#OddPuzzlePieces 1


28th May, 2017

We all go around our day, going through our business. Seemingly on autopilot, our brains are doing an awful lot whilst we’re running errands, paying bills, or screaming at traffic. How much of that mental activity is really noticed? How much of what we learn over the course of our lives really sticks?

Have you noticed the way sometimes some simply random knowledge lodges itself in your brain, never to see the light of day? Just like “earworms”; those snatches of tunes that leap into your head from the radio and assail your sanity all day, so to do odd facts. I call them odd puzzle pieces, and random factoids.

To this end, I’m starting a new series of blog posts, taking a look at random factoids and odd puzzle pieces. On Twitter I’ve set some hashtags loose:



Hopefully once in awhile the Twitterverse has something for me! There are a lot of science folks out there, and a lot of people with heads full of plain weirdness.

If anyone has some wierdness for me, it can be anything. It doesn’t have to be technical, or obscure. All it has to do is be stuck in your head!

Anyway, here is the inaugural list of Odd Puzzle Pieces, provided by a couple of super smart gals. The images link to Brianna and Christine’s Twitter profiles. See what they’re up to and say hello!

Facts 1,3,4 and 9 were provided by:

Facts 2,5 and 7 were provided by: 

1: The bumpy texture of a pineapple exterior is actually clusters of individual fruiting flowers! Who knew?

2: Leeches, upon fixing to the skin of their hosts, inject both anaesthetic and anticoagulant into the host bloodstream. Makes for a real feast!

3: No single graph is possible for the statistical test known as a 3 Way ANOVA (Analysis of Variance). This is a widely used statistical test applied in many clinical and laboratory situations. The only way to graph it would be in 3D. That sounds tricky, at best!

Disclosure: I was terrible at statistics in university. 

4: The only characteristic that links the tropical scorpionfish to its close relative the rockfish is a tiny little bone under their eyes!

The scorpion fish Scorpaena scrofa. A face only a mother could love.

5: Snakes “smell” by sticking their tongues out to taste the air. They transfer odorants from the tongue to the vomeronasal organ on the roof of their mouth.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

6: Camels possess a “refridgeration” system in their head, a bulbous system of veins call the Sinus cavernosus. This structure aids in quick heat loss and transfer, protecting the camels brain.

Image: Pixabay

7: Downfield, Deshield, Left! This is a mnemonic device used to interpret NMR spectra.

8: Metameric segmentation is a shortcut that has evolved in arthropods and annelids, whereby repetitive segmentation is used to save the “work” of genetically coding for an entire body.

9: Food chain is an outmoded term used to describe trophic relationships in ecologies. The term Food Web is now seen as more appropriate. The food web for Little Rock, Minnesota is the largest published 3D food web, and shows just connected things in nature are:

A dataset seems almost alive sometimes, as patterns emerge..Image: Twitter.

That’s it for this post. Send in your odd little puzzle pieces; little scraps that just won’t quit. Thank you to Brianna Bibel and Christine, both followers on Twitter for some of these first few pieces.

Until next time, keep thinking.




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