5 interesting facts about growing old

 

Growing old is a thing feared by many. But the reality is not so bad as people make it seem. Yes, you might depend on walkers at some point, but it doesn’t mean you will never leave your house or that you stop having fun all of a sudden. To celebrate the miracle of getting old, here are some remarkable facts about old age.

Less stress, more happiness

Although some researchers seem to think midlife is when we’re at our lowest, the majority of people seem to suggest that happiness increases as the years pass. This might have something to do with the fact that your kids are adults and that you won’t have to take decisions for them anymore.

Most seniors are also retired. Thus, the stress of work is eliminated. The only thing that seems to worry the elderly is their health, but with all the advances in the medical field, even that is not as big of an issue as it was a couple of decades ago.

 

You care less

Now, this might sound radical, but it is, in fact, a good thing. The older and wiser you get, the less you care about what people think. Research on peer influence has revealed that our desire to fit in starts to plummet after the age of fifty. You also start developing an unshakeable sense of security in your own person, so external opinions are not relevant anymore.

 

No more sweat

Another cool fact is that you sweat less. This is something that is a big issue for many young people, so if you have a sweat problem, you’ll be happy that it will be solved by the time you are sixty.

Your sweat glands begin to shrink considerably and become less sensitive. Although, you should note that this can be dangerous for older adults in some situations. Heat stress can lead to cardiovascular issues, because if you sweat less, you won’t be able to cool down properly, meaning you can easily suffer from a heat stroke.

Better sex

At number four, we have an exciting fact. Older women might have sex less often than their young counterparts, but apparently, they make it count in every way possible. In a study, researchers found that sexual satisfaction improves dramatically with age. Women over 70 were more likely to say they were satisfied during sex than those between 55 and 69.

 

Appreciation

And the last one is something that appeals to all age categories. As we get older, we tend to look at life in a new way. We emphasize the small things, and that’s when we start to appreciate the presence of our family. We don’t sweat over the little problems, but instead, we look at the bigger picture, which is always welcomed.

 

What you should know about telescopes

 

The telescope is a fantastic instrument which collects and analyzes radiation emitted by very distant sources. The most common kind is the optical telescope, which is a collection of lenses and mirrors, and that is used by experts and enthusiasts to allow them to see distant objects with ease and clarity by magnifying them.

In a broader sense, they can operate at a large number of frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio to gamma rays. If you’re interested or if you’re required to learn more about these inventions, about their history and purpose, read this article in its entirety.

 

How does it work?

A telescope’s principal purpose is to collect light emitted by all kinds of objects, even by the notorious Big Bang. This intrinsic property allows you as an observer to see objects much brighter than what you could see with your naked eyes.

When you combine an objective lens with an eyepiece, you have a telescope – of course, this is an extreme simplification. The basic idea is that it collects lots of light to form an image that is super bright inside the telescope, and afterward, it uses a magnifying glass to enlarge that image so you can view it comfortably.

The telescope’s ability to enlarge an image usually depends on the combination of high-quality lenses used. The eyepiece itself performs the magnification.

Early history

Conventional wisdom, which is a sensitive topic, says that Hans Lippershey, a resourceful Dutch, invented what we called the telescope in 1608. Other sources attribute the invention to more obscure people, but the judge is still out on those.

A few years later, Galileo turned the telescope skyward, and he changed the world forever. This small feature consequently led to the discovery of Jupiter’s satellites and even to the discovery of craters on the Moon, which turned out not to be made of cheese after all.

In the modern age, telescopes gave birth to the first high-speed telecommunications networks that we enjoy so much today. In the early stages, spy glasses were used to relay semaphore signals in times of need from miles away.

But we took things even further when NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990, which took a budget of over $2 billion in today’s money and many years of hard work. But that did pay off, as the discoveries scientists made with its help astonished us and made humanity understand its place in the Universe much better.

 

One last note

Telescopes can nowadays be used from the comfort of our bedrooms or roofs. The market is now filled with compact models that allow us to discover the universe on our own and to fill our brains with images that will make us dream of better places. Who knows, with a little persistence, you too might be able to discover a new planet or celestial body.

 

Cool optical experiments

 

Optics are intriguing and provide lots of practical and creative opportunities for students and adults, most of which require just a few simple pieces of equipment. With the help of this article, you will learn the physics of waves so you can impress your friends with your new abilities to manipulate light and color. Let’s get started!

 

Your own ice lens

Almost all optical instruments, from simple binoculars to complicated cameras and eyeglasses, contains lenses that were crafted by opticians. But, with this small experiment, you too will learn how to create a simple one from ice.

First, cut a tennis ball in half, and fill one of the halves with clean water until you touch the rim of the ball, and make sure you can get as close to a hemisphere as possible. Put it in a glass bowl, and the resulted assembly in the freezer.

