The bouncing raisin trick

A raisin in a glass of soda water (or champagne) will continuously bounce up and down from the bottom of the glass.

This motion is because of the dissolved CO2 in the champagne. The CO2 bubbles form on the surface of the wrinkly raisin, lifting it up to the top. When the bubble escapes off the water surface, the raisin sinks again. Bubbles form on the raisin because the dissolved gas often needs a nidus to form. The wrinkly raisin provides the perfect imperfect surface for gas bubbles to form.

Color blindness

Everyone is color blind at birth. This is because the components of the eye that receive color (rods and cones) aren’t fully developed yet. Newborns only see shades of grey, but luckily this oddity lasts only a few weeks.

Because of their color discrimination, it is true that colour blind people were employed in spy planes during World War II in order to spot camouflaged German camps.

life saving coconuts

Interestingly, coconut water can be used as blood plasma substitutes.

This was discovered during World War II when blood supply was low. Doctors realized that water from a young coconut had the same electrolyte balance as blood, was easily absorbed and most important of all, did not destroy red blood cells. It really was the fluid of life.

The headless cockroach

Cockroaches are pretty hardy and are over 350 million years old, even predating some dinosaurs. The cockroach has a high resistance to radiation and is the creature most likely to survive a nuclear war.

They also do not have blood pressure like humans but rather, an open circulatory system. The pressure is so low that if you cut their heads off, their necks would seal simply from clotting. You may have heard that the body can survive without its head, but will eventually die only because it cannot eat. Surprisingly, the head can also survive for several hours waving its antennae. If refrigerated, it could last even longer.

Cocaine

Cocaine is the most powerful stimulant found in nature. The first step in making cocaine is actually soaking the coca plant in kerosene, gasoline or diesel.

Pure cocaine was first extracted from the leaves of the coca plant by soaking the leaves in kerosene, gasoline or diesel. It was initially cheap and was marketed in a fortified wine in France as early as 1863. Its use is now so widespread that in in Los Angeles, three out of every four banknotes are tainted by cocaine or other drugs.

Surprisingly, after the US, New Zealand has one of the highest cocaine use in the world.

Water footprint

Water is a scarce resource as less than 3% of water on Earth is freshwater. Today 894 million people lack access to drinking water and that is about three times the population of the United States. We need to know our water footprint. For example, it takes 75 litres of water to produce 1 litre of beer, and 2400 litres of water for a hamburger. That means that a meal is equal to an average shower for a month.

Companies like Coca-Cola and Nestle are pillaging water resources through privatization. It currently takes about 2 litres of water to make 1 litre of Coca-cola, that’s an estimated 300.19 billion litres of water a year. That’s enough water for the whole world for 6 years!

Wasabi fire alarm

In 2008, a Japanese team invented a silent wasabi fire alarm that wafts wasabi vapour. This was to be used to warn deaf people in an emergency and in a test, 93% of occupants woke up within 2 minutes. This life saving piece of equipment was so funny yet amazing that it was awarded the 2011 Ig Nobel Prize at Harvard University.

In an interview, one of the team members Makoto Imai said that they had in fact tried hundreds of odors, including rotten eggs.

The Donald Duck Hoax

There was a rumor that Donald Duck comics were once banned from Finland because he didn’t wear pants.

This was false. What was true however, was that In 1977, Helsinki did stop buying Donald Duck comics for youth centers due to cost constraints. The international media then exaggerated the incident with headlines like “Finland Bans Donald!” and “Donald Vanishes from Libraries!”

Dogs sense of smell

A human’s scent membrane in the nose is about the size of a postage stamp. A dog’s is about the size of a handkerchief. It’s olfactory lobe is also 4 times that of a human. A dog’s sense of smell is so sensitive that it can detect odours at concentrations as low as one part per trillion.

A dog named Daisy is report to be able to sniff out bladder cancer in urine with an accuracy of 93%, while other dogs can detect colorectal cancer in a breath sample.

Dell computers

Dell Computers was started by a 19 year old with only $1000.

It was such a small start-up that Dell’s first advertisement was made on the back of a pizza box.

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