Archives for October, 2010

We’ve got a block of scary programs for you on Saturday night, starting with American Paranormal: Haunted Prison at 8 PM ET. That’s followed by The Truth Behind Bigfoot at 9P, and The Truth Behind Zombies at 10P.Now, here are the spooky science and technology stories of the day.What zombies can teach us about brain…

Wild Superstitions

Most of us have heard animal superstitions through the years, from rabbit’s foot fertility fortune to crossing black cat curses. But here’s a few more wild old wives’ tales and international superstitions that I’ve heard recently… It’s bad luck to bring peacock feathers into your home because of the ‘all-seeing’ eye markings. On a journey?…

In a memorable moment from George Romero’s 1978 movie Dawn of the Dead—which is sort of The Godfather: Part II of zombie apocalypse flicks—some of the ordinary humans fleeing the growing onslaught of reanimated, cannibalistic corpses pause to ponder a nagging question.FRAN: What the hell are they?PETER: They’re us, that’s all. There’s no more room left in hell.STEVE:…

Canines in Costumes

Thinking about dressing up your dog this year? Keep in mind that some dogs will find wearing clothing stressful, uncomfortable or terrifying, so don’t force your pet to don a costume. Instead, consider cute alternatives like bandanas or attractive identification collars (or you know, just give ‘em good old holiday hugs). Other dogs may enjoy…

There’s rumors on the Internets about a YouTube video of verite sidewalk footage shot in 1928 at the Premiere of a Charlie Chaplin movie, which shows a woman walking down the street and holding something to her ear, as if she’s having a cell phone conversation. The clip was extracted and posted by George Clarke, a Belfast-based indie…

Lazy Teenage Lions

The Mountain Pride runs the show in South Africa’s Singita Game Reserve. Normally, when male lions reach three or four years, the dominate male boots them out of the pride—unwilling to tolerate sexual competition. But the Mountain Pride has no dominate male, so these teenage boys have remained at home. Now the mothers and sisters must work overtime to…

Manta Ray Training Techniques

Wild manta rays are not accustomed to slow, surface swimming for a set period of time, following a meal routine or being handled by humans. So how do you train a captive giant manta to feed from a ladle and swim into a stretcher for veterinary care? Ladle TrainingWhen a giant manta ray comes under…

We’re seeing signs of ominous portent everywhere these days, but particularly in software developer Eric Butler’s new Firesheep extension to the popular Firefox browser, which allows you to essentially eavesdrop on any open WiFi network and capture social network users’ cookies. On his website, the developer writes that 129,000 would-be snoops already have downloaded the extension, which…

Extreme Animal Extractions

They hit our homes, hang out at our favorite restaurants, even tee up at the neighborhood golf course. Animals running amuck and crossing the line of comfort. They want to lead a cushy life, too – but when they get too close, the safest bet is to back off and let the experts take over.…

Lionfish Invasion

Photo Credit: Georgia Aquarium Beautiful and venomous, lionfish are top notch predators with healthy appetites. They’re successfully invading non-native waters, outcompeting domestic fish and using ocean currents to distribute their eggs – can anything be done to stop them? Lionfish are a marine species with pointed, toxic spines and red, black and white zebra stripes. They…

In an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times, former astronaut Russell Schweikart warns that it’s high time to get a system in place to deal with asteroids that might collide with Earth and cause a catastrophe of almost unfathomable proportions. Even if a relatively small asteroid smashed into our planet, he explains, it could destroy an…

Siamang Swing

The Houston Zoo is continually trying to improve the lives of the animals in its care, and is completing construction on a six-acre multimillion-dollar African forest to house some of its star inhabitants. Zoo Confidential: Urban Jungle premieres on Nat Geo Wild Tuesday October 26 at 9P et/pt. Video Preview: Zookeepers install bamboo-like poles in…

