Neil and Michael Fletcher, brothers from Sudbury, Ontario, found a bald eagle with one foot stuck in a hunting trap. They approached the skittish bird and draped a sweater over its head. The eagle eventually calmed down enough so that the brothers could open the trap and remove the bird.
"The eagle was actually holding on to [the trap] and we were having a hard time getting him to let go," [Neil Fletcher] said.
Once the eagle's foot was out of the trap, Neil suggested they take a selfie with it.
"I knew this would never happen again, so before we let it go, I told my brother Michael, 'we should take a picture with it.' The bird had its mouth open, but he never tried to fly or bite or do anything," he said.
"It made it pretty easy [for us to] take a picture with it."
After documenting the rescue, they released the eagle. Chris Blomme of the Sudbury Ornithological Society said it was a brave thing to do. The story at CBC News has videos of the rescue and the release. -via Fark
Diseases brought by Europeans wiped out 90% of the people living in the New World, which allowed conquest and colonization. That happens when long-isolated populations meet for the first time. Have you ever wondered why it didn’t go the other way? Why didn’t New World diseases wreak havoc on Europeans?
CGP Grey explains how the differences between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres over the long history of civilization left us with plague, typhus, cholera, smallpox, and other diseases, but no “Americapox.” The transcript is at Grey’s website, and there’s a discussion at his subreddit. -via Geeks Are Sexy
Your winter wonderland of snow is cold, wet, and slippery. The sleigh skids off a cliff and everyone dies. Or else you get pneumonia and frostbite, too. That’s the mood of this version of "Jingle Bells."
Have you ever tried to direct your dreams? Think of something wonderful as you are falling asleep to see if it stays in your brain. Well, your brain has different ideas. Sarah Andersen illustrates that terrifically in the latest comic at Sarah’s Scribbles.
Science has shown us that people who are generous and altruistic are happier and healthier than people who aren’t, no matter what economic class they belong to. But it’s not as easy to be kind to strangers as you’d think. Everyday people are often suspicious of acts of kindness, especially from someone they don’t know. Psychologist Sandi Mann, who is studying the “pay it forward” phenomenon, found this out firsthand when she tried to give away an extra coffee at the cafe when it came with her child’s breakfast. No one wanted to accept it!
It was only once she framed the act differently, so that it seemed more logical, and less altruistic, that their attitudes changed. “Suddenly it was a different story altogether – it made perfect sense that my kid won’t drink coffee.” They still refused, but “the suspicion vanished, and there were smiles, and thanks”. Eventually it was accepted by a lady named Rochel, who subsequently found an opportunity later in the week to treat someone else.
That initial mistrust was a common theme for each of the following 13 days – in which she tried to offer strangers an umbrella on a rainy day, pay for someone’s parking ticket, and let fellow shoppers jump ahead of her in checkout queues. “Suspicion was the strongest reaction throughout,” she says. Each time, it was only when she offered a rational explanation – such as the fact she was waiting for someone at the checkout – that people would accept her offers. Looking back, Mann now explains it as “stranger danger”. “We’re brought up to expect strangers to put one over us,” she says.
It’s true that we often mistrust strangers bearing gifts, because we don’t want to suffer the fate of the Trojans. And free gifts so often come with strings attached. But there may be other forces at work, like a feeling we don't deserve something free, or an unwanted implied obligation to pay it back or forward. And research also tells us that spite and greed are more contagious than kindness- which only makes the effort of spreading kindness more crucial. Read more about the research on kindness and generosity at BBC Future. -via Digg
Well, John reacted naturally, and spit right back. Things escalated from there until a trainer stepped in to break it up. The man and dolphin made up, and a good time was had by all. -via Viral Viral Videos
This quiz from mental_floss is driving me nuts. It’s a simple concept: just recognize all the U.S. states by their names. Easy, huh? But the names are scattered among words that are not U.S. states. Some are cities, some are places in other countries, and some are just a bit mangled. And if you pick the wrong one, the quiz is over and you have to reload to try again. But the hardest thing about it is that you only have one minute to go through them all! If you read too fast, you’re liable to click on a wrong name. If you go too slow, time will run out. And you will have to stop and scroll a couple of times. The best I’ve gotten so far is 41 of them when time ran out. I hope you can beat that!
A security camera caught an absolutely bizarre traffic accident in China. You don’t see any of the cars hitting each other (at first, although the two vans eventually collide). They just stand up and start a weird dance! What’s going on?
