In 2009, brothers Alexander and Vitaly Drozdov walked along the banks of the Maza Jugla River in Latvia. They saw two swans lying in the river, hopelessly tangled around each other’s necks and wings. It was a really bizarre sight. The swans swam toward them as if they hoped that the humans can help them.
The Drozdovs carefully untangled them and set them free. You can see it at the 3:10 mark in the video.
This video has gone viral in the past couple weeks. It leads to an obvious question: how the did these swans get wrapped around each other so much that they could not physically separate themselves? Turn to National Geographic for an answer. It interviewed Brian K. Schmidt, a bird expert at the Smithsonian. Schmidt says that these were probably two male swans who fought each other for territory:
This is the first time I have seen this, but I'm sure it does happen on occasion. [It's] similar to deer getting their antlers entangled."
The swans' neck fighting, coupled with hitting each other, caused them to get stuck.
Mute swan battles are rarely fatal but can be quite violent, nonetheless.
"If the intruder doesn't back down, it goes to a face-off with the birds striking each other with their wings and entangling their necks and biting each other," he says.
Have you ever been petting a dog who lets you know in no uncertain terms that you've cut short the behavior prematurely and need to report to duty again asap? My dog has a little move we call the noseflip. One bump of his nose underneath your now resting hand will make the hand go flying in the desired petting direction. Aaand repeat. It seems as if every one of the canines shown here have mastered their own set of unique moves.
The tenth incarnation of the Doctor was known for many things- his signature trench coat, his love of 3D glasses, and his madcap personality, but there's one French phrase that describes him better than all the rest. It has come to be known as his catchphrase, though who needs a catchphrase when you're a time travelling lord, and whenever we hear that phrase uttered we can't help but think of the tenth. That phrase, of course, is Allons-Y, meaning "let's go", and when the Doctor shows up at your door yelling "Allons-Y, Allons-Y!" you either go or regret not going for the rest of your life!
Bring some sci-fi character to your geeky wardrobe with this Allonsy! t-shirt by Tom Ryan's Studio, it's a fun way to show love for your favorite incarnation of the Doctor!
Bertrand “Bud” Gearhart (R-CA) was a member of the US House of Representatives from 1935-1949. In the early years of the Cold War, he was concerned about Soviet international ambitions, especially as the French and British empires receded. He thought it prudent that American strength should reach out to confront the Soviets. Gearhart was particularly concerned about the north Atlantic. So, in 1947, he introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would seek to purchase Greenland from Denmark and offer statehood to Iceland, which had been an independent nation for nearly 3 years. An Associated Press report from that time quotes him:
“Americans must give thought to the ramparts we watch, not merely to the ramparts we once watched,” Gearhart declared in the house. “It is time we give some consideration to the ever avaricious outside world.”
“With Russia extending herself in all directions and England and France clinging tenaciously to their respective empires,” Gearhart added, the islands should be acquired to ensure the defense of the U.S. and possessions “before the last flicker of gratitude among our erstwhile allies dies out.”
I can find no evidence that the House passed the bill.
Source: “U.S. Expansion Aim of Measure.” The Oregonian 25 Feb. 1947: 4. America’s Historical Newspapers, 1690-2000. Web. 1 April 2015.
The classic anthropological hypothesis on why humans have so much pain in childbirth compared to other animals, even our closest relatives, is the obstetrical dilemma (OD) hypothesis. That says that human babies have large brains, and human birth canals aren’t really big enough because we walk on two legs instead of four. It’s also why human babies are born so helpless and underdeveloped compared to apes. That’s the conventional wisdom, although if you look closely, there’s not much empirical evidence that even wider hips and a bigger birth canal would hinder a woman’s ability to walk. Biological anthropologist Holly Dunsworth gives us a different hypothesis, called EGG (energetics, growth, gestation) to explain the length of human gestation, which controls the other factors.
The EGG hypothesizes that mothers give birth when they do because they cannot possibly give any more energy into gestation and fetal growth. And when you look at the data available on pregnancy and lactation metabolism in our species, it suggests that right around 9 months of gestation, mothers reach the metabolic ceiling for most humans.
Here’s Herman’s Figure 3 from our paper, showing the EGG for humans, plotted with real metabolic data. Circles are the offspring, squares are the mother. Notice how fetal energy demands increase exponentially as the end of a normal human gestation period approaches. To keep it in any longer, mother would have to burst through her normal metabolic ceiling. Instead, she gives birth and remains in a safe and feasible metabolic zone.
You worrying that you gestated too long or too little compared to the species average is a bit like you worrying that you’re shorter or taller than average, have a larger or smaller head than average, have more saliva than average, or that you can’t intentionally fart. Stop worrying about your normal variation. Variation exists because it works. There’s safe wiggle room around most traits and sometimes there’s even full-on spasmodic dancing room. We’d be extinct if there wasn’t any room for variation in how to survive and reproduce. Celebrate your weirdness, your slightly long healthy gestation, your slightly short healthy gestation, your big healthy baby, your small healthy baby, your freckles, your asymmetrical face, your hairy knuckles, your lack of wisdom teeth, your pterodactyl toes. Who cares! If life’s getting on with your weird ass, then you can certainly get on with life.
