This week saw unusual flooding in Portugal, Belgian schools threatened with closure, and one of the most original awards announced its winners.
On Wednesday, September 13, Portuguese media published a video of a flood of wine pouring into the streets of a small town in the municipality of Anadia.
The flow of wine looked like something out of a movie. It flooded streets, the ground, and, according to emergency services, a cellar. The total amount of liquid is estimated at about 2.2 million liters. Despite the impressive size of the spill, there was no smell on the streets of the city. The producer assures that this is due to the high quality of the wine.
In any case, Destilaria Levira, whose wine ended up on the streets, has taken full responsibility for the incident and is investigating. Preliminary version: one of the wine storage tanks burst due to a design flaw and the flow of wine was so strong that it overturned a neighboring tank.
Luckily, the wine did not get into a local river. That would have been an environmental disaster. Now the extra alcohol has been removed from the city streets and taken to a sewage treatment plant.
The country's prime minister has expressed concern over several incidents this week. Relatively peaceful Belgium has seen a rise in arson attacks on schools. The attacks are linked to protests against a controversial and sensational sex education course.
Some conservative families and religious institutions have already expressed their discontent with the new course, although no one has openly claimed responsibility for the arsons. At the scene of the incidents, graffiti with protest slogans was also found.
Conservatives are of the opinion that such issues should be the subject of family discussions only and not in schools. The creators of the course, on the other hand, point out that the program talks not only about sexual relations but also about psychology, emotional management, and social adjustment. The goal is to raise children to become mature and responsible adults.
The winners were announced last Thursday, September 14. The ten awards are given annually "for achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think. This is where serious science meets crazy ideas that may seem ridiculous to some. In fact, all of this research is done by real scientists who then publish in scientific journals and present at conferences. And sometimes this research leads to other discoveries that win awards at a different level.
For example, in the Chemistry and Geology category, a study that explains why scientists lick rocks won an award: because the texture of the rock is easier to see on a wet surface. A study of the sensation people experience when they repeat a word many times in a row is noted in the literature. Scientists have named this effect jamais vu, in analogy to déjà vu. It can be a symptom of migraine or epilepsy.
In the Engineering Mechanics category, the prize went to scientists who pumped dead spiders with air through a syringe and found that their legs straightened. As a result, it can lift objects 1.3 times its weight. And in the medical category, scientists tested whether the number of hairs in people's nostrils was the same. This study was prompted by interest in alopecia areata, a disease characterized by hair loss.