Turns out that there’s a cable lying across the road, waiting for a phone pole installation. A street sweeper, which you can see on the right side, sweeps it up and winds the cable into its rotating brushes, which pulls it taut just as the three vehicles are passing over it. -via Boing Boing
Shane Victorino of the Boston Red Sox fell into the stands. The crowd helped him up. But there’s a lot more going on in this clip if you watch it a few times. Look at it again, and keep your eyes on the guy with the blue shirt with red sleeves. He moves in to help Victorino, but is no help at all. Victorino is up, so the guy knocks a woman’s phone onto the field, breaking it. Victorino hands the phone back, so the guy knocks a woman’s beer into her face. Really, if you’re going to be a walking train wreck, learn about personal space.
This happened during a game between the Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers in 2013. You can see the original video here. You kinda get the idea that if you watched the sequence a few more times, some other weird things will start happening. -via reddit
Rapper and comedian Dan Bull (previously at Neatorama) and his cats Jimmy and Sammy had a visit from a fox.
This incredible encounter happened to me this week. The fox was curled up asleep at my back door. Foxes are normally nocturnal and will run away if they spot you anywhere near. But I just sat there for ages chilling with this fox and two of my cats Jimmy and Sammy. I sensed no hostility from either side, just a relaxed inquisitiveness.
This past week marked the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. Einstein was only 26 years old when he came up with it. The theory married space and time together, with one affecting the other. Mass and energy aren’t all that different from each other, either. They all mesh together to produce the universe as we know it.
The UK’s Science & Technology Facilities Council presents a video from Jamie Lochhead and Eoin Duffy that explains the general outline of Einstein’s work in relativity, narrated by David Tennant of Doctor Who. -via the A.V. Club
It’s become a holiday tradition for Jimmy Fallon to perform a medley of holiday songs set to the tunes of pop hits from the previous year. Or, you can put it another way: pop music hits of the past year with new holiday lyrics.
Poor kitty! This big red nose isn’t to guide Santa’s sleigh (although that might work). Redditor marklyon’s cat was stung by a bee. He was taken to a vet, and he’s fine now. But he sported a resemblance to W.C. Fields for a while. The cat was also compared to a clown, Karl Malden, Gerard Depardieu, Squidward, and Jimmy Durante.
For the third year in a row, Buzzfeed asked the UK for a Thanksgiving gift: British people trying to label the states on U.S. maps. Honestly, Brits know a lot about the U.S., but when they are confronted with a map asking for fifty labels, it’s suddenly difficult and confusing. I’m surprised they did as well as they did. Most of the folks who tried it labeled all the states whether they knew them or not, which is priceless. In the map above, I live in the state of “not here.” See all 21 maps.
Sweden is celebrating the beginning of the Christmas season in the traditional way -with the Gävle Goat! Every year since 1966 the people of Gävle, Sweden, erect a huge straw goat for Christmas. We’ve covered the ups and downs of the goat over the years, when it sometimes comes to a bad end.
You may have some older relatives that get all nostalgic about salt-rising bread. You don’t see it much anymore, because it’s hard to make and not all that popular among anyone who wasn’t raised with it. The smell is described like either cheese or dirty socks. But those who love it really love it. Salt-rising bread doesn’t even have salt in it, and no one is sure how the name came about. It was made by pioneering American women who didn’t have access to yeast, and who didn’t always have sourdough starter ready. They made salt-rising bread rise with environmental bacteria. Yes, they did.
In the early 20th century, this lengthy, yeast-less process also became an interest of microbiologists. In 1914, Richard N. Hart noted in his book Leavening Agents that salt-rising bread “seems to fail in a well-sterilized room," and alludes to the experiments of Henry A. Kohman, who discovered that salt-rising dough lacked yeast completely “but literally swarmed with bacteria.”
In 1910 Kohman was funded by the aforementioned bread-obsessed Kansas Governor, Walter R. Stubbs, to learn how bakers may reliably make it, and concluded that a variety of anaerobic bacteria allowed the bread to rise. In 1923, microbiologist Stuart A. Koser began to suspect the mix might include bacteria found in human intestines and wounds.
The experiments Kohman did after that might make you a little queasy, but the fact is that not a single case of food poisoning has been attributed to salt-rising bread. Read what we know about this classic bread, including instructions for making your own starter, at Atlas Obscura.
