Tech UPTechnologyCuriosities of summer: mosquitoes, sunglasses, gazpacho and songs

Curiosities of summer: mosquitoes, sunglasses, gazpacho and songs

One of the plagues of summer are the mosquitoes, which at night usually treat us to beautiful “hives”. Our blood is one of his favorite dishes. What may seem a bit silly is that if their survival critically depends on sucking blood, why do their bites sting us? Wouldn’t it be better for them if they fed in a way that was less painful for us? That way we wouldn’t want to eliminate them so much…

The point is that the mosquito, like us, also makes his mouth water when he finds himself in front of an appetizing dish. The difference is that while we do not spit on the paella plate, the mosquito does on the bite . And a poisonous substance, which quickly produces a local inflammation accompanied by a dilation of the capillaries. All of this has a clear goal: to increase blood flow to the area, which is why the bite area turns red. We feel pain, but the mosquito gets the source of its food to flow.

Good to eat: gazpacho and ice cream

The summer heat not only brings us mosquitoes, but also one of the most representative dishes of summer gastronomy, gazpacho and its numerous variants. Its origin is ancient. Already in the 1st century BC. C. Virgil in his Eclogue II speaks of him when describing the sustenance of the weary reapers . Nowadays, and with Mediterranean cuisine in full swing, gazpacho has gone from being a food for the poor to being served in the best restaurants.

Of course it wasn’t like that before. Cervantes, in his immortal Don Quixote , puts it in Sancho’s mouth: “I want to be fed up with gazpacho more than to be subjected to the misery of an impertinent doctor.” We would have to wait until the end of the 19th century for the contempt for this cold soup typical of reapers to become praise: “No restaurant… could offer us a more succulent delicacy than the wild gazpachos and even the homemade ones,” Azorín wrote . And, as Gregorio Marañón said, together with wine and a good piece of meat “it could be considered a food very close to perfection”.

Older than gazpacho is the star dessert of summer, ice cream. How could it be otherwise, the first appeared in China 4,000 years ago. Considered a delicatessen , it was a paste of boiled rice, spices, and milk wrapped in snow to solidify it . Little by little, fruit ice cream appeared -juice with snow- and in the 13th century the ‘ice cream cart’ could be found on the streets of Beijing. With Marco Polo he went to Italy, where the ice cream masters jealously guarded his recipes. It was not for less: getting an ice cream was expensive, a dessert for the rich, because as freezers they used a basement full of ice collected during the winter .

In 1560 a Spaniard living in Rome, Blasius Villafranca, discovered that he could reach the freezing point of the mixture faster if he added saltpeter to the ice and snow that surrounded the ice cream. And four centuries later, in 1920, the American Harry Burt launched vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate and with a wooden stick to hold it on the market.

A bit of optics: of glasses and mirages

Smoking glasses to darken them was used for the first time in China before 1430. Of course, its use was not to dampen the intensity of sunlight but another much closer one and that today subsists among the fauna and flora that grows and spreads. multiplies in the famous magazines: hide the expression of the eyes. Of course, the Chinese did not do it to be interesting, but with a higher objective: the judges wore smoked quartz glasses so that their eyes would not reveal whether they accepted the evidence presented. This had to be discovered only at the end of the trial.

Sunglasses are actually a phenomenon of the 20th century. Designed around 1930 to protect aviators when flying at high altitudes, it was the advertising campaign of the Foster Grant company that launched them into stardom. And never better said because his campaign, in which famous faces from Hollywood appeared, was a bombshell. With the phrase “Isn’t that person… the one behind those Foster Grants?” he made everyone assume that all the stars were wearing his sunglasses. And in the 1970s it became the multi-billion dollar industry it is today.

But for optical phenomenon typical of hot summer days, the “puddles” that appear on the overheated asphalt. It would not cease to be a curiosity if it were not for the fact that the operation of optical fibers is based on it: total reflection. When light passes from one medium to another of different density, two phenomena occur: reflection -the light is bounced- and refraction -the light changes its course when changing medium-. If it passes from one medium to another less dense one, this change of direction is verified so that the light ray is inclined towards the separation surface. Thus, if it hits sufficiently ‘lying down’, the inclination that occurs is such that the ray does not get to pass to the other medium: the separation surface becomes a perfect mirror. On the road, the air attached to it is warmer than the air above it, so it is less dense, and the light is totally reflected before reaching the ground. The same thing happens if we dive into the pool. As we go up there will come a time when the surface of the water becomes a mirror and we see the bottom of the pool.

the summer song

Apparently and by his own confession, the person responsible for the existence of the summer song is Luis Aguilé . It all started in the early sixties when Aguilé arrived in Spain. Then the record companies closed the summer months. Aguilé rose to fame with two songs released shortly before the summer: Fanny –“…those are things that happen and time will tell”- and Dile , a version of the success of the group The Exciters Tell Him . The requests were so many that Aguilé’s record company had to open to supply the market. The directors realized that putting out catchy songs for the summer season could be a good business. This is how the term ‘the song of the summer’ was coined and since then the record industry has had a field day.

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