Are 99.9% Of Germs Really Killed By Soap?

If you are a clean freak then this is a question that you really want to know. Does soap really kill 99.9% of germs? With over one hundred million germs just lingering on our smartphones, we really want to be able to rest easy knowing that we can just simply wash our hands.

A germ consists of any sort of little organism or microscopic particle that is able to make our body sick. This means that viruses and bacteria are also considered to be germs. Germ spreading has become such a worldwide concern that there are even movements to stop handshakes. Handshakes being one of the worst offenders when it comes to spreading infectious diseases. The solution? Stop handshaking and start fist bumping.

The problem is that thanks to all the oils on our skin, dirt, and germs easily latch on and just stick to our skin. If you use an alcohol solvent or kerosene that actually destroys the oil this will also kill the germs. But most soaps are not alcohol based? So how do they work?

That is correct, unless you are in a hospital you will find most soaps do not have any strong alcohol in them. Also, a strong alcohol or kerosene are essentially toxins, so we do not really want to be washing our hands with them every day. And that is why we use soap.

Soap works in a different way, instead of trying to completely dissolve the oil, it just tells them to leap off with the water molecules. You can think of soap as like a rope with a hook on both ends, it latches onto the oily germs and the other side likes to latch onto the water. So when you wash your hands? That is right, the oily germs just slide right off. This means all the germs and bacteria you pick up during your day are flushed right off.

Therefore soap is not really killing any germs at all, it is just flushing them away. And that 0.01% of germs it misses? Well, that is still actually a lot of bacteria. Take the smartphone problem, if you washed it and washed your hands, you are still looking at about 2,500 germs being left! That is more germs than you would find in a dog’s watering bowl.

Should you stress about it? Not really, you are not going to be able to kill every bacteria that you run into. But as long as you are washing your hands regularly and cleaning your devices, it should all be kept under control.

Poaching Is Causing The Rise In Tuskless Elephants

In another survival change of evolution, elephants are increasingly being born without tusks. This is, of course, to protect themselves from ivory poachers who kill them for their tusks. Ivory is a highly sought out ingredient for numerous traditional Chinese rituals.

In 1930, for example, tuskless Elephants male and female made up only 1% of their population. After decades of slaughter and poaching for their tusks, it looks like their internal mechanisms for survival have kicked it. In fact, many believe the start of the tusk decline was back in 1970. Research done at the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda during the 1990s showed that tusklessness had already risen to between 9% to 25% of the elephant population.

However, studies are showing that currently nearly 98 percent of female elephants now have no tusks. And male elephants also continue to be born without tusks. This is now a real confirmation that they have undergone a genetic mutation to stop being hunted. Why has this happened?

Over the past ten years, nearly a third of Africa’s elephants have been illegally hunted by poachers. Many have been slaughtered in particularly gruesome fashion. This is all to keep up with the great demand for ivory from Asia, particularly in China.

In China and Hong Kong, ivory is regarded as valuable as gold or other precious metals. It is regularly used for ornaments and jewelry. Also, it sometimes is used as a key ingredient in Chinese traditional medicine. Experts even go as far to say that 70 percent of the world’s ivory is sold in China. Factor in that rich people believe it makes them look more successful and most Chinese people believe that it brings good luck – you have a never-ending demand for ivory.

Is this genetic mutation a good thing? Elephants are potentially putting themselves in more danger by becoming tuskless. Tusks are used primarily for self-defense and also for mating rituals. But also elephants rely on their tusks for digging, they can dig up trees and move them around. Also, dig in the ground for food and water.

Sure it may be better to be tuskless than actually be actively hunted by illegal ivory poachers, but when your natural habitat is the merciless jungle or desert can you really give up your tools?

Are We Really Swallowing Eight Spiders A Year?

This time old statistic has been thrown around as fact and as myth. Whatever generations you are from, surely you at some point were told that we swallow a certain amount of spiders every year. But is it even possible to swallow spiders during our sleep? Does this urban legend actually hold any grain of truth?

Good news! It appears the original article that caused this statistic to be spread so far and wide was all a hoax. So the chances that you are actually going to swallow a spider whole while sleeping are pretty much zero.

