Be Afraid. Be Very, Very Afraid. It's FACTOID FRIDAY. Mentos, Titanium Golf Clubs, Baldness and More

A British magazine, GURU, is rapidly becoming a favorite.


The staff of Guru are assigned to research answers to those deep questions we all have, such as, why do Mentos candies foam so explosively when dropped into a bottle of Coca Cola?  Or any carbonated soda, for that matter.

This is the type of conundrum that can keep an inquiring mind awake at night, pondering the possibilities.  Well, you can sleep easy from now on.  Here's the answer by Stuart Farrimond as published in the March 26th issue of Guru.

Titanium clubs can cause golf course fires
Titanium alloy golf clubs can cause dangerous wildfires, according to UC Irvine scientists. When a club coated with the lightweight metal is swung and strikes a rock, it creates sparks that can heat to more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit for long enough to ignite dry foliage, according to findings published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Fire and Materials.

Scientists theorized that the titanium heads on some clubs designed for use in "the rough" -- natural areas off irrigated fairways -- could be to blame for the fires. Most golf clubs have stainless steel heads. However, a significant number being manufactured or in circulation have a titanium alloy component in the head. Such alloys are 40 percent lighter, which can make the club easier to swing, including when chipping errant balls out of tough spots. In Southern California, those spots are often in flammable scrub brush.

The researchers painstakingly re-created in the lab course conditions on the days of the fires. Using high-speed video cameras and powerful scanning electron microscope analysis, they found that when titanium clubs were abraded by striking or grazing hard surfaces, intensely hot sparks flew out of them. In contrast, when standard stainless steel clubs were used, there was no reaction.

To watch a video of a titanium head gold club in the rough:  Sparks Fly!

Can you drive fast enough to 
avoid being clocked by speed cameras?
Anyone wanting to avoid being caught out by speed cameras can do so very simply -- by obeying the speed limits. But physics students have suggested that -- theoretically, at least -- there may also be another way of avoiding getting a ticket. A group of students found that drivers could escape detection by driving so fast that their number plates would appear invisible to speed cameras. But any drivers tempted to give this a try next time they are on the motorway should be warned; the car would need to be traveling at 119 million miles per hour to make the number plate invisible. This speed equates to one sixth of the speed of light -- and no human-made vehicle is capable of going anywhere near this speed.

Humans can distinguish at least one trillion different odors
Humans are capable of discriminating at least one trillion different odors, new research shows. Scientists at Howard Hughes Medical Institute determined that our sense of smell is prepared to recognize this vast olfactory palette after testing individuals' ability to recognize differences between complex odors mixed in the laboratory. It has been said for decades that humans were limited to distinguishing only 10,000 different odors.

Suggested reading
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Daylight saving impacts timing of heart attacks
Still feeling the residual effects of springing ahead for daylight saving time? The hour of sleep lost -- or gained -- may play a bigger, perhaps more dangerous role in our body's natural rhythm than we think according to research announced by the American College of Cardiology.

It seems moving the clock forward or backward may alter the timing of when heart attacks occur in the week following these time changes, according to research.Data from the largest study of its kind in the U.S. reveal a 25 percent jump in the number of heart attacks occurring the Monday after we "spring forward" compared to other Mondays during the year -- a trend that remained even after accounting for seasonal variations in these events.

  • My experience is that heart attack occurs when you realize that you forgot to set your clock ahead and now you're an hour late.  Or that you've gotten up an hour before you need to.
Human 'hairless' gene identified: 
One form of baldness explained
It's not a hair-brained idea: A new research report out of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology explains why people with a rare balding condition called 'atrichia with papular lesions' lose their hair, and it identifies a strategy for reversing this hair loss. "Identification of hairless as a histone demethylase may shed new insights into its mechanism of action in regulating skin and hair disorders," said the lead author.
  • I feel so much more informed.  What did they say?


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