Sea Glass – Is It Trash or What?

By Anupum Pant

In the Glass Beach, a beach in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California, like the name tells you, you’d normally find too many glass pieces on the beach. These glass pieces that people often find in beaches like these, aren’t exactly those sharp shards of glass that are sharp enough to harm you. Rather they are physically and chemically weathered pieces of glass –  round and small.

sea glass 4

This type of glass is called sea glass and has been a fancy of those hobbyists who like collecting these pieces to make beautiful adornments.

This kind of glass, often found on some beaches usually starts as shards of broken glass from dump or other such sources. In about a span of 1-2 years, the tumbling and weathering makes these pieces smooth and rounded. And then they are collectively known as “genuine sea glass

At this particular beach in California, the beach glass that has formed over the years, first started coming in when residents who lived close to the beach started dumping garbage into the beach. Local clean up services tried to clean up the mess, but most of it had already gone in for natural weathering by that time.

Soon after the clean-up services came around, the beach became a great place for hobbyists to collect these naturally weathered beautiful glass pieces. All the trash that was first thought to be a mess, now became a tourist attraction – Naturally weathered genuine sea glass was a thing of natural beauty now. And then this smuggling of sea glass by tourists had to stop. First the mess had to stop, now the mess being taken away by tourists had to stop.

And once the glass has started to go away, now there is a move to replace all the glass – that was once considered garbage!

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A Massive 3200 Year Old Tree in a Single Picture

By Anupum Pant

If there’s one place I’d like to visit, it is the part of California where you find giant sequoia trees. The Giant forest is one such grove in the western Sierra Nevada of California. It is home to five of the ten most massive trees on the planet.

With a tree trunk measuring 36.5 feet in diameter, the Giant Sherman in the Giant forest grove, is the largest of the trees in this grove. It is 275 feet tall! (and yet there are taller trees in existence – Hyperion – again in California, which is about 379 feet tall)

While the President tree, 3200 years old, is another one of these Giant sequoia. It has seen hundred generations of humans pass by. Throughout its life it has survived a number of storms, fires, winters, earthquakes, and climate changes. And even today it grows faster than most other trees on the planet, adding one cubic meter of wood every year.

Its trunk measures around 27 feet in diameter.  In height, its topmost point measuring at 247 feet, is slightly shorter than the Giant Sherman. Still, the tree is massive. Its huge branches hold about 2 billion needles (leaves), which is more than any other tree on earth.

It is so huge that until recently it hadn’t been captured in a single photograph (excluding satellite shots and other such smart ideas). A team from National geographic magazine joined scientists to study and photograph the tree.

the president tree

The Mystery Light Bulb Has Been On For 113 Years

By Anupum Pant

There are a handful of different reasons that may make an incandescent bulb blow out. Improper sealing, rough handling and electrical surge are some of them which may blow out a bulb prematurely. Still, bulbs are not for ever.

Very gradually, due to the extremely high heat of resistance, the very thin tungsten filament would evaporate making it thinner and thinner with time. Ultimately, the filament will certainly reach a point beyond which it can’t last. At a certain place in the filament where a slightly greater number of atoms get evaporated into the inert atmosphere of the bulb, the filament breaks. As a result the bulb pops and you need to replace it.

Even if everything goes right, your average incandescent bulb won’t usually last for more than a couple of years. Certainly not for 113 years! But one bulb did and it still glows. No one knows or understands why exactly it has lasted for so long. Whatever it is, it is nothing less than a miracle.

Installed in the year 1901, the incredibly old bulb (not tungsten filament, this one is a carbon filament bulb) still glows at a fire station in Livermore, California. All it’s life it’s seen ups and downs, was moved from one place to another (mostly fire stations), was protected from electrical surges and what not. With a few hours of brief outages here and there it has clocked over one million hours of burn time. And it still glows. In fact it holds the world record for being the longest burning light bulb. You can watch it here on the live cam.

[Centennial bulb live cam] Fun fact: The bulb has outlasted 3 of these webcams which keep broadcasting its live status.

Last year, it went off for a couple of hours and created waves all over the media. Later, it was reported that the bulb was back again. It was probably “just taking a nap“.

There are a couple of explanations (theories) on what may have made the bulb last so long. A few of them being –

  • It hasn’t been switched on and off many times. Lesser cycles, longer life.
  • It is a 60 watt bulb turned on to about 4 watts, which probably prevents it from going too hot.
  • Since a lot of extra care and money was spent on making this bulb, it was not one of those mass manufactured bulbs. It has probably been sealed perfectly. So, there’s no chance of air leaking into the bulb.

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