Best Facts of the Month - Page 10

Rhino horns are now injected with toxins designed to harm the human central nervous system in order to stop poaching!


In South Africa, one rhino is killed for its horn every nine hours! The horns are mostly shipped to Vietnam where the are in high demand by wealthy Vietnamese business men. What do they use this critically endangered animal’s horn for? They use it as a drink to overcome a night of over-indulgence! It is also used as a gift to seal business deals.

Even with military style protection, South Africa is struggling to keep poaching at bay and has now reverted to an extreme method to protect the iconic animals. Game reserves are now injecting rhino’s horns with poison to scare of consumer demand.

At the moment the strategy is not yet well known in Vietnam. It would be helpful if there was more public awareness of the risk of ingesting poisoned rhino horn. Because rhino horn consumption is associated with health and strength by all primary user groups, they will be concerned about poisoned rhino horn entering the supply chain.

The toxins used at South African game reserves and game farms have long-term effects on the central nervous system and on brain development. Hopefully, if this strategy becomes known, we could save the rhino from complete extinction in the future.

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Tron was denied a Special FX Oscar because it used computer graphics!


The original 1982 Tron was a very influential film. It's one of the first films to use computer generated graphics to tell its story. It has influenced people like John Lasseter (creator of Toy Story) and Daft Punk. It's considered to be one of the top 20 cult films of all time. 

The Motion Picture Academy showed incredible short-sightedness when it came to Oscar time. While the movie wasn't considered particularly good outside the special effects, many people thought it deserved a nomination (and a win) for it's effects. However, the Motion Picture Academy REFUSED to nominate it. The movie's director later said that "The Academy thought we were cheating by using computers." 

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Flames get their shape due to gravity!


When you strike a match, you get a flame of burning gases. Vaporized fuel from the match mixes with air and produces heat by a chemical reaction. Flames get their tongue-like shapes from the way these gases move and interact under earthly gravity. Near the match head, a column of hot gas is created. This column is wider than the match itself. Hot gases have more energy than colder gases and can more easily shake off the tug of gravity. So, the column of hot gas starts to rise and it rises faster and faster.

Since the amount of gas is constant, as it rises faster, the column is stretched thinner. The result is a wide column near the match, and a thin column higher up. So, if you strike a match in space, where there is no air or gravity, it burns in a sphere shape! It is a pretty neat thing to see.

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Ever heard that the Great Wall can be seen from the moon? It's FALSE and the myth started in 1754!


This is one of those weird rumors that refuses to die. It's become part of pop culture. In fact, when you search Google for "Great Wall of China seen from the moon," you get over 4 million results. The most interesting part is that it's a fake fact that got started way before humanity dreamt about going to the moon. 

A man named William Stukeley has the first known appearance of this myth. One of his letters written in 1754 says that " the Chinese Wall, […] makes a considerable figure upon the terrestrial globe, and may be discerned at the moon." 

This fake fact even appeared in a Ripley's Believe it or Not strop, and the Second Book of marvels. In fact, in order for the Great Wall to be seen from the mone, it would have to be over 70 miles in diameter, and have to have significant contrast with the areas surrounding it. The Great Wall is at most 30 feet wide, and of similar color to the soil around it. 

To put it in context, the width of the Great Wall as seen from the moon would appear the same as if you viewed a human hair from 2 miles away. That means you would have to be able to see 17,000 times better than a 20/20 vision!

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France once tried to make the day have 10 hours instead of 24!


Decimal time is the representation of the time of day using units which are decimally related. This term is often used to refer specifically to French Revolutionary Time.

French Revolutionary Time divides the day into 10 decimal hours, each decimal hour into 100 decimal minutes and each decimal minute into 100 decimal seconds.

This is opposed to the more familiar standard time, which divides the day into 24 hours, each hour into 60 minutes and each minute into 60 seconds.

The main advantage of a decimal time system is that, since the base used to divide the time is the same as the one used to represent it, the whole time representation can be handled as a single string. Therefore, it becomes simpler to interpret a timestamp and to perform conversions.

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