Dead Skin Is In The Air In Subway Systems

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Dead Skin Is In The Air In Subway Systems

Several million people ride the New York City subway system every single day. As you might imagine, it's not quite the picture of cleanliness. According to research conducted in 2007 and 2008 by biologists from the University of Colorado, 15% of the matter analyzed in New York City subway system air consisted of human skin. Most of this skin came from the heads and heels of riders, but smaller portions originated from riders' belly buttons, ears, underarms, and rear ends. The air is just one place to find pollutants in the subway. Christopher Mason of Cornell University tested samples from every subway station in New York City to map the bacteria. His study, published in 2015, states that traces of disease like the bubonic plague, meningitis, and staph infections were present. "Our data show evidence that most bacteria in these densely populated, highly trafficked transit areas are neutral to human health, and much of it is commonly found on the skin or in the gastrointestinal tract," Mason said. "These bacteria may even be helpful, since they can out-compete any dangerous bacteria." Watch the video below to learn more about Mason's research.

You Have A Dominant Nostril At Any Given Point

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You Have A Dominant Nostril At Any Given Point

Take a deep breath through your nose. It may not feel like it, but one nostril is working much harder than the other. In fact, at any given point, you have a dominant nostril, and which one is dominant will switch throughout your day. This is a process called the nasal cycle. Your nostrils automatically take turns inhaling and exhaling the majority of your air, and they are never splitting the workload evenly. According to research, the resistance difference between the right and left nostrils is about 20%. Why do they take turns? One reason is that our bodies must constantly adjust how much smell we take in at once, so we don't overload our senses.

09:23

from Vsauce

Key Facts to Know

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    One nostril inhales and circulates air more efficiently than the other. 0:41

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    Our bodies must constantly adjust how much smell we take in at once, as not to overload our senses. 4:47

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    Smell and memories are closely linked. 5:34

Your Lungs Aren't What Makes Your Chest Rise When You Breathe

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Your Lungs Aren't What Makes Your Chest Rise When You Breathe

Every time you breathe, your diaphragm tightens and moves downward. This ups the space inside your chest cavity, and your lungs can safely expand in the roomier surroundings. (The muscles of the rib cage also contract along with the diaphragm.) When you breathe out, the space in your chest cavity shrinks, forcing air out of your lungs. Many people believe that the inflation and the deflation of their lungs is what causes their chests to move up and down with each breath, but in fact it is the contraction and release of the diaphragm that causes this motion.

03:28

from DNews

Key Facts to Know

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    All living cells get their energy through a process called cellular respiration. 0:38

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    Without oxygen, brain cells lack the energy necessary to communicate. 2:00

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    Plants break down glucose using oxygen and cellular respiration to get the energy they need to grow. 2:36

These Animals Use Their Anuses For Breathing

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These Animals Use Their Anuses For Breathing

Animals use their anuses for more than just the one obvious reason. Some animals actually breathe... through their butts. Three such animals that use their anuses for taking in oxygen are the sea cucumber, the Fitzroy river turtle, and the dragonfly nymph. So, how does it work? In the case of the sea cucumber, it pulls in water through its anus to supply respiratory trees in its body with oxygen. The dragonfly nymph, however, uses its anus as gills. These very sensitive gills can detect pollution, which tells scientists that bodies of water with low dragonfly nymph numbers are likely polluted.

02:05

from Animalist

Key Facts to Know

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    The sea cucumber has a air of respiratory trees in its body that extract oxygen from the water. 0:21

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    Fitzroy river turtles can get about two-thirds of their air supply by pumping water in and out of their butts. 0:43

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    The dragonfly nymph's anus acts as gills underwater. 1:05

You've Shared Your Air With Einstein

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You've Shared Your Air With Einstein

Not only that, but you've probably breathed in some of the molecules from one of Einstein's most momentous breaths—the one after he wrote his famous relativity equation, for example. Various people have used the math demonstrated below to determine that the air we breathe has been shared with countless famous figures in the past. Even when you account for molecules lost due to various processes, the chances that you've inhaled the same stuff as your favorite historical icon are high.

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Key Facts to Know

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    If the Earth was the size of a soccer ball, its atmosphere would only add about one millimeter to the surface. 0:51

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    The atmosphere weighs about 5 x 10^21 grams. 1:55

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    Each time you inhale, you breathe in about one liter of air. 2:15