Floating A Difference Between Coke and Diet Coke

If you place a sealed can of Diet Coke in water, it will float. Regular Coke will sink to the bottom.

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Rhubarb: It Has a Sound, Even if it Doesn’t Sound Tasty

When it comes to rhubarb, few people are undecided. People either love its taste or they hate it. Voices on either side are so loud that they can easily drown out another sound: the sound of rhubarb growing. One method of growing rhubarb is called "forced growth." Using this method, farmers keep the rhubarb outdoors for up... Continue Reading →

You May Need to Adjust Your Clock … By 300 Years

Were you one of those history students who had difficulty grasping the details of the Middle Ages? Perhaps that's because the Middle Ages didn't actually take place. In 1986 Heribert Illig published Das erfundene Mittelalter (The Invented Middle Ages). He posits that a nearly-300 year period of time, AD 614–911, did not really take place... Continue Reading →

Step Aside, Wolverine; Meet the Horror Frog

Imagine a creature that can extend its bones through its hands as deadly claws. No, it's not a rip-off of Marvel Comic's superhero Wolverine. We are talking about a true-to-life marvel of nature known as the horror frog. Found in Central Africa, the horror frog (Trichobatrachus robustus) is also known as the hairy frog or... Continue Reading →

How Bad Scheduling and a Misguided Con Scheme Changed the World

Johannes Gutenberg (circa 1400 – February 3, 1468) was responsible for one of the pivotal inventions in all of history: the moveable-type printing press. That invention, more than any other, allowed mankind to begin to collect and disseminate its collective knowledge and progress into the scientific and industrial revolutions. It almost didn't happen. We owe... Continue Reading →

The Seeds of Infertility

Bananas and corn have one thing in common: they can no longer reproduce in nature. Both beloved examples of yellow vegetation have become so domesticated that they cannot survive without assistance from humans.The banana you get from the supermarket, the Cavendish, is actually a seedless, impotent hybrid of two less-appetizing plant species. Farmers make it... Continue Reading →

Meet the Latest Contender for a Girl’s Best Friend

Diamonds may still be a girl's best friend, but they can no longer claim to be the hardest substance on earth. As of 2005, that distinction is now claimed by bucky balls.Readers of Commonplace already know that bucky balls (more properly known as buckminsterfullerene) are the among most expensive substances in the world. This scientifically-engineered... Continue Reading →

Did Dr. Doom Help Design the Atomic Bomb?

Readers of Marvel Comics know that the nefarious Dr. Doom will go to any lengths in his power-hungry desire to conquer the world. It is worth taking a second look, therefore, to see if this master of villainy's fingerprints were on the design of the most destructive weapon in history -- especially since one of... Continue Reading →

A Fungus Among Us Is the Largest Living Thing On the Planet

When it comes to the holder of the title of "World's Largest Living Thing," it's a cinch that it must be the blue whale, right? Wrong. The actual holder of that title is likely a mushroom of the species Armillaria ostoyae in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon. It covers 2,200 acres and is between... Continue Reading →

Using Pennies to Keep Big Ben Accurate Makes Good Cents

Aside from the monarchy, one would be hard-pressed to think of anything more iconically British than the clock in the Elizabeth Tower of Westminster Palace. Its massive bell, Big Ben, has been keeping Londoners on time for over 150 years. In fact, it has maintained almost freakishly accurate time. It is the biggest, most accurate four-faced... Continue Reading →

Meet the Artist of the Underwater Crop Circles

Scientists were long baffled by the appearance of beautiful, intricate underwater artwork that resembled crop circles. These phenomena appeared up to 80 feet below sea level and can be up to six feet in diameter. The mystery was solved in 2012 when an underwater photographer captured the images of the puffer fish carefully carving the... Continue Reading →

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