NASA: There's A ‘Potentially Hazardous’ Asteroid Lunging Towards Earth

NASA: There's A ‘Potentially Hazardous’ Asteroid Lunging Towards Earth

 

Unless you’re an astrophysics nerd you’ve likely never heard of ‘2002 AJ129.’ Unfortunately it’s not a spacecraft from Star Wars. It’s an asteroid currently hurtling dangerously close to Earth. And NASA is keeping a close eye on it.

So what makes this asteroid so scary? AJ129 is labeled as a “potentially hazardous” object because it’s about a quarter mile larger than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building. It’s also 0.7 miles wide and traveling at 67,000 miles per hour. If it were to hit Earth it would likely put the planet into an ice age.

Just look at what this one-ton meteorite did over Michigan this past week as it disintegrated entering the atmosphere. Its explosion sent a shockwave measuring a magnitude 2.0.

Okay, so are you ready for the good news? Unless some unforeseen dark matter changes the rock’s trajectory, it appears it won’t hit Earth when it’s expected to pass by on February 4. As of right now, scientists have AJ129 coming within 2.5 million miles of contact with the globe, about 11 times the distance between the Earth and the moon.

So instead of picking up the phone to call the Armageddon crew, grab some popcorn and a telescope in two weeks.

Still, Steve Buscemi, you’re on standby!


FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Common Hand Gestures And Their Origins

FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Common Hand Gestures And Their Origins

Gesturing with our hands come naturally to us, be it the middle finger or the thumbs-up. We have been using gestures like these since time began. But have you ever tried to consider the fact that even though these gestures seem so normal and easy, each of them has an origin? Well, we bet you never think about it! So, we bring to you 10 common hand gestures and their origins. Read on to find out more!

1. The V-sign was originally a derogatory gesture. It was only during WWII that a Belgian politician, through a BBC radio broadcast, urged people to use the letter V for victoire (French for “victory”) and vrijheid (Dutch for “freedom”) as a symbol of resistance.

Image credits: British Government/WikimediaIwan Novirion at Indonesian Wikipedia/Wikimedia

The V-sign, or the Victory sign, is one of the most common hand gestures in which the index and the middle fingers are raised. They are then parted while the other fingers of your hand are clenched into your fist. Although we generally use the sign to denote victory or peace, the sign stands for different meanings depending on the culture and the time when it was used. For example, in some countries, primarily the Commonwealth nations, the V-sign with the back of your hand away from you has been considered as an offensive gesture. While in WWII, it was used to symbolize freedom. Later, in some countries like Japan, the sign was also used as a gesture while appearing in photos.

For a long time, the V-sign gesture or “the finger” has prevailed as a derogatory gesture in England. This spread to other parts of United Kingdom and also Australia, Ireland, India, New Zealand, and Pakistan. A common legend that suggests the origin of the gesture claims that it was derived from a gesture made by the longbowmen who were fighting in the Hundred Years’ War. The legend goes that when the longbowmen were captured by the French, their index and middle fingers were cut off so that they could no longer operate a bow and arrow. Hence, the V-sign was used by uncaptured bowmen as an act of defiance. But there is no primary source that could verify this legend.

Anyway, the V-sign evolved into the modern-day Victory sign on January 14, 1941. On this day, the former Belgian Minister of Justice,  Victor de Laveleye, used a BBC radio broadcast to urge the Belgians to use a “V” as their emblem while rallying during the WWII. The V stood for victoire which means “victory” in French and vrijheid which means “freedom” in Dutch. This was so widely accepted by the people that the BBC ran a “V for Victory” campaign. The emblematic symbolism of the letter V spread across occupied Europe, and even  Prime Minister Winston Churchill began acknowledging the V hand sign.

In 1942, a British occultist by the name of Aleister Crowley claimed himself as the inventor of the V-sign and claimed that it was he who passed it on to his friends in BBC. But his story has never been proven.(source)

2. The origin of the middle finger can be dated back to ancient Rome and Greece where people believed that an extended middle finger resembled a man’s reproductive organ and supposedly had the power to ward off the evil eye. It was also used as a means to insult the receiver.

Image credit: Pixabay

One of the most common hand gestures that we use on a day-to-day basis in the middle finger. For some of us, it speaks a thousand words! In most cultures, it is used as a way to display contempt. Sometimes it is used humorously or playfully without any intentional disrespect towards the receiver.

Like today, the middle finger gesture was used to insult the receiver in ancient times as well. It was used as a symbol of sexual intercourse and giving the finger to someone meant to threaten or intimidate the person receiving the gesture. During the 1st century, in many Mediterranean countries, the gesture was seen as a representation of the penis with the fingers next to the middle finger representing the testicles. This close association with the male reproductive organ caused the gesture to make its way to Apotropaic magic which is practiced to drive away the evil influences.

Jesse Sheidlower, a linguist, has traced the appearance of the gesture in the US to the 1890s. Desmond Morris, an anthropologist, believes that the gesture might have entered the US via Italian immigrants. The first documented reference of the finger was in 1886 in a photograph. In it, a pitcher for the Boston Beaneaters baseball team, Radbourn, was giving the finger to one of the members of the New York Giants, the rival team.(source)

3. The shaka or “hang loose” gesture originated when a Hawaiian named Hamana Kalili lost his three middle fingers in a sugar mill accident. His all-clear wave of thumb and pinkie is said to have evolved into the shaka as kids began imitating the gesture.

Image Credits: Kim/Flickr, Pixabay

The shaka sign, which is commonly known as “the hang loose” sign, is a gesture associated with the surf communities. The gesture has been adopted by visiting surfers from the Hawaiian surfing community and has made its way throughout the world. It primarily signifies greeting or expressing gratitude to one another.

As far as the origin of the gesture, the most prevalent lore is that of a person by the name of Hamana Kalili, a resident of Laie, used to work at the Kahuku Sugar Mill. Unfortunately, he lost the three middle fingers on his right hand in a tragic accident. Since he could no longer perform any physical work that required the use of his hands, Kalili was shifted to the job of guarding the sugar train. To give an all-clear signal to the train, Kalili would wave his thumb and pinkie. This was imitated by the children there and eventually, it evolved into the shaka.

There are other theories as well that are used to explain the origin of the shaka. In one theory, it is said that Spanish immigrants would fold their middle three fingers and bring the thumb to their mouth to symbolize a friendly gesture of sharing drinks with the native Hawaiian people. Another theory also says that the first shakas were used by whalers when they had to signal a catch.

Lippy Espinda, an entertainer, has also been identified as the creator of the shaka. He is known to have used the sign and the term during many of his television ads. Even though the claim of him being the creator is debatable, he has surely played a part in increasing the popularity of the shaka as a positive gesture.(source)

4. The handshake in ancient Greece was originally believed to be used to make sure that the person you were meeting wasn’t carrying a concealed weapon. Clasping the hands proved that the hand was empty and the shaking motion was meant to dislodge any weapons hidden up the sleeve.

Image source: Wikimedia, Image credit: Pixabay

We shake hands when we meet someone. Seems simple right? But why did this gesture originate? What compelled people to grasp their hands and shake it while meeting each other?

The story behind the origin of the handshake lies in ancient ruins. Archaeologists have discovered texts and paintings, dated as far back as 5th century BC, that depicted the gesture of shaking hands. There were many paintings that depicted soldiers shaking hands. This led experts to believe that maybe this was a strategy for people to check if the person they were meeting carried weapons. Since weapons were most commonly held at the right hand, it became a polite custom to shake via the right hand only. This was used as a gesture of peace to demonstrate that no weapons were brought to the meeting. Moreover, the shaking the hands during a handshake came from the possibility that even though there were no weapons in the hand, there might be some hidden up the sleeves! The shaking during a handshake would help to reveal that.(source)

5. The fist bump comes from pro boxers in the 1800s from people began imitating how they touched gloves, as a way of greeting, before a match.

Image credit: Pete Souza/Wikimedia

The fist bump is similar to a handshake and it’s safe to say that it is an evolved version of the handshake. If you have observed closely, the fist bump is very popular in sports, especially sports with gloves. In cricket, it is a common sight to see batsmen giving a fist bump to each other after scoring great runs. It is used as a celebratory gesture in sports.

This will make more sense once we learn the origin of the fist bump. The first fist bumps can be traced back as far as the late 1800s and the early 1900s to the special handshakes that boxers used to greet each other. Boxers were unable to shake hands as their hands were gloved. So, they just resorted to bumping their fists as a way of greeting. And voilà, the fist bump gesture was born.

Like always, other theories also exist when it comes to its origin. LaMont Hamilton, a Smithsonian researcher, believes that the gesture might have developed during the Vietnam war as a modified version of the  Black Power salute which was banned by the military.

In September 1990, Australia witnessed its first fist bump when two opening batsmen, Mick Tyler and Bob Minney, fist-bumped when the first over was completed. They continued to do so throughout the game, and this activity continued into the future. The act also made its way to other sports in Australia and eventually other countries.(source)

6. Horn sign, the popular rock concert gesture, was originally a superstitious gesture used as a charm to ward off evil. It was Ronnie James Dio who made it popular in heavy metal music after learning the sign from his Italian grandmother.

Image credits: Pixabay, Pixabay

If you have ever been to a rock concert or you are just a rock music fan, then the horn sign, made by raising the index finger and the pinkie while other fingers are folded, must be very familiar to you. Well, much before it was used to symbolize rock music, the horn sign was used to ward off the ever-seeing evil eye.

It was only in 1979, when Ronnie James Dio became the lead singer for Black Sabbath, that the horn sign made its way to rock metal music. Before Ronnie, Ozzy Osbourne was the lead singer for the band, and his signature hand gesture, the double peace sign, had become a ritual among his fans. So, when Ronnie took the stage, he decided to introduce a new sign. He borrowed the horn sign that his Italian grandmother used as a means to ward off evil. He felt that the pagan association of the sign would fit perfectly with the band’s ideology.

Black Sabbath was not the first band to use the horn sign, but surely it was the band which made it popular. The gesture was used by the band Coven in 1969, which was a group that derived inspiration from counter-culture figures like Anton LaVey, a renowned Satanist, who used the horn sign to represent the Devil.(source)

7. The first confirmed “high five” was between LA Dodger teammates Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke. After Baker hit his 30th home run of the season, Burke met him with his hand held high over his head and Baker smacked it, later saying “It seemed like the thing to do.”

Image credits: MissChatter/Flickr, Pixabay

Who would have thought that something as simple as the high five would need to be invented? It seems like this is something that people should have been doing for a long time. But that’s not the case. Like everything, the high five has an origin and it was on 2nd October 1977.

Dusty Baker of the LA Dodgers completed his 30th home run on this day at Dodger Stadium. This made the Dodgers the first team in history to have four players with at least 30 home runs each. Glenn Burke, another team member, was waiting on deck, and he raised his hand high above head to greet his friend Baker. Baker, unaware of how to react to this unusual greeting, smacked Burke’s raised hand. “His hand was up in the air, and he was arching way back,” says Baker. “So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do.”

From that day on, Burke and Baker high-fived their way through many games. What many people didn’t know at that time was that Burke was gay. He came out to the world about his sexual preference only after he retired in 1980. In 1982, he came out openly to the public in an Inside Sports magazine piece called “The Double Life of a Gay Dodger.”  The writer, who was a gay activist, then used the high-five gesture as an obstinate symbol of gay pride.

That is not the only tale of origin that has been told regarding the high-five. During a basketball practice at the University of Louisville, Wiley Brown gave a low five to his teammate Derek Smith. Smith didn’t accept it and instead said, “No. Up high.” He believed that since they jump so high on the court, why resort to just a low-five?

In another version of the origin, Lamont Sleets claimed that his father served in Vietnam in the 1st Battalion and his unit was nicknamed “The Five.” Their signature was the high-five gesture, and Sleets claimed that this is where the high-five came from. But this story turned out to be a hoax.(source)

8. The salute originated in medieval France when knights greeted each other by raising their visors. In the military as well, troops had to remove their headgear in the presence of superiors. This act of raising or removing headgear devolved to just touching the headgear and offering a salutation, hence the salute.

Image credit: Photo: Sgt Andy Malthouse ABIPP/MOD/Wikimedia

As the name suggests, the salute has its origins in the military. According to many military manuals, it originated in France. There, the knights used to wear a visor, the headgear made of steel that was part of the armor, and they would lift up their visors to pleasantly greet each other in a saluting motion.

There is another explanation regarding the origin of the salute. According to the US Army Quartermaster School, it is a custom in the military that in the presence of superiors, the subordinates are required to remove their headgear. A soldier would remove his headgear as a salute to his superiors. But when the headgear became too cumbersome in the 18th and 19th century, soldiers just resorted to the simple gesture of touching or holding their visor as a courteous salutation. Over time, this gesture evolved into the modern-day salute that we know today.(source)

9. The origin of the thumbs-up sign can be dated back to ancient Rome when, during gladiatorial combats, the spectators would use the thumbs-up sign when they wanted the gladiator to be put to death.

Image credits: Jean-Léon Gérôme/Wikimedia, Pixabay

The thumbs-up sign is used commonly to give approval. For example, if you like a post on Facebook, you give it a thumbs-up. This gesture has actually gone on to become a metaphor in English literature. For example, saying “He gave me a thumbs-up on my performance” means that the person approved your performance, and he liked it.

There are many instances that depict the origin of the thumbs-up gesture. One goes back to as far as ancient Rome. As early as 110 BCE, gladiatorial combats were quite common in Rome. Once a gladiator was defeated, the winning gladiator would look up to the audience for their verdict on whether to kill him or bestow mercy upon him. The crowd would reply with gestures known as pollice verso. A thumbs-up by crowd indicated that the defeated gladiator should be spared, and a thumbs-down meant that he should be killed.

But according to a classical studies professor, Anthony Corbeill, it was actually the thumbs-up sign that signaled killing the defeated gladiator, while a closed fist with the thumb wrapped around signaled sparing him.(source)

10. Crossing fingers for good luck came from the pre-Christian era when two people would form a cross using their index fingers while making a wish. Eventually, it evolved into crossing two fingers of the same hand.

Image credits: Wolfgang Sauber/Wikimedia, Pixabay, Emoji One/Wikimedia

Do you often cross your fingers while wishing for good luck? Do you often tell your friends to keep their fingers crossed while awaiting some important news? Then, my friend, you are taking part in an ancient ritual!

Yes, crossing fingers is an ancient custom prevalent in the pre-Christian era. The only difference between today’s gesture and the ancient one is that earlier two people were required to perform the ritual. Two people would intersect their index fingers with one being the wisher and the other being a supporter and a believer in your wish. The concept originated from the pagan belief that the intersection of a cross is the dwelling place of many good spirits. People believed that making a wish on a cross would enable the wish to be worked on by the good spirits until it was fulfilled. Also, wishes made in such a way had better chances of getting fulfilled as the good spirits would keep evil away.

As time went by, the requirements of this custom eased, and people could now wish by just crossing their own fingers without the aid of another person. The custom has become informal and secular in modern times. Today, it has evolved from two people crossing their index fingers to people crossing their own fingers, and finally to people just saying they are keeping their fingers crossed without actually doing the act.(source)


Holy Cow, This Is Probably The Coolest Dress We've Ever Seen

 

Holy Cow, This Is Probably The Coolest Dress We've Ever Seen

Yes, we know programmable clothes are still too expensive to become commonplace just now, but it's still pretty cool to look at.


How Religion Turned American Politics Against Science

 

How Religion Turned American Politics Against Science

 In the last 30 years religion has radicalized American politics and seriously harmed the perception of science, says journalist and author Kurt Andersen. This can be directly tied to the rise of the Christian Right in the 20th century. To see this, you only have to look at the response to the same question posed to Republican presidential candidates over three election cycles, from 2008 to 2016: "Do you believe in Darwinian biological evolution?" In 2008, the majority answered yes. In 2012, there were notably less. In 2016? There was only one of 17 candidates who said he did—Jeb Bush, and even he began to backpedal as he answered. "I don’t believe all those people believed what they said," says Andersen, "I don’t think all of them disbelieve in evolution, just some of them—but they were all obliged to say 'yes' to falsehood and magical thinking of this religious kind, and that’s where it becomes problematic." From climate change to Creationism and outright conspiracy theories, Andersen points to how the Republican party has come to increasingly incorporate fantasy and wishful untruths into its approach to social, economic, and foreign policy—and it's turning America into an anti-science spectacle. Kurt Andersen is the author of Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire.

 


This Small Robot Moves So Fast That It's Basically A Blur

This Small Robot Moves So Fast That It's Basically A Blur

 

The speed of this milliDelta robot is blowing every robot out there out of the water.

 


FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Numbers With Very Interesting Histories

FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Numbers With Very Interesting Histories

What is in a number? Apparently, a lot. While it’s unlikely that we’ve ever given much thought to our numbers and numeral system, it has a pretty interesting history.

First, the numeral system just about everyone reading this probably uses is called the Arabic numeral system or, more recently, the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. The original name is a misnomer, since it was invented in India  and not in the Middle East.[1] However, they’re called “Arabic numerals” because Europeans thought they were invented by the Arabs.

It’s not the just the numeral system that has a fascinating origin; individual numbers also have their own fascinating and downright surprising histories. Here are ten of them.

10 ‘Billion’


A billion, a one followed by nine zeros, is a thousand million. However, a little over four decades ago, the word “billion” referred to two different numbers. The first is a thousand million (a one and nine zeros), which remains a billion today, while the other is a million million (a one and 12 zeros), which we call a trillion today.

This duality is due to differences between American and British English. American English has always recognized a billion as a thousand million, while British English used to recognize a billion as a million million. At the same time, British English recognized a thousand million (today’s billion) as a milliard.

Likewise, there were two trillions. The first is the million million (a one and 12 zeros), which American English has always recognized as a trillion, while the other was a million million million (a one and 18 zeros), which British English recognized as a trillion. However, all these changed in 1974, when British English dumped the milliard and their definitions of billions and trillions for that of the Americans.[2]

9 40


How do you spell 40: “f-o-r-t-y” or “f-o-u-r-t-y?” Apparently, it’s the former. This has often confused even native English speakers, who sometimes add a “u” to “forty.” The reason for this confusion isn’t far-fetched. Most speakers assume that “forty” is derived from “four,” which has a “u.” Worse is that “fourty” hasn’t always been wrong and was once the correct spelling of 40.

To explain the disparity, we first need to understand that “forty” was not derived from “four.” “Forty” was derived from Old English “feowertig,” which came from “feower,” which means “four,” and “tig,” which means “group of tens.” “Four” itself was “feower.” “Feowertig” and “feower” soon metamorphosed into “fourty” and “four.”

However, this changed between the 15th and 17th centuries, during the Great Vowel Shift, which saw some words of the English language lose their vowel sounds and change in pronunciation. It was around the 16th century that “forty” first appeared. By the 1800s, “forty” appeared more frequently and soon overtook “fourty” to become the standard spelling.[3]

8 ‘Million’


The word “million” was introduced into the English language in the 14th century. The name was derived from the Old French million and Italian millione (“great thousand”), which were both derived from the Latin mille, which means “thousand.” English lacked a formal name for “million” for centuries because no one had any need for it. Apparently, no one had possessions or whatever that required them to count in millions.

