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14736. Science Facts
The Fore people of Papua New Guinea traditionally eat the bodies of their dead relatives, including the brain. During the 1950s to 1960s an outbreak of the disease kuru was traced to the practice and people were dissuaded from enjoying the usual funeral meal.
14737. Science Facts
Scientists are working on a design for a spacecraft that will be partly fuelled by burning astronauts' faeces.
14738. Science Facts
Some babies are born still enclosed in the sac that holds the fluid in which they develop in the womb. It used to be considered a sign of good luck.World War II leader Winston Churchill was born like this.
14739. Science Facts
In the nineteenth century, arsenic was often used to create green colouring. A cake with green icing, coloured with arsenic, killed children who ate it at a birthday party, prompting chemists to ask for laws about what could be used in foods.
14740. Science Facts
A new design for a rat trap sends a text message to a pest controller when it kills a rat, so that the rat can be quickly removed before it starts to decompose and smell.
14741. Science Facts
Sometimes fish or frogs fall from the sky like rain – and there have been cases of a shower of meat (lumps of lung and muscle) and a rain of maggots.
14742. Science Facts
Taking a bath in the water used to wash a corpse was thought to cure epilepsy.
14743. Science Facts
Using genetic engineering techniques, scientists have a made a mouse that glows in the dark.
14744. Science Facts
There are about 4,000 microbes above every 6.4 square centimetres (1 square inch) of ground.
14745. Science Facts
Bodies buried in lead-lined coffins sometimes explode, as gases from the rotting body are held in by the strong metal. If they are dug up and opened, bits of body can fly out in all directions.
14746. Science Facts
Equipment retrieved from the moon in the 1970s contained germs left there in 1967 – they were still alive.
14747. Science Facts
The strangler fig grows from a seed dropped on another tree in bird or opossum faeces. It grows roots around the host tree and shades its leaves, eventually strangling the host tree to death.
14748. Science Facts
Plants aren't as harmless as they seem.There are more than 600 types of carnivorous plants – plants that eat animals or insects.
14749. Science Facts
Pitcher plants have a deep funnel filled with acid that dissolves any insects or small animals that fall into it. The dead creatures are used as food by the plant.
14750. Science Facts
A zookeeper in Germany tried to treat an elephant for constipation with laxative foods and an enema (pumping oil into its anus through a tube). His cure was effective – the elephant produced 90 kilograms (200 pounds) of faeces, which landed on the keeper and suffocated him.
14751. Science Facts
A firestorm is an uncontrollable fire, often the result of a bombing raid. Temperatures can rise to 800 degrees Celsius (1,472 degrees Fahrenheit) and air is sucked into the firestorm with the force of a hurricane. People who aren't burned can suffocate.
14752. Science Facts
Fat contains a huge amount of energy. Polar explorers sometimes eat hunks of greasy seal fat to give themselves enough calories to keep their bodies warm.
14753. Science Facts
In 1890, a young girl was smeared with phosphorous so that she would glow in the dark and could act as a ghost in a hoax séance. She was poisoned by the chemical and died.
14754. Science Facts
Scabs are formed when chemical proteins react with special blood cells called platelets, which cause the blood to get sticky and clump together. Once you've clotted, lots of different chemicals and cells work together to dry out the clot and form a scab, keeping out germs while the cells underneath repair themselves. So, if you pick a scab you're messing with all your body's hard work!
14755. Science Facts
Piles of horse manure steam in cold weather because the action of bacteria breaking it down produces so much heat.The manure, filled with water and gas, is a good insulator, so it stays hot.
14756. Science Facts
In 2000, UK mountaineer Major Michael Lane gave to a museum five of his own fingers and eight of his toes which had dropped off as a result of frostbite when he was climbing Mount Everest in 1976.
14757. Science Facts
A French cement factory uses soiled nappies as fuel to heat its cement kilns.
14758. Science Facts
Volcanic vents deep under the sea are home to strange plants and animals that can live in high temperatures and poisonous, acidic water.
14759. Science Facts
Scientists studying Mormon crickets cut the heads off to see what the crickets had been eating – and found many had eaten other Mormon crickets. If one stopped to eat, another would often come along and eat it.
