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Do Sparrows Like Bach?

The Strange and the Wonderful

New Scientist

To tenderise meat you can bash it with a hammer or you can add an enyzyme which breaks down fibre. But too slow on industrial scale. US Ag Research found an answer - blast meat with water at explosive pressure. Not only did it tenderise meat but also sterilised it, breaking down the cell walls of bacteria. Unfortunately the explosion usually destroyed the container.

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Scientific study 'proved'that Heaven was actually hotter than Hell. Revelations describes a brimstone (sulphur) lake in Hell, which means that the temperature must be below the boiling point of sulphur, 445°C. Isiah tells us that the light of the moon shall be the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, ie 49 times the brightness of the sun on the Earth. Physics (Stefan's law) tells us that means temperature of Heaven is at least 525°C. However, ecclesiastical scholars said the scientists had misinterpreted the Isiah passage, and the multiple should only be 7, not 49. This brings the temperature down to 'just' 232°C. And people say they want to go there!

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Long history of people trying to learn stuff by playing tapes while asleep. One of earliest experiments 1942 researcher Lawrence DeShan stood in the darkness outside a cabin of sleeping boys at a summer camp, intoning the same phrase over and over - "My fingernails taste terribly bitter. My fingernails taste terribly bitter." At the end of the summer he found that 40% of the boys had kicked their nail-biting habit, concluding that sleep-teaching worked. Or maybe the kids just figured "If I stop biting my nails, maybe the strange man will go away."

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Old joke about little girl who asks her dad where pooh comes from. Dad gives her story about the food you eat for breakfast gets processed into energy and then the left over bits come out into the toilet. Little girl silently absorbs all this for a bit, then "And Tigger?"

Michael Levitt, a gastroenterologist in America, was the first to actually study farts to determine exactly which gases were present. He found two people who had a rather unusual ability - they could ID different sulphur-containing gases just from their smell. So these lucky people got to diagnose the farts of subjects who'd been fed a diet of beans the night before. They determined that it was mainly hydrogen sulphide to blame, along with lesser amounts of other sulphur-based gases.

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Impt because there have been a number of fatal explosions during routine gut operations. Turned out that the purgatives used to clean out the gut were increasing the amount of hydrogen, and the smallest spark set off a "colonic detonation." Levitt devised safer purgatives and the explosions stopped.

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Cops having a pleasant afternoon out in the countryside using a radar gun to monitor motorists, got a fright when their gun suddenly went to the 300mph limit and then locked up completely, just as an RAF Harrier jet screamed over head. Upset at the destruction of their toy, the cops complained, only to be told they'd got off lightly - the Harrier's armament system had locked onto the radar and automatically instructed a missile to fire at it. Luckily the Harrier was operating unarmed.

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Australian guy trying to quit smoking took up chewing on electrical cable at the supply shop where he worked, getting through nearly a metre a day. When he went to hospital with stomach pains, found that the cable contained lead and his blood lead levels were three times the safe limit.

From Hungary comes the Serenading Condom, which uses same little chip that runs tinny tunes in birthday or xmas cards when the condom is opened. Choice of two tunes: either You Sweet Little Dumbell or the Internationale aka Arise Ye Workers.

The Argentine Lake Duck has been recorded with a penis 42.5cm long (2cm longer than length of the bird in question)

The Australian spiny anteater has a four-headed penis which is strange because far too big to fit into the female when erect. They are competitve maters - one female may have a queue of a dozen males waiting to mate with her - and it seems that each side of penis produces sperm separately, allowing males to mate more frequently.

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