This Freaky Fish Looks Just Like The Loch Ness Monster And It Can Survive Being Cut In Half

It may look like a mythological sea monster, but this 36-foot-long creature is the real deal. They’re called oarfish and they get their name from their elongated bodies.

The oarfish has inspired Japanese folklore, that sees it as a sea serpent that can predict earthquakes and tsunamis. It can’t, but it can survive being cut in half. In fact, it self-amputates up to 75% of its body. It is thought that ditching more than half of its body helps the oarfish escape from predators, which is fine since all of its organs are stored in its abdomen anyway. Another trait that helps the oarfish evade predators is its layer of guanine molecules, which gives its body a beautiful shimmer that serves to confuse other sea creatures.

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Oarfish have a worldwide range and are found in all temperate to tropical waters. But don’t panic, human encounters with live oarfish are rare.

As oarfish live very deep in the water (up to 3,300 ft) very little is known about them. As well as being up to 36-foot-long, they are incredibly heavy, weighing up to 600lbs. They live solitary lifestyles. There’s very little footage of a living oarfish.

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The first known video footage was captured in 2001. This footage dispelled the long believed myth that the fish propels itself with its fins. One final known fact is that their fertilized eggs float up near the surface of the water, where they then hatch. Baby oarfish stay near the surface of the water for a short while, and once they descend they stay at the depths of the ocean.

The first recorded human encounter with living and healthy oarfish only occurred in 2016, in an episode of Animal Planet. In this episode, Jeremy Wade dived deep into the water and was able to swim so close to an oarfish that the managed to touch one.

2017 is set to break records around the world for extreme weather

With so much happening in the news in 2017, it can be hard to realize that this year’s weather patterns have been perhaps the strangest on record. It’s seen 6 major hurricanes including Harvey and Irma, which both caused mass destruction and devastation. And that’s not all; in a rare event, a hurricane hit Ireland.

The storm system formerly known as hurricane Ophelia is said to be the most severe storm in Ireland in half a century. It brought 120 mph winds and massive waves. Ophelia tore off roofs and ripped trees out of the ground. The storm resulted in 3 fatalities and thousands of homes and businesses lost power.

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Though Ophelia has not been as destructive as other storms, it is very unusual. It is the farthest east and farthest north a major hurricane in the Atlantic basin has been recorded since satellite technology began. Ophelia actually resulted in satellite forecast images being cut off, due to it being out of normal tracking range.

Typically, waters that far north are too cold to result in a storm this strong, but as sea surface temperatures continue to warm as a result of climate change, the region of the Atlantic that can support tropical storms will expand.

It’s no coincidence that 2017 has seen the highest upper ocean heat content on record in the tropical Atlantic. Just another reason to take action on global warming.

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Moving on from hurricanes, the huge surges from hot to cold have also been unique. In Oklahoma, for example, the town of Mangum recorded an all time high February temperature of 99.4 degrees fahrenheit. Then, three days later, on Valentine’s Day, the town saw snow. Stories like this have been repeated throughout the world.   

Another sobering thought is that it isn’t over yet. There are still almost 2 months left of 2017. Who knows what other records will be set? While hurricane season usually ends around 30th November, this year it’s impossible to predict what will happen.

These sideways windows are known as “witch windows” in New England because legend has it they keep witches out of your home.

Have you heard of a “witch window”? They’re also called Vermont windows because they’re mostly found on older Vermont homes. They’re most often found in rural houses, with older farmhouses being the prime place someone can expect to find them. They’re portrait style windows where the long part is aligned diagonally with the roof.

But…Why?

There are several competing theories as to why these strange windows are shaped like this and what, if anything, they have to do with witches. The most common witch based theories are as follows: legend has it that witches can’t fly at angles, so the odd shaped window would stop the invading witch. It could have something to do with the window forming a cross-like shape with the roof. Or perhaps it’s because they just can’t fly at that particular angle with their broomsticks. But then why would only one window on the home be angled to keep witches out? There’s nothing in the superstitious stories that sheds light on this question.

There’s another explanation that doesn’t involve witches.The windows are also called “coffin windows.” According to Vermont folklore, dying people would spend their last days in their bedrooms upstairs. Once they passed away, it was difficult for undertakers to move their bodies through hallways and stairwells, so coffin windows were built to get them out of the house faster. But there’s not a lot of supporting evidence for this theory.

Instead, most people think the windows just let in better light and ventilation for attics.

In a similar but almost certainly unrelated example, some Hawaiian homes are built with misaligned doors, which supposedly keep ghosts from wandering from one room to another. So, that’s two US States with weird superstitious architectural legends. Perhaps the other 48 have ones that haven’t been covered?

This Creepy Creature Is Not A Giant Cockroach. In Fact, It’s Not Even An Insect.

