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Large Crab Goes Inside House

Police in southern Germany responded to a call from a woman who got an uninvited guest inside her home — a 25-centimeter (10-inch) Chinese mitten crab, which went from the terrace to the open door unhindered.

Before they arrived, police say, the woman captured the crustacean by putting an upside-down garbage can on top of it.
Officers were able to put the crab into a container and then take it to a local veterinary clinic.
The invasive species, native to Asia, is now found in many rivers in Germany, and the woman’s residence was not far from the Rhine, though the Chinese mitten crab has never been reported in the area before. They’re not considered dangerous.

Thankfully nobody was harmed.

(Image Credit: Police Headquarters Freiburg via AP)


It’s Difficult To Be A Monster

It’s not just humans who have it difficult in life. Monsters, too, find living in this world difficult. One finds it hard to accept modern architecture, while another finds it hard to spell its own name.

Check out the images made by Teo Zirinis over at Out of Mana on Facebook.


The Shortest Time Unit, Measured

The shortest unit of time is the time it takes a light particle to cross a hydrogen molecule. The record time for that event is 247 zeptoseconds. What is a zeptosecond, you ask? Prepare yourselves, cause this is a mouthful. A zeptosecond is a trillionth of a billionth of a second. To put it simply, it’s a decimal point followed by 20 zeros and a one at the end. Yep, that small! 

Image via Live Science


There’s A Big Chance That We’re Living In A Simulation

Are our lives something straight out of a Matrix film? Are machines sucking up our life force and turning them into batteries as they make us live in a simulation? Before laughing at the ridiculousness of the idea, just know that this is a real question that scientists are asking, and are researching. The odds of us living in a simulation are 50%, as Giant Freakin Robot details: 

The discussion has been intense, with some producing mathematical and experiential proof that we are indeed living our lives in a simulation.
In 2003, the University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom revealed that in his mind, our reality is actually a computer simulation that has been dreamed up by a highly advanced civilization. In his abstract, taken from The Philosophical Quarterly, Bostrom states these three arguments, which he says he argues that at least one is definitely true.
the human species is very likely to become extinct before reaching a ‘posthuman’ stage;
any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of its evolutionary history (or variations thereof)
we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.
Bostrom concluded with this: “It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we shall one day become posthumans who run ancestor‐simulations is false unless we are currently living in a simulation.”

Image via Giant Freakin Robot 


The Disastrous 1904 Olympic Marathon

We’re familiar with the grandeur and widely-celebrated olympic games every 2-4 years. But the beginnings of the Olympic games aren’t as widely-accepted, or well-organized. Watch as Puppet History’s the Professor tells the story of the 1904 Olympic games held in St.Louis. Oh, what a disaster! I can’t believe rat poison got to be a discount energy drink. 


Zipline Straight To Godzilla’s Mouth!

Good thing that it’s not the real one. I’m pretty sure no one would agree to be instant food for the sake of thrill. Nijigen no Mori, a new theme park close to Kobe, Japan, is opening a Godzilla-themed attraction. It’s the only place where you can head straight into a life-sized Godzilla’s mouth. Don’t worry, like I said, the Godzilla there isn’t real. I think. Visitors take on the roles of researchers and embark on a journey to learn more about the well-known creature, as Nerdist details: 

It culminates in staring down a 75-foot-tall Godzilla replica at the other end of a death-defying zipline ride.
Like all good theme park rides, the attraction begins with an in-universe movie that informs the public that the kaiju invasion has started. From there, visitors can check out a kaiju museum and shooting gallery game before moving on to the half-buried beast. A very excited and slightly nervous reporter for Sun TV had the chance to film his flight into Godzilla’s mouth.

Image via Nerdist 


Chinchillas And A Gold Mine

Endangered short-tailed chinchillas are one of the main obstacles to a gold mine project. The South American rodent was hunted almost to extinction for its expensive fur. It seems that the animals are in the midst of another danger: capitalism. Gold Fields, the company behind the gold mine project, has stated in a mining conference in 2017 that the company was determined to find a way to protect the colony. Undark has more details: 

Operation chinchilla will hardly have the drama of an elephant capture. The short-tailed chinchillas are being moved via small traps to an area that scat and other evidence suggest was once a part of their range, according to Luis Ortega, the Chilean environmental manager overseeing the rodent removal. The animals are easy prey: Fur hunters can scoop the rabbit-sized rodents by hand from their shallow dens, Ortega said.
“We use a trap that is baited inside and closes when the chinchilla enters,” he added. The device, a Tomahawk trap, sounds fearsome but is non-lethal. The bait is a mix of almonds, nut shells, and grass, with an added sweetener the rodents curiously find irresistible: vanilla extract.
“The entire process must be carried out for each of the nine rocky areas where the animals will be removed during the construction of the mine,” Ortega said. “According to the government approved process, two attempts to capture specimens must be made on each rocky area, each lasting 10 days.” If the attempt is unsuccessful, the operation must be suspended for 20 days before it is attempted again, to minimize disturbance.
When each chinchilla is trapped and taken to its new territory, it will be placed in a wire-mesh enclosure for a few weeks to adapt to its new surroundings, and then monitored with radio collars — techniques also often used with transfers of megafauna like rhinos and Cape buffalo.

