Thursday, 2 March 2017

6 Animals That Are Almost Completely Immortal.

Animals That Never Die
Jelly Fish
Immortality is an age-old concept I thought only existed in the movies. Mythology as old as human history refers to people and animals who never die. From the legendary Vampire Count. Dracula to the original hybrid, Klaus Michaelson.  But, for the most part, immortality is a fantasy-- right? Well, surprisingly there are some animal species that, for whatever reason, don't like the idea of death and have decided that they will have no part in it. These animals are functionally immortal. 


They never age, and unless something or someone, somewhere decides to kill them, they could theoretically live forever. Let's have a look at the 6 Animals that never die. 


1. The Sea Anemone

Sea Anemone Animals That Never Die
Sea Anemone
The lowly sea anemone may not look like an immortal animal. In fact, it doesn't even look like an animal. In between swaying to the left, swaying to the right, and occasionally swallowing a bit of debris, this brainless polyp is busy defying everything we know about mortality. A sea anemone doesn't age as it gets older; it simply grows bigger. 


Fortunately for those who find this a little creepy, none of them has lived long enough to develop sentience yet-- they get wiped out at around age 80 by heat, water pollution, infections and greedy collectors.


2. The Lobster

Lobster: Animals That Never Die
SpongeBob: Larry The Lobster

Like the sea anemone, the lobster is  Immortal. It has no brain, and its central nervous system is about as simple as a common household insect. But lobsters have somehow figured out a way to defy ageing as we know it. Unlike people, lobsters don't experience any change in metabolism or body function as they get older. A hundred years old lobster will even continue eating, moving and making baby-lobsters without any sense of shame. 


They also keep getting bigger-- meaning that, after couple-hundred years, they can be the size of a wolf, and capable of scaring the living daylights out of anyone who's read the Dark Tower series.


3. The Giant Aldabra Tortoise

Giant Aldabra Tortoise: Animals That Never Die
Giant Aldabra Tortoise

Aldabra giant tortoises are exactly what they sound like-- freaking Giants. The males can weigh nearly 800 pounds, which would make them the most terrifying animals in the world if they ate meat and moved a little quicker. Fortunately, Aldabra tortoises barely seem to notice humans like us-- they aren't tame; they simply don't care. Because, inside their little reptilian brains, they are laughing at the fact that we get old and die. 


We aren't sure just how long Aldabra tortoises live because they have a pesky tendency to live longer than the people watching them. The oldest confirmed age of an Aldabra tortoise was 255 years, but some may have lived to be twice that age.


4. The Rougheye Rockfish

Rougheye Rockfish: Animals That Never Die
Rougheye Rockfish

The rougheye rockfish just sounds defiant. In fact, I'd include a few more descriptions-- like riptide, rugged, 'rumblin', 'radical and ravin'-- in its name because the rockfish is incredibly ugly but makes up for it by being defiant of everything. 


Everything Including mortality. A rougheye rockfish, which is a functionally immortal animal, can live to be 200 years old or more unless some guy with a fishing pole manages to break it of its persistent addiction to life.



5. The Immortal Jellyfish

Jellyfish: Animals That Never Die
Immortal Jellyfish

The name says all. When the immortal jellyfish gets tired of being a sexually mature adult, it can decide to be a polyp-- that is, a baby-- again. To do this, the jellyfish (technically a medusa) turns itself inside-out, then re-absorbs its tentacles and other dangly bits. 


It then lands in its grave (or birth site) somewhere in the sand and becomes a colony of tiny little polyps. It's like your grandpa deciding that he's going to go to bed and turn into a few dozen fetuses-- only the immortal jellyfish doesn't have dementia and actually will follow through on its threat.


6. The Hydra

Hydra: Animals That Never Die
The Hydra

This is neither the Evil organisation we've all come to hate in the Captain America movie franchise nor the legendary 3-headed beast slain by Hercules. The hydra is a nearly microscopic immortal animal, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in stamina. (You probably know at least a handful of men who use the same excuse with their girlfriends.) Hydras are actually remarkably efficient predators; they release an explosion of neurotoxins into their prey, paralyse it, and then consume the animal whole. Every single cell in the hydra's tiny body is constantly dividing and rejuvenating, so any injured, polluted or defective cells are diluted by the thousands of others. Because they are constantly replenishing their living cells, hydras do not age at all-- ever.


