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Network February 2018

...And did you know? Top

...And did you know? Top facts you thought you knew the answer to Why do chameleons change their skin colour? They change their colour depending on a number of emotional states and not to match their surroundings. They change colour when frightened, when mating, when fighting another chameleon etc. A chameleon would have little use for blending in. Their main prey, insects, tend to have eyesight unfit to spot chameleons when they are motionless anyway and being an apex predator, chameleons don’t tend to have any natural predators. How many states of matter are there? Three surely? Solid, liquid and gas? Actually, it’s more like fifteen. The list grows almost daily, here’s some examples of states of matter: Solid, amorphous solid, liquid, gas, plasma, super-fluid, supersolid, degenerate matter, neutronium, strongly symmetric matter, weakly symmetric matter, quark-gluon plasma fermionic condensate, Bose-Einstein condensate and ‘strange matter’. What is the number of the devil? 616. For 2000 years, 666 has been the number of the anti-Christ. An unlucky number for many, even the European parliament leaves seat number 666 vacant. The number is from the book of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible. However, in 2005, a translation of the very earliest known copy of the book of revelation clearly shows it to be 616, not 666. The 1,700 year old copy was recovered from the city of Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt, and deciphered by a palaeographical research team from the University Of Birmingham, UK. How many senses do we have? At least nine. The five we all know about: Sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, were 50

first proposed by Aristotle, but there are now four more which are agreed among scientists to be official senses. These are: 1. Thermoception – the sense of heat (or it’s absence) on our skin. 2. Equilibrioception – our sense of balance, which is determined by the fluid filled cavities in our inner ear. 3. Nociception – pain. 4. Proprioception – or ‘body awareness’. This is the conscious knowledge of where our body parts are without having to look, for example, close your eyes and waggle your big toe, you still know where it is in relation to the rest of you. Also, some neurologists argue that there are even more than 9 senses to list, such as hunger or thirst? Since around the fourth century BC, almost no one anywhere has believed the earth to be flat. that most cultures would of worked out he spherical nature of the Earth for themselves. How does a moth react to a light? They are not attracted to them, but disorientated by them. The reason being that moths use natural light sources, i.e. the sun and moon to navigate. The insects use the location of the light source from the sun or moon to determine what direction they should be facing (i.e. what direction is up!) and how to fly in a straight line. Where is the driest place on earth? It’s Antarctica and not the Sahara as we would first assume. Some parts of the continent What shape did medieval people believe the earth was? Since around the fourth century BC, almost noone anywhere has believed the earth to be flat. This misconception that people were ignorant of the shape of the earth comes from the partially fictional text ‘The Life And Voyages Of Christopher Columbus’ (1828), which incorrectly stated that Columbus set out to prove the earth was round. Evidence shows hasn’t seen any rain for two million years. A desert is technically defined as an area of land that receives less than 254mm (10 inches) of rain a year. The Sahara gets 25mm, Antarctica gets around the same amount, but some areas of Antarctica never get rain, and haven’t for millennia, making Antarctica the driest place on earth. Also, Antarctica can claim to be the windiest place on earth, with wind speeds of up to 200mph, the fastest ever recorded. 51

January/February 2018
Essentially Local July-August 2017