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13 Fascinating Facts About Pallas’s Cats

Neatorama regulars know we love the opportunity to post videos of Pallas's cats, because they look so awesome. You might want to learn more about these small wild cats of the Asian highlands. Like stuff about their ears.

2. Its scientific name means "ugly-eared."

Later on, the cat's scientific name was changed from Felis manul to Otocolobus manul—not exactly the most flattering moniker, since Otocolobus is Greek for “ugly-eared.”

3. Its unusual ears come in handy.

Some may consider the Pallas’s cat’s ears to be ugly, while others might think they’re adorable. Arguments aside, the cat’s round ears—which sit flat on the sides of its head—are one of the feline's most distinguishing features. As Crystal DiMiceli, a former wild animal keeper at Brooklyn's Prospect Park Zoo, explains in the above video, having low-positioned ears helps the cat conceal itself—they don’t poke up to reveal the animal's position while it's hiding or hunting.

Read about the rest of the Pallas's cat at Mental Floss.

(Image credit: Albinfo)


The Little Brain That Does Pretty Big Things

We haven't completely figured out everything about the brain and how each part or region of it works. However, the field of neuroscience continues to make great strides in helping us understand how our brain works. Recently, some researchers have turned their attention to the cerebellum.

For the longest time the cerebellum, a dense, fist-size formation located at the base of the brain, never got much respect from neuroscientists.
For about two centuries the scientific community believed the cerebellum (Latin for “little brain”), which contains approximately half of the brain’s neurons, was dedicated solely to the control of movement. In recent decades, however, the tide has started to turn, as researchers have revealed details of the structure’s role in cognition, emotional processing and social behavior.

(Image credit: Life Science Databases/Wikimedia Commons via PT)


Netflix Stats: How Many Viewers Do Their Shows and Movies Have?

If you're curious about how big the streaming giant has grown, then look at some of its audience numbers, some of which they have recently shared.

At the end of December, Netflix said that 45 million people had watched Bird Box, a Netflix-owned thriller starring Sandra Bullock that came out just before Christmas. Now the company is using its quarterly earnings letter to share more numbers about viewership of some of its other shows — as well as a sense of how much of your TV screen the streaming video company really owns.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


Fireball XL5 - A Blast from the Past

When I was but 10 years old, I was amazed by the premiere of a new Saturday morning cartoon, Fireball XL5, which was the coolest series ever (until the next season, of course).

Of astonishingly good quality, this series utilized puppets instead of claymation, stop-motion animation, or conventional animation. The music track was also catchy and I can recall it to this day even though it has now been over 55 years since I have heard it.

From the IMDb, we find: Fireball XL5 was part of the fleet of interplanetary rockets protecting Sector 25 of the Solar System from alien invasion under the supervision of the World Space Patrol. In command of XL5 was Steve Zodiac, and his crew consisted of Venus, a doctor, Professor Matic, the science officer, and Robert the Robot, the rocket's mechanical co-pilot. This series was the first to depict a space fleet of patrol ships monitoring our quadrant of space, a concept used in Star Trek TOS a few years later. The characters from the very first episode were amazingly fleshed out by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, only to be further developed by the talents of the other scriptwriters resulting in a fine continuity right up the last episode, unheard of in those days. Stories involved time travel, space pirates and of course earth domination, which had the puppets smoking, shaving, being tied up and the odd reference to child psychology! -Very adult for a child's T.V. series.

YouTube contains the complete series and the first episode is embedded below. As you must have guessed by now, the series ran for only one season beginning in 1962, the WTM curse having doomed this one too. Ironically, I don't watch television anymore.

Try this one on your kids and see how they react. I believe the word is 'retro'.


Why Fingerprints are Unique

Minute Earth explains the science behind fingerprints: how they are formed, why they develop their individual patterns, and the math on why they don't replicate in nature. It's pretty detailed, and makes you wonder how they discovered all this. -via Digg


Egret Inception

Art can really bring people together. Gaddafo's mom painted an egret and thought no one would like it. Gaddafo thought differently and posted it to reddit. It was a real hit!

Then k__z painted the mom and the painting.

Then lilyofthenight jumped in and painted the guy who painted the mom.

Then Sketch_Study did a quick digital painting of all of them! This all happened in two days. We shall wait to see how much deeper this will go.  


Pebble and Wren

A few months ago, Chris Hallbeck began a story about a house monster at his webcomic Maximumble. That story was spun off into its own comic called Pebble and Wren. Pebble is the shape-shifting house monster and Wren is the little girl he belongs to. To set up the comics shown here, they were playing an antigravity game when Pebble's horns pierced the ceiling. If you enjoyed these, you have 127 comics to catch up on.  


The Regent’s Park Skating Tragedy

Britain's worst ice skating accident occurred on January 16, 1867, at Regent's Park in London. It must have been a fine day, as hundreds of people were skating on the lake.

At about a quarter-past four, when a large number of persons were skating and sliding on the western side of the lake upon an area of water probably of six acres, the ice suddenly, and without the least warning, gave way and broke into thousands of pieces. From one to two hundred persons were immersed.

It's difficult enough to save one person from an icy lake, let alone hundreds. In the end, 41 people died that day, ranging from wealthy businessmen to park workers to mothers and children. The British Newspaper archive has eye-witness accounts of the carnage and its aftermath.  -via Strange Company


How Do We Solve Airport Congestion?

Though there are ergonomically designed airports which seem futuristic in their efforts to maximize efficiency and get passengers where they need to be on time, a lot of airports still struggle with the age-old problem of congestion.