Immortality doesn't truly exist in practice, but, in theory, any of these immortal animals really could manage to live forever. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for us) environmental conditions do eventually destroy every living "immortal" animal.

There you have it, 6 animals that actually never die or are almost Immortal. I know you enjoyed reading this one. Endeavour to share this with your friends using the numerous share icons floating all around the page. Also don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get more updates directly to your email. 

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The 5-second rule: When Is It Really Safe To Pick up and Eat Foods That Fall On The Floor?

The 5-second rule
Image Credit: www.kidshealth.org

Is It really safe to pick up and eat Foods that fall on the floor before 5 Seconds? Very interesting question if you ask me. I know you probably must have heard of the five-second rule somewhere, somehow, and you have absolutely no clue how valid this well-adopted rule is. However, if you're coming across this for the first time, the 5-second rule is a 'so-called' food hygiene practice stating that food (or sometimes cutlery) dropped on the ground will not be significantly contaminated with bacteria if it is picked up within five seconds of being dropped. As funny as it may sound, many of us actually believed and applied this rule while growing up; and it gained so much popularity in households, restaurant kitchens, schools and almost anywhere people prepare or consume food. 

Read More: Patient Zero: First Recorded Cases of 8 Common Deadly Disease Outbreaks In History.

Well, we at ScienceHealth24 got a little curious and did some digging. It turns out that the 5-second rule, where food is apparently 'safe' to eat if dropped on the floor and picked up within 5 seconds isn't actually true and there are facts to prove it. Some may truly believe this assertion, whereas most people employ the rule as an amusing social fiction that allows them to eat a dropped piece of food, despite the potential reservations of their peers. Researchers, by testing various foods on different surfaces to see how fast bacteria transfers to it, found that bacteria can jump on our dropped snacks in under 1 second, which of course is very bad news for big eaters everywhere, including myself.
According to Donald Schaffner, a member of the research team from Rutgers University, 

"The popular notion of the '5-second rule' is that food dropped on the floor, but picked up quickly, is safe to eat, because bacteria need time to transfer,"

"We decided to look into this because the practice is so widespread. The topic might appear 'light', but we wanted our results backed by solid science."
The team performed an experiment using four different types of surfaces - stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood, and carpet - and selected a number of different foods to drop on them, including watermelon, dry bread, buttered bread, and gummy candies. They grew Enterobacter aerogenes - a safe, non-pathogenic relative of Salmonella - in the lab, and covered their test surfaces in it.

Each piece of food was then dropped on each bacteria-covered surface, and left there for various amounts of time: 1 second, 5 seconds, 30 seconds, and 300 seconds. A total of 128 different scenarios trials were completed and replicated 20 times, adding up to 2,560 individual measurements that were used to analyse the amount of contamination on each food item.
The team discovered that the biggest factor when it came to bacteria transfer was the amount of moisture present in the food, followed by the type of surface it's being dropped onto. And while bacteria didn't hesitate to transfer over, the longer food was left on the surface, the more bacteria jumped on the food.
Schaffner said, "Transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food appears to be affected most by moisture. Bacteria don’t have legs, they move with the moisture, and the wetter the food, the higher the risk of transfer. Also, longer food contact times usually result in the transfer of more bacteria from each surface to food."

The team says that even though they found that longer contact times did lead to higher levels of contamination, picking up food in less than 5 seconds is still enough time for bacteria to transfer - especially if the food is wet or sticky like watermelon or candy, which had the highest levels of contamination across the tests.

"The 5-second rule is a significant oversimplification of what actually happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food," Schaffner says. "Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously."
There were some surprising finds, too. You would think that surfaces covered with Carpet, with its tendency to catch crumbs and get dirty rather quickly, would be bad; but the researchers found that it's actually the best surface because its structure minimises the amount of contact it has with the food.