After you made sure the water has frozen, pop it out with care so that you won’t break it. Smooth it out and then hold the lens over a glossy newspaper, with the curved side facing your eyes. You will see that the text looks bigger than without it. Afterward, you could move the ice lens up and down to see what scientists refer to as the focusing effect.

 

Diffraction and wax blocks

Diffraction might sound like a hard thing to grasp, but it is just the bending of a light wave around any given obstacle. Try this short activity out to see what happens when you add wax blocks to a small ripple tank.

The first thing the scientist in you has to do is cut a wedge shape of two medium-sized wax blocks. Place them in a ripple tank, then make some sort of a barrier with the wedged ends of the wax forming a tiny opening of around one-quarter inch. After that, you should generate straight-line waves with the help of the ripple tank.

Watch its screen to see what happens to the generated waves as they go through the small opening. They should emerge in a semicircular shape, and as you change the opening by moving the blocks, the form of the wave should change too.

 

Shimmering lenses

For this activity, you will use Jell-O to explore lenses and the different angles of light entry. To do it properly, you need to buy or prepare some yourself. Cut the Jell-O with the knife into concave and convex lens shapes. Moreover, you should also cut a long and thin rectangle of Jell-O before moving forward.

For the next step, get a flashlight and place thick strips of black electrical tape across the lens to create a narrow opening for the light. Turn the flashlight on and darken the room where you’re experimenting.

Shine the narrow light beam through the different sized Jell-O lenses and observe how light exits each piece. Then repeat the same thing with the rectangle, from its end to the middle, and see how different the light looks. To compare, you could remove the tape and experiment again.

4 great games to give your friends this Christmas

 

With Christmas just around the corner, people seem to forget about everything and start rushing into holiday traditions, spend irrational amounts of money on gifts, and give charity one more try.

Just like other millions of people around the globe, I am also a Christmas enthusiast, from cheesy season sweaters to make the Christmas tree, spending time with family and friends, and buying all sorts of ornaments that remind us of how much consumerism there is in this world.

Nevertheless, once the tummies are full and the throats are warm thanks to the massive amounts of mulled wine, boredom seems to kick in most of the houses. So why not make things a little bit more fun while waiting for Santa?

If you haven’t picked your Christmas presents for your friends yet, maybe it is high time you gave a look these fun games to play that everyone will love.

Christmas-related board games

There are numerous board games that can bring joy, smiles, laughter, and rivalries between friends during the holiday season. So why not indulge in some with a Christmas theme like the popular Santa Claus Game? Full disclosure – it also requires for you to sing a carol once in a while, so we suggest trying that eggnog priorly.

Another great board game will feature your favorite reindeers – Rudolph, Hermey, and Cornelius, trying to save some misfit toys before the Christmas day.

Christmas Bingo game

Even if you’re in your 20s, this doesn’t mean you cannot play bingo like a pro. And if it also comes with a free printable board especially for Christmas, I say you should give it a try.

The more the merrier, so make sure to engage all your friends in trying to finish the bingo board first. You can reward each winner with special Christmas treats and add some eggnog shots in the process as well. Have I already mentioned you can print the gameboard for free? This means all you have to do is bring in the stamps, preferably Christmas editions too.

Carol-singing games

What would be Christmas without your friends’ pathetic attempts to sing Christmas carols? If you have a few enthusiasts in the group, it is time to bring them joy as well and challenge them to a game called “Name that Christmas Carol”. You can find printable sheets online to download or make your own list of songs you and your friends can mumble in the desperate attempt of your opponents to find the right song.

Again, this game works magic after a few drinks, especially to build up the courage. Those of you who really love singing can even improvise karaoke stations and help everyone have a good time only with Christmas-related songs. Full disclosure – if you don’t hate Wham’s jam already, you will after this karaoke session.

Books about binoculars that have helped me learn more about them

 

I used to hate everything related to science. I wasn’t particularly good with physics or chemistry in school, but the only thing that seemed to captivate me was the optics part that our physics teacher explained to us one day. I somehow got the basic principles through which light travels through lenses.

This aspect eventually helped to understand some things regarding biology, such as the way that the image is formed in the eye. As you can probably tell from the other two articles I have written, I am passionate about optics, in general. I like using small devices to explore the world around me. Binoculars are just an example.

Because at first, I was a bit confused as to which type of binoculars I was supposed to buy, I started looking into books about them. I came across several. Two very basic ones I can recommend are Binoculars (How It Works), by Robin Koontz and Choosing Binoculars for Bird Watching and Wildlife: 12 essential tips to help you pick the perfect wildlife and birding binocular, by Calvin Jones. As the name of both of these books suggests, they are designed for complete beginners. Plus, they don’t cost a lot of money, so they’re great if you’re just starting out.