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This is not a giant cockroach. In fact, it’s not even an insect. So what is it?  

It’s a giant isopod, a bottom dweller that lives in the depths of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans anywhere between 550 to 7020 feet deep. They’re crustaceans and distant relatives of shrimps and crabs, which are decapods. They’re also related to woodlice, (pillbug) which they resemble.

They grow to be between 7.5 And 14.2 inches long, but one found in 2010 measured 2.5 feet in length. Some think their large size is an adaptation that helps them survive the pressure of living so deep underwater, like how the giant squid got so giant.

Their discovery in 1879 was highly important to the scientific world. Prior to this, many scientists thought nothing could live in the depths of the ocean. The isopod both disproved this theory once and for all and terrified all who saw it.

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The bodies of animals that sink to the ocean floor are their main food source. But some evidence suggests that they may be hunters who feed on slow-moving animals, like sponges. Giant isopods have 4 sets of jaws that allow them to cut and tear at prey, and when they eat they totally gorge, since food on the ocean floor can be rare.

They have the largest eggs out of all marine invertebrates. And their babies don’t have a larval stage so they’re born looking like full grown isopods.

We definitely wouldn’t wanna run into that face at the bottom of the ocean.

Now, to the most revolting question. Can you eat them and are they delicious?

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Recently, the Omoshiro Aquarium in Yokohama, Japan hosted an event where they served deep fried isopods. Those who tried the delicacy described the taste as having a strong shrimp or crab flavor. So, next time you’re in Yokohama, see if there’s a isopod cook off on!

How Did The Legend Of Slender Man Inspire An Attempted Child Murder?

Here’s a look at the urban legend of Slenderman, the internet-spawned monster who drove two 12-year-olds to attempt murder.

Slender Man gained mainstream attention in 2014, when two 12-year-olds, Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, lured their friend Payton Leutner into the woods and stabbed her 19 times, leaving her for dead. Weier and Geyser later stated that the stabbing was meant to be a murder sacrifice to earn the “protection” of Slender Man.

Leutner survived the attack, and Weier and Geyser have been charged with attempted murder in the first degree and will be tried as adults. They face up to 65 years in prison if convicted.

So how did an internet urban legend inspire such a gruesome crime?

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Slender Man was created in 2009 by a guy named Eric Knudsen. Knudsen invented Slender Man as part of a contest on the website Something Awful where users were asked to create fake paranormal images. He submitted a doctored photo of Slender Man with an accompanying backstory. The photo shows children on a playground being watched by a tall, dark, out-of-focus figure in the background. The shadowy figure appears to have tentacles. The backstory states that the photo was taken the day that 14 children vanished.

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Knudsen’s image really captured people’s imagination and others started to create their own versions of Slender Man’s history. Slender Man’s evolution spawned fanart, cosplay, and online fan fiction called creepypasta. Creepypasta are anecdotal urban legends that include instructions for the reader that, if followed, may lead to a horrifying or remarkable event.

Weier and Geyser read about the Slender Man through its creepypasta. They were convinced the stories were real, which drove them to attempt the murder.

Slender Man is still a phenomenon, with more and more people adding to the mythology of a faceless, shadowy, 8-foot-tall man in a suit who abducts children for reasons unknown. He’s even inspired 4 video games: Slender: The Eight Pages, Slender: The Arrival, Slender Man’s Shadow, and Slender Rising. Slender Man also influenced the feature film “The Bye Bye Man” which centers on a tall looming figure who infects the minds of young people to do his dirty work.

It’s anyone’s guess where he’ll turn up next.

Have You Ever Had Déjà Vu? Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Your Experience.

Déjà vu. It’s that strange experience where you feel like a situation seems more familiar than it should be. But why do we get it?

Déjà vu is French for “already seen.” You may go to someone’s house for the first time and feel like you’ve been there before, but you’re sure you haven’t.

Young people experience déjà vu the most. Most people report their first déjà vu experience as having occurred before the age of 10, and then it tapers off as you age. This leads researchers to believe it might have something to do with brain development.

What actually causes déjà vu is still a big mystery, and there are many theories about it. But research has shown that déjà vu experiences are firmly associated with temporal-lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition that causes brain cells to send out-of-control electrical signals that affect cells around them. These haywire signals affect brain cells like dominoes, which result in a seizure wherein a person loses control of their thoughts and body movements.

Temporal lobe epilepsy in particular starts in the temporal lobe, which is the area of your brain just on top of your ears that is responsible for making and remembering memories. People with temporal lobe epilepsy frequently report having déjà vu just before they have a seizure. So, in people that do not have temporal lobe epilepsy, déjà vu could be a mini seizure that stops before it grows too large.

What’s likely happening is this: the familiar feeling you get is signaled by cells in the temporal lobe but gets ignored by other parts of the brain that check to make sure whether the signals make sense.

