Take the Bull by the Horns
Did you know that we owe this very common phrase that we use even today to Hercules? It was in one of his Twelve Labors that Hercules had to face a huge raging bull at the Knossos Palace on the island of Crete. As soon as the bull charged against him, Hercules stood his ground and with all his force took the bull from its thorns, forcing the beast to complete submission.
China's Terracotta Army of Warriors: Could the Greeks be Behind This?
Recent discoveries indicate that these astonishingly life-like warriors made out of clay may have been influenced by ancient Greek sculptors that arrived in China almost 1,500 years earlier than Marco Polo’s travels. In fact, archaeologists and historians working at the site, claim that ancient Greek sculptors could have worked alongside with the Chinese, teaching and training them on how to make these startling designs.
Daylight Savings Time ... Energy
In 2008, experts from the U.S. Department of Energy conducted a study on the impact of extending Daylight Saving Time by four weeks, and it was concluded that this slight extension actually saved 0.5% of electricity, each day. It might seem as a small percentage, but in fact it amounts to 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours saved, or the amount of electricity used by over 100,000 households for a whole year. So, next time we turn our clocks forward in spring, we might also think about saving some energy too!
The the Moon and Back
Even though there are numerous theories, there is still no definitive and conclusive explanation as to why Earth has such a large moon and how it was formed. We do know that such a stabilizing moon of this size is potentially a rather rare occasion in our universe, and that if it were any other size then Earth’s axial swing would be so extreme that even life would be prevented from forming on our planet; but the fact remains that even today we are still not 100% scientifically sure as to why & how the moon came to be.
The birth of the…birthday cake!
The tradition of candle-lit birthday cakes that is so widespread in our time, allegedly has its origin in ancient Greece when people brought cakes adorned with lit candles to the temple of Artemis to honor her birth on the 6th day of every lunar month. It is said, that these candles were lit so as to resemble the glow of the moon, a symbol directly associated with Artemis.
When Earth Was Purple
Life on early Earth may have been just as purple as it is green today, according to a theory developed by Shil DasSarma, a microbial geneticist at the University of Maryland. Instead of chlorophyll, ancient microbes might have used another light-sensitive molecule to harness the sun's rays, like retinal that absorbs green light and reflects back red and violet light, giving off a violet hue on organisms, he suggests.
The butterfly solar effect
A microscopic pattern on the wings of a butterfly has shown scientists how to capture more of the sun’s energy in solar cells. The scales of the black-colored common rose butterfly are topped with an irregular lattice of chitin and melanin. The nanostructure of this lattice, even though its openings are less than a millionth of a meter wide, helps the cold-blooded insect regulate its body temperature by scattering light and helping the butterfly absorb more of the sun’s heat and thus keeping it warm enough to fly in cool weather. By mimicking the butterfly’s structure in a sheet of hydrogenated amorphous silicon, Radwan Siddique, an engineer and his colleagues at Karlsruhe were able to capture more low-frequency light — at wavelengths near the infrared end of the spectrum — that wouldn’t have been converted to energy otherwise. The findings were published on October 18th 2017 in the research journal Science Advances, and they’re part of a growing body of research aimed at improving the efficiency and reducing the size of solar cells.
Do you speak Math?
According to researchers, our best chance to communicate with intelligent aliens (if any…) is math! Similar to music and art, mathematics is an intrinsical part of our humanity and in fact most argue that it might even be more familiar, and hence more understandable, to extraterrestrial civilisations. Actually, Carl DeVito, a renowned mathematician at the University of Arizona, has taken it a step further and has proposed such a mathematical language based on universal scientific concepts.
Planet Nine, also known as “Super Earth” is out there, and astronomers are determined to find it, according to a new statement from NASA. In fact, mounting evidence suggests it's hard to imagine our solar system without the unseen world. The hypothetical planet is believed to be about 10 times more massive than Earth and located in the dark, outer reaches of the solar system, approximately 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune is. While the the mysterious world has yet to be found, astronomers have discovered a number of strange features of our solar system that are best explained by the presence of a ninth planet.
The Apple of Discord
The common phrase "apple of discord” that we use to refer to something that causes an argument, actually has its origin in an ancient Greek myth: during a feast of the Gods to celebrate King Peleus’ wedding, Eris, the Goddess of Discord, angry for being snubbed, decided to stir things up. So she arrived uninvited but with an intriguing gift: a golden apple as a prize for the “fairest one”. The Goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite immediately made their claim the prize and Zeus, reluctant to pick sides in this “catfight”, decided that the mortal prince of Troy, Paris would be the judge. Each Goddess, in her own way, tried to influence Paris’ decision but in the end he picked Aphrodite, since she offered him the one thing he desired most: the love of the most beautiful mortal woman – and for Paris that woman was Helen of Sparta .. and we all know how that ended!
The Antikythera Man
For the first time in 40 years, a 2,000-year-old human skeleton has been uncovered at the legendary archaeological site of the Antikythera shipwreck in Greece. This is an extremely uncommon finding and archaeologists are confident that DNA analyses on these human remains might reveal fascinating new information – maybe even help to solve the mystery surrounding the Antikythera Mechanism, also known as the world’s oldest computer.
How's the Weather? ... Ask a Tree!
When looking at a tree stump, you will notice at its top a series of concentric rings. These rings however tell a more detailed story than just that tree’s age… Very old trees offer clues as to what the weather was like in that area way before we could start keeping weather records – for example, wide rings indicate warm and wet periods, while thin rings show cold and dry periods, and even stressful conditions like a drought. Picking up these natural clues, also known as “proxies”, has significantly extended our scientific knowledge and understanding of climate and weather from hundreds to thousands of years – a valuable “weapon” for today’s “war” against climate change.
The Wow! Signal
On August 15th 1977, astronomer Jerry R. Ehman was in for the biggest surprise of his life… While using the Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope, he suddenly received a signal from deep space that lasted 72 seconds and originated from the Sagittarius constellation. Getting it’s name from his astonished note next to the signal’s readout, the Wow! Signal remains to this day the only radio transmission we have received that appears to be from an extra-terrestrial intelligent source.