Weird science facts, April 20 — April 26

Here are the Twitter #weirdscifacts for the previous week!

403. Apr 20: 150 yrs ago today, the government gave muskets to the Smithsonian for protection against the Confederacy!  (h/t @smithsonian)

404. Apr 21: Largest genome belongs to plant Paris japonica — *50 times* larger than human!  (h/t @anthinpractice)

405. Apr 22: The “electric kiss”, Venus electrificata, a 1700s electricity demo concocted by G.M. Bose.  The link is to a German article on Bose, so I should summarize!  In short, Georg Matthias Bose ended up joining in the furor over electricity in the early 1700s, creating a number of attention-getting demonstrations.  Among these was the Venus electrificata, in which a woman standing on an electrically isolated platform gets charged up with static electricity.  A grounded paramour ends up getting a strong shock when he steals a kiss:

406. Apr 23: Can an elephant paint? Short answer: yes!  The link is to an old blog post of mine.  Though the demonstrations of elephants painting portraits are the result of careful guidance from their trainers, elephants do enjoy putting paint on canvas.  In fact, a number of zoos offer paintings for sale by their elephants! (I have one.)

407. Apr 24: Non-transitive dice: very unusual odds in dice-playing! (From an old blog post of mine.)

408. Apr 25: The spinthariscope — see atoms decay before your eyes!

409. Apr 26: The “light flash” phenomenon, in which astronaut’s eyes interact with cosmic rays. (Scroll down in this link for explanation.)

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