But it is ultimately very difficult to test déjà vu theories, as personal reports of the experience are varied. This continues to make it a very interesting topic of scientific study.

Sex Dolls Are Taking Over China Because Of Their “Woman Shortage”

Chinese parents’ long-held preference for sons and its restrictive population planning policies have resulted in a male surplus. China is forecast to have over 30 million more men than women by 2030.

As a possible solution to the demographic imbalance, China’s government announced a 2 child policy in 2015. This replaced the previous 1 child policy, which was in effect from 1979 until the announcement. But China would need a Canadian-sized population of women to resolve the issue.

This has led to other solutions, such as potentially reviving wife-sharing, a rise in sex trafficking and most recently, a surge in the popularity of sex dolls for men.

Sex doll sales have reportedly gone up 50% year-on-year in the last 5 years on sites like Alibaba and Taobao. Even a sex doll sharing app called Touch was created to allow users to rent life-sized dolls for $45 apiece. However, some Chinese people and officials strongly objected to the use of sex dolls. The company ceased trading just days after opening due to a police order stating that the service was vulgar.

China’s gender gap has reportedly already contributed to a rise in violent crime, since the country’s bachelors are showing higher rates of depression and aggression.

Meanwhile, some cultural researchers see the dolls as dehumanized representations of women. But at the end of the day, sex dolls can’t provide what the country needs: babies.

China’s current situation is an unforeseen consequence of the 1 child policy. When it was introduced in 1979, the government was struggling to accommodate a population that was rapidly growing and experiencing longer life expectancy rates. The introduction of the 1 child policy was subject to worldwide criticism outside of the nation, though a poll of Chinese people in 2008 stated that 76% of people supported the policy.

This Is What Happens When You Combine a Mouse, a Kangaroo and a Velociraptor. The Results Are Really Cute.

It’s called a bipedal jerboa, and it’s basically a rodent with kangaroo legs.

Its legs give it incredible speed and leaping abilities, which, as you can see, make it pretty hard to catch. In fact, they can run at 14 miles per hour. Some species of jerboa can jump over 6 feet. Apart from their feet, their other obvious kangaroo-like characteristic is their ears. As you may expect, they have incredible hearing, meaning they can evade most predators before they are sighted. However, sometimes owls are able to catch them.

There’s another survival mechanism that the jerboa uses, that isn’t immediately noticeable. A recent study showed that when they are being chased, they use one of three different running techniques to escape predators: hopping, running and skipping. Once they have run a distance in one of the techniques, they switch to one of the others and go in a different direction. Often they also zigzag erratically after switching technique. These changes in running style confuse predators, increasing the odds of the Jerboa getting away. The evolutionary biologist who discovered this trait, Talia Moore, said “We found that the bipedal jerboas were much more unpredictable [than other rodents]… This increased unpredictability likely arises from their unique gait use and gives them an edge in the evolutionary arms race between predator and prey.”

A less obvious, but no less important, kangaroo-like feature of the jerboa is its foramen magnum. This is a hole in its skull that its spinal cord runs into. While humans and most other bipedal animals have this hole, in jerboas and kangaroos it is specially sloped, which makes them much more agile.

Their long tails keep them balanced by acting as a stabilizer, which is actually similar to how velociraptors likely used their tails. A jerboa’s tail is sometimes longer than its own head and body. A researcher in the 1800s actually cut off a jerboa’s tail to see what would happen. The inhumane experiment resulted in the jerboa not being able to do anything at all, which is to say, they very much rely on their tails for locomotion.

They mainly live in hot deserts throughout Northern Africa and Asia, to Northern China and Manchuria. And they mostly eat plants and sometimes beetles. They are nocturnal, spending most of the daytime in their burrows. Like a rich person with cash to burn, they can have up to four homes. They have permanent summer burrows, where they raise their babies; permanent winter burrows, for hibernation; temporary night burrows and temporary day burrows, which are both used for hunting.

While Jerboas are solitary animals, they can communicate via pheromones. They do this by something called “dust bathing.” Basically, it boils down to the jerboa rolling around in the sand, releasing pheromones that through smell convey a certain message, such as “this is my territory.” Biologists also speculate that they can communicate in some form via sounds or vibrations, due to their large ears.

Also, mating wise, biologists think that they’re polygynous. No, not polygamous, like you would expect of most animals, but polygynous, which is where a single male has a range of partners that only mate with him. It would be like a hareem, except that they are not a closely associated group.

They tend to live around 6 years, which is four years longer than the typical mouse.

They sure are cute. Just don’t call it a gerbil.

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Why Do So Many People Sneeze When They Look At The Sun? Some Scientists Have A Very Interesting Theory.

