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Bizzare & Odd

They Might Seem Useless, But These 8 Body Parts Actually Have Surprisingly Cool Functions

As the Ancient Greeks used to say, “Know Thyself.” It probably was meant a little more philosophically that we’re choosing to interpret it, but learning about how your body is put together and why is some seriously fun stuff.

We’ve all marvelled at our fingers and toes, wrinkling into prunes in the bath. We’ve all stared at that weird fleshy appendage hanging down in the back of our throats.

We’ve all known someone – or been that someone – with an emergency appendectomy. “It’s fine,” they say, “the appendix is completely useless anyway.”

But our bodies are amazing machines, and, while we may not need some of its features any more, there’s very little in our anatomies with no purpose whatsoever.

And about those things we don’t need any more? They’re evidence of where we’ve been – and that we continue to evolve even to this day.

Your appendix

Turns out the human appendix – that weird structure attached to the colon that seemed to have little purpose but to occasionally inflame – isn’t just an evolutionary vestige after all.

Recent research has found that it might play a key role in our immune systems by harbouring good bacteria that help fight infection. Good work, little buddy!

That extra ear hole

preauricularsinus(Smooth_O/Wikimedia Commons)

If you look carefully at your ears, you might notice you have a tiny additional hole just where the helix meets the side of your head.

This is called the preauricular sinus, and only a tiny percentage of people have them. It’s actually a rare birth defect first documented by Van Heusinger in 1864.

We don’t know why we have them – but evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History has hypothesised that they’re an evolutionary remnant of fish gills.

Wrinkly fingers

fingers(Brenderous/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0)

If you spend too long in the swimming pool, you’re going to notice that your fingers and toes start to look a little like raisins. This might not be pointless, according to a paper published in the journal Biology Letters in 2013.

They conducted experiments and found that underwater objects were manipulated much more adroitly by wrinkled fingers than unwrinkled fingers – suggesting that the feature exists to give us improved grip in both handling objects and walking when wet surfaces are involved.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Junk DNA

We have a lot of DNA in our body that, until recently, didn’t really seem to do anything.

It doesn’t create proteins, and it seems to make us more susceptible to damage and disease – but it makes up a significant part of our genome. If it wasn’t somehow beneficial, evolution would have at least started phasing out this so-called “junk DNA,” but that hasn’t happened.

Recently, researchers may have figured out what it’s for – it plays a critical role in holding out genome together by ensuring that chromosomes bundle correctly inside the nuclei if our cells. Without that function, cells die – so it seems like “junk” DNA is not so junky after all.

“Useless” immune cells

We have these immune cells in our bodies that nobody could figure out what they were for.

It was a real head-scratcher, because these “silenced” lymphocytes are present in our bodies in large numbers and only seemed to emerge to attack the body in autoimmune diseases. It looks like a liability, right?

But it ain’t. It turns out that the cells represent a new type of immunity that we didn’t know about before – they attack dangerous infections that otherwise evade the immune system by disguising themselves as part of the body. A pretty useful line of defence to have, wouldn’t you say?

Gut bacteria

There’s a reason that experts have recently suggested that we all start referring to ourselves using the royal “we”.

In recent years, research has found that the microbes that live inside of us, especially our intestines (our microbiome), are symbiotic – and they have far more of an effect on our lives than we realised.

They have been implicated in such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome, which means they may be pretty danged important. But they also seem to play a role in regulating other things, too – such as our appetites, and even our moods.

Interstitium

Turns out we may have an organ wrapped around our other organs, and it’s been hiding in plain sight for all this time. The newly classified organ is called the interstitium, and previously scientists had just thought it was relatively unremarkable, relatively solid tissue to fill the space between our organs.

It’s actually filled with fluid, supported by a collagen lattice, and it helps protect our organs from external shocks as we move around, much like air cushions in running shoes.

The pink bit in your eye

eye(Peter Clarke/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-4.0)

If you look in the mirror, you’ll see a little pink bit of conjunctival tissue in the corner of your eye. This is called the plica semilunaris, and these days its primary function is to help with tear drainage and eyeball mobility.

But once upon a time it was a nictitating membrane – what we call a third eyelid, a translucent eyelid that can be drawn over the eye to keep it moist and protected while maintaining a measure of vision.

If you have a cat or a dog, you may have seen their third eyelid while they’re sleeping. Humans and most other primates don’t need this feature any more, so it evolved away a long time ago – but we still have that vestigial lump of tissue.

Last year, doctors reported the second known case of a nictitating membrane in a human. A nine-year-old girl had a persistent membrane across her left eye that could not be retracted. It was surgically excised, and her eye underneath was fine.

A version of this article was first published in June 2018.

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Bizzare & Odd

The first guests from a parallel world appeared on Earth?

In the vicinity of October 13, 2020, somewhere in the Alps, some people from Bosnia observed a very strange phenomenon, a report of which was posted on her Facebook profile by a certain Malisa Simic.  