If you aren’t into birdwatching like myself, perhaps you aren’t interested in some types of binoculars. In that case, I recommend considering reading Binocular Highlights: 99 Celestial Sights for Binocular Users, by Gary Seronik. This Canadian author is said to be an expert in various fields such as telescope making and binocular astronomy, so you should check out his book if you have some time for reading and would enjoy building your own telescope, for example.

From what I noticed, this particular book has managed to gather quite a bit of enthusiasm on the part of those who have read it. Most describe it as clear and to the point, and that’s something that every reader should appreciate. I myself find it hard to read nonfiction because many authors choose to say what they have to say in 200 pages instead of 50.

Another book I can suggest is 50 Things to See with A Small Telescope by John Read. There are several alternatives to this book, which is to say that some can tell you what you can see in the Southern Hemisphere, others in the Northern Hemisphere and so on. The only downside to this book is that it tends to cost a pretty penny. However, if you are lucky enough, you could get it from a used book store or even get in touch with the publisher and ask for a free electronic copy in exchange for a review.

 

How to get a good pair of binoculars

 

 

The terminology that’s currently used to depict most of the features in a good pair of binoculars is downright baffling. I wanted to get a model for birdwatching as I like to spend time in the woods on the weekends. It relaxes me and makes me feel like I’m in touch with nature. The problem was that I couldn’t wrap my mind around all of the jargon. I had to learn a lot of things about binoculars and read thousands of reviews before I could finally buy myself a nice pair of binoculars.

First off, there are two kinds of designs that one might come across when prospecting the market. The first is the roof prism binocular, which boasts an H-shaped design, and the second is the Porro prism binocular, the one that resembles the letter M.

One of the primary specifications you will have to decide on is the magnification, and here’s where most buyers tend to get confused as there are two numbers written on the product. The first one relates to the number of times that the binocular is capable of magnifying the image so that it appears closer. If for instance, a model has a magnification of 10x, it can increase the picture you are looking at by ten times. The second number is the objective lens diameter, and this detail is particularly important as it defines the amount of light that’s allowed to enter the binoculars.

The larger the objective lens diameter, the higher the chance for the product to be bulky and cumbersome. One can have a hard time carrying it through the woods if one is interested in getting a portable alternative. Most of the models that are marketed as compact options have an objective lens diameter of under 30mm.

I would also recommend looking at your purpose and requirements as they can define your entire experience with your next pair of binoculars. Will you be looking at moving subjects or would you rather opt for a product that’s primarily designed for studying still subjects? Spending time outdoors can take a toll on such equipment, so you might have to opt for a pair that’s waterproof. If you wear glasses, the matter is even more complicated as you will have to try to understand the eye relief of the binoculars that you are thinking of buying.

Last, but not least, I suggest taking some time and going through several consumer reports. This is a recommendation I have made over and over again, but it doesn’t get old. The fact is that many other owners just like you can let you know if anything has gone wrong with their binoculars.

 

An article we really recommend: http://www.birdwatching.com/optics/binoculars2_porro_roof.html

 

 

Types of microscopes you ought to consider for students

 

There isn’t a universal rule as to which microscope works for students who are planning to get their degree in biology and those who are studying for their degree in, say, veterinary medicine. Often times, they have to get the best of both worlds. What this means is that they should use both a stereo microscope and a compound one.

In fact, some areas require even three types of microscopes. For example, if your job requires you to go on a field, you probably don’t want a model that weighs a lot as transporting it can become cumbersome. By contrary, students are likely to use the microscopes in school labs and one that’s placed on their desk, in their rooms. In other words, they’re less likely to carry the microscope from one spot to the next as they have to tend to their studying while they are in the same place.

With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see that the domain that the student is currently getting his or her degree in is what matters most. While stereo microscopes are made to satisfy the needs of those interested in looking at leaves, insects, and rather large things such as jewelry pieces and electronics components, the best compound microscopes are a different business altogether.

Another thing that makes the difference between one kind and the other is the magnification power. While compound alternatives can magnify the size of the specimen by up to 1000x and more, few stereo microscopes can do the same. In fact, I’ve never come across one that is capable of doing so, and I’ve been prospecting the market for quite a while. Most of the units you are likely to come across have magnification powers that go up to 90x. If you’re lucky, they might be able to magnify the sample by up to 200x, but that’s very rare.

So, should the student be interested in looking at smears and biological specimens, he or she should consider getting a compound unit. Depending on the working distance made available by the design of the product, the user might be able to look at other items, as well.

The last type of microscope I was mentioning in the beginning was the USB magnifier. Of all the types available for sale these days, this particular one isn’t the one I would recommend for a student. Such models are usually made with poor optical components, they can’t withstand the test of time, they don’t even have eyepieces, and they usually offer a somewhat poorer resolution compared to their stereo and compound counterparts. But they are cheap, I’ll give them that.