However, all this changed when people started counting in millions. First, they turned to the thousand, which had hitherto been the highest numerical value with an English name. “Thousand” was called “þusend,” which means “strong hundred” with “þ” being the now-extinct letter called the thorn. A million was called “þusend þusend” (thousand thousand) until million was borrowed from Old French.[4]

7 Googol


A googol is one followed by 100 zeros. Back in 1996, the search engine we know today as Google was called BackRub. In 1997, Larry Page, one of Google’s co-founders, started deliberating with some friends on what to rename the search engine. One of the friends involved in the brainstorming session was Sean Anderson, who proposed the name “Googolplex,” which refers to one followed by a googol of zeros. However, Larry opted for plain old googol.

Sean checked the Internet to find out if “googol.com” had been taken. However, he erroneously spelled “googol” as “google.” Larry liked the spelling, and Google was born. What many do not realize is that “googol” and “googolplex” were coined by a nine-year-old in 1920. The child was Milton Sirotta, the nephew of mathematician Edward Kasner, who came up with the name after Kasner asked him what he could call a one followed by a 100 zeros.

Sirotta suggested that only a silly name like “googol” could refer to such number. At the same time, he suggested the name “googolplex” for one followed by as many zeros as whoever was writing it out got tired. However, Kasner later defined a googolplex as one followed by a googol of zeros.[5]

6 Pi


Pi is the mathematical constant for the ratio of the circumference of a circle and its diameter. It is an infinite number but is often rounded to 3.14 or 3.142. The value of pi has puzzled and interested humans since at least 1900 BC, when ancient Babylonians calculated it to be 3.125, whereas ancient Egyptians estimated it to be 3.16. Archimedes of Syracuse is believed to be the first person to accurately calculate the value of pi. He calculated it to be a number between 3.1408 and 3.14285.

In 1874, William Shanks calculated pi to 707 digits, although he was only correct until the 527th digit. In 1945, D.F. Ferguson calculated it to 620 digits, and by 1947, he had calculated it to 710 digits. In 1999, Takahashi Kanada calculated pi to 206,158,430,000 digits, and in 2011, Shigeru Kondo calculated it to ten trillion digits.

One of the most hilarious incidents involving the value of pi occurred in 1897, when the Indiana state legislature almost passed a bill that would have pegged its value at 3.2. The bill wasn’t intended to change the value of pi but to solve the old-timey mathematical problem of squaring the circle. However, it would have inadvertently changed the value of pi from 3.14 to 3.2.

The idea was that the area of a circle could be determined by using a ruler and compass to draw a square with the same area as the circle and then measuring it. No mathematician has ever solved this problem, but Edward Goodwin claimed to have done so in 1894. He copyrighted his solution and demanded that anyone interested in seeing it pay royalties.

However, Goodwin offered it free off charge to Indiana schools on the condition that the state legislature passed a bill confirming his solution as being legitimate. This was a problem, since Goodwin used 3.2 as pi, which is wrong. The state of Indiana almost approved the bill but backed off when Professor C.A. Waldo of Purdue University informed them that they were about to unwittingly turn the value of pi to 3.2.[6]

5 Zero


Zero was first used by the Sumerians between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago. They didn’t use it as a number or to represent nothing. Instead, they added it to single numbers to denote tens and hundreds. The zero as we know it today was invented twice. The first time was in Babylon between 400 and 300 BC. However, it still wasn’t a full-fledged number but a placeholder used to represent nothing. The Maya also independently invented zero in the first few centuries of the Common Era.

In the fifth century, Indian mathematician Brahmagupta became the first person to use zero as a number. He represented it with a dot, which he wrote under other numbers. By AD 879, zero was still struggling to be recognized as a number, even though it had taken the oval shape we associate with it today. However, it was usually written in a smaller font relative to other numbers.

Zero only became a full-fledged number when Italian mathematician Fibonacci introduced it, along with the Arabic numerals, into Europe around 1200. Fibonacci had gained knowledge of the Arabic numerals by studying the works of Muslim scholar Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khowarizmi, who called zero sifr.

Italian traders and German bankers quickly adopted the much-needed zero, but most European governments banned Arabic numerals because they had reservations about the ease with which the numbers could be changed. However, merchants and bankers secretly continued using zero in their dealings by representing it with a code. This is the origin of the word “cipher,” which means “code.” It was derived from sifr, al-Khowarizmi’s name for zero.[7]

4 Belphegor’s Prime

Photo credit: Wikimedia

Belphegor’s Prime is a one followed by 13 zeros, three sixes, and another 13 zeros before ending with a one. For a visual representation, that’s 1,000,000,000,000,066,600,000,000,000,001. The number is named after Belphegor, one of the seven princes of Hell. It is unique in many ways.

Despite its length, Belphegor’s Prime is, not surprisingly, a prime number, which means it is only divisible by one and itself. At the same time, it is also a palindrome number, since it remains the same when read from either end. Then, it has 666, the famed number of the beast, right in its middle. If that’s not enough, it contains 31 numbers, which when read in reverse, gives “13,” which is considered an unlucky number.

Belphegor’s Prime was discovered by Harvey Dubner, who had a fondness for uncovering new prime numbers. Dubner discovered the number after realizing other prime numbers could be derived from palindromic prime numbers like 16,661, if 13, 42, 506, 608, 2,472, and 2,623 zeros were added in between some numbers at either ends. In this case, 13 zeros were added between the ones and the sixes on each side. The number remained just another palindromic prime number until mathematician Cliff Pickover named it after a prince of Hell because it contained 666.[8]

3 5,040

5,040 might seem like just another random number to us, but not to ancient Greek philosopher Plato, who regarded it as the perfect number. 5,040 belongs to a rare group of numbers called highly composite numbers or anti-prime numbers. Unlike prime numbers, which are only divisible by one and themselves, anti-prime numbers are divisible by a lot of numbers. 5,040 is divisible by 60 numbers.

Plato promoted 5,040 as the perfect number and proposed that a perfect city should not have more than 5,040 citizens. This, he thought, would allow for easy governance and division of citizens into different demographics as required.[9] To maintain this perfect number, Plato proposed that new cities should be divided into 5,040 plots and shared among 5,040 citizens. Women, children, and slaves did not count as citizens in ancient Greece, so the city’s population would have been more than 5,040.

To prevent the division of a plot, whenever a citizen died, Plato suggested that an entire plot should be willed to a single preappointed son of the late citizen. The other sons were to be given to citizens who had no sons, while the daughters were to be married off. Plato also suggested that the government discourage citizens from having too many children, but when that happened, such children should be sent to another city.

2 666

Photo credit: Matthias Gerung

Most people should be familiar with 666, which is infamous for being the number of the Biblical beast that would rule over the Earth in the last days. This is evident in Revelation 13:18, which says: “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.” A score is 20, and three scores is 60. So, “six hundred threescore and six” is 666. Or is it?

According to a fragment of the Book of Revelation discovered in 2005, the number of the beast is 616 and not 666. The fragment is the oldest surviving record of the Book of Revelation and was written at the end of the third century. It was discovered in Egypt and was written in Greek. Reacting to the news that 616 is the number of the beast and not 666, Peter Gilmore, high priest of the Church of Satan, stated that their religious movement identified itself with 666 because of its negative connotation in Christianity. However, they would not hesitate to switch to 616 if Christians switched.[10]

1 100


The word we use for the figure above is “hundred.” However, centuries ago, the term “hundred” referred to two different numbers. The first is five scores (100), which remains today’s “hundred,” while the other was six scores (120). The disparity could be traced to Old Norse, where “hundred” was called hundrath and referred to 120.

This created problems when it was introduced into English, where a “hundred” was 100. To avoid confusion, the five-score “hundred” was called the “new hundred,” “short hundred,” or “decimal hundred” (hundrath ti-raett), while the six-score “hundred” was called “old hundred,” “long hundred,” or “duodecimal hundred” (hundrath tolf-roett). However, the six-score “hundred” soon gave way to the five-score “hundred.”[11]


This Mind-Blowing Visualization Shows How Tiny Our Sun Is Compared To The Universe's Biggest Stars

This Mind-Blowing Visualization Shows How Tiny Our Sun Is Compared To The Universe's Biggest Stars

 

Our Sun. It's really big. Vastly, stupefyingly huge. Just kidding, it's actually pretty small by the universe's standards.


How The Demand For Faster Computers Led To Meltdown And Spectre

 

How The Demand For Faster Computers Led To Meltdown And Spectre

The issues surrounding Meltdown and Spectre are immense and complicated, but here's one way of understanding it.

 


20 USELESS BUT TRUE FACTS TO FILL UP THE EMPTY SPACE BETWEEN YOUR EARS

20 USELESS BUT TRUE FACTS TO FILL UP THE EMPTY SPACE BETWEEN YOUR EARS


10 Insanely Fun And Simple Philosophical Paradoxes

10 Insanely Fun And Simple Philosophical Paradoxes

Quick, get out your Rubik’s Cube! Mind puzzles, brainteasers, or whatever you may call them are often fun and sometimes addictive. Logical paradoxes are absurd statements that make sense and yet don’t at the same time.

Here’s a classic example of a fun little brainteaser called “The Paradox of Omnipotence” that’s been puzzling minds for centuries: Could God, being infallible and omnipotent, make a rock so heavy that even He could not lift it? How can an entity be omnipotent (all-powerful) and create something which negates His own omnipotence?

Another incarnation of the same question goes, “Could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot that even He could not eat it?” You can think of the answers to these paradoxical questions while we cover 10 of the most insanely fun logical puzzles of all time. (Don’t worry, we picked easy ones that just about anybody can understand.)

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the classic Star Trek episode “I, Mudd,” don’t watch the video in entry nine. You’ve been warned.

10 The Heap

Photo credit: Simon A. Eugster

Let’s travel back to the fourth century BC and start with Eubulides of Miletus, the man who is credited as the inventor of paradoxes. Eubulides came up with four fun brainteasers that require careful thinking to solve.

The Heap (aka The Sorites Paradox) is the first of these classical paradoxes, and it’s a question of degrees:

If a man has zero hairs on his head, we say he’s bald. However, a man who has 10,000 hairs on his head is not considered to be bald. But what if we add a single hair to the head of the man with zero hairs? He would still clearly be bald.

Now let’s say that a man has 1,000 hairs only. But the strands are evenly spaced and really thin. Would this man be bald or not bald?

Would you consider a single grain of wheat a “heap of wheat?” Definitely not. How about two grains? Still, probably not. So when do a few grains or a few hairs end and a whole heap or baldness actually begin?[1]

The problem is one of vagueness. Where does one description end and another begin?

9 The Liar Paradox

The first sentence of this paragraph is a lie. Stop and think about that sentence for a second. Is it true? Or a lie? A true lie? This is called The Liar Paradox, and it’s also from the time of Eubulides. It’s straightforward and fun and takes the form of one short statement: “This sentence is a lie.” Another incarnation of the paradox is: “Everything I say is false.”

The problem with both statements: They’re true, but they contradict themselves if that is so. How can a true statement contradict itself? Wouldn’t that make it both true and untrue at the same time?

If either quotation above is really a lie, then that statement is true and contradicts itself. Even worse, if every other statement previously uttered by the speaker is false, then this one sentence, “Everything I say is false,” is a true sentence and contradicts itself.[2]

So, what do you think? Is the sentence a lie?

8 Limited And Unlimited

Photo credit: NBC News

The next paradox comes from a man named Zeno of Elea who lived circa 495–430 BC. He came up with quite a few brainteasers which are still puzzling to this day. Have you ever wondered about the similarities we see in nature from small to large? Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, our whole universe is really just a tiny atom in the universe of some much larger entity?

Zeno wanted to show that the idea of a plurality of things (which all exist side by side in time and space) brought with it some serious logical inconsistencies. The Limited And Unlimited Paradox displayed this. Does one thing exist or many? What separates one thing from the next? Where is the line?

This is also called The Paradox of Density, and let’s put it a little differently. This works with multiple objects, but we’ll start with just two. If there are two things, what separates them? You need a third thing to separate the two.

The Paradox of Density takes place on many different scales, but you get the basic idea. So, is there just one massive entity called the universe that contains indistinguishable matter of varying densities (air, the floor, a tree, etc.)?

Is all matter perpetually divisible? Or if we divide matter into objects small enough, will we eventually reach the object so small that it cannot be divided?[3]

The smartest scientific minds of the human race still grapple with these questions today.

7 The Dichotomy Paradox

This classic gem, The Dichotomy Paradox, also comes from Zeno. From this brainteaser about distance and motion, Zeno drew the conclusion that all motion is actually impossible. Like the Limited And Unlimited Paradox, this deals with division that becomes never-ending.

Let’s say that you decide to walk to the store and buy a soda. For you to get there, you’ll have to cross the halfway point. No problem, this makes sense. But from the halfway point, you’ll have to next cross the halfway point of the halfway point (three-quarters of the way from your house to the store). Then you’ll have to cross the halfway point of that distance and the halfway point of the next smaller distance.

So wait a minute. If you keep dividing your trip into halfway points, you’ll never actually be across the halfway point . . . ever. How is this possible? You know that you can go to the store and get a soda. But when do you actually cross the last halfway point (where there are no more halfway points)?[4]

Zeno seemed obsessed with this question of where we draw the line. When are you actually inside the store?

6 Achilles And The Tortoise

Another brainteaser comes from Zeno in the form of Achilles and the Tortoise, which is similar to The Dichotomy Paradox. In this puzzle, Achilles races a tortoise. To be a nice guy (demigod), Achilles gives the tortoise a 100-meter (328 ft) head start because Achilles is an extremely fast runner and the tortoise is . . . well . . . a tortoise.

As soon as the gun fires and the race begins, Achilles quickly closes in on the slow-moving tortoise. In no time, Achilles has crossed the 100 meters (328 ft) of the head start that he gave the tortoise.

Simultaneously, the tortoise has traveled 10 meters (33 ft). So Achilles still hasn’t caught the tortoise. But again, Achilles will quickly close in, crossing the additional 10 meters (33 ft). During this time, however, the tortoise has traveled another 1 meter (3 ft).

By this logic, Achilles can never truly catch the tortoise, can he?[5] How can this be possible? Every time he gets closer, the tortoise goes further. Does this mean that motion itself is impossible even though we experience it daily?

That’s what Zeno declared. We’ll let you decide.

5 The Paradox Of Inquiry

The Paradox of Inquiry (aka Meno’s paradox) was featured in Plato’s dialogues. Meno gets into a discussion about virtue with Socrates that leads to a peculiar question about how we learn. If we don’t know what we don’t know, how do we know what to look for?

In other words, if we want to find out something that we don’t know, how do we know what to ask? Even if we happen to encounter what we don’t know by chance, we wouldn’t know it and wouldn’t know to inquire. This would mean that we never actually learn anything by asking questions—which is obviously absurd. Questioning is the fundamental premise of science and the first step in the scientific method.

As Meno said, “And how will you inquire into a thing when you are wholly ignorant of what it is? Even if you happen to bump right into it, how will you know it is the thing you didn’t know?” Socrates rephrased the paradox this way: “A man cannot search either for what he knows or for what he does not know. He cannot search for what he knows—since he knows it, there is no need to search—nor for what he does not know, for he does not know what to look for.”[6]

If we know the answer to the question we ask, how do we learn anything from asking?

4 The Double Liar Paradox

Let’s move up to more modern times and toy with a fun extension of The Liar Paradox called The Double Liar Paradox. First dreamed up by mathematician P.E.B. Jourdain, this brainteaser goes as follows: Take a flash card or a piece of paper. On one side, write: “The sentence on the other side of this card is true.” Now flip it over and write on the other side: “The sentence on the other side of this card is false.”[7]

If the second sentence is true, then the first sentence is false. (Flip the card.) Here, you end up moving into an indefinite changing of sides—side A to side B on the card. But if the sentence you first wrote is false, as the second sentence claims, then the second sentence would also be false. Thus, both sentences are right and wrong at the same time. Have fun with that one.

3 The Monty Hall Problem

Photo credit: pathofthebeagle.com

This one can be seen on game shows everywhere. Let’s say there are three doors. Behind each of two doors is a brick, but one door masks $1 million. You get to pick a door and see if you win the million.

Let’s suppose you choose Door A and hope for the million. Then the game show host opens another door at random to see if you won or lost. The host chooses Door B, and it reveals a brick. With Door B out of the way, the one-third odds just got a lot better.

You’re left to choose between Door A and Door C. You can even switch to Door C now if you want. Since you don’t know what is actually behind your door, you’re still picking between two doors. So your odds are 50/50, right? Door A, Door C . . . it’s one out of two . . . can’t get any simpler than this. Wrong.

At this point, it sounds counterintuitive to say that you have a two-thirds chance of getting the $1 million if you switch doors and a one-third chance if you stay put. But it’s true. Can you figure out why?[8]

2 The Barber Paradox

Another more modern brainteaser popularized by philosopher Bertrand Russell is Russell’s Paradox, a variation of which is called The Barber Paradox. The puzzle is simple: A barber says he’ll shave any man who does not shave himself and all men who do not shave themselves if they come to be shaved. The question is: Does the barber shave himself?

If he does, then he no longer shaves all men who do not shave themselves because he shaves himself. If he does not shave himself, then he does not shave all men who do not shave themselves.[9]

While intricate, this paradox has to do with the categories and lists we make and the relationship of the list itself to the items on the list. Did you write down your grocery list as an item on your grocery list?

1 Schrodinger’s Cat

Does the Moon actually exist when you’re not looking at it? How do you really know?

Moving on to the best brainteaser, which is arguably not a paradox, let’s talk about Schrodinger’s cat. It begins with the idea that we take a cat and place it in a soundproof box. Now, without lifting the lid to observe the cat, how do we know whether the cat is alive or dead?

Physicist Erwin Schrodinger came up with this thought experiment in 1935. The dominant idea of the day was the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics: Until we observe a particle or thing, it exists in all states possible. Our observation is what determines its state.

In a more sophisticated version of the experiment, you place a cat into a box with a jar of poison, a hammer, and a Geiger counter along with just enough radiation that there’s a 50/50 chance of the Geiger counter being set off within the hour.

Science can tell us a lot about each particle of the cat and the odds that the particle may have decayed radioactively (and contributed to the triggering of the Geiger counter). But science cannot tell us anything about the state of the cat until it’s actually observed.[10]

So if the hour goes by without observing the cat, the animal is theoretically both alive and dead—which we all know is absurd and impossible. This was a major blow to the dominant theories of the time. Even the most hard-core physicists began to rethink their ideas about quantum mechanics.

