The Curious Brazil Nut and Brazil Nut Tree

Food, Plants
Buy a can of mixed nuts, and what large nut catches your attention because of its large size? Undoubtedly, it is a Brazil nut, perhaps an excellent indicator by its quantity of how good a quality your can of mixed nuts will be. It is not merely size that sets the Brazil nut apart. There are many factors that make this nut unique among nuts. Let's consider a few of them. The Brazil Nut Tree The Bertholletia excelsa, or Brazil Nut tree, is very imposing to look at. With its very large trunk, it towers above buildings. Atop the trunk is a crown of leaves and branches. Bertholletia's fruits resemble coconuts. In fact, Brazil nuts are not nuts, but seeds from within the fruits. [caption id="attachment_28657" align="alignright" width="400"] Bertholletia escelsa,…
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Why All Helium Has Not Escaped Earth’s Atmosphere

Geology, Physics
[caption id="attachment_14665" align="alignright" width="440"] Hydrogen or Helium?[/caption] Ninety of the elements occur in nature. The smallest and lightest of the elements is hydrogen. Yet, it is abundant in Earth. Almost no hydrogen gas escapes Earth’s atmosphere. This is partly because hydrogen is reactive and exists almost exclusively in combination with other, heavier elements. Helium, too, is a gas. It is the second lightest element. However, it is neither reactive nor abundant. It does not occur in nature in compound form. Why doesn’t it all escape Earth’s atmosphere? Comparing Hydrogen and Helium Although hydrogen is the lightest element and atom, it almost never exists, even as a gas, in atomic form. It assumes, not monatomic form, H, but diatomic form, H₂. The weight of that is twice the weight of an…
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