Tag Archives: science

18 Animals With Ridiculously Misleading Names. Where Did They Come Up With These?

It often feels like everyone in the world is out to trick you. If you think you’re getting a good deal on something, chances are you getting swindled in another way. Of course, we like to use that to our advantage when, say, we turn 29 for the third time.

As it turns out, you can’t even trust animals to tell you the truth anymore. Especially these critters who are all lying to us with their misleading names. Take a look.

1.) Flying Lemurs

They are neither lemurs nor can they fly. Also known as colugos, they were named for their similar features and nocturnal habits, but are closer in relation to primates.

2.) Australian Shepherd

These blue eyed beauties are bred in Europe. Their close relationship to the Australian Basque shepherds gave them their antipodean moniker.

3.) Hedgehog

They have zero relation to pigs or hogs. Their name comes from the discovery that the spiky foragers grunt similarly while hunting.

4.) Red Panda

These adorable animals should have received the name “red raccoons.” They share an equal relation to both raccoons and pandas, but not quite one or the other.

5.) Polecat

These adorable fuzzy faces aren’t related to felines at all. They’re part of the weasel family and were likely named after the French words “poule” and “chat” for their love of poultry.

6.) Koala Bears

Though they look like cuddly teddy bears, koalas are marsupials and more related to kangaroos. But you can’t blame people for wanting to give them a cuddly name.

7.) Sea Lion

Obviously they aren’t lions of the sea, but something called pinnipeds. That means they’re mammals who walk around on their flippers when on land. Their name comes from the thick mane that is often found on their necks, like lions.

8.) Ladybug

These insects aren’t all ladies, and are actually a type of beetle. Their name comes from the Middle Ages when farmers prayed for relief from more nefarious insects eating their crops. When these speckled little bugs came around to eat those jerks, they were given the name “Bug of Our Lady,” referencing the Virgin Mary.

9.) Mountain Goat

Even though they look and sound just like their namesake, these animals are more closely related to antelopes.

10.) Cuttlefish

Nope, it’s not a fish. They’re cephalopods, a species existing for 500 million years. Their internal structure is known as a “cuttlebone,” providing them with their buoyancy and name.

11.) White Rhinos

Their color doesn’t reflect the name, but what makes them unique from other rhinos is the square shape of their mouth.

12.) Fireflies

Named for the “fire” light they emit at night, they are not actually flies. They’re beetles.

13.) Aardwolf

It sounds like the result of an aardvark falling in love with a wolf, but it isn’t related to either of those animals. This is a type of hyena named from the Afrikaans word meaning “earth-wolf.”

14.) Killer Whale

The killer aspect is definitely not a misnomer. As one the largest predators in the ocean, they hunt prey in packs of up to 40. But they’re not whales at all. They’re dolphins.

15.) Geoduck

Pronounced “goo-ee-duc,” these are not actual ducks. Instead, they are a type of clam found in the Pacific Northwest. The misleading name comes from the Nisqually Indian word “qweduc,” which translates to “dig deep.”

16.) Mountain Chicken

This obviously isn’t a chicken. These frogs are one of the world’s most threatened of their species, likely due to their tasty, apparently chicken-flavored meat.

17.) Sea Cucumbers

This cucumber wouldn’t go well in your next salad. The echinoderms come in several shapes and sizes and are closely related to starfish and sea urchins.

18.) Komodo Dragon

Since dragons (sadly) aren’t real, this is nothing more than a large lizard. Its forked tongue inspired the mythical moniker.

(via The Dodo.)

This makes you wonder who we CAN trust in this crazy, mixed up world. Okay, so it might not be that big a deal, but it does make you think about how often we take things like names at face value. Now I want to go back and rename these guys. 

Do You Have Trouble Recognizing People? You Might Suffer From This Condition

Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki has worked at the same company for years, but every day, he brings a map to the office. Why? He can’t recognize anyone.

