5 of the Craziest Science Facts Out There, Part 2
1. How heavy do you think a cloud is?
The typical cumulus cloud weighs 216,000 pounds, according to science correspondent for NPR Robert Krulwich. That’s about the weight of two-thirds of a blue whale.
The warm air rising pushes the water in the cloud up, supporting this immense weight in the sky. A dark storm cloud weighs about 105.8 million pounds on average, the weight of 353 blue whales.
2. How far would you guess the naked human eye can see?
Several miles? Several hundred miles? Actually, the human eye can see 2.5 million light years away. This is the distance of the farthest object we can see in the sky with plain sight, the Andromeda Galaxy.
Image of an eye via Shutterstock
The Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy, visible in the upper right. (Andyspictures/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons)
3. Blind People Can Use Echolocation Like Bats
Daniel Kish lost his eyesight as a toddler. He started making clicking sounds with his tongue, and now, at the age of 47, his tongue clicking can help him ride a bicycle through traffic without trouble. Kish explained to National Geographic, for its July 2013 edition, how human echolocation works: “Sound waves are produced by every tongue click. These waves bounce off surfaces all around and return to my ears as faint echoes. My brain processes the echoes into dynamic images. It’s like having a conversation with the environment.”
He now teaches other blind people to use echolocation.
4. Tomacco Exists
Homer Simpson made a cross-species plant called “tomacco” in the cartoon series “The Simpsons.” Homer sold the tobacco-tomato plant, getting people hooked and making a fortune. Rob Baur of Lake Oswego, Ore., successfully merged the two plants in real life in 2003. Tobacco and tomatoes come from the same family, along with eggplants and nightshade, according to Wired magazine. Baur told Wired the plant’s fruit would probably be poisonous, containing high levels of nicotine.
5. Toads Sense Earthquakes
Image of a toad via Shutterstock
A population of toads left breeding grounds in L’Aquila, Italy in 2009 three days before an earthquake struck. It appears toads can sense an earthquake, though it is still unclear how, noted biologists in a Journal of Zoology article following the incident.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that a storm cloud weighs about the same as three blue whales. In fact, a storm cloud weighs about the same as 353 blue whales. Epoch Times regrets the error.
*Image of storm clouds via Shutterstock