In a nutshell, every time you look at something (a chair, for instance), you get a definite answer as to its state. (It is there.) When you turn your head, you can only get probable chances of whether it is still there or not. Yes, it’s safe to say that the chair didn’t get up and walk away. But without observation, you’ll never really know. So, at what point can the things we observe be certain to exist (or exist in the state we observe them)?

Here’s a simpler version of the same paradox: “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to see it, did it really fall?” Niels Bohr, another physicist from that time, would say that the tree did not fall. In fact, it never existed in the first place—until we looked at it. Our most proven science says this. Freaky, huh?


FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Unusual Facts About Taste

FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Unusual Facts About Taste

The seemingly simple sense of taste is anything but clear-cut. Science cannot explain all its complexities, and the underlying biology is so powerful that marketers successfully manipulate customers with suggestion.

There are taste buds in strange places and people who taste the unbelievable. The tongue is also amazingly uncharted—sensing the tasteless, switching sensations, and even producing virtual flavors.

 

10 Expensive Wine Tastes Better

Certain information can skew a person’s ability to taste what is really being served. In the case of a marketing test for wine, tongues and brains were fooled for the better.

In 2015, volunteers were told that they were about to sample five bottles. Prices ranged from £3–£55 per bottle. In reality, they sipped three brands with two different price tags.

Blissfully unaware that they were being served cheap slosh, the volunteers reported—and reacted physically—as if the wine was tasty and refined. The belief that the glass contained a quality drink was enough to change their neurological chemistry. Incredibly, the brain molded the person’s taste according to his or her expectancy of the product’s worth.[1]

Price was not the only thing capable of this mental tweak. Researchers also discovered that consumers shelled out more for a heavy bottle and that alcoholic beverages taste better in a heavier glass—all because the brain associates weight with quality.

9 The Bloody Mary Mystery

In 2013, the German airline Lufthansa noticed something on their planes that was not really seen back on land. Once in the air, passengers craved tomato juice. Around 1.8 million liters (476,000 gal) were being served annually, making a Bloody Mary as popular as a beer.

The unusual phenomenon even encouraged those who would not otherwise drink tomato juice. Once again, volunteers were gathered, this time in a grounded Airbus A310. Drinks were served, but the passengers found the concoction “musty.” However, during simulated flight conditions, the Bloody Mary’s popularity took off. Happy passengers now described it as “pleasantly fruity.”

The curious culprit is umami, our fifth taste sensation. The other four (sweet, salty, sour, and bitter) are fearful fliers. Airplane noise, low humidity, and cabin pressure dampens them but not umami, which picks up on savory flavors.[2]

Flying conditions could partly be responsible for notoriously bland airline food, but they also explain why a Bloody Mary is a high-altitude favorite. Tomato juice is very savory, which is appreciated by the passengers’ only surviving taste buds.

 

8 Taste Can Improve Depression Treatment

The ability to taste is intricately woven into emotions. On the darker spectrum, anxiety and depression numb flavors. There is evidence that the blues hamper recognition of how fatty a snack or even milk is. Bad news for those who turn to comfort eating after a stressful day.

But taste itself may help people suffering from depression and anxiety to receive more effective treatment. When healthy volunteers were given antidepressants, which contain certain neurotransmitters, their ability to detect bitterness, sucrose, and sourness increased.

This pointed to a chemical imbalance in individuals who taste less because of their heavy emotions. This group will benefit from medication but not sufferers who still enjoy a flavor-packed lunch. Since their anxiety or depression does not stem from imbalance, talking therapy may be more successful than pills.[3]

Therefore, a simple taste test could either prevent people from lacking medication they need or taking an unnecessary prescription drug. Incredibly, researchers discovered that the antidepressants worked on chemical transmitters within taste buds long before reaching the brain.

7 Battle Of The Sixth Flavor

Convention once stated that the human palate could only detect four flavors. The arrival of umami proved the rule wrong. Some scientists believe that there may even be a sixth flavor. In fact, there are seven sensations vying for recognition.

Mice have two receptors to taste calcium. One exists on the human tongue, but its link to the chalky flavor remains unproven. Japanese researchers believe that the calcium receptor is responsible for another unrelated flavor called kokumi (“heartiness”). They claim that compounds in yeast and milt enhance food’s existing flavors. Western scientists have yet to experience it despite eating kokumi-rich food provided by their Japanese counterparts.

Then there are piquance (burning) and coolness, which convince the brain of false temperatures. Some feel that these are physical feelings rather than tastes. Two more controversial suggestions hold that fat is a flavor and metals or “metallicity” is another.[4]

The most unusual but perhaps the strongest candidate for a new taste sensation is carbon dioxide. The gas adds the fizz to carbonated drinks. In mice, taste cells with the enzyme carbonic anhydrase 4 detect CO2. Mountain climbers take acetazolamide, an altitude sickness drug which inhibits the enzyme. This could be why climbers report flat fizzy drinks—proof of a drug-disabled ability to taste carbon dioxide.

6 The Unusual Tasters

Photo credit: BBC

Nobody shares an identical palate with another person. However, most of the population falls into a group that experiences the same basic tastes with approximately the same intensity.

For a small percentage, things get strange. There are “thermal tasters” who register cold items as sour and hot items as sweet. Certain individuals are genetically sensitive to coriander. For them, it is like eating soap.

At the extreme opposites are tongues that taste little or remarkably well. Nontasters have few taste buds and find food dull. But supertasters have twice as many taste buds as most of the population. Bitterness is the ultimate bane of supertasters, who also enjoy sweeter sugar and saltier sodium.[5]

About 25 percent of people are supertasters, but most agree that it can be troublesome. Their pronounced ability to detect minute flavors makes them less likely to enjoy alcohol, rich desserts, and healthy green vegetables. In particular, broccoli is unbearably bitter to supers.

Oddly, even though salt tastes strong, most supertasters cannot get enough of it. Researchers believe that it might be because salt mutes bitterness.

 

5 The Taste Of Water

Almost everybody feels that water has no flavor. If it does, it is usually due to the chemicals in tap water or a container’s aftertaste. Scientists are not ready to agree. If water is truly void of culinary character, then animals’ drinking behavior does not tally.

As water is critical for survival, it makes sense that organisms need to identify it by smell and taste. Indeed, water-detecting cells already exist in amphibians and insects. There are signs that such cells could also be in mammals.

When an animal feels thirst, the sensation is triggered by the brain’s hypothalamus. The same region also tells it when to stop drinking. But most animals stop long before the gut signals the brain that it feels full.[6]

The only explanation is that the mouth and tongue sends messages to the brain. To do this, taste buds must somehow be able to taste water. The human cortex also appears to react specifically to water. Despite the clues, researchers still know very little about how water signals from the mouth and throat reach the brain.

4 Intestines Have Taste Buds

It may sound unbelievable, but the human intestines have taste receptors. Gut buds are not as alien as they sound. The mouth is the start of a long tube known as the gastrointestinal tract, including the intestines.

However, taste buds lining the tract function differently than those on the tongue. The latter is all about telling the brain, through taste, what is being placed in the mouth. If palatable, the person swallows. The food reaches the gut buds, which can recognize different tastes.

One won’t taste a meal in the intestinal tract, but its receptors’ reactions can be felt as hunger and fullness. Once the brain “tastes” something in the gut, it triggers the release of energy-processing hormones in the tract. This keeps blood sugar levels steady.

In this sense, taste buds in the gut have an important health role to play. If faulty, they can cause weight gain or, worse yet, mess with glucose absorption and potentially worsen type 2 diabetes. In the future, a better understanding of gut receptors may be the secret to controlling blood glucose and obesity.[7]

3 The Flavor-Bending Berry

Photo credit: discovermagazine.com

A small red berry from West Africa makes vinegar taste like liquid sugar. In an ironic twist, the so-called “miracle berry” has a bland taste. But once the berry is eaten, one never needs to fear another lemon.

Miracle berries turn any acidic food into an intensely sweet experience. The berries contain miraculin, a protein that coats the tongue’s sweet receptors. When the mouth is neutral (neither alkaline nor acidic), miraculin blocks other sweeteners from fastening to the receptors. It even goes as far as deadening the tongue’s ability to taste, which is why the berry’s own flavor disappoints.

The fun begins when something sour is added. The protein steals a few protons, changes shape, and distorts the sweet receptors. They turn supersensitive with crazy results.[8]

This phenomenon is not unique to miracle berries. The Malaysian lumbah plant pulls the same trick with a protein called neoculin. What is interesting is that neoculin and miraculin are unrelated and differ completely at the molecular level. Also, each attaches to different parts of receptors and yet both do the exact unusual thing.

2 Virtual Flavors

Photo credit: ibtimes.co.uk

Recently, scientists worked with the elderly and patients who had received chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Both cancer treatments and aging can cause a severe loss of tasting ability.

The researchers’ approach was cutting-edge and creative. They used cutlery that virtually enhances the flavor of a meal. Like your lemonade really sour? They invented a cup that can dial the intensity up or down. Another device, a smart spoon, can create or supplement the tastes of a meal. Similar to the cup, a button on the spoon’s handle can lessen or intensify the sourness, bitterness, and saltiness of every bite.

Using tiny silver electrodes, flavors are delivered by zapping taste buds with electrical pulses during eating or drinking. Apart from enhancing lunch or restoring taste, the technology also shows promise in another field. Developers believe that people might relax someday in a virtual reality environment where they can sit down and taste those digital nachos.[9]

1 People Who Taste Words

It may sound like fiction, but there are people who can taste words. They even have a name—synesthetes. Individuals with synesthesia experience the overlapping of senses, such as vision and hearing or touch and taste.

The rarest of this unusual group are the language tasters. When tested, they even experienced flavors for the unknown names of objects. Cold-called years later, test subjects recalled the flavor of every item. This 100 percent accuracy is something that sets synesthetes apart. Non-synesthetes who are given a list of word-taste associations will forget most within a fortnight.

While elusive words produced strange flavors, food names tasted of the actual items. The word “mint” will taste like a mint. Many synesthetes also describe the same word in a similar way. This led researchers to discover that certain sounds within a word, rather than the word itself, triggered taste.[10]

The reason why two or more senses blend remains unsolved. One theory states that everyone is born a synesthete, with every sensory region in the brain connected. Eventually, they separate with age. It is suggested that the process does not complete in synesthetes and leaves active links between the senses.


WANT TO TAKE UP SEXERCISE? HERE'S HOW MANY CALORIES EACH SEX POSITION BURNS

WANT TO TAKE UP SEXERCISE? HERE'S HOW MANY CALORIES EACH SEX POSITION BURNS

1

If you despise jogging, along with every other form of working out, don’t sweat it. We’ve always known sex was a great way to burn off calories, but science has finally told us how many. However, these are just averages. If your sex is best described as a ‘Fast and Furious’ film you probably burn more than average.

2

Giving oral sex for 30 minutes burns approximately 60 calories. Good news: you also burn 60 calories just by receiving oral! Bad news: 60 calories isn’t even half a Snickers bar.

3

Simply making out for 30 minutes burns 230 calories! That’s easy to believe considering how many people get way too into it. In public.

4

Doggystyle allows you to burn 110 calories per half hour if you’re the one on top thrusting, and slightly fewer if you’re not. Hey, that’s still pretty good for us girls!

5

Classic missionary only burns 60 calories per half hour depending on how umm, intense you are. That number is easily doubled when you’re more vigorous. You know, like at the end.

6

Cowgirl and reverse cowgirl let the ladies burn up to 110 calories every 35 minutes. Yee-haw!

7

A 30 minute hand job burns 50 calories. However, unless you’re still in high school, hopefully your life isn’t full of 30 minute long hand jobs when there’s so much more you could be doing.

8


Just like with interval training, changing positions is also the way to go. Not just for better exercise, but for more interesting sex. So, go forth, and show this article to your girlfriend while trying to convince her to have sex tonight.


FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Random Fun Facts To Kill Your Boredom

 

FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Random Fun Facts To Kill Your Boredom

The world we live in is full of wonders. Whatever random thing we lay our eyes on has some interesting story behind it. From the simple white clouds up above that we ignore every day to the most exotic-looking jellyfish from the northern oceans, there is always something wondrous to learn about. All we have to do is open our minds and stay curious. Here are some random, fun facts that we are sure you would enjoy reading about.

1. The average cumulus cloud weighs around 1.1 million pounds.

Image Source: wikimedia

Cumulus clouds are the fluffy, cotton-like clouds with flat bases generally appearing at low altitudes of less than 2,000 meters (6,600 feet). They can be composed of ice crystals, water droplets, supercooled water droplets, or a mixture of all of them. The weight of a cloud is measured by first calculating their density. Clouds that aren’t yet precipitating into raindrops contain droplets of around five micrometers present in concentrations of 23 to 1,300 droplets per cubic centimeter (380 to 21,300 droplets per cubic inch). On a typical, nice day, a cubic meter of the cloud weights half a gram.

The next measurement is the size of the cloud. One way of doing that is measuring its shadow when the sun is directly above it. A typical cumulus cloud would be roughly cubical, one kilometer across, one kilometer long, and one kilometer tall making its volume one billion cubic meters. That would mean it contains 500 million grams of water or 1.1 million pounds.(12)

2. On an average, there’s one supernova explosion every 50 years in the Milky Way alone. Within the observable universe, it’s close to 30 every single second. 

Image Source: ESO

Led by Roland Diehl of Max Plank Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Germany, an international team was able to calculate the average number of Milky Way stars exploding using the European Space Agency’s Integral Satellite. They did this by conducting a long-duration survey of gamma rays produced by the aluminum-26 isotope as it decays. Aluminum-26 is a rare isotope created by supernovas with a half-life of 740,000 years. Each massive-star explosion creates a quantity of the isotope equal to 0.0001 times the mass of our sun. Our galaxy currently has about 2.8 solar masses of the isotope meaning that there have been over 20,000 supernovae during the past million years.

In the observable universe, there are over a 100 billion galaxies, and on an average, each galaxy has at least one supernova in a century. According to Dr. Richard Mushotzky of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, there have been one billion supernovae per year in the last 10 billion years. The universe us 13.7 billion years old not taking into account the first 3.7 billion years during which the stars were still forming. That means there are 30 supernovae per second in the observable universe.(12)

3. Redheads experience more pain and require 20% more anesthesia during a surgery. 

Image Source: Eddy Van

Until a few years ago, there was only an impression among anesthesiologists that redheads require more anesthesia than others. In 2002, researchers at University of Louisville, Kentucky performed a study in which 20 women in which half of whom were redheads and the other half dark-haired. They were put under desflurane, a common gaseous anesthesia, and given an electric shock. The result was it was found that the redheads did need significantly more anesthesia than the others. Natural redheads have a distinct mutation of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene which was present in nine out of 10 of the redheaded test subjects. The researchers now associate the presence of this mutated gene with increased anesthesia requirement.(12)

4. Next to the US Army, Disney is the largest buyer and importer of explosives in the USA. 

Image Source: wikimedia

One of the chief attractions at Disneyland is the elaborate fireworks almost every night. Since 1958, it conducted regularly themed fireworks shows such as Fantasy in the SkyBelieve… There’s Magic in the StarsHalloween Screams, and many Disney fairytale-themed or movie-themed ones such as Star Wars. Not counting in the special shows during holiday seasons, Disneyland spends anywhere between $14,000 and $55,000 per night on just the fireworks which totals at least $18.25 million every year. Adding in IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth and Fantasmic, the total rises to $54.75 million a year. In 2004, Disneyland introduced a new air launch pyrotechnics system to cut down on the smoke, noise at ground level, and the negative impact on environment.(123)

5. The stuffing between the wafers in Kit Kats is made from crushed-up, imperfect Kit Kats.

Image Source: wikipediaEvan-Amos

Kit Kat is produced in over 200 flavors worldwide, many of them including ginger ale, soy sauce, sake, and melon flavored ones produced in Japan. Unlike the hard chocolate in which the Kit Kats are coated on the outside, the stuffing between the wafers has a soft and crumbly texture. This is because the quality assurance technicians reject all the imperfect wafers which have too many bubbles, those that aren’t of right shape, or even those that aren’t shiny enough. Instead of throwing these all away, these wafers are recycled back into the production process. The fine paste made from them become the filling between the wafers that do pass the quality tests.(source)

6. The first electric car was invented during the late 19th century, and it went 65 mph. 

Image Source: German Federal Archive

With the invention of practically viable, rechargeable, lead-acid batteries by French physicist Gaston Plante in 1859, the building of electric cars became a reality. At the 1867 World Exposition in Paris, an Austrian inventor, Franz Kravogl, exhibited an early, electric-powered two-wheeler, though it could not be driven reliably. Another French scientist, Camille Alphonse Faure, made significant improvements to the design of batteries by 1881.

In 1884, English inventor Thomas Parker who was well-known for electrifying London Underground built the first electric car using special, high-capacity, rechargeable batteries of his own design. France, United Kingdom, and Germany were the first nations to design more electric-powered vehicles. Electric trains also became popular at coal mines as they would not further deplete the already spare oxygen. On April 29, 1899, race car driver Camille Jenatzy broke the previous record speed of 62 mph (100 kmph) by reaching 65.79 mph (105.88 kmph) on the Belgian, rocket-shaped La Jamais Contente.(source)

7. It takes two years to grow a pineapple. 

Image Source: David Monniaux

Pineapple plants are propagated from the plantlets called suckers that grow between leaves, or from slips or plantlets that grow at the base of the fruit, or from the top part of a mature fruit. Each method takes slightly different amounts of time and yields different results. Commercial growers often use the suckers that grow after the first fruit is produced. It takes about 12 to 20 months for the plant to start flowering and another six months more for the fruit to mature. Tops take around 24 months to produce fruit and are often used by domestic gardeners who cut them from store-bought fruit.(12)

8. Plants can “hear” flowing water. Their roots seek buried pipes and even grow towards artificially produced water sounds. 

Image Source: CathG

One of the discoveries during the 20th century was that plants have life too and react to external stimuli such as light, heat, temperature, and touch. Researchers have recently discovered that plants also react to another stimulus: sound. Experiments conducted at the lab of Italian plant physiologist professor Stefano Mancuso who is also the co-founder of Society for Plant Signaling and Behavior found that plant roots sought buried pipes through which water was flowing even though the exterior of the pipes was dry. This suggested that plants could somehow “hear” the water flowing.

The theory was further tested by playing the sound of running water and the result was the roots grew towards the source of the sound. The reaction was not limited to the sounds of water. When chemical ecologist at University of Missouri Heidi Appel played a recording of caterpillar eating a leaf to a plant, it started producing defensive chemicals proving that plants can indeed hear sounds.(12)

9. When humans first started farming, blue eye color hadn’t yet evolved. 

Image Source: Kristine Canterbury

Agriculture developed independently in at least 11 different regions of the world. Collecting and consuming wild grains began 105,000 years ago. Between 8,200 and 13,500 years ago, China started domesticating rice, soy, mung and azuki beans. Around 11,500 years ago, the cultivation of eight crops known as the Neolithic founder crops which consist of emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, barley, peas, chick peas, lentils, bitter vetch, and flax seeds started. On the other hand, though the DNA for light skin, hair, and eyes was found in human remains dating back to tens of thousands of years ago, the earliest remains of blue-eyed Homo Sapiens only date back to 7,700 years ago.(12)

10. There is a species of jellyfish known as lion’s mane jellyfish which can reach over 30 meters in length. The longest specimen to date was 37 meters, longer than a blue whale.

