too.  Jokes are often related to the usage ‘tickled the funny bone’. Nevertheless when funny bone is hit it never ‘tickles the funny bone’.

Do Coral Reefs have life in them

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. It is made of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for 2,600 kilometers over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometers.  The Coral Reef system is located in Northeast coast of Australia. The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. Source: Wikipedia.org

Coral reefs are actually limestone formation of exoskeletons secreted by tiny invertebrates called stony corals. The reefs are often mistaken to be rocks and plants. Mostly found in the shallow tropical waters, coral reefs are the most endangered ecosystem in the world.

Coral reefs exist in oceanic areas with less or no nutrients. Nutrition rich water causes algae formation that threatens the coral reef existence. Coral reefs support extraordinary biodiversity by being the home for thousands of animal and plants species. Coral reefs are structures that facilitate lot of aquatic organisms to procreate and flourish. They provide the necessary food and supplements for stony corals and other aquatic animals to survive by supporting their needs of nutrition in no or less nutrition waters. Coral reefs get their supply of dead plant and animals from sea grass and mangroves common in the tropical areas. Dead plant and animals supply nitrogen, wood and vegetation for the animals and fish in the coral reef. Coral Reefs do their bit in ecological conservation by protecting the sea grass and mangroves from powerful waves and provide sand to root them.

Coral reef population in the oceans is threatened by natural and man made activities. Temperature rise, Oceanic acidity, Dust outbreaks have contributed their bit into making the ecosystem vulnerable. Rise in the sea temperature as in El-Niño caused coral reefs death. Consistent rise in sea temperature causes bleaching of the corals and rare occasions saw the revival of the color and life in them. Optimal level of Ph supports saturated carbonate ions that maintain the coral reefs to maintain their structure and stability. Decrease in the Ph levels in the ocean reduces the level of carbonate ions increasing the possibility of the coral reefs to dissolve.

Coral reefs are threatened by man made threats through pollution by chemicals of effluents, sedimentation of inorganic salts etc. Dynamite fishing, Coral extraction and coast development have also started affecting the coral reef population. Most of the coral reefs are under threat from human related activities.

Study reveals that most of the reefs building corals are listed under threatened category as endangered, vulnerable and critically endangered and near threatened categories leading to coral reefs becoming the most endangered ecosystem in the world today.

Mystery of Bermuda Triangle

Big Jumbo dived and crashed into the sea. Clouds come from nowhere to make compasses spin and engine RPM to drop. Luminous phenomena and objects flash the sky. Electronic equipments like navigation equipment, radios, and cell phones cease to operate. There are areas of Dead spots, loss of horizon, bending of space. These are the narrations of encounters with the Bermuda triangle in the eyes of accomplished ship masters, pilots, survivors and eyewitnesses. Source: bermuda-triangle.org

Bermuda Triangle is known as devils triangle for the mysteries surrounding it. It is one of the greatest known modern mysteries of the world yet to be unraveled. It is an area with no distinct geographical boundary, shape or representation in a map. Many scientists have highlighted that the exact shape may not be triangle at all. Various boundary markings exist but the imaginary representation in the book mark the area with Bermuda in North East edge of the Triangle, Miami is South West, and San Juan is South East as Bermuda Triangle. Numerous ships and aircrafts have disappeared in this region without a trace. Innumerable agencies support the disappearance to the mystery of Bermuda triangle and many others refute it as a common ocean phenomena happening in the oceans elsewhere in the world.

Aircrafts in the Bermuda Triangle have lost direction and faced unexplained turbulences and jolts in the area causing injuries to the passengers. This has forced the aircrafts to divert their direction and land in Bermuda, Miami, and Florida. The causes of the disturbances are still unknown. In science, unknown is not super natural. Many unknown phenomena in the past had been the foundation to greatest inventions of the century. When the aircrafts crashed when they flew around a mountain in almost perfect weather, scientists discovered the wind shear surrounding the mountains as the reason for the crash. In science, unavailable sources of cross reference to prove the cause cannot be interpreted as super natural phenomenon.

Investigation of the Bermuda triangle points out to few things unnatural to the way things happen. Aircrafts disappear without a MAYDAY signal. Generally planes caught in the storms show a radar activity of a sweep with two returns and third nothing signifying the mid air breakup of the aircraft. In the instance here, the first sweep locates the aircraft and the next sweep sees no signs of the aircraft. Evidences and analysis of the evidences can only prove the real activity behind the Bermuda triangle mystery.

