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…

Breathe Deep

Fact: Oxygen is a poison. The air we breathe, the very thing keeping us alive… it turns out oxygen is actually poisonous to most life on Earth, including humans. Oxygen is a critical reagent in the reaction we use to release energy from our food (‘respiration’). We do this by passing electrons from sugar molecules…

Part 2: Death by Sex

Fact: Anacondas spend months mating: it can go on so long that they die from it. Green anacondas are the worlds largest snakes, but lasting up to a month in the sack they’re also the world finest endurance sex athletes. Such a marathon requires organisation and planning. A keen female lays down a trail of…

Part 1: Sex or Death

Fact: Ferrets die if they don’t get enough sex. “I’m dying for it”. “It’s killing me.” They might be phrases you’ve said in the past, but we shouldn’t be so dramatic: for female ferrets, sex really is a matter of life and death. Sex is so important to female ferrets because of the nature of…

Part 2: A Watery Grave

Fact: It’s better to drown in salt water than in fresh water. Drowning is bad no matter which way you spin it, but you’re less likely to end up in Davy Jones’ locker if you get into trouble in the sea rather than in a freshwater source like a pool or river. We always think…

Part 1: Bananas in Pyjamas

Fact: Bananas can kill you. Bananas are great for your health – they’re packed with essential ions, full of fibre and they come with their own handy natural wrapping. They can now even be a way of getting vaccinations to the poorest areas of the world. But where pineapples and then apples were out to…

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 around 900°C – roughly 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,…