Something New under the Sun in Oddities of Science (Feb, 1934)

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Something New under the Sun in Oddities of Science

by Nick Sprank

On the surface many odd facts that seem to defy natural law are easily understandable when the physical conditions back of the phenomena are known. Here are two pages illustrating facts that appear fallacious at a casual glance, but which are quite natural when all conditions surrounding them are considered. Remember Nic Sprank pays One Dollar for all scientific oddities acceptable to Modern Mechanix editors. What have you to offer for Nic Sprank’s pages of oddities?

These strange (acts of science may bring to mind some of the things which on every hand refute some of the accepted notions about nature. ONE DOLLAR will be paid you by Nic Sprank for every Oddity he considers good enough for these pages. Try your luck! Send in something new—don’t re-hash the obvious, and your chances of getting a dollar bill are as good as the next man’s. Address Nic Sprank, care Modern Mechanix, 529 South 7th Street, Minneapolis, Minn.

21 comments
  1. Sean says: April 13, 20107:08 am

    Goofy article, but, like Mr. Harold Bierbower (Electric motor), I live and work in Jeannette, PA. My company builds steam turbine electricity generators. Heck, it’s possible he might have worked for the same firm, based on his knowledge of electricity.

  2. Scott B. says: April 13, 20107:12 am

    I wish my name were Nic Sprank.

  3. jayessell says: April 13, 20108:10 am

    A DOLLAR! Whoo-Hoo!
    (In 1934 that was real money!)

    Sugar isn’t an element.
    Was Insulin available in 1934?
    I heard that today, when the biological substances are included, it’s over a million dollars!

  4. Toronto says: April 13, 20101:12 pm

    How much would the gold in that $20 gold piece be worth on today’s market? It’s down $10 today, but still over $1150 / ounce.

  5. Firebrand38 says: April 13, 20101:43 pm

    jayessell: By the way, sugar is an element. It all depends on the definition of the word element as found in a dictionary

    Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.refer… (accessed: April 13, 2010).
    –noun
    1.
    a component or constituent of a whole or one of the parts into which a whole may be resolved by analysis: Bricks and mortar are elements of every masonry wall.

    2.
    Chemistry. one of a class of substances that cannot be separated into simpler substances by chemical means. See also chart under periodic table.
    3.
    a natural habitat, sphere of activity, environment, etc.: to be in one’s element; Water is the element of fish.
    4.
    elements,
    a.
    atmospheric agencies or forces; weather: a ruddy complexion from exposure to the elements.
    b.
    the rudimentary principles of an art, science, etc.: the elements of grammar.
    c.
    the bread and wine of the Eucharistic service.
    5.
    any group of people singled out within a larger group by identifiable behavior patterns, common interests, ethnic similarities, etc.: He worried that the protest rally would attract the radical element.
    6.
    one of the substances, usually earth, water, air, and fire, formerly regarded as constituting the material universe.
    7.
    Mathematics.
    a.
    an infinitesimal part of a given quantity, similar in nature to it.
    b.
    an entity that satisfies all the conditions of belonging to a given set.
    8.
    Geometry. one of the points, lines, planes, or other geometrical forms, of which a figure is composed.
    9.
    Astronomy. any of the data required to define the precise nature of an orbit and to determine the position of a planet in the orbit at any given time.
    10.
    Electricity. an electric device with terminals for connection to other electrical devices.
    11.
    Radio. one of the electrodes in a vacuum tube.
    12.
    Astrology. any of the four triplicity groupings of signs: fire, earth, air, or water.
    13.
    Optics. any of the lenses or other components constituting an optical system.
    14.
    Grammar. any word, part of a word, or group of words that recurs in various contexts in a language with relatively constant meaning.

  6. Charlene says: April 13, 20101:46 pm

    jayessell: Insulin was first commercially produced in 1922 on behalf of the patent holder, the University of Toronto. See http://content.karger.c… for more details.

    Toronto, the $20 Double Eagle weighed 33.436 grams and contained 0.9675 troy ounces of gold (30.093 grams) each. Gold is as of this moment trading at $37.03 Canadian per gram. That works out to $1,114.34 Canadian, or for those south of the border $1,113.22 US if xe.com is to be believed.

  7. Charlene says: April 13, 20101:47 pm

    Also, I love that a house at the North Pole would have four southern exposures, but exactly how much would that save you on your heating bill?

  8. KD5ZS says: April 13, 20102:12 pm

    Well if you could change the orientation of the earth so it remains fixed in it attitude to sun so thatthe northern hemisphere was forever in summer. Then we could also melt down the ice cap at the north pole and Greenland, which would give us fresh water to recover before the ocean gets it.

    Of course Antarctica would get really cold!

    However, charlene your house would get warmer.

  9. Charlene says: April 13, 20102:28 pm

    KD5ZS, as I live in Winnipeg I’ll take any amount of warmth I can get.

  10. blueferretdog says: April 13, 20103:57 pm

    I love the artwork! Especialy the running motor.

  11. KD5ZS says: April 13, 20104:18 pm

    Well in that case here’s to global warming!

    I can barely tolerate visiting relatives in Minnesota in winter; for some reason they always chose to kick the bucket in the “dead” of winter.

    PS, I live outside of L.A.

  12. Mike says: April 13, 20104:46 pm

    I seem to remember something like this in the Sunday comics section when I was growing. A section devoted to bits of trivia, but then again it could have been the Mary Worth cartoon.

  13. Neil Russell says: April 13, 20107:12 pm

    Too bad they didn’t think to draw a weather vane with each arm bearing an “S” on the polar house. Seems right up their street

  14. Dame says: April 13, 20108:17 pm

    Mike, this is very simular to the ripleys believe it or not cartoons of the day

  15. Mike says: April 13, 201010:53 pm

    Dame, That could very well be it. For some strange reason I kept associating it with Guinness book of World Records, but I knew that wasn’t correct, Ripley’s must be what I was thinking.

  16. jayessell says: April 14, 20108:15 am

    Wasn’t there a children’s joke/riddle:

    A house has 4 sides facing South. If a bear walks past, what color is the bear?

  17. Toronto says: April 14, 201010:11 am

    The classic: “A hunter walks one mile due south from his camp, then one mile due west, then shoots a bear. He then walks one mile due north and arrives back at his camp. What colour was the bear?”

    Unless his camp is at least a mile wide, he started at the north pole, so the bear is white.

  18. Toronto says: April 14, 201010:12 am

    Oh, and there’s another solution for the walking problem involving a camp that’s on a line of latitude that’s exactly one mile north of another latitude that’s exactly one mile in circumference, roughly 1/3 of a mile from the south pole. Of course, the only bears there are pink.

  19. M.S.W. says: April 15, 20101:18 pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Chris Angel would have his sinus cavities widened so he could do the smoke out of the eyes bit for his Magic Acts ;)

  20. sporkinum says: April 16, 20109:56 pm
  21. Tom says: April 21, 20106:07 pm

    @Toronto, re gold coins –

    Not long ago we sold some early 19-teens 20 dollar US gold pieces and were paid $750 each for them.

    The sad part was my mother in law that had them used to have a jar full of them. Then her mental health went south, and we figure she used them as quarters somewhere. sigh

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