Weird science facts, January 11 — January 17

Still going strong on Twitter #weirdscifacts! This will likely be the last significant post of the week, due to my attending ScienceOnline 2012!

(I posted my facts one day late this week, in solidarity with those in opposition to the very stupid SOPA/PIPA bill, for what it’s worth.)

669. Jan 11: Teletanks: the radio-controlled Soviet tanks used during WWII!  With all the recent excitement and controversy about surveillance and predator drones, it is somewhat surprising to realize that remote controlled vehicles were used so long ago.  (h/t @tobascodagama)

670. Jan 12: Parrondo’s mathematical paradox, “a losing game-playing strategy that wins”.

671. Jan 13: Granular convection, aka “Brazil nut effect“: why the biggest nuts end up on top of the pile!

672. Jan 14: The 1953 Flint-Worcester tornados — blamed by congressmen on nuclear testing.  This horrific tragedy was the result of such atypical weather that congressman incorrectly blamed it on recent nuclear testing.  (h/t @patrickneville)

673. Jan 15: The Collatz conjecture: another odd and unproven mathematical hypothesis.  (h/t @patrickneville, again!)

674. Jan 16: Icebergs can melt enough to flip over, creating big waves! This is somewhat obvious, when you think about it — a sudden collapse of a side of an iceberg can upset its balance, making it flip over.  (h/t @discoveryplace)

675. Jan 17: While imprisoned, physicist Arago relied on monkeys to groom him & keep him lice-free.  Arago was captured by the Spanish while on a ship that was transporting exotic animals to Napoleon.  He was incarcerated in a broken windmill with the animals, but they turned out to provide an important service!  (from my blog post!)

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2 Responses to Weird science facts, January 11 — January 17

  1. Lyle says:

    Regarding remote control of tanks in WWII, during or before WWI, John Hays Hammond, Jr., invented and patented methods for the remote control of ships. This attracted the attention of the US Navy, which tested out his methods on three obsolete warships.

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