Mufasa’s journey to freedom began in April, when ADI received a tip-off that Circo Koreander was illegally operating with wild animals in an isolated village in northern Peru. ADI, police and wildlife officers moved in for a surprise raid but were met by hostile resistance. An eight hour stand-off saw riot police and a Public Prosecutor called in before Mufasa – Peru’s last wild animal in a circus – was handed over, along with a condor.
The cat was taken to the Spirit of Freedom rescue centre near Lima to recover. He got veterinary care and a pen to stretch out in. When he recovered his health, Mufasa was taken on a three-day journey to the Taricaya Ecological Reserve at the edge of the Tambopata rainforest reserve. Now he has both support and the freedom to run through the forest. -via Viral Viral Videos
Otis Johnson was recently released from prison after serving 44 years. Think about how much the world has changed in 44 years. If you weren’t there to see it changing gradually, how surprising would it be? Honestly, I’m surprised by how much has changed, and I saw it happen.
The scenes of Johnson taking in the sights of city streets will remind you of Back to the Future Part 2, if only Marty McFly had aged into an elderly man on his way to 2015. Johnson is 69 years old, and unlikely to find a job. He didn’t pay into the Social Security system. He has no children, and no contact with other family members.
Upon release from prison, Johnson was handed an ID, documents outlining his criminal case history, $40 and two bus tickets. Having lost all family connections while serving his sentence, Johnson now relies on Fortune Society, a nonprofit that provides housing and services to ex-prisoners in Harlem.
Randall Munroe posted an interactive xkcd comic yesterday that’s a video game called Hoverboard. I played it for a short time, but I gave up because I was busy (it’s Thanksgiving week, after all). I do like how encouraging it is: Once I got the result “You got 0 coins in three seconds. You successfully avoided all the coins!” Heh. Then today, I see that the opening screen is just a tiny part of a massive game world you can explore if you take the time. If you’re skeptical, here’s a scrollable map, although you may want to wait and see what you can find on your own before peeking. There’s supposedly a story involved that only becomes clear as you progress through the game.
Revolver was the seventh studio album released by the Beatles, the landmark recording came out on August 5, 1966. Without question, no Beatles album has risen in the esteem of critics, reviewers, fans and aficionados over the past 40 years as Revolver.
When the Fabs called it quits in 1969, it was pretty much agreed that Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, their breakthrough 1967 album, was the band's pinnacle. Now, interestingly, Sgt. Pepper is deemed by many Beatle people as being slightly dated, still very good, but a bit of a flower power era relic, too much caught in a set period of time, whereas the Beatles music, like all great art, has more of a timeless quality and effect. Revolver is now judged by possibly a majority of Beatle followers as being the group's pinnacle as a recording team, their masterwork.
Before the title Revolver was chosen, several other possible titles were tossed around by the boys, including Abracadabra, Beatles on Safari, Pendulum, and Magic Circles. John suggested Four Sides of the Eternal Triangle, while Ringo wittily thought of dubbing it After Geography (the Rolling Stones' had recently released the LP After Math).
Finally, Revolver was agreed upon by all four of the Beatles, apparently in Tokyo, while they were jointly working on a group painting. (The Revolver does not refer to a gun or firearm, but to that fact that a record album "revolves" on the turntable.)
Revolver also was the harbinger of the Beatles clearly defined second chapter. After being the four "mop tops" for going on four years, the group's creativity, experimentation with drugs, and natural boredom and restlessness was soon to usher in an entirely new era for the world's most popular quartet. Soon, in very short order, the cuddly, cheerful, wisecracking Liverpool musicians would be caught up in a political scandal with the first family in Manila, get death threats for daring to playing in the sacred Budokan Arena in Tokyo, and worst of all, John Lennon would cause an international scandal by sarcastically claiming that the Beatles "were more popular than Jesus.”
Jeff Wysaski created a mockup Black Friday circular and posted it at some poor Target store. The items offered are obviously fake if you take a minute to think about them: a tent with an angry possum in it? A free falcon with a $75 order? You have to look closely to catch all the jokes.
But then there are these “exclusive Star Wars toys.” Who wouldn’t want a C-3P Fro? Or an Episode VII hot dog blaster? Personally, I want the Luke Skymopper. See several more pages of these at Obvious Plant.
Ask Americans what they’re eating on Thanksgiving, and the overwhelming majority (82% here) will say turkey, usually with dressing and gravy. Sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are pretty universal, too. But there are regional differences in what people select to put on the table, especially in side dishes. FiveThirtyEight held an online poll, crunched the numbers, and came up with a map showing which side dish is disproportionally popular in various regions of the U.S. These aren’t the only dishes that show regional variance.
