10 Fun Facts To Finish The Summer That You'll Be Talking About All Semester

10 Fun Facts To Finish The Summer That You'll Be Talking About All Semester

The things you never knew you needed to know.

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Ever wonder how many teaspoons it might take to fill the Atlantic Ocean? No? Well, then maybe you'll find the other 9 interesting.

1. There is enough DNA in an average person's body to stretch from the sun to Pluto and back 17 times

The human genome, the genetic code in each human cell, contains 23 DNA molecules each containing from 500 thousand to 2.5 million nucleotide pairs. DNA molecules of this size are 1.7 to 8.5 cm long when uncoiled, or about 5 cm on average. There are about 37 trillion cells in the human body and if you'd uncoil all of the DNA encased in each cell and put them end to end, then these would sum to a total length of 2×10 meters or enough for 17 Pluto roundtrips (1.2×10 meters/Pluto roundtrip.)

2. The average human body carries 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells

It's funny how we compulsively wash our hands, spray our countertops and grimace when someone sneezes near us—in fact, we do everything we can to avoid unnecessary encounters with the germ world. The truth of the matter is that each and every one of us is a walking petri dish! All the bacteria living inside you would fill a half-gallon jug or 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells, according to Carolyn Bohach, a microbiologist at the University of Idaho. Don't worry, though. Most of these bacteria are helpful; in fact, we couldn't survive without them.

For one thing, bacteria produce chemicals that help us harness energy and nutrients from our food. Germ-free rodents have to consume nearly a third more calories than normal rodents to maintain their body weight, and when the same animals were later given a dose of bacteria, their body fat levels spiked, even if they didn't eat any more than they had before. The gut bacteria are also very important to maintaining immunity.

3. It can take a photon 40,000 years to travel from the core of the sun to its surface, but only eight minutes to travel the rest of the way to Earth

Photon travels, on average, a particular distance before being briefly absorbed and released by an atom, which scatters it in a new random direction. From the core to the sun's surface (696,000 kilometers) where it can escape into space, a photon needs to make a huge number of drunken jumps. The calculation is a little tricky, but the conclusion is that a photon takes between many thousands and many millions of years to drunkenly wander to the surface of the sun. In a way, the light that reaches us today is energy produced maybe millions of years ago. Amazing!

4. At over 2000 kilometers long, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on Earth

Coral reefs consist of huge numbers of individual coral polyps—soft-bodied, invertebrate animals—linked by tissue. The Great Barrier Reef is an interlinked system of about 3000 reefs and 900 coral islands, divided by narrow passages, just beneath the surface of the Coral Sea. Spanning more than 2000 km and covering an area of some 350,000 sq km, it is the largest living structure on Earth and the only one visible from space. But this fragile coral colony is beginning to crumble, battered by the effects of climate change, pollution, and manmade disasters.

5. There are eight times as many atoms in a teaspoon of water as there are teaspoons of water in the Atlantic Ocean

A teaspoon of water (about 5 mL) contains 2×10 water molecules, but each water molecule is comprised of three atoms: two hydrogens and one oxygen. Moreover, if you'd laid down end to end each water molecule from a teaspoon, you'd end up with a length of 50 billion km, or 10 times the width of our solar system.

6. The average person walks the equivalent of five times around the world in a lifetime

The average moderately active person takes around 7,500 steps a day. If you maintain that daily average and live until 80 years of age, you'll have walked about 216,262,500 steps in your lifetime. Doing the math, the average person with the average stride genome that lives until 80 will walk a distance of around 110,000 miles. This is the equivalent of walking about 5 times around the Earth, right on the equator.

7. When Helium is cooled to almost absolute zero (-460°F or -273°C), the lowest temperature possible, it becomes a liquid with surprising properties: it flows against gravity and will start running up and over the lip of a glass container

We all know helium as a gas for blowing up balloons and making people talk like chipmunks, but what most people don't know is that it comes in two distinct liquid states, one of which is borderline creepy. When helium is just a few degrees below its boiling point of -452 degrees Fahrenheit (-269 degrees Celsius) it will suddenly be able to do things that other fluids can't, like dribble through molecule-thin cracks, climb up and over the sides of a dish, and remain motionless when its container is spun. No longer a mere liquid, the helium has become a superfluid—a liquid that flows without friction.

"If you set [down] a cup with a liquid circulating around and you come back 10 minutes later, of course, it's stopped moving," says John Beamish, an experimental physicist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Atoms in the liquid will collide with one another and slow down. "But if you did that with helium at low temperature and came back a million years later," he says, "it would still be moving."

8. If Betelgeuse would explode, transiting from the red supergiant stage to supernova, then our sky would light continuously for two months. It can happen anytime, within a couple of thousand years, tomorrow or even now

Betelgeuse lies some 430 light-years from Earth. Yet it's already one of the brightest stars in Earth's sky. The reason is that Betelgeuse is a supergiant star. Betelgeuse has a luminosity about 10,000 times that of the sun and its radius is calculated to be about 370 times that of the sun. If it were positioned at the center of our sun, its radius would extend out past the orbit of Mars. Because it's near the end of its lifetime, Betelgeuse is likely to explode into a supernova.

9. An individual blood cell takes about 60 seconds to make a complete circuit of the body

The average heart pumps about 70 mL of blood out with each beat. Also, a healthy heart beats around 70 times a minute. So, if you multiply the amount of blood that the heart can pump by the number of beats in a minute, you actually get about 4.9 liters of blood, which is almost your whole body's worth of blood. In just a minute, the hearts pumps the entire blood volume around your body.

10. You are not alone

The known universe is made up of 50,000,000,000 galaxies. There are between 100,000,000,000 and 1,000,000,000,000 stars in a normal galaxy. In the Milky Way alone, there might be as many as 100 billion Earth-like planets. And no one knows who live in those galaxies. Still, you think you're alone.


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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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