We owe most medical advancements to discoveries made by scientists. But there are several discoveries that are so left field, they fall into the zone of weird and bizarre, rather than lifesaving.
Click start to play today’s Spell It, where you can find ‘weird’ and wonderful words.
Here are a few scientific discoveries that will leave you either amused or scratching your head:
1. The colour of pills
Many studies, like a December 1996 study in the UK-based British Medical Journal (BMJ), have looked into how we perceive the colour of pills and whether it can have a subliminal effect on whether we think the medicine will work. Research has found that people consider blue pills to be sedatives (even if they’re not). Similarly, red and orange pills are considered to be stimulants, yellow pills are thought to be antidepressants, and tablets in bright colours, which are embossed with brand names, are thought to be stronger. All this research points to the very clear reality that we human beings are highly impressionable. Definitely a head-scratcher!
2. Repurposing the ‘fatberg’
You may remember a story from UK that went viral in 2017. It involved the discovery of an 820-foot-long, 143-tonne blockage beneath the sewers of London. Dubbed ‘fatberg’, it comprised cooking grease, diapers, sanitary pads and other items that were flushed down the toilet. Even though it disgusted the world, scientists weren’t dissuaded from finding out whether they could repurpose the fatberg. They chipped it into blocks and found that if the oils and fat could be separated from the other waste, they could be converted into biodiesel. UK water supplier Thames Water gave the green light, and began the process of squeezing enough fuel out of fatberg to power 350 London buses for a day!
3. Dogs and the Earth’s magnetic field
A December 2013 study in the journal Frontiers in Zoology found that dogs are sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field. They shared their observations, which included the fact that dogs naturally align themselves so that they’re facing north or south when they poop, outside. Researchers also found that other animals are sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field, too. Cows and deer graze along the north-south axis, and birds, fish and whales use the magnetic field to navigate.