Your Science Questions Answered #3

By Agata Tylki & Louange Lubangu

What’s the highest anyone has ever counted to?

Jeremy Harper a man living in Birmingham, Alabama verbally counted every number up to a million. He started counting on 18 June 2007 and reached his goal on 14 September that year at 7;45 p.m. EST. For a total duration of 89 days, he counted approximately 16 hours a day and raised over $10,000 for charity Push America. He didn’t even want to leave his house as not to allow himself any temptations to stop counting.

If you name a cow, are you going to get more milk?

Researchers from Newcastle University found that Daisy or Bertha may produce as much as 454 pints more each year than nameless cows in studies involving 516 farmers from the UK. It’s not the name itself that makes the difference. Dairy cows face a lot of pressure so those with names are likely to be more relaxed, feel happier and are given more attention. Over 60% of surveyed farmers admitted that they “know all of their cows”.

How far can the Hubble telescope see?

Telescopes are amazing things, they can see further and clearer than the human eye can see, and the telescope works by using a bigger lens which acts as our eye, and can therefore receive more light, and the smaller lens that we look through, translates this image before it reaches the retina, and magnifies the image we see, so we can see further than we would without it. But don’t be fooled, the naked eye can see 2.5 million lightyears away, that’s a whopping 2.36 x 1022 meters! The Hubble telescope though, can see 10-15 billion lightyears away, now that’s awesome.

Why do we put salt on the pavement when it snows?

Adding salt to snow or ice lowers its melting point. Water normally freezes at 0 °C by adding salt that threshold can drop to 7°C. This prevents many road accidents and slipping on the pavements. There is practically no difference between the salt you use in the kitchen and one used on the roads. The only one is the size.

Why do bees buzz?

Buzzing is a sound commonly heard when bees are flying and their wings are vibrating very fast. Buzzing may alter under various circumstances. They buzz more aggressively when attacking or defending themselves when their nests are under danger or while in conflict with the queen. Different subspecies buzz differently. For example, honey bees make a high-pitched buzzing sound called ‘piping’.

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