Citation Needed!

20th May 2012

black hole

Tomorrow’s Science Show is all about those science myths flying around that need a good debunking. We’ll be covering topics such as:

– Will the Large Hadron Collider create a black hole which will consume the Earth?
– Can you see the Great Wall of China from space?
– Do black holes suck things in?

We’ll also be chatting about the animal kingdom and finding out whether lemmings really do throw themselves off cliffs and whether bulls genuinely do ‘see red’ when they… umm… see red.

We’ll also be taking your questions throughout the show, so make sure you listen live…

Citation Needed!

Is the Great Wall of China visible from space?

Essentially no, it’s far too small! You’re actually more likely to see a motorway as it is wider. The problem with the Great Wall of China is that its colour is pretty similar to its surroundings. You can actually see the largest building in the world, the Pentagon though,

If you look out over the world from space, you can actually distinguish cities and countryside due to the different colours.

Do lemmings commit mass suicide?

Lemmings aren’t stupid, they don’t commit suicide! The myth comes about as Disney recorded a documentary about lemmings migrating and wanted to show how they sometimes did when crossing a river that is too large.

Do bulls get angry at the colour red?

No! They are actually colour blind. The bulls in the bull fighting arena are specifically goaded into charging.

Are bats blind?

Bats are not actually blind, but some are quite close to it. There are two main types of bats, mega bats (Dave loves these) and micro bats!

Micro bats use echolocation to discover things about their surrounding, where as mega bats, such as fruit bats, can see a bit better.

Does glass run? Are windows thicker at the bottom than at the top

You do actually find windows whose glass is thicker at the bottom than at the top, however it is not because they run. Although glass is a type of liquid its relaxation time is on the order of 10^32 years, longer than the age of the universe!

Stained glass from Medieval times are actually bigger at the bottom because they weren’t very good at making glass and if you put the thick bit at the top it wouldn’t be structurally stable. There are examples of glass from Egyptian times that are flat when they should be puddles of glass by now!

Will the Large Hadron Collider create a black hole?

Well there is a very small chance. When the neutrons collide they could possibly over come the nuclear strong force and collapse on themselves forming a tiny black hole. However, even if it did, the black hole would be so small it would decay almost instantly.

Do black holes suck things in?

Well, what do you mean by suck? As black holes have a huge mass they can attract things from a further distance away. However, if there was a black hole of the same mass as the sun, it wouldn’t “suck” any more than the sun.

Does acupuncture work?

There is no evidence of acupuncture working, however there have been many studies on the subject. They have found that it works with a placebo effect.

Does homoeopathy work?

Again this is more of a placebo effect. We discussed this in a previous show but thought we’d touch on it again. Check out our podcast for the answer 😉