Ever wonder why sudden exposure to sunlight makes you sneeze?

It turns out that that process has a name. It’s called photic sneeze reflex, or ACHOO. ACHOO stands for Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome. It occurs in about 25% of people and is genetic.

While this syndrome has been known for years, no one knows exactly why people suffer from it. However, some scientists have a really interesting theory.

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First, people already know what triggers the sneeze. No particular wavelength of light causes the sneeze reaction, but rather it has to do with the intensity of the light you look at. Second, photic sneeze reflex is known to be a genetic condition. Clearly, it must be a defect in one area of the nerves, or so the following theory goes.

Some scientists believe photic sneeze reflex is caused by a glitch in one of the brain’s main nerves, the trigeminal nerve. Before you sneeze, the trigeminal nerve is what detects irritation in your nose. But the trigeminal nerve runs close to your optic nerve, which senses light in the eyes. So if someone is suddenly exposed to direct sunlight, the optic nerve senses this. But because it’s so close to the trigeminal nerve, the light is also detected as an irritation in the nose, which causes you to sneeze.

Essentially, in those of a certain genealogy, their trigeminal nerve and optic nerve overlap, causing the slight irritation when people are exposed to the bright light.

This isn’t the only theory for the cause of photic sneeze reflex, but it is the most convincing.

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Sadly, it seems like this condition is wholly incurable. Those who do have photic sneeze reflex will be stuck with it for life and possibly pass it on to their children.

Next time you sneeze from this syndrome, or witness a friend who suffers from it, at least there will be some satisfaction in knowing what probably causes it.

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Turkeys Are Finally Getting Their Revenge On Humans.

Aggressive turkeys are taking over Massachusetts. But it’s nothing new…

Complaints about hostile wild turkeys in Boston have grown in recent years, as they clash with residents and chase pets and people. Some people have even suffered minor injuries from the birds. But why are they so aggressive?

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Turkeys adhere to the pecking order, which is a social hierarchy in which a dominant bird pecks on birds of lesser status. Males in particular are driven to be physically aggressive in order to climb the pecking order. And since turkeys don’t really have the perspective to know that humans are humans, they’ll try to establish dominance. So if you don’t establish dominance on your first encounter, expect to get pecked.

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Wildlife experts have blamed the pushy turkeys on residents who leave food out for them, which encourages flocks to settle in and helps them survive the winter

Massachusetts state law doesn’t allow the police or animal control to remove aggressive turkeys, so if you cross paths with one, call the SPCA for information on how to handle it.

Individual accounts of turkey attacks are both terrifying and hilarious. This article describes an attack by a turkey that the author names “Tom.” In the account, every time the author tries to drive his car away, the turkey strikes. The account reads like something out of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Unsurprisingly, turkey attacks are at their worst when it’s their breeding season. The attacks are mostly perpetrated by males. The turkey breeding season starts in spring and usually lasts for around 16 weeks. Turkeys usually settle down by summertime, meaning that the worst attacks are over. To a lesser extent, aggressive turkey attacks have been known to take place throughout the year, however.

If you live in New England, watch out for turkeys next March-May!

These Hilarious Bumper Stickers Will Have You Driving Of Laughter (Sorry, Dying, Not Driving)

What could be more boring than a bumper sticker? Even the so-called “funny” bumper stickers, such as, “my other car is a spaceship,” are so dull, right?

Wrong! While historically bumper stickers were boring, nowadays people are plastering ever funnier messages to their cars that will have you at worst slightly smirking and at best howling with laughter on the roads.

Here are some of the best examples of funny bumper stickers. Just remember, drive safe:

  1. This obnoxious sticker is the bumper sticker equivalent of sticking the middle finger up to people that like to put little stick figures of their families onto the back of their car.
  2. We’re still in obnoxious country here, only this time the message is coming from a much older voice. This is the kind of message that we could imagine the Larry Davids of this world sticking onto their cars.
  3. An reference to how stupid “baby on board” signs are. The Simpsons made this point in 1994, but hey, a good joke can be re-told again and again.
  4. People are sick of other people trying to tell them stuff they don’t want to know, or at least the driver of this car is. Sadly, the site listed on this sticker isn’t operational.
  5. For the first time in the list, there’s a sticker that isn’t addressing other drivers. Instead it’s a reference to an old Tenacious D song. 
  6. We thought we’d left obnoxiousville, but obviously we’ve come right back in. A very “religious” affront to careless drivers.
  7. A warning to any bachelors or bachelorettes out there. We wonder if the driver is speaking from experience?
  8. Hmm, who would that be? Oh, right. Me. Very clever.  
  9. Perhaps this sticker was put up after bitter feelings caused by the last election?
  10. Where’s the last one’s politics were ambiguous, this one’s are obvious. We wonder how many on the road would make out such a small sign?
  11. We’ve moved from insulting others to self deprecation. Still, it’s not the car’s fault it’s so dull.
  12. Yes, you got us.
  13. This one is sure to make you think twice.
  14. Puns are often thought of as the lowest form of humor, though obviously not by this guy.
  15. It’s like a paradox.
  16. This tame sticker could only be funny in Canada. I’m sure the British Columbians love it.
  17. This one actually seems pretty wise.
  18. Clever placement of the font size. First you think it’s saying one thing, then it’s another.
  19. This is the only one to incorporate props into the bumper. Global warming’s never been funnier.
  20. Is the H meant to be crossed out? If so, then I guess this is Hannibal Lecter’s car.
  21. Another pun based entry here. I guess the “Focus” is also incorporated as an afterthought.
  22. This one’s witty but clashes terribly with the car’s color.
  23. Sadly, we can only see two of this car’s. I’m sure the rest are just as funny.

