Curiosities

Just how WERE the Pyramids of Giza built?

Working in a biomechanics lab really gets me wondering how things are built. Lately, I’ve been wondering just what do we know about how the Egyptian pyramids were built 4,500 years ago. My pondering has brought me to some pretty interesting stuff.

First, of all, I had no idea exactly how huge the Egyptian pyramids are. Each pyramid used something like 2 million stones that were up to 15 tons each! The biggest (and oldest) of the three pyramids, The Great Pyramid, is 481 ft (147 m) tall, about the same size as the Space Needle in Seattle. Compared to modern skyscrapers, that’s not much, but consider trying to build anything on that scale without cranes, impact drills, hydraulic lifts, or, frankly, any complex machinery. ┬áThe feat becomes much more impressive, doesn’t it? So how’d they do it? Continue reading “Just how WERE the Pyramids of Giza built?”

Brain-wrapping neurons discovered in mice

Last year, scientists at the Allen Brain Institute on Seattle, WA have discovered 3 super long neurons that wrap around the entire in brain of a mouse. Usually, long neurons exist in outside of the brain and spine (what we neuroscientists call the periphery), and function to connect body parts that are far away from the brain. In humans, for example, the longest known nerve stretches from the just outside the bottom of the spine down to the big toe, with an average distance of half your full height. In adult humans, that’s about 3 feet (1 m)! Mice’s bodies are about 15 cm long, and, based on the size of mouse brains, these cells would be at least 2.5 cm long. That’s longer than most known neurons in the body!

Continue reading “Brain-wrapping neurons discovered in mice”

Why does a narwhal have a horn?

Well, tusk, actually. For a long time, we had ideas–but no real proof–as to why narwhals have a horn. Scientists discovered one use for the majestic tusks…with DRONES!

By flying drones out over the arctic sea, scientists at the World Wildlife Fund of Canada and Oceans Canada captured video of narwhals using their highly sensitive head-tooth to hunt for fish.

Continue reading “Why does a narwhal have a horn?”