Surprising Science Experiments

We are collecting science experiments that yield results of which not many people are aware. In the interest of widening the education and experience of the general population, we publish these little known results here, where they will probably remain little known.

Note: no animals were harmed in any of the experiments that did not involve animals.

Many auto shops and tires stores advertise 'whitewall' tires or 'raised white letter' tires without specifying what benefit the whiter tires give to the owner. The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether white tires make cars go faster than black tires. We expect that the color of the tire has no effect on the speed of the car. One 100 pound bag of white marking chalk from an athletic supply store. Tires were marked by pouring chalk across both lanes of a major highway from an overpass in the pre-dawn light traffic conditions before the morning commute. On returning later that morning to observe the effects, we noticed that traffic in both directions was moving very slowly before reaching the chalk. After the tires became well coated with chalk, traffic seemed to move at well above the normal morning commute speeds. The hypothesis was not confirmed.

Despite what morning radio reports described as a particularly bad day for morning commuters, cars with white tires were found to be moving much faster than those with black tires.

Further research will determine whether any white powder has the same effect, or whether chalk is necessary. We are currently looking for funding or donations for a 100 pound bag of powdered cocaine, to see if stimulants increase the effect. To see if being too short causes health risks. We expect that height has no effect on longevity. This is a meta-study based on the results of previous studies charting weight and height against health risks. We picked a random sampling of nearby Americans.
For each individual, we looked up their current weight in published tables of ideal weights for each height.
We found that for nearly all of the samples, the ideal height was much higher than the actual height of the individual. For example, one person weighing 290 pounds should (according to the chart) be 6 feet 9 inches tall, but was in actuality much shorter. The hypothesis was not confirmed.

People who are too short are at higher risk of health problems. To see if cats can hear underwater. We expect that cats can hear under water. One cat.

One swimming pool.

One large concrete block.

Rope. The cat was trained to come to the sound of an electric can opener. After training, the cat was tied to the concrete block and lowered into the swimming pool. The cat no longer responded to the electric can opener. The hypothesis was not confirmed.

Cats cannot hear under water. To see if heat affects traffic speed. We expect that traffic speed is independent of small changes in temperature. One handheld hair dryer (blow dryer).

Experimenters stood on the sidewalk of a busy street, aiming the hair dryer gun at oncoming traffic. Traffic slowed down considerably. The hypothesis was not confirmed.

Traffic slows down when it encounters small amounts of hot air. The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether crickets hear with the same organs they use to speak. We expect that crickets hear sounds with the same organs they use to produce sounds, generally thought to be the legs. One cricket.
One pair of tweezers.
One pair of small scissors. We placed the cricket on the table, and made certain he was able to hear by clapping our hands and observing that he jumped at the sound.

Next we removed the legs of the cricket using the tweezers and scissors.

Again we clapped our hands to see if he could still hear. The cricket could hear fine at first, and jumped when we clapped.

After removing his legs, he appeared to become deaf, and would no longer jump when we clapped. The hypothesis was confirmed.

Crickets hear with their legs. The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether iron is safe to feed to frogs. We expect that frogs need iron in their diet, and that iron is safe to include in frog food. One frog.
One fish tank.
Several small iron hex nuts. We carefully opened the frog's mouth and inserted several hex nuts. After determining that the procedure had not harmed the frog, we returned the frog to the fish tank. The frog seemed to like the bottom of the tank. In fact, he stopped visiting the upper part of the tank altogether. The next day, the frog was found inert and unmoving exactly where we had left him. The hypothesis was not confirmed.

Iron is toxic to frogs.

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