#7. Three percent of the ice in Antarctica is made of penguin pee.

Penguin and blue-footed booby standing on a ledge.

Really? How did they calculate that?

#8. Cats can’t taste anything sweet.

Ginger cat looking intently at something off stage.

Really? They can’t taste the sweetness or the sweet thing itself?

#6. Snails have, like, thousands of teeth.

Really? And ee-yu. Can you feel them when you eat one?

Snail on aggregate sidewalk

#13. Humans don’t just have unique fingerprints;
we each have a unique tongue print, too.

Really? The top of the tongue or the bottom or both? Do they use the same ink to take the impression, or do you get to coat your tongue with melted chocolate? Asking for a friend.


These are some of the 25 offerings from Weird Science and Animal Facts Your Kid will Enjoy. Your inner kid, too, turns out.

In high school I studied lots of science – biology, chemistry, physics – but I could swear we had no weird facts. Even in the lower grades, memorability took a back seat to boredom. Weather. Optics (Why *is* the sky blue? [Or grey, for Ontario students.]). Parts of a flower. Cell division. And, oddly, carburetors. Not happy memories.

Whimsy was in short supply and yet there’s no actual shortage of whimsy: I think the problem was on the demand side. Our teachers and the curriculum designers feeding them apparently saw no need for it. Just learn it, dagnab it. It was a different time.

By contrast, the documentaries and weird-fact websites we have in *this* time are focused on engaging the audience, whether the subject at hand is science, history, engineering (Big Ships!), biography, geography, or even grammar. Or psychology.

#19. Anatidaephobia is the fear
that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you.

Really? Not, “Really, as in Are some people really afraid that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching them?” But “Really, as in How is that a phobia? They *are* watching.

3-photo collage of ducks watching

So much to learn. So much fun to have.


Here are some links to weird science facts.

Weird Science Facts You May (they mean “might”) not Know

What If? 11 Serious Answers to Slightly Crazy Science Questions

A video . . .

And another one

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15 Responses to Really?

  1. Tom Watson says:

    Weird scientific fact #24…really?
    Can’t imagine a couple of my sons-in-law having any left!


  2. Tom Watson says:

    I just talked with one son-in-law. He says that when he thinks he’s on his way out he wants his last meal to be high in fibre.

  3. Jim Taylor says:

    Tom: are your sons-in-law related to Bomdardier Beetles (#1))? If so, stay on their good side.

    Isabel: as a fellow editor, note #16. *Two* silly errors….

    Jim T

  4. So much fun to read! I’ve almost laughed away the Ontario (grey) sky!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – πŸ™‚ Excellent. Laughing is the best we can do these days for many reasons.

  5. Eric J Hrycyk says:

    So … does this mean that all aspirin is not alike?

  6. Ian Hepher says:

    #19, about the duck…that just seems too Gary Larson to be real. Really.

  7. Sam Feola says:

    I got lost with #7. Three percent of the ice in Antarctica is made of penguin pee. It’s totally bogus. I have first hand experience with penguins in Antarctica, having worked there for 20 years. AND, having caught several hundred of them that ended up in Seaworld parks around the U.S. There are 12 million penguins around the fringes of Antarctica. None live inland more than a mile.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Sam – You see? This is how science advances. πŸ™‚ With two down, I’m now casting a jaundiced eye on the others. Maybe we don’t sneeze faster than cheetahs sprint . . .

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