Where is my spine?

Your spine, also called the backbone, runs down the length of your back from the base of your neck to your pelvis. The spine has 25 joints connecting 33 individual bones. (The bottom four bones of the spine are fused together to form the terminal vertebrae called the coccyx, or tailbone—and the five bones above that are fused together to form the sacrum. They are caged within the bones of the pelvis.) Each bone in the spine is called a vertebra and they are grouped together to perform specific tasks.

The spine supports your head, lets you twist and bend, and holds your body upright. It also protects the spinal cord, a large bundle of nerves that sends information from your brain to the rest of your body.

Which are the biggest and smallest bones?

The femur, or thighbone, is the biggest bone in the body. The average femur is 18 inches (45.72 centimeters) long. The longest bone ever recorded was 29.9 inches (75.95 centimeters) long. It was from an 8-foot-tall (2.45 meters) German who died in 1902 in Belgium.

The stirrup (also called the stapes) in the middle ear is the smallest bone in the body. A tiny, U-shaped bone that passes vibrations from the stirrup to the cochlea, it weighs about 0.0004 ounces (0.011 grams) and can measure just one-tenth of an inch.

Interesting facts about Chocolate

1.    Hershey’s Kisses were first produced in 1907 and were shaped like a square. A new machine in 1921 gave them their current shape.
2.    Chocolate has over 500 individual flavor components. Strawberry and vanilla each have less than half that much.
3.    The word “cocoa” was the result of the misspelling of “cacao.”
4.    The first machine-made chocolate was produced in Barcelona, Spain, in 1780.
5.    Cacao has been around for millions of years and is probably one of the oldest of nature’s foods
6.    Because of the nature of cacao butter, chocolate is the only edible substance that melts at around 93? F, just below body temperature. This means that after placing a piece of chocolate on your tongue, it will begin to melt
7.    The cacao bean naturally contains almost 300 different flavors and 400 separate aromas.
8.    The largest and oldest chocolate company in the U.S. is Hershey’s. Hershey’s produces over one billion pounds of chocolate product annually.
9.    In a small study at Indiana University, cyclists who drank chocolate milk after a workout had less fatigue and scored higher on endurance tests than those who had a sports drink.
10.    The first chocolate chip cookie was invented in 1937 by Ruth Wakefield who ran the “Toll House Inn.” The term “Toll House” is now legally a generic word for chocolate chip cookie. It is the most popular cookie worldwide and is the official cookie of Massachusetts.
11.    Research suggests that dark chocolate boosts memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. Studies have also found that dark chocolate can improve the ability to see in low-contrast situations (such as poor weather) and promote lower blood pressure, which has positive effects on cholesterol levels, platelet function, and insulin sensitivity.
12.    In 1879, Swiss Rodolphe Lindt discovered conching, an essential process in refining chocolate. He discovered it by accident when his assistant left a machine running all night.
13.    In 1875, Swiss Daniel Peter discovered a way of mixing condensed milk, manufactured by his friend Henri Nestl?, with chocolate to create the first milk chocolate.
14.    Quakers, such as George Cadbury, amassed a great fortune producing drinking chocolate as an alternative to alcohol.
15.    People who feel depressed eat about 55% more chocolate than their non-depressed peers.
16.    Napolean always carried Chocolate with him as an energy booster.
17.    Nearly 40% of world’s Almond and 20% of world’s peanuts are used for making chocolate.
18.    The first chocolate chip cookie was invented in 1937 by Ruth Wakefield who ran the “Toll House Inn.” The term “Toll House” is now legally a generic word for chocolate chip cookie. It is the most popular cookie worldwide and is the official cookie of Massachusetts.
19.    There is a correlation between the amount of chocolate a country consumes on average and the number of Nobel Laureates that country has produced.
20.    A jewel thief made off with $28 million dollars of gems in 2007 because he was able to gain the trust of the guards working the bank in Antwerp, Belgium, by repeatedly offering them chocolate.

