Friday, November 2, 2012

60 Second good-to-knows - 2 November 2012

Let's dispel some common misconceptions this week:

1. The speed at which an object falls is independent of its mass (ignoring air resistance or other frictional forces).  If dropped from an equal height at the same time, a bowling ball and a paper clip would reach the ground at the same time.  The bowling ball would have a larger force and would leave a greater impact, but they would have the same speed when they hit the ground.

2. The human body is not bilaterally symmetric.  In fact, many of our internal organs are not symmetrically arranged about the body (e.g. the heart and the liver).  Note that the right and left lungs also contain substantial anatomical differences.

3.  Light years is not a unit of time, it's a measure of distance.  Specifically, it is the distance that a beam of light can cover in one year's time.  Needless to say it's a large number...  The diameter of the observable universe is estimated at 93 billion light years!  It's safe to say that the universe is a pretty big place!

4. The Great Wall of China, as great as it may be, cannot be viewed from space.

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