The 1960’s television series ‘Batman’ was the first time the character was brought beyond the realm of comics. Due in large part to comics being subject to strict censorship at the time, the show was kid-friendly and stressed many moral lessons including the importance of using seat belts, doing homework and drinking milk among children.
Because of the kid-friendly nature of the show, the character Two-Face was scratched for being “too gruesome and too violent.” The character was imagined as a news anchor who was disfigured when a television set exploded in his face.
Who was going to play Two-Face in the series? Clint Eastwood was discussed for the role. This was right around the time when Eastwood was making a name for himself in the ‘Dollars’ trilogy. No doubt he would have been a scary villain.
It’s interesting to see how things change over the years. Less than 40 years after this series aired came Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy. It’s hard to imagine a more gruesome and violent character than Heath Ledgers portrayal of The Joker.
It’s a shame Eastwood never had the chance to show us how he could do in such a role. I don’t think he’s too broken up about it, though. He’s had a pretty good career without this one.
Imagine living in such a tight community that every single person trusts each other, and not only that, they have to. Because if they don’t someone could end up getting mauled by a polar bear.
In Churchill, Manitoba, you have to trust each and every person around you not to steal your car. The reason is that if you lock it, you will be punished by the law. This is the only place in the world where there is a rule against securing your vehicle this way. However, the reason is a good one.
Because there are around 950 polar bears around the Hudson river, one of the inhabitants could be attacked and mauled at any second, and what is worse than running for your life only to discover that a spotted safe haven, some stranger’s car, is locked? The answer is next to nothing.
In an effort to prevent polar bear related deaths, the government of the area outlawed locked car doors to provide quick escapes from hungry, or aggressive beasts.
If you really want to strike it rich, don’t worry about digging for gold or trying to strike oil. Head to the sea and find yourself some horseshoe crabs to drain and make a killing. It turns out their blood is key in the world’s medical arsenal.
The horseshoe crab has a very simple immune system that was discovered in 1971. Its blood binds and clots when it comes in contact with fungi, viruses, and bacterial endotoxins. It contains a compound, Limulus Amebocyte Lysate, or LAL for short, that is an easy way for the Food and Drug Administration to test for any bad stuff in new drugs. Now, every drug and surgical implant certified by the FDA is tested using LAL.
On the world market, a single quart of the crab’s blood runs around $15,000, making it an incredible business for those that live where they are abundant. According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, approximately 250,000 horseshoe crabs are needed to fuel the medical testing each year.
There is good news: The blood can be extracted from the little crabby guy without killing them, and there have been no signs of any long-term injury. It’s a win-win…sort of.
When chaos strikes and you don’t know where to go, when everyone is rioting and looting, will you join the masses? Where would you loot first to get what you need? The electronics store? Perhaps, a bookstore. No? Neither would any of the 2011 London rioters.
While nearly every other kind of shop from furniture stores to antique shops, was attacked, those who sold the ancient treasure of book-bound knowledge were left completely untouched. While it is an objective fact that books wouldn’t keep you alive or help feed your family during such chaos, this does make an unfortunate statement about the priority of modern global culture.
Some bookstores in London even felt comfortable enough to leave their stores open. One employee figured that it would be a good thing. He even remarked that if they were to steal something from their store they “might learn something.”
Unfortunately, one bookstore was in fact vandalized. It was theorized that the store was attacked because the owners were openly gay.
Usually when people picture an igloo, they imagine a dome with a little tunnel attached. This is surprisingly accurate! Igloos are surprisingly hospitable, and it all comes down to science.
Snow makes a surprisingly good insulator. When combined with ice to make the walls of the dome sturdy, it creates a cozy little environment. With the occupant’s body heat and perhaps the use of oil lamps or candles, the walls of the igloo melt a little, but then are soon frozen by the temperatures outside. Several days of this melting and refreezing process creates a nice insulation, sometimes of up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is incredibly welcome when the weather outside is -50 degrees Fahrenheit!
Think about this next time you complain that you have bad eyesight! The human eye is incredibly sensitive. It’s theoretically possible to see a candle flame from 30 miles away, and the farthest visible light we can see with the naked eye is the Andromeda galaxy, which is 2.6 million light years away!
Of course, there are some limitations. In order to see a candle flame from so far away, it would have to be completely dark and the Earth would have to be flat—or you’d have to look at it from on top of a mountain during a pitch black night!
The world can be a rough place for some animals. The capture of prey is necessary for survival, obviously, but not all species are in the same league in terms of effectiveness.
The dragonfly stands above the rest in this category. They have earned the distinction of successfully snatching about 95% of their targeted food. As if that weren’t a difficult enough task, the fact that their prey is usually captured in midair adds another reason to be in awe of the dragonfly’s unmatched effectiveness.
For some fresh perspective, compare the lion, for instance. It struggles to catch a quarter of all the prey it pursues. To take another example, look at the great white shark. For all its fearsomeness, it still manages to catch only about half the prey it goes after.
So what is the key to the dragonfly’s success? Scientists have found that they possess a nervous system that allows them to focus sharply on a single object. The neurons that connect the dragonfly’s brain to its flight motor center create a unique ability to follow a moving target, calculate its future position, skillfully change flight paths, and finally, capture a meal.
Then the process starts over again. Dragonflies go beyond having the capacity to capture prey just once. They have an appetite that can seem nearly impossible to satisfy.
The octopus isn’t the first animal that comes to mind when most people think of intelligent animals. That may make sense given that octopi are classified are invertebrates and belong to the mollusk family. In fact, there are some mollusks that do not have brains at all, such as the clam.
To say that Octopi are intelligent animals requires some definition of what is meant by “intelligence.” Well, they are capable of having emotions, displaying individual personalities, playing with toys, and can even form relationships with people.
These traits are rare among animals, being that only a few species have those abilities to any great extent. Chimpanzees are one example, but that’s hardly unexpected, since they are closely related to humans. In contrast, Octopi are not at all closely related to human beings.
An octopus has a brain about the size of a walnut, which is the largest brain of any invertebrate. It contains an estimated 130 million neurons. Though many are stored in the arms, they are a good indicator of an animal’s intelligence.
Researchers are aware that we cannot know with complete certainty how various animals perceive the world, but we are discovering new things all the time that we never expected.
This is a very creative way to get your brand out. Some senior LEGO staff get a minifig that looks like them to hand out instead of business cards. Check out the card on the right. Pretty creative no?
If you thought locusts were a species in their own right, you would be far from alone. It is quite a common misconception.
In reality, what we call locusts are really grasshoppers during a certain phase of their life cycles called the swarming phase. The polymorphic grasshopper (a grasshopper that has the ability to change its physical form) may go through a swarming phase. This phase can be brought on by chemicals or overcrowding. It is during that time when they are called locusts.
As locusts, grasshoppers become much stronger, more active, and interact more with each other. Perhaps that is why locusts are associated with huge swarms more so than grasshoppers. As swarms, their superior numbers give them a great advantage when compared with grasshoppers that live as individuals.
It is because of their activity as swarms that locusts have gained such a bad reputation. They have been known to cause millions of dollars in damage to crops. In the 19th century, Rocky Mountain locusts caused trouble across the Western U.S. When 12 trillion locusts devastated nearly 200,000 square miles of agriculture. It was possibly the largest concentration of animals in the history of the world!