What I’ve learnt this week: 6th March

Teenagers don’t always grunt when you talk to them – if they’re in the right mood, sometimes they can come up with some really interesting facts.  So here are some of the gems I learnt on the school run this week from my usual car load of 5 teenagers (two are mine, but I’m not sure they contributed anything…)

  • On Saturn and Jupiter they believe it is hailing diamonds.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24477667.  Scientists think lightning storms turn methane into carbon which hardens as it falls, turning into chunks of graphite and then diamonds.  I wonder when Jupiter will come on Richard Branson’s space schedule?
  • If you add up the digits of a number and the total can be divided by 9, then the whole number can be, too.  For example 5,436.  5=4=3=6 = 18 (divisible by 9).  Thus 5,436 can be divided by 9, too ( I checked – its 604).
  • If an elephant and a feather are dropped from a tall height (ouch – no, I don’t advocate dropping elephants.  This is for illustration only) the elephant falls to the ground faster than the feather because it has a larger surface area, and thus more air resistance.  No surprise there.  But in the absence of air resistance (in a vacuum) both objects would fall at the same rate, landing at the same time.  This is because the speed in which they fall is dependent on both the mass and the net force acting on it. As mass increases, so does the force acting on it, by the same factor. So acceleration remains constant.  Umm, here is a much better explanation:  physics classroom



  • The World record for the number of times a pancake can be tossed in two minutes is 416.  It takes me that long to toss one, pick it off the floor, remove the fluff and shovel it onto a plate without anybody noticing.  They use a thicker pancake than usual for the record – here is some more information if you want to try it at home.
  • British women clock up average 339 minutes a day relaxing, according to a recent international survey.  This is more than any other country, except for Norway.  I can only presume that cooking, washing, cleaning and providing a taxi service to children are all considered leisure activities.




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