Weird science facts, June 15 — June 21

Here, as always, are the Twitter #weirdscifacts for the past week!

459. June 15: The horrific 1983 Byford Dolphin decompression accident. Warning: the text description alone is grisly and awful.  When a pressurized chamber is opened suddenly, terrible things happen.

460. June 16: Vladimir Demikhov‘s ghastly 1950s experiments that resulted, among other things, in a 2-headed dog. 

461. June 17: One of the oddest theories of dinosaur extinction — caterpillars starved them!  Unusual, even crazy, theories are not necessarily false, but this one almost certainly is.  A striking example of the imagination of scientists.  (classic by @laelaps)

462. June 18: From the other day: scientist attempts to tame belugas while swimming naked in Arctic waters.  Somehow, this reminds me of a classic bit of dialogue from Ghostbusters: “What’s that got to do with anything?” “Back off, man, I’m a scientist.”

463. June 19: Star Found Shooting Water “Bullets”

464. June 20: Horseshoe crab blood — an important ingredient to detect bacterial toxins in sterile medical devices. 

465. June 21: In 1689, Robert Hooke presented to the Royal Society on the medicinal effects of cannabis: ‘very wholesome’. h/t @lucyinglis

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2 Responses to Weird science facts, June 15 — June 21

  1. Megan says:

    A friend of mine sent me some info on a new energy source and it gets all into physics and whatnot. Something that I do not know a great deal about.

    I would like to know if this new energy source is legit. It is something being developed in Australia.

    What do you think?
    FAQ sheet : http://www.starscientific.com.au/faq.php

    Thank you!
    Megan

    • Hi Megan,

      The idea sounds superficially plausible, as muon-catalyzed fusion is a real process. There seem to be very significant difficulties, however, in the energy balance problem: one needs the energy cost of producing the muons to be lower than the energy released in fusion. A number of reputable research groups seem to be taking the idea very seriously; however, what I can’t say for certain is whether the particular Australian group you link to is a “reputable” group!

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