Weird science facts, December 7 — December 13

Here we are again, with a week’s worth of #weirdscifacts!

634. Dec 07: Think your appetite is big? The black swallower can eat fish up to 3x its size! (h/t @sfriedscientist)  A picture of this nightmarish fish, with a full belly, is shown below (source):

635. Dec 08: Planet Neptune has wind speeds up to 1200 mph — roughly 10 times the speeds of hurricanes on Earth!  It is nothing short of amazing to see such high wind speeds on a planet that gets a fraction of the solar energy of Earth.  I’m going to blog about this one in the near future…

636. Dec 09: Biggest black hole yet discovered: mass of 21 billion Suns!!!  (h/t @jeffersonobama)

637. Dec 10: Story from a few days ago: the Cambrian predator with 16,000 eyes!

638. Dec 11: Louis Le Prince (1841-1890) would’ve been the father of movies had he not disappeared mysteriously.  Le Prince was planning to give a demonstration of his technology in the United States when he and his luggage vanished without a trace.   A century later, a photo of a drowned man that might have been him was found in an old police archive.  Foul play?  Others were able to capitalize on movie technology without Le Prince’s presence.

639. Dec 12: Nicolas Cugnot built a steam-powered car… in 1769? The original steampunk!!! It isn’t exactly a high-performance machine, traveling at best some 5 mph and probably not going even a mile before running out of steam.  In spite of its limitations, it was a full-scale “horseless carriage” over a hundred years before cars would truly come into their own!  Cugnot’s 1771 model is shown below (source):

640. Dec 13: Mustard gas — a deadly weapon in WWI whose properties led to it becoming the first chemotherapy drug.

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