Fascinating facts and interesting stories

When to put up the Christmas tree

christmastree

Modern tradition is to put up a Christmas tree the day or weekend after Thanksgiving (after the fourth Thursday in November). Thus on Black Friday.

In some communities it is tradition to put up the Christmas tree on the 6th of December in honor on Saint Nicholas.

The classic tradition is to put up the Christmas tree 12 days before Christmas day, on the 13th of December.

In Catholic tradition the Christmas tree is put up after noon on Christmas eve. Read more…

TV vs Video – in numbers

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The faster the internet gets – for the web and mobile – the more mind-blowing the video viewing statistics. Every day more than 20 billion videos are viewed on YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook, meaning each visitor to those sites watches more than 10 videos per day.

Add other video sharing services like Vine, Vimeo, Twitter, Twitch, Snapchat, Photobucket, LiveLeak, Flickr, DailyMotion, etc. plus streaming video platforms such as Viewster, Netflix, Amazon, etc. and the online video viewing numbers are astronomical. Read more…

How the Ouija board got its sinister reputation

ouija-board

The Ouija board didn’t always have a sinister reputation. In fact, the Ouija board developed out of Spiritualism, a movement known for its optimistic views about the future and the afterlife.

By now, most have vague notions of the Ouija board horror narrative, in which demonic spirits communicate with – even possess – kids.

Director Mike Flanagan furthers this trope in his film “Ouija: Origin of Evil.” Read more…

5 very spooky places in the USA

black-dahlia

43% of people in the USA and 52% of Britons believe in ghosts. 18% of Americans say that they’ve actually seen a ghost and 27% claim to have experienced something “paranormal.”*

There are hundreds of haunted places around the world with more than 200 spooky places reported in the United States.

If you are interested in the mysterious and have a taste that trends towards the macabre then these following 5 spooky places will give you the goosebumps you crave. Read more…

The amazing toughness of spider silk

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Spider silk strands are more uniform in diameter that most man-made artifacts. Per same diameter and weight, spider silk is 5 times stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar.

It is one of the most elastic substances on earth. It does not break even if stretched to 4 times the original length.

Spider silk is extremely lightweight. The length of a silk strand weighing only 18 oz (500 grams) can circle the Earth. Read more…

Does tapping a can of fizzy drink really stop it foaming over?

Soda can tapping

It is one of the distinct sounds of summer: the noise of people tapping the tops of their cans of fizzy drink before opening them. But does this widespread ritual really stop a can of beer or pop from gushing over?

When you open a can of fizzy drink, the refreshing “hiss” is the result of gas bubbles escaping from the liquid as a result of a change in the solubility of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in it. This change occurs due to the pressure inside the can decreasing from ~3 bar (can closed) to 1 bar at atmospheric pressure (can open). Read more…

Beyond Asimov: how to plan for ethical robots

robots

As robots become integrated into society more widely, we need to be sure they’ll behave well among us.

In 1942, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov attempted to lay out a philosophical and moral framework for ensuring robots serve humanity, and guarding against their becoming destructive overlords. This effort resulted in what became known as Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics: Read more…

9 lesser known facts about Australia

Australia

The Commonwealth of Australia is the sixth largest country (after Russia, Canada, China, the USA, and Brazil) in the world, occupying the Australian continent and surrounding islands, the largest of which is Tasmania (68,401 km²). At 7 692 024 km², Australia accounts for five percent of the world’s land area of 149 450 000 km².

Many who dream to go there might think of it as too far, too expensive to get there or too unknown, even uninteresting. There are koalas, kangaroos, summer heat, the ocean and what else? Read more…

How time actually tricks us

Hours - Shutterstock

Time is truly a complicated matter. Remember how as a child you were waiting for your birthday and how it seemed to take forever to arrive? And now as an adult, the time from Monday to Sunday passes all too briefly.

How does time do that? How does time trick us?

Looking from a scientific, psychological and biological perspective, the greatest influence on how we perceive time is made by our internal rhythms, gained experiences, and memories. Read more…

Beware the ‘awestruck effect’ – How charismatic leaders influence followers

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Charismatic business leaders can cause their followers to suppress emotions, which can harm companies over the long term, according to new research.

While charismatic leaders may be magnetic, they can cause their followers to suppress emotions, which can harm companies through increased strain, lower job satisfaction and reduced information exchange among employees, according to new research from the University of Cambridge. Read more…

The 22 million digit number … and the amazing maths behind primes

prime numbers

It is a quite extraordinary figure. Dr Curtis Cooper from the University of Central Missouri has found the largest-known prime number – written (274207281)-1. It is around 22m digits long and, if printed in full, would take you days to read. Its discovery comes thanks to a collaborative project of volunteers who use freely available software called GIMPS (Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search) to search for primes.

A number which can only be divided by itself and 1 without a remainder is called a prime number. Here is a list of the primes less than 100: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97. Read more…

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