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…

The Centre of Attention

Fact: The Earth is at the centre of the universe. Remember when the church argued that the Earth was the centre of the universe? Turns out, if you look at the physics in a certain way its hard to argue with them. The universe is constantly expanding, so galaxies are constantly getting further and further apart….

We Are Not Alone

Fact: The aliens should have been in touch by now. There is absolutely no convincing evidence of intelligent – or indeed any – life on other planets to date. However, taking into account the huge size and age of the universe it is also extremely unlikely that we are the only life-forms in the universe….

Totally Nutty

Fact: It takes a gallon of water to grow a single almond. You might be basking in your eco-warrior glory every morning as you pour almond milk instead of cows’ milk on your cereal, but it turns out that almonds also have a lot to answer for. Almonds grow best in hot, Mediterranean climates –…

Totally Eclipsed

Fact: Solar eclipses are a complete coincidence.  If you have ever seen a total solar eclipse, you know just how beautiful it is. But it turns out that the perfect match-up between sun and moon that makes it possible is simply the biggest coincidence in the world. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon…

Run For Your Life

Fact: A human can outrun a horse over a marathon. Remember the man who can run forever, Dan Karnazes? He might be unusual, but it turns out us humans have evolved to be the masters of long distance running. Homo sapiens (that’s us) evolved in Africa, and we learned to hunt in a very particular way….

Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey

Fact: Telescopes are time machines. Ok yes, they can’t let you go back and kill Hitler. But in a very real sense looking through a telescope gives you the power to look millions of years into the past. Light moves pretty fast – almost 300 million meters/second, to be precise – but it does not reach…

En Guarde!

Fact: Flatworms decide who gets pregnant by penis fencing. First up, let me clarify: penis fencing is actually the official scientific term for this kind of behaviour, its not just me looking for a great tagline. Flatworms are hermaphrodites – each worm has the reproductive organs of both a male (i.e. testes, which produce sperm) and…

Against The Clock

Fact: There are 10,080 minutes in a week. And this time I could only find a single one in which to write a post. ‘Another one of Mr Shaunak’s Little Bites of Science’ Image under Creative Commons license