Dr. Kruszelnicki suffers from prosopagnosia, or “face blindness,” which is a disorder that’s estimated to affect roughly 2.5 percent of the world’s population. While some people are born with it, others develop the condition as a result of a traumatic brain injury, neurodegenerative disease, or stroke. As of now, doctors have no way to treat it.

People with face blindness say that many faces appear to be upside down. With features out of place, it’s nearly impossible to recognize someone, even when they are a close friend or family member.


Read More: Would You Tattoo Your Baby To Save Its Life? These Parents Are Considering It.

Listen to Dr. Kruszelnicki explain what it’s like to live with this incurable disorder.

If you think that you or someone you know might have face blindness, check out TestMyBrain to learn more about signs and symptoms.

The Worst Kind Of Transformation In Nature Is The One That Turns A Maggot Into A Fly

Now that summer’s back, we get to enjoy sun, sand, and backyard barbecues.

Unfortunately, that means the flies have come back out to play, too. Seeing them hovering over our food and hanging out on windowsills is bad enough, but what this person just recorded makes them look even more disgusting. Watch what happens when maggots hatch and turn into nasty, adult versions of themselves.

Everything is awful and Mother Nature is a monster.

(via Reddit)

What I’m telling you is that I’m never eating again.

This Looks Like A Normal First Date, But You’ll Reach For The Tissues 45 Seconds In

When it comes to loss, watching someone you love lose all memory of you is uniquely tragic.

People with Alzheimer’s are still right there in front of you, but the length of a dining room table can feel like an insurmountable obstacle. You can reach out and touch them, but it feels like they’re miles away. And when they look at you, they don’t make the connections they once did. They can’t. They feel like islands, attached to nothing and completely isolated.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, five million Americans now suffer from the heartbreaking condition. That’s five million moms, dads, daughters, sisters, and brothers who have no concept of who they are anymore — five million families who have to grieve the loss of someone who’s sitting right there. All we can do is make them feel as safe and happy as possible.

And that’s exactly what this woman does in the video below. Watch what happens when she asks her date to dance.

People struggling with Alzheimer’s may wake up every day feeling scared and alone, but it’s our job to ensure that they go to sleep every night knowing that they’re loved.

Researchers Discovered How To “Unboil” An Egg To Aid Cancer Research

Chemists at a California university transformed solid egg whites back into a liquid. It’s a process that could speed up a common foundation of cancer research.

Steve Zylius / UC Irvine Communications

Researchers at a Southern California university proved they could “unboil” an egg, a process that could bring dramatic efficiencies to lab-grown proteins that are common in cancer research.

The international team’s findings were published this week in ChemBioChem, a scientific journal.

University of California Irvine professor Greg Weiss, one of the paper’s authors, said he started with a problem familiar to researchers who grow proteins in test tubes for cancer research and treatments.

“The proteins come out as a gloppy mess,” he said. “Once they’re tangled up, they’re totally worthless.”

He eventually spoke with a University of Western Australia colleague, Colin Raston, who had invented a device to pull apart sheets of graphite. The vortex fluid device could possibly be used to straighten out tangled proteins, Weiss thought.

To better illustrate the process, they decided to transform something easily recognizable — a carton of eggs from the supermarket.

Anyone with a bit of experience in the kitchen can tell you that once an egg is boiled, there’s no going back, Weiss said.

But, he said, “we know as chemists the molecules haven’t changed. You’ve changed the shape of the proteins.”

The experiment focused on one protein within an egg white, lysozyme. First, the egg white was boiled for 20 minutes. Then, the rock-hard white was dissolved in urea, a biochemical compound, which pulled apart and coated the proteins.

The coated egg proteins then go into the vortex fluid device, where they’re spun and put under other stress as a thin film of fluid.

“They’re getting stretched apart, and they snap back,” Weiss said. “Sometimes they snap back into their natural shapes.”

The result is a clear solution that doesn’t look like much — but the proteins are back in their original form, Weiss said.

