Learning The Answers To These 12 Questions Will Definitely Make You Smarter And Cooler!

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We don’t have to be academicians, scientists, or nerds to stay informed about the world we live in. But sometimes out of lack of motivation, and sometimes because we don’t have enough time to sit down and read what we really wonder, we skip useful and meaningful knowledge. This time you’re lucky because we’ve compiled a list of 12 very interesting questions and their short answers (as short as possible). Plus, if you want to be really informed about the topic, you can visit the source links and read the whole article!

1. What’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder?

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Baking soda has only one ingredient: sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is a base that reacts when it comes into contact with acids, like buttermilk, yogurt, or vinegar. This reaction produces carbon dioxide (CO2) in the form of bubbles, like a liquid foam.

All baking powders contain sodium bicarbonate (just like baking soda). But baking powder also contains two acids. Neither of these acids reacts with sodium bicarbonate until they are both: A) wet (i.e., stirred into the batter) and B) hot.

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2. Why does Uranus look so smooth compared to other gas giants?

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Unlike the other three giant planets, Uranus seems to have no internal source of heat. Jupiter is warmer than it should be if it were only heated by the Sun. This is because of the heat released from the gravitational compression from its formation. Saturn is very similar, though also probably because of the separation of helium from hydrogen in its atmosphere providing a source of heat. Uranus, though, is only heated by the Sun. Without any excess internal heating, there’s not enough energy for the formations of storms and other interesting atmospheric patterns. This is why Uranus appears very homogeneous and smooth from the outside. 

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3. Why is gas/oil in water colorful?

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The reason that gas/oil appears colorful when it comes in contact with water has to do with the relative density of the materials, both optical density and mass density. gas/oil, as a liquid chemical, has a significantly lower mass per volume, or density, than the water it sits on top of. This causes a very thin film of gas/oil to spread out onto the surface of the water. This film is so thin, in fact, that the distance between its top and bottom is something approaching the wavelength of the visible light spectrum. The gas/oil is also partially reflective, and as the light enters the top layer of the first film, some is reflected, and the rest is transmitted (let through). Of that percentage, the light reaches the boundary of the water, which is, again, partially reflective. This causes there to be actually two separate rays of light reflected back upward to the eye, both of them with different phases, due to the points in time at which they reflected. These phases will either interfere with each other, either destructively, constructively or somewhere in between. Total destructive interference means you will see a dark spot, and constructive interference means that you will see a bright spot that is strongly reradiating a color whose wavelength corresponds to the thickness of the film of gas/oil. Thus, a film of gas/oil on a body of water will appear colorful because each particular area of the film is not a uniform thickness.

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4. Why is the outside of the human body symmetrical while the inside is not?

Although the human body looks symmetrical on the outside, most of our vital organs are arranged asymmetrically.

This asymmetry is linked to a theory that is focused on the node in the embryo. The node is lined with tiny hairs called cilia, which whirl round and round at a rate of 10 times a second, all in the same direction. This synchronized rotation pushes fluid from the right side of the embryo to the left.

On the node’s left-hand rim, other cilia notice this flow and begin to activate specific genes on the embryo's left side. These genes direct the cells to make certain proteins, causing the left and right sides of the embryo to be chemically different, although they still look the same.

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5. Why are there seven days in a week?

While the movement of Earth and Sun give us natural concepts like days and years the Moon's phases give us the month, there is no such natural reason for a seven-day week. It takes the Moon just over 29 days to cycle through all Moon phases.

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6. Why do animals take dust baths?

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Dust bathing is an animal behavior characterized by rolling or moving around in dust or sand, with the likely purpose of cleaning fur, feathers or skin, and removing parasites. Dust bathing is a maintenance behavior performed by a wide range of mammalian and avian species. For some animals, dust baths are necessary to clean the feathers, skin, or fur, similar to bathing in water or wallowing in mud. In some mammals, dust bathing may be a way of transmitting chemical signals (or pheromones) to the ground which marks an individual's territory.

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7. Why does a circle have 360 degrees?