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We’re In The Third Wave of Feminism In The United States. Here’s A Look Back At The Other Two Waves.

The First Wave: 1830s to Early 1900s

Though certain feminist ideals have existed since humanity began and women have built up these ideals constantly, many state that the first wave of organized feminism began in the United States in the 1830s. Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a leader in this movement and held the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. It issued a declaration of sentiments, which expressed how women’s rights were being limited. More women’s rights conventions were held afterward.

By 1860, the Married Women’s Property Act was passed in 14 states. This gave women basic rights to own property, make wills, have ownership of their children and work for a salary. By 1865, this act expanded to 29 states.

In 1916, Margaret Sanger opened America’s first birth control clinic. And in 1920, in the clearest political success of the first wave, women earned the right to vote.

The Second-Wave: 1960s to 1980s

After World War II, the second wave of feminism targeted women in the workplace and family, sexuality, and reproductive rights.

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It really kicked off in 1961, when a government report highlighted how women were discriminated in every aspect of American life.

In 1963, the Equal Pay Act became law in the United States and established equal pay for men and women performing equal work.

Changes in custody and divorce law were made. And Women’s Equality Day was established in the United States on August 26, 1971.

The Third-Wave: 1990s to Present

Even though a lot of progress has been made, the third wave continues to fight for things like equal pay and the right for women to have control over their own bodies.  

Some say that it stems from an underground punk movement called Riot grrrl. Bands such as Bikini Kill and Sleater Kinney sang about issues such as sexuality, domestic abuse and female empowerment, inspiring others to take action.

The third-wave also comprises many different types of feminism from all over the world. With an ever more interconnected world, different feminist groups can unite like never before.

Women have come a long way and are showing no sign of stopping.

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This Artist Makes Weapons Out Of Logos

You probably already know this artist’s work; time and time again it goes viral. His name is Tom Galle, and he is a creative based in New York City. Galle mainly pulls his inspiration from the internet and meme culture and blurs the line between the online and offline world.

His latest series takes recognizable corporate icons and fashions them into weapons, like creating a Facebook “f” logo crowbar, adapting the Nike logo into a knife and turning the McDonald’s logo into brass knuckles. These are logos most of us encounter almost every day of our lives, repurposed as actual dangerous items. This is certainly a strong statement, which is ingeniously designed to remind society of the harm that the biggest companies are causing to the planet every day. Perhaps the strongest item in the set is the Facebook crowbar. Facebook’s role in society is certainly in the public consciousness today, given the reports about its part in spreading mistruths during the last election. The metaphor of Facebook crow-barring its way into our world is certainly potent!

His provocative work has earned acclaim. To date, he’s won the Cannes Lions Grand Prix, 2 Webby awards, and a gold award at the London International Awards. Unsurprisingly, his work generates strong press attention. Vice, the Guardian, Fox News, O Magazine, The Verge, BuzzFeed and more have all either interviewed him or discussed his work in their media. Additionally, he’s produced work for a range of high profile companies. Google, Netflix, Adidas, Android, Samsung, Toyota and a whole range more are all listed as his clients.

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His past pieces include a Tinder virtual reality, meat phones and even a crucifix fidget spinner. As you can probably tell from this description, his work, in some ways, is like Black Mirror, in that it examines people’s attitudes towards technology and the way that technology is shaping the human condition. In fact, some of his most successful projects sound like pitches for the next season of Black Mirror, or a similar freaky Sci-Fi show.

In February, he spoke to Vice, where he discussed his work. In terms of the projects that he most enjoys, he states, “I love it when my projects are polarizing: people either love or hate them. I get really strong reactions on most of my projects – either very positive or just straight up haters. I like going really absurd while adopting meme culture and playing around with how we use technology.” It’s clear to see that he’s achieving his aims with incredible results!   

With the constantly changing state of the internet, Tom Galle’s art knows no bounds. Who knows what he’s going to produce next?

