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The Case of the Continuously Functioning Oxford Electric Bell From 1840

It has been ringing continuously for over 175 years.


Back in 1840, a physics professor at the University of Oxford named Robert Walker acquired a unique apparatus. It was a battery designed to propel a hanging metal ball back and forth, between two small bells. It has since been known as the Oxford Electric Bell or Clarendon Dry Pile.

The bell has been ringing continuously for 178 years since it was acquired – although inaudibly as it is stored behind two layers of glass. The Oxford Electric Bell is currently displayed in a corridor adjacent to the foyer of the Clarendon Laboratory at the University of Oxford in England.

The bell is said to have rung over 10 billion times.

The device was built by Watkins and Hill, a London instrument-manufacturing firm. It has a note attached in Walker’s handwriting that said: “Set up in 1840.” It has also been dubbed the “world’s most durable battery” by the Guiness Book of World Records and the “longest running science experiment” by Mental Floss.

The whole setup consists of two brass bells placed beneath a dry pile (a form of battery), with the pair of piles connected in a series. The clapper is a metal sphere suspended between the piles, which rings the bells alternately using electrostatic force.

As the clapper touches one bell, it is charged by one pile, and then it is electrostatically repelled and becomes attracted to the other bell. On hitting the other bell, the whole process repeats itself.

The exact composition of the dry piles remains unknown however.

Dry piles are one of the first forms of electric batteries. It was developed in the early 19th century by priest and physicist Giuseppe Zamboni.

Although it would be helpful to find out more about its composition, opening the Oxford Electric Bell will disrupt the experiment, which aims to see how long the device will actually keep working. Researchers who want to further study the Oxford Electric Bell will most likely have to wait until the battery finally loses its charge or the device breaks down from old age.


Hero Dog Shot Multiple Times After Protecting Teen Owner From Robbers

He is indeed man’s best friend!

A two-year-old German shepherd just proved that dogs are indeed man’s best friends. Named Rex, it helped fight armed intruders who invaded Javier Mercado’s house one afternoon in Des Moines, USA. Javier reportedly heard a noise and as he gazed upon a window, he saw a vehicle he did not recognize.

Suddenly, he heard his sliding door break. The glasses shattered so loudly that Rex quickly ran downstairs. It started “barking and barking.” Eventually, a guy screamed, “the dog bit me, get the dog.” Javier rushed to the phone and dialed 911.

Meet Rex, the German shepherd that helped stop a burglary.

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5 Of The World’s Biggest Gold Nuggets That Haven’t Been Melted

These are extra special as they haven’t been refined.

Throughout history, gold has always been a lucrative asset that humans have learned to extract a hundred years ago. Because of extensive mining of gold, rarely is the metal seen as a nugget. Majority of the gold nuggets that have been discovered have all been refined and melted.

For the past few decades, however, there is appreciation on the most natural raw form of gold. Instead of melting them or refining them to make into coins, jewelry and bars, some have been collected while preserving the raw form. Here are five of the world’s largest gold nuggets that still exist.

#5. Ironstone's Crown Jewel, USA

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6 Things You Should Avoid Saying To A Grieving Person

Are you guilty of saying these things?

Anyone who's lost a loved one would understand how painful the loss can be that it seems like the grief won't end. At the same time, if you haven't experienced it, you'll never know how deep the pain would feel. And if you happen to know someone who suffered a loss, you most likely don't know what to tell the person to make them feel better. What's worse is that you could end up saying the wrong words, even if you only mean well.

A bereavement expert agrees that it is difficult to say something to someone who's mourning even if we have the best intentions to make them feel better. And the truth is, there's little or nothing that we can say to actually help. Making remarks to show support and offer comfort is an instinct but sometimes, they can come out wrong. Here are six things you should never say to someone who's in the process of grieving.

#1. Offering remarks that have been used too often to be thoughtful.

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