Weird science facts, February 29 — March 6

A little over one week before I’ve done two continuous years of daily Twitter #weirdscifacts!!! In the meantime, here’s the last week’s weirdness:

718. Feb 29: Moon’s shadow, like a ship, creates waves in Earth’s atmosphere.

719. Mar 01: The Poor Woman Who Will Forever Be Known As Typhoid Mary.  (h/t @JenLucPiquant)

720, Mar 02: In 19th C. to make leeches attach, you soaked them in wine, which irritated them into biting. (via @seelix)

721. Mar 03: Exploding whale carcasses, from both man-made and natural causes.  (h/t @encephalartos)

722. Mar 04: The Battle of Kadesh (1273 B.C.E., where recorded documents from both sides declare victory!  This is one of my favorite stories from archaeology — both the Hittites and the Egyptians claimed victory in a battle which was most likely a draw.  The Egyptian pharaoh, in particular, took the opportunity to describe how he essentially fought the entire Hittite army by himself!

723. Mar 05: How the sawfish wields its saw – like a swordsman!  It not only swings its saw around to spear fish, but the saw is also a sensory organ that can be used to track and detect prey. (by @edyong209)

723a. Terrifying photos reveal first ever evidence of bears using tools.  Sure, it’s not a really sophisticated tool, and it’s hardly more elaborate behavior than the typical bear-scratching-his-back-on-a-tree, but… yeah, we’re screwed. (h/t @lukedones)

724. Mar 06: The case of the upside-down glasses: George Stratton and perceptual adaptation.  I can’t recall who shared this tale with me recently!  In short, Stratton wore a pair of glasses for weeks that showed him the world upside-down.  After sufficient time, “upside down” became “right-side up” according to his brain.  When he took the glasses off, he had to wait for his vision to readjust to the “normal” orientation.

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