In 1958 the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong, declared war. He decided there were four things he had had enough of: Mosquitoes, flies, rats and sparrows.
He was informed by his scientists that one sparrow eats about 4.5kg of grain each year. They said that according to those calculations, for every million sparrows killed there would be grain (and therefore food) for 60,000 people.
With only that information and a stubborn unwillingness to listen to anything else, he launched the Great Sparrow Campaign in which all citizens were expected to participate and kill as many sparrows as possible.
On 13 December 1958 alone, 194,432 sparrows were killed! Hundreds of millions were killed during the duration of the campaign and the sparrow almost became extinct in China.
What the scientists failed to mention, was that sparrows eat insects like locusts, and that locusts do much more harm than sparrows can. With no sparrows in sight, the locusts did indeed move in and had free reign.
Suddenly Mao Zedong realized what an eco-system was and hurriedly imported sparrows from the Soviet Union, but it was too late. The overflow of insects contributed to the Great Chinese Famine (1958-1961) in which approximately 30 million people starved to death!
Imagine working on something for four years and then watching it drive away from you because you forgot it in a taxi in a foreign country!
Guillermo del Toro experienced that horrible, sinking feeling first hand.
The Mexican film maker has a habit of writing all his ideas down in leather bound notebooks and he did exactly that with his thoughts surrounding ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’—a movie about a child’s fantasy set in the wake of the Spanish Civil War.
The notebook contained four years’ worth of planning and sketches around the plot and character deign for the movie. It was the foundations of the entire project.
Del Toro tried to run after the British taxi, but to no avail. He jumped in another taxi and asked the driver to follow the one driving off with his hard work, but they could not catch up with it.
Luckily the cabbie noticed the journal on the back seat of his cab. He found a scrap of paper with the logo of the hotel Guillermo was staying in printed on it. There was no name or address for the hotel, but he went to work finding the owner of the leather bound journal.
Two days later he returned the notebook to Del Toro who was so delighted that he tipped the driver $900!
Until that day he was not even sure if he was going to make the movie, but after the kind act of the taxi driver, he believed it was a sign that ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ had to be made.
In 2012, Amy Jung went into a diabetic seizure while asleep. Her cat Pudding nudged her awake until she could call out to her son.
The son couldn’t hear her, though, so Pudding went into his room and pounced on him until he woke up and called for medical assistance.
That’s a great story, but it’s not what makes it stand out. The most interesting fact about this is that Jung and her son had only adopted Pudding earlier that very day!
That’s one cat that seems to be very happy with being adopted.
Dogs and cats can both do amazing things. There have been countless accounts of a pet saving its owners life, whether through alerting them to a fire or discovering a tumor.
Dogs get the label of man’s best friend, but cats can be just as helpful.
According to animal psychologist Roger Mugford, cats are as capable as dogs at detecting illnesses in humans, but are less likely to do so because they are they are “very much more selfish, solitary creatures.”
Luckily for Amy Jung, Pudding was looking out for her.
Cats were used as live shields by the Persians
Most people have heard of Spider silk’s incredible strength, but there are some pretty inventive uses for it.
One Japanese researcher actually made violin strings from spider silk!
Shigeyoshi Osaki, a professor at Nara Medical University in southern Honshu, used between 3,000 and 5,000 strands of silk for each string, which produced ‘a soft and profound timbre’ when played.
A video of this can be found in the source of this fact.
Osaki bred 300 female Nephila maculata spiders to make the strands. Don’t worry, this didn’t affect the spiders’ feeding. The silk all came from strands the spiders used to hang from not their webs.
Of course, these violin strings must be pretty strong if they use spider silk. Indeed, they have a greater strength than either gut or steel strings!
This is in part because the strands of silk are not completely cylindrical, but rather have 4-6 sides, allowing the researchers to cut down on gaps between strands.
In 2013 The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, or ILGA, has listed 81 countries where there are laws against homosexuality or homosexual acts.
But strangely enough, there are 24 countries where it is legal to be a lesbian, but illegal to be a gay man!
Here is a list of those countries and the penalties gay men face in those countries:
Ghana: Five to twenty years imprisonment Sierra.
Leone and Guyana: In these countries a gay man will be imprisoned for life!
Nigeria, Tuvalu and Seychelles: Fourteen years in prison Kenya: Fourteen to twenty-one years imprisonment, “depending on the circumstances.”
Malawi: Here gay men can face corporal punishment or fourteen years in jail.
Swaziland: In this country laws against sodomy are rarely enforced, but being openly gay can result in being turned away or evicted from AIDS clinics, which is similar to a death penalty if you think about it!
