There's an ancient statue of Yamato Takeru no Mikoto in a garden in Japan that has an epic distinction: unlike other out-of-doors statues, it is singularly unmarred by pigeon or other bird poop! Now that is extraordinary!
A scientist, Yukio Hirose of Kanazawa University, observed this non-phenomenon and set out to determine why. Was it the severe visage of Yamato that frightened the birds? Or it some kind of oriental magic? Professor Hirose looked instead into natural causes. For example, could it be something in the statue's substance that made it unattractive for birds to roost and poop there?
A minute chemical analysis of the statue yielded that it was bronze, but laced with arsenic! Could this be the culprit? Professor Hirose did an experiment. He prepared sheets of bronze with the same amount of arsenic in it, and they too became bird-repellant!
Yukio Hirose saw an interesting fact, and went beyond it into looking why this didn't happen. Sometimes discoveries come to people who have the good sense to ask why!
For his discovery, he was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2004.
And, who knows? Maybe we will one day see an equestrian statue of President Trump or President Clinton on the Washington Mall, completely unsullied with bird poop! Some people will call that a miracle! Can they ride horsies?
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