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Science

Your Science Questions Answered…

By Stephanie Ma

Could Jurassic Park happen in real life?

We’ve all pondered the same question since the popular blockbuster hit cinemas 24 years ago. Nevertheless, the concept of dinosaur rebirth could never happen in real life, according to a research conducted by a group of scientists at the University of Manchester. In order to fully revive the ancient creatures, their DNA must be extracted and combined with genes from other animals. But in reality, such DNA of the species does not exist as DNA bonds have a half-life of only 521 years. Dinosaurs went extinct some 66 million years ago, thus rendering the sequences to be completely destroyed.

Is house dust mostly dead skin?

This is surely one of those gross science factoids that may sound fairly accurate but isn’t actually true. Usually, about 75% to 90% dead flakes of human skin make up the dust in our home. However, unless you’re a molting bird or a skin-shedding reptile, very little of our environment is comprised of human skin cells since the majority of them are carried away by water when we shave and bathe. In fact, there are far more common sources of dust pollutants, such as plant pollen, human and animal hairs, textile and paper fibres, minerals from outdoor soil and many other materials found in other human environments.

Why do we hiccup?

Hiccups: little bursts of inspiratory activity that has most certainly left a lot of us in uncomfortable and embarrassing situations. Although short-lived, the reason why we sometimes experience them is due to a disturbance in the nerve pathways from the brain to the muscles involved. In addition, they may also occur alongside temperature changes, strong emotions, stress and even eating or drinking. Seek immediate medical attention if your hiccups are persistent, as they often indicate complications in the brain, spinal cord or other structures around the diaphragm or chest wall.

When can we see a daytime moon?

The moon reigns the sky during the day as often as it does at night. It is only during the full moon that it is positioned exactly opposite the sun, meaning that it rises just as the sun is setting and sets when the sun is rising. The moon is up all night long only one night in the month. The daytime moon is always up there, it’s just too pale against the bright blue sky.

Can a person survive in a falling lift if they jumped as it hits the ground?

No, probably not and it has a great deal to do with momentum. In terms of equation, momentum is generated through the multiplication of the mass and velocity of an object. Hence, the faster the lift is travelling when it hits the ground, the more force the person trapped inside would feel. In theory, if he/she jumps, the impact will be lessened when the fast-moving lift free-falls. However, the difference is probably too small to be noticeable.

What is the skin hanging under a rooster’s neck called?

The red, flappy skin hanging underneath a rooster’s throat is known as the wattle. Like the colour of its comb, it is deep red and blemish-free, with various shape and size depending on the rooster’s breed. Research suggests that a rooster’s wattle is often an ornament for courting potential mates as larger, brighter ones are signifiers of good health, high testosterone levels and status.

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