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Spectacular Science Specifics
There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.
11.A stinging tree in Australia can cause intense pain and even death.Tiny hairs full of poison break off the leaves and stick to the skin, which can then heal over the injury, trapping the poison inside. Even standing near the tree can cause painful nosebleeds!
12.A toxin in the nectar of laurels and rhododendrons makes honey made from these plants poisonous. In 66 BCE, Roman troops were lured by their enemies into a grove where bees made honey from these flowers. The soldiers ate it and were slaughtered while sick.
13.A treatment for the skin disease psoriasis available in Turkey involves sitting in a bath full of live fish, which eat away all the flaking skin.
14.A will-o'-the-wisp is a flame of burning marsh gas that appears in boggy areas at night. It has lured many travellers to a muddy death when they have left the path to follow it, believing it to be someone with a light.
15.Air conditioning systems are home to lots of nasty bacteria. And because they pump the same air around a building again and again, they are one of the best ways of spreading diseases to everyone in the building.
16.An old cure for a headache involved tying the rope used to hang a criminal around your temples.
17.An old cure for tuberculosis consisted of cutting open a newly dead cow, pulling the folds of skin around your neck and breathing in deeply.
18.An unusual form of drug abuse is licking cane toads. They make a slime containing a drug which produces hallucinations (strange experiences or visions). People in some parts of Australia and the USA have started licking the toads to enjoy the drug.
19.Archaeologists find out about what people in the Stone Age ate by examining Stone Age faeces called coprolites.They have to be soaked in water for three days first to soften them.
20.Around 1,400 years ago, the Chinese used to make gunpowder by boiling up and burning pig manure.To make sure it was ready, and not polluted with salt, they licked the crystals.
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