Repel mosquitoes by burning oranges

South Korea’s “Chosun Ilbo” reports that you can create a cheap mosquito repellent by drying orange or lemon peel and burning it.

Years ago the same paper reported that leaving orange peel out to dry can help absorb foul odors. We’re guessing that the peels of other citrus fruits should work too.

It appears that the ancient Romans were also fans of citrus fruits (like lemons, oranges and citrons), but instead of eating citrus, used them as medicine and ornaments.

We now know that citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that prevents scurvy.  It’s good to know that the peels of citrus fruits, which we normally don’t eat, have other uses too.

If you are allergic to citrus, you can drive away mosquitoes by leaving a fan on at a high speed.  And for added security, you can sleep in a mosquito net.

In case these fail, you can relieve the pain of a mosquito bite by dipping a spoon in boiling water, and then pressing the hot spoon against the bite for one second.  (Please, use common sense: don’t burn yourself or others.)

Happy 14th of July! errata on the eggs story

Sorry if we didn’t have comments enabled on all our articles.  We’ll let you know when we get comments in email.

And sorry if this is late.  But late only counts when you have an appointment to meet, like meeting your destiny in Waterloo.

Speaking of Waterloo, our article on Napoleon seems to have hit a button.  And we even got praise from someone who considers “le petit caporal” to be a good egg. Continue reading “Happy 14th of July! errata on the eggs story”


The eye has been called “the window to the soul” by people who have no idea how it works.

There were once a variety of theories on how we see:

Extramission: The theory that eyes emit a light, like the fire of the sun, onto objects they see, and then the image object is reflected back onto the water of eye.

Intromission: The theory that everything projects a smaller version of itself, with a smaller number of atoms, in all directions.  The eye catches this smaller image.

Intermission: The break in a long film, when your eyes get watery from looking at the screen in the dark for so long.

But now what causes vision more clearly, even if we don’t see objects in front of us as clearly as we used to. Continue reading “See?”

Bonaparte’s army could have grown taller, if they’d eaten more eggs

Napoleon Bonaparte sharing a globe shaped pudding with William Pit. Pit has the larger slice, but appears disinterested, while Bonaparte greedily carves out Europe.
This painting, “The Plum Pudding in Danger”, based on James Gilroy’s 1805 print, is not historically accurate. Bonaparte was not a big fan of desert.

(Disclaimer: Measurements are in centimetres, not because the British, French and Swiss have used different systems through time, but because centimetres are smaller than inches.)

Here’s a message I received in my email: “Napoleon Bonaparte might have grown taller had he eaten more… eggs!”  That’s right eggs.

The NHS, referencing the BBC, reports that “an egg a day may prevent stunted growth in infants.”   Continue reading “Bonaparte’s army could have grown taller, if they’d eaten more eggs”