Insect Empires

Social insects – like bees, termites, hornets and ants – build magnificent empires often hidden from human view. But within these minute organizations are the enslaved and oppressed, the rewarded and ruling. Worker termites, Microtermes, are smaller than a grain of rice. They spend their days chewing up dead wood, carving through fallen branches, and making…

Hunting Crocs

The crocodile – a masterful predator that has change little in over 200 million years. And in the Katuma River in Africa, massive crocodiles wait in the calm water for the perfect ambush opportunity. These hunters are so strong, they grip their quarry and hold it beneath the water’s surface until it drowns. Since crocodiles…

Halloween Dangers for Dogs

It’s Halloween time, the annual trick-or-treating spookfest with delicious chocolate rewards. But this holiday has some potential dangers for your dog, so I spoke with Charlotte-based veterinarian Joy Fine to learn more. She shared some fascinating examples from what she’s seen, heard and learned during her many years of working with dogs as a professional…

Raised Dog Feeders

Roscoe, my Boston Terrier, recently started eating from a These Creatures raised standing feeder.  Some experts believe that raised dog feeders are more comfortable for your pet, allowing him to feed without straining the joints, neck, back and spine.Dogs (especially large breeds) can swallow a significant amount of air when eating food because they tend to lift…

by Denis MinihanSet DesignerIt’s hard to think of a time when criminals didn’t operate in gangs, but prohibition in America was the catalyst that ushered in a new era of organised crime in the modern age. The term gangster conjures up the iconic image of a shadowy figure in a sharp suit, Trilby hat and…

World War Crime

On the evening of March 24th, 1944, 76 airmen broke out of German POW Camp, Stalag Luft III, in a desperate bid for freedom. It was the most famous escape of World War II—it was also a complete disaster. Of the 76 escapees, all were recaptured, and 50 were murdered in cold blood. The murders were immediately…

Sony has just announced that it is ending production of the cassette version of the Walkman, the portable music player that it first introduced in 1979.Back then, of course, the happenin’ thingie of the music world was the audio cassette—which, for the benefit of you Millennials, we should explain was a recording medium that spooled magnetic analog…

Sinking the Unsinkable

Some 60 years after it was sunk by the British Navy, an international team will travel nearly 5,000 meters into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean—to the final resting place of the infamous Nazi supership: The Battleship Bismarck—the supposedly unsinkable vessel whose name once instilled fear and spelled certain doom to any that dared cross it’s path. The…

When Polar Bears Attack

Examine the incredible size, speed and strength of some of the world’s biggest bears – the polar bear, brown bear and black bear. All native to North America, these formidable creatures can weigh more than 1,000 pounds, outrun an Olympic sprinter and take out prey with a single bite or swipe of the paw. Ultimate…

Inside the Milky Way

Inside the Milky Way is about you, me, and the history of two hundred billion stars. Our solar system lies on the outskirts of a vast celestial city, a colossal community of stars, bound together by gravity: the Milky Way Galaxy. Today, astronomers are piecing together evidence, allowing us to see our galaxy in a…

On this cloudless, sunny Paris afternoon of October 22, 1797, André-Jacques Garnerin, released from a hot-air balloon 2,230-feet above the Parc Monceau, became the first person in history to use a parachute to descend safely to the ground.As Garrett Soden details in his book Defying Gravity, when Garnerin initially announced the feat he planned to perform,…

Not Today, Mr. Hyena!

The Shiyane pack of wild dogs dwells in Africa’s Imfolozi Game Reserve. The pack must work together to ward off predators, defend their young, and make sure every pack-member gets fed. The cooperation and allegiance exhibited in the group hunt is fundamental to the Shiyane pack’s survival. If the Shiyane pack expands, a few dogs…

Carnivorous Baboon Rage

Eye of the Leopard tracks one cat for a remarkable three years in Botswana. She’s called Legadema, or “Light from the Sky,” and we follow her from the first vulnerable days as a cub all the way to developing into one of the most feared predators. Eye of the Leopard airs on Nat Geo Wild…