Think of yawns and you start yawning Amazing facts on yawn

The topic is sure to induce yawn in anyone who reads it with a cascading effect of yawning on people around. Science proves that anyone reading about yawn is bound to yawn. Yawning is found to be contagious and triggers 55% of people to yawn on the sight of somebody yawning. Researchers kept the yawner’s eyes open and the mouth covered and the invisible yawn caught other spectators yawning. So eyes too communicate yawn besides mouth. This is interesting to delve deep about yawn and the scientific truth behind yawning.

Yawn has been a subject of superstitions since the historical Mayan age. The Greeks and the Mayans believed that the mouth should be closed while yawning to prevent the soul from escaping through the mouth. Evidence suggests that the mechanism used by group of animals to communicate a change in the environment or body condition to each other in the group is termed as yawning. Contagious nature of yawn is attributed to be an ancient mechanism that lost its significance in the process of evolution. The exact reason for yawn is undetermined till now with various theories inconclusive to prove any condition as a possible cause.

For many years the lack of oxygen levels in the lungs were projected as reasons for yawning. Scientists have now proved that oxygen levels are not necessarily judged by lungs. Fetus in the uterus also yawns when the lungs are yet to be ventilated. These facts disassociate lungs as an organ that triggers yawning. Studies prove that yawning can be caused by fatigue, at the time of awakening and when alertness state changes in the being.

Yawn is a deep inhalation of air through the mouth that stretches the muscles of body and the jaw. All the animals yawn including humans, as an interaction of the brain and the body.  Yawn is controlled by different regions of the brain and para ventricular nucleus in the hypothalamus of the brain is the “yawning center” of the brain. The yawning center contains chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin etc that raises its level in the night to awakening to induce yawn. Muscles involved in a yawn are not stretched when the yawn is stifled or controlled. The feedback to the brain on a stifled or controlled yawn retransmits an urge to yawn again proving that the yawn is a process that must involve deep inhalation of air with the stretch of muscles concerned.

Researchers found Autistic children reacted less to yawning compared to other children on seeing visuals of people yawning. Both the children yawned the same way when the video clip without the audio was shown identifying empathy can also be the key factor for yawning.

Do We Live in Our Ears?

Scientific research never ceases to amuse you, and neither does history. The wonders of these fields of knowledge came to the spotlight, most incredibly, in health sciences. Dr. Robin Kelly, an alternative health expert, recently published his groundbreaking book The Human Antenna in which he tells about treating acute neck and back pain of his patients by placing tiny needles in specific tender points on their ears. This remarkable fact becomes truly fascinating when we are told that ancient Chinese healers also used to treat diseases by this method – known popularly as acupuncture. One is naturally curious to know how inserting needles in the ear can treat the pain felt in the rest of the body. The explanation is even more mind-blowing.

Let us take the case of a hologram, i.e. a three-dimensional image of an object created by means of laser technology. Suppose you want to create such an image of an apple. In simple words then, a laser beam is first split into two, with one half rebounding off the apple and the other half deflected by a mirror. The two beams then meet up again and interfere – blended like ripples on a pond. This is then recorded onto a special, flat photographic plate. When another laser beam is incident on this plate, a 3-dimensional image of the apple appears on the other side. A weightless apple floating before your eyes!

Even more startling was the phenomenon discovered by a Hungarian inventor Dennis Gabor (the discovery won him a Nobel Prize in 1971) who found that if a tiny corner was cut from the plate and subject to another laser beam, the image of the whole apple appeared again as a hologram. And if another small corner was cut from this sample, the same thing happened, and so on. It appears that a part of the apple’s image consisted of the whole. In the words of the famous Romantic poet William Blake, it is seeing ‘the world in a grain of sand’. The phenomenon of holographic creation with laser illustrates the case of the efficacy of ear acupuncture.

The whole of our body’s information is somehow contained in our ears so that when specific points in an ear are treated, the problematic information is removed and corrected information is sent throughout the body – we start feeling good. The actual explanation for the effectiveness of this treatment, as recorded in The Human Antenna, is that a complete channel of cosmic energy runs through our entire body. A blockage at a single point creates stress, pain, and other symptoms of a health problem. Acupuncture needles (made of good conducting metal) release the blocked energy and restore the balanced flow of energy along specific pathways in the body, thus solving the problem. So now, we have a plausible explanation for ‘living’ in our ears. Or isn’t it so?

It is now widely known that our DNA contains the database of our prospective development. We are, therefore, in a fundamental way, reducible to a tiny molecule, without losing our individuality and uniqueness. Dr. Kelly’s research tells us how we can, and do, get connected to one another and to the whole of the universe without even knowing it. At the frontiers of science and knowledge, this is the beginning of a new scientific spirituality.