Saint Kitts and Nevis, Tonga, Belize, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada: Ten year prison sentence.
Jamaica: Hard labor for ten years.
Turkmenistan and Singapore: Two years in prison.
Uzbekistan: Three years imprisonment.
Kiribati, Nauru and Palau: Laws against gay interactions, but penalties not enforced.
Cook Islands: Seven years in jail.
Mauritius is incredibly horrifying. In Mauritius the penalty for being a gay man is death by public stoning!
None of the aforementioned countries have anything against lesbians.
Imagine your body was a brewery. Wouldn’t that be fun? You’d never have to buy a drink again!
Well, actually, there is a guy in Britain who has become a walking brewery, and for him it has been anything but pleasurable.
Matthew Hogg suffers from auto-brewery syndrome. It is also known as gut fermentation syndrome.
He has an excess of yeast trapped in his small intestine which creates alcohol that is absorbed directly into his bloodstream every time he eats grain or sugary foods like bread or pasta or processed food!
The problem becomes obvious. You cannot function successfully if you are always somewhere between tipsy and drunk, or suffering from an acute hangover just because you had a sandwich for lunch.
It has affected Matthew’s life so negatively that he eventually had to apply for a disability grant from the British government.
He struggles to concentrate, is always tired and suffers from hangover-like symptoms. His inability to follow his dreams has also caused him to succumb to depression and mood disorders.
He has suffered from the syndrome for 20 years. As a youngster he had dreams of becoming a pilot or an engineer or even a professional athlete. Matthew says he tries to stay positive, and believes he will one day regain his heath.
In the 1500’s the Rajputs of India fought against their enemies, the Mughals.
The Mughals rode on the backs of sword yielding elephants. The swords were strapped to the elephants’ trunks.
The Rajputs were on horseback. One would think this left them at a great disadvantage, but they were obviously aware of the social behavior of elephants.
Elephants will not attack baby elephants. When a baby elephant is orphaned - for whatever reason - other elephants will step in and take care of it.
The Rajputs did not have a herd of orphaned baby elephants, so they improvised. They strapped fake trunks to the heads of their Marwari horses, making them appear to be baby elephants. Instinctively the elephants of their enemies would not become aggressive toward the horses, which they perceived to be young elephants!
The brave and intelligent Marwari warhorses were trained to rear up on their hind legs and to then put their front hooves on the elephant’s forehead. This allowed the horseman to attack the enemy rider with a lance
The Rajputs combined the most useful characteristics of Arabians, Turkumans and local stock to create the Marwari; a fearless and hardy horse breed with which they cleverly defeated endless invasions.
The cost of textbooks has risen 812% in the U.S.A. over the last 30 years.
That’s more than healthcare costs, housing prices and college tuition, although all of those have risen faster than the rate of inflation.
So the question is, what is wrong with the textbook market?
Most of it, in fact 80% of the market, is controlled by only four publishers—Pearson, Cengage, Wiley and McGraw-Hill. This leaves them with a near-monopoly and a LOT of power.
The publishers market their products to professors using aggressive sales tactics. The professors assign these textbooks to the students who end up having to pay the prices charged, not the professors.
Students at public four-year colleges are paying about $1,200 per year for textbooks and course materials!
Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan says: “Just like the ongoing home price increases and housing bubble of the last decade were unsustainable, there is now growing evidence that rising college textbook prices and the ‘college textbook bubble’ are also unsustainable.”
It has now been established that about one out of every three seniors—and one in four freshmen—often don’t buy required textbooks because they just can’t afford it. Many students have reverted to sourcing materials illegally online.
The average American consumes about twice the daily recommended limit of salt. Too much salt in the diet can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
The manufacturers of Lay’s potato chips have taken note of this problem and have found a way to lessen the risk without compromising on taste.
They’re developing a new designer salt.
The crystals of this salt are shaped and sized differently from that of normal salt and will reduce the amount of sodium consumers will ingest while snacking.
Because of the way our tongues perceive salt, 80% of the salt on potato chips are swallowed before we even taste it! Only 20% is dissolved and tasted by our tongues.
That is why the manufacturers of Lay’s will now be using a powdery ingredient that tastes exactly like salt. It will deliver an initial spike of saltiness, then a body of flavor and lingering sensation, said Dr. Yep, who joined the company in June 2009.
When they tested the designer salt in the United States and in the UK, consumers could not tell the difference between the new and the conventional salt.
By 2015, Lay’s should contain 25% less sodium.
Said Indra Nooyi, Chairman of PepsiCo.: “What we want to do with our “fun for you” products is to make them the healthiest “fun for you” products.”