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A Pile Of Trash In The Ocean Has Grown To The Size Of France

The Great Pacific garbage patch is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. And now it’s the size of the entire country of France/State of Texas. While this isn’t the only ocean garbage patch, it’s by far the largest. It’s one of the strongest examples of how waste is destroying the world.

It’s also referred to as the Pacific trash vortex, and it’s actually 2 distinct collections of debris bound together by the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. The ocean’s currents form the Great Pacific garbage patch, binding together waste from the east and west. Most of the patch’s debris is plastic. And since most plastic isn’t biodegradable, it doesn’t disintegrate. Instead, it just breaks down into smaller pieces called microplastics. But there are also larger plastics, which are mainly refuse from land activities.

Scientists haven’t conducted detailed research into what percentages of the garbage patch come from which source. A 2014 study sampled 1571 locations from a range of garbage patches, not just the Great Pacific one, and it concluded that more than 60% of the waste is made up of buoys, lines and nets from fishing ships. Though the study researched over 1000 locations, this report can’t be considered comprehensive. For example, in 2011 the EPA published a contradictory report that concluded that the majority of the Great Pacific garbage patch is made up of domestic trash and manufactured products. This report also stated that the source of the trash comes from the land, via marinas, ports, rivers, storm drains and other sources.

Humans have known about the the Great pacific garbage patch since 1988. However, its scale wasn’t’ first comprehended, and it has grown since. The first person to inform the world of its true scale was an oceanographer and race boat captain named Charles J. Moore, who encountered it personally when taking part in the Transpacific Yacht Race.

Though it’s huge and causing extreme damage to the environment, the Great Pacific garbage patch isn’t easily visible from the surface. The exceptionally small pieces of broken down plastic are nearly invisible to the eye. There are ways of estimating just how much plastic has been wasted, though. One of the most recent studies confidently predicted that over half of the world’s plastic produced since 1950 is now in the oceans. From 1950 to now, humanity has produced 9.1 billion tons of plastic. 7 billion tons of this are no longer being used. Only 9% of this discarded plastic got recycled and 12% got incinerated. Therefore, 5.5 billion tons went into the oceans or land.

One of the worst effects of marine debris is “ghost fishing,” which is when discarded nets end up catching and suffocating other marine life. Marine garbage patches can also prevent algae and plankton from receiving enough sunlight to create nutrients. Algae and plankton use photosynthesis to make nutrients, so when a garbage patch blocks the sun the entire food chain is threatened. Another way that plastic is poisoning the world’s oceans, is that the plastics that are degradable leave a range of toxic chemicals in the water, damaging marine life, which includes the fish that we eat.

Additionally, small pieces of non-degradable plastic have already been discovered in the stomachs of sea creatures, such as turtles and albatrosses. In a study of albatrosses in Hawaii, biologists discovered that one third of albatross chicks are dying because their parents are inadvertently feeding them plastic from the ocean. To date, research has documented 267 global species that are harmed by ocean plastic pollution. However, the true number of affected animals is definitely much higher and continues to grow.

If you’re wondering how the ocean’s plastic will end up in humans, there is already one well documented pathway. The food chain goes like this: jellyfish often accidentally eat plastic pieces, fish eat the contaminated jellyfish and humans eat the plastic filled fish. This problem is only going to get worse The UN ocean conference predicted that the ocean will contain more plastic than fish by 2050.

While many organizations are committed to prevent the patch from growing, being aware of and lowering your plastic usage would help a lot.

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This Wasp Has A Metal-Reinforced Drill Coming Out Of Its Butt, And They Use It For Something Terrible

The parasitic fig wasp is as mean as it sounds. However, it’s also equipped with some fascinating tools. Its stinger is unique in that it is actually a zinc-fortified ovipositor that acts just like a drill, which deposits eggs. It’s thinner than a human hair, yet it can pierce through tough materials, specifically unripe figs, where it injects its eggs.

The parasitic fig wasp’s drill ovipositor is extremely long for its body, being much longer than the stingers usually found on wasps. Until recently, biologists were stumped as to how the parasitic fig wasp’s drill ovipositor is able to survive multiple raw fig drilling events. While the drill was known to be strong, evidence indicated that it shouldn’t be able to survive more than one attempt. However, a mechanical engineer named Namrata Gundiah became fascinated by the creatures and decided to study them closely. She observed that the drill ovipositor is designed to bend and flex when drilling into a raw fig, stopping it from fracturing when it buckles.

You may imagine that the parasitic fig wasp’s larvae feed on the fig that they’re deposited in, but you’d be wrong. It actually feeds on another wasp’s eggs/larvae, which are already in there. These were deposited by the pollinator wasp.