Lisa Holst a columnist for PC Professional in the 1990s decided to conduct an experiment around people believing anything that you read online. You see she had a theory that people would really just believe anything online if you presented it will with some facts and statistics. Holst put together a whole list of fabricated data that showed the average human will devour eight spiders per year. As Holst suspected the report quickly went viral and was accepted as a fact. But the fake news did not stay in the past and has followed younger generations along. So much so that now some people really do seem to believe it is true.

What does science actually say then? Generally, insects are not going to go after a larger predator. Chances are if they are smaller they will get smashed and they know it. Spiders are going to feel the vibrations of your breathing. They will sense your heat presence and know that you are much bigger. Much too big to eat, so why would they go running over your face? No, actually scientific reports have ever been run on the topic and probably never will be. How come?

Quite simply because no scientist is going to care. What would this sort of study accomplish? Nothing at all! Therefore the chances of swallowing a spider will always be considered almost none. But if it is almost it could happen then? Well, nothing is impossible. Pretty unlikely though, first you would need to be sleeping with your mouth wide open.

Next, you would have to find a spider willing to climb into your mouth and let’s face it. Do you brush your teeth every day? Not to mention you would probably wake up if the spider crawled over your face and mouth. So that means the scenario would require a spider to drop from the ceiling on a silk thread. Directly into your mouth, scamper across your tongue(Still not waking you up!) and then you would need to swallow at that exact moment.

These series of events are just highly unlikely. No, we are not unknowingly feasting on spiders during the night, go back to sleep and rest easy.

The Bizarre Secluded Monuments In The Saudi Desert

Deep in the Saudi Desert, hidden in between rocks and groves there seems to be a spooky site portraying ancient arts of camels. The sculptures are so old and eroded one can barely tell what they represent. A weary wanderer through the desert may even think that he was going mad. But no, these carvings into the stone of camels and perhaps horses are actually very real.

So who made them and why are they here?

Researchers work on The Camel Site, trying to figure out who the authors may be. Is it a religious site? That is one theory, time and erosion have made all signs of the monument’s creation hard to track. The site also spreads all across the Sakak basin to Saudi Arabia Jawf province, with such a large site there has been much human interference. This means that historians are not really even sure what time they originate from!

The estimation is some time between 100 B.C and A.D 100 someone carved these creatures into the stone. This is by comparing the style of the art to other known creations of this era, only this way can researchers narrow anything down. Yet the fascinating thing about this site is there are two distinctive types of sculptures.

The first style is more of a monument, carving the rocks to different heights, giving the stone high and low reliefs. This plays with the way our eyes the depth and creates a camel-like image. The other technique is more like modern day art, simply carving the outline of the camel into the rock.

What did these carvings represent in this society? This is what researchers are trying to figure out. Some areas of the carvings are very smooth such as the camels head. This supports the theory that they were part of some ritual which required you to touch this part of the carving, after centuries of it being touched the rock has become smooth.

Or were they landmarks? A way for the people of the time to locate themselves when crossing the dangerous Saudi Desert? They could have been a signal for travelers that this passage was safe. If that was the case, let’s just hope they also had someone selling water!

Paracelsus The Magic Wizard Doctor

Now you may be thinking that Paracelsus is some character straight out of Harry Potter. And you wouldn’t be completely wrong as he is mentioned in the series. However, Paracelsus or Theophrastus von Hohenheim as he name was an actual Swiss physician. Or was this just way to hide being a real-life actual wizard?

Paracelsus was a known prodigy in the world of medicine. Though he considered himself an alchemist, most of his breakthroughs were most beneficial to medicine. Until Paracelsus no one was using minerals or other chemicals in medicine, he is credited with inventing toxicology. He used toxins like mercury, lead, and arsenic to create cures. Basically creating the methodology behind given the patient the correct dose. Too high a dose would be poison, but the correct dose can cure.

Also, he coined the term “zinc” so you can thank Paracelsus for knowing what to call zinc! Thank god for that, right?

But all this sound very normal, doesn’t it? Paracelsus definitely was a pioneering chemist with a great understanding of what chemicals could influence the body. So why was he later considered to be a magic wizard doctor then? Even history did classify him as the first medical chemist – and this may have to do with most of his work being edited and published after his death. But, his original writings are full of astrology and mysticism, it appeared Paracelsus considered himself to have magical powers.

Even going so far as creating the “Alphabet of Magi” which he deemed was a way to speak to the spirits of healing. Paracelsus believed that for a patient to truly heal, their body had to be in harmony with nature. That the spirits of nature would be willing to provide their healing. So he, of course, devised a way of speaking to and controlling the spirits – makes sense doesn’t it?