The team will now try to scale up the process. In a couple of years, it could cut down on the time that goes into creating proteins by a thousandfold, Weiss said. And that means significant savings and efficiency for pharmaceutical, agricultural, and other industries that currently spend $160 billion on these proteins each year, the authors wrote.

For Weiss, the findings are an exciting reminder of a basic chemistry concept: Energy can change forms, but it can’t be created or destroyed.

“This illustrates thermodynamics,” he said. “All we have to do is overcome the energy barrier.”

In The Middle Of A Desert, You’ll Find Something From A Bizarre Dreamworld

The desert is a barren wasteland that is devoid of water and life. Very few plants grow in deserts, very few animals live there, and even fewer humans call them home. But that doesn’t mean that incredible things don’t happen in arid lands around the world.

This is the Empty Quarter Desert — the largest continuous desert in the world. A bizarre natural phenomenon has started to occur there. A river of sand has started flowing through this wasteland, and it’s as confusing as it is beautiful.

Some people believe that a flash flood might be the culprit. They hypothesize that water is flowing just under the surface, making the sand move. Check it out for yourself:

The explanation may be shaky, but one thing’s for sure: this phenomenon has certainly created a buzz. People are investigating it and trying to figure out what’s going on. Regardless of what’s making it happen, I think the sand river is really rad.

A Dentist Once Wrote About A Condition That Caused People’s Teeth To Explode

We often associate sitting in the dentist’s chair with annoyance and pain, but dentists never get enough credit for making that experience much less painful than it actually could be.

Thomas Morris, a writer and avid researcher of medical history oddities, wrote a piece about the history of dental explosions that’ll make your skin crawl. (Yes, seriously.)

In the 19th century, a dentist by the name of W.H. Atkinson wrote about a bizarre condition that caused people’s teeth to explode in their mouths. (And you thought getting cavities filled was painful!)

In 1817, Atkinson recorded the case of a reverend in Springfield, Pennsylvania, who suffered from a painful toothache.

One morning, he heard a loud crack in his mouth that sounded “like a pistol shot.” After his tooth shattered into tiny pieces, the pain went away.

In 1871, a young woman’s tooth blew up from a similar affliction.

Some say the sound that came from her mouth was so loud that she went deaf for a few days after the fact.

No one is quite sure if this condition actually existed, but one of its causes could have been that severe tooth decay often leads to gas buildup at the root.

When the tooth is filled with too much gas, it explodes like a balloon.

Another theory is that two different metals used for fillings back then reacted to each other by producing hydrogen.

That could explain the bizarre explosions.

(via Thomas Morris on BBC | Unexplained Mysteries)

But these are only theories, of course. Most modern dentists have little faith that this syndrome was ever actually a thing. Did Atkinson really treat a man with an exploding tooth problem, or was this just part of a sophisticated ploy to get his patients to floss more? We may never know.

To read more about the weird history of medicine, follow Thomas Morris on Twitter.

If Your Skin Was Blotchy This Summer, Don’t Worry, You Were Just Covered In Fungus

Have you ever noticed splotches on your skin after getting a sick tan in the summer?

We’ve all dealt with redness and peeling, but if you see light and dark patches on your skin right now, you’re probably just covered in fungus. It’s fine. This is fine. The fungus in question is called tinea versicolor, and it digs hanging out on human skin when there’s a buildup of yeast.

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Looking more like a cheetah and less like a human? Tinea versicolor may be to blame.

If you’re like 98 percent of people, you have yeast chillin’ on the surface of your skin right now. When that yeast goes into overdrive because of hot, humid conditions, it can attract fungus that cause blotchiness.

The fungus is particularly fond of moisture and oil, so areas that secrete large amounts of sebum are the most vulnerable. Just ask this girl, who now has to deal with some nasty nonsense on her forehead.

The good news is that it’s pretty much harmless. That being said, the symptoms aren’t exactly attractive. Because the fungus doesn’t allow skin to tan, affected areas are clearly visible after sun exposure.