Image Source: Derek KeatsTim Evanson

The lion’s mane jellyfish is found mostly in the cold waters of the northern Atlantic and northern Pacific Oceans in the English Channel, Irish Sea, North Sea, and western Scandinavian waters. They are the largest known species of jellyfish. Their hood or bell grows anywhere between 50 centimeters (20 inches) to over two meters (6 feet 7 inches) in diameter. The bell has eight lobes and each lobe has between 70 to 150 tentacles. In the center near its mouth are over 1,200 tentacles equipped with stinging cells. The tentacles of larger specimens trail out as long as 30 meters (100 feet) or more. The longest known specimen had tentacles that were 37 meters (120 feet) long with a bell diameter of 2.3 meters (7 feet 6 inches) and was found washed up on the shore of Massachusetts Bay in 1870.(source)


20 WTF FACTS IN YOUR FACE THAT WILL FRY YOUR BRAIN

20 WTF FACTS IN YOUR FACE THAT WILL FRY YOUR BRAIN

 


You'd Better Think Twice Before Using This Hand Dryer

You'd Better Think Twice Before Using This Hand Dryer

If you've spent any time in public restrooms over the last few decades, you're probably accustomed to using one of these to "dry" your hands:

Unfortunately, they don't actually dispense bacon, but instead a gentle puff of lukewarm air that seems to take approximately 1.5 hours to work. Someone physically blowing on your hands would be more effective.

So, needless to say, hand washers everywhere were pretty psyched when these guys started popping up in public restrooms around the world:

If you've ever used one of these fancy high-speed hand dryers, like the Dyson Airblade, you know how satisfying it feels to have the water evaporate from your hands in seconds, like magic.

But it turns out, like so many seemingly perfect things in this tricky minefield we call life, these high-speed hand dryers are too good to be true.

U.K. study found that using a "jet-air dryer" can spread 60 times more bacteria than an old-fashioned slow-speed hand dryer, and 1,300 times more bacteria than paper towels. Despite what the above gif would have to believe, this is not "hygienic" in any way, shape or form.

Basically, when you stick your hands in one of these "magical" machines, you are showering your hands with hot germs. An experience equivalent to spending 5 minutes in the NYC subway, or 5 seconds in your exes apartment.

Looks like it's back to the ol' reliable method: wiping my hands on my jeans.

 


FASCINATING FACTS: 22 BIZARRE AND WEIRD FACTOIDS

FASCINATING FACTS: 22 BIZARRE AND WEIRD FACTOIDS


Explaining The Delta Rocket Fireball

 

Explaining The Delta Rocket Fireball

Every time a Delta IV launches people inevitably ask if the rocket consuming fireball is supposed to happen. The answer is yes, this is caused by the rocket purging its engines with hydrogen before letting the hydrogen/oxygen mixture into the combustion chamber. But there's more to it that that of course.

 

 


Problems With Mind Uploading

Problems With Mind Uploading

 

I don't know why, but I have the strangest urge to eat peanut butter and buy squirrels. I am alarmed by this, but for some reason I think that it could only lead to great things.

 


What Would Happen If You Detonated A Nuclear Bomb In The Marianas Trench

What Would Happen If You Detonated A Nuclear Bomb In The Marianas Trench

 I wonder how much of this is based on actual science?

 


Water Reserves Found On Mars

Water Reserves Found On Mars

A BIG HAT TIP GOES OUT TO DRAWMAN FOR THIS SUBMISSION

 

 

 

 

 

 

At sites across the midsection of Mars, scientists have found layers of water ice buried mere feet beneath the red planet’s surface. The discovery adds crucial detail to Mars’s geologic history, and it may shape how future humans on Mars get their water.

"This is a new window into ground ice on Mars," says Colin Dundas, the U.S. Geological Survey geologist who co-discovered the ice layers.

Scientists have long theorized that reserves of water ice are locked underground on Mars. In 2002, the NASA Odyssey mission scanned the planet from orbit and detected signs of shallow ground ice at high latitudes. In 2008, the NASA Phoenix mission dug up water ice at its landing site near the Martian north pole.

 

And in late 2016, scientists using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)found a buried ice sheet at Mars’s mid-latitudes that holds about as much water as Lake Superior. But until Dundas’s study, published today inScience, scientists struggled to understand the extent and accessibility of Mars’s subsurface ice layers.

The eight sites featured in the new study include steep banks where, much like cutting into a cake, erosion has exposed layers of rock and ice that MRO could see from overhead. The bands of ice first appear between three and six feet underground, supporting the notion that Mars’s mid-latitudes periodically saw large snowfalls millions of years ago, when Mars was tilted on its axis at a steeper angle than it is today, says Dundas.


Why Does Vladimir Putin Walk So Weird?

Why Does Vladimir Putin Walk So Weird?

While there is no single correct way to walk, most of us have a gait where we swing each arm forward when its opposing leg moves forward; likewise, as with the length of the stride, which is generally the same for both legs, the distance of the arm swing is usually about the same for both the left and right arms. While exactly why humans do this hasn’t yet been definitively proven (with the most popular theory being that, while not essential, it’s mostly about improving balance and decreasing angular momentum of the body), the fact remains that this is how the vast majority of humans all over the world walk… But not so with Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation.

 

 


Lock Picker Uses Gallium To Literally Crack An Aluminum Padlock

Lock Picker Uses Gallium To Literally Crack An Aluminum Padlock

When it interacts with aluminum, gallium turns the aluminum into a brittle substance. Which means if you want to crack an aluminum lock, just pour some gallium on it.


20 Common Myths That Aren’t True – List Of Common False Beliefs

20 Common Myths That Aren’t True – List Of Common False Beliefs

Long ago it was believed that the world was a huge egg that was balanced on a turtle's neck. Now, you may say how ridiculous that is. But back then it was a ‘fact’ for the general public till Aristotle made a breakthrough in science by terming all of that as false. It was hard to believe for the people that the planet they lived on was actually a small part of a planet system that constituted a galaxy and that a number of galaxies formed a universe so vast that it is beyond the imagination of ordinary people.

What are your beliefs? Yes, I am referring to the religious ones. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism or any other? Do you think yours is the best of them all? Don’t take it in a wrong sense. We are not here to discuss which belief is better and which is not. My point is simple: the majority of us tend to stick to the beliefs that the household we are born has been practicing, without thinking. Just like that there are some ‘worldly facts’ that are believed to be true. Have you ever pondered over the fact- yes this is a fact- that many of us end up believing things to be logical when they are a complete nonsense?

Lack of research can make you believe anything. What you think is right, based on the level of your IQ and general knowledge, becomes a plain ‘fact’ to you, when it may not be like that at all. It may just be an illogical myth that you have been believing blindly all these years because either it has been ingrained in your mind for the society you are a part of has been believing it for centuries now or you have not been thinking sensibly as there has to be a logical reasoning behind every fact.

Let us take you through a few ‘Common Myths That Aren’t True.

1) Coffee dehydrates you:

Have you been avoiding this rich and creamy caffeinated drink because you have been told it dehydrates your skin and blood vessels alike? Well, you don’t need to do that anymore because the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has proved this to be wrong. Actually, they have concluded otherwise- caffeinated drinks contribute towards hydration! The intake of coffee, tea, and other soft drinks may have a slight diuretic effect, but they definitely don’t dehydrate you.

2) Cell phones cause cancer:

All these years you have been consistently warned not to use cell phones for a long duration, not to sleep with the device next to you or keep it in your breast-pocket, near your heart because they cause cancer? Physicians now have claimed this to be false. Cell phones do emit electromagnetic radiation, but that does not harm enough to cause cancer.

3) The moon has a dark side:

Since the days of our childhood, we have been told by our science teachers that the moon has a side which brightens up with the help of sunlight whilst the other is always under darkness. Well, now is the time we need to get teachers who have their facts regarding science right. The moon shares sunlight equally all around its body, it’s just that we can spot only one side of the moon from earth as the moon also rotates on its axis at almost the same pace as earth does.

4) Vitamin C cures cold:

Caught a cold and trying your grandmother’s home remedy of using Vitamin C to cure it but to no avail? Your grandma has kept you in the dark all years. Experts say that Vitamin C cannot even help preventing it and curing it all together is out of the question. Better try the bitter medicine a doctor has to offer!

5) Sushi means ‘Raw fish’:

This scrumptious Japanese dish offered at the best hotels all over the world is so popular amongst everyone. But a lot of people take its meaning to be ‘raw fish’ which is a misconception. It basically means vinegared rice. It may be served with raw or cooked fish that is up to you. Raw fish is basically called ‘sashimi’ in Japanese.

6) Fortune cookies are a Chinese tradition:

The fortune cookies are mostly served in Chinese restaurants in America and, therefore, believed to be a Chinese tradition. They are sweet cookies with a small slip of paper inside that carries a ‘fortune’ like numbers that are considered lucky or a prophecy in the Chinese language. However, they did not originate from China. What’s more you can’t even find them in China at all.

7) Shaving hair makes it grow quicker and thicker:

The practice of shaving hair has been carried out for centuries now and it is quite common. Also common is the fact that the more you shave it, the thicker it grows back and quickly too, which is why people are very conscious of shaving them on time. Very few observe that the hair does not grow back quickly and it becomes thinner in volume with time too.

8) Frankenstein was the name of the monster is ‘Frankenstein’:

Anyone who is an avid reader and has once read the book “Frankenstein” in their childhood will know that, as it is commonly believed, it is not the name of the monster. A lot of movies have depicted Frankenstein as the monster which has led to this belief. It is but the name of the scientist who created the monster.

9) Not wearing a jacket when it is cold outside will make you sick:

Going out in the freezing weather with friends can usually start with those annoying advice by parents to put on a jacket so that you don’t catch a cold. However, that is untrue. Cold and flu are diseases that you can catch through viruses and staying warm is not going to prevent it. Increase the knowledge of your parents and surprise them!

10) Cold weather still makes you sick:

Another misconception is that cold weather can cause sickness when scientifically it has been proved that it has nothing to do with it. According to physicians, the cold weather just causes your nasal passages to dry because of which you can easily acquire viruses. Staying inside, close to other people can actually be the reason you get a viral disease rather than going out.

11) Wet hair definitely makes you more likely to be sick:

During cold weather, a lot of people avoid taking a bath or washing their hair because they may catch a cold and ultimately flu. Yet again this is a wrong concept that many have believed in. The weather and temperature have absolutely no effect on your health as far as your body temperature remains optimum. So there is no excuse to roam around dirty anymore. Enjoy your hot water baths as frequently as you like!

12) Most body heat is lost through head:

A lot of emphases has been put on covering heads rather than any other body part, during harsh weather so as to retain body heat. It is believed that the most of the body heat is expelled through the head when it is totally wrong. This only implies on newborn babies. Otherwise, for an adult, body heat is expelled from the body equally from all parts.

13) Undercover police in the United States has to identify them as such:

Undercover police are basically dressed as ordinary people so as to attract less interaction by those involved in some illegal activity. It is easier for them to spy, observe and catch criminals red-handed. But unlike shown in many movies, they are not supposed to prove their true identity on demand. They can produce it if they wish or while practicing their powers.

14) Sugar causes hyperactivity in children:

A lot of students and parents alike believe that the intake of sugar, especially chocolates, soft and energy drinks, cause a boost to their activity. For students and workaholics, it may be a plus point but for children aged 3-10, this may be problematic for the parents. However, scientific studies have shown that sugar is not responsible for hyperactivity.

15) Alcohol keeps you warm:

All of us cherish the days when we were small and allowed to have a few spoons of alcohol during winters in order to stay warm, without having to worry about it meddling with our mind. Adults who drink on the pretext of warming your insides, there is a bad news for you. Alcohol does not warm you. Instead it is actually harmful, causing the blood vessels near your skin to dilate that produce the illusion of warmth.

16) The iron maiden was a medieval torture device:

History is full of unproven facts. One of them is that the iron maiden, a casket of iron with spikes in the interior, was initially sculptured in the medieval ages to torture those involved in any wrongdoings. Contradicting history, the fact is that the iron maiden was invented to create an idea of sensationalism amongst human beings in the circuses.

17) Dogs sweat through salivating:

Dog- lovers out there are in for a surprising fact. If all this while you have been thinking that your dog’s saliva is basically its sweat too, you have been wronged in thinking so. They do keep their temperature optimum through the act of painting but actually they perspire through their paws. Looks like there is so much more that you have to learn about your favorite pet.

18) Each side of your brain does something:

If you have been taught in the school as a child or read it somewhere, that the brain has different parts to process different functions and emotions, trust me, you have been lied to. The brain has no specific part for certain actions. It definitely is responsible for everything you do or feel, but thinking that a certain part of it is playing its role in making you so, is a misconception.

19) Glass is a liquid:

Science has been lying to you all along. The glass is not a liquid formed naturally that has transformed into a solid over the years of pressure and what not. It is an amorphous solid produced by mixing a lot of common materials like silica, limestone, soda ash etcetera and melting them at high temperatures. After the mixture cools down, you have what you call glass. Using different materials can produce different forms of glass. And yes, they can be recycled too!

20) MSG causes a headache:

MSG is an abbreviation for Monosodium glutamate that is basically artificial flavor added to canned or preserved food. It has often been termed detrimental for health, causing migraines. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified it as a safe, edible product for the time being. More researches are being carried out to reach a proper conclusion over this. Till that time, it remains a myth.


FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Real Facts That Sound Like Bullshit But Are Actually True

FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Real Facts That Sound Like Bullshit But Are Actually True

Real life is often far stranger than fiction. While fiction is limited by our ability to imagine, reality has infinite possibilities and hence can produce infinitely unexpected situations. We have learned to control so many aspects of our life that when we see accidents, coincidences, or anything unexpected, we find ourselves in denial because they were not what we have imagined. Here are some such facts that sound like bullshit but are actually true.

1. The killer whale is a natural predator of the moose.

Image Source: Ryan HagertyMinette Layne

The natural habitats of moose are the forests of the Northern Hemisphere with temperate and subarctic climates. At present, they are mostly found in Canada, Alaska, New England, Russia, Fennoscandia, and the Baltic states. They are the largest species in the deer family, but unlike deer, they also feed on aquatic vegetation such as lilies and pondweed. They are unique in their ability to dive underwater and often reach lake bottoms to feed on plants. Moose have special fatty pads in their nose that help close the nostrils preventing water from entering.

Being a large animal, a fully grown moose has few enemies except Siberian tigers. Packs of grey wolves and brown bears are known to prey on vulnerable moose, especially females with calves. As moose often dive for food, they are also preyed on by killer whales when swimming between islands near North America’s northwest coast. There are also instances of moose being attacked by Greenland sharks.(source)

2. Tumors can have hair, teeth, bone, and even complex organs such as eyes and brain matter. In rare cases, they can also contain structures resembling a fetus. 

Image Source: wikipediaNisreen M Khalifa et al

Named after the Greek words for “monster” and “tumor”, teratomas are tumors that result from abnormal development of germ cells and embryonic stem cells. Both these types of cells are pluripotent, that is, they are a type of stem cell that can develop into several types of tissues including those of intestines, lungs, nervous system, bones, teeth, and the tissues of various organs. Tumors of these cells often result in the development of abnormal structures having even skin and cysts which may have abundant hair. Rarely, they could also develop into a malformed fetus which may even have a few complete body parts.

Teratomas develop in people of all ages and typically form in the ovaries, testis, or tailbone. They usually are harmless, unless they grow quite large, divert blood flow from vital organs, or result in autoimmune illnesses. Over a quarter of ovarian tumors and almost half of testicular cancers are teratomas.(source)

3. It takes a week to 10 days to make a jellybean.

Image Source: Brandon Dilbeck

During the first phase, the syrup is made by boiling sugar and other ingredients to the right consistency. Flavor and color are then added to the syrup which is then piped to the starch casting area. The casts are made using cornstarch, and the heated syrup is squirted into the tiny molds. Each tray contains several hundred to over a thousand molds. When everything is cooled down, the candy centers are dumped out and the cornstarch is recycled.

The candy centers are then added to a stainless steel, hollow sphere which rotates several hundred times per minute. To these rotating spheres, more sugar, flavor, and syrup is added, all of which forms the hard shell around the previously made candy centers. A glaze of confectioner’s sugar is also added to give them their glossy coat. This whole process takes between six to 10 days.(source)

4. Wasps get aggressive towards the end of summer because they get drunk on fermenting fruit hanging from the trees. 

Image Source: JB aus Siegen

Once they are finished with providing for their queen, the worker wasps have nothing left to do before they die than to enjoy themselves. Wasps have a surprisingly diverse taste for food. Though they mainly feed on nectar, they also forage for food. They are known to feed on decaying flesh, live arthropods, honeydew, the food humans eat, and even prey on honeybees and spiders. They also feed on ripe and fermenting fruits which gets them drunk. This makes them bolder and more prone to attack.(source)

5. In 1919, a large tank storing 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst during a heat wave flooding the streets of Boston at 35 mph with molasses killing 21 and injuring 150. 

Image Source: Boston Public Library

The molasses tank belonged to Purity Distilling Company, and the molasses was to be transferred to another plant in Cambridge. The tank was 50 feet (15 meters) tall and 90 feet (27 meters) in diameter containing 2.3 million US gallons (8,700 cubic meters) of molasses. On January 15, 1919, the temperature had risen from 2F to above 40F (-17C to 4C), and around half-past midday, the tank collapsed shooting rivets like bullets.

The molasses wave was 25 feet (8 meters) high and flooded several blocks two to three feet deep. It was strong enough to damage nearby railway girders and momentarily tip a railroad car off its tracks. A truck was also hurled into Boston Harbor. Buildings were swept off their foundations, and being a very sticky liquid, it was as nearly impossible for those caught in the wave to survive. Rescue efforts were hampered as reaching the victims was made difficult because of the syrup. Several of the dead were so thickly coated that they were hard to spot.(source)

6. The pistol shrimp clasps its claws so fast that it creates a bubble that reaches 5,000 K (4,700C), almost the surface temperature of the sun. The bubble’s implosion causes a shockwave “shot” that stuns its prey. 

