Worlds Largest Sapphire


The huge “Star of Adam” was located in Sri Lanka, and is believed to be the largest sapphire ever found. It weighs 1,404 carats, which is about 280g. But how could it grow so large?

Sapphire is a bright blue gem mineral and a type of corundum (aluminium oxide). It is very hard, which is important in understanding its location in countries like Sri Lanka.

The Star of Adam sapphire is a beautiful example of a “star sapphire”. It seems to have a 6 point star inside the stone. This is due to light reflection from small crystals trapped within the sapphire as it grew.

The gems are found in old river sediments. Due to the hardness the sapphires survived as big pebbles and crystals.

The Star of Adam would likely have been formed inside rocks and granites in the highlands. The have been dated as close to 2 billion years old.

The temperature and pressure would have altered very gradually over many millions of years, which is how the sapphire was able to get so large.

The sapphire is privately owned.

Leonardo Da Vinci Bridge Is Being Constructed From Ice

icebridge car

Leonardo da Vinci’s Golden Horn Bridge was designed in 1502. It’s finally being constructed, however as the amazing Renaissance figure originally wanted the structure to cross the Bosphorus River in Istanbul, its construction is actually occuring in Juuka, Finland. Also instead of building the bridge from stone, as per the original plans, the engineers running the construction are using ice and paper.

Crossing a 35 meter (115 feet) span over a quarry the “Bridge in Ice” will be the largest ice bridge ever built and is expected to be finished by the 13th of February. This may vary as it is dependant on the weather, with the possibility of unusual heat increasing the possibility of the bridge not freezing fast enough to hit the deadline.

However the conditions have been ideal to date, with temperatures in Juuka around the -30°C (-22°F) range since the project started on December 28, 2015. To build the structure, about 150 university students from the Eindhoven University of Technology are building in around the clock, ensuring heavy equipment is not left to freeze.

The structure is being built using ice and paper fibers, which esure it is about three times stronger and 20 times more flexible than normal ice. The team are applying very thin layers of the water and paper onto the surface of a huge inflatable mould, at which point it the water freezes instantly. Once there is sufficient stability for the ice to stand on its own, the balloon like mould is taken away.

Once complete, the structure will be open to the public. The team plans to drive a car over the structure during the opening. When the ice finally melts, the paper will be utilized as compost.

Why The Romans Were Not As Hygienic As You May Believe

image-20160105-28974-1geilo9Before the Romans, the Greeks was the only civilisation to have used toilets. However by the height of the Roman Empire during the 3rd century AD the Romans had brought sanitation to most of their lands, reaching across western and southern Europe, what is now the Middle East as well as North Africa. Their unique technologies included huge public toilets, town sewers, clean water flowing through aqueducts, truely elegant public bathing and regulations that required towns to take trash from the roads.

Modern research has revealed that toilets and clean water lower the real risks of human stomach infections by viruses, bacteria as well as water bourne parasites. We may expect that health would improve due to these measures being introduced, when compared to earlier civilisations, or other world locations.

However unexpectedly, there was not a drop in parasites as a result of poor sanitation. There was actually a slow increase. This suggests Roman hygenic technologies such as latrines and sewers were ineffective in improving gastrointestinal health.

Texts from the period discuss that human waste was utilised as a fertilizer, and so parasite eggs would have been able to contaminate these foods and permitted the reinfection of the people when they consumed the food.

A further study also suggests that Roman baths had no defined positive effect on a populations health when it comes to ectoparasites.

The unexpected archaeological evidence does not convey any positive health benefit from Roman sanitation, but alternatively, that expanding Romanisation led to a rise in some parasite species as a result of trade and migration through the empire.

Is Food Bad Once a Fly Has Landed On It?


It only takes one fly to land on your packed lunch to make you concerned about what waste may have been left on your food.So do you throw the food out?

On most occasions seeing a fly land on your food doesn’t mean you must dispose of the food. While flies can carry parasites, bacteria and viruses one touchdown is not going make the average person ill.

Flies that are out of sight and walking about on your food for extended periods – vomiting and pooping on food are more of a worry. The more time goes by, the higher the risk of germs being left behind and the higher the chance of illness becomes.

Having loads of flies can be a worry but the risk is usually higher in country areas, where there is a higher likelihood the flies will be in contact with dead animals and waste.

What can you do?

  1. Ensure your food is covered when flies are about.
  2. Screening windows and doors.
  3. Ensure bins are cleaned regularly and garbage is covered
  4. Insecticidal surface sprays around bin areas
  5. The old school fly-swat works great