The Weigh In

Fact: A teaspoon-full of a neutron star would weigh the same as Mount Everest. Mount Everest is a heavy mountain: rough estimates place its mass at around 10 trillion kilos. But just 5ml (or 1 teaspoon scoop) of a neutron star would weigh just as much. Neutron stars are the densest known objects in the…

How Now Brown Cow

Fact: Mad Cow Disease was caused by cows eating other cows. Rather than the setup for a creepy horror film it’s cold hard fact: it was cow cannibalism that set off the Mad Cow Disease epidemic in the UK. ‘Mad Cow Disease’, otherwise known as BSE (or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) is quite a unique disease….

It’s Getting Hot in Here

Fact: A lit cigarette is as hot as lava. It’s become normal to light up a cheeky one in the smoking area after a few pints, but few realise that the end of a lit cigarette burns at roughly 900°C – around the same temperature as molten rock when it erupts from the top of…

Cause and Effect…

Fact: Eating margarine in Maine does not cause you to get divorced. Maybe this week’s fact seems like an obvious one. I’m guessing that the question of whether eating margarine causes couples to divorce anywhere in the world was one that was far from the tip of your tongue. Why am I bringing this up? Well,…

Holy S**t

Fact: There is a particle called the “Oh-My-God particle”. You might have thought the God particle (otherwise known as the Higgs Boson) had a pretty cool name, but physicists can be a dramatic bunch sometimes – like when discovering something entirely unexpected. The so-called “Oh-My-God” particle is named after the state of shock scientists found…

It’s in the Blood

Fact: Fuel cells can turn glucose in your blood into electricity. The biggest barrier to portable technology is the need to constantly recharge it. But in the future you might be plugging your phone into a different power supply at night – you. Canadian scientists have created a tiny fuel cell packed with yeast cells….

Freezing Hot // Boiling Cold

Fact: Water can freeze and boil at the same time. Get the temperature and pressure absolutely spot on and you can watch a cup of water boil while ice forms on the top. It might sound like magic but once again it’s due to the power of physics. This precise balance of temperature and pressure…

The Circle of Life

Fact: Elephants never get cancer. The cure for cancer? Look to the natural world for answers, as it seems that elephants have cracked the secret to eternal life. Cancer is simply uncontrolled cell division, which occurs when the DNA of a cell becomes damaged. DNA damage occurs most commonly when cells divide, and if this…

Urine For A Treat

Fact: Porcupines can piss up to 6 feet. You might have the all-time high score on that game in you local pub’s urinal, but nature can always go one better – in this case its the water cannon of the male porcupine. There’s not a lot left to the imagination here so i’ll come right…

Show Me The Monet

Fact: Monet could see ultra-violet light. Sometimes the most talented among us seem like superheroes, but in the case of Claude Monet there was actually a ‘superpower’ at work: he could see what is invisible to the rest of us. In fact, all humans have the capability to see UV light. Cells in our eyes…

Humongous Fungus

Fact: The largest living organism in the world is a mushroom. We all know the blue whale is big, but we’ve been living a lie. At 30m long and weighing in at 200 tonnes, a fully grown whale pales in comparison to the might of natures forgotten beasts – fungi. This record-breaking fungus is specifically…

Flea Circus

Fact: A jumping flea accelerates faster than a space rocket.   The space rocket is a feat of human engineering. It accelerates so fast that astronauts have to undergo special training to withstand the powerful forces exerted on their bodies during lift-off. And yet, our mightiest machines pale in comparison to the humble flea. Let’s…