A termite specie found in French Guiana comes equipped with explosive, venom-filled pouches. According to The Week, the termite species Neocapritermes taracua sends out kamikaze bugs when attacked by an enemy.
The poisonous blue crystals they have amassed react with salivary gland secretions to create a type of "toxic goo." When an enemy takes a bite, the explosive backpack ruptures, covering nearby foes in a deadly, paralyzing venom that also kills the worker in the process.
Shipwreck Study Shows That 'Women and Children First' is a Myth. At least, unlike the Titanic, the study shows that female passengers and kids were less likely to survive than the captain and crew.
According to a recent study by two Swedish economists, that brand of gallantry is not only dead, it was buried at sea long ago.
Keen to test humanity's capacity for selflessness in times of scarcity and duress, the students of the "dismal science" reviewed survival data for some of history's worst shipwrecks.
What they found was that women and children were only half as likely as crew members and captains to survive maritime disasters.
Olympic Medals Are Less Precious Than You Think. According to Dillon Gage, Olympic medals are still made of precious metal but contain less gold.
Olympic medals use a lot of metal but these days the gold medal is mostly silver. The silver medal is sterling silver while the bronze is largely copper. The last time the Olympic Games handed out solid gold medals was a hundred years ago at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm, Sweden.
Gold medals were in fact only gold for eight years. The 1904 Olympics in St. Louis introduced the gold medal as the prize for first place.
"Gold prices have risen sixfold in the last ten years alone," says Terry Hanlon, president of Dillon Gage Metals in Dallas. "Prices climbed from $300 an ounce a decade ago to $1,895 last year." The yellow metal has declined a bit since and stands at $1,580 in July.
The Fax Machine: Alive and Well in Japan. Reportedly, despite the fact that in Japan high-tech gadgets are constantly sought, the humble fax machine is still thriving, which stems from a culture that values handwriting.
In a country which boasts one of the fastest broadband speeds in the world, Suzuki thinks his affection for the fax may be a rare case in such a tech-savvy country. But 87.5% of Japanese businessmen surveyed by the Internet Fax Research Institute say that a fax machine is a crucial business tool.
And Suzuki's preference reflects aspects of Japanese culture which still embrace fax machines, despite their disappearance from parts of the developed world.
Firstly, the culture of handwriting is firmly rooted here. For example, the majority of resumes are still handwritten because Japanese employers are said to judge people's personalities from their writings.
How the Internet Killed Porn. The porn industry in the United States is in crisis, and the Internet is to blame.
Where the industry will end up is hard to predict. Clearly there is still a market for softcore movies made by companies such as Penthouse and Hustler, available on subscription channels. The parodies may continue for a while, too. But it is difficult to see how a business selling hardcore movies and even internet clips is sustainable when most people simply don't want to pay if they don't have to. To many people, when it comes to porn, not paying for content seems the more moral thing to do.
"The way it is now, within five years I don't see how there could be a professional porn actor," Michaels tells me. It's not easy to sympathise with the porn companies, which made so much money for so long by embracing a tawdry business and a dysfunctional work-pool. But it is worth sparing a thought for the legions of performers, qualified for nothing much more than having sex on camera, who have no money saved, and no future.
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