21.    The blood in Psycho’s famous shower scene was actually chocolate syrup.
22.    At one point the Nazis plotted to assassinate Winston Churchill with an exploding bar of chocolate.
23.    The scientific name for the tree that chocolate comes from, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.”
24.    It takes a almost a full year for a cocoa tree to produce enough pods to make 10 standard-sized Hershey bars.
25.    Chocolate has over 600 flavor compounds, while red wine has just 200.
26.    Theobromine, the compound in chocolate that makes it poisonous to dogs, can kill a human as well. You’d have to be a real glutton to go out this way though, as an average 10-year-old child would have to eat 1,900 Hershey’s miniature milk chocolates to reach a fatal dose.
27.    The ancient Maya are believed to be the first people to regularly grow cacao trees and drink chocolate. The Aztecs got it later, but they had to trade for cacao because they couldn’t grow the trees.
28.    The word “chocolate” comes from the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which referred to the bitter, spicy drink the Aztecs made from cacao beans.
29.    In fact, chocolate was consumed as a liquid, not a solid, for 90% of its history.
30.    When the Aztec empire ruled most of Mesoamerica, chocolate was still widely consumed, and cacao seeds were a form of currency.
31.    The Aztec emperor Montezuma II drank more than 50 cups of chocolate every day.
32.    A wide range of substances have been ground up and mixed with chocolate, including, in the pre-Columbia era, possible dinosaur fossils.
33.    During the Revolutionary War, soldiers were sometimes paid in chocolate.
34.    It’s believed that people who are allergic to chocolate are actually allergic to cockroaches, as around eight insect parts are typically found in a bar of chocolate, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
35.    Chocolate gives you a more intense mental high and gets your heart pounding more than kissing does.
36.    Hershey’s Kisses got their name from the kissing sound the machine that deposits the chocolate on the conveyor belt makes.
37.    Hershey’s makes 70 million Kisses every day, and enough annually to make a 300,000-mile-long line of Kisses.
38.    The inventor of the chocolate chip cookie, Ruth Wakefield, sold her cookie recipe to Nestle in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate.
39.    Ben & Jerry’s made the first cookie dough ice cream after receiving an anonymous suggestion on their flavor suggestion board in its Burlington, Vermont, shop.
40.    There is a rare fourth kind of chocolate in addition to the classic milk, dark, and white varieties: blond chocolate.