The pistol shrimp is one of the loudest creatures in the ocean world, the others being beluga whales and sperm whales. When the pistol shrimp’s claw snaps, the pressure generated is enough to stun or even kill small fish. Though it does have two claws, only one of the claws works as the snapping claw which snaps so fast that the water evaporates creating a vapor or cavitation bubble. At a distance of four centimeters, the snap generates an acoustic pressure of 80 kilopascals. The cavitation bubble has a velocity of an amazing 100 kilometers per hour and the sound reaches 218 decibels. As it collapses, the cavitation bubble produces sonoluminescence, that is it emits short bursts of light and reaches a temperature of 5,000 K (4,700C). For comparison, the sun’s surface temperature is about 5,800 K (5,500C).(source)

7.  The platypus has no nipples. The female instead “sweats” milk for its babies. 

Image Source: wikimedia

Platypus, also known as the “duck-billed platypus,” belong to one of the three types of mammals known as monotremes, that is mammals that lay eggs rather than giving birth to a baby. It wasn’t until 1884 that the naturalists could confirm that the female platypus laid eggs. Each female lays around one to three leathery-shelled eggs, and the hatchlings are initially blind and hairless. Being a mammal, the platypus has mammary glands but no nipples. Instead, the milk is released through the skin pores and gets collected in the grooves in her abdomen from where the babies lap it up.

Another interesting fact about platypuses is that they have a sense known as electroreception. Instead of sensing other animals using their eyes or ears, they sense them by detecting electric fields generated by muscular contractions. Monotremes are the only mammals with electroreception, and platypuses are the most sensitive.(source)

8. In the 1960s, the CIA spent $20 million on creating spy cats by implanting microphones in the cats and dropping them off in the Kremlin and near Soviet embassies. 

The project named Acoustic Kitty was launched by the CIA’s Directorate of Science & Technology. The implantation surgery took an hour during which the veterinarian implanted a microphone in the cat’s ear canal. The microphone is connected via a wire to a small radio transmitter located at the base of its skull. The first Acoustic Kitty was released in a park near the Soviet embassy in Washington, DC to innocuously record and transmit a conversation between two men. It is alleged that the spy cat died almost immediately after being hit by a taxi. According to CIA’s former director Robert Wallace, the cat didn’t die. The equipment was taken out, the cat was re-sewn up, and went on to live a long life. But, the project had to be abandoned because, to the CIA’s consternation, the cats were difficult to train and got easily distracted by food when hungry.(source)

9. The fax machine was patented in 1843.

Image Source: wikipediawikimedia

Scottish inventor and engineer Alexander Bain,  known for his invention of the electric clock, worked on developing the early versions of the fax machine between 1843 and 1946. Bain created an apparatus that contained a clock and two pendulums and an electronic probe that scanned metal pins arranged on a cylinder made of insulating material for scanning and transmission. The received message was then reproduced on an electrochemically sensitive paper. He patented the mechanism on May 27, 1843.

In 1848, an English physicist named Frederick Bakewell patented a superior “image telegraph.” However, both Bain’s and Bakewell’s mechanisms were not practically viable as they produced a poor quality image and the transmitter and the receiver were never truly synchronized. In 1961, Italian physicist Giovanni Caselli invented the first practical telefax machine called the Pantelegraph. He also introduced the first commercial telefax service 11 years before the invention of practical, workable telephones.(source)

10. There were 50% fewer people in the world when John F. Kennedy was the president of the United States. 

Image Source: wikipedia

According to the United Nations estimates, the world’s population between 1960 and 1965 was over three billion. The world population reached seven billion on October 31, 2011, and as of December 2017 is 7.6 billion. It took more than 70,000 years for the population to rise from less than 0.015 million in 70,000 BCE to one billion in early 1800s CE. In around 100 years, the population doubled and grew to 2.5 billion in the 1950s. In just 50 years, the population was 6.1 billion and is estimated to reach 8 billion by 2025.(source)


World's Biggest Carnivorous Plant?

World's Biggest Carnivorous Plant?

At this time of year we have to start being extra watchful – our lambs are vulnerable to attack from this silent killer..

Not everyone is going to agree with this thesis – but I’ve been rescuing sheep from bramble patches for decades, and often I’ve come across the remains of sheep that were killed in this way, and it makes perfect sense to me. After all, why shouldn’t brambles be carniverous plants?

Arguments against include – they can only catch sheep, and the sheep will probably be eaten first by something else before it rots away. My response to the first is – only sheep seem to be vulnerable these days, but possibly baby wooly rhinos and other species that are now extinct might also have been victims at one time too.

And my response to the second is that unless the body is carried away whole (which is impossible) then there will always be plenty of bits left behind – intestines, liquids, wool, bones, blood, etc. – all excellent plant food..

 


What Happens When You Tickle A Rat

What Happens When You Tickle A Rat -

By studying how rats react to tickling, scientists are gaining insight into how a brain processes and responds to the sensation.

 


20 ‘DID YOU KNOW’ FACTS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

20 ‘DID YOU KNOW’ FACTS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

 


GM's 'Eerie' New Car: Look, Ma, No Steering Wheel

GM's 'Eerie' New Car: Look, Ma, No Steering Wheel

But what do you do with your hands? A question usually reserved for people posing for photographs or performing a monologue can now be asked by potential buyers of General Motors' newest self-driving car. That's because the latest incarnation has no steering wheel, or accelerator or brake pedal, swapping out those manual controls for interior screens, CNN reports. The layout, which the Verge calls "kind of eerie," features a dashboard with a console situated smack in the middle of the driver and passenger seats, with nothing but "blank real estate" in front of both. The revamped electric Chevy Bolt from Cruise Automation, GM's autonomous-vehicle arm, is set to be tested in 2019 and will eventually be shipped out to serve in ride-hailing services in certain US cities. "It's an interesting thing to share with everybody," GM President Dan Ammann says.

But there are some logistical hurdles for GM to clear for what Wired calls its "robo-chariot," including getting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to let 2,500 of the cars (the maximum number allowed) off the hook on 16 safety requirements, such as having an airbag in the steering wheel—moot as there's no steering wheel. The company's petition to the NHTSA doesn't ask for an exemption per se, Ammann explains, but simply the ability to meet the safety standards in different ways (such as putting that aforementioned airbag on the driver's side where the steering wheel would have been). Per the Financial Times, which notes this is the fourth generation of the company's autonomous car in just 18 months, Ammann suggests more innovations may be forthcoming, noting that "the fourth generation will not be the last generation."


FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Truly Disgusting Facts About Life In Medieval England

FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Truly Disgusting Facts About Life In Medieval England

If you ever find yourself trapped in history, you might want to bring a nose plug. Everyday life, before modern sewage and sanitation, could get pretty gross. We’ve covered some examples of this before.

It didn’t get much grosser than medieval England, though. In the days of Chaucer, to walk through the streets of London was to see and experience some of the most disgusting sights and smells you can imagine. Fantasy epics tend to gloss over the following aspects of medieval life for obvious reasons.

10 People Piled Garbage And Feces In Front Of Their Homes


When a British family had filled their chamber pots and stuffed their house with waste and rotting food, they were expected to clean it out. Officially, they were supposed to gather up their whole mess and carry it outside the city limits. It was one of those ideas that sounded great on paper—but in practice, nobody was about to waste their time doing that when there was a perfectly good street to dump things right outside their front door.

Trash piled up in front of people’s homes, ranging from old chicken bones to emptied-out chamber pots. Legend has it that people dumped their chamber pots out their windows so often that chivalrous men were expected to let women walk on the inside of the sidewalk so that any raining feces would fall on the man’s head instead.

Nobody even tried to stop people from dumping things on the streets until the 14th century, when King Edward II introduced England’s first law against dumping poop on the road. Even then, though, his expectations were pretty low. “All filth deposited before houses [must] be removed within a week,” the law ordered, and “pigs [must] be kept from wandering in the streets.”[1]

It didn’t have much of an effect. The trash kept piling up, and people just adjusted. Wealthy people would carry perfumed cloths against their nose whenever they stepped outside to keep from throwing up, and the king started hiring professionals to clear the filth off the road.

9 The Sewers Flooded When It Rained


As awful as the roads smelled on an average day, they were infinitely worse after it rained. The streets of medieval England were made of dirt and cobblestone, designed to slope into a rainwater ditch in the middle of the road to prevent flooding. This would’ve been a fine design if people would’ve just stopped jamming their trash everywhere they could.

The people of medieval England would cram everything they threw out into the rainwater ditches. They’d stuff these things so full that, by the time it rained, they were totally useless. Instead of stopping floods, the clogged ditches would overflow. Then they’d dislodge the months of trash that had built up inside them, drenching it and spilling it all over the streets.

When the sky cleared up, the roads would be covered in wet trash and feces slowly drying in the sun—and stinking up the entire town.[2]

8 Doctors Would Pee On Your Wounds


If a medieval soldier was wounded in battle, he didn’t have to worry. They had doctors on hand who were ready to sterilize the wound. They didn’t even need to pack anything to do it. As soon as someone got cut, a doctor—following the recommendations of the king’s personal surgeon—would whip out his tool and pee on your wound.[3]

They didn’t stop at cuts, either. Fresh urine was used to treat sores, burns, bites, and pretty well anything you could think of. It was gross, but it actually worked. The ammonia in the urine would help keep cuts from getting infected, and in life-or-death situations, the indignity was worth it.

It wasn’t just British doctors peeing on open wounds, either. One of the craziest stories comes from an Italian physician, Leonardo Fioravanti, who used his urine to save a soldier’s life after his nose was cut off in a fight. Fioravanti, thinking quickly, picked the man’s severed nose up off the ground, dusted off some sand, and peed on it.

The doctor, incredibly, was able to sew and reattach the urine-soaked nose back onto the man’s face. And for the rest of his life, the man could smell through that nose—whether he wanted to or not.

7 People Thought Bathing Made Them Sick


For most of the medieval era, the people were actually pretty good about bathing. They went to public baths regularly and did a fairly good job at cleaning themselves—for a while, anyway.

All that changed, though, after the Black Plague hit. In the chaos of seeing two-thirds of the world die from disease, the people of Europe started panicking. They wanted to find anything they could to blame this on, and they picked bathing.

The plague had spread, some doctors declared, because people were washing too often. They told people that water weakened their bodies and widened their pores, leaving them susceptible to plagues and diseases, and started ordering people to stop all forms of bathing immediately.[4] “By no means,” one doctor warned his patients, “should you wash your face.”

6 Male Fashion Showed Off The Bulge

Leaving something to the imagination fell out of fashion sometime around the 14th century. The men of England started getting into a new type of clothing—and it wasn’t much different from going out with nothing on at all.

The hot new look for the 1300s was a doublet called a courtpiece, a tiny little piece of cloth that only drooped down two inches below the belt.[5] From the waist down, they’d be wearing nothing but their undergarments, which, in those times, meant wearing the tightest, thinnest leggings physically possible, customized to make the bulge between your legs as visible as possible.

As time went on, the fashion just got weirder. Instead of merely showing off what God gave them, men started wearing codpieces with padded crotch areas, designed to make them look as big as possible.

Knights, by the 16th century, were even wearing them into battle. A suit of armor would come equipped with a massive, exaggerated metal codpiece that jammed out from between their legs. More often than not, they were even custom-designed to be pointing out. They didn’t serve any actual military purpose except, perhaps, to let the enemy know: You can knock me down, but I’ll still be erect.

5 Families Slept On Filthy Dirt Floors


Unless you were wealthy, most homes in medieval England didn’t actually have floors. Beneath most people’s feet was nothing more than compacted earth covered in rushes, herbs, and grass.

Covering the dirt with plants helped to keep the house warm, but it came with a pretty heavy cost. Food would fall into the rushes and get buried there, luring rats and insects into people’s homes. And people rarely cleaned them. Usually, they’d clear out the top layer and put on something new, but the bottom layer of rushes, where all the disgusting things were, would stay untouched, often for decades.

One Dutch visitor complained that English homes were “harboring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale dropping, scraps of fish and other abominations not fit to be mentioned.”[6]

Those are pretty disgusting things to have under your feet—but it gets worse. They didn’t have beds, either, so they slept on the floor, which means that every night, their faces were right there, pressed against a 20-year-old layer of crusted vomit, droppings, and rotten food.

4 Doctors Spread Dung On Expecting Mothers


Childbirth has never been fun, but as terrible as it is today, it used to be a lot worse. In the medieval times, doctors didn’t really have a lot of ideas on how to keep an expecting mother from dying. Pretty well the only thing they knew how to do was to rely on divine intervention—so that’s exactly what they did.

Monks and midwives would sit by a pregnant woman and pray, calling on the child to come out “without dying, and without the death of your mother.” Or else they would rely on magic. Sometimes, they’d feed a woman vinegar and sugar and cover her in eagle’s dung, kind of just hoping that eagle poop might be something that keeps women alive.[7]

When magic failed, they just prayed for a miracle. An abbey in Yorkshire kept a holy, sacred girdle on hand at all times, convinced that it had magical powers that would keep a woman alive through a pregnancy. They weren’t the only ones who believed in it, either. When Henry III’s wife became pregnant, he ordered the monks to bring him the sacred girdle.

None of it seems to have worked particularly well. An estimated one in three children died before they turned five, and about 20 percent of all mothers died from the childbirth. To be fair, though, we don’t have any data on mothers who covered themselves with eagle dung and clutched onto the sacred girdle.

3 Aborted Fetuses Were Used As A Contraceptive

Before Planned Parenthood, there were other ways to get contraceptives. Women who needed contraceptives or an abortion could visit women who called themselves sorceresses—but these women didn’t exactly sell condoms and birth control pills.

The contraceptives these women sold were incredibly disturbing. They made magical amulets that were supposed to keep a woman from getting pregnant. Inside each one was a pair of weasel’s testicles, a child’s tooth, and a severed finger cut from an aborted fetus.[8]

They sold love potions, too, which were pretty much the same thing. Their love potions contained extracts of the purest essences of—you guessed it—aborted babies. Apparently, their customers would drink these.

It was all pretty messed up. Still, when it comes to the contraceptives, you’ve got to admit: Any woman wearing an amulet full of weasel testicles, baby teeth, and fetus parts probably isn’t going to be getting pregnant anytime soon.

2 Everyone Was Infested With Lice

Photo credit: Gilles San Martin

It might not be too surprising, after all of this, to find out that the people of the Middle Ages had a little bit of a problem with lice. Pretty well everyone in medieval England struggled with lice and fleas, from the rich to the poor.

It was a regular part of some people’s days to gather around with their friends and family to pick lice off each other’s bodies. That was especially true for people who had to travel. Some crusaders left letters behind praising the laundry women who’d come with them, saying that not only would they wash their clothes, but they were as “good as apes for picking fleas.”[9]

The problem got worse the poorer you were, though, and it wasn’t restricted to England. When an English pilgrim named Margery Kempe traveled into a town of German peasants, she wrote home with disgust that the poor people of Germany would spend their evenings stripped naked, sitting in a circle and picking vermin off one another.

1 The River Thames Was Full Of Rotting Meat

Photo credit: F. de Witt

Few places stank worse than the River Thames. During the Middle Ages, it was considered normal practice for butchers to gather up all their unused, rotten meat, bundle it up, drag it out to the bridge, and dump it in the river.

Dumping rotten animal parts into the river was so common that one bridge had earned itself the nickname “Butcher’s Bridge,” and it was the most disgusting place in the whole country. The bridge was famous for being covered in dried blood and pieces of animal entrails that had spilled out of the butchers’ carts.[10]

It took until 1369 before anyone made a law against it, but it didn’t do much good. Even after dumping meat into the Thames became a crime, people kept writing letters complaining about it. “No one, by reason of such corruption of filth” one local protested, “could hardly venture to abide his house there.”

It was pretty disgusting—but it didn’t really stop there. It took nearly 500 years before anyone managed to stop people from dumping every piece of waste they had into the River Thames. It took until the 19th century before anyone put an end to the River Thames’s stench. But for 500 years, London’s great river was one of the smelliest places on Earth.


A FRIENDLY 50,000-POUND HUMPBACK WHALE NUDGES A BIOLOGIST AND PROTECTS THEM FROM A SHARK

 

A FRIENDLY 50,000-POUND HUMPBACK WHALE NUDGES A BIOLOGIST AND PROTECTS THEM FROM A SHARK

The stunning video biologist Nan Hauser and her team were able to capture, including point-of-view footage, show how the whale pushed the woman with his head and his mouth, tucked her under its pectoral fin, even lifted the biologist out of the water.


20 USELESS BUT TRUE FACTS TO FILL UP THE EMPTY SPACE BETWEEN YOUR EARS

20 USELESS BUT TRUE FACTS TO FILL UP THE EMPTY SPACE BETWEEN YOUR EARS

 


10 Scary Ways Deadly Ailments And Diseases Are Evolving

 

10 Scary Ways Deadly Ailments And Diseases Are Evolving

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution states that an organism will evolve and develop desirable variations and characteristics to ensure its survival. Disease-causing organisms like viruses and bacteria are living true to this theory by evolving and mutating to resist our drugs, vaccines, treatments, and immune systems.

Of course, their quest for survival isn’t in our best interests. But to them, they’re only trying to exist, nothing personal. We would have done the same if we were in their shoes.

10 HIV

Photo credit: avert.org

There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is the most common and is further classified into four groups: M, N, O, and P. Group M is the most common of all HIV strains and is further classified into subtypes A, B, C, D, F, G, H, J, and K. All these subtypes are genetically different and will readily merge to form new hybrids called circulating recombinant forms (CRFs). Eighty-nine of these CRFs have been identified so far.

This means that people already infected with HIV are still at risk of reinfection, either at the type, group, or subtype level. When they get reinfected, the two strains of HIV merge and create a new strain that could develop drug resistance. This is called dual infection, although coinfection or superinfection could be used, depending on the means of transmission. However, they all mean the same thing.

As if things couldn’t get worse, these hybrid CRFs are still capable of merging with other strains of HIV to create newer and more dangerous hybrids. One of these identified CRFs (called CRF19) is rampant in Cuba, where it was formed by the combination of the A, D, and G subtypes of HIV-1 Group M. CRF19 becomes AIDS within three years as compared to the 10–15 years it would normally take.[1]

9 Guinea Worm

Photo credit: npr.org

Since 1986, former US President Jimmy Carter has been on a mission to eradicate guinea worm, a terrible ailment that always ends with a worm of over 1 meter (3.3 ft) in length slowly leaving the body within a torturous span of one month. Only 11 cases of guinea worm infection were reported in 2016, a far cry from the over 3.5 million cases reported in 1986 when Carter began his anti–guinea worm campaign.

If Carter is successful, guinea worm would be the second disease to be eradicated by humans (after smallpox) and the first to be eradicated without vaccines. However, guinea worms are not giving up without a fight.

How? They’re finding new hosts: dogs.

In Chad, one of the last countries still battling guinea worm, incidences of guinea worm infection in dogs have been documented since 2012. About 600 dogs were known to be infected in 2016, although the real figure will definitely be higher. It is difficult to monitor these dogs because they are allowed to roam freely. This unlimited freedom also makes it difficult to keep them away from water, which is what guinea worms need to reproduce.

Adult guinea worms create a burning sensation in infected people, which forces them to seek a source of water to “cool” the pain. The worm then lays its larvae in this water. The larvae are swallowed by small aquatic organisms, which themselves are swallowed by humans who drink this contaminated water.

