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Last Updated: Friday, 4 June, 2004, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
10 things we didn't know this time last week
10 THINGS
10 mushrooms
10 Mushrooms by Joe Pan

It's easy to lose track of the news. So at the end of the week, it's good to keep an eye on some of those things which shouldn't go unnoticed.

If you spot something you think should be included next week, send it to us using the form at the bottom of the page.

1. Bananas are a good source of energy. Australian scientists are looking at whether the rotted fruit, combined with bacteria, will produce enough methane to provide energy for homes.

2. Saturn's rings cannot be seen by astronomers viewing the planet side on - the characteristic bands are too thin.

3. If a din can't be turned off, it can be drowned out by more pleasant noises. In Montreal, speakers suspended over a motorway broadcast the sound of crashing waves and cricket chirps to mask the nightly road works. Nearby residents then found they could sleep undisturbed.

4. Unpleasant sounds can also be neutralised by a noise with an equal but opposite sound wave, a principle already applied in fighter jet cockpits and to noise-cancelling headphones used in planes.

10 THINGS ON TV
If you're in the UK, you can see 10 Things at the weekend on Ceefax, page 129 and also on cable, satellite and Freeview
5. Ducks have regional accents. London ducks shout out a rough quack to be heard above the urban din; those in the West Country make a quieter, softer sound.

6. Mysterious white specks are appearing on priceless masterpieces, hundreds of years after they were painted. One theory is that lead soap compounds are eating away at the paintings.

7. Greenhouse gases caused global warming 55 million years ago. It's thought that volcanic eruptions on the seabed heated up sediment containing organic matter - the resulting gases warmed the atmosphere by 10C.

8. The UK cannot run on oil from its North Sea stocks alone - the fuel is too light a chemical mix to provide effective power, and so has to be combined with heavier imported fuels.

9. Red wine controls whether we're fat or thin. A protein called Sirt1 is activated by a compound found in the beverage, which senses short-term famine and allows fat cells to release fat.

10. When a magician miraculously switches places with an assistant, they're using a substitution trunk with a secret panel that allows the occupant to sneak out.


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