The past week’s Twitter #weirdscifacts, right on schedule!
522. Aug 17: Ancient Damascus swords shown to contain very state-of-the-art carbon nanotubes! I’m planning to blog about this next week — though carbon nanotubes are relatively new to science, they were unknowingly produced in the production of Damascus swords. (h/t @drrubidium)
524. Aug 19: Thatcherization: the failure to notice massively distorted faces oriented upside down. I’m tempted to do this with my own photos!
525. Aug 20: Mike the headless chicken, who survived 18 months after his head was mostly cut off! Enough of Mike’s head survived to keep basic motor functions going.
526. Aug 21: c. 850 C.E., Islamic scholar Abbas Ibn Firnas is reputed to have made an attempt at flight w/ glider. Note the use of the word “reputed”! Like many statements about pre-renaissance science, the glider attempt is poorly documented, with only a cryptic contemporary reference and a more detailed reference only 800 years later. Why put any faith in it at all? After all, Archimedes was credited with a “death ray” that is widely considered apocryphal. Unlike Archimedes, though, Firnas’ attempt at flight was reported to be a failure, which ended up giving him significant injuries! This gives it at least the veneer of plausibility.
527. Aug 22: Archeological evidence suggests Egyptian queen Hatshepsut moisturized to death! Hatshepsut is known to have died of cancer, and recent investigations show that she was using a skin moisturizer that included highly carcinogenic materials. (h/t @wilsondasilva)