28 January 2013

5 Everyday Questions--Answered

Nerd that I am, many questions enter my mind at every second. But several continue to plague me, and probably several of you too, so here they are: answered.

Why do we sound better singing in the shower?
The shower is a small, enclosed space. You are surrounded by hard, smooth surfaces that cause your voice to bounce back quickly, giving your voice more power than it would ordinarily have. Also, the sounds are bouncing around so much that sometimes they take longer to reach your ears. That way, they sound longer and fuller than they usually would be. 

If you drop a feather and a brick at the same time, shouldn't they fall at the same time?
Yeah--if there was no air. Air resistance acts more against a feather, because it is lighter, causing it to fall slower than the brick.

When you look at a clock, why does the second hand seem to freeze and then continue?
This illusion has been creatively named the "stopped clock illusion". The reason it occurs is because whenever you shift your eyes, though it usually isn't noticeable, you experience a momentary break in vision. When you shift your eyes to the clock, your vision is readjusting, and in that moment, your brain just fills in the blank with the second, so it seems to last a lot longer than it actually does.

Why do we cry when we chop onions?
Cutting up an onion releases a chemical, syn-propanethial-S-oxide, that irritates your eyes, causing them to tear up. What do you think they put into tear gas? Something similar, no doubt.

What happens to body fat when we lose weight?
My brother asked me this at some point, and it bothered me that I didn't know. "Doesn't the skin get all saggy there then?" he asked. "Plus where does that fat go?" I remember knowing this some time ago, but I forgot. Well, it bothered me so much that I decided to look it up. When you lose weight, the fat cells shrink. They don't fall off. They don't disintegrate. As to what happens to excess skin, well, that depends on how old you are. Your skin is elastic. But as you grow older, it doesn't retain its elasticity as well. If you were, say, 10, and you lost weight, the skin would tighten relatively quick. But if you were 41, your skin would have stretched and settled to suit your previous fat. It will show stretch marks, just like after pregnancy. It will be loose, but may tighten after a while, depending on several factors. That's why it's important to drink water, to maintain the elasticity of your skin.

I hope that was both informative and slightly entertaining. I certainly didn't cover every single question that plagues me--just the ones I could remember. I'll post a follow up when it comes to mind. What are some questions that plague you?

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