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Spectacular Science Specifics
There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.
31.Ergot is fungus that grows on rye and causes people to act as though mad if they eat it. Some historians think that people accused of witchcraft who said they could fly, or those who accused others of strange, magical behaviour, may have had ergot poisoning.
32.Fake mermaids made from bits of monkey and fish have been produced to fool scientists for years – most recently with one claimed to have been washed up by the tsunami in Asia in 2004. The oldest so-called mummified mermaid is 1,400 years old and from Japan.
33.For centuries, it was illegal to cut up dead bodies, so surgeons and scientists had to pay criminals to steal the corpses of executed prisoners from the gallows in order to learn about anatomy.
34.Green potatoes contain a poison, solanin, which can be deadly. It develops in old potatoes that are not kept in the dark. Eating 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of green potatoes could be fatal.
35.Horses killed in the First World War were recycled as explosives – their fat was removed and boiled down to be used in making TNT.
36.If potatoes were discovered today, they would probably be banned under European Union regulations as too dangerous.
37.If you are trapped in snow in an avalanche, it's impossible to tell which way is up (and so which way to dig yourself out). Urinate and see which direction the yellow stain spreads – gravity will pull the urine down.
38.If you cut spinach with an iron knife, both will go black as a chemical in the spinach reacts with the iron.
39.If you draw pictures in the condensation on a window, the picture will reappear next time the window mists over as a layer of grease from your skin stays on the glass and repels the water.
40.If you fall off a very high cliff or building, the fastest speed you will ever fall at is around 200 kilometres (124 miles) per hour.This is called terminal velocity, and it's enough to make a nasty splat.
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