In his Origin of Species, Darwin described the orchid
Angreacum Sesquipidales. He noted its white, star-like flowers
were only fragrant at night, and that its nectar was to be found at
the bottom of a foot long spur. To others' incredulity, he went on
to predict that, because of these features, it must be polllinated by
an unknown moth with a tongue of approximately the same length as the
spur. Sadly Darwin never saw proof of this theory, but years later
such a moth was discovered and named Xanthopan morgani praedicta in his honour.
If all the blood vessels in the adult human body were laid end to end they would stretch to approximately 160,000 kilometres; four times around the Earth.
Bumblebees can fly. This might not seem like a particularly curious fact unless you are aware
of the urban myth about it having been calculated by engineers that it is aerodynamically impossible for a bumble bee to fly. This is not true. It was once reported in
some newspapers, possible the result of a journalist incorrectly overhearing a conversation. Not surprisingly the subsequent retraction of the story received considerably less attention.
There were calls from Japan to have the three-fingered characters of the Simpsons
redrawn with four fingers. Japanese culture looks down on missing fingers
as evidence of a menial job.
Sir Isaac Newton predicted that the world
would end in 2060. As well as being arguably Britain's greatest ever scientist, Newton was also
an alchemist and theologian, and he wrote approximately 4500 pages trying to predict Armageddon.
[Source: reported in many national newspapers. Date
found in texts stored at the Hewbrew National Library.]
A metre is more than a fifth of a milimetre short, according to its own definition.
The definitive metre was deposited with the French National Archives at Le Pavillon de Breteuil near
Paris in 1899. It is a bar of 90 per cent platinum and 10 per cent iridium. It is supposed to represent
one ten-millionth part of the distance along the meridian from the North Pole through
Paris to the Equator. However, modern surveying technology using satellites has shown this distance to
be 10,002,290 metres. Fantastique!
Ironically, the latest definition of this measure is dependant upon a non-metric measure: the distance
travelled by light in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 seconds on an atomic clock.
[Source: British Weights and Measures Association, Edinburgh, UK.]
- One is 750 times more likely to be killed by an asteroid strike than to win the national lottery, according to Lembit Opik, the former Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire, and www.nearearthobjects.co.uk.
Mr Opik's email to curiouser.co.uk
NEXT PAGE ->
To read more facts, select a page number below: