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Old 30th December 2018, 03:48 PM   #1
kellyb
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Name one or more favorite scientific facts!

I'll start.

The stars you see in the sky at night are snapshots of the distant past, and the stars themselves could be long dead.
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Old 30th December 2018, 04:06 PM   #2
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Old 30th December 2018, 04:21 PM   #3
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There is more carbon missing from agricultural soils worldwide than the extra carbon in the atmosphere causing AGW.
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Old 30th December 2018, 04:30 PM   #4
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Old 30th December 2018, 06:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
The stars you see in the sky at night are snapshots of the distant past, and the stars themselves could be long dead.
Er, um, not really. Most visible stars are within 200 light years. The furthest is about 16K light years. And it's not terribly likely any of the stars we can see is actually dead now. Betelgeuse is one of the few visible stars expected to explode "soon" but soon in this context is thought to be something like a million years. At 640 light years away that gives about 1 in 2,000 chance that it has already gone supernova.

ETA: https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/ancient_stars.png

ETA: The one major galaxy we can see is a couple million years old.
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Old 30th December 2018, 07:32 PM   #6
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Angle of incidence equals angle of reflection.

Useful in photography, billiards, racquetball, jai-alai, marbles, light waves, sound waves, radio waves, too much to count.
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Old 30th December 2018, 07:53 PM   #7
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Old 30th December 2018, 08:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
Angle of incidence equals angle of reflection.

Useful in photography, billiards, racquetball, jai-alai, marbles, light waves, sound waves, radio waves, too much to count.
To continue in RecoveringYuppy's vein, things people consider to be scientic facts sometimes aren't.

This e.g. is definitely not true in the case of ball games like the four you mentioned, except as a rough first order approximation. It neglects the rotational momentum of the balls.
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Old 30th December 2018, 08:08 PM   #9
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The non-existence of the intra-mercurial planet "Vulcan", a planet, first proposed over 100 years ago, in order to try to explain the errors in Mercury's precession measurements...

Turns out that Mercury's precession errors are caused by the massive gravity well of the Sun due to General relativistic effects. This is beautifully explained for the layman in this short missive by Isaac Asimov - an oldie but a goodie

http://geobeck.tripod.com/frontier/planet.htm
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Old 30th December 2018, 08:12 PM   #10
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If you were to disassemble a man into his constituent atoms and then weigh those atoms, they would be about the same weight as the man. But if you disassembled the atoms into protons, neutrons and electrons and weighed each of those, they would only weigh about 5% of the guy.
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Old 30th December 2018, 08:16 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
If you were to disassemble a man into his constituent atoms and then weigh those atoms, they would be about the same weight as the man. But if you disassembled the atoms into protons, neutrons and electrons and weighed each of those, they would only weigh about 5% of the guy.
How does that work?
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Old 30th December 2018, 08:30 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
How does that work?
Takes energy to disassemble atoms. E=MC2 I believe is the proper equation, although I too would like to see the math he is using.
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Old 30th December 2018, 08:40 PM   #13
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- About 1% of the static you saw when not tuned to channel on an old analog television set was background radiation from the Big Bang.
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Old 30th December 2018, 08:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
- About 1% of the static you saw when not tuned to channel on an old analog television set was background radiation from the Big Bang.
Men, it was an overrated sitcom anyway.
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Old 30th December 2018, 09:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
How does that work?

Beats the hell out of me. The energy holding the particles together is somehow also mass.

I got it from a book about questions science has yet to answer.
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Old 30th December 2018, 10:19 PM   #16
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Banana trees "walk"
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

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Old 30th December 2018, 10:24 PM   #17
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From the genetic standpoint we are more like yeast than unlike it.
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Old 30th December 2018, 10:45 PM   #18
kellyb
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Beats the hell out of me. The energy holding the particles together is somehow also mass.

I got it from a book about questions science has yet to answer.
Oh, cool!

eta:
Do you remember the name of the book?
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Old 30th December 2018, 10:55 PM   #19
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Per size and ratio, gonorrhea is the strongest (known) creature on earth.
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 30th December 2018, 10:57 PM   #20
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You have been alive for more than 4.5 billion years, sort of.


Literally every living cell in your body has been functioning continuously for all that time.
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Old 30th December 2018, 11:04 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
You have been alive for more than 4.5 billion years, sort of.


Literally every living cell in your body has been functioning continuously for all that time.
Along the same lines I remember a QI episode that said your entire bodies cells are renewed every 7 years (might be out with the number slightly)

So in effect everyone over 7 is 7 years old
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 30th December 2018, 11:08 PM   #22
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Found it

7-10

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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 30th December 2018, 11:17 PM   #23
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There were many facts in 'Living With The Stars' by Karel and Iris Schrijver - far too many to remember - but there was one about thousands of C4 atoms in each of our cels every second breaking down into something else, nitrogen iirc. Sorry to be a bit vague!
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Old 30th December 2018, 11:50 PM   #24
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The biomass of all humans is roughly equal to the biomass of all ants.
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Old 31st December 2018, 12:17 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
The biomass of all humans is roughly equal to the biomass of all ants.
That is cool tbf

Presumably with ants being so strong, that if every human sat together on every ant together the ants could all carry us to the pub.

