Curiosities: Why is the home plate (base) in baseball pentagonal in shape?

January 3, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

It is not easy to imagine now that, at the beginning of the game, anything could serve as a home plate in baseball. It was with the search of perfection for the rules of this sport, materials and equipment used in the game that by the end of the nineteenth century (1899) the base began to be square in shape. In 1900, Robert M. Keating, a former pitcher and American inventor, invented the rubber home plate in pentagon shape, which thanks to the edges towards the catcher, made the strike zone more visible for pitchers to throw and for umpires to decide between ball and strikes, which explains why it is still in used today.

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

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

Advertisements

Curiosities: Why does your nose get stuffy when you have a cold and why only one nostril at a time?

January 2, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

Specially during the flu season (fall and winter months), when the outbreaks of influenza prevail, many people have to deal with their stuffy noses, most of the time unware of its cause. In the past, it was believed that too much mucus inside the nose clogged it. These days, the reason is different: It is mainly the result of the inflammation of mucous membranes and, in a very much lesser extend, because a running nose causes obstruction of the air passage.

As for why only one nostril at a time, this simple idea can give us the answer. If you go to a 24-hour store at different hours, you will notice that employees are not the same people since they obviously need a physical rest. We all have had the bad experience of a tough night due to our stuffy noses. If it is tough for you, don’t forget that for your body (for your nose, to be more precise) is tougher because it has to get the air it needs and that’s why, like the employees mentioned before, your nostril takes turns to rest too. The nasal airways get congested and decongested alternatively in a phenomenon called nasal cycle. Much of the air goes in and out of one nostril and a much smaller amount passes through the other one. By using this process, both nostrils alternate their periods of work and can battle the flue more effectively.

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


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.


Curiosities: How many legs does a squid have?

October 14, 2017

By Eddy Montilla

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.

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


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.