Increasing demand could not be simply solved by making airports bigger without sorting out the dynamics happening within the airport itself, from the moment passengers step inside the gates to the time they take off.

Even at the dawn of the jet age, airlines had trouble moving people and bags through airports – and they still do. It’s unclear that bigger airports serving ever more passengers will have an easier time than their smaller, less crowded predecessors.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


How Duct Tape is Made

Whether you call it duck tape or duct tape, you are correct. The original name is duck tape, and now it's the brand name. But people call it duct tape because it is used to repair ducts as well. This video from Insider traces the history of duct tape and the process of making it. Don't miss the roll of duck tape that's several feet wide!  -via Geeks Are Sexy


Robot Monster! The. Worst. Film. Ever. Made. (Maybe.)

The 1950's saw a huge rise in science fiction films entering the consumer market, as drive-in theaters were - everywhere - and said market was insatiable. The Atomic Age had begun, opening whole new vistas for filmmaking, and the movie studios of that decade produced sci-fi classics such as Forbidden Planet, THEM!, Godzilla, and many others. They also produced films such as Plan 9 From Outer Space, a movie that is so bad that it is actually good, and then they produced - Robot Monster.

This is a film that is so awful that it has to be seen to be believed. A true B-movie (or b-movie, in this case), it clocks in at just over an hour long. And what an hour it is! So much has been written about this film elsewhere that there really is nothing to add, and so I will just quote from the IMDb:

If you could pick one single movie which fueled the bad sf/horror movie cult popularized by The Golden Turkey Awards and 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' then 'Robot Monster' would be it. Ed Wood's 'Plan Nine From Outer Space' is probably better known to mainstream audiences, especially since Tim Burton's fantastic Wood biopic, but 'Robot Monster' is just as good/bad, and the image of a lumbering goon in an over-sized gorilla suit with a diving helmet and antenna has become an iconic symbol of z-grade sci fi. Even people who don't know Ro-Man's name recognize his likeness and giggle. 'Robot Monster' isn't as inept technically as Wood's worst movies (especially his astonishing 'Glen Or Glenda'), but the script is as dumb as they get, the actors are wooden at best, and the not-so-special effects are laughable. What really makes this movie legendary is the "robot monster" himself, Ro-Man. You can't help smirking every time you look at him, and when he pontificates on life and love the movie enters a new dimension of trash par excellence. And just dig that bubble machine and the use of stock dinosaur footage! Plus a score from (can you believe it?) Elmer Bernstein. 'Robot Monster' is a movie I never tire of watching. I still get a big kick out of it every time I see it. To say that it is absolutely essential viewing for anybody interested in cult movies is the understatement of the century! 'Robot Monster' is after all the movie that gave the world the term "psychotronic".

Below is embedded a YouTube video of the actual 1953 trailer for this film, which also has to be seen to be believed. Following that is a video of the film itself; watch and be amazed.

I can't help but add the review of this film from, which is itself a classic of its kind. See for yourselves what bad sci-fi films were like back in the days when a bottled soft drink cost a nickel.

The official trailer for this film. And then they expected you to pay to see it anyway.

Robot Monster (1953). Watch it - I dare you.


Frosty Fights Back

Petersburg, Kentucky resident Cody Lutz built a giant snowman with his visiting fiance and future sister-in-law after a sizable snowfall over the weekend. They used a large tree stump for the base of the Goliath sized Frosty.

Lutz came home on Monday to find a set of tire tracks in his yard leading directly to the snowman. The trunk was exposed, and in the snow was not a snow angel but the imprint of the culprit’s bumper.

“Apparently, Frosty had been handing out life lessons to surprised 4×4 vandals. You reap what you sow! Still standing and still smiling — he certainly had the last laugh!” Lutz said.

I hope the vandal(s) learned a valuable lesson, ya don't mess with Frosty. -via Yahoo Lifestyle


What Kind of Words Were Spoken in British Dialects Before?

Have you ever seen a dauncy person? Or look up at the sky and thought, it is going to be a flenched day? Perhaps, you have met someone who has the habit of parwhobbling, something which you consider very polrumptious?

Those are just some of the words in Joseph Wright's The English Dialect Dictionary which contains 70,000 entries of local British words and phrases from the 18th and 19th centuries.

You may see a selection of other words like them here.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


The Myth of Pandora’s Box

The Greeks had a story for everything. You've heard "Pandora's box" all your life as a term for opening up something you shouldn't because you don't know what's in there. The original story is a cautionary tale about curiosity and temptation. Pandora gets the blame for all the evils of the world, yet it was Zeus who set her up to take the fall. This TED-Ed lesson from Iseult Gillespie has the story. -via Laughing Squid


How Your Last Meal Affects Your Next

When planning your next meal, there are a few things you consider but scientists have recently been looking into how our memory affects what we will eat next.

To date, the scientific effort to understand how the brain controls eating has focused primarily on brain areas involved in hunger, fullness and pleasure. To be better armed in the fight against obesity, neuroscientists, including me, are starting to expand our investigation to other parts of the brain associated with different functions. My lab’s recent research focuses on one that’s been relatively overlooked: memory.
For many people, decisions about whether to eat now, what to eat and how much to eat are often influenced by memories of what they ate recently. For instance, in addition to my scale and tight clothes, my memory of overeating pizza yesterday played a pivotal role in my decision to eat salad for lunch today.
Memories of recently eaten foods can serve as a powerful mechanism for controlling eating behavior because they provide you with a record of your recent intake that likely outlasts most of the hormonal and brain signals generated by your meal. But surprisingly, the brain regions that allow memory to control future eating behavior are largely unknown.

(Image credit: Joseph Gonzalez/Unsplash)

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