Weird science facts, August 24 — August 30

Here are the Twitter #weirdscifacts for the past week!

529. Aug 24: Avg density of the planet Saturn is so low, it would float in a (sufficiently large) bucket of water. Of course, there are some major caveats to this — that bucket of water would also have to be in the gravitation field of an (even more massive) planet or star, or the word “float” would be meaningless!  The point, however, is that Saturn is a very low density planet.

530. Aug 25: Vredefort crater — 300 km in diameter, largest known impact crater on Earth (asteroid probably 5-10km).  This is significantly larger than the Chicxulub crater, which is thought to be the asteroid impact that doomed the dinosaurs!

531. Aug 26: Turning orange from eating too many carrots? In this post by @scicurious, she confirms an anecdote told to her by her father!  I’m expecting that in her next post, she’ll prove that if you make that face for too long, it will stay that way.

532. Aug 27: Paricutin, the volcano that grew out of a Mexican cornfield in 1943.  In one of the most amazing geological events in human history, the farmer and his family actually witnessed the volcano’s growth from a fissure in the ground.  Within a week, it was five stories tall!

533. Aug 28: A case of scientific illiteracy: the Charlotte amoeba panic of 1965! This post by @spacearcheology highlights a mystery involving my current home town!  It seems that, in the 1960s, a number of radio stations throughout the country played pranks by breathlessly announcing that an amoeba was loose in town.  The mystery: there seems to be very little record of this “panic”, which suggests that it wasn’t major.  Radio stations were cited by the FCC, however.

534. Aug 29: Would it help to nuke a hurricane? Remarkably, someone has done the math.  (via @motherjones)  Nukes have been suggested for all sorts of rather… unconventional… ideas.  We’ve noted previously that it was suggested that nukes could be used to carve out new shipping harbors!

535. Aug 30: February, 2000: the RRS Discovery rides an onslaught of rogue waves.  The excerpt is from the book The Wave, that I just started reading.  The Discovery crew got more than they bargained for, fighting for their lives to stay afloat in a truly monstrous storm.

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