The Rutgers team isn’t the first to debunk the 5-second rule. There have been other studies about it and TV shows have tackled it, too. But they hope that their concrete analysis of different types of foods and surfaces will help people to understand how the popular piece of advice is not something you want to base your hygiene practices around.
The team’s work was published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. You can read more on another Independently conducted experiment to test the 5-second rule by a high school senior Jillian Clarke, during a six-week internship in the food science and nutrition department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Well, that's all I have to say. Thanks for reading. There are so many new ways to share this article with your friends on social media and it would only take less than a second. Also, subscribe to our newsletter to get more amazing updates to your mail. Don't be shy, share your opinions in the comments below.

10 World's Deadliest Poisons Used To Kill People










World's Deadliest Poisons






I know it may seem like I'm helping a lot of killers out there 'up their game' with this post, but my motives are simply scientific.☺ In biology, poisons are substances that cause disturbances in organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when an organism absorbs a sufficient quantity. Poisons are definitely among fiction’s greatest weapons. Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes seem to have developed our interest in untraceable, fast-acting poisons. In case you do not know who Sherlock Holmes is, then a big part of your life is missing. However, murder mystery and solving crimes are one thing, but when the story becomes reality, you have got yourself a real killer!





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Thousands of chemical compounds exist in the world today which are toxic to man, I'd say there are only a handful of things that you ingest, inhale or simply come in contact with that won't kill you. Here's a list of the deadliest poisons used to kill people.



10. Hemlock






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Hemlock or Conium is a highly toxic flowering plant indigenous to Europe and South Africa. It was a popular one with the ancient Greeks, who used it to kill off their prisoners. For an adult, the ingestion of 100mg of conium or about 8 leaves of the plant is fatal – death comes in the form of paralysis, your mind is wide awake, but your body doesn’t respond and eventually the respiratory system shuts down. Probably the most famous hemlock poisoning is that of the Greek philosopher, Socrates.




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Condemned to death for impiety in 399 BC, he was given a very concentrated infusion of hemlock. Hmm... Really tragic.











9. Aconite






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Aconite comes from the plant monkshood. Lovers of the Vampire Diaries Tv series (like myself) will be thrilled to know that this plant is also known as Wolfsbane. Aconite leaves only one post-mortem sign, that of asphyxia, as it causes arrhythmic heart function which leads to suffocation. Poisoning can occur even after touching the leaves of the plant without wearing gloves as it is very rapidly and easily absorbed.





Read More: Water Intoxication: How Drinking Too Much Water Can Actually Kill You.






Because of its untraceable nature, it has been a popular one with the “get away with murder” crowd. Reportedly, it has a particularly famous casualty. Emperor Claudius is said to have been poisoned by his wife, Agrippina, using aconite in a plate of mushrooms. Well, obviously, if you're planning on killing a werewolf anytime soon, be sure to pack a lot of Wolfsbane.






8. Belladonna






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This was a favourite of the ladies! The name of this plant is Italian and means 'beautiful woman'. That’s because it was used in the middle-ages for cosmetic purposes – diluted eye-drops dilated the pupils, making the women more seductive (or so they thought). Also, if gently rubbed on their checks, it would create a reddish colour, what today would be known as a blush! This plant seems innocent enough, right?




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Well, actually, if ingested, a single leaf is lethal and that’s why it was used to make poison-tipped arrows. The berries of this plant are the most dangerous – consumption of ten of the attractive-looking berries is fatal.







7. Dimethylmercury






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This one is a slow killer – a man-made slow killer! But this is exactly what makes it all the more dangerous. Absorption of doses as low as 0.1ml have proven fatal; however, symptoms of poisoning start showing after months of initial exposure, which is definitely too late for any kind of treatment.





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In 1996, a chemistry professor at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, spilled a drop or two of the poison on her gloved hand – dimethylmercury went through the latex glove, symptoms appeared four months later and ten months later, she died.






