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Factoid Archive 2


Universe Rejuvenated

Physicists now believe the universe to be three billion years younger than previously thought. New information gathered by the Hipparcos satellite, combined with a reanalysis of other distance data, has enabled researchers to refine the lower age limit of the universe to 9.6 billion years.
SOURCE: Lawrence Krauss et al., Case Western Reserve University


Digital Confessional

Alcoholics are twice as likely to confess a drinking problem to a computer than to a doctor, say researchers in Wisconsin.
SOURCE: New Scientist, 10/97


Medication Nightmare

The bathroom medicine cabinet is one of the worst places to keep medicines. The heat and moisture of the bathroom are just the conditions required to alter medication chemistry, making them weaker and possibly ineffective, and in some cases, toxic. A cool dry area away from sunlight and children is optimal.
SOURCE: The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center


Top 10 Backyard Birds

The most frequently seen birds at feeders across North America last winter were the Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch and American goldfinch, along with downy woodpeckers, blue jays, mourning doves, black-capped chickadees, house sparrows, northern cardinals and european starlings.
SOURCE: Project Feederwatch


Eat Healthy

Between three and four million cases of cancer worldwide -- 375,000 in the United States alone -- could be prevented  annually through dietary change.
SOURCE: New report by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund


Big Fish

The largest Great White Shark ever caught measured 37 feet and weighed 24,000 pounds. It was found in a herring weir in New Brunswick in 1930. The harmless Whale Shark, holds the title of largest fish, with the record being a 59 footer captured in Thailand in 1919.
SOURCE: Ocean Link


Immortal Worm

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans ages the equivalent of 5 human years for every day they live, usually expiring after 14 days. However, when stressed, the worm goes into a state of suspended animation that can last for 2 months or more. The human equivalent would be to sleep for about 200 years.
Source: Science 8/15/97


Dino Digger

At first they didn't believe three-year old David Shiffler when he claimed to have found a dinosaur egg with his toy backhoe. However, a trip to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science eventually showed he had discovered one of the oldest (150 million years) dinosaur egg known.
Source: Wires 6/97


Health Irony

Men who donate blood have a 30% reduced risk of heart disease compared to those who do not. The difference is attributed to reduced levels of iron following blood donation.

SOURCE: David Meyers, M.D., University of Kansas, in the journalHeart


Exclusive Club

Skunks, long forced to live on the same taxonomic branch as weasels (Mustelid) have now been given their own family classification, Mephitidae. In addition to the hog-nosed, striped and spotted skunks of North America, the family includes the stink badger from Asia.
SOURCE: Journal of Mammology, Summer 1997


Tiny Tunes

Nanotechnology has produced a guitar no bigger than a blood cell. The guitar, 10 micrometers long, has six strummable strings.
SOURCE:Cornell University


Sunny Weed Killer

Sunflowers have long been used to control weeds in field crops. They possess a property called allelopathy by which they produce natural plant toxins around their roots.
SOURCE: NY Times


Mussel Power

Mussels can thrive in polluted water because of an inborn ability to purify bacteria, fungi and viruses. Swedish scientists have isolated the purifying protein used by the mussel and hope to market a new alternative to chlorine and other methods now in use for cleaning water.
SOURCE: Micro Active Protein AB


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