Yet despite these bizarre beliefs he is credited with healing many people. His magic healing even became quite famous. And his legacy has long lived on, for example, he also discovered that some illnesses come from psychological roots. Which in the modern world of stress and burnout, is something we are all too familiar with.

Zoom Zoom! Virgin Reveals Hyperloop That Will Travel 760 Mph

A new prototype of Virgin’s Hyperloop One has been unveiled and boasts a cruising speed up to as high as 760 mph (1,200 km/h). This is planned to operate between a Hyperloop that will connect Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

This journey by the revolutionary levitating pod will only take 12 minutes! This is a 87 mile voyage that normally takes about 90 minutes in a car. The Hyperloop innovative tube design is pushing past the limits of public transport. In the not too distant future we could be covering 100 of miles to get to work in just 10 minutes. No more lost time waiting to arrive at a destination. So how does this zooming tube pod work?

Basically, you will be traveling along a long tube between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The tube has had all the air removed which creates a vacuum inside. This means there is zero air friction inside the tube, allowing the Virgin’s Hyperloop to reach so high speeds. The pod inside the tube is powered by electromagnetics. This means the pod never touches the inside of the tube and will be smoothly propulsion forward.

Dubai’s Road Transport Authority has announced that the project should be finished by 2021. Each pod is created to carry around 10 passengers, and the company hopes they will be able to transport about 10000 passengers every hour in each direction. Of course with how fast the levitating pods are traveling you have to stay strapped in tight.

Don’t worry though it will be a fast trip in luxury as reports mention that BMW is designing the pod’s comfy leather seats. But is traveling at this high a speed safe?

The propulsion system of a Hyperloop will only accelerate the capsules to speeds that are safe in each section of the tube. As everything is automatic and controlled by the system, there is no risk of a human error in driving. Also as the tubes are completely airtight all risks of unpredictable weather conditions have been removed from the equations. This means that there are very few safety concerns, in fact, many believe traveling by Hyperloop will be much safer than airplanes or trains.

In any case, Hyperloop travel is definitely on the horizon, with Virgin Group announcing further plans for a route between Pune and Mumbai to be built also. And Elon Musk’s company is entering the final stages of an approval for constructing a Hyperloop under Washington D.C., time will only tell if it becomes our new preferred way to travel.

As Flashy As A Sea Sapphire

Growing up any kid would like to be able to control color on demand. Explode into different shades of light and cause your very own firework show. There is actually a creature that is able to flash up brightly and then completely disappear, on the fly. These ant size creatures live in subtropical or warm tropical seas, aptly called Sea Sapphires.

They are a form of marine planktonic copepod: a scientific word that basically means “a very small floating shrimpy thing that you find in the sea.” But the incredible thing is these little beasties can produce ranges of brilliant vivid colors. Depending on the species you can find intense blues to reds and even golds.

So how do they do it? Are these little creatures radioactive?

No, not at all. To put it simply their skin has amazing properties that allow light to be reflected, allowing them to light up. Otherwise, they are pretty much completely transparent. This is a kind of camouflage technique they use to be hard to catch by predators. It depends on the angle the light hits them: one moment they may shimmer and the next poof they have disappeared into the deep dark sea. What are these amazing skin properties you ask?

Very little crystal plates are found all over their skin cells and form a honeycomb pattern. So they really are just little live sapphires floating merrily around the sea. Similar sort of skin systems is found on chameleons and silver spiders also. All masters of cloaking themselves to their surroundings, it seems the sea sapphire has simply been able to take this trait into the sea. It is not all about camouflage though, scientists also believe that the colors they display help them find mating partners.

When a male sea sapphire is actively looking to mate, they swim in spirals displaying a sort of full-on light show to the female. Is the light actually some sort of signaling language that they understand? Whatever the case, we can definitely agree they put on a beautiful show.

Swarm Robots Ready For Mass Production

If you have had ever had nightmares about robots taking over the world, then maybe you should close this article right now. The Zebro swarm robot is an insect hive mind-like robot which is pretty much ready to be mass produced. Why are we potentially causing a Terminator plot like scenario?

These autonomous swarms of robots have been designed to search even the most dangerous terrain. Making them the perfect tool to use to search for survivors during natural disasters. Soon we could see them deployed to places that have suffered a severe earthquake. Initially, robots being sent into dangerous terrain did not look like a cost-effective use of resources. However, engineers have now been able to come up with a way to cheaply mass produce these insect-like machines.

