Monthly Archives: September 2011

Irish pensioner dies of “spontaneous combustion”

A pensioner found dead at his home in Galway has been ruled by a coroner to have died of spontaneous human combustion. The cremated remains of Michael Faherty were discovered near his fireplace in December last year, but post-mortem examinations revealed a blaze from the fire was not the cause of death.  

Instead, it has been ruled that Mr. Faherty died of spontaneous combustion – the first ever case of its kind in Ireland. Spontaneous human combustion consists of a living person’s body becoming ablaze without an external source of ignition.

There are many theories that attempt to explain the phenomenon. For instance, it has been claimed that abnormal concentrations of gas inside the body can cause ignition without a spark. There is also the “wick effect” – a hypothesis suggesting that a small external flame source chars the victim’s clothing, splits their skin, and releases fat from underneath the surface of the skin. This in turn is absorbed into the burned clothing, acting as a wick while the poor soul literally becomes a human candle. 

However, spontaneous combustion remains largely misunderstood.  

Full story: UTV


Neutrinos appear to break speed limit of Universe

The laws of Physics have been broken. At least, that is the apparent result of experiments at Cern, where subatomic particles seem to have travelled faster than the speed of light.

The speed of light (3oo million metres per second, or 671 million miles an hour) is the speed limit of the Universe. A fundamental law of nature is that nothing can possibly exceed such a velocity. And yet, in a 732-kilometre journey from Cern to the San Grasso Laboratory, tiny neutrinos have recently seemed to do just that – by turning up a fraction of a second too soon.

The researchers behind this seemingly surreal discovery have been quick to point out that these results will be treated cautiously, and more tests would need to be carried out to confirm its validity. Nevertheless, Einstein’s equations, modern Physics, and our understanding of reality could end up being turned completely on its head. 

Full story: BBC News

Domino’s: One day we will serve pizza on Moon

Don’t you just hate it when you go for a trip through space, visit planetary satellites, and can’t go for a pizza? Fear not. Domino’s has announced plans to become the first pizza restaurant to open on the Moon.

It sounds like an April Fool’s joke, but the Japanese branch of the pizza chain is serious about constructing a two-storey, dome-shaped concrete restaurant on the Lunar surface. The company have calculated it will take 15 rockets to transport 70 tons of construction material and pizza-making equipment to the Moon, and estimate the entire project will cost Y1.67 trillion (£13.4 billion).

Their reasoning behind this somewhat audacious plan is that, one day, people will be inhabiting the Moon. Tomohide Matsunaga, a spokesman for Domino’s, told the press: “In the future, we anticipate there will be many people living on the moon, astronauts who are working there and, in the future, citizens of the Moon.” Domino’s have said they first started thinking about this project last year, but admitted they have yet to decide when the restaurant will actually open. 

The notion of having “citizens of the Moon” may not realistically happen for decades, or even centuries; it may never happen. But if and when it does occur, at least there will be somewhere for these people to have a take-away pizza.

Full story: Daily Telegraph