Tuesday, February 19, 2008

50 Weird Science Tidbits & Oddities

Part 1: Items 1 - 10

In my surfing journeys through the internet’s reefs and shoals, I’ve encountered some really strange stuff. Factoids hardly anybody knows, about pretty much anything that might turn up as subject matter in a rousing championship match of Trivial Pursuit down at the pub on Thursday night. Some of these are real crowd-pleasers sure to draw spontaneous applause, stunned gasps, and plenty of free beers from admirers.

While there will be ten fun, honest-to-scientific facts or odd theories in each of the five posts on this subject this week, they’re not listed in any particular order on my weird-o-meter. If you have favorites among them, please log your votes in the comments. Eventually we should have a Top Ten!

1. Octopus Beats Grinch, Heart for Heart


The Grinch (that green fuzzy guy who stole Christmas) became an official good-guy when his heart grew three sizes one day. The octopus does even better - he has three hearts!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

2. A Naked Tiger Still Has Stripes


If a tiger loses all his hair, he’ll still be striped. Tiger stripes are like fingerprints, each individual cat’s markings are unique. And they’re not just hair, the stripes are in their skin. Seems to be a thing with cats, since your house cat’s fur markings are also skin deep!

3. Most Of Your Body’s Cells Aren’t Yours


Strange but true. There are more microbial cells in your body than cells that have your own DNA. As NPR’s Robert Krulwich reported in 2006, the human body has 20 times more microbes than cells! I guess that pretty well justifies the “Imperial We.”

4. Insects Outnumber Us


Perhaps that’s not so surprising since our own body’s microbes outnumber us too, but the scale is pretty humbling. There are more insects in just one square mile of fertile soil than there are human beings on the entire planet! Quite the delicacy in Asia…

5. And We’re All Eating Them…


The average person manages to consume about 430 insects every year of their lives, whether they intended to or not! And no, not all “average” people ride motorcycles.

6. Alligators Never Need Dentures


While both humans and alligators depend on their teeth in order to chew food, humans only get two sets of natural teeth to last them a lifetime. Alligators get from 2,000 to 3,000 teeth during the course of their lifetime! Which is no doubt why we never hear about grumpy ‘gators gumming anybody to death.

7. “Salt of the Earth” Is More Than A Title


There is enough salt in the world’s oceans to cover all the land on all the continents to a depth of nearly 500 feet! I’m cutting down on salt anyway, hope you are too.

8. When It Rains, It Croaks


Despite the common weather report that “it’s raining cats and dogs out there,” frogs and fish are the most likely animals to fall from the sky in rain. The most recent rain of frogs occurred in 2005 in Serbia, and it rained frogs in London in 1998. In 2006 it rained fish in India, while Wales got the fish-drop in 2004.

9. Space Resources We Could Put To Good Use


The interstellar gas cloud that comprises Sagittarius B contains a billion billion billion (yes, that’s three orders of billion) liters of alcohol. This factoid is bound to be a big hit at the pub!

10. Odd Theory Out, But Great Animation!

Though discounted by most scientists, comic book artist Neal Adams has popularized an Expanding Earth Theory that challenges standard plate tectonics. In this controversial theory our planet was once just about half as big as it is now - which purports to explain why dinosaurs got so big (less gravity) and other anomalies. Check Adams’ video, it’s very cool!

The Entire Series:

1-10 of 50 Weird Science Tidbits & Oddities
11-20 of 50 Weird Science Tidbits & Oddities
21-30 of 50 Weird Science Tidbits & Oddities
31-40 of 50 Weird Science Tidbits & Oddities
41-50 of 50 Weird Science Tidbits & Oddities

Original here

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