The U.S.’ Attempt to Combat Fraudulent Currency in 2013

The U.S. $100.00 note was updated in 2013 to employ better and more advanced security measures. The $100.00 bill released in 2013 was a marvel of engineering which included the portrait watermark from the 1996 rendition, as well as the security strip which glows under ultraviolet light. In addition to these security features, color shifting ink was employed upon the bell which appears in the bottom right hand corner next to the text which states “100”, microprinting was implemented on Benjamin Franklin’s jacket cuff to inscribe “The United States of America”, “USA100” around the blank space containing Franklin’s portrait, “ONEHUNDREDUSA” along the golden quill, small 100’s in the notes borders, and a three dimensional ribbon which causes the bill to change its bell icons into text which states “100” when tilting the bill either up or down while continuing to focus upon the blue ribbon shown

The First Person to Weigh the Atmosphere

Italian Jesuit Evangelista Torricelli was able to definitively prove that the atmosphere has a specific weight by designing an experiment in which a tube is filled with mercury and then placed into a dish of mercury. Torricelli disovered that when performing this experiment, half of the mercury runs down into the dish and the other half stays within the tubing. Until this point, it was believed impossible to create a negative or empty space as the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once stated, “nature abhors a vacuum” believing that nature would forever fight against the creation of true and pure nothingness. This is the same reason that an object (e.g. plastic straw or an oil drum barrel etc.) crumbles when all of the air within is extracted. Torricelli was able to overcome this phenomena by using the exteme weight of mercury within a ridged glass tube. The level of mercury left within the tube was a measurement of the weight of the atmosphere, a balancing act between the weight of the mercury and the weight of air pressing down upon this mercury, balancing each other out like scales. Torricelli famously stated, “noi viviamo sommersi nel fondo d’un pelago d’aria” which means “we live submerged at the bottom of an ocean of air” in Italian, and his findings made scientists realize that air was a substance for the first time. Torricelli became the first person to invent the barometer because of his understanding of atmospheric pressure. Despite Aristotle being believed to be correct for millennia, Torricelli definitively proved that air does have weight

The Symbolism of the Islamic Garden

Islamic gardens act as symbolic representation of the archetypal eternal heavenly garden, an attempt to provide a small peak into what could potentially wait for a person in the afterlife. Repetition of geometric shapes in Islamic gardens help to emphasize the link between the physical world and thereafter. Circular fountains represent Jannah, the Islamic representation of heaven, as the circle is symbolic of heaven. The square is always utilized as a symbol of the Earth, with circular fountains often found within square indentations to act as a metaphor for heaven and Earth meeting. The term “Jannat-al-Firdaws” which means “Garden of Paradise” in Arabic, is mentioned many times throughout the Quran, with Chapter 55 of Surat al-Rahman (pronounced “suu-rat al rack-man”), which means the “all merciful” in Arabic, holding the best and most descriptive accounts of what this garden truly would look like if experienced. Water plays a crucial role in these accounts, with multiple layers of symbolism for life present which is why water is the most important element within an Islamic garden as it is symbolic of the soul. Rain was and continues to be viewed as a merciful gift from heaven within Islamic culture as Islam stems from one of the hottest regions in the world. Water is essential to Islam and an Islamic paradise garden cannot exist without the incorporation of water to some degree. Islamic gardens are separated into 4 specific quadrants because of the “chahar bagh” (pronounced “cha-harr bahh”) which means “4 gardens” in the Persian language of Farsi, directly related to the 4 rivers of paradise, including a river of milk, honey, wine, and water, an order and harmony which underlies everything within an Islamic garden

The Etymology of American Industrialist Henry Ford’s Model T Automobile and the First Mass Produced Vehicle

Henry Ford named the iconic Model T automobile as he did because of the way he built his company. Ford started with the Model A and continued to improve the design, moving through each letter of the alphabet the way modern software changes numerically with each upgrade (eg. Model A, Model B, Model C alongside software 1.0, software 2.0, software 3.0 etc.). It was Ford’s 20th design that met his stringent personal requirements allowing the Model T to become the first mass produced vehicle in 1908

The Reason the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) Was Created in North America

It was the Fatality feature of the Mortal Kombat videogame series that prompted the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, a non-profit organization tasked with reviewing and rating all videogames (e.g. console, online, mobile etc.) made available to North American consumers. The concept of the Entertainment Software Rating Board was created within the U.S. Congress in 1994 and the original intent of the agency was and continues to be, to provide caretakers of minors with pertinent in game information so that they are able to make informed decisions as to the type of content these minors consume

The Reason the World Clock Starts in Greenwich, England

The reason the world clock starts in Greenwich, England is because during the 19th century, the majority of sea charts used Greenwich, England as the Prime Meridian for the 0° coordinate. In addition to this, during the early advent of the British railway network, trains could end up in accidents if the timing of coming into and/or out of stations was off by even a small margin of error. Because the sun rises earlier in some parts of Britain and later in the rest, these variables needed to be compensated for which was accomplished by introducing more accurate clocks and the concept of time zones. Up until this point, horsepower was the fastest way to travel and because of that, sundials which had been invented in and used since the 9th century A.D., were satisfactory. It was only with the emergence of locomotives that this system of time keeping became antiquated

