This Green Slime Like Thing is a 3000 Year Old Plant

By Anupum Pant

It looks like moss, but it isn’t. Nor is it slimy.

This gooey or slimy looking thing is actually a plant which grows in Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Peru, up in the Andes at altitudes between ten to fifteen thousand feet. Believe it or not, some of these plants are more than 3000 years old. Yes, they are one of the oldest living organisms on the planet earth – older than the golden age of Greece.

Even though the plant looks slimy goo-like from a distance, when you go closer, it is actually solid and dry to the touch. The surface of the plant consists of densely packed tens of thousands of tiny buds and flowers which make the surface feel like a pillow. That is the reason it is also  known as the Andes Pillow. In fact the surface is so stiff that a person can lie on it and the plant won’t get crushed.

It is sort of a cousin to parsley and carrots. And it is interesting to note that the plant smells like mint. Locals often boil it in water and use it to cure muscle pain.

Llareta grows extremely slowly. It grows about 1.5 cm every year. The ones which are about 2.5 to 3 meters in size can be said to have grown for hundreds of years to reach that size.

Since Llareta is dense and dry, it burns like wood, and has been known to be used by the climbers/hikers to make fire. Some say that it was also used in steam engines instead of coal. This careless burning of the extremely slow-growing living museum has endangered their long-term survival.

via [RadioLab]

Weight of the Copper Tube with a Falling Magnet

By Anupum Pant

Remember I talked about Copper tube and a magnet a couple of days back? Turns out the same happens when you use an aluminium tube too. In short, a magnet (a strong one – neodymium magnet) when dropped into an aluminium or copper pipe falls very slowly, as if gravity stops acting on it.

It is due to the opposing magnetic forces generated by the electric field which is in turn generated by the magnetic field of the magnet (more in the link above).

That said, have you wondered what happens to the weight of the tube when the magnet is falling? Does it increase, decrease or remain the same? Just give it a guess and watch the following video.

The Royal Institution Explains:

Hit like if you learnt something today.

Everyone Knows Magnet in a Copper Tube, But this…

By Anupum Pant

I’m sure you know that if you let a strong magnet drop along a thick copper tube, the magnet falls in a very interesting manner. It falls slower than it normally should, delaying the span of the fall, as if gravity acting on the magnet mysteriously drops. If you haven’t heard about it, I’ll give it to you, you probably aren’t a YouTube addict, and that’s definitely good (and maybe also bad because there’s awesome stuff out there which you are missing). Just watch this, what I just said will start making sense…

Why does this happen?

OK, that’s pretty cool, but you knew about this little magnet-copper trick already, and you were expecting something more? You got it.

Whatever you just saw neither was a magic trick, nor was the Copper tube acting as an anti-gravity machine. This is pure science, can be easily explained by it. Here…

When a magnet moves quickly near a metal, it generates current in the metal. Here, current is generated in the Copper tube.
The current generated in the tube generates another magnetic field which opposes the magnetic field of the magnet and pushes the magnet upwards, away from the force of gravity. Gravity being stronger, pulls it down, but not with as much force because the magnet is being pushed in the other direction too. That’s the simple science behind it.
Still, someone else could explain it better on a page which is completely dedicated to explain it to you. [Here] and [Here]

But, you probably knew even that -The trick and the science behind it. So, there’s more for your-kind-of-people.

A new skill-toy that uses the same…

Feel flux. An amazing new skill toy that works on the same principle. Who would have thought, playing with gravity could get fun. The crowd funding campaign for it runs on indiegogo. Go fund it!