Both pollinator wasps and fig trees rely on each other for mating and survival. A fig tree’s flowers are encased inside of the figs, so it can’t use wind to spread pollen around, so the tree enlists the help of a pollinator wasp. A female pollinator wasp will land on an unripe fig and make her way through a tiny passageway leading to its core. Once inside, she lays her eggs and spreads pollen. This is an incredibly difficult process for the female pollinator wasp. It loses its wings and most of its antennas on this journey, and after laying its eggs, it dies.

The eggs hatch into larvae which feed on the fig before turning into adults and mating with each other. Then the males chew through the fig and die, allowing the females to escape and carry pollen to new figs.

As the male pollinator wasps never leave the fig, except to die, they are unusual in wasps in that they have evolved to not have wings. There’s nowhere to fly to inside a fig, after all. The females look much more like normal wasps.

Female parasitic fig wasps use their drills to deposit their eggs, which feed on the pollinator wasp’s eggs/young. She is even able to smell her way to the developing wasps and deposits an egg on each one. Harsh.

In case you were wondering if you’re eating dead wasps when enjoying figs, you aren’t. The carcasses of the dead wasps get completely absorbed by an enzyme that the fig produces called ficain before the fig fruit becomes ripe.

This fig and wasp co-dependent life cycle has been going on for millenia. Evidence indicates that this bizarre life cycle began 70-90 million years ago, as a one off event, that the first fig wasps’ children replicated, with the process going on again and again. It is also thought that this fig/wasp co-dependability is what has led to the wide diversity of figs within nature.

Watch the video below:

This Woman Transforms Into Iconic Characters, While Wearing Her Hijab

Malaysian makeup artist Saraswati uses her hijab for cosplay looks. She uses the name @queenofluna on Instagram, where she has gained almost 400K followers.

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From Ariel to Mulan, Saraswati has no problem incorporating her hijab into her incredible creations. And she’ll often share how she created the look in her captions

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And it’s not just female characters she transforms into. She’s pulled off Scar from lion king, Jafar from Aladdin and the Joker from Batman.

It all started in 2013, when she cosplayed as Elsa from Frozen. After showing off her creation, she was swamped with requests from friends to recreate the look for them.

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In an interview with MTV, she stated “I have never claimed to represent all the hijabis. I am just staying true to myself and doing what I’m passionate about.”

Since Saraswati started posting, hijab cosplay has caught on in a huge way. A recent cosplay show in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, saw many more cosplayers participate while wearing religious headwear.

Academics and religious figures have praised this growing trend of hijab cosplay. Rohayati Paidi, who lecturers at the University of Malaysia, said to Al Jazeera “Though it [cosplay] arrived in Malaysia 15 years ago, it was rare to find hijabi Muslim women at fan conventions. But there has been a shift in recent years as more embrace their ability to combine religious beliefs with cosplay culture.”

The hijab cosplayers have to embrace a range of techniques to remain within their religious boundaries, such as choosing characters that don’t reveal skin and hair. This means that most either dress as heavily clothed characters, or choose fabrics that match their skin color.

Recently, Malaysia even hosted its first event solely dedicated to hijab cosplay.

What a creative way to embrace your heritage!

OMFG. This Monkey Herds Goats On A Farm!

You may have seen Babe, the movie where a pig learns to herd sheep, but did you know there’s an even weirder real life version of this story?

Mani the monkey works as a shepherd at a goat farm in Kerala, India. She is in charge of 32 goats. Every morning, Mani leads them out to graze on nearby hills and brings them home when they’re all done.

As the images show, she isn’t even a large monkey, being considerably smaller than any of his goat flock. However, she uses her small size to her advantage. Instead of herding the goats from a distance, she jumps on their backs and steers them by pinching on their ears.

Mani also protects the goats from wild animals, personally attacking any predators. She arrived at the farm in 2008, badly wounded. But she was nursed back to health and now has 3 children of her own. But despite being a mother, Mani has plenty time to be in charge of the goats.

P.J Martin, the owner of the farm that Mani the monkey works on, said this to the Animal Liberation Front about his hairiest employee, “I got this monkey three years ago, bleeding all over. I applied medicine and left it with the goats. Afterwards he was always with the goats.” Clearly, Mani the monkey formed an incredibly close bond with the goats as she recovered and has been helping them ever since. What’s really crazy is that P.J Martin didn’t provide Mani any training, and as far as we know, Mani had never before witnessed the farmer tending to his goat herd. Mani just picked up the goat herding skills instinctively.

Mani has also become something of a tourist attraction, with tourists regularly visiting to see the monkey at work. Considering that this incredible monkey is entirely unique, it’s not hard to understand why people would want to see such a site!

What Is Ayahuasca, How Does It Work, And Why Is Everyone Talking About It Right Now?

