Rudolf the Infected Reindeer

Fact: Reindeer with red noses are really quite ill. Father Christmas can deliver presents to billions of people using nothing but reindeer power, a few thousand mince pies and an unshakeable Christmas spirit. But he doesn’t look after his staff: with a nose that red, Rudolf should really be off sick. Noses are specially designed…

Christmas Marmite

Fact: If you hate sprouts, it’s because its in your genes. Forget Scrooge; we all know the real villain at Christmas is the nefarious Brussels Sprout. Not because sprouts taste bad (disclaimer: I love sprouts) but because they drive us apart, with some singing their praises while others will run a mile to avoid them. But…

UK Blog Awards Voting Open!

Dear science fans – I have a favour to ask you. Over the past year and a half you’ve humbled me by supporting this blog, mentioning how you enjoyed reading a post or cornering me in a pub demanding I explain something or other. If you really do enjoy the blog, please find a minute…

Meta-Pregnant

Fact: Having sex when you’re pregnant can get you double-pregnant. It’s A classic contraceptive technique: you can have as much unprotected sex as you like because you’re already pregnant. Whats going to happen – you’re going to get more pregnant? Well, actually, maybe yes. It’s rare, but turns out that it is possible to get…

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

Fact: Clouds weigh more than planes. They look like fluffy white blobs floating lazily through the sky, but in reality clouds are serious heavyweights compared to the planes we fly through them. Scientists have calculated that a typical cumulus cloud (the fluffy ones that make interesting shapes when you’re looking for dinosaurs in the sky)…

Part 2: Penne For Your Thoughts?

Fact: Cold pasta is healthier than hot pasta. Carbs, glorious carbs – and they come in no better form than the mighty pasta. However, pasta is a very simple carbohydrate: once it is in your body it is quickly digested into sugar, meaning it is essentially a socially-acceptable way of eating sweets for dinner. As…

Part 1: Sugar Spice and Everything Nice

Fact: Sugar is worse for you than fat. Ignore the promises of ‘fat-free’ products lined up on shelves. As far as your health is concerned, you’re better off eating the full fat version. First, of course fat makes you fat: if you eat lots of fatty food, you’ll put on weight. However, its actually quite…

Part 3: The Dark Side

Fact: Black holes aren’t black. We all know that black holes are… well, they’re complicated. Are they even holes? But they’re definitely black. Right? Wrong. Black holes are formed when massive stars die and collapse in on themselves under their own weight. Their famous name comes from the the idea that a black hole’s gravity is…

Part 2: On Wednesdays We Wear Pink

Fact: Flamingos are grey, not pink. Flamingos are widely regarded as the camp-est members of the animal kingdom, but it turns out they’re actually born a boring grey. Fortunately this isn’t another case of the colour-changing dress: that flamboyant pink we all know and love only comes on because of their unusual diet. Flamingos eat…

Part 1: Fake News

Fact: Carrots aren’t orange. They will help you see in the dark, but they’re still pulling the wool over your eyes – carrots are naturally purple, white or yellow, not orange. Modern day carrots are orange because they contain very high levels of beta-carotene – the same molecule that makes them so good for you….

Beer Jacket

Fact: Drinking alcohol actually makes you colder. Braving the cold night air is always easier after you’ve had a pint or six, but although alcohol makes you feel warmer, your beer jacket it lying to you. We aren’t quite sure why, but alcohol causes the blood vessels in your skin to relax (or dilate). This…

Liquid Diet

Fact: Guinness is a low-calorie nutrient-rich super-food. Drinking one quickly feels like downing a roast dinner, but the rich, creamy meal replacement that is Guinness is actually often the lowest calorie beer on tap, so it’s worth considering if you’re watching your weight on a night out. The main source of calories in beer is…