Blood pressure makes a mosquito’s meal easier by helping to fill its stomach faster, but urban legend says it can also lead to their doom. Story goes, you can flex a muscle close to the bite site or stretch your skin taut so the mosquito can’t pull out its proboscis and your blood pressure will fill the bug until it bursts. The consensus among entomologists seems to be that this is bunk (you can see one guy try and fail here), but there is a more complicated way of blowing the bugs up. To make a blood bomb, you’ve got to sever the mosquito’s ventral nerve cord, which transmits information about satiety. When it’s cut, the cord can’t tell the mosquito’s brain that its stomach is full, so it’ll keep feeding until it reaches critical mass. At least one researcher found that mosquitoes clueless about how full they were would keep sucking even after their guts had exploded, sending showers of blood spilling out of their blown out back end.
Quiz: Tip for Managing Millennials or Advice for Puppy Owners?
There have been countless articles about how to manage “Millennials.” Sometimes it sounds like these eager, technology-loving employees are from another planet. Or puppies! Can you tell whether the tip is for dealing with a younger worker or raising a young dog?
In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3pm in an act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3pm is “the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.”
Neil Gaiman’s Commencement Speech on Creative Careers
“Nothing I did, where the only reason for doing it was the money, was ever worth it except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t end up getting the money either. The things I did because I was excited and wanted to see them exist in reality have never let me down, and I’ve never regretted the time I’ve spent on any of them. The problems of failure are hard; the problems of success can be harder, because nobody warns you about them. The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you’re getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you.”
If you or I bump our heads hard enough on a hunk of wood, it might smart for a while. But to get through an average day, a woodpecker might ram its head into a tree trunk at a speed of 6 or 7 meters per second some 12,000 times without seeming the least bit bothered by it. What is going on here?
In 2009, students at Cambridge University genetically engineered E. coli bacteria, adding DNA sequences in order to create colors visible to the naked eye (standard E. coli does not have a pigment). The students called this new strain E. chromi, and it has limited uses today, primarily related to detecting pollution or other chemicals — if the bacteria detects a chemical, it changes color.
12 Really Forced Portmanteaux That Didn't Catch On
Scandiknavery (deceit or trickery by Scandinavians)! Balloonatic (a person who is balloon-mad)! Saccharhinoceros (a lumbering person with an excessively effusive or affectedly sentimental manner)! Alcoholiday (leisure time spent drinking)!
Gertrude Stein is emblematic of a literary and artistic era, with the rhythmic cadence of her poetry underlining a naked self-expression.
Jose Canseco slugged 462 dingers and is now known on Twitter for his candid insight, bouts of oppressive confidence tempered by poignant disclosures of self doubt, and an ever-turbid relationship with the ethereal but “so hot” Leila Shennib (“Leila please call me”).
War elephants were the tanks of their time. Their tough hides were nearly impervious to arrows, and their giant size made them perfect for trampling through enemy lines. In 331 BCE, Alexander the Great was so nervous about the Persian army’s pachyderms that he made a sacrifice to the God of Fear the night before battle. The mighty elephants’ reputation only grew when, in 218 BCE, Hannibal set out to storm Rome with an armada of ferocious beasts. The “elephantry” seemed invincible.
If elephants were the world’s first tanks, flaming pigs—slathered in tar, lit on fire, and set loose to wreak havoc—were the world’s first anti-tank missiles. According to Roman scholar Pliny the Elder, the weapon worked because “elephants are scared by the smallest squeal of the hog.”
When flaming pigs succeeded, they were brilliant. In 266 BCE, the Greek city of Megara fended off the Macedonian conqueror Antigonus II Gonatas using pigs doused in resin. Antigonus’s elephants fled in terror from the bacon brigade. Most battles, however, highlighted the serious drawbacks of tactical barbecue. Since the lifespan of flaming pigs is short, their range was well under 400 feet. That meant the enemy pretty much had to be on top of you before the hogs would have any effect. The porcine missiles also lacked a guidance system, which made them woefully inaccurate. Even when directed toward enemy lines, they often ran wherever they pleased, starting fires on their own side.
The Founder of Mother's Day Later Fought to Have It Abolished
Years after she founded Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis was dining at the Tea Room at Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia. She saw they were offering a “Mother’s Day Salad.” She ordered the salad and when it was served, she stood up, dumped it on the floor, left the money to pay for it, and walked out in a huff. Jarvis had lost control of the holiday she helped create, and she was crushed by her belief that commercialism was destroying Mother’s Day.
According to a 2002 study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 60% of adults can’t have a ten minute conversation without lying at least once. But even that number makes it sound better than it really is; those people in the study who did lie actually told an average of 3 lies during their brief chat.
"Where the Wild Things Are" Was Originally "Where the Wild Horses Are"
The book was intended, of course, to feature fillies, foals and mares. Editor Ursula Nordstrom adored the title, finding it poetic and beautiful, but there was one problem: Sendak couldn’t draw horses.
When he told his editor that the whole horse thing wasn’t going to work out, he recalls her “acid tone[d]” response: “Maurice, what can you draw?”