These larvae grow into adults in the human body, and the cycle continues. No one knows how these dogs are getting these guinea worms, but it has been proposed that it might be from contaminated fish.[2]

8 Bubonic Plague

Photo credit: CDC

The Black Death was a pandemic that spread through Europe in the 14th century, killing about 25 million people or up to one-third of the total European population. It was caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium that is transmitted from infected rodents to humans by fleas. The Yersinia pestisbacterium causes any of the bubonic, pneumonic, or septicemic plague in humans.[3]

As scary as it sounds, Yersinia pestis is still very much around. It is currently present in 25 countries, including Madagascar (which faced a mild epidemic between August 1 and November 22, 2017).

The scarier part of the plague is that it is becoming drug resistant. As of 2017, at least 10 common antibiotics are no longer effective in treating the disease. The resistance is believed to have been caused by the exchange of genes between Yersinia pestis and other bacteria like E. coliKlebsiella, and Salmonella, which are all found in food.

7 Polio

Photo credit: iflscience.com

Polio used to be one of the biggest killers of young children. When it does not kill, it causes lifelong paralysis. However, it has suffered severe blows in recent years, thanks to vaccination. Normally, young children are given oral doses of a weakened strain of the polio virus which allows their bodies to build immunity against the stronger and natural polio.

Now it has been observed that this weakened polio, which usually leaves the bodies of children through their excrement, can regain its potency, mutate, and infect children. This mutated polio is deadlier than the natural polio. Worse yet, vaccination does not work against this type of polio.

As a result, children already vaccinated against polio are not immune to this new mutated polio, which is caused by the same vaccine used to immunize them. During one outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 47 percent of the infected 445 children died even though they had already been vaccinated.[4]

6 Ebola

Photo credit: NBC News

Most people heard of Ebola for the first time between 2014 and 2016 when it swept through West Africa. This period—which lasted from March 23, 2014, to January 13, 2016—remains Ebola’s deadliest run ever. It killed at least 11,315 people, five times more than the casualties in all its epidemics since it was discovered in 1976. This figure is even on the low side and is believed to be considerably higher.

The 2014 Ebola outbreak actually started in December 2013 when it claimed the life of a two-year-old child in Guinea.[5] By March 2014, it was already in Liberia. From there, it spread to Sierra Leone and a few other neighboring countries. During this period, it infected over 28,000 people, which is 100 times more than the number of people infected in earlier Ebola epidemics.

According to two different teams of virologists who studied the epidemic, it was deadlier because it involved a mutant strain of the original Ebola virus. The mutant is called A82V and was recorded as the virus responsible for over 90 percent of all infections.

Researchers believe that the A82V mutant was destroyed with the epidemic because it was poor at jumping to nonhuman hosts like the fruit bats believed to transmit Ebola to humans.

5 Gonorrhea

Photo credit: The Independent

Data released from 77 countries shows that gonorrhea is rapidly becoming 100 percent resistant to drugs. These days, azithromycin, the major drug used in gonorrhea treatment, fails 81 percent of the time. Other drugs like the extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESCs), which are the orally ingested cefixime or the injected ceftriaxone, fail 66 percent of the time.

The United Kingdom is one country facing a drug-resistant gonorrhea epidemic.[6] This mutated strain of gonorrhea, which they call “super gonorrhea,” is totally resistant to azithromycin and could soon be to ceftriaxone as well. Investigations by the BBC revealed that gonorrhea may have become resistant to azithromycin because infected people were taking it alone rather than in combination with ceftriaxone as per UK healthcare guidelines.

4 Cholera

Photo credit: CDC

Cholera is caused by the consumption of food or water contaminated with the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. In most cases, it causes mild diarrhea and an infected person might not even know he has it. In the most serious cases, the disease causes severe dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea that could kill the infected person within hours.

Haiti suffered a devastating cholera epidemic 10 months after the catastrophic January 2010 earthquake. The epidemic killed 9,200 people. However, some international organizations like Doctors Without Borders believe that this figure should be considerably higher because most cholera-related deaths went unreported. In some regions, only 10 percent of deaths were reported.

The Haiti cholera outbreak was caused by a mutated strain called “altered El Tor.”[7] It is deadlier than regular cholera and has been likened to the deadly cholera of the 1800s. Altered El Tor underwent three mutations that allowed it to bypass the body’s early warning system. It was first observed in 2000 and has been traced to Nepal.

3 Syphilis

Syphilis is also called the “great imitator” because its symptoms often resemble those of other diseases. It is spread through sexual contact, although it can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy.

Researchers have discovered that Nichols and Street Strain 14 (SS14), the two main strains of syphilis, are mutating. As a result, they are developing resistance to common antibiotics like penicillin and macrolides that are often used for treatment.

The mutation is more prevalent in SS14. In one analysis, about 90 percent of SS14 samples were drug resistant versus 25 percent for the Nichols strain. This newfound resistance is allowing syphilis to make a comeback.[8]

Since 2013, there has been a 15 percent increase in syphilis cases. The good news is that syphilis can still be treated by most antibiotics, although the disease could become resistant to these drugs over time.

2 Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is one ailment that is undergoing a serious mutation. Two new forms of tuberculosis have been identified: multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).

MDR-TB is resistant to isoniazid and rifampicin, the two most powerful drugs used in the treatment of tuberculosis. Meanwhile, XDR-TB, a more potent version of MDR-TB, is resistant to isoniazid, rifampicin, and several other drugs.

About 580,000 cases of MDR-TB were reported in 2015. Of this figure, 55,100 (9.5 percent) were XDR-TB cases. XDR-TB has been reported in 117 countries, which means that it’s slowly becoming a global problem.

It is speculated that tuberculosis became drug resistant because infected people were not storing or taking their drugs properly. Tuberculosis is treated with a six-month regimen that must not be interrupted. Any form of interruption allows the ailment to develop a resistance to drugs.[9]

1 Cancer

Photo credit: The Independent

Cancer has been known to evolve and mutate since the 1970s. This mutation allows cancer to become drug resistant, to expel drugs from the body, and to repair cells already damaged by these drugs. Researchers believe that this mutation is caused by cancer cells that are not destroyed during treatment.

One form of cancer known to mutate is prostate cancer, which requires testosterone (the male hormone) for development. One method of treatment is to starve the body of testosterone, but this stopped working when prostate cancer cells learned to use other molecules in place of testosterone. When this happens, it becomes castrate-resistant prostate cancer, which is often fatal.

Lung and colorectal cancers are also capable of mutating. Their cells become resistant to radiation and chemotherapy regimens, leaving them untreatable.

One proposed method of curing these mutant cancers is by “individual specific therapy,” which is a treatment unique to an individual. However, this method is not foolproof.

One of the first drugs created for “individual specific therapy” was Herceptin, which sticks to the HER2 protein to destroy breast cancer cells.[10] However, the cancer mutated and started destroying the parts of the HER2 protein that Herceptin stuck to. Most of the time, the body responds by creating HER3 cells. This compounded the problem because Herceptin could not stick to HER3.


FASCINATING FACTS: 18 Identical Facts About Twins

FASCINATING FACTS: 18 Identical Facts About Twins

 


The Sleeping Habits Of Couples

 

The Sleeping Habits Of Couples

Cut filmed six married and dating couples during a night of sleep, then interviewed the couples to learn more about how well or not so well they sleep together.

 


Future Tech: Skin Motion Tattoos Are The ‘Wave’ Of The Future

Future Tech: Skin Motion Tattoos Are The ‘Wave’ Of The Future

 

 

The company Skin Motion, combined with their Sound Wave app, have created a tattoo that you can actually hear. And no, your ears (or eyes in this case) don’t deceive you.

 

We secretly hoped someone had created the technology to get a sweet GIF tattoo when we first heard the news, but alas, our group “Deal With It” tats will have to wait. But the ability of a piece of body art to play a meaningful audio clip at the press of a button is also awesome.

If you’re wondering how this technology works with actual human voices, Singer S.o.S. broke it down on Twitter with the helpful video below:

So far, all the examples of these tattoos have been deeply meaningful audio clips for the owner, but at some point, someone is going to get a hilarious Skin Motion tattoo of the fart that was so bad it ended their marriage. And we can’t wait! We are also excited for all the accidentally bad tattoos that will surely come of this; even awesome technology can’t save someone from a bad artist.

Still, we are excited for the future of tattoo technology. These tattoos are already cooler than the “blacklight tattoos” that came out years ago. What’s the point of getting a tattoo that no one can see? For that matter, what’s the point of getting a tattoo that nobody can hear?


20 WTF FACTS IN YOUR FACE THAT WILL FRY YOUR BRAIN

20 WTF FACTS IN YOUR FACE THAT WILL FRY YOUR BRAIN

 


FASCINATING FACTS: 17 Sleepy Facts About Dreaming

Sleepy Facts We Know About Dreaming (17 pics)

 

 


Debunking The 'Bedroom Wormhole' That's Racked Up Hundreds Of Thousands Of Views On YouTube

Debunking The 'Bedroom Wormhole' That's Racked Up Hundreds Of Thousands Of Views On YouTube

This video doesn't just go into the visual trickery used to make the portal — it goes into the methods of hoax artists who dribble out ideas to convince audiences, then move the goalposts to keep viewers hungry.

 


10 Movies Based On Common Misconceptions

10 Movies Based On Common Misconceptions

 

Movies are often entertaining, but they’re not always accurate. Understandably, many filmmakers are more interested in creating dramatic, stirring films than they are in providing accurate information. After all, they’re entertainers, not educators.

Sometimes, the plot of a movie or a film’s dramatic appeal depends on a misconception. For example, a woman who normally uses only 10 percent of her mental capacity may suddenly use all her brainpower. As an instant genius able to perform marvelous feats, she is a much more intriguing character than one who lives an ordinary life.

Whether accidentally or intentionally included, misconceptions appear in a variety of films.

Featured image credit: mashable.com

 

10 Lucy

The French science fiction film Lucy (2014) revolves around the idea that people use only 10 percent of their brains’ capacity. Lucy, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson, is a young American woman living in Taipei, Taiwan, when gangsters kidnap her and force her to serve as their drug mule. When she accidentally consumes part of the illegal substance she’s smuggling, she becomes an instant genius with amazing abilities she’s never had before.

The premise that Lucy could develop superpowers simply by employing the 90 percent of her brain that would normally go unused is based on the persistent misconception that a tenth of our potential brain power is all we typically put to use. On the National Public Radio program All Things Considered, hosted by Eric Westervelt, neuroscientist David Eagleman discussed the misconception with Morgan Freeman, who played Professor Samuel Norman in the movie.

According to Eagleman, the notion that we use only a tenth of our brains is a fallacy. In fact, we use 100 percent of our brains all the time. Ariana Anderson, a researcher with the University of California at Los Angeles, said on the show that anyone who actually used only 10 percent of his brain “would probably be declared brain-dead.”

Eagleman suspects that the myth persists because people want to believe they can greatly improve. Although it’s a misconception, the belief that 90 percent of our brainpower remains untapped is “the neural equivalent to Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man,” he said.[1]

21 Jump Street

In 21 Jump Street (2012), Officers Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) arrest a suspect, but the police department is forced to release him because Jenko and Schmidt failed to read the suspect his Mirandarights. When Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) asks them what these rights are, neither officer is able to recite them correctly.

Jenko and Schmidt obviously need training, but so does their supervisor. The suspect arrested by the officers shouldn’t have been released from custody. The law does not require arresting officers to read suspects their Miranda rights at the time of arrest. Arrestees must be notified of their Miranda rights only if two conditions are met: arrest and interrogation.[2]

 

Double Jeopardy

In Double Jeopardy (1999), Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd) has been framed for killing her husband (who’s very much alive). She receives this legal advice from a fellow inmate: Since Libby has already been convicted of murdering her husband, she can now kill him with impunity. The Constitution’s protection against double jeopardy, which prohibits a person from being tried twice for the same crime, prevents her from being held accountable for the act.

Although Libby believes this misconception, she shouldn’t have. First, her fellow inmate doesn’t have a license to practice law. Second, the jailhouse lawyer doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead explains the nuances of the law as it applies to Libby’s situation: “The prosecutor stated a specific time and place for the crime. If she had actually killed her husband later in the movie, it would’ve been in a different city and time, making it a different crime. Therefore, double jeopardy would not apply, and she would be accused of murder.”[3]

Rather than kill her husband, Whitehead says that Libby should give the authorities proof that her husband lives. The court would then throw out her conviction and charge her errant husband.

Flatliners

In Flatliners (1990), a group of medical students decide to “flatline” themselves to investigate what happens after death. According to the movie, someone who’s flatlined can be defibrillated.

To understand why this is a misconception, it helps to know that an asystole is the absence of ventricular contractions for a length of time surpassing that for which life can be sustained. In such a case, the electrocardiogram will show a flat line.

As science journalist Karl S. Kruszelnicki explains, the use of paddles and jumper cables won’t work unless electrical activity is already occurring within the heart. By definition, “asystole” indicates that such activity has ceased. Shocking the heart won’t work.[4]

Jaws

Photo credit: boston.com

Peter Benchley, who wrote the 1974 novel Jaws that inspired Steven Spielberg’s 1975 movie of the same title, regrets having written the best seller. At the time, he believed that man-eating rogue sharks existed, but he has since learned that they don’t.

Worse yet, his depiction of such a predator in his novel has “provided cover for people who simply wanted to go out and kill sharks under the guise of somehow making people safer,” said Simon Thorrold, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.[5]

The idea of man-eating rogue sharks isn’t the only misconception on which the novel and its film adaptation are based. The book and the movie characterize great white sharks as territorial. In reality, they are not. As OCEARCH founder Chris Fischer points out, sharks don’t hunt humans and they’re constantly moving from one place to another.

 

Jurassic Park

Author Michael Crichton outlined his 1990 novel like this: “Jurassic Park is based on the premise of scientists successfully extracting dinosaur DNA from the thorax of preserved prehistoric mosquitoes, cloning it, and recreating and breeding a variety of dinosaurs to roam a for-profit theme park.”

Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film adaptation of Crichton’s novel is based on the same premise. Unfortunately, it’s unscientific, although the misconception is one that many continue to believe.[6]

A team of scientists at the University of Manchester studied insects preserved in copal, a resin from tropical trees that has not become fossilized amber yet. Although the copal samples were 60 to 10,600 years old, they contained no ancient DNA. As a result, it would be impossible to clone dinosaurs in the manner in which they were supposedly recreated in the movie.

Simply Irresistible

In the romantic comedy Simply Irresistible (1999), Nolan Traynor (Larry Gilliard Jr.) tells Amanda Shelton (Sarah Michelle Gellar) that men think about sex 238 times a day. He adds that they adjust their belts each time they do.

Later, she notices that Tom Bartlett (Sean Patrick Flanery) doesn’t wear a belt and asks him about Nolan’s claim. After considering how many hours a day he’s awake, Tom estimates that he thinks about sex once every four minutes on average, which matches Nolan’s statement.

Similar claims have been advanced by others with different time intervals between sexual thoughts. To determine whether such claims are true, Terri Fisher and her team of researchers used “experience sampling,” a technique in which subjects record their thoughts at random moments throughout the day.

She issued clickers to 238 college students, whom she divided into three groups. One group would click whenever they thought of sex, the second group whenever they thought of food, and the third group whenever they thought of sleep. On average, the men thought of sex 19 times a day and the women, 10 times a day.

It’s possible that the students were influenced by their instructions to click when they thought of sex, food, or sleep and so thought about these topics more often than they would have otherwise.

Wilhelm Hoffman and his colleagues employed a different approach. Using participants’ smartphones, the students were notified seven times a day at random to record the topic of their current thoughts. On average, participants thought about sex once a day.

Although the results of Hoffman’s study may also have been skewed by giving instructions to the participants, both his and Fisher’s studies suggest that Nolan’s claim is false.[7]

Swiss Miss

The comedy Swiss Miss (1938) stars Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as mousetrap salesmen who travel to Switzerland to sell their wares because they believe that the country known for Swiss cheese must also have more mice. The movie includes a scene in which Laurel cons a Saint Bernard out of the keg of brandy carried on the dog’s collar.

Prior to Swiss Miss, cartoons and humorous illustrations depicted Saint Bernards as coming to the rescue of stranded alpine hikers or mountain climbers. The kegs of brandy carried by the dogs kept the victims warm while help was on the way.

However, the idea that alcohol can keep a body warm is a misconception. Although drinking alcohol may initially help you to feel warmer, it actually reduces your core body temperature. So if you drink alcohol while stranded in the snow, you could suffer from deadly hypothermia.[8]

The Viking

Photo credit: vikingsofbjornstad.com

For decades, movies featuring Vikings have shown Norse warriors wearing horned helmets. The Viking (1928) is only one such movie based on the mistaken idea.

The misconception probably began in the 1800s when illustrations of fierce Scandinavian warriors showed them wearing helmets adorned with horns. The Viking costumes designed for Richard Wagner’s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen included horned helmets, which may have led to the stereotype.

In reality, no evidence supports the idea that Viking helmets were equipped with horns. In illustrations from the Vikings’ time, they are shown with bare heads or wearing simple iron or leather helmets. So far, one complete Viking helmet has been found in Norway in 1943. Made of iron, it had a rounded cap with a guard for the eyes and nose. There were no horns.[9]

The Tingler

The misconception that fingernails continue to grow after death appears to have been popularized by The Tingler (1959) in which Vincent Price plays pathologist Dr. Warren Chapin. He explains that “a great many things continue to live in the human body” after death. For example, fingernails still grow.

Chapin couldn’t have been much of a pathologist if he believed what he said. Medical science teaches us that fingernail growth depends on glucose producing new cells. Since dead people don’t consume glucose—or anything else—there’s no supply of the sugar.

The misconception that fingernails continue to grow after a person dies probably stems from the fact that dehydration causes the skin around the nails to retract, which makes the nails look longer.[10]

 


Turns Out Plants Can Hear Themselves Being Eaten, According To Scientists

Turns Out Plants Can Hear Themselves Being Eaten, According To Scientists

Bad news for vegetarians and vegans, because scientists have just discovered that plants can 'hear' themselves being eaten.

Researchers at the University of Missouri found that plants can identify sounds nearby - including the sounds made when people eat - and react accordingly.

The idea that plants can react to sound has been around for a while, with some gardeners claiming that playing music to their plants help them grown and our first in line to the throne, Prince Charles, once saying: "I just come and talk to the plants, really - very important to talk to them, they respond."

However, Heidi Appel, senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the Bond Life Sciences Centre at MU said that this new study is 'the first example of how plants respond to an ecologically relevant vibration.'

She told the Daily Mail: "We found that "feeding vibrations" signal changes in the plant cells' metabolism, creating more defensive chemicals that can repel attacks from caterpillars."