Image via Undark


Finally, NASA Built A Space Toilet For Women

The Universal Waste Management System is probably the most expensive toilet in the universe. Probably the toilet with the longest name too. NASA spent $23 million on the waste system. The newest space toilet is smaller and lighter than the old version, and easier to maintain, especially when it springs a leak. One of the biggest upgrades this toilet has compared to the previous iterations of space toilets is that it allows astronauts to pee and poop at the same time, which also means that female astronauts can finally use the toilet with ease: 

This matters more for the women in the astronaut corps, for whom the two bodily functions can be trickier to separate. For years, women astronauts have been carefully positioning themselves over the bowl, exchanging tips with their colleagues on best practices, and trying to make do with hardware that wasn’t built for their bodies.
Space toilets don’t look quite like the one in your bathroom. With the older latrine models on the ISS, astronauts urinate into a handheld funnel and defecate into a device that looks like a smaller version of a traditional toilet seat. A fan inside each apparatus suctions the waste away from the body, an important function in an environment where everything floats. The urine is transformed into the next day’s water, while the feces are compressed in a removable container and eventually dispatched on a special trash spacecraft that burns up in the atmosphere in the majestic manner of a shooting star. It’s careful business for men and women alike. Hold the funnel too close to the body, cutting off airflow, and liquid can end up pooling near the top. Lose contact with the seat, and waste might escape. Forget to turn on those fans before you start, and things can get messy.

Image via The Atlantic 


The Evolution of the Fighter Plane

The first planes before and during World War I didn’t pose much danger. Back then, they were only used for reconnaissance and surveillance of enemy territory. Information back then was as valuable as it is today. However, once opposing forces used the same tactic against each other, there became a realization to add weapons on the rather new invention. With the addition of weapons on planes came dogfights.

The first dogfights were made with pistols. The pilot held the airplane’s control stick with one hand and fired off his pistol to the sides with the other. Then a second crew member, the gunner, was added. Sitting on the backseat, his job was to operate a movable machine gun leaving the flying to the pilot. It was German aviator August Euler, who first saw the advantage of a forward-firing gun that could bring down an enemy from behind. Euler patented his design in 1910—four years before war started.

Euler’s design was met with criticism, however.

“The idea of coupling the firing mechanism to the propeller's rotation is an affectation. The objection is the same as to any gun position which is fixed along the longitudinal axis of the aircraft: the pilot is forced to fly directly at the enemy in order to fire. Under certain circumstances this is highly undesirable”, wrote German Major Siegert.
Nevertheless, airplane designers continued to file patents.

But putting a forward-firing gun on a plane proved to be very difficult. It wasn’t until Anthony Fokker came into the scene with his synchronization gear that the first true fighter aircraft would be born.

More about this over at Amusing Planet.

(Image Credit: The Illustrated London News/ Amusing Planet)


Relocating The Chinchillas For The Gold

A small colony of short-tailed chinchillas live quietly in the mountains of northern Chile. During the 19th and 20th centuries, these rodents were hunted down almost to extinction because of their ultra-soft fur. These recent years have been good to them, perhaps, the most peaceful time, for them. But maybe this peace won’t last long, as…

The colony in question sits atop 3.5 million ounces of extractable gold, a resource set to be developed by Gold Fields, a South African-based gold mining company. Gold Fields’ CEO Nick Holland said in 2017 at a mining conference in Cape Town that the chinchillas were one of the main obstacles to the project but the company was determined to find a way to protect the colony.
Big mining initiatives take years to roll, with conservation compliance an increasingly crucial part of the package. Gold Fields’ environmental permit for the Salares Norte mining project — which has an $860 million construction price tag — hinged on it finding a way to move the chinchillas, which are protected under Chilean law. The result is a kind of mini Noah’s Ark initiative high in the mountains of northern Chile.

While the plan to relocate the chinchillas can be seen as a good thing, the same cannot be said about the effects of relocation on the animals.

Relocations for animals big and small have a mixed record. In 2018, for example, conservationists relocated six rare black rhinos from South Africa to a national park in the Central African nation of Chad, part of the species’ former range. Four of the animals died within months of the transfer.
Closer to the chinchillas in size and habitat is the American pika, a mountain-dwelling relative of rabbits and hares. A 2015 study in the journal Biodiversity found experimental translocations of the species between alpine habitats in the 1970s had “mixed results.” But it concluded pikas were “a good candidate species” for relocation projects in cases where the animals’ habitats were threatened by climate change.

