Saturday, 23 July 2016


8 Amazing Tricks That Seem To Break The Laws Of Science
By Ali Sundermier,
Business Insider, 11 July 2016.

Science is a funny thing. It provides a sense of order to this crazy world we live in, explaining things that we never even knew needed to be explained.

But every now and then, it can turn on itself. Throw together the right elements under the right conditions, and things will happen that, until now, seemed impossible according to science.

Check out some of the craziest tricks that will make you second guess the laws of science.

[Warning: Some of the experiments may be dangerous. Perform only with adult supervision.]

1. A frozen spiral of water

Image via GIPHY

In this video, water seems to freeze in time as it spirals through the air. In actuality, the hose is attached to a speaker that is vibrating the hose at the same rate as the video camera is recording frames per second. This tricks your brain into seeing a motionless spiral of water.

2. A roaming flame

Image via GIPHY

Here, a flame seems to travel from the tip of a lighter to the wick of a candle. That's because when you light a candle, the heat from the flame vaporizes the wax. When you blow the candle out, the vaporized wax lingers in the air. If you apply a heat source before the vapor dissipates, it will ignite and relight the wick of the candle.

3. A vortex of fire

Image via GIPHY

All you need to produce a fire tornado like this one is a turntable, some cotton swabs drenched in denatured alcohol, a soup can, and a mesh garbage can to contain it. Just light the cotton swabs on fire, set the turntable in motion, and watch as the flame shapes itself into a spiraling vortex of fire.

4. A flaming hand

Image via GIPHY

It might seem kind of counterintuitive to light your hand on fire. But in this video, one brave person has coated her hand in a mixture of dishwashing liquid, butane gas, and water. Because the gas has such a high vapor pressure, only the gas burns when she lights it on fire, leaving her hand unscathed.

5. A self-teetering candle

Image via GIPHY

In this trick, a candle balanced between two glasses is able to move without being touched, teetering back and forth like a seesaw. According to Isaac Newton's third law of motion, "for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction." As wax drips off each end of the candle, the heavier mass shifts from one side to the other, causing the candle to rock back and forth.

6. A microwaveable plasma ball

Image via GIPHY

In this trick, when you microwave a lit matchstick trapped in a glass, it erupts into a violent ball of plasma.

Here's how it works:

When something is on fire, electrons are freed from its atoms. But this freedom doesn't last very long - the electrons are usually recaptured by the molecules, causing them to lose energy and emit light, giving fire its signature glow.

But in a microwave, the electric field actually shoves the electrons above the source of the fire, shaking them around, and causing them to smack into air molecules. This kicks them into even higher-energy orbits. As the electrons fall back, they emit light, producing a glowing ball of plasma above the flame. Since the plasma is hotter than the air around it, it usually rises.

7. A ball moves in slow motion down a slope

Image via GIPHY

It's actually possible to cause objects to move in slow motion down hills (without the help of special effects). To do this, you use a thick liquid, such as honey, a heavy metal ball, and an empty ball-shaped container. Place the heavy ball in the lower half of the sphere and fill the lower half of the container with honey.

The thickness of the honey hampers the speed at which the inner sphere spins around, causing the ball to move very, very slowly down the slope.

8. A puddle of water flows upward into a glass

Image via GIPHY

This effect is produced when you place a burning candle on a plate covered in water and then cover the flame with a glass. As the flame starts to burn out, the water rushes upward into the glass kind of like...magic.

What's actually happening is the flame is raising the temperature of the gasses trapped in the glass, making them push outward against the liquid. As the flame fizzles out, the temperature of the gas falls back down. This lowers the pressure in the glass, causing the water to flow into it.

Top image: A frozen spiral of water. Credit: Brusspup via YouTube.

[Source: Business Insider. Edited. Links added.]

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