Will a boy ever be born who can swim faster than a shark?

Well, I don't really know. What I do know, however, is that I love New Scientist's 'Last Word' column.

I am ashamed to admit that I started reading New Scientist purely for the purpose of having something to talk about in university interviews. I know, I know- expand your horizons, don't be in a bubble, diversity, blah blah blah. It's not that I didn't think I'd enjoy it. It's more that (dare I admit it?) I'd have rather spent my time doing something else. Watching 'Neighbours' springs to mind (although that hasn't been the same since it moved to Channel 5). Yes, it was pure intellectual laziness.

However, after I started, I couldn't get enough (well, except for the stupid Physics articles hypothesizing about something small bouncing into something smaller making an anti-explosion in a galaxy far, far away). Now I'm at Uni, the NS has fallen by the wayside. I could blame student fiscal cutbacks or a busy timetable, but really, it's just the laziness creeping back in. Thinking back on it, I can't actually remember much about the individual articles except for the second from back page, for there lay my favourite part- the 'Last Word'.

For the uninitiated (or equally lazy), people would send in everyday questions to this column and others would send in answers. The questions could be mundane (inquiries about different types of rain, the methodology of chlorine in swimming pools and what causes discolouration on heated iron spring to mind) but, more often than not, were fairly entertaining. My all time favourite remains 'how fat would you have to be to be bulletproof?' The answer suggested is a belly 60cm thick, which would give an approximate overall body weight of 650kg (theorised in another solution).

I was amazed to discover this page, which gives a much more plausible 72cm of belly fat. I finally have a valid reason to give up sport, open another beer and go and order that pizza. Well, what with all the stabbings and all, better safe than sorry.

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