Does time go faster as we get older?

As birthdays come and go, they seem to get closer and closer together. It’s a common feeling across all cultures. As you get older, time feels as though it’s going faster. But why? Well, the only correct answer to this question is: nobody knows. The brain is a complex instrument and time perception is the result of many areas of the brain working together. We just don’t know how it works. However, there are some hypotheses.

How deep is the Sahara? and 6 more interesting facts about sand

Sand. The final frontier. No wait, that’s space. Never mind. Sand is still really cool though, really! Keep reading. How deep is the sand in the Sahara? The Sahara is the world’s hottest desert though it’s not the biggest. It’s third in size. The two biggest deserts are, somewhat counter-intuitively, the antarctic and the arctic. Even though they are covered with ice, they are dry enough to be considered deserts.

What’s up with Dark Matter?

There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation around the interweb regarding dark matter. Much of it sounds like pseudo-scientific borderline-religious arguments, both from strong ‘believers’ (sorry to use that term but I have heard it used so often in this context) and people who don’t like the idea of dark matter and cling to older/other theories. It is after all I suppose a little like a religious argument, not being able to see it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not there.

Controlling the Weather

Come closer and put your tinfoil hat on. I’m going to tell you something crazy. The government is controlling the weather. That’s right, they are. They spray carbon dioxide in clouds to increase the formation of rain. To like, increase the water supply in a region or something equally sinister! And we’re not entirely sure if it works, actually. Well, ehm, but let me tell you, it’s a conspiracy! If you can’t tell, the previous paragraph was sarcastic. Claims that governments are somehow creating hurricanes and using the weather as a weapon are unfounded. The one method used to ‘manipulate’ …

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Bell Rock Lighthouse – A stone tower in stormy seas

The oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse, the Bell Rock Lighthouse is a triumph of engineering and persistence. There is a reef, off the coast of Scotland, called Bell Rock. Legend has it that an Abbot, in the 14th century, managed to install a giant bell on the reef, warning seafarers of the danger. However, a dutch pirate stole the valuable brass bell just one year after it was installed and ironically perished when his ship hit the then-unmarked rock some time later.

The Past is in Front of You – How we perceive time and space #2

Why is waiting half a day for the bus not a big deal to the Aymara? Because to them, the future is not in front, the past is. Read part 1 here. If I asked you to think of the future, where does the future lie? If I asked you to point ‘towards’ the future, where would you point? You will probably point forwards. To us, the past is behind us and the future is ahead. But it’s not true of all people. Time is quite a difficult concept to express and all languages resort to metaphors to describe it. In …

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The beard-second, the barn and 4 other humourous units of measurement

Hey there Stumblers! Click here for more awesome lists or here for more amazing science facts. Can you use a man to measure a bridge? What’s your bacon with the US President? What’s a beard-second? Can you hit the broadside of a barn with a particle accelerator? How much power is in a donkey? Units are a fundamental component of science. Without units, you have no measurements and without measurements you have no experiments. We are all familiar with the basic units of science, the metre, the Kelvin, the kilogram, etc. However, there are others, sometime less useful units, that …

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Information Overload – The True Cost of Data

In the last few years we have produced more data than in all of human history. We live our lives constantly producing a stream of data, it controls our lives, not in a Matrix or Skynet kind of way, but every time we interact (text, call, tweet), conduct a transaction, perform an internet search, complete a national census or even simply give birth or die, you are creating data and contributing that in the right hands is valuable and powerful tool. A recent EMC study claims that less than 1% of global data is actually analysed.

The Carboniferous Period – Coal and Giant Insects

Trees evolved the ability to grow bark at the beginning of the carboniferous period (360 million years ago) but fungi took 50 million years to evolve the ability to digest it. As a result, most of the coal we have today was formed in this period.

Conan the Bacterium – The world’s most resistant organism?

Deinococcus radiodurans is nicknamed “Conan the Bacterium” because, like Robert E. Howard’s Cimmerian hero, it can withstand and survive more than you would expect it to. It was first discovered in 1956 by Arthur W. Anderson at the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. He was trying to sterilise meat by irradiating it with gamma radiation. He thought that if he could kill all the bacteria present, the meat would not spoil. However, our tiny little friend Conan survived and the meat eventually spoiled.