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What are the Scariest Things that Actually Exist?

There’s a lot more to fear than fear itself.

What’s your go-to scary thing? Is it something monstrous, perhaps a vampire or werewolf? Or is it something a bit closer to reality, like the fact that a strong solar storm could send us to the dark ages at almost any time (yeah, sorry). You don’t have to go far in the natural world to find stuff that should make up your next Halloween costume.

In my latest episode of Because Science, I explain three sciencey things that really keep me up at night. For example, did you know that we once tried to weaponize bats by strapping bombs to them? Thankfully we abandoned that project, dubbed “Project X-ray,” and weaponized dolphins instead. No, really. Google it.

And if you put me anywhere near liquid oxygen or LOX, I would run quickly in the other direction. Because LOX is such a strong oxidizer, it turns just about anything it touches into fire, or a bomb.

Haunted houses are creepy, surely, but what about the ruins of Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant, where a gigantic melted mass of nuclear core waits in the basement putting out 4.5 million chest x-rays worth of radiation per hour?

Need more scary science? You can watch my last Halloweeny Because Science on the psychology of believing in ghosts here. Next week, we go interstellar.

Let’s delve into some even scarier real-world stuff in the comments below, or hit me up in the twitterverse @Sci_Phile!

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Comments

  1. stardude says:

    Liquid oxygen is probably the most common scary substance but it doesn’t hold the candle to Florine compounds,   FooF a combination of oxygen and Florine, or Florine tri-Chloride, a substance so scary even the Nazi’s abandoned weapons plans.

  2. FoxGirl says:

    Wow…. I knew about dogs, cats, horses, and bats being weaponised during the WW’s…. But never bats.

    Batman, you are missing out here! xD 

  3. NLchemist says:

    Nothing ruins your day in the lab like a blue Liquid Nitrogen trap!