The Argument Against Stem Cell Research and Why This Will No Longer be a Problem in the Future

The reason stem cell research is controversial for some is because it is viewed as damaging and harvesting from one life to help another. This argument may be obsolete in the future as scientists are now discovering ways to create stem cells from cells within the body (e.g. skin cells etc.). The traditional method to create a stem cell was to take a skin cell, remove the deoxyribonucleic acid from its nucleus, placing it into an egg which does not have deoxyribonucleic acid but is capable of changing deoxyribonucleic acid, turning it into a stem cell which has the patients genome ascribed unto it. The new method involves placing 4 genes into the nucleus of the skin cell and allowing time to pass, as the genes reorganize the deoxyribonucleic acid so that it begins to appear as stem cell deoxyribonucleic acid, which changes the skin cell and causes it to shrink, losing its outside, converting it into an embryonic stem cell with the only difference between this method and traditional embryonic stem cell creation method being that this technique contains the deoxyribonucleic acid of the patient it is being inserted into. The 4 genes inserted into the cell create 4 proteins which exist naturally within an egg. These proteins trigger the skin cell deoxyribonucleic acid to arrange itself identically to how it would within an embryonic stem cell. Scientists refer to this type of cell as “induced pluripotent stem cells”, commonly abbreviated as “IPS cells”. Ideally, scientists want induced pluripotent stem cells to function identically to natural embryonic stem cells, avoiding the creation of unwanted cells which can lead to cancer. Researchers have discovered that some laboratory created stem cells fail to carry out the task provided and worse yet, some cause cancer to develop. Scientists are currently pursuing 2 paths to alleviate this problem, the first being the attempt to develop induced pluripotent stem cells which function identically to natural embryonic stem cells and the second being to create a system to recognize which induced pluripotent stem cells will fail in an effort to exclude these cells from being inserted into the human body

The Renewable Resource of Urine Powered Electronics

Urine is rich in minerals and it is believed that this resource will be able to be harnessed and extracted efficiently and cost effectively at some point in the future to produce electrical energy. At the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in the U.K., urine is being studied as a potential energy resource for residential use within the near future (e.g. used to charge a smartphone etc.). Charging a smartphone with urine requires battery like fuel cells with Professor Ioannis Leropoulos (pronounced “yan-iss lee-raw-po-lis”) having developed a system capable of meeting this requirement. The application itself is referred to as “microbial fuel cell” technology, a system which leverages live bacteria to generate electrical current. Urine contains carbon, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, magnesium, and creatinine, all elements which microbes require to continue living and growing which is why this technology functions as it does. The microbial fuel cell’s central tube is porous ceramic, allowing urine to permeate the tube and microbes to colonize it. As the elements of urine are consumed, electrons generated by the microbes are picked up by the cells of opposing wire coils, creating a battery. Not just any microbe will suffice however, as specific microbes are required for this process to be effective. To source the correct microbes, scientists leverage a plethora of microbes available within the natural environment (e.g. lake, pond, river sediment etc.). Each fuel cell produces 1.5 volts of electrical current, and when linked together in series, output can be increased to a level which is useful for daily activities. The system is able to be scaled so that it can be built into future homes, allowing for individuals and families to recycle urine as a means of generating electrical energy. Leropoulos’ work has been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as by the European Commission among others and is close to becoming commercially available as of 2020. For this system to benefit users, separate urinals would be installed but with redirected plumbing to funnel urine away from becoming mixed with common sewage and into a collection container, providing an on demand resource which can be utilized when needed

The Myth of Python Snakes Strangling Prey

It is a myth that pythons suffocate their prey into submission and eventual death as they are technically causing obstructive shock of the circulatory system. This is performed by creating force pressure capable of exceeding the ability of the heart to compress, with this pressure focused tightly within the center of the heart, causing death as a direct result. As soon as pressure is elevated above what the heart utilizes to pump and eject blood throughout the circulatory system, the cardiac system becomes unable to eject blood causing prey to pass out within 10 – 20 seconds, similar in structure to how a headlock cuts off oxygen from the brain and causes a human opponent to pass out. As a python coils, it begins contracting its muscles to generate this tremendous crush pressure, referred to as “circumferential pressure”. To provide frame of reference, circumferential pressure is the type of pressure applied when a saturated cloth is rung out to expel all liquid. The blood pressure of prey typically doubles in stature after being constricted (e.g. moving from 120/80 to 250/160 to 300/200 over the course of 12.5 minutes), enough to cause syncope, a cerebral vascular accident, and death in most mammals. Sphygmomanometers typically exert 140 – 160 millimeters of mercury during a routine blood pressure examination, enough to cause blood perfusion to be cut off during measurement and pain to develop if the duration of the examination is extended for any reason. Python snakes are capable of applying 2x – 3x this rate of pressure, directly upon the neck or thorax of their prey. It is currently unknown if this ability can be increased when required (e.g. emergency situation of an animal escaping etc.)

The First Personal Computer and its Ramifications Upon Technology

 

The Altair 8800 from Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems is considered to be the first personal computer, although ironically, the system itself did nothing as software had yet to be invented. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak used the Altair 8800 as the basis for the Apple I, the first ever Apple product. Additionally, Bill Gates and his team wrote Basic for the Altair 8800 and created Microsoft from that programming language