The Smell of Lightning

For many, springtime on the East Coast means the welcome of thunderstorms. We had our first big storm yesterday, with window-shakingly close lighting strikes. One lightning strike was so close my office was filled with a pungent smell for about 15 minutes afterward. I love the smell of lightning, or more accurately, ozone. So, naturally, I got to wondering about how we detect and process the smell of ozone. Turns out, it’s pretty strange and mysterious!

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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?”