Scientific Life Hacks (Part One) by Angelica Y. Yang


Science isn't just something you learn in school. It's a way of knowing and understanding the world around us, and also provides us with ways to make everyday tasks easier to accomplish! With these cool life hacks backed by scientific principles, you're sure to add a little more awesomeness to your life, and help cut out unnecessary hassles.

Life Hacks for the Kitchen 

Hate soggy pizza? 

Use this life hack to turn cold pizza into a mouth-wateringly good, fresh-out-of-the-oven style meal. Be sure to use a ceramic mug for this.


Why do you need to include a mug of water while microwaving the pizza? Microwave ovens use electricity to generate microwaves. These microwaves are blasted into the pizza two seconds after you press the Start button. The commonly-used frequency of microwaves is 2.45 Gigahertz. This makes it easier for all the water, fat, and sugar components of the pizza to be converted into heat.

However, not all microwaves are blasted through the pizza; sometimes, they get reflected and bounce around the food compartment. When that happens, the top of the pizza may get burned, leaving the bottom part cold and soggy.

By adding a ceramic mug that is two-thirds full with water, you provide a "sink" for all that extra energy, and prevent your pizza from heating unevenly.

Note: Do not use plastic cups as a substitute for ceramic mugs, as plastic melts easily when subjected to heat, and can emit harmful chemicals into the air. 

Separate egg yolks from whites like a BOSS!


Separating egg yolks manually, or by transferring them from shell to shell, can be tough and time-consuming. You can actually separate egg yolks from whites much quicker using a clean and empty water bottle!

Just squeeze the water bottle, put it over the egg yolk, and then release your grasp on the bottle. According to Spangler Science, when you gently squeeze the bottle over the yolk, you decrease the air inside. Releasing your hold on the bottle will allow air to rush back inside. 

Now when you cover the mouth of the bottle with the egg yolk before releasing, the volume inside the bottle is filled by the yolk. The egg yolk separates easily from the white because of their differing viscosity.

How to keep bread fresh?


After buying a big loaf of bread, think twice before putting it inside your fridge. Unlike meats and vegetables that stay fresh under cold conditions, bread does not fare well under the same temperatures. The mythbusting website Today I Found Out tells us that you should just keep that loaf of bread at room temperature, because bread gets stale much faster when stored in the refrigerator.

When bread is baked, its molecules undergo a process called retrogradation. Retrogradation happens when the starch molecules dry out and crystallize. 

"When water molecules are detached from the starch molecules, the starch molecules take their original shape and harden again. The cool temperatures of the refrigerator make the dehydration process happen more quickly, specifically six times as fast," Today I Found Out reports. 

Life Hacks for Parties

Amuse your friends with a non-alcoholic party beverage (made out of water!)


Got friends coming to your house on short notice? We've got you covered! Colored supercooled water can look just like your regular margarita or martini, but with a refreshing and child-friendly twist. The principles of temperature-based state change are no strangers to us: "Bring a liquid below a certain temperature and it freezes. Bring a liquid or solid above a certain temperature and it becomes gas." 

But with supercooling, you can bring water below its freezing point and still keep it in its fluid state.

All you have to do, as stated in the video, is to chill purified water inside its bottle for 2 hours and 45 minutes exactly, then hit the bottle on your kitchen counter to cause the contents to instantly freeze. You may also add a few drops of food coloring at the bottom of a glass cup, pour in your supercooled water (in liquid state), and drop in a small chunk of supercooled ice. The result is a non-alcoholic beverage backed by cool science. 

Slice onions without shedding a tear!


No backyard party is complete without onion rings. Crispy, and well, made with onions, they pair up nicely with burgers and steaks. But they come with a price: your precious tears. Aside from using goggles to protect your eyes while chopping the onions, you can also refrigerate them.

Every time you cut into an onion, sulfenic acids are released from the onion. These sulfenic acids mix with other enzymes in the onion, and create the irritating, eye-burning, and tear-inducing gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide. 

To prevent your eyes from tearing up the next time you prepare onion rings, refrigerate the onions for 30 minutes before chopping time. This reduces the onion's tendency to release the sulfenic acid.

Keep vegetables fresh and green


We can thank Chlorophylls A and B for giving vegetables their vibrant and beautiful bright green color. When vegetables are cooked for a long period of time, they secrete acids that come into contact with their green chlorophyll molecules. These acids change the chlorophyll molecules' chemical composition, turning the vegetables' color from vibrant green to an unappealing dark green.

To prevent this, cook your vegetables for exactly seven minutes, long enough for them to be cooked, but not so long that the acids turn them dark green. 


Did you enjoy the first part of The Mind Museum Blog's Science Hacks series? Like and share this post to keep your friends and family updated about the wonderful world of science!

Stay tuned for the second installment! 


REFERENCES: 

1. Pinola, M. (2011). Store Bread at Room Temperature, Not in the Fridge, For Six Times the Freshness. Retrieved September 11, 2016 from http://lifehacker.com/5832516/store-bread-at-room-temperature-not-in-the-fridge-for-six-times-the-freshness
2. Separating Egg Whites and Egg Yolks - The Lab. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2016 from https;//www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/separating-egg-whites-and-egg-yolks/
3. Spector, D. (2014). How Do Microwaves Cook Food? Retrieved September 11, 2016 from http://www.businessinsider.com/how-do-microwaves-work-2014-6
4. Supercooling Water: Thank Science For These 10 Awesome Hacks - Tested.com. Retrieved September 11, 2016 from http://www.tested.com/science/weird/459121-thank-science-these-10-awesome-hacks/item/supercooling-water/
5. Veritasium (2011). Supercooled Water - Explained! Retrieved September 11, 2016 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph8xusY3GTM

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