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Floating Gold

That is a misleading title, I am describing Ambergris

By Unravelling the UniversePublished 6 months ago 3 min read
Floating Gold
Photo by Todd Cravens on Unsplash

British spelling

Here are four of my short-form stories. I hope you find them interesting and educational.

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1/4

Have you ever heard of a substance called Ambergris?

So what is Ambergris, which is French for grey Amber?

For a very long time, its origin remained a mystery, but we now know that it is a substance produced by sperm whales.

This rare waxy substance, which is regurgitated by sperm whales, can be sold for up to $40,000 per kilogram.

Its extraordinary value comes from its scarcity and its use in the perfume industry; its scent can vary between sweet and musky.

You would have to be very lucky to find a lump of ambergris on the beach, but how would you know?

A needle test is recommended; touching it with a hot needle will melt it, releasing smoke with an interesting smell.

Good luck, beachcombers.

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2/4

What is the purpose of your fingernails?

By Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

One of the reasons is to protect your fingertips and the surrounding soft tissues from injuries.

Fingernails are mostly made of keratin, the same material as claws, horns, and hooves in other animals.

A lot is happening in the nail roots, but the nails are dead once they emerge and can be seen.

That is obviously why it doesn’t hurt when we cut them.

The hard surface of nails gives the pads of our fingers support when we grip on to something.

The condition of our nails can give clues to our health status.

In one year, healthy fingernails will have grown just over 40 millimetres or 1.5 inches.

I am giving away my age, but if I had left my fingernails uncut for the whole of my life, they would be almost 3 metres or 9.8 feet long. Wow!

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3/4

How far from Earth is Voyager 1?

By NASA on Unsplash

Voyager 1 is the most distant object that has ever left the Earth.

The space probe Voyager 1 left the Earth in 1977, two weeks after its twin Voyager 2.

Voyager 1 continues to travel away from our planet at over 60,000 kilometres per hour.

To us, that speed seems very fast, but to put it into perspective, imagine if Voyager 1 were to change direction and travel towards Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way. That epic journey would take roughly 450 million years.

As of January 2024, that small probe is over 24 billion kilometres from the Earth.

Chances are that Voyager 1 will still be travelling through space when the last human dies.

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4/4

The deadly eruption of Krakatoa

By Tetiana Grypachevska on Unsplash

Krakatoa is a caldera in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in the Indonesian province of Lampung.

The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa occurred from May 20 until October 21, 1883, peaking on August 27, when over 70% of the island and its surrounding archipelago were destroyed as it collapsed into a caldera.

The eruption generated a tsunami estimated to have been as high as 40 metres above sea level, which washed away well over 100 coastal villages on Java and Sumatra, resulting in the deaths of over 36,000 people.

The awakening of Krakatoa in 1883 was one of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in modern history, second only to the eruption of Tambora in 1815.

A new volcano is now growing where Krakatoa once stood and is named Anak Krakatoa, “Son of Krakatoa.

The end

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You may find my easy-to-understand stories about the universe and life interesting and educational.

If you subscribe to me you will see my latest stories. Regards

short storyScienceNatureHumanity

About the Creator

Unravelling the Universe

We can only imagine what our early ancestors thought as they gazed up at the night sky—were they curious about what the heavens had to hide? 

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Comments (2)

  • Susan Fourtané6 months ago

    Ambergris: I think Sperm whales must be at risk of being killed for their ambergris. Do you know if this actually happens? Or perfumers just collect the ambergris they can find without disturbing or murdering these precious mammals?

  • Susan Fourtané6 months ago

    Fingernails: I have seen photos of people with super long and curly nails who have not cut them for decades and hold Guinness World Records for the longest nails. They obviously must have someone to do everything for them. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! Can you imagine?

Unravelling the UniverseWritten by Unravelling the Universe

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