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It was during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BC) in the Chaldean dynasty in Babylon that the circle was divided into 360 degrees. This was because the Chaldeans had calculated by observation and inference that a complete year numbered 360 days. The basis of angular measure for the mathematicians of Babylon was the angle at each of the corners of an equilateral triangle. They did not have decimal fractions and thus found it difficult to deal with remainders when doing division. So they agreed to divide the corner of an equilateral triangle into 60 degrees, because 60 could be divided by 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 without remainder. Each degree was divided into 60 minutes and each minute into 60 seconds. If the angles at the corners of six equilateral triangles are placed together they form the angle formed by a complete circle. It is for this reason that there are six times 60 degrees of arc in the complete circle.  

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8. Are there only 2 sexes?

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The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that. According to the simple scenario, the presence or absence of a Y chromosome is what counts: with it, you are male, and without it, you are female. But doctors have long known that some people straddle the boundary — their sex chromosomes say one thing, but their gonads (ovaries or testes) or sexual anatomy say another.

When genetics is taken into consideration, the boundary between the sexes becomes blurrier. Scientists have identified many of the genes involved in the main forms of DSD ( Disorders of sex development), and have uncovered variations in these genes that have subtle effects on a person's anatomical or physiological sex. What's more, new technologies in DNA sequencing and cell biology are revealing that almost everyone is, to varying degrees, a patchwork of genetically distinct cells, some with a sex that might not match that of the rest of their body. Some studies even suggest that the sex of each cell drives its behavior, through a complicated network of molecular interactions.

In short, a typical male has XY chromosomes, and a typical female has XX. But owing to genetic variation or chance events in development, some people do not fit neatly into either category. 

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9. Why do spiders curl up in a ball when they die?

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A spider's eight legs have flexor muscles to retract their legs and bring them inwards. But some of their legs lack muscles to extend and stretch back out again. Instead of these muscles, spiders use the blood pressure spike from their heartbeat to extend their legs out. And with no heartbeat when the spiders cease to exist, they curl up upon death. 

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10. Why are there no stars in pictures taken in space?

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The pictures of human-made objects in space all suffer from one fatal flaw: they lack what astronomers call "integration time". Even in space, stars are very faint. If you use a camera to take a picture of an object in space, then, you have to illuminate it using some kind of flash (just like on Earth). The flash is bright enough that the time over which the camera film is being exposed is, like on Earth, only a fraction of a second. This short time is more than sufficient to get a picture of the man-made object that your flash illuminates but way too short to capture the stars. The fundamental difference between pictures of the stars themselves taken by telescopes and the pictures of things in space with stars in the background is the exposure time or integration time: in fact, astronomers do everything they can to avoid "doctoring" images they obtain, since this might hide the very science that they are trying to get at.

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11. Why is it so hard to get rid of garlic breath?

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That’s because minced or crushed garlic (the manner in which we normally eat it) releases four volatile sulfur compounds to which our olfactory systems are particularly sensitive.

The biggest culprit is allyl methyl sulfide, which metabolizes more slowly than the others, keeping it at a higher concentration in the body for a longer period. After ingesting garlic, the potent compounds are absorbed into the bloodstream, then become vaporized while going through the lungs. The result: bad breath.

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12. Why can't dolphins and whales survive on land even though they can breathe air?

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First, dolphins require a steady supply of fish and other aquatic species in order to survive. In some cases, dolphins may dive up to 700 ft. or more in order to find specific food which their body is used to and can easily digest.

If dolphins lived on land they would not be able to find the types of food they need to survive and if they were able to find food there is no guarantee that their body will be able to process the food because there is a good chance that their digestive system would not be familiar with it and may not be able to digest it properly leaving the dolphin malnourished and/or starving.

Secondly, dolphins need to stay hydrated in order to survive. Anyone who has even seen a beached dolphin or beached whale knows how important it is for them to always be in water. Most beached dolphins can only survive for a short amount of time (a few hours) on land before becoming dehydrated, especially in warm or hot climates.

Third, dolphins do not have the limbs necessary to walk on land and thus would end up becoming immobile. Again beached dolphins often end up stuck on the sand and are unable to return to the ocean because they are incapable of walking on land or in the case of a beached dolphin back to the ocean.

Fourth, while this may not apply to all species some dolphins such as the killer whale are extremely heavy. After a few minutes of being on land, a large dolphin may end up having difficulty breathing due to its massive size.

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