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The Rich Tapestry of Life Page
And yet even more pages of odds and ends that don’t fit anywhere else, information, general knowledge, light-hearted quips and quotes from all over the place that make up the ‘rich tapestry of life’ for reading in those odd moments when you have nothing else to do. So keep on going - trivia is good for the mind if you need to slow down!
This is PAGE SIX - Another “Science Snippets” Page
To return to “Tapestry CONTENTS”, CLICK HERE
Simple activities such as gardening or mending a bicycle can protect mental health and help people to lead more fulfilled and productive lives, a panel of scientists has found.
A “five-a-day” programme of social and personal activities can improve mental well-being, much as eating fruit and vegetables enhances physical health, according to Foresight, the government think-tank. Its Mental Capital and Well-being report, which was compiled by more than 400 scientists, proposes a campaign modelled on the nutrition initiative, to encourage behaviour that will make people feel better about themselves.
People should try to connect with others, to be active, to take notice of their surroundings, to keep learning and to give to their neighbours and communities, the document says. (Source: Article ”Do five simple things a day to stay sane“  
(Source:  Mark Henderson, Science Editor Times)

Laughter is the best medicine
New research shows that the best cure for stress is laughter and in fact, having a good laugh turns out to have loads of other health benefits too. For example:
- It boosts your immune system so you’re less likely to catch infections.
- It helps your breathing, which is great for people with asthma.
- It improves your circulation, keeping your heart healthy and your brain well supplied with oxygen.
- It can provide effective pain relief (if you don’t believe this, do your own bit of medical research next time you’ve got a headache, and try watching or reading something hilarious.
(Source: The 7-Day Stress Buster by J. Alexander)

Dealing with Moles
Molehills are a real blot on the landscape. A Humane way of sending moles packing is to plant glass bottles (without lids on) into the molehills with the top of the bottle showing so that the noise of the wind travels through their tunnels encouraging them to move to a more peaceful location.
(Source: “Trugs, Dibbers, Trowels & Twine by Isobel Carson)

Careful with your Breakfast
    Improving blood-glucose control (by eating the right kind of breakfast, for example) raises blood glucose to an optimal point that improves our brains' performance, boosting memory and learning powers.
      Research has shown that adults who eat breakfast have better “free-recall” abilities (tested by showing people a list of 20 words at a rate of one every two seconds with two minutes at the end to recall the words) in the day ahead than when they skip breakfast. Breakfast eaters not only scored better in this kind of test, but also had better “delayed recognition memory”.
      The types of foods eaten at breakfast and during the rest of the day do seem to count when it comes to making the most of brain power. One of the keys is to stay off the fast-release carbohydrates, such as croissants, cereal bars and white toast with marmalade.
      Because they are digested rapidly they give your blood glucose an exaggerated spike that is swiftly followed by a low that makes you feel mentally sluggish. Not only does your brain slow down from the glucose low, but you also feel stressed and distracted while seeking more fast-release carbohydrates.
     Breakfasts that include slow release glucose, such as sugar-free muesli with berries, porridge or sour-dough toast with peanut butter, are brain-enhancing options. So too are eggs. They give us choline and lecithin, which are key components of acetylcholine, the transmitter that plays such a big role in memory.
(Source: Times article by Amanda Ursell)

Fun Number Facts
- A sneeze travels out of your mouth at 100 mph
- A lightning bolt generates temperatures 5 times hotter than those found on the Sun
- The average person has 1460 dreams a year.
- The Great Wall of China is 2,150 miles long
- There are more than 1 million animal species living on Earth
- Lightning strikes about 6000 times a minute on this planet
- There are more than 50,000 earthquakes in the world every year.
- A piece of paper cannot be folded in half more than 8 times  (Not quite true – see below)
(Source: Phenomenal Fun Facts)

Check out your facts?
(Q)  Is it possible to fold a piece of paper in half more than seven times?
(A) Yes, but the difficulty is that the thickness keeps doubling with each fold (exponential growth). After the seventh fold the paper is 128 sheets thick and, if you started with an A4 sheet, the size of a stamp. But this problem can be overcome if very thin, long paper is used. In the US in 2007, a piece of paper the length of a football pitch was folded in half 11 times —with the help of a forklift truck and steamroller.
(Source: Dr Richard Elwes, University of Leeds - Times Eureka Magazine)

Fun Facts about Human Beings
- A human brain generates more electrical impulses in 1 day that all of the world’ telephones
- Your nose can remember 50,000 different scents
- The average person will shed 40lb of skin in a lifetime
- A human heart beats 100,000 times a day
- The average each grows .01 inches each year (i.e. half an inch in 50 years!)
- The average human body is 75% water
- It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to smile (Save energy – smile more!)
(Source: Phenomenal Fun Facts)

Bending Light
You will need
Laser Pointers (pens used with overhead and digital projectors)
Gelatine powder
A cuboid mould
A sharp knife
What to do
Make the jelly (I part gelatine to 10 parts boiling water). Allow to cool a little then pour Into the mould. Put the mould in the fridge to speed up the setting process. When set, take the jelly out of the mould make sure that it has smooth flat surfaces, cut and shape (carefully) with a sharp knife If necessary. Then shine the laser pen Into the Jelly. You may not be able to see the laser light as it travels through the air, but you can see the change In angle from the direction you are pointing the pen. Play around with the direction and see if you can get the laser light to `bounce" along the jelly.
How it works
The how light travels at a different (slower) speed in the jelly than it does in the air, so the light "bends". The "bouncing” is called total Internal refractlon and Is the principle behind fibre optic cables.
(Source: Times Eureka Magazine)

Science Facts
- Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature
- The first man-made object to orbit the earth was Sputnik-1 launched in 1957
- When glass break the cracks move at almost 3000mph
- A lump of gold the size of a matchbox can be flattened into a sheet the size of a tennis court
- When you see a full moon you see the same side every time
- Wearing earphones for just 1 hour will multiply the number of bacteria in your ear by 700 times
- Penicillin was discovered in 1928 when scientist Alexander Fleming went on holiday and forgot to clean his petri dish
(Source: Phenomenal Fun Facts)

Strange Weather Facts
- Clouds fly higher during the day than at night
- Wind is completely silent until it blows against objects
- From March to September the South Pole receives no sunlight at all.
- It would take 7 billion particles of fog to fill a single teaspoon
- The largest hailstone ever recorded fell in April 1986 in Bangladesh and weighed 2.2lb
- A single snowstorm can drop 40 million tones of snow carrying the energy equivalent to 120 atomic bombs
- The eye of a tropical storm is completely calm
- The average life span of a tornado is less than 15 minutes
(Source: Phenomenal Fun Facts)

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