Students from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have been able to create this colony of robots to have hive mind capabilities. By that we mean they can work together to move around troubling terrain, send messages to each other and report back to the controller.

The design is a hexapod robot, with its multiple legs giving it the skills it needs to get over any sort of rubble or rock. Audio sensors are attached to them so they are able to pick up on any cries from trapped victims. Once they pick up a distressed shout, they are able to quickly notify the emergency services about the location. Think of them as a pack of rescue dogs that can work without rest and without any handler.

But the real design breakthrough is that they have been built to be modular, so they can easily be stacked on top of each other like Lego bricks. In fact, the robots are made up of about 200 pieces that can all be easily clicked and snapped together. This makes large-scale manufacturing very simple and therefore very cheap!

Swarm robots have actually been tipped to be the next big thing in the technology world of robotics. Completing complex tasks always does seem easier when you have more people there to help you, and the same logic applies to robots. In fact, some scientists believe we will be pollinating crops and flowers by microbots in the not so distant future.


When Ants Go To War They Bring The Medics

A species of aggressive Viking-like raiding ants actually save their wounded and then stitch them up. Yes, it appears they have dedicated doctor and nurse ants ready to save the wounded.

And the incredible thing is researchers have determined that this strange behavior actually gives the injured ant a 90% survival rate. So should we all be going to the ant hospital when injured then? Probably not, unless you feel a good licking will save you from your injuries.

For some time it was known that this particular species of sub-Saharan ants did bring their wounded back to their nest. But as their nests were always underground, scientists had no idea what they were doing. However, researchers now know that the injured ants are brought back from the battlefield in hopes of patching up their wounds.

Megaponera Analis or as we know them “War Ants”, are very skilled raiders. Think of them as the Vikings of the ant world. They regularly send a column of ants into termite nests, dragging termites out for food. War always comes at a cost: many ants get their limbs crushed or some termites just latch onto them refusing to let go. How do they get home then? Well if the ant is not too severely injured, he will curl up into a ball and let another ant carry him home.

The basic thought process is: if you can stand up then there is still a use for you in the colony. How do they nurse injured ants back to health then? With infrared cameras, the research team was able to determine that it appears the injured ants will be licked by a colleague. But how does this help?

No one is really sure, but the most likely theory is that this process must stop the ant’s wounds from becoming infected. It is believed this is the case because an ant that received the treatment only had a 10% chance of dying within the next 24 hours, but ones that did not get the treatment died 80% of the time.

So why do these ants save their colleagues? We are always taught that there are thousands of ants everywhere, surely they are easily replaced in the colony? But this is not the case for the “War Ants” who only see a dozen of baby ants born each day. This means anything they can do to reduce their mortality rate greatly increases the strength of the colony.

Secret Painting Found Behind A Picasso Masterpiece

A new scanning technique put together by art researchers in the US continues to undercover amazing art secrets. The newest discovery has been found beneath a Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece: The Crouching Woman or “La Misereuse Accroupie” as called in French.

Scanning systems for art pieces have existed for some time however they have always been extremely expensive for museums or individuals to use. The new x-ray fluorescence technique that art institution researchers from Northwestern University in Chicago have put together is inexpensive and best of all it is portable. The non-invasive imaging scanner lets you take a sneak peek of what lays under the visible layer of paint. Fluorescence X-ray is used because this can tell what sort of elements are used in the paint. So what did Picasso hide under his renowned artwork?

A landscape of Barcelona can be found underneath the oil painting, and it was actually used as inspiration for the crouching lady. The landscape painting beneath has been turned 90 degrees, which means the outlines of the hills are actually the crouching lady’s back. Meaning that the lady is formed from the shapes of the Catalan countryside.

The Crouching Woman is a painting from Picasso’s blue period. Which is actually a time where he was known to have painted over a lot of his artwork. This new scanning technique is very interesting for art researchers as it helps them date exactly from what period an artist’s work comes from, but not only that.

Scanning the artwork and finding out exactly how an artist put together a painting, allows us to get an unprecedented sense of how an artist worked. For the first time, we are able to retrieve a sense of how Picasso’s thought process came together when painting. We can now know the steps they took to get to the visible forms we admire on the surface of their painting.