More details about this over at Undark.

What are your thoughts about this one?

(Image Credit: Luis Ortega/ Undark)


What’s Different With The New iPhone?

Apple often announces that their new phones have better cameras than their previous ones. The announcement of the iPhone 12 is no different. In fact, the phone has the biggest advances compared to the previous models that the company has released.

Hardware-wise, there doesn’t appear to be much difference between the iPhone 12, 12 mini, and 12 Pro when compared to the 11 and 11 Pro. All of these phones use the same-sized 12 megapixel sensors for wide, ultrawide, and the Pro model’s telephoto cameras, while the shape and size of the camera bump remains essentially the same.
The biggest hardware change is a new seven-element f/1.6 lens for the primary wide camera. That’s a modest aperture increase on the iPhone 11’s six-element f/1.8 lens; Apple says it improves the lens’ light-gathering ability by 27 percent, which should enable slightly faster shutter speeds or less grainy ISO settings in low light. There are often compromises to sharpness and performance when designing lenses with larger apertures, but the new seven-element structure will “maintain sharp detail in your photo from edge to edge,” according to Apple.

Know more about the features of the iPhone 12 over at The Verge.

(Image Credit: Apple/ YouTube)


Can You Find The Snake?

If you look at the photo real close, maybe you can find the well camouflaged snake. This photo was posted a few years ago by Twitter user @SssnakeySci, a PhD student studying pythons, boas, and pit vipers, but has gained traction on Twitter because most users are trying their best to spot the snake hidden in plain sight. Can you see the snake? 

Image via Prevention


Flying Nonstop for 11 Days

To be able to keep yourself awake for eleven days is nothing but amazing. To be able to keep yourself awake for eleven days while flying is even more amazing. A male bar-tailed godwit was just recorded doing those things as it migrated from Alaska to New Zealand. The bird flew over the Pacific Ocean and covered over 7,500 miles.

Last year, researchers from the Global Flyway Network, a conservation group that tracks the migration of shorebirds, tracked the bird by outfitting it with a custom set of colorful bands around its legs. The bird—known as 4BBRW for the colors of the bands on its legs: two blue, one red, and one white—was also equipped with a tiny satellite tag that tracked its every move. The data revealed that the bird reached a max speed of 55 miles per hour and flew nonstop for 11 days, likely without sleeping, reports George Dvorsky for Gizmodo.
The previous record was set by a female bar-tailed godwit in 2007 who flew 7,250 miles during her migration, reports Chris Baynes for the Independent. Scientists say that for this year’s record-breaker, strong easterly winds likely lengthened his journey, helping him break the record.

Now that’s awesome!

(Image Credit: Paul van de Velde/ Wikimedia Commons)


5-Year Old Boy Gets Lifetime Zoo Membership after Spotting Stolen Lemur

This is Maki, an elderly ring-tailed lemur who lives at the San Francisco Zoo. He was stolen from his enclosure last week. Fortunately, a sharp-eyed 5-year old boy named James Trinh spotted him as he left his preschool, which is about 5 miles from the zoo. The AP reports how the school director, Cynthia Huang, responded when James cried out "There's a lemur! There's a lemur!":

Huang was skeptical at first. “I thought, Are you sure it’s not a raccoon?” she said.
Maki scurried from the parking lot into the school’s playground and took refuge in a miniature play house, as the school called police who quickly alerted animal control and zoo officials. The children, parents and teachers watched as caretakers arrived and coaxed the lemur into a transport cage, Huang said.

Police have arrested a suspect in the case. Zoo officials have rewarded James with a lifetime membership at their facility.

-via Instapundit | Photo: San Francisco Zoo


This Device Can Turn Food Scraps Into Compost In 2 Days

Composting is good for the environment for many reasons. Just to name one, composting enriches the soil, and this could lead to healthy plant growth.

There are two problems when making compost, however. One, it takes a long time. Two, it produces an undesirable smell that could attract pests. But a German team has developed a device that addresses both problems.

Created by a German team of "material scientists, engineers, and hobby gardeners," Kalea is about the size of a kitchen garbage can and it sits (appropriately enough) in the kitchen. As users generate food waste – including meat, fish or dairy products – they deposit those items in a lidded bin on top of the device.
Once activated via the press of a button, Kalea starts by dropping the waste from the bin into a chamber where it's shredded and dried. Once that process is complete, the organic material is dropped into a second chamber where it's tumbled.

It is said that the device can produce compost in just two days. It has also been said that there is not much odor involved in the composting process.


(Image Credit: Kalea/ New Atlas)

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