6. Tetrodotoxin






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This substance is found in two marine creatures – the blue-ringed octopus and the puffer fish. However, the octopus is the most dangerous, because it purposely injects its venom, killing in minutes. It carries enough venom to kill 26 human adults within minutes and the bites are often painless, so many victims realise they have been bitten only when paralysis sets in.




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On the other hand, the puffer fish is only lethal if you want to eat it, but if it is well prepared, meaning the venom is taken out, the only thing that’s left is the adrenaline of eating something which could kill you.






5. Polonium






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Polonium is a radioactive poison, a slow killer with no cure. One gramme of vaporised polonium can kill about 1.5 million people in just a couple of months. The most famous case of polonium poisoning is that of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.





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Polonium was found in his tea cup – a dose 200 times higher than the median lethal dose in case of ingestion. He died in three weeks.




4. Mercury






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There are three forms of mercury which are extremely dangerous. Elemental mercury is the one you can find in glass thermometers, it’s not harmful if touched, but lethal if inhaled. Inorganic mercury is used to make batteries and is deadly only when ingested.





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And finally, organic mercury is found in fish, such as tuna and swordfish (consumption should be limited to 170g per week), but can be potentially deadly over long periods of time. A famous death caused by mercury is that of Amadeus Mozart, who was given mercury pills to treat his syphilis.







3. Cyanide






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Now here’s one right out of an Agatha Christie novel. Cyanide seems to be extremely popular (spies use cyanide pills to kill themselves when caught) and there are plenty of reasons for this. Firstly, it is found in a great variety of substances like almonds, apple seeds, apricot kernel, tobacco smoke, insecticides, pesticides and the list goes on. Murder, in this case, can be blamed on a household accident, such as ingestion of pesticide – a fatal dose of cyanide for humans is 1.5 mg per kilogramme of body weight. Secondly, it’s a rapid killer: depending on the dose, death occurs within 1 to 15 minutes.





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Also, in its gaseous form – hydrogen cyanide – it was the agent used by Nazi Germany for mass murders in gas chambers during the Holocaust.


If you're a fan of the TV series Limitless, then you probably must have heard them say Cyanide is basically untraceable in the victim's body. This compound is a known inhibitor of the Electron Transport Chain and oxidative phosphorylation, thereby preventing ATP synthesis.







2. Botulinum Toxin






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If you’re watching Sherlock Holmes, then you’ll know about this one. The Botulinum toxin causes Botulism, a fatal condition if not treated immediately. It involves muscle paralysis, eventually leading to the paralysis of the respiratory system and, consequently, death.





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The bacteria enter the body through open wounds or by ingesting contaminated food. By the way, botulinum toxin is the same stuff used for Botox injections especially in the treatment of Excessive sweating disorders!




1. Arsenic






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Arsenic has been called “The King of Poisons”, for its discreetness and potency – it was virtually undetectable, so it was very often used either as a murder weapon or as a mystery story element. But that’s until the Marsh test came and signalled the presence of this poison in water, food and the like.




Read More: The 5-second rule: When Is It Really Safe To Pick up and Eat Foods That Fall On The Floor?




However, this king of poisons has taken many famous lives: Napoleon Bonaparte, George the 3rd of England and Simon Bolivar to name a few. On another note, arsenic, like belladonna, was used by the Victorians for cosmetic reasons. A couple of drops of the stuff made a woman’s complexion white and pale. Just perfect! From basic Biochemistry, I know (that means that you should also know) that Arsenic kills by competing with Phosphoric acid in the Glycolytic pathway. It is actually a competitive inhibitor that displaces phosphate from 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate forming 1-Arseno-3-phosphoglycerate which is a very unstable compound. Cutting the long story short, you die.

Okay, there you have it, 10 World's Deadliest Poisons you will ever come across.Thanks for reading, in case you wanted to use a lesser toxic poison to kill someone before, now you know better. Please endeavour to share this with your friends using the share widgets and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to receive our latest updates directly to your Email. Oh! Don't be shy, share your opinion in the comments below.