41.    The film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was financed by Quaker Oats to promote its new Wonka Bar candy. This is also why the film is called “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” instead of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” like the book it’s based on.
42.    The first chocolate bar was invented in 1847 by Joseph Fry.
43.    The chocolate industry is worth approximately $110 billion per year.
44.    Milky Way candy bars are not named after the galaxy. The name came from the malted milkshakes whose flavor they originally intended to mimic.
45.    Three Musketeers bars were originally three pieces to a package, in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors. They switched to just the one chocolate bar after the price of strawberries increased.
46.    In 1947 hundreds of Canadian kids went on strike and boycotted chocolate after the price of a chocolate bar jumped from 5 to 8 cents.
47.    Andes Candies were originally called “Andy’s Candys,” after creator George Andrew Kanelos, but he changed the name after he realized men didn’t want to buy their wives or girlfriends chocolates with another man’s name on them.
48.    The largest chocolate bar ever weighed just over 12,770 pounds.
49.    The most valuable chocolate bar in the world is a 100-year-old Cadbury’s chocolate bar that was brought along on Captain Robert Scott’s first Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic. It sold for $687 at auction in 2001.
50.    Chocolate milk was invented in Jamaica. Irish botanist Sir Hans Sloane is usually given credit for mixing chocolate with milk when he was in Jamaica in the early 1700s, though it’s likely he wasn’t the first person on the island to do so.
51.    Chocolate milk is an effective post-workout recovery drink.
52.    German chocolate cake has nothing to do with Germany. It’s named after its inventor, Sam German.
53.    There is a little caffeine in chocolate. Most bars have about 10 milligrams of caffeine in them, but darker chocolates can have as much caffeine as a can of Coca-Cola.
54.    A 2013 study found that the scent of chocolate in a bookstore made customers 40% more likely to buy cookbooks or romance novels, and 22% more likely to buy books of any genre.
55.    A 2004 study in London found that 70% of people would reveal their passwords in exchange for a chocolate bar.
56.    Americans buy more than 58 million pounds of chocolate on Valentine’s Day every year, making up 5% of sales for the entire year.
57.    The Brussels Airport is the biggest chocolate seller in the world, as vendors there sell more than 800 tons of chocolate every year.
58.    More than two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is grown in Africa, and Côte d’Ivoire alone produces 33% of the world’s supply.
59.    White chocolate technically isn’t chocolate, but you probably already knew that.
60.    After sorting and cleaning, the cocoa beans are roasted for up to two hours.
61.    The cocoa beans are then shelled. What remains are chocolate nibs, which contain 54% cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is the natural fat of the bean.
62.    As the nibs are ground, cocoa butter is released, transforming the solid nibs into the free-flowing substance known as chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor (not alcoholic, just liquid) is the essence of all real chocolate products.
63.    The chocolate liquor is passed through huge presses to remove a desired amount of the cocoa butter to be used later. Cocoa butter is an amazing vegetable fat that resists rancidity and oxidation and can be kept for years without spoiling. A small amount of cocoa butter is sold to the cosmetics industry.
64.    After the cocoa butter is removed, a pressed cake is left. This is the cocoa powder. The cocoa powder can still contain up to 10% of cocoa butter and will be sold bulk or as an ingredient for bakers, along with chocolatiers.
65.    Solid chocolate is made by adding back together the different parts -cocoa butter, cocoa power – and other ingredients – sugar, perhaps milk and vanilla – to achieve the individual manufacturer’s desired finished taste.
66.    The mixture then travels through a series of heavy rollers until there is a refined smooth paste ready for conching.
67.    Conching is a flavor development process which “kneads” the chocolate.
68.    The final step is tempering, a process that gradually raises, lowers and then raises the temperature again to set degrees. FINALLY, this finished product is poured into many shapes from candy bar sizes to ten pound slabs.

Why do hugs and kisses make me feel good?

Human beings communicate through language, a complicated system of vocal symbols that our complex brains allow us to learn after we are born. But we also communicate through our bodies and senses. Our organ of touch is our skin, covering the outside of our bodies. (Nerve endings under the surface of skin give us our sense of touch.) Hugging and kissing are ways to share love and caring through touch. When you were born, well before you knew language and could understand caring words, you were learning about love through your sense of touch. As a newborn, when everything was frighteningly new, you immediately experienced the comfort of touch when you were held in your mother’s arms, feeling the warmth of her body and the beat of her heart, sensations familiar to you when you were inside her womb. You were held close when you first learned about food and about how good it felt to have milk in your empty stomach.

Your parents’ caring hands kept you clean and dressed in dry clothes when you could not yet do those things for yourself. So, from your earliest days, you learned that someone’s touch usually made you feel comfortable and safe. Loving and caring about special people in our lives is a feeling inside that is hard to describe in words. But hugs and kisses make it easy to show that love—and their message is clear. Giving hugs and kisses feels as good as getting them. (Because the lips have an extra supply of nerve endings, kissing is an especially intense way to touch.) The human need to share affection through touch is something we all experience throughout our lives.

Which hair grows the fastest?

The fastest growing hairs on the human body are men’s beard hairs. If the average male never trimmed his beard, it would grow to almost 30 feet (9 meters) long in his lifetime.

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How can I get a baby brother instead of a baby sister?

