This week was an eventful one! I was at Disney World with my wife, so one of our facts is about roller coaster history. In honor of the memory of Whitney Houston, I posted a musical fact. For Valentine’s Day, I found an… um… sexual organ related fact…
697. Feb 08: From the annals of weird inventions: rose-colored eyeglasses for chickens! I learned about these on the reality show Storage Wars, when Barry Weiss came across some in a storage locker he purchased. The glasses are intended to keep the chickens from cannibalizing each other at the sight of blood.
698a. The 1948 Donora industrial smog, which killed 20 and helped spark the clean air movement. Before this incident, the public seems to have been unaware of the possibility of man-made fatal environmental disaster on a grand scale.
699. Feb 10: Early 1903 looping roller coaster, Flip-Flap Railway, produced 12 G’s and snapped some rider’s necks. Modern looping coasters have a “clothoid” shape, like an inverted tear drop, with relatively wide curve at the bottom and a sharp curve at top (images via Wikipedia):
The reason for this is elementary physics: in order for a roller coaster car to successfully clear the top of an ordinary circular loop, such as the Flip-Flap Railway (shown below), the rider must be exposed to incredibly high, even fatal, G-forces at the bottom. By widening the entrance curve at the bottom of the loop, the forces are reduced to a safe level.
700. Feb 11: The “drawn sound” technique of music synthesis, oramics, invented by Daphne Oram. “Oramics” involves drawing images on 35mm film as a “mask” of transmitted light; the light is received by photocells that interpret the result as sound. A picture of such “drawn sound” is shown below (via Wikipedia):
703. Feb 14: “Angel lust”, otherwise known as a “death erection“. I had known for years about the possibility of a hanged man producing an erection, but I had not until now considered how odd it is from a scientific point of view. (h/t @arthurpdent42)