I’m currently in the airport in San Francisco, waiting to get my flight back to Charlotte. I thought this would be a good time to post the past week’s Twitter #weirdscifacts! Hopefully life will settle down somewhat soon and I’ll be back to more regular science and pulp fiction postings.
312. Jan 19: At about three tons, a blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as a small elephant. (via @CaptainSkellett)
313. Jan 20: The 1827-28 Burke & Hare murders; motive was cash for anatomy college specimens. In that era, the need for anatomy specimens was on the rise, but legal sources — namely executed criminals — were on the decline. Burke and Hare took it upon themselves to create their own source of fresh corpses, via murder.
314. Jan 21: The Great Thunderstorm of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, 1638: apparent ball lightning kills 4, injures 60. The ball lightning hit during a church service; it was “explained” at the time as the devil arriving to claim the soul of a man sleeping during church.
315. Jan 22: Scientists have used tombstones to track environmental changes. Tombstones are long-lasting and can serve as a record of pollution and other environmental factors.
316. Jan 23: Scientist & philosopher Francis Bacon died in 1626 from pneumonia, possibly due to studying the use of snow to preserve meat. The connection is not quite certain, but Bacon is often cited as a man who literally died in the pursuit of scientific knowledge.
317. Jan 24: The doctor who kept Einstein’s brain in a jar for 43 years.