There is no way specific way to place an order for a baby brother or a baby sister. The gender (boy or girl) of a baby is determined by whether the father’s fertilizing sperm has an X or a Y chromosome. An X chromosome will lead to a girl, and a Y to a boy. (Mothers always contribute an X chromosome.) Although scientific methods are available to help parents organize their chromosomes and take advantage of the fact that the “boy” sperm has less DNA than “girl” sperm, they can be expensive and unreliable. One method, called the Shettles method, recommends that if parents want a girl, they should plan to make a baby right around the time of ovulation.

At this time, the egg is as far away as possible from the incoming sperm so the long-distance runners of the sperm world, the X sperm, have a better chance of making it to the egg. For a boy, the method suggests that parents plan to make a baby about two to four days after ovulation. That way, the short-distance sprinting Y sperm can make it to the egg first. Many doctors say that although this method is based in science, it is no guarantee that a couple will have a baby boy or a baby girl.

Where did croissants, or crescent rolls, originate?

In 1683, during a time when all the nations of Europe were at war with each other, the Turkish army laid siege to the city of Vienna. The following year Poland joined Vienna against the Turks, who were ultimately forced to lift the siege in 1689.

As a celebration of victory, a Viennese baker introduced crescent-shaped rolls, or “croissants,” copying the shape of the crescent Islamic symbol on the Turkish flag.

Why can’t some people hear?

The inability to hear, or deafness, can occur for many reasons. Some types of hearing loss result from something blocking sound as it travels from the outer ear to the eardrum and the tiny bones in the middle ear. Other types of loss arise from damage to or a defect of the inner ear or the auditory nerve, which is the nerve that carries sound signals from the inner ear to the brain. Deafness can happen as a result of disease, including severe ear infections, or it can be inherited, with the deafness being apparent at birth or sometimes showing up years later. Injuries and accidents also account for many cases of deafness.

Extremely loud noises, like those that come from an explosion, can cause deafness, though that loss of hearing is sometimes temporary. People who work in noisy factories or those who are frequently exposed to very loud music can also develop hearing loss over time. Many people gradually lose some or all of their hearing when they reach old age, but some of those types of hearing loss can be overcome by wearing a hearing aid, which makes noises like speech or music louder.

What is aloe vera?

A cactus-like plant of the lily family, aloe vera grows wild in Madagascar and on the African continent. It also is cultivated in Japan, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the United States. People around the world have used its gooey, jelly-like sap for healing and cosmetic purposes.

Aloe extracts can be used to treat digestive problems, including constipation, and aloe oils are used in cosmetic creams to help keep skin soft and to treat minor skin irritations.

Why do cities have dams?

Dams, which are structures that hold back water, have been built since ancient times. They are usually made of earth, rock, brick, or concrete—or a combination of these things. They are constructed to control the flow of water in a river, and they are built for a number of reasons. One reason is to prevent flooding. Heavy rains in high country may cause water levels in a river to rise. As the river flows downhill, it may overflow its banks, flooding communities located downstream. A dam can prevent this by stopping or slowing rushing water, allowing it to be released at a controlled rate. Dams are also frequently used to store water for general use and farming. When a river’s flow is restricted by a dam, water often spreads out behind the dam to form a lake or reservoir in the river valley. That water can then be used as needed, preventing water shortages and crop damage during long periods of dry weather.

A great number of dams today are used to make electricity. Such hydroelectric dams are built very tall, to create a great difference in the height of the water level behind and in front of it. High water behind a dam passes through gates in the dam wall that allow it to fall to the river far below. As the water falls, it flows past huge blades called turbines; the turbines run generators that make electricity. One of the world’s largest and most productive hydroelectric dams is the Hoover Dam, located on the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona. Built in the 1930s, it is 726 feet (221 meters) high and 1,244 feet (379 meters) long. Its reservoir (Lake Mead)—the world’s largest— supplies water to several states, allowing huge regions of naturally dry terrain in southern California, Arizona, and Mexico to flourish. Many modern dams are used for all three purposes: flood control, water storage, and hydroelectric power.