Whether you’re a true fan of the genre or not, you have to admit that a good epic Western adventure is pure escape from the trials and trivia of modern day life. This supercut by Robert Jones has only the best ones, featuring John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, Robert Redford, Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Charles Bronson, Gary Cooper, and stars from a few Western comedies you know and love, too. Take three minutes for a nostalgia break with this video. -Thanks, Robert!
Christine Royles, 23, of South Portland, Maine needed a kidney. She took a spot on the national waiting list for a donor kidney, which is over 100,000 patients long. The odds were bad, so in an act of desperation, she wrote a message on the back of her car asking for a kidney.
“I looked over,” says Ashley Dall-Leighton, “and I go, ‘Oh, my God, that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever read.’ And he’s like, ‘What?’ And I read it out loud, and he said, ‘Did you get the number? Text her right now.'”
Americans find Canadians fascinating in many ways, and even though our neighbors to the north are way more like us than many ‘Mericans would like to admit we're fascinated by the differences in our cultures.
We have an undeniable fascination with Canadian slang, which many Americans are introduced to by TV shows like The Kids In The Halland SCTV, and the most Canadian movie ever made, Strange Brew.
Bob and Doug taught us when to use words like “hoser” and “beauty”, and to follow up most sentences with “eh?!”, but most Canadian slang eludes Americans because we don’t hear it on a daily basis.
Mr. T is part tough guy, part motivational speaker and all larger-than-life, and even though he has played some iconic roles during his thirty plus years in showbiz he simply hasn’t been in enough stuff.
Maybe it’s his immutable style, or his gruff method of delivering lines, but whatever the reason Mr. T is a hard hire for projects with scripts sadly missing the stage direction “Mr. T enters and talks about pitying fools".
It’s called chainsaw ice skating and Erik Sunnerheim is a master of it. A chainsaw smoothly chews through the ice of a frozen lake, pulling him rapidly over it.
This would make a great addition to ice hockey! Players could alternate the use of their chainsaws for propulsion and as hockey sticks. Or they could each hold a chainsaw in one hand and a hockey stick in the other. Let’s try it! Here, hold my beer.
See, trees have knots, and the cat is on, or in, one. The fact that it’s a standard overhand knot is just plain weird. We don’t know the provenance of this picture, as it has been shared on Pinterest more than anywhere else. The caption style makes it appear to be quite old. But isn’t it a delight? -via Arbroath
Nintendo has created their own signature brand of strange during their thirty plus years in the video game business, and yet even they have cancelled games because they were just too strange to sell.
Games like Donkey Kong's Fun With Music and Super Mario Spikers had all the right faces, and yet they didn't properly fit into the mainstream Nintendo universe, deemed too weird to sell.
And then there's Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch, a game that sounds like a great follow up on paper but actually stunk worse than Venusian slime when playtested. It's a shame Intergalactic Power Punch never got off the ground, because we finally could have played as Tyson!
The Lumpy Space Princess was born with all her lovely lady lumps, so she's had time to figure out how to work what she's got and drive the guys wild! It's not every day that some ordinary guy from a candy kingdom gets to talk to an actual alien princess, and when she's also delightfully lumpy it's like a two-for-one for some lucky dude! The only guy who doesn't seem swayed by her lovely lady lumps is Finn, but that's because he likes those stuck up skinny girls who do science and stuff, and he doesn't realize what an adventure he's missing!
Isn't it time you brought some lumps to your geeky wardrobe? With this You Can't Handle These Lumps t-shirt by Guicanoide you can get all lumpy and make your fellow fans turn purple with envy!
From a confidential Transportation Security Administration document that was leaked to The Intercept by, according to them, "a source concerned about the quality of the program," comes this checklist of behaviors said by the TSA to be indicative of possible terrorist activity. The checklist is a guide for TSA agents to score suspects at the airport. It is part of a controversial protocol called SPOT, an acronym that stands for Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques. Each behavior on the checklist that is identified in a suspect scores them "points."
Part of the list of behaviors reads as follows:
Excessive Throat Clearing
After flying home from my last vacation still suffering from the remnants of a virus, its safe to say I could have been classified as dangerous based on those two behaviors alone.
Read more on this story and see copies of the TSA documents in question, which include the other behaviors that mark airline passengers as suspicious, at The Intercept.
Mental_floss takes a closer look at pigs in this week’s List Show. Why pigs? Because every time someone mentions pork, they have to put money in the piggy bank, and it’s time to fill the bank to finance a party. But there have been some pretty interesting pigs in our history, and fascinating facts about our delicious porcine livestock. And since it’s April Fool’s Day, they thought it would be nice to have a really silly subject. Still interesting.
