The Future Technology of Carbon Nanotubes

carbon-nano-tubeThe atomic structure of carbon, more specifically naturally occurring diamond, is neatly stacked in a cuboid shape. Carbon nanotubes use carbon but instead stack their atoms in a hexagonal shape. The result is a material which weighs virtually nothing, yet is stronger than any material known upon Earth, including poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide, more commonly referred to as “Kevlar”, zylon, and titanium. Some scientists have argued that carbon nanotubes will most likely be the strongest substance in the known universe and that nothing will ever have the ability to surpass its strength. Carbon nanotubes have a strength of 200 gigapascals; to provide frame of reference, the strongest materials known to civilization have a strength of approximately 5 gigapascals. 1 gigapascal, which is commonly abbreviated as “GPa”, is equal to 1,000,000,000 (1 billion) pascals, and 1 pascal, which is commonly abbreviated as “Pa”, is the SI unit for pressure defined as “1 newton per 1 square meter”. If a space elevator ribbon made of carbon nanotubes stretching 100 kilometers were ever to break (e.g. the counterweight above breaking), it would gently float down to Earth because it would only weighs 7 kilograms per every 1 kilometre of length

Galileo Galilei’s Telescope Design Improvement upon the Dutch Spyglass Design

Galileo-Galilei-telescopeIt had been known since the first spectacles were produced in the middle of the 13th century, that glass was capable of bending light, a property which no other known material of the period could achieve. The Dutch spyglass worked upon this very principal, arranging lenses with careful attention to detail to create a compounding magnification effect. If light hits a plano-convex (pronounced “play-noh”) lens, which is flat upon one side and convex upon the other, the same formation used for those who suffer from hyperopia, rays of light streaming inward are bent toward eachother, eventually meeting and converging at a specific triangular point. Right before this focal point, Galilei improved the original Dutch design by placing his second lens, an ocular lens which is plano-concave, meaning flat upon one side and concave upon the other, the same formation used for those who suffer from myopia. This secondary lens pushes the bent rays of converging light back out again so that they can hit the eye and provide a clear image. The eye focuses this light upon the retina so that the observer can view the image produced by the spyglass. The magnification power of a telescope depends upon the ratio between the focal lengths of the lenses, with these distances marked as F1 for the distance between the front of the spyglass and the plano-concave lens, and F2 from the plano-concave lens toward the back of the spyglass. The largest difficulty impeding Galilei was the grinding down process of his convex lens, in an attempt to make it as shallow as possible to maximize the length of the F1 partition, as the longer the distance is, the greater the magnification will be. Within a few weeks of developing this new technology, Galilei’s first telescope had a clear magnification of 8x, far exceeding the power of the original Dutch spyglass. On August 21, 1609, Galilei climbed a Venice bell tower to meet up with Venetian nobles and senators so that he could display his new technology. This new bleeding edge feat of engineering permitted Venetians to spot sailing ships 2 hours earlier than if they had used the naked eye. 3 days after the event, Galilei gifted his telescope to the Duke of Venice and was afforded a guaranteed job for life in exchange, with this salary equating to double his original income. With his finances secured, Galilei went on to develop and produce even more powerful telescopes

European Neolithic Mining Practices

Neolithic-mineDuring the Neolithic period, flint was as prized as gold was to the Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists. 4500 years ago, flint miners dug shafts up to 12 meters deep in search of more flint. Ladders and wooden platforms made extracting the ore easier. This task was Herculean as the only picks available were reindeer antler. When a mine was exhausted, a new hole would be dug and the rubble from that hole would be used to back fill the previous mine. Most flint can be found above ground and most of the flint found at Neolithic sites is indeed surface flint so it is unclear why such a massive undertaking was performed as much more readily available sources were freely available. Flint is black in color with a shiny, glass like appearance similar to obsidian. Flint chips easily and is fairly simple to make incredibly sharp by simply cracking off a piece with a harder rock. It’s possible that mine shafts were dug as a ceremonial coming of age tradition in that a prepubescent adolescent would enter into the mine, dig into the depths of the Earth, and then emerge back out as an adult. This theory is backed up by the fact that the majority of miners left their picks in the mine, possibly signifying that they had reached adulthood. It is unclear if these picks were left because they were considered to be spiritually polluted or if they offered their pick as an offering to the Earth itself in exchange for what has been brought to the surface. There is a site in Britain at which over 400 of these mines were dug a few meters from eachother giving the landscape a cratered appearance

The First Use of Forensic Science to Resolve a Murder

sickle

Sun Tzu’s text the “Washing Away of Wrongs”, written in 1235 A.D., is the first text which records forensic analysis being used to resolve a criminal case. The murder of a farmer prompted a local judge to demand that everyone in the village lay down their sickle before him. While every cythe appeared to be clean, the judge watched for insects as he understood that insects would be attracted to and by consequence fly around within proximity of a blade with fresh blood still attached to it, even if the blood was physically removed to the point at which it could no longer be observed by the human eye. This innovative technique allowed the judge to figure out which member of the community committed the homicide with forensic certainty

