Olaf’s ‘Frozen 2’ science doesn’t always jibe with the cold, hard facts

A science expert puts the snowman’s wisdom under the microscope.

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Olaf the snowman attempts to educate the reindeer Sven and his other friends in “Frozen 2.”


Olaf getsdeep in”Frozen 2.”

During that long horse ride from Arendelle to the Enchanted Forest, the daffy snowman (voiced by Josh Gad) drops some madscience trivia on Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell),Elsa (Idina Menzel)and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) in the new sequelto the animated Disneyhit.

Olaf’s pronouncement that water has memory turns into a major theme in the movie. But turtles breathing from their butts? Wombats pooping in squares? Are any of these claimstrue?

We asked Nick Uhas, host of Discovery Channel’s “The Science Minute,” to help us determine whetherthe snowman was just blowing hot air.

Claim: Water has memory

Sorry, Olaf. The conceptthat waterretains a memory of substances previously dissolved in it is not accepted in the scientific community. The controversial claimshot to prominence in1988 with the publication of a paper in the respected scientific journal Natureby the late immunologist Jacques Benveniste.

The claimdefied the laws of physics and molecular biology and a follow-up scientific investigation stated that the proclamation was’’as unnecessary as it is fanciful.’’

”Since water is considered a non-living entity, without any neural tissue, we can with confidence say it does not have memory in the traditional sense,” Uhas says.

However, water can provide clues about its origin. In some cases, the impurities left in water “can give us an idea about where the water has been or what it has been exposed to,” Uhas says.

For example, if a water sample contains significant salt, people can deduce it was in or around seawater,mineral springs or in contact with road salt.”This then could give us a more specific region or location to where the water has been or came from,” Uhas says.

Claim: Turtles breathethrough their butts

We’re going to give this a true. All turtles bring in air through their mouth and lungs, where oxygen diffuses across lung tissue andinto their bloodstream.

But some turtles,like the Australian white-throated snapping turtle,can absorb oxygen from water through theircloaca—a backsidetube that functions as a waste-excreting, breedingand egg-laying zone.

The ability gives turtles an advantage in hiding from predators, though”butt”-breathing efficiency varies.

”Some turtles can get 20% of their oxygen this way, others 70%,” Uhas says. “But the lungs still serve as the primary breathing organ.”

Claim: Lightning strikes more women than women

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that men are are five times more likely than females to be struck by lightning, with men accounting for about 85% of lightning fatalities.

It’s not something for guys to obsess over, since the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000.If you’re truly concerned, lay low in the afternoon. Two-thirds of all lightning casualties occur between noon and 6 p.m.

Claim: Wombats poop in squares

The snowman knows his wombat scat. The burrowing Australian marsupials arethe only animals in the world known to produce cube-shaped poop, according toNational Geographic. Scientists believe it might help mark territory or may bebecause of the extreme lack of water intheir living conditions, which results in rigid, dry cube shapes.

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