In some cases, tinea versicolor can become so intense that people mistake it for vitiligo, which is a more severe skin condition that causes uneven pigmentation.

As far as treatment is concerned, those dealing with tinea versicolor can grab some antifungal creams from their dermatologists or opt for homemade concoctions to achieve similar results.

While natural oils with antifungal properties like lavender, thyme, and clove can help cut down on irritation, anyone struggling with a serious case of fungal insanity should probably go for the strong stuff.

Summer may be on its way out, but if you’re one of the unlucky folks contending with tinea versicolor right now, the season’s cruelest effects will linger.

(via BuzzFeed)

To learn more about this condition, click here.

5 Strange Places That Are Blacked Out By Google Maps

It’s probably safe to say that Google Maps is one of the greatest technological innovations of the last 10 years. With just a few clicks, you can view any place on the face of the Earth.

Well, almost any place.

There are some areas of Google Maps that, for one reason or another, are concealed or obscured in some very obvious ways. Here are the five most suspicious-looking ones…

1. Junction Ranch, CA

Google Maps

Junction Ranch is in the middle of California’s Mohave Desert. There lies a mysterious airstrip…some believe it’s part of the China Lake proving grounds, which is an air force testing location for drones. While that’s suspicious in and of itself, even weirder is that only parts of the base are obscured from Google Maps. When you zoom in on the base’s location, there are parts of buildings intentionally scratched out. What’s going on down there?

2. Sandy Island

Google Maps

Sandy Island was discovered by Captain Cook during his explorations of and around Australia in the late 1700s. However, despite the island being seen on maps for the last 200 years, the area where Sandy Island is supposedly located is mysteriously blurred out on Google Maps. Something fishy is going on there.

3. Thule Air Base, Greenland

Google Maps

During the Cold War, the U.S. had B-52 bombers carrying nuclear weapons on a regular basis. This strategy was supposed to serve as a deterrent to the Soviets. However, accidents happen and in 1968 a plane carrying a nuclear payload crashed while taking off from Thule Air Base in Greenland. During the crash, the nuclear weapon was said to have released a significant amount of radiation into the surrounding environment. The area of the crash is still blurred out on Google.

4. Kangtega, Nepal

Google Maps

This mysterious area in the Himalayan Mountains is completely blacked out on Google Maps. While the potential reasons why it’s blocked range from a military base to Nazi UFOs, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever know the full story. That is, unless you want to hike up all 22,000 feet to find out.

5. Siberia, Russia

Google Maps

Russia’s vast northern forests are seemingly a hotbed of paranormal and generally unexplained activity. While most of us wouldn’t bother looking at a forest on Google Maps, the Russian government isn’t taking any chances. Deep in the Siberian wilderness is an area of land that from far away looks normal…however, when you look closer, it’s very obviously copied and pasted from another place. The geography just doesn’t synch up. So that begs the question, what’s going on here?

Check out a video discussing all five of these places.

Well, those are pretty darned mysterious. I wonder if Google is working in league with some evil forces in the world to cover these sites up, or if something else entirely is at play.

After Eating Uncooked Salmon, This Woman Had Worms Crawling In Her Stomach…So Gross

There are a few good reasons why we should heed people’s warnings when it comes to eating raw meat.

Nobody wants to get sick, so most of us follow that suggestion pretty well…except for when it comes to eating meals like sushi, which we consider to be safe. But after the completely disgusting experience that this lady had after eating raw fish, I’m pretty sure she’ll be skipping that takeout favorite from now on.

When a woman in Nanao, Japan, went to the hospital two hours after eating uncooked salmon, she was very sick and in a lot of pain. When the doctor put a camera down her throat and into her stomach, he discovered eleven horrifying roundworm larvae inside. And when you watch the doctor remove one wriggling larva, I’m betting you’ll overcook your meat from now on to avoid this horror.

They’re so disgusting. I can’t take this.

Well, that’s an image I’ll never be able to get out of my head. Anyone hungry for some sushi? I didn’t think so.