Was the first computer bug an actual bug? Yes…sort of. A moth got jammed in the relay switch of the US Navy’s Mark II computer at Harvard university in 1947. Apparently the early computers were quite susceptible to insects, and so some started using moth-proof vacuum tubes. However the term “bug” to mean error had already been used in language before this date.
Would cockroaches really survive a nuclear blast? This is a universal misconception. Although they could survive the fall out from a nuclear attack better than us humans, they are by no means invincible. In actual fact they would most likely be the first insects to die. It is known from research that cockroaches would die at exposure to 20,000 rads, fruit flies to 64,000 rads and the parasitic wasp would die past 180,000 rads. As a comparison, humans would not survive exposure past 1,000 rads!
What is the red food colouring made from? Well, one type of red food colouring is made from crushed South American beetles. Yes, this was surprising to me too. The cochineal beetle is crushed to make the familiar red dye.
How long since anyone discovered a new beetle? Apparently this is happening all the time, meaning more frequently than once a month. In fact beetles account for up to two thirds of the insects on our planet. One of the largest is the aptly names Hercules Beetle.
What is the difference between a bug and a beetle? Well, the term “bug” is not just a generic American term for all insects. Apparently a bug sucks and a beetle doesn’t. Am sure it gets more technical than this, but this is a good starting point. (Totally going off tangent here, but recently our office banter got onto subject of what difference is between a “cookie” and a “biscuit” – we never really got to the bottom of it though)
Is a snake venomous or poisonous? What is the difference I hear you ask, as did I. Well, apparently there is a clear distinction. Something is poisonous when you bite it or swallow it, however it is venomous when something bites you. I can’t imagine me biting into a snake….unless perhaps my life depended on it. So, vipers and cobras are not poisonous, they are venomous.
Most spiders are venomous, and as far as scientists are aware there are no poisonous spiders. Hence why you can snack on a tasty tarantula in Cambodia with no fatal effects – Bon appetite!
How many legs does a centipede have? Go to the back of the class if you answered 100. In fact most centipedes have different numbers, some have more and some less than 100. Apparently not one has every been found with exactly 100 legs.