Retirement Life

5 science facts you never learned in school

5 science facts you never learned in school

The world has many strange but amazing true facts making it a really marvellous and mysterious place. 

The human stomach can dissolve razor blades

On the rare occasion that you swallow a razor blade, don’t fret. The human body is more capable than you think. Acids are ranked on a scale from 0 to 14 – the lower the pH level, the stronger the acid. Human stomach acid is typically 1.0 to 2.0, meaning that it has an impeccably strong pH. In a study, scientists found that the “thickened back of a single-edged blade” dissolved after two hours of immersion in stomach acid.

A laser can get trapped in water

Yes, really. A cool thing called total internal reflection is applied when pointing a laser beam through a container of water. When light travels through water, it’s slowed by the heavier particles in water, as described here. Thus, the laser beam effectively gets “trapped” in the water.

Earth’s oxygen is produced by the ocean

Ever stopped to think where oxygen comes from? Your first thought may be a rainforest, but marine organisms take the bait. Plankton, seaweed and other photosynthesisers produce over half of the world’s oxygen.

Animals use Earth’s magnetic field for orientation

Lost land animals may not be able to find their way home, but sea animals might. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), “there is evidence that some animals, like sea turtles and salmon, have the ability to sense the Earth’s magnetic field and to use this sense for navigation.”

A cloud can weigh over a million pounds

Your childhood dreams of floating on a weightless cloud may get rained on with this fact: the average cumulus cloud can weigh up to a million pounds. A million pounds! That’s about as heavy as the world’s largest passenger jet.

Written by Claire Nowak. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine,  here’s our best subscription offer.