Archive for July, 2010

Music is the universal language

Ever heard a song which is sung in a language you do not know and still felt peppy and happy? Or did you hear some soulful whinny number and feel depressed and sad? A team of scientists from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina seem to have found out just why music notes can cut through the language barrier in their science project.

It seems that the minor and major keys have a part to play. 4 semi tones above the keynote build an interval in a major and three tones in a minor. So when a speaker reads a text in a subdued voice it mirrors the minor intervals. On the other hand when the text is read out cheerfully it has many major intervals in it.

In addition while reading cheerful texts the different overtones of the vowels arrange their frequency relationships in a manner resembling a major chord. And this fact seems to apply across the different cultures and languages.

These emotion dependent sound patterns prove that music gets understood in the mood that it is made. That means if the tone is happy you will know it even if the language is unfamiliar. So perhaps language came after the evolution of music? The researchers are still working on it. You can work on this science project.

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Information Overload

3.6 zettabytes or a 36 followed by twenty zeros is the amount of information that an average American household consumed in 2008. That is the figure that the researchers of a University of California science project had to report. According to them the information that a family was bombarded with from communication channels like books, computers, TV, and newspapers was worth 3.6 zettabytes.

In case you are wondering just how much information that would be, imagine this. If all that information was taken as computer print outs the entire land mass of the USA would be buried under more than 2 meters of paper. And this is only the information that one single household swallowed!

The general media consumption of the average American is tagged by the same research at 34 gigabytes per day. And that figure does not include the usage of office equipment. Since 1980 consumption has increased at about 5.4% each year. And its still rising.

Each year Americans are spending more and more time processing information that is not crucial to them. About 11.8 hours in each day are spent trying to digest the information that communication channels keep throwing up. No wonder sometimes the allure of a clean break from it all on a desert island actually sounds good. Read about more interesting science projects here.

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How much is the fat in meat

We all know that eating too much fat is bad for us. How does one know how much fat is actually there in a pound of meat? Try out this kitchen based science experiment to find out. You may be surprised with the results.

You will need a pound of ground beef. A non stick skillet, a fine mesh strainer and a wooden spoon. A plastic cup and a kitchen scale. A heat source like a hot plate or a stove. Make sure you have an adult supervise your moves.

What you need to do is make two equal portions of the ground beef. Weigh them on the kitchen scales to ensure they are the same weight. Record the weight on paper. Now keep one portion away while you add the second portion to the skillet. Put this on the heat source and use the wooden spoon to cook it evenly.

Break up the meat and you will soon see some bubbles oozing out. This liquid is the fat contained in the meat. As the liquid begins to boil, strain it out of the meat containing skillet  into the plastic cup. Use the fine mesh strainer so that you get just the liquid fat and none of the meat.

Now weight the fat in the cup and the cooked meat separately. The meat usually contains between 7 to 22 percent fat. You can repeat the process with the raw meat to see if you get the same results. Try out more science projects here.

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Oil Spill Cleanup in Gulf of Mexico

We as a society are very dependent on energy. Many science projects Sometimes this need for energy puts the environment around us at risk. This is exactly what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. While drilling for oil deep under water is quite common practice the risks were brought out by the explosion which occurred in April this year.

The whole oil rig sank and the oil well started spewing oil into the waters of the gulf. It is now considered one of the largest environmental disasters in terms of oil spills to have ever hit the coast of the United States. The company responsible for the spill is BP and it is now launching a massive clean up operation.

Maybe this economic and environmental disaster has brought home the need to have alternative fuel and energy sources even more into the lime light. Harnessing green energy or renewable energy sources has never been as big a priority as it is today.

Many science projects use solar cells and may seem like fun, but now its time to get serious about actually using the solar energy in ways so that you no longer need an electrical connection from a power plant using coal or thermal fuel to generate that power.

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