14760. Science Facts
Doctors used to test for diabetes by tasting the patient's urine – diabetes made it taste sweet because sugar was lost in it.
14761. Science Facts
The first frozen chicken was created by Sir Francis Bacon who stuffed a plucked chicken with snow in 1626 to experiment with refrigeration. It worked, but he died from a chill contracted during the experiment. The chicken is said to haunt Pond Square in London.
14762. Science Facts
It is possible to drown in mud – and almost impossible to save someone who is drowning in mud as so much force is needed to pull them against the weight of it.
14763. Science Facts
On the east coast of the USA there is a laboratory that leaves dead bodies of humans and animals outside to decay so that scientists can study the rate at which they rot, and the maggots and microbes that help them decompose.
14764. Science Facts
If blue whales tried to live on land, they would be crushed and suffocated by their own weight.They can live successfully in water because it supports them.
14765. Science Facts
In an experiment with a condemned prisoner, Doctor Beaurieux of France discovered in 1905 that a person – or head – can hear and respond for around 25 seconds after beheading.
14766. Science Facts
Diamonds are so hard they are often used as the tip of a dentist's drill because they can grind through teeth.
14767. Science Facts
Soap can be made by dissolving animal fat using an alkali such as sodium hydroxide. Soap used to be made from sheep or pig fat.
14768. Science Facts
Most bacteria are only about 0.00025 of a centimetre (0.0001 of an inch) across. But monster bacteria have been found at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Africa. They are so big they can be seen without a microscope – they're each about the size of the dot of this full stop.
14769. Science Facts
Hungry huskies and polar bears have been known to attack explorers when they urinate – they are attracted by the smell.
14770. Science Facts
Honey kills germs. Spreading it on wounds can stop them becoming infected.
14771. Science Facts
Scientists have modified cockroaches, implanting electrodes in them to control their legs, and used them as living robots to carry cameras or explosives through tiny spaces.
14772. Science Facts
Amongst fuels investigated for use where (or when) oil and petrol are scarce, scientists have tried running cars and tractors on chicken faeces.
14773. Science Facts
Occasionally, babies are born with a full set of teeth.
14774. Science Facts
In Chile, trains on the Arica-La Paz railway were at one time powered by burning llama faeces.
14775. Science Facts
Dermestid beetles are so good at stripping the flesh off dead animals that natural history museums use their larvae to clean up skeletons they are going to put on display.
14776. Science Facts
Some types of pitcher plant have long trailing stems which capture and digest small animals such as frogs.
14777. Science Facts
Malaria is a deadly disease spread by mosquitoes. It is caused by a tiny parasite that lives inside a person's blood cells. Malaria kills 1–3 million people a year.
14778. Science Facts
Early Indian surgeons used ants to hold the edges of wounds together. They would get an ant to bite through both sides of the wound, then twist off the ant's body and throw it away, leaving the head in place with the jaws acting as a stitch.
14779. Science Facts
Railway workers in France in the 1800s claimed to have freed a Pterodactyl trapped in rock.They said it flapped, squawked and died. Reports of frogs and other animals trapped in solid rock are quite common, but not scientifically proven.
14780. Science Facts
Snake venom is not normally poisonous if swallowed because stomach acid alters the chemicals in it.
14781. Science Facts
A toxin in the nectar of laurels and rhododendrons makes honey made from these plants poisonous. In 66 BCE, Roman troops were lured by their enemies into a grove where bees made honey from these flowers. The soldiers ate it and were slaughtered while sick.
14782. Science Facts
The scientific name for a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth is arachibutyrophobia.
14783. Science Facts
If you fell into a black hole you would be stretched into an incredibly long, thin string in a process called ‘spaghettification'.
14784. Science Facts
Cells taken from the inside of baby teeth when they fall out have been grown and have reproduced in the laboratory. Put into the jaws of mice, they grow into soft teeth, with no hard enamel on the outside.
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14785. Science Facts
Urine contains chemicals that we use in cleaning fluids and used to be used for cleaning things.