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11 Brilliantly Inaccurate Scientific Explanations

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A few years back we wrote about a hilarious blog called Fake Science, which deals in intentional pseudo-science. Now, the creator of that blog is unleashing Fake Science 101, a 272-page textbook for the fake-fact-loving science nerd in all of us. We've teamed up with the man behind Fake Science, Phil Edwards, to share some snippets of the book.

1. The Wheel


Scientists' first objective was to invent an easy way to transport goods: the wheel. It would be much easier than rolling things over children who were lying down. However, the round shape of the wheel always gave the cave men difficulty. Their engineering was undercut by the absence of circular objects and the inability to remember exactly what a circle was. This stalled development of both transportation and the coaster.

2. Sir Isaac Newton


Born in the 1600s, Sir Isaac Newton was a renowned physicist. One day, he was sitting under a tree when a round object fell on his head. Like any great scientist, Newton did not run away. Instead, he sampled the round object. It had a red hue and brown stem. He bit into it and was pleasantly surprised. He had just discovered the apple.

3. The Enlightenment


The Scientific Revolution culminated in the Age of Enlightenment in the 1600s and 1700s, during which thinkers and scientists realized they could be far more productive if they turned on the lights. This early American poster demonstrates an Enlightenment era scientific discovery: a chopped-up snake usually dies.

4. The Umlaut Galaxy


There are countless galaxies in the universe, largely because the person in charge of counting them gets distracted around the billion mark. These galaxies each have different traits but are all bound by their gravitational fields and a common cultural background. After German scientists discovered the Umlaut Galaxy, they decided to incorporate it into their own language.

5. The Sun


For millions of years, the sun has been nature’s tanning bed. Perfectly calibrated to give humans a soft brown coating and great highlights, the sun’s function is not purely cosmetic. As this diagram shows, the sun’s triangular rays are always at exactly 46 degrees.

6. Makin’ Babies


Sperm invade the egg, unless this is a leftover picture of Mars. These sperm contain a male’s genetic information and are strongly sexually attracted to the egg. The egg contains a female’s genetic information and is less attracted to the sperm but chooses one anyway because it’s too lazy to keep waiting. If the sperm and egg are in love, based on a relationship of mutual support and respect, they create a new baby.

7. The Statue of Liberty


Did you know that the Statue of Liberty wasn’t always green? Her color changed because of age, but not the same way an old person’s skin does. In the Statue of Liberty’s case, it was something called “rust” that turned her skin green. Before the copper in the Statue of Liberty rusted, she was a brownish hue and wore a lovely gingham.

8. Oil

Known for its use in the manufacture of gasoline, oil is also popular in the hair of executives who sell it. Found underground and undersea, oil is easily detected through a little digging, explosion, more digging, refining, and a second series of explosions. Brave cowboys tamed the oil fields of Texas so we could drive ATVs.

9. The Ocean


Oceans have been important in the past and will become more important in the future, as we continue to melt the polar ice caps so the water doesn’t get too hot. When one ocean covers the entire Earth, geography will require much less class time.

10. Rivers


There are far too many rivers in the world to include in this article, especially since they would get your computer wet. However, notable rivers are so large they can be seen from space, which gives you something to look at once the moon gets boring. This map from the 1800s shows the importance of mapping rivers for navigating trade.

11. Friction


Friction occurs when things get in the way of moving objects or otherwise slow their passage. Low-friction objects can make things slide longer, which is why you’re encouraged to drive on icy roads in order to save gas. High friction can also have positive effects, since sandpaper slides help playtime last longer.

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6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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