Going deeper, the Southeast is the definitive home of canned cranberry sauce; respondents from the region are 50 percent more likely to pick that over the homemade variety. The Middle Atlantic states disproportionately have cauliflower as a side — 17 percent in the region versus 9 percent nationwide — while Texas and central Southern states see cornbread as far more necessary than the rest of the country, with 40 percent of respondents from those regions having it at dinner, compared with only 28 percent of the nation.
It makes sense to me, because Thanksgiving is all about food tradition. Cornbread was once a staple of every meal in the South, whereas fresh cranberries were hard to find down here before modern food transport methods were in place. So we eat what our grandparents ate 50 years ago, more so on Thanksgiving than other days. That said, I only serve macaroni and cheese at Thanksgiving when there are little children around. Read more about the various regional Thanksgiving side dishes at FiveThirtyEight. -via Marilyn Terrell
What’s not to love about snow? It’s deep, and cool, and slippery! It can be hard or it can float on air. You can jump on top of it or dig underneath it. And best of all, the kids are playing in it! The drawbacks are that it’s cold and hard to drive in, but if you’re a dog, you have a fur coat and nowhere to drive anyway. -via Tastefully Offensive
Cooking is always a science lesson, whether you let your kids know it or not. And it can often be a history lesson, too. Sometimes you can throw geography in there, or genealogy if you play your cards right. But most of all, it’s a way to combine family time, learning time, and best of all, eating time into one glorious celebration. If he learns nothing else, Moishe will be able to make his own pancakes one day. This comic is from Lunarbaboon.
The internet is like everything else: you invent something new, and soon others will exploit it for nefarious ends. And I’m not just talking about cable internet providers. Both existing organized crime syndicates and new players wasted no time in figuring out ways to exploit the world wide web to steal money, scam the unaware, and attack enemies. And that’s just the beginning. There’s a lot of everyday global trade in contraband, especially drugs.
While most of us might turn to Amazon or eBay as our go-to for ordering just about anything, there’s an entirely darker layer to the internet, where organized crime has moved the sale of all manner of contraband – especially drugs. It started in 2011 with Silk Road, named for the famous trading route of the Han Dynasty. Silk Road is surprisingly similar to eBay – except in what you can buy there.
According to Pursuit Magazine and journalist Kevin Goodman, who infiltrated the cybercrime network, once users got past layers and layers on encryption, they found what was essentially Etsy for narcotics. After creating a user name and password and supplying payment information, buyers could place orders for an astounding array of illegal products. The site held the payment until the buyer confirmed they’d received the product, and, just like other, more well-traveled marketplaces, buyers could rate sellers and provide feedback.
Silk Road reportedly banned the sale of some illegal activities – murder-for-hire, stolen credit card numbers, child porn and weapons. But using bitcoin as the currency of choice, Silk Road quickly became the place to go for practically any drug under the sun. In October of 2013, Forbes reported that the FBI had taken down Silk Road and seized around $4 million in bitcoins.
You know how photographers can take a scenic view or a cityscape and make it look like a miniature by using the tilt-shift effect? What if you did that to a picture of something really, really big, like a galaxy or nebula, or even a supernova? Berlin artist St. Tesla did just that, and the results are adorable. Things that are bigger than we can even imagine end up looking like something microscopic. See more of these images at St. Tesla’s Behance page. -via Metafilter
While Americans are usually introduced to figgy pudding by way of the song “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” few ever actually consume it, much less make one. You might be surprised to find that it’s not even what we know as pudding.
It’s really not pudding, at least by American standards. The cake—which contains figs and is topped with brandy—has been an English Christmas dessert since the mid-1600s. Around that time, it was banned by English Puritans because of the large amount of alcohol content. Some believe that a Medieval custom dictated that pudding could only be made on the 25th Sunday after Trinity Sunday and that it was originally comprised of 13 ingredients to represent Christ and his 12 apostles.
Now you know. You might be more familiar with holiday dishes like sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole, gingerbread, latkes, etc. but you might not know where they came from or why we eat them during the winter holidays. Find out by reading The Origins of 15 Holiday Foods and Drinks at mental_floss.
Fire tornados, a pretty but frightening phenomena, happen in nature when wind conditions are right and fire is present. You can produce one yourself, although I wouldn't recommend it. Now the Slow Mo Guys (previously at Neatorama) show us what is happening down to the finest detail. And it is beautiful.