Stone Age Technology Still Makes the Best Blades

By Anupum Pant

Normally, the electric shaver gets the work done. So, I almost never  have to use a fixed blade razor for shaving my facial hair, but after seeing this, I think I should start using a fixed blade. Here is a highly magnified image (using a scanning electron microscope) of two strands of hair. The left one was cut using a fixed blade and the right one was cut using an electric razor. See the difference for yourself.

magnified image of Hair cut using a fixed blade and electric shaver

 

So, even if the major thing that causes a messed up strand is due to the fast moving blade of an electric razor, but one other important factor is the sharpness of the blade. The point is, electric shaver blades aren’t too sharp, while fixed blade steel razors are pretty sharp. Thus, the steel blades can give you a clean cut.

Still, when it comes to fine tools, steel blades stand nowhere. Look at what a Gillette blade looks like when its put under an electron microscope (at not even a very high magnification – 150x).

Gillette_Blue_Blade_150x

Yes, even those seemingly perfect Gillette blades can be that jagged under high magnification. Thank goodness, blades can get much finer.

Obsidian Blades

Obsidian is a naturally occurring black volcanic glass. A glassy rock, you could say. It is very hard and of course, like most hard things are, it is brittle too. So, if it isn’t handled with good care, it breaks pretty easily. Yes, that kind of a rock.

When it breaks, it forms very sharp edges. These edges can sometimes get much much sharper than your normal steel blades. Also, even if they are brittle, they are pretty durable in a sense that they can hold their edge for much longer times. These were the reason, our ancient palaeolithic ancestors used to chip these rocks and made them as the tips of their spears and arrows.

Blade edges made out of obsidian are so sharp that they don’t seem jagged even when seen under an electron microscope. Their edges, if made carefully using processes like pressure flaking process, can get up to 3 nm thick. Good quality blades can make cuts down to single molecules! That is about 500 times sharper than the sharpest steel blade.

Left: Obsidian tip under and electron microscope. Right: Steel point under an electron microscope.
Left: Obsidian tip under and electron microscope. Right: Steel point under an electron microscope.

While blade edges made out of obsidian are not approved by the FDA, surgeon scalpels are still made using them. Studies say that cuts made using these blades get healed much faster than the ones made by steel blades because obsidian blades can make extremely narrow cuts between the cells, and not tear the cells apart.

Lee A. Green, associate professor of family practice at the Medical Center, uses obsidian knives for removing moles and repairing torn earlobes. – Source

Of course synthetic diamond blades have been made. But obsidian blades are still better in terms of durability.

Stone age technology is still the best.

Please hit like if you learnt something from this article.

Intelligent Men Look Different – Says Science

By Anupum Pant

Background

I know, I’m not a very big fan of intelligence scores or IQ points measured using the standard IQ tests available today. And even if this study does rely on those scores, I still find it pretty interesting. You will too…

Judging a book by its cover isn’t unwise after all. A recent study published by researchers from the Czech Republic proves that all of us humans have a natural ability to estimate how intelligent a man really is, by just looking at his facial features. That said, the study also mentions that you can’t judge a woman’s intelligence by observing her facial features. It works for only men. However, both men and women have this ability to estimate the intelligence of a man by looking at his face.

The study finds no solid correlation between the features of a woman’s face and their intelligence. That means, to find out about how intelligent a woman is, you’ll have to dig deeper than just the facial features.

People can accurately judge intelligence by looking at faces of men, but not women.

The study did not use a very huge sample – Still pictures of 40 men and 40 women were used. Nevertheless even 80 pictures contribute a significant amount to science. No experiment is a bad one. We’ll probably see more such studies and know more about the phenomenon in the near future.

They also measured the intelligence of these 80 people using standard IQ tests and asked people to rate their intelligence. It was found that people were able to almost accurately tell the IQ of a man by looking at his picture!

How do we do it?

We have an inbuilt ability to spot the shape and features of intelligent men. This could be a pretty logical evolutionary trait.

Faces of intelligent men: According to the researchers, longer faces with greater distance between the eyes, pointy chins, larger noses, slightly smiley lips are the features of highly intelligent men.

Faces of not so intelligent men: Whereas broader and rounded faces with eyes closer to each other, shorter faces, sad lips and bigger chins are the signs which tell us that a man is not so intelligent.

Here see the difference yourself. What do you think? Could you spot it? Which one of these faces is the closest to your face? Tell me in the comments below. Tell me about mine too.

intelligent face

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The Simple Difference Between Venom and Poison

By Anupum Pant

Venom and Poison are both toxic substances. Still, some animals are called venomous and others are poisonous. The only difference between being called poisonous or venomous is in the way these animals deliver the harmful substance.

Venom: When animals like snakes use their sharp fangs to bite into the flesh and let the toxic substance move into the body of their prey,  through the punctured skin, they are called venomous animals. To deliver venom an animal has to use tools like fangs or stingers.

Poison: Poison is something that can get inhaled, ingested or seeped into the skin directly. For example, if you accidentally touch a brightly colored poison dart frog, you will transfer the toxins it secretes from its skin, to your own skin. And then the poison will seep into your blood stream.

The same substance can be Venom + Poison: Some substances can be both venom and poison depending on how an animal delivers it. eg: Tetrodotoxin – an extremely toxic substance – is found in both puffer fish and in a blue ringed octopus. It is poisonous in a puffer fish and venomous in a blue ringed octopus.

The same animal can be both venomous and poisonous: One example for this is the pelagic sea snake – a snake related to cobra. It has a poisonous flesh and its bite can also deliver a venom.

Non-poisonous Venom: There are some venoms which can be ingested without experiencing any ill effects because it was not designed to survive the acids present in the stomach. These types of venoms won’t get a change to get absorbed in the blood stream. Before they try that, they might get digested. This is the reason a snake doesn’t die when it swallows its own venom. That doesn’t mean you can try drinking snake venom.

So you can happily go around telling everybody that most snakes aren’t poisonous, because most snakes use fangs to deliver venom, not poison. [Video]

 

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