Would need to be a big pub though.......Actually we could get all the ants to build the worlds biggest anthill and the humans could fashion it into massive pub.

Coasters and glasses might be an issue, but we could get the ants to collect nuts and other finger food
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 31st December 2018, 01:03 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
You have been alive for more than 4.5 billion years, sort of.


Literally every living cell in your body has been functioning continuously for all that time.
I don't think this is true. Cells die all the time and are replaced by new ones.

You might be thinking of the fact that every atom in our bodies was formed billions of years ago inside stars (one of my favourite facts).
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Old 31st December 2018, 01:17 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
The non-existence of the intra-mercurial planet "Vulcan", a planet, first proposed over 100 years ago, in order to try to explain the errors in Mercury's precession measurements...

Turns out that Mercury's precession errors are caused by the massive gravity well of the Sun due to General relativistic effects. This is beautifully explained for the layman in this short missive by Isaac Asimov - an oldie but a goodie

http://geobeck.tripod.com/frontier/planet.htm

Just quoting the (most) important bit for anyone that doesn't want to read the entire (fantastic) article.

Quote:
By Einstein's relativistic view of the Universe, mass and energy are equivalent, with a small quantity of mass equal to a large quantity of energy in accordance with the equation e=mc2.

The Sun's enormous gravitational field represents a large quantity of energy and this is equivalent to a certain, much smaller, quantity of mass. Since all mass gives rise to a gravitational held, the Sun's gravitational held, when viewed as mass, must give rise to a much smaller gravitational field of its own.
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Old 31st December 2018, 01:17 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
I don't think this is true. Cells die all the time and are replaced by new ones.

You might be thinking of the fact that every atom in our bodies was formed billions of years ago inside stars (one of my favourite facts).
Yep, one of my favourites too;

"a small proportion of the the atoms in your gold wedding ring/engagement ring/necklace/whatever were formed the the fires of supernovae, but the majority those atoms come from an even more spectacular event, the collision of two neutron stars."
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Old 31st December 2018, 01:24 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
You have been alive for more than 4.5 billion years, sort of.


Literally every living cell in your body has been functioning continuously for all that time.


What am I missing here? Did you mean "every atom" and not "every living cell"?



ETA: ninja'd
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Old 31st December 2018, 02:34 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
I don't think this is true. Cells die all the time and are replaced by new ones.

You might be thinking of the fact that every atom in our bodies was formed billions of years ago inside stars (one of my favourite facts).
Nope, cells simply divide: there is no 'replacement'. 'New ones' are just halves of old ones. The old ones were, themselves, just parts of older ones, all the way back...
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Old 31st December 2018, 03:09 AM   #31
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Old 31st December 2018, 03:10 AM   #32
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Not so much a specific fact but the way some things in the math keep turning up like pi, e and sequences like the Fibonacci series or sines and cosines or how often parabolas turn up. It's impressive to me how universal some of these things are.
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Old 31st December 2018, 03:48 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by GodMark2 View Post
Nope, cells simply divide: there is no 'replacement'. 'New ones' are just halves of old ones. The old ones were, themselves, just parts of older ones, all the way back...
I can't tell if you are joking...
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Old 31st December 2018, 04:01 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
To continue in RecoveringYuppy's vein, things people consider to be scientic facts sometimes aren't.

This e.g. is definitely not true in the case of ball games like the four you mentioned, except as a rough first order approximation. It neglects the rotational momentum of the balls.
It's not true for photons (i.e. light), either. A photon impacting a mirror is absorbed and another emitted at a random angle. It's only when multiple photons are involved that the wave phases interfere and the probable trajectory of the beam matches the quoted rule.
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Old 31st December 2018, 05:25 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Banana trees "walk"
V.....e.....r.....y s.....l.....o.....w.....l.....y!
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Old 31st December 2018, 05:27 AM   #36
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Old 31st December 2018, 05:30 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
- About 1% of the static you saw when not tuned to channel on an old analog television set was background radiation from the Big Bang.
Would you have a link or something to support this? Just offhand I plain don't believe this.

Most of what you call static is thermal noise generated in the receiver. Very little is picked up by the antenna as you could see when you disconnected it.

Also I think there is only little background radiation from the Big Bang in the VHF and UHF range (up to about 1 GHz) that could be picked up by a TV receiver.

I would be quite interested if you could prove me wrong. That would be one more thing I didn't get.
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Old 31st December 2018, 05:34 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
To continue in RecoveringYuppy's vein, things people consider to be scientic facts sometimes aren't.

This e.g. is definitely not true in the case of ball games like the four you mentioned, except as a rough first order approximation. It neglects the rotational momentum of the balls.
Originally Posted by baron View Post
It's not true for photons (i.e. light), either. A photon impacting a mirror is absorbed and another emitted at a random angle. It's only when multiple photons are involved that the wave phases interfere and the probable trajectory of the beam matches the quoted rule.
Oh, for fact's sake...
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Old 31st December 2018, 05:46 AM   #39
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Old 31st December 2018, 07:46 AM   #40
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Posts: 11,628
Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
I can't tell if you are joking...
I don't see why you would think it's a joke.

The issue isn't that cells don't die, it's that the ones that are living are products of cell division, not of a brand new cell being created.
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"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
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