Monday, 20 December 2010

Why Elephants can't dance, the strongest animal on earth and more ...

Why elephants can't dance: Although they are one of the biggest and most charismatic animals on Earth, elephants can't dance because of their low area to volume ratio. Their legs are big and heavy to support their weight, but this impairs their ability to jump, change direction and dance, like an elegant ballerina. 

How hamsters can sky dive: The size of an animal determines its likelihood of surviving a fall from an aeroplane or a tall building. Smaller animals hit the ground with a proportionally lower force. That's why, whilst falling out of an aeroplane is fatal for humans, hamsters live and spiders dont even feel the impact. Don't try this at home!  

Why chocolate tastes so melt-in-the mouth good: Chocolate melts in your mouth thanks to the crystal structure of the cocoa butter that is used to make it. The crystal structure is created when molecules fit together and build to make up the cocoa butter fat. Getting this crystal structure right is the trick and its not easy there are six different crystal structures and only one works for chocoholics.  
Why ants are so strong: An ant can lift 100 times its own body weight compared to an Olympic weightlifter, who can only lift double their own weight on a good day. This is because, being so light, ants only use a small amount of their muscles to hold themselves up, leaving the rest of their strength for lifting. So, as things get bigger they get proportionally weaker. 

Can we build a lift to the moon? Until now there has not been a material strong enough to withstand the huge gravitational forces that dominate as you start to move up into space. But recently we discovered super strong materials, which make steel look as soft as butter by comparison, and which could indeed make it possible to build an elevator to the moon.

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