Curiosities: Do insects have nose?

October 16, 2017

By Eddy Montilla

No. We need air into the lungs to live and our nose does a great job about it by letting oxygen intake. Insects have a different breathing system. That does not mean, however, they do not breathe, but instead of the typical nose and snout that humans and some animals have, insects have openings called spiracles doing the same function by letting the entrance of air. Besides, insects usually use their feelers to “smell” and sometimes, hair that grows upon their bodies.

Copyright 2017 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

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Curiosities: How many legs does a squid have?

October 14, 2017

By Eddy Montilla

Squid

None. To be more precise, rather than legs, this sea creature has arms, ten in total around its mouth if we include its two tentacles, longer than the rest, and used to capture its prey.

Copyright 2017 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Curiosities: What is the world´s largest crab size and where can this sea creature be found?

October 12, 2017

By Eddy Montilla

The “Takaashigani” (タカアシガニ), a giant crab that lives in Japanese waters is considered the largest crab in the world. Due to its resemblance to a spider, we know it as the Japanese spider crab. The translation for its Japanese name, however, is tall-legged crab. The shell width of this crab is about 30 centimeters and by extending the legs that have the pincers (claws), this sea creature’s size is more than three meters.

Copyright 2017 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

Photo: By courtesy of Ruth Hartnup under the criteria of Creative Commons (Flickr).


Curiosities: Why does the ring finger bend when we bend the little finger

October 1, 2017

By Eddy Montilla

The most interesting part of this curiosity is not the answer itself, but the lesson we can deduce from it: We live in our body for many years, some people almost a century, but we are unaware of many things of it. Let’s see an example: With the palm-side of your hand open, bend your ring finger. As you can see, the rest of your fingers keep upright. However, when you bend your little finger, the ring finger bends too. Why?

You have a lot of fibers composed of neurons inside your body. They are called nerves, whose function is to transmit impulses of sensation to the brain or spinal cord and from there to other parts (muscles and organs), which enables you to make movements, to feel, etc. Nerves innervate (in plain words, get to) your fingers. In the case of the little finger, two nerves get there and one of them, called palmar digital nerve branches, getting both sides of the gap between your little finger and ring finger. Because of that, movements from your little finger cause the same reaction to your ring finger.

Copyright 2017 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Curiosities: Since when do aquariums exist?

September 6, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

The best place for a fish is undoubtedly its natural habitat, but considering the high level of malice and consummate cruelty that prevail inside people’s heart these days, if we continue polluting seas and river as we usually do, it’s only a matter of decades to see fish only in videos or on illustrated books, an aspect that justifies the need of aquariums, and today’s curiosity is… Since when do we have these large glass containers?

In order to keep alive a fish inside a receptacle, there are a lot of factors that should be observed carefully. A fish needs oxygen to breathe and plants need oxygen at night too, despite their help to improve water quality by removing nitrates and phosphates. It means that the relation between the oxygen that the fish and plants need and the water quality where they will live is extremely important, besides temperature, pH, salinity, alkalinity and other necessary things that were not handled properly until the 19th century. For that reasons, what is considered the first aquarium was open in London, England, in 1853, despite the fact that the Chinese, the Egyptians and, above all, the Sumerians created the foundation for today’s aquarium thousands of year ago.

Copyright 2017 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Curiosities: Why do apples turn brown after peeling them?

September 4, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

If you peel an apple and wait for a while, you will notice that it turns brown and looks less appetizing. In general, most people just eat it without asking how or why this happens. Let´s see the answer today: It is the result of oxidation. When a piece of metal combines with oxygen, it causes the metal to become cover with rust and takes the typical brown color. Something similar happens when the apple is expose to oxygen. While the apple keeps its peel, oxygen “cannot enter”, but once the fruit is cut, oxygen is in contact with cells of the fruit. There, the enzyme called polyphenol oxidase reacts with the oxygen in the air and other chemicals producing the oxidation and the brown color.

Other fruits like bananas, pears have the same effect since contains the same enzyme. The chemical reaction that produce such color can be reduced by using different methods: Adding lemon juice, putting the fruit in the refrigerator or under water, etc., but my recommendation is so simple that it is somewhat funny: Just cut it when you are sure you are going to eat it immediately!

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Curiosities: Who invented the ballpoint pen?

September 4, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

When I was a child, my primary school teacher used to tell me that people learn from their hands, accentuating the importance of writing. Most of my writing work is done with the use of a computer today. However, when I have to write something special and valuable to me, I go back to my roots, to this irreplaceable linkage between the brain and arms that is only possible thanks to the ballpoint pen. As a result of today´s technological progress and people´s blindness, in 10 or 15 years, this beautiful tool that brought me countless good memories, might be part of history or a mere collector´s item over a shelf. Before that happens, let´s pay tribute to his inventor.

The Hungarian newspaper editor László Biró, with the help of his brother (a chemist) is credited with having invented the ballpoint pen. The idea was to make a tool to write whose ink could dry fast and could roll smoothly onto a page, something different from fountain pens with internal ink cartridges, which had been used for decades. In the early 1930s, the world saw the first workable ballpoint pen and in the early 1940s, people in Argentina were using this device when Biró moved there and opened a factory to make ballpoint pens and sold them in that country.

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