Posts tagged ‘year’s’

Chewing Gum Digests Within a Few Days

By Chad Upton | Editor

An old wives tale states that gum stays in your stomach for up to  seven years, but that is far from the truth.

Although it’s pretty sticky between your fingers, a single piece of gum doesn’t present a great challenge to your digestive enzymes — gum generally moves through your digestive system pretty quickly.

Food digests in as little as a few hours, and although gum can move at the same speed, it is sometimes slower than normal food, and it passes through our digestive system within a few days at the most.

The confusion comes from the fact that gum cannot be broken down. It’s the same as small coins, they cannot be broken down but they usually pass through within a couple of days. That earns gum the designation of “indigestible”, but that doesn’t mean it won’t pass through the digestive system, it just means it can’t be broken down into smaller pieces. I guess it goes in the same category as corn.

That means habitual swallowers can suffer from blockages and constipation if a large amount of gum builds up, especially children who swallow gum frequently. But, a single piece of gum usually passes without a problem.

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Sources: Scientific American, Snopes, How Stuff Works

November 1, 2010 at 1:00 am 4 comments

Leap Years and Leap Seconds

Happy New Year!

You probably know that leap years occur every four years. On leap years we add an extra day to keep our clocks and calendars in sync with Earth’s rotation.

On the other hand, most people don’t know about leap seconds. Leap seconds are used for the very same reason as leap years, to keep our clocks in sync with Earth’s rotation.

Because Earth’s rotation varies, leap seconds are added or subtracted up to twice per year when needed. Leap years add a day in February while leap seconds can be added at midnight on December 31st or June 30th when necessary.

An extra day on the calendar isn’t going to go unnoticed, but an extra second is difficult to sense. That’s why most of us don’t know about them. Accurate time keeping devices (atomic clocks) are updated appropriately and you may notice the update on connected devices like cell phones or GPS units, but generally it goes unnoticed by nearly all of us. The last two leap seconds were added on New Year’s Eve of 2005 and 2008. The next time a leap second will be added is not known.

Here’s a video that shows an extra second inserted between 59 and 00 on an atomic clock.

Sources: WP – Leap Year, WP – Leap Second,,

January 1, 2010 at 12:01 am 1 comment

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