Time for a holiday edition of Twitter #weirdscifacts! Alas, there’s nothing particularly holiday-themed about this collection of facts, but they are weird!
648. Dec 21: Scientific paper retraction by reason of insanity? In 1951, an entomologist published a paper about “a mite infestation of her scalp that resisted all treatment and was undetectable to anyone other than herself”. It is now thought that her infestation was imaginary, in what is referred to as “delusional parasitosis”. (h/t @bonegirlphd)
649. Dec 22: The diamond weevil actually has diamonds (of a sort) on it! The “diamonds” in question are not true diamonds made of carbon, but are crystals with the same sort of molecular structure. (h/t @bug_girl)
650. Dec 23: Magnetic bacteria!!?? I actually forgot to include the link on this tweet originally! Remarkably, a variety of bacteria contain magnetic nanoparticles that allow them to “swim” along magnetic field lines. (via @boraz and by @labratting)
652. Dec 25: What is the psychology of a prisoner or prison guard? The 1971 Stanford prison experiment.
653. Dec 26: Uranus is the coldest planet in the solar system: as low as 49 degrees Kelvin above absolute zero on cloud tops! Most planets generate heat in their interior that, together with solar radiation, keeps the surface temperature relatively high. Uranus is evidently missing that internal source of heat, and is consequently very cold.
654. Dec 27: The gentleman who “hacked” the wireless telegraph in 1903! We tend to think of hacking as a very recent phenomenon, but during a public demonstration of Marconi’s telegraph the machine started printing out rude messages, seemingly of its own volition! The culprit was a fellow wireless dabbler whose own research had been frustrated by Marconi’s stifling patents. (h/t @nickycast)