Measuring stuff can be an ordeal, what with the 2.54 centimeters in an inch and the 453.592 grams in a pound, but if you think the differences between U.S. customary and metric are wacky you've never tried to measure the amount of land a single person behind a single oxen can till "in the morning hours."
At least the units used by the two main systems of measurement make sense, but how the heck did people use “a cow’s grass”, aka the amount of grazing land needed to feed a single cow, as a unit of measurement?
And if you think that’s hard to wrap your head around try measuring the difference in shoe sizes by The Barleycorn, which originally stood for the size of a corn of barley but has since been standardized to 1/3 of an inch. The Barleycorn must die!
You’re lying in bed, tired. But you’re also hungry. That’s a problem, unless you’re sleeping on The Gummy Bear Mattress, a special queen size mattress commissioned by furniture supplier Craig’s Beds. The company made it in collaboration with Twelv magazineusing over 26,000 gummy bears. Craig’s Beds insists that the bears are hibernating, so it’s safe to sleep on them. It hopes to use the mattress to promote its new Summerfield mattress.
Studio 54 made a name for itself by being the kind of place where anything goes, and the trendy New York nightclub was known for playing host to some of the most famous faces of the day.
These people didn’t necessarily want their picture taken while partaking of all the fun Studio 54 had to offer, but there were artists and photographers present who blended right in with the club’s star studded clientele.
One shutterbug who totally dug that Studio 54 vibe was named Hasse Persson, and he was there to capture it all and document the club's microcosm of reality. Unfortunately Hasse’s photos were never published and therefore never shared with the curious world...until now.
Max Strom's new book Studio 54 features never before published photographs by Hasse Persson, images that immortalize some of the amazingly rare moments that took place at Studio 54, like Andy Warhol acting like a goofball!
Imgur userMorbidMalignantmade a series of infographics that give credit where credit is due in terms of zombie and people killing on The Walking Dead. The carnage fest is such fun to watch that viewers may have lost count, so these graphics are a handy guide to the slaughter. The top nine killers of Season One are below;the rest of the graphics and stats on the top ten killers from the remaining seasons are here.
Some monks sit and read old bible verses all day, some sit in silence and pray for the world’s sins, and then there are those monks who train both their bodies and their spirits to become mighty enlightened.
Check out this video of a Shaolin monk who has trained his body to become an ultimate tool of awesomeness- he's able to withstand just about anything his sparring partner throws at him, including a drill to the head. (Warning- totally intense!)
Perhaps our most beloved and revered U.S. president, Abraham Lincoln was our 16th commander-in-chief. As most of us know, Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated. He was also our first bearded U.S. president.
He also managed to get our country through the Civil War, the bloodiest-ever war in our nation's history. Although critics and revisionists may question his intentions, it is apparent to most people that Lincoln was instrumental in the ending of the horrible institution of slavery in america. Lincoln was, by all accounts, a brilliant man, a gifted writer and a captivating public speaker. Alright, let's take a look at a few facts you may not have known about Mr. Abraham Lincoln.
* When Lincoln was nine, a horse kicked him in the forehead while he was in the middle of a sentence. He fell unconscious for several hours and when he awoke, his first words were the completion of the sentence he had been saying when the horse kicked him.
* Lincoln was a licensed bartender. He owned a saloon before becoming president.
* Lincoln and his future assassin, John Wilkes Booth, were photographed together at Lincoln's inauguration.
Dig that old VCR out of your closet and plug it in. We’ve got a dusty, worn copy of the classic 80s TV show Breaking Bad. The website Stan’s VHS has cassette boxes for television shows and movies that began long after the VHS era was over. Check out similar covers for Guardians of the Galaxy, Game of Thrones, and Gravity:
Moustaches are manly but not that scary, but as soon as they become part of a beard the whole hairy look becomes utterly terrifying, that is if you're a villain. Sometimes they get scared because the man behind the beard is a cold hearted badass, other times they're terrified by the thought of all that mystical power concealed within a guy's gray shaggy beard, and then there's the Wolverine. He's such a stud that he doesn't need a moustache or beard hairs in the middle of his chin to make a statement, his claws do all the talking for him!
Spread awareness about the power of facial hair with this Fear The Beard t-shirt by Butnyes, which can also be used as a field guide to personality types in the urban jungle.
Poor little R2. Not only are his words eternally censored, he's also stuck rolling around on some wheeled legs that are useless in the heat of battle. Now, thanks to Yamaguchi Katuhisa, he can finally live out his fantasies of being the butt-kicking machine he always wanted to be.
It's about time the little droid got to express himself and defend his friends! Of course, leave it to c-3P0 to turn a little robot's dreams into something mildly distrubing.
Attack On Titan is one of the most deliciously dark anime series ever created, and fans of the show have been creating mashups and parodies based on the show’s epic theme song since well before it made its way to the U.S.
Some simply added the theme song to a preexisting video and created a unique mashup, while others created their own brand of awesomeness to fit the song, an original creation that visually captures the spirit of the show: