Weird science facts, November 16 — November 22

Another week of Twitter #weirdscifacts!!!

613. Nov 16: In 1898, August Bier tested effectiveness of spinal anesthesia on assistant by beating crap out of him.  I quote: “Bier stabbed, hammered and burned his assistant, pulled out his pubic hairs and – presumably eager to leave no stone unturned in testing the new method’s efficiency – squashed his testicles.”

614. Nov 17: “Scientists create lightest material on Earth“.  I think they mean “lowest density”, but still cool!  This metal material is apparently even lower density than aerogel, which has been featured before in these facts.

615. Nov 18: Consider Hilbert’s infinite hotel, a mathematical “paradox”.  I posted this fact on the day that the hotel for ScienceOnline 2012 was made available for booking.  In the panic to get a room in the main hotel (which I, regrettably, shared in), it seemed appropriate to post about a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, all full, but which nevertheless has an infinite amount of space available.

616. Nov 19: Robert Goddard, rocket pioneer, had his theories trashed in New York Times soon after publication!  The hilarious part of this editorial is that it accuses Goddard of not knowing basic science, while revealing the writer’s own ignorance at the same time.

617. Nov 20: Male ring-tailed lemurs fight for dominance by trying to “out-stink” one another.  Many people on Twitter suggested that this is not so different from the behavior of human males.

618. Nov 21: Barking piranhas?  The fact that piranhas bark is almost eclipsed by the bizarre techniques used to provoke them into barking — researchers nearly lost fingers!

619. Nov 22: Fairy wasps shrink to the size of amoeba by sacrificing their neurons.  These creatures are really amazing — an entire multi-celled insect the size of an amoeba.    (h/t @jenlucpiquant)

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2 Responses to Weird science facts, November 16 — November 22

  1. Rachel says:

    Piranhas bark?! Who knew! And I’m glad I wasn’t August Bier’s assistant. Great compilation of tweets, thanks 🙂

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