Lets understand DNA

Whoever said DNA is exclusive pattern of identity should look deep into this piece of news – Lydia Fairchild of State of Washington became one of the 50 people in the world to be born with two different sets of DNA. Source: Ripley’s Believe it or not!

Two things are clear from this piece of news; the possibility of more than one DNA in a person and there are already 50 people known possessing dual sets of DNA. Scientific community has called the people with different sets of DNA as ‘chimeras’.

For most of us, the term DNA instantly recollects the tests conducted for identity, or paternity for forensic study or legal cases. A search on DNA brings forth a lot of jargon comprehensible only by the scientific fraternity. DNA is the core factor that drives the thesis and experiments in most of the life saving research projects.

The fact is DNA and its role goes beyond human beings existence. DNA, Deoxyribonucleic acid, in the cell decides what we are.  DNA is often referred to as a ‘Cell’. Imagine a double helix, twisted spiral arranged as a ladder, is the shape of the DNA. Each Rung of the ladder contains a combination of a pair of different DNA bases – G for Guanine, C for cytosine, A for Adenine and T for Thymine. The pairs always combine as G with T and A with C. Huge quantity of DNA approximately around 3 billion DNA base pairs exists in each cell. Trillions of cells make up human body and the same set of  DNA base pairs exist in each cell. The amazing fact is that the four letters G, C, A and T that form the DNA forms the complex wonderful human being.

DNA Profiling is used to establish genetic relationships but the confirmation of no genetic relationship is not certain. Several instances of DNA profiling on mother and child being unrelated has been proved false. Existence of chimeras has also raised questions on the unique nature of DNA.  There are instances of fake DNA evidence misleading investigations. A case in which a criminal injected a Penrose drain in his arm with foreign blood and anti coagulants to evade identification through DNA profiling has come to light.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fingerprinting

Today the discovery of DNA has led to one of the significant advancement in medical history – Stem cell research. Stem cell research can lead to discovery of treatments and cures to the worst diseases that include Cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and even diabetes that has been eluding medical fraternity. This research also has triggered serious concerns over fears of human cloning and destruction of human embryos to support the research. Many stem cell banks with the state of the art facility to store embryonic stem cells have come into existence to utilize the benefits of stem cell research.

Monkeying Around With Soldiers’ DNA

We have all heard the Josef Stalin. He was one of the first and possibly worst leaders of the now defunct Soviet Union. This man was a tyrant who orchestrated the deaths of millions of his subjects through an engineered famine. However, the Red Army, having been decimated by wars and civil conflicts needed to be replenished. Stalin had a plan to accomplish this goal and create a new worker class to perform the most menial of jobs without complaint.

In 1926, according to secret Soviet documents recently unearthed, Josef Stalin ordered scientists to create a subhuman race of “super soldiers” by combining humans and apes. The result he envisioned would have closely resembled the gorilla warriors from “The Planet of the Apes”. His exact orders were to produce soldiers who were immune to pain, had superhuman stamina, and were not overly picky about what they ate.

The politburo in Moscow funded the experiments and passed the orders to the Academy of Science. Ilya Inanov, a renowned scientist who had pioneered advances in artificial insemination, was endowed with $200,000 and sent to western Africa to begin the experiments. His job was to inseminate chimpanzees with human sperm.

At the same time, a base for the experiments and a special shelter for raising and instructing the offspring were constructed in Georgia, the birthplace of Stalin. This center was also used to experiment on human females using chimp sperm. It comes as no surprise to anyone that the experimentation with crossbreeding failed miserably.

Ivanov was sentenced to five years in prison for failing to produce the required results with his program. This sentence was later commuted to five years in Kazakhstan. Ivanov died a year later in disgrace.

Now, are you ready for the kicker? Modern geneticists have determined that humans and chimpanzees are more closely related than horses and zebras, two species that are capable of interbreeding. It is believed that the reason Ivanov’s experiment failed was that most of the fertilized eggs were rejected by the mother’s body as too deformed to survive. It is conceivable that had he tried harder and more times, Ivanov could have succeeded. One experiment, done in the 1980’s, created a viable embryo using human sperm and a chimp egg. The experiment was terminated due to “ethical concerns”.

Josef Stalin was the dictator of the Soviet Union for many years. Though he was later denounced, his reign was marked by many changes wrought throughout the country. He is known to have created a famine that wiped out over four million people. Amongst his other atrocities, Stalin tried to create a race of superhuman (or subhuman) soldiers to fight his wars. Had he succeeded, he would also have had a new slave class of laborers. The scientist chosen to carry out these experiments was known to have been successful with artificial insemination in thoroughbred race horses. His attempts to crossbreed humans and apes failed, but only because he did not try hard enough or long enough.