Weird science facts: April — May 2012

Though I stopped doing a Twitter weird science fact (#weirdscifacts) a day several months ago, I’m still occasionally posting facts as I come across them.  Here’s a collection of a few tidbits I came across over the past couple of months.

746. Apr 06: Pieter Zeeman was fired for doing the work that he eventually won the Nobel Prize for!  There are plenty of stories of Nobel prize research being unappreciated when first published, but it is rare to see someone get fired for doing it.

747. Apr 07: The mystery of the glow-in-the-dark Civil War soldiers.  The story of the miraculously-healing glowing wounds sounds like a supernatural story, but in fact has a scientific basis.

748. Apr 08: Versailles fountains could not be pumped all at once; gardeners watched Louis XIV and ran the ones near him as he strolled.  Interestingly, this week on Jeopardy! a contestant told a modern version of this story.  The contestant and his friend managed to hide in the Versailles gardens and sleep there overnight; they were awakened in the morning to the spray of the sprinkler system, and the sprinklers mysteriously seemed to turn on wherever they ran!  Turns out the gardeners were having a little fun with the trespassers.

748a.  Ever wanted to know how many WIMPS hit you per year?  (h/t @allinthegutter)

749. Apr 11: Dog eats scientist’s labwork. Paper ensues. (h/t @_ColinS_ and @SciencePunk)

750. May 17: Meet the sarcastic fringehead, a fish that looks like the predator!  (h/t @mcmuffinofdoom)

751. May 30: Airboats? The first one was built by a team in 1905 including Alexander Graham Bell.

752. May 31: The curious case of astrophysicist Rodney Marks, who may or may not have been murdered at south pole

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