The study placed caterpillars on small plants called Arabidopsis and then used a laser and a piece of reflective material to measure movement of the leaf in response to the munching caterpillar. They then played back the recordings of the caterpillars feeding vibrations to one set of plants and played silence to an other. Later, when the caterpillars were one again placed on both sets of plants to feed, it was found that the plants that had been forced to listen to the sound of caterpillars eating were now producing more mustard oils, a chemical that the bugs don't usually like. Clever.

Rex Cocroft, professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at MU who also worked on the study said: "What is remarkable is that the plants exposed to different vibrations, including those made by a gentle wind or different insect sounds that share some acoustic features with caterpillar feeding vibrations did not increase their chemical defences.

"This indicates that the plants are able to distinguish feeding vibrations from other common sources of environmental vibration.

"Plants have many ways to detect insect attack, but feeding vibrations are likely the fastest way for distant parts of the plant to perceive the attack and begin to increase their defences."

Appel added: "This research also opens the window of plant behaviour a little wider, showing that plants have many of the same responses to outside influences that animals do, even though the responses look different."

 


FASCINATING FACTS: 22 CREPY FACTS TOO SPOOPY FOR YOU

FASCINATING FACTS: 22 CREPY FACTS TOO SPOOPY FOR YOU

 


Remembering The Astronaut Who Snuck A Sandwich Into Spaced

Remembering The Astronaut Who Snuck A Sandwich Into Space

On Jan. 6th my favorite astronaut, John Young passed away and I wanted to reflect on his incredible life. From 2 Gemini missions, to two Apollo missions and even 2 space shuttle missions. He was hilarious, smart, witty and well rounded. I hope this video helps you remember why John Young was amazing.


The Origin Of Our First Interstellar Visitor

The Origin Of Our First Interstellar Visitor

 

We were recently visited by a traveler from outside our solar system. This is the first time we’ve ever seen an object that came to us from interstellar space. It's name is 'Oumuamua.

 


11 Science Stories To Watch Out For In 2018

11 Science Stories To Watch Out For In 2018

 

 

From Elon Musk and SpaceX launching the Falcon Heavy to missions to the Moon, Mars, Mercury, and the Sun, these are the top science stories you'll be hearing about in 2018.

 


10 Beautiful And Bizarre Natural Wonders

10 Beautiful And Bizarre Natural Wonders

Every corner of our planet is teeming with breathtaking natural formations. Some, such as the aurora borealis, are well-known by many. Others lie undiscovered and waiting within the inner reaches of rain forests and oceans.

Some of these phenomena can only be found in the exotic realms of faraway places. But you don’t always have to travel that far. Fortunately, there are others that can be viewed in your own backyard.

10 Spotted Lake

In Canada, there is a lake that seems to have been crafted by a child’s imagination, a place that would fit right in with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The Spotted Lake in Osoyoos, British Columbia, is no ordinary body of water. Instead of a normally smooth surface, this lake appears to be covered in giant, colorful polka dots! The colors even change depending on the conditions of the water, ranging from a sulfur yellow to the deepest of blues.[1]

The Spotted Lake is made up of a collection of smaller, puddle-like bodies of water that are rich in magnesium sulfate, calcium, salt, and other minerals. In fact, it is said that the lake contains the highest concentrations of minerals in the world, so much that they were mined and made into ammunition during World War I. During the hot summers in the surrounding desert, the water evaporates into the small puddles while the salts crystallize in between to form walkways.

To the Okanagan First Nations people, the lake harbors special medicinal properties. While it was saved from housing a spa on its shores in the 1970s, it is now fenced off and protected as a sacred site. Still, it is easy to view the strange and enormous pools from a distance as the glassy, mirrorlike formations are hard to miss.

9 Oceans In The Sky

Photo credit: thoughtco.com

The sight of rolling ocean waves is usually reserved for beaches, but who knew they existed in the sky as well?

Floating up in high altitudes, these Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds are fun to look at but not to surf. Formed when two air currents at different speeds collide with each other, they resemble the wavy, curved rise and fall of the sea.

The clouds have a flat, horizontal base, and the waves on top are evenly spaced. They are most easily formed on a windy day when the layers of air are apt to meet each other. As warm air stacks on top of cooler air, the faster layer on top transforms the cloud into the whimsical shape.[2]

But look fast! Due to the air’s velocity and warmth, the cloud soon evaporates, leaving behind nothing but a memory and the lingering feeling of awe.

8 Murmurations

What’s that strange, dark-colored cloud twisting and turning in midair? It is a breathtaking sight of millions of tiny creatures coming together to perform this aerial stunt. The enormous shape contracts and expands, soaring through the skies in whirling formation. Is it a swarm of locusts or some rare weather phenomenon?

Neither. Instead, it is a formation of thousands upon thousands of starlings.

Starlings are ordinary songbirds that feed on seeds and insects. While their black plumage has a glossy iridescence up close, they are often regarded as pests because of the damage they cause to crops and airplanes.

Yet, these small birds prove that strength lies in numbers. Starting in the autumn season, thousands of starlings flock together in what is known as a murmuration, with numbers swelling to 100,000. A murmuration of more than six million was recorded in Somerset in 1999!

Together, they fly in search of places to roost during dusk. Though the hypnotic formations are breathtaking to look at, murmurations are not just for show. They provide safety for the birds as predators have a much harder time picking out a single target among thousands. Bigger flocks also mean warmer roosts in the chilly months. In addition, they are better able to socialize and share information on where to find food.[3]

The starlings know just how to fly so that they don’t crash into each other. With a reaction time of 100 milliseconds, they are vigilantly aware of the speed and direction of the birds around them. They adjust accordingly so that the entire murmuration may reach speeds of 32 kilometers per hour (20 mph)!

7 Striped Icebergs

Photo credit: amusingplanet.com

Antarctica is well-known for its pristine white icebergs, glaciers, and caves. Yet some of these icebergs are not ordinary—they seem to be covered in an array of black, brown, yellow, and blue stripes!

With the appearance of marbled gemstones, these decorated icebergs are formed when chunks of freshwater ice come into contact with the seawater beneath them. The seawater, which contains sediment and minerals, freezes into the ice and develops beautiful dark bands around it.

As the iceberg is shaped by the waves and wind, the colored layers are further warped into different patterns.[4] Blue stripes are caused by water freezing into a crevice so fast that no bubbles form. Water with algae results in a green tint, resulting in these beautiful natural formations.

6 Massive Spiderweb Fields

Photo credit: Science Daily

The grass has an odd gray tint to it. In fact, everything is wrapped in a blanket of fine, see-through silk: the fields, the bushes, even the trees. This dusty covering was actually created by thousands of tiny spiders, leaving behind a world encased in creepily billowing sheets that resemble something out of a haunted house.

The gigantic webs can span a whopping 30 meters (98 ft). They are usually made after a flood or heavy rain, prompting the spiders to escape to higher ground. To do so, they release a thin strand of silk and let the wind carry them off like hot-air balloons, a process known as ballooning.[5] A mass ballooning event involves thousands of the tiny arachnids, which trail their silk behind them and land expertly in fields to scare passersby.

In some cases, the webs are 0.8 kilometers (0.5 mi) long and so thick that those who attempt to travel through them end up covered with the substance. The event has occurred all over the world, including the US, Australia, Great Britain, and Pakistan. Sometimes, however, the spiders’ escape attempts fail, causing the wind to repeatedly blow them up and over trees to create a matted carpet of silken nightmares.

5 Fire Rainbows

Photo credit: National Geographic

Fire rainbows are dazzling displays of light that resemble arching wings or feathers. Unlike your average rainbow, these are much more difficult to make. Cirrus clouds, or clouds that resemble thin and wispy strands of hair, are located in high altitudes. It is only when the Sun is very high in the sky that fire rainbows can develop.[6]

What’s more, the ice crystals inside the clouds must be positioned in the right shape and direction, with their faces horizontal to the ground. If the crystals are lined up correctly, sunlight will bounce off the same way as in a prism, producing a breathtaking show of many colors.

4 Desert Roses

Photo credit: geologyin.com

No, these aren’t petrified roses. Instead, they are made of crystal.

Found in dry, sandy areas such as the Sahara Desert, the “roses” are formed from disks of gypsum or baryte crystals stacked together over tens or hundreds of years to resemble the petals of a flower.

The crystals form when water evaporates and are shaped like flat plates that can measure up to 1 meter (3.3 ft) across. Clusters of desert roses may be found together, giving the appearance of a sandy bouquet. The largest single rose was 25 centimeters (10 in) high and weighed 57 kilograms (125 lb), while the largest cluster tipped the scales at 454 kilograms (1,000 lb).[7]

With their beauty and unnatural appearance, it’s no wonder that they are sought after as prized specimens for collections.

3 Tricolored Crater Lakes

Photo credit: curiosity.com

There are three crater lakes nestled at the foot of Mount Kelimutu in Indonesia, hailed by the locals as mysterious resting places for the afterlife.

Indeed, with their unnatural appearance, the lakes seem otherworldly. Coupled with their uncanny power to change colors at any time, they are believed to reflect the moods of the ancestors’ spirits. The Lake of Old People is typically blue. The Lake of Young Men and Maidens is usually green, while the third, the Bewitched Lake, tends to be red.[8]

Occasionally, they take on hues of white, black, brown, and turquoise, like tricks in a magician’s act. While other strangely colored lakes are caused by bacteria, the explanations for these lakes are baffling. Although there is no confirmed answer, most agree that the interaction between minerals in the water and volcanic ash are the culprit.

2 Blood Falls
Antarctica

Photo credit: National Geographic

A waterfall is located in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Startlingly, the water is tinted a bold scarlet as though a river of blood were pouring out of the glacier’s side. Fortunately, the reason behind this phenomenon is a lot less eerie.

Two million years ago, the Taylor Glacier trapped a “time capsule” of microbes within it, essentially forming a community of organisms that were shut off from the rest of the world. Even without sunlight, heat, or oxygen, the microbes flourished, proving life’s abilities to survive even in Earth’s most extreme conditions.[9]

Eventually, the trapped lake flowed out through a crack in the ice, forming a waterfall with the ecosystem hidden inside. The falls run red due to high levels of iron and salinity, which explains why the water continues to flow instead of freeze.

1 Skeleton Flowers

Photo credit: chemistryworld.com

Despite their name, skeleton flowers are an alluring sight. Their normally white petals become as clear as glass when they come into contact with water. During downpours, the normal-looking blossoms suddenly take on the appearance of crystalline structures.

This is because of the petals’ cell structures. On rainy days, water soaks into the petals and increases light transmission to give them their transparent look. Once dry, they revert to white flowers. As they flourish on cold, forested mountainsides, the rare blooms are found in only three places on Earth: China, Japan, and the Appalachian Mountains.

These white flowers are not just pretty. Scientists from China have put them to good use. They have created a transparent surface that repels oil while underwater, which has been used to develop diving goggles and other optical tools.[10]


'THE MA(D)CHINES'

'THE MA(D)CHINES''THE MA(D)CHINES'

Tony Zagoraios of Yell created “THE MA(D)CHINES,” a surreal animated short about ordinary household appliances that come to life in the real world in unexpected ways.


Soon You'll Be Able To Inject Your Hunger Away

Soon You'll Be Able To Inject Your Hunger Away

Are you a busy worker on the go? Kids driving you crazy and there’s just not enough time to eat? Need a quick boost of energy to keep you alert for a workout? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! With Foodjectables, there’s no need to prepare a meal. Just fill the container, inject the food directly into your bloodstream, and that’s it. No messy cooking, no time-consuming prep work- just the satisfaction of a full meal in an instant.

Sound crazy to you? Well, it might not for too much longer. As it turns out, something similar to this might actually be possible in the surprisingly near future. More specifically, a special protein injection is being worked on that can block the sensation of hunger, kill appetites and stop someone from feeling the need to nom.

Unfortunately, this isn’t like that magical Willy Wonka candy that feels like an entire meal being eaten, so the introduction to this article may have been a slight exaggeration. Still, this is a step towards something like that, and more importantly, it’s a big step towards curtailing the obesity epidemic. When the injections are made communication between the belly and the brain is stimulated to trick a person’s mind into thinking that they are feeling plenty full. If people don’t feel hungry, then they don’t need to eat as often, leading to less pounds being packed on, more pounds lost, and healthier lifestyle choices being made.

Currently, this method of munchie combat is being tested on mice and monkeys, which questionable ethics aside, is actually going quite well, and not just for the scientists involved either. As it turns out, monkeys tested dropped weight faster and became less at risk for Type 2 diabetes. The mice who were tested also benefited, as they actually began choosing to eat better, healthier food choices after receiving their injections. Neither the monkeys nor the mice have been negatively affected by the injections in any visible capacity, and so the tests have been considered a stunning success so far.

If further successes are had in the lab then the testing will move on to human beings. At this point there’s no reason to think that this won’t happen, so really it’s less of a question of if the test will proceed than it is a question of when they will proceed. This is good news for humanity, which needs all the help it can get when it comes to diet control.


20 ‘DID YOU KNOW’ FACTS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

20 ‘DID YOU KNOW’ FACTS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW


FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Useful Science And Behavior Facts You Wish You Knew

FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Useful Science And Behavior Facts You Wish You Knew

From health to the paranormal, we all have an opinion on many things. Maybe you’re convinced that aliens are real. Perhaps you’re not into quinoa. And maybe, just maybe, you liked The Dark Tower this summer.

Whatever your opinions, they’re probably based on knowledge. Well, here is a list of things you may or may not know that will simply make you wonder and maybe change your opinion on certain topics. One thing is sure—this list will make you go, “Whaaaaaat?”

10 Do You Have HIV?

Let’s start with a culprit responsible for the deaths of millions. No biggie, right?

Human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV, is no picnic. Terrible symptoms and a slow decline for the infected were a common fate. Now, many believe it to be something hard to catch, especially since sexual education has advanced so much in recent years, but recent studies have shown that around 30 percent of new HIV infections in the US are transmitted by people who have no idea they have the virus.[1] To this day, the only way to know if you carry the virus is to get tested.

9 Antibacterial Or Regular Soap?


Do you wash your hands every time you go to the bathroom? Do you reflexively gag when you find there is no antibacterial soap but instead only that old regular soap—or even worse, an old bar of soap?

Well, if your argument for preferring antibacterial soap over regular is that it kills more bacteria, we’ve got bad news for you. New studies have shown that antibacterial soap containing triclosan (a very common compound in antibacterial products) is no better than regular soap when it comes to killing germs.[2] So the next time you can’t find your favorite antibacterial soap, give that old soap bar a try; anything is better than not washing your hands.

8 If You Want To Study Better, Hit That Coffee Shop

 


Have you ever been to your favorite coffee shop and wondered why there are so many people studying or concentrating on anything other than drinking coffee? Well, you’re not the only one; for a long time, I wondered the same thing. The allure of a coffee shop to anyone who needs time to do work or study is undeniable, and now science tells us why.

Turns out that the best noise level to carry abstract thought and any creative task is 70 decibels.[3] Care to guess where can you find said level of noise? Why yes, that is the average noise level in that coffee shop you love.

7 Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way


One of the hardest things to do is overcome a temptation, be it avoiding that piece of chocolate cake when you’re on a diet or wasting your time in Stumbleupon or Netflix instead of studying. Procrastination is a beautiful delight to indulge in, but sometimes, we really need to do whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing. In those cases, telling yourself or others “I don’t eat unhealthy food” instead of “I can’t eat unhealthy food” will help you stick to your goal.[4]

This simple change in the way you express your blocks or goals changes the way you think about those same things.

6 Go For An Actual Walk

Walking is one of America’s favorite exercises. It even has its own magazine, yet it’s something that you would hardly consider a worthy exercise to burn calories or fill those activity rings on your iWatch. If you only have time for a walk instead of time at the gym, fear not: You can burn significant calories by just walking.

The trick is in varying the speed at which you walk. Doing so burns more calories than getting on a treadmill and setting a speed; you can burn up to 20 percent more calories by changing the speed you walk frequently rather than keeping a steady pace.[5] So toss away that treadmill, go for a walk, and smile—you’re burning more calories and enjoying the outside.

5 Grab A Burger, Not A Protein Bar

 

This one will come as a surprise without a doubt. For any who like to follow an athletic lifestyle, this will sound like heresy. Usually after a heavy workout or everyday exercise, people reach for energy bars, recovery drinks, and protein powders, generally because we tend to believe that dietary supplements provide a better boost than any normal food would. Well, here comes science to bring the roof down on you. When it comes to exercise recovery, supplements don’t hold a candle to fast food, a study has found.[6]

In a heavy blow to the sports supplement industry after spending millions of dollars in campaigns showing top athletes working out and preparing clever taglines and banners to convince people to use their products, it turns out that you can just go to McDonald’s to get the recovery energy you need. Who would have thought that fries, hamburgers, and even hash browns fare better against Gatorade, PowerBar, and Cytomax?

However, this doesn’t mean that you can replace your post-workout supplements and just go on a chicken nugget binge. For the body, energy is energy, and a simple carbohydrate is just a simple carbohydrate. But the next time after working out when you face the decision between a burger or Muscle Milk, you can smile knowing that choosing the golden arches every once in a while isn’t bad for you.

4 Teach Kids To Be Kind

As some parents might tell you, children have an innate feeling of good and wrong, and the role of their parents is to reinforce the good. In other words, teach empathy and kindness. But once the child goes to school, it falls to the teacher to keep the practice going. A study has shown that students (aged nine to 11) who were prompted by their teachers to do three acts of kindness a week for an entire month showed an increase in well-being as well as becoming more likable to others.[7]

Happy people have more satisfying friendships and are more likely to engage in prosocial behavior, so teach your kid to be kind. It will make them more happy and popular.

3 It’s Not A Ghost; It’s Just Your Brain Messing Up

Have you ever been in an old room and felt the sensation that something or someone is close by when no one is around? Have you ever thought that there is a ghost around you? Well, turns out that’s just your brain messing up. For a long time, science has struggled with finding out why we believe in ghosts and in determining what leads people to feel that something otherworldly was around them.[8]

Now, we finally have an answer. Scientists have found the parts of the brain that are responsible for generating these weird sensations, such as feeling someone is around when nobody is there. The brain essentially misreads signals from the body and then tries to attribute those signals to something external instead of internal.

2 If You Want To Smell Good, Eat Garlic

We’ve all heard of the benefits of garlic, from helping to cure infections to warding off vampires. But in the smell department, garlic has another property: the ability to ward off others. Think of the warnings to avoid eating garlic on a date unless you want to drive them away or the advice to not eat garlic before an interview. Well, it turns out that if what you want is to attract the opposite sex, then eating garlic might be the thing for you.[9]

During studies, researches concluded that women actually find the odor of a male more alluring after eating garlic, so much so that the men who ate two servings of garlic smelled better and had less pungent body odor. So fear not, garlic lovers, you can enjoy that savory meal knowing that your smell will attract more than repel.

1 Generous Welfare Makes You More Likely To Work


A big source of argument is whether welfare good is for society or just creates moochers. This subject is ranked high in social debate and has been a hot topic in the US for quite some time. Many believe that a society that gives generous welfare is just creating people dependent on the government.