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew that has been used for centuries by tribes in South America. But it’s recently become more mainstream for those seeking an enlightening experience. It’s also known as ayawaska, caapi, cipó and shori.

But how does it work?

Ayahuasca is a brew made from banisteriopsis caapi vines and psychotria viridis leaves, among other ingredients. The leaves contain DMT or “N, N-Dimethyltryptamine”, which is structurally similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin and the chemical in magic mushrooms

Normally, your enzymes deactivate DMT before it gets absorbed into your bloodstream. But the banisteriopsis caapi vines prevent that from happening, so DMT gets absorbed into your blood and makes its way to your brain.

The effects of ayahuasca start about 30 minutes after consuming the drink, and hallucinations peak at about 1 hour after this and last up to 6 hours. These hallucinations are different than those experienced with shrooms or LSD, in that users often experience the sensation of being able to communicate with alien lifeforms and see strange creatures.

Some people use ayahuasca therapeutically to come to terms with certain thoughts, emotions, or traumas.This is because depression and anxiety are associated with overactivity in an area of the brain called the default mode network, and brain scans show that ayahuasca decreases activity in the default mode network.

After consumption, ayahuasca drinkers usually vomit or have diarrhea since it’s very acidic. Fatalities have been linked to drinking ayahuasca, but the official causes of death are undetermined. A speculated reason for the deaths is that the modern preparation methods of the drink result in much higher dosages than traditional ayahuasca. This is due to the substance’s rise in popularity, which has led people to present themselves as fake shamans, who are ultimately unqualified and don’t know how to safely make the brew.

Most recently, in March, a 24 year old New Zealand tourist died at an ayahuasca retreat in Peru. However, this death has been attributed to a tobacco cleansing drink that the tourist took before drinking ayahuasca. A further five deaths occurred between 2015 and that incident at ayahuasca resorts.  

This Guy’s Mummified Head Is Displayed In Public

A philosopher’s mummified head is on display at the University College London. The head belonged Jeremy Bentham, who was a utilitarian philosopher when he was alive.

When Bentham died, he made specific requirements in his will that his body should be preserved.

Bentham’s mummified body has been on display at UCL for the past 150 years but had a false wax head, until now. The head sits under a glass dome where the remaining features of his face can be viewed.

What Bentham really did, that changed the way we think about dead bodies, is he said a body is more useful if someone who is a medical professional can examine and learn from it rather than bury it, or burn it up. He even determined that his autopsy could provide a grim opportunity for people; he invited his friends to watch his dissection, which was well attended.

The University College London didn’t get Bentham’s head and body right after the dissection. Bentham’s protege and dissector, Thomas Southwood Smith, kept it in his home for 18 years. University College London acquired Bentham’s body in 1850.

Researchers are currently trying to extract Bentham’s DNA from his head to test for certain traits and diseases. Among other things, UCL is testing the DNA for autism, as some have stated that Bentham appears to have displayed autistic traits in his life.

Originally, the head and body were displayed together, as they are now. However, students consistently used the head for pranks, which required it to be locked away. Hopefully, the same does not happen again.  

Even in the 18th century, Bentham was a social reformer and advocate for women’s rights, abolition, and the decriminalization of homosexuality. We have a lot to learn from his teachings, not just his DNA.

You can learn more about Bentham’s life, death and teachings here

You Have Hundreds Of These Mites On Your Face, And There’s Nothing You Can Do About It

These bad boys are microscopic mites, and there are many of them crawling all over your face right now. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

They’re called demodex folliculorum mites. They’ve got eight legs and worm-like bodies, and they mainly hang out around your pores and hair follicles. But they’ve been been spotted on cheeks, eyebrows, eyelashes, and foreheads. It’s estimated that each person has two mites per eyelash. Some people have hundreds of these things on their face, while others have thousands. When someone has so many on their face that it’s considered an infestation, it’s known as demodicosis.

But don’t panic, yet…

Researchers think the mites are eating bacteria that lives on your skin. Or it could be dead skin cells that they’re snacking on, or oil from the sebaceous gland. When the mites die, they simply dry up on your face.   

And not to get too gross, but these mites don’t have anuses so their built-up waste dissolves on your skin after they die. It is thought that this waste may be connected to rosacea, a skin condition that causes irritation and then redness.

And how do the mites reproduce, you ask?

Once you’re asleep, they come out of your pores to mate, which involves laying their eggs at the rim of your pores. They only live 18-24 days, but a female lays 20-24 eggs a night. That means a single female can lay up to 576 eggs in its life cycle.

And in case you were wondering, no, washing your face won’t kill them. It’s actually almost impossible to get rid of them. And even if you did manage to wipe them out, you’d still probably pick them up again, since we get these mites from contact with other people, and things like sheets, towels, and pillows.

Is anyone else itchy now?