The Ancient History of Damascus Steel

Damascus-steel-swordDamascus, Syria, the birthplace of Damascus steel was prized in the ancient world for its durability but unbeknownst to the craftspeople who forged Damascus steel, the region from which the iron ore was taken had naturally occurring nickel which meant that Damascus metalsmiths had composite steel 3000 years before the rest of the world as the idea to mix different kinds of metals had not yet been invented. Damascus steel was shatter resistant and could be sharpened to become sharper than any other type of steel. Having first encountered it during the Crusades of the 11th century, European forgers attempted for centuries to recreate what their Middle Eastern counterparts had already perfected

The Link Between Dementia and Iron

Alzheimer's-Disease

Measuring iron in the brain is the best known way to confirm dementia without performing an autopsy after death. The brain naturally creates tiny bits of iron referred to as “magnetite”. As a human being ages, more and more iron accumulates within the brain. Too much iron however, is a hallmark of dementia. It is theorized that this overproduction of iron is actually due to external factors like pollution rather than naturally occurring phenomena. Dr. Barbara Marr, a world renowned expert and authority in respect to the measurement of metal in incredibly small particles, took thin tissue sections of affected brains obtained during autopsy and observed them under a highly resolved transmission electronmicroscope to review the particles within the neurons of the brain and found 2 different shapes of particle. The magnetite particles are beautifully crystalline, regular and geometric, whilst the opposing particles were rounded in shape, referred to as “spherls” or “nanospheres”, rounded in shape because they were originally molten droplets. For every 1 biologically manufactured magnetite, 100 artificially implanted foreign particles of iron are found within the brains of those affected by this condition as confirmed by a study which took place in Mexico City, Mexico. Although not definitely proven, the shape of these secondary particles is remarkably similar to that of airborne pollution, which suggests to scientists that there is a discernible correlation between the 2 types

The Danger of Air Pollution Gaining Access to the Brain

air-pollution

The reason pollution has a metallic taste and scent and that it burns the eyes when exposed to it is because the particles of air pollution are tiny enough that they can travel through nerve cells, and gain direct entry to the brain, where the olfactory bulbar meets the frontal cortex, as there is no blood-brain barrier at this point. The body protects itself through the blood-brain barrier, which means that particles within the bloodstream, cannot get directly into the brain. This system has a slight flaw however as the nose acts as a direct conduit for incredibly tiny particles to bypass this security mechanism

Maria Gunning; The Woman Who Was Thought to be the Most Beautiful Woman in London, England During the 16th Century

Maria-Gunning

George William Coventry, the 6th Earl of Coventry, married Maria Gunning who was said to be the most beautiful woman in London, England, so beautiful in fact that grown men claim to have fainted when in her presence. Gunning wore a heavy layer of lead and mercury based makeup which caused blood poisoning and began to eat away at her skin. It is reported that Gunning only had the light of a tea kettle in her room, because she was so devastated by the damage done to her face by the makeup she wore. Venetian Ceruse, also referred to as “Spirits of Saturn”, was the 16th century cosmetic skin whitening agent which Gunning used. Venetian Ceruse was in great demand and considered the best available cosmetic during the era. The problem with lead and mercury based cosmetological products is that this compound contains acids which eat away at the skin and cause further blemishes which then in turn require even more concealer be used, causing a vicious cyclical scenario (e.g. further blemishes lead to more makeup, and more makeup, leads to ever further blemishes). It is believed that Queen Elizabeth I also used Venetian Ceruse to achieve her iconic pale beauty standard

Chinese New Year Traditional Fireworks Display

Chinese-New-Year-dashuhua

500 years ago during the Ming dynasty, a blacksmith came up with a cost effective way to display a fireworks show during the Chinese New Year festival by spraying molten metal onto and alongside a wall, an incredibly beautiful, yet dangerous feat to pull off. This process is referred to as “dashuhua” (pronounced “dash-ooh-wah”). The metal is 1600 degrees Celsius which means it is literally in a liquified state. The dashuhua master traditionally wears a straw hat and sheepskin coat for protection. There is currently only 1 dashuhua master left in the world, a person who is a 14th generational master. This master has 2 daughters, neither of whom want to learn the craft, so theoretically, after this master passes away, the tradition will die out

Highest Elevation at Which People Live

la-rinconada-peru

In La Rinconada, Peru, the entire village of La Rinconada lives as high as those who make base camp on Mt. Everest before attempting to scale its peak. When Spanish settlers first landed in La Rinconada, most lost their infant children shortly after birth because oxygen levels are half of what they are in comparison to most other places on Earth. The reason people stayed and continue to stay in La Rinconada is because of the gold which can be extracted from the nearby mountain ranges. La Rinconada is the absolute highest elevation at which humans can live, as anything considerably higher would cause organ failure which is often quick and difficult to detect by oneself resulting in death in many cases