For a surprising view, we turn to Europe. It turns out that European countries that give generous welfare benefits have populations more committed and motivated to work.[10] If you want to make people work and make the economy climb, give better benefits. Welfare with generous benefit levels makes people who aren’t employed more likely to want to work rather than the contrary. As social spending gets more generous for the population, there is an increase in employment commitment.


10 Examples Of Amazing Animal Camouflage

10 Examples Of Amazing Animal Camouflage

Animals have spent hundreds of millions of years evolving, so they’ve had plenty of time to come up with some pretty amazing designs. From hilarious results such as the duck-billed platypus and the blobfish to the majestic likes of lions and elephants, nature has proven that it can produce pretty much anything.

But perhaps most amazing are the animals we don’t see. Some animals have evolved so acutely with their environment that they continue to evade scientific observation to this day. Below are just ten such examples of animals with amazing camouflage.

 

10 Soft Coral Crab

Photo credit: What’s That Fish

Hoplophrys oatesii is a species of crab found in the waters surrounding Indonesia. Growing to a whopping 1.5 to 2 centimeters (0.6–0.8 in), these crabs spend almost all of their life living in soft coral, giving them their common name, the soft coral crab.

The coral they live in, Dendronephthya, is very bushy and fluffy, which has led to the nickname “cotton candy corals.” The crabs survive by feeding on plankton that gets caught in the coral, giving them few reasons to ever leave. Their shells are covered in tiny spindles that look like the branches of the coral. But the crabs take things a step further by plucking off bits of the coraland attaching it to the spikes on their shells, giving them their other name, candy crabs.[1]

9 Lichen Katydid

While most insects aren’t considered the most beautiful of creatures at the best of times, the lichen katydid looks like someone was asked to design a Satanic demon bug. Hiding away in the treetops, this animal has used its camouflage to avoid scientific observation until recently, so there’s not a lot we know about them just yet, other than they have been spotted in Australia as well as Central and South America.[2]

Although all camouflages work by using a combination of shapes and colors, the lichen katydid takes this to a whole new level. The spines protruding from its body combine with brightly colored lines on their mostly dark bodies to produce an effect that makes the insect look hollow. To look at it, you might think it was a piece of art made with wire, rather than a real, living insect.

 

8 Dead Leaf Moth

Uropyia meticulodina is a species of moth that can be found in both China and Taiwan. While flying, U. meticulodina looks just like any other idiot moth smashing its head repeatedly against a light. But when it lands, it looks like something completely different.

Much like its distant cousin, the dead leaf butterfly, the dead leaf moth does exactly what it says on the tin: It looks like a dead leaf. But as spectacular as both of these creatures are, the butterfly has one fatal flaw that the moth has overcome. Butterfly wings rest vertically, meaning that it doesn’t just look like a dead leaf; it looks like one that is perfectly balanced on its side. The dead leaf moth, however, gives a more convincing performance. Their wings not only look like dead leaves; they appear to be ones that have curled up.[3] The veins in their wings line up perfectly with their patterns, creating an incredibly realistic 3-D effect, complete with shadows.

7 Whitebanded Crab Spider

Photo credit: Judy Gallagher

Misumenoides formosipes, commonly known as the whitebanded crab spider, is found across the United States and Canada. It was considered a pretty unremarkable spider up until recently, when it was discovered that not only does this spider have camouflage; it has active camouflage.[4]

Rather than using a web to trap prey, this spider sits atop flowers and pounces on anything that comes too close. Since the arachnids themselves are usually either white or yellow, they tend to stick with plants of those colors. But it was only in 2015 that scientists realized that female whitebanded crab spiders can swap back and forth between the colors by moving pigmented fluid through their bodies. The reason we hadn’t observed this before is that it’s the slowest camouflage ever. It takes between three and nine days for the spider’s color to completely change, so it’s easier for them to find a flower that matches their current color than to match whatever flower they find.

6 Tasseled Anglerfish

Photo credit: Sascha Schulz

Native to Australia, the tasseled anglerfish is one of more than 200 species of anglerfish. As you may know, anglerfish use lures protruding from their foreheads to draw in prey. But unlike the fish in Finding Nemo, the tasseled anglerfish is not a great swimmer. Slow and clunky, these fish actually have to drag themselves along the seafloor with their fins.

For that reason, they are better off resting on the rocks and letting the food come to them. Their only hope of catching prey, therefore, is to be invisible. They accomplish this in several different ways.[5] Firstly, they can manipulate their coloring to match their background. They are also covered in warts, which gives their skin a rougher, more rocklike appearance. Finally, they are covered in long spines and fleshy filaments that make them look like seaweed or coral. Unsuspecting prey can be attracted to the lure or simply searching for food among the seaweed before being inhaled by the anglerfish’s giant, gaping mouth.

 

5 Moorish Gecko

Photo credit: Danny S./CC BY-SA 3.0

Chameleons are by far the most famous animal when it comes to camouflage. They change color by altering their lower layers of skin, which are lined with nanocrystals. Tensing the skin brings these closer together, while relaxing it brings them further apart, causing light to reflect in different ways and giving them their new color. But chameleons aren’t the only lizards that have mastered the art of camouflage.

The Moorish gecko is a common lizard that can be found in Europe, Africa, North America, and Asia, either in coastal areas or urban environments. Like the chameleon, it can change color to match its surroundings. But unlike the chameleon, or any other land animal for that matter, the Moorish gecko does this by using the same technique employed by octopuses and cuttlefish. Their skin is filled with proteins known as opsins, which react to light. In one experiment, the lizards were placed on a new color, which they then matched. They were then fitted with tiny lizard blindfolds and were still able to match the color. But when their skin was covered up and their eyes left uncovered, the geckos were unable to change color, making them unique among land-dwelling camouflagers.[6]

4 Lanternfly

The lanternfly is a moth-like creature found worldwide. If you manage to spot some, you’ll be immediately drawn to their hilarious heads, which can be shaped like peanuts, alligators, saws, or anteater snouts.[7] But apart from the fact that their numbers are dwindling, you’re unlikely to see one anytime soon, as they can camouflage themselves.

The outer wings of the lanternfly pictured above are colored and shaped so that they blend in with the trees, from which they suck sap to survive. If the animal is threatened or frightened, it will open these wings to reveal the lower layer, which are patterned to look like the giant, glowing eyes of a predator.

Adelpha Serpa Celerio

Before blossoming into a beautiful black and white butterfly, the young form of Adelpha serpa celerio is a nightmarish monstrosity.[8] As a caterpillar, this little creature is covered in fluffy little spikes that look remarkably like leaves. With its mostly green coloring, this makes the caterpillar resemble moss, keeping it safe from nearby predators.

But it doesn’t stop there. Before becoming a butterfly, it must make itself a chrysalis (cocoon). To keep the creature safe as it undergoes its transformation, the chrysalis is quite unlike those you would see from your everyday caterpillar. This cocoon is incredibly detailed, using a combination of green and metallic coloring to create the illusion of a beetle-like creature, complete with body segments, eyes, wings, and two enormous pincers. This threatening appearance serves to ward off hungry intruders until it can complete its transition into a relatively normal-looking butterfly.

2 Lizard Snakes

Photo credit: pondhawk

If there’s one thing we know about lizards, it’s that, unlike snakes, they have legs. Well, we were all wrong. Native to North America, the glass lizard looks exactly like a snake but is, in fact, nothing more than a long, legless lizard.[9]Fortunately, the animals aren’t considered dangerous to humans at all, but their striking resemblance to snakes no doubt serves to protect them from larger hunters. The name “glass lizard” was given since, like other lizards, it will shed its tail if picked up. Since the tail makes up half of its body, this can be quite a dramatic “shattering.”

There is a similar creature known as the Florida wormlizard, which, despite its name, is neither a worm nor a snake. In fact, it isn’t even technically a lizard but belongs to its own family, Amphisbaenidae. They have no eyes or earholes, are pink, and spend most of their lives living underground. But if one does surface, it will look like a giant, 28-centimeter (11 in) earthworm, which, though completely harmless, is pretty disgusting.

1 Poop Caterpillar

There are four main types of camouflage employed by animals. Concealing coloration is when their color matches their environment, like a polar bear for example. Disruptive coloration is when they use colored patterns to break up their shape, like a tiger. Mimicry is when they impersonate another animal, like the lanternfly. And disguise is when they look like an object, such as a stick insect.

Presumably after some deliberation, Apochima juglansiaria decided that the best disguise it could assume was one which few animals would try to eat: bird poop.[10] Using simple black and white colors, this caterpillar will curl up to resemble avian droppings, protecting it from birds and other predators who just aren’t into that sort of thing. One experiment found that curling up made no difference in how often green caterpillars are preyed upon, but the black and white caterpillars were three times safer when curled. It’s an interesting choice of defense, but the results don’t lie.


FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Bizarre Animal Mating Habits

FASCINATING FACTS: 10 Bizarre Animal Mating Habits

Ah, sex! We do it; animals do it; birds do it. It’s nothing to be intrigued about. But wait! Did you know that in case of some animals, their genitalia explodes after they have coitus? Or did you know that some fish disguise themselves as a female to protect themselves against rival males and sneak out the females right under their noses? Curious? Then read on to find more such intriguing animal mating habits.

1. Female ducks are known to have complex vaginas that are lined with several dead-end pockets and tunnels in order to confuse unwanted male ducks and prevent forceful fertilization.

Image source: phenomena.nationalgeographic.com, Image credit: Pixabay

Mating in the animal world is driven by competition. The same happens when it comes to ducks. Male ducks are always challenged by rival males who try to force themselves upon the female. To have a competitive edge over rivals, males have large corkscrew-shaped penises that are lined with ridges and spines which enable them to deposit their sperm further into a female compared to their rivals.

But it’s the female ducks that offer the most interesting scenario. With the mating war going on for some time, females have developed an evolved and complex vagina. Their vaginas are long and twisted, complementing the male penises, but are lined with dead-end tunnels, pockets, and spirals that curve in the opposite direction.

The complex detailing of their vagina ensures that if a male duck forces himself upon a female, the chances of him fertilizing her are quite slim. Even if the male duck does ejaculate, there’s no surety that the semen has been deposited anywhere near the egg.(source)

2. Male giraffes take a mouthful of the female’s urine to find out if she is a good mate. The male first approaches the female and rubs her back to instigate urination. He then tastes the urine to determine if she is willing to mate.

Image credits: Brocken Inaglory/Wikimedia© Hans Hillewaert / CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia

Male giraffes use a strange way to determine whether the female is ready to mate or not. When a male giraffe approaches a female, he will first rub her backside until she urinates. When she urinates, the male giraffe tastes the urine to find out if the female is ready to mate. This is known as the “Flehmen sequence.”

If the male giraffe feels that she is willing to mate, then he starts stalking her. It has been observed in many cases that the female simply runs away from the male and keeps a lookout for better males. The male that tasted her urine keeps pursuing her until she agrees to the mating.

On the other hand, if a female develops an interest in a male giraffe, it is she who would pursue the male giraffe and get him to taste the urine. If the urine is to the male giraffe’s liking, then they end up having coitus very soon.

Another interesting case among giraffes is when two males fight over a female. It’s less fighting and more “necking” in which the males press their necks against each other until one of them gives up. They sometimes also swing their necks and try to hurt each other but that is very rare. Under such circumstances, it is the male with the long neck that wins a majority of the times. Once the fight is over, the males caress one another with their necks and end up having sex with each other! In fact, 75% to 94% of the time that male giraffes have coitus, it is with another male giraffe! The animal kingdom is strange!(1,2)

3. The testicles and penis of male bees “explode” and are ripped off right after sex with the queen bee. The queen bee goes on to mate with multiple partners leaving a trail of dead, penisless bees behind.

Image credits: Michael L. Smith/WikimediaMichael L. Smith/Wikimedia, Pixabay

The male honeybee exists for one and only one reason – to mate with the queen bee. Known as “drones,” this is the only service that the male bees contribute to their society. The queen soars into mid-air in the search for mates. The drones compete to mate with the queen and swarm around her as she flies.

Eventually, when a drone gets hold of the queen bee, he inserts his penis tightly into the queen bee’s reproductive tract with the help of pressure of his abdominal muscles. Without losing any time, the drone immediately ejaculates. The ejaculation requires such explosive force that the tip of his penis ruptures. The broken penis remains inside the queen. The drone collapses to the ground where he dies soon after mating with the queen bee.

Moreover, it’s not just one drone bee that gives his life to fertilize the queen. The queen mates with dozens of bees and during this, she leaves behind a series of dead bees who sacrificed their lives.(source)

4. Quolls are very violent and ruthless while mating and often get their females killed during the act. As if that’s not bad enough, the males put out so much energy during the mating season that they lose weight, get bald, and die within only a few weeks of their sexual rampage.

Image credit: Ways/Wikimedia

When you are a quoll, life is tough. You end up spending your life fighting for female attention and fighting with rival males, only to end up dead just after you have got it all. That too, before you even get to your first birthday!

Quolls have a lifespan of only 12 months. In that time, they travel long distances to find female mates. In the meantime, they are also required to fight off rival males who are in the same pursuit. They travel as far as 10 square kilometers, which is a long range away from home.

All the pursuit for mates wears out the male quolls. They begin losing weight and hair, and just within a few weeks of their reproductive cycle, they lose their life. According to Jaime Heiniger, a University of Queensland Ph.D. student who has been studying the behavior of quolls, this unusual reproductive behavior is known as “semelparity,” and even though it’s common in the animal kingdom, it occurs rarely in mammals.(source)

5. Gray whales mate in threes. One of the males involved is non-dominant and acts as a support to hold the female in place so that she doesn’t float away.

Image credit: Charles Melville Scammon/Wikimedia

Gray whales are one of the most majestic marine creatures. But their mating process can raise a few eyebrows! During the mating season, that is in the months of November and December, gray whales begin to be spotted in groups of three or more.

The reason being this is the time when they are on the lookout for eligible females to mate. The whales perform a behavior known as “Spy Hopping,” where they put their heads out of the water and scan the surrounding area for females, at the same performing some circular motions to attract them. After few hours, they split into groups of three comprised of one female and two males.

Both the males have a part to play in the mating process, but there is a dominant male who can be identified as the one extending a single flipper. He lies motionless on the surface of the water, waiting for the female. The female approaches him, grazing him with her flippers, and lies belly-to-belly with him. The mating then begins which can last up to an hour during which they mate several times.

Where is the second male in all of this? Well, he lies on the far side of the female, holding her tight to the dominant male so that she doesn’t float away in the middle of the ritual. That’s a strange kind of partnership that you wouldn’t see anywhere.(source)

6. When anglerfish mate, their bodies melt into each other. They then share their bodies forever. The male latches and fuses onto the female, losing his internal organs in the process, until they share a bloodstream.

Image source: Wikimedia

Anglerfish might just be the most angry-looking deep sea creature. Their females have a distinctive piece of the spine that protrudes above their mouths. It looks like a fishing pole and acts as a bait for prey.

But that’s not what we are interested in. Anglerfish literally become one when they mate. When a free-swimming young, male anglerfish encounters a female anglerfish, he latches onto her with the help of his sharp teeth. After some time passes by, the male fusses with the body of the female physically. He loses his eyes and internal organs in the process, and at the end of the fusion, they end up sharing the same bloodstream. The only organ that remains of the male is his testes. Since not just one male has sexual encounters with a female, the female carries around five to six males on her body! Crazy right?(source)

7. Male dolphins sometimes separate the females from their families and deny them food until they agree to mate.

Image credit: Pixabay

Dolphins are universally loved creatures. They are always happy and contribute their share of spreading happiness around. Also, their behavior and the large size of their brains indicate a high level of intelligence.

But the story is quite different when it comes to mating. A group of male dolphins would form an alliance with another group of male dolphins to seek help while luring fertile females from the hands of rival males. And after they have succeeded in stealing the female away, the alliance remains intact to ensure that the female behaves and complies with requests of courtship.

Two or three males surround the female like guards. If she tries to escape, then the males chase after her, bite her, slap her with their fins or slam into her with their heavy bodies. They even deny them food until they agree to mate with one of the males.

But once a dolphin gives birth, the alliance loses interest in her and goes off on their next adventure. The females raise their kids as single mothers for four to five years.(source)

8. The adult luna moths develop without a mouth as their only purpose is to mate during their 7-day lifespan. After this, they die of starvation.

Image source: creationwiki.orgWikimedia

Ever heard of anyone brought into this world for just seven days with the only purpose of mating? Sounds crazy, but that is the life of the luna moths. The luna moths stay inside their cocoons even after they have turned into adults via metamorphosis. It’s only when all the biological factors are suitable that they come out of their cocoon. Just after they emerge from the cocoon, their abdomens are swollen and their wings are yet to be fully developed. This takes around two to three hours.

The things that stand out is that they do not have mouths. Luna moths come to the world without any mouths and they just have a lifespan of one week during which they do not consume any food. Their sole purpose is to look for mates.

The females, on the other hand, give off pheromones to attract males. Normally, a female mates with the first male that approaches her. Once a male moth approaches a female, they mate and remain in the same position until the next evening if left undisturbed. After their separation, the female looks around for hosts on which to lay her eggs. Once a week passes by, the male moths starve to death.(1,2)

9. Mating for pandas is difficult because the sexual interest of the female lasts just 24-72 hours per year.

Image credit: Tim Evanson/flickrscreengrab via ibtimes.co.uk

Mating among pandas is a tricky business. This is because the female pandas are not always in the mood for breeding. They are just in the mood for one to three days in a year! That’s a very short time for the male pandas to woo the female as well as convince her to have coitus.

A few researchers have discovered that several months prior to the females entering their phase of ovulation, the males start getting ready. It’s also a possibility that the sperm production increases among males during the few months leading up to the time when the females are in the ovulation phase. This is in order to accommodate the brief window when the females express interest in breeding.

In China, a breeding and research center for pandas resorted to “panda porn” to get two grown-up pandas to mate.(1,2)

10. Weak, male cuttlefish pretend to be female by changing their skin color so that they can sneak past the bigger males and mate with the real females right under their noses.

Image credits: Nhobgood Nick Hobgood/WikimediaJoi Ito/flickr

Cuttlefish have taken sexual trickery to new depths. Cuttlefish have heightened the ability to change their color for communication purposes. Male cuttlefish are normally adorned with pulsating stripes, whereas females have dots on their body.

Scientists have observed an unbelievable phenomenon while observing cuttlefish mate. They noticed that weak, male cuttlefish tag along, disguised as females, with breeding male-female pairs. They wait for their chance to woo the female when the strong male is not around.  The strong male never doubts the cuttlefish in disguise and goes off to tackle other rivals. As soon as he is gone, the weak cuttlefish reveals its true colors to the female, woos her, and mates with her. In case the strong male returns back unexpectedly, the weak male cuttlefish quickly changes its color again to look like a female! This is some high-level social intelligence going on here!(source)