what i learned last week

1. it is increasingly likely that there was once life on mars. link

2. some components of speech intelligibility are determined (or at least manipulatable) by air pressure on the skin of the listener. link

3. the definition of death has changed at least three times in the past 150 years or so. originally the moment of death was when you stopped breathing. then, it changed in the mid-1800’s to the moment when your heart stopped. since the beginning of the use of heart-lung machines (today known as respirators) we had to come up with a different definition which, these days, is the one we use: when there is no measurable brain activity. (however, there are some religious doctrines such as judaism that stick with the breath definition, since, as the belief goes, if you have air in your lungs, your soul’s still in there.)

4. important news for all you h1n1-paranoid folks: hand sanitizers only work well if your hands are already clean. link

5. chihuahua discrimination is frowned upon in ontario. link

6. the average american drinks more than 200 litres of soda each year. link

7. if you wanted to offset your carbon footprint (of, on average, 9 tons of c02 per year) by buying bottles of coca-cola and not opening it, you’d have to spend about $600,000 per year on coke. (assuming: you have 9 tons of co2 to offset, 1 litre of coke contains 6 g of co2, and 2 litres of coke costs $0.79) link

8. on thanksgiving, the average american eats twice his/her average daily caloric intake, and two and a half times the average daily fat intake. thanks!

9. there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on the earth.

10. if transatlantic passenger jets flew in formation like geese, (with a separation of a couple of nautical miles) they would save about 15% on fuel. have a similar reduction in co2 output, and a 25% reduction in nitrogen-oxide output.

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