Lab-Grown And Natural Diamonds Are Basically Identical
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A diamond can be made in two ways: in the Earth, and in a lab. If you take the Earth route to get yourself a natural stone, you have millions of years to wait as the Earth crushes the future-diamond with enough force and heat to eventually create that familiar sparkly rock. A diamond made in a lab, on the other hand, will take about three months. Oh, and you can totally skip over the whole mining thing when you want to actually retrieve it. For all the work and trouble, the natural stone must be better, right? Not so fast. Natural diamonds are physically and chemically identical to synthetic ones grown in a lab. Lab-grown stones are 25-40% cheaper too. High five, scientists!
Jadarite Is The Real-World Version Of Kryptonite
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As comic book fans know, kryptonite is a substance created from the remains of Krypton, Superman's home planet. The usually green, crystalline mineral is known for its ability to thwart Superman's powers. The science behind the substance has changed over the years—it's been both an element on the periodic table and a compound made up of other elements—but in the 2006 film Superman Returns, fans finally caught a glimpse of its scientific name: sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide with fluorine.
The World's Largest Monument Is Hidden Under A Mountain
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When Spanish explorer Hernan Cortéz conquered the Aztec city of Cholula in what is now Mexico, the settlers built a large church on the top of a hill as a symbol of their conquest. At least, they thought it was a hill. In reality, it was a massive pyramid, with a base 1,480 feet (450 meters) square and a peak 217 feet (66 meters) tall. By the time Cortéz and his army arrived, the pyramid—known as Tlachihualtepetl, or "man-made mountain"—was already a thousand years old and hidden under layers of dirt and overgrowth. In fact, according to legend, no one even knew it was a pyramid until construction began on an insane asylum in 1910. This is likely due to the fact that it was built from mud bricks, which combined with humidity to create a prime place for tropical plants to grow. With a base four times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza and twice the volume, Tlachihualtepetl isn't just the world's largest pyramid. It's the world's largest manmade monument, period. Learn more about the Aztecs in the videos below.
Australia Drifts 7 Centimeters North Every Year
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The tectonic plate that's home to continent of Australia is on the move, drifting northward about 7 centimeters (3 inches) per year. This might seem small, but it adds up: the continent has moved 1.5 meters (5 feet) in a little more than a decade. Luckily, this doesn't do much to affect smartphones or other personal GPS devices that people use in their everyday lives. It does, however, affect more precise positioning technology, such as that of self-driving vehicles. For them, a 1.5-meter discrepancy could spell the difference between driving in the exit lane and driving on the shoulder. To fix this, Australian officials plan to shift the country's coordinate system further north than they need to: a full 1.8 meters on New Year's Day 2017. That way, the country's coordinates will line up with GPS satellites around 2020, when they can put a new system in place that won't require regular updates. Explore the science behind Australia's drift with the videos below.
Krishna's Butter Ball Is India's Gravity-Defying Boulder
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The small town of Mahabalipuram in India contains a baffling scene: one very special boulder. The name of this boulder is "Vaan Irai Kal," which translates to "Sky God's Stone," but it's more commonly known as Krishna's Butter Ball. The huge size of the thing isn't the strangest characteristic (the boulder measures 20 feet tall and 16.5 feet across), it's its location. The Butter Ball is perfectly perched on a sloping hillside, a seemingly gravity-defying position it has held for more than 1,200 years. This boulder is called Krishna's Butter Ball because of a Hindu legend that tells the story of the god Krishna, who liked to steal butter as a baby. The tale goes that Krishna dropped a huge dollop of butter that became the giant stone. Many people have tried to push the 250-ton boulder down the slope, but to no avail. So how does this iconic boulder maintain its unbelievable balance on a small base of less than two square feet? Even after a thousand years, the answer isn't clear. See the Butter Ball in the video below.