Here are the previous week’s Twitter #weirdscifacts! A lot of interesting facts appeared on Twitter, and I didn’t have to do a lot of searching for once.
396. Apr 13: The wombat’s deadliest weapon? Its ass! As a defensive mechanism, the wombat has evolved a butt nearly impervious to predators. When being chased, it will run face-first into its burrow and plug the hole with its hiney! If a persistent predator foolishly tries to climb over the wombat’s back, the wombat will push up with its powerful legs and crush the attacker’s jaw against the roof of the burrow.
398. Apr 15: The Blue People of Troublesome Creek. This will be the first of a number of ways that people can turn blue! These people were blue due to a recessive genetic trait.
399. Apr 16: Hippos are big animals — the hide of a hippopotamus alone can weigh 1/2 ton!
400. Apr 17: Some sea stars eat mollusk prey by extending a stomach out of their body and into the prey’s shell.
401. Apr 18: How hard is it to fold a piece of paper in half a successive number of times? World record is 13! This is a good illustration of exponential growth! Every fold of a piece of paper doubles its thickness, and those doublings add up quickly. As noted in the excellent linked article, if one could do the folding 42 times — a seemingly small number — the stack of paper would reach the moon!
402. Apr 19: T.S.C. Lowe’s long distance balloon flight at beginning of Civil War got him arrested as a Union spy! Lowe was a scientist and inventor as well as a balloon flyer. He was planning a trans-Atlantic flight, but several problems with the balloon prompted a shorter test flight, intended to go from Cincinnati to Maryland. His timing was poor — he left on April 19th, only a week after the first battle of the Civil War! He ended up drifting off course and landing in Virginia, which earned him the spy charges. He was released soon after, but perhaps the South should have kept him imprisoned — he was appointed chief aeronaut by President Lincoln in the military’s Balloon Corps! More in the Wikipedia article.