The video is in Bosnian, so it is difficult to understand the story in detail, but the general description comes down to the observation by a person in the video of some blurry figures with wings and a height of 3.5 meters. Behind them were some kind of luminous objects and all this made an eerie, frightening sound. 

In the frame appears an adult, who probably has a family and a number of urgent matters related to his provision. That is, he has no time to run around the mountains and make fakes. 

The second interesting point is the simultaneous report of citizen Manuel Navarett, an employee of the USPS (United States Postal Service), who on September 24, 2020, met a hefty red-eyed creature with wings at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

Unfortunately for researchers, YouTube and social networks are now crammed with all sorts of creative degenerates who want to make stupid fakes or want to become famous, or cut down views, so we very rarely watch and analyze videos of this kind. Distinguishing a real report from a clownery is quite difficult and takes a lot of time. Nevertheless, with these figures, everything ‘seems’ to be interesting.

Manuel reported the following: 

On Thursday, September 24, around 11:00 pm, I finished my shift at the USPS sorting center at O’Hare Airport and walked to my car at the far end of the parking lot. Nearby, about 20-25 feet from the car, stood a very tall man in what I thought was a long coat. 

I opened the door and the car automatically turned on the headlights. The light hit this tall man directly, which obviously made him turn and look directly at me. And then I saw that it was not a man, but something tall and red-eyed with wings, which I initially took for a long coat. I was 5 feet 4 inches, but IT was at least a couple of feet taller than me. 

It began to stare at me, making a clicking and low chirping sound. Then it began to approach quickly, and the clatter in his throat turned into a squeal. When I was about ten feet away, the creature spread its wings and took off, flying directly above me. I squatted down in front of the open car door and screamed hysterically ….


Thus, we already have, as it were, two similar cases that happened at the same time, albeit on different sides of the Earth. People are watching something and this is – tall entities, with wings and make some frightening sounds.

Similar messages from time to time come from different parts of the world, it is even possible that one of the readers saw something similar himself, he does not need to be convinced that there are some creatures with wings around us. Most likely they have always been, since legends and tales are full of such episodes. But the fact that they began to be observed somehow very clearly and even, it seems, got on camera in the Alps is a little alarming.

We don’t know how to explain what’s happening, because we don’t even know what kind of winged creatures they are. But, according to the general opinion, such creatures exist as if in a parallel dimension and almost never cross the border between the worlds. 

However, if they continue to be observed just as often and clearly, then it seems that the boundaries between our worlds are somehow erased and soon something else will fall here.

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Bizzare & Odd

TOP Rare facts about the first landing on the moon

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, and the whole world gasped. Since then, we have not stopped gasping and groaning, learning new facts about that flight.

We know a lot about the legendary flight of Apollo 11, but a lot of interesting details have remained behind the scenes of the moon race. How much did the Apollo 11 flight cost, what does moon dust smell like and how dangerous it is, why were the astronauts taught to walk sideways and what nearly exploded after landing? “Popular Mechanics” will tell about these and many other little-known, but damn interesting facts associated with the first manned landing on the moon.

The moon smells like burning

The big question before the NASA team was: what will the surface of the moon be? Will the lander feet touch a hard surface or sink into something soft? The good news was that the surface was actually quite hard, but the real surprise was that the moon had its own scent.

astronaut on the moon
NASA Aldrin after collecting a sample of lunar soil. Pay attention, under his feet is a scoop-landing net with a long handle

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin returned to the lunar module, the lunar mud entered the cabin and began to smell strong. The astronauts reported that it was the smell of something burnt, like wet ash from a fireplace.

The cost of a flight to the moon flew into a pretty penny

In total, the States spent more than $ 25 billion on the Apollo program. Decent, but in 1960s prices. In terms of today’s money, this is more than $ 150 billion – that’s really decent.

Saturn-5
NASA Saturn 5 booster with Apollo 11 during launch. Millions of dollars burn so brightly

Only Apollo 11 itself cost the Americans 355 million dollars, and another 185 million had to be paid for the Saturn 5 launch vehicle. Further on the little things: the command module “Columbia”, in which Michael Collins remained while Armstrong and Aldrin roamed the moon ($ 55 million), the lunar module “Eagle” ($ 40 million).

The USSR carefully concealed attempts to get to the Moon first

Not only the States were going to demonstrate their dominance by landing people on the moon, the Soviet Union was also preparing for this feat. From 1967 to 1969, the USSR launched a lot of spacecraft – “Cosmos”, “Probes”, “Soyuz” and “Luna”. The most successful of these turned out to be Zond-5, which became the first spacecraft in the world to return photographic film taken from the Moon to Earth.

True, as soon as the American astronauts set foot on its surface first, the Soviets lost interest and reduced their efforts in this direction to a minimum.

At first, our country needed secrecy so that, God forbid, no one would catch up with us. But then, when the States did catch up with us and overtook us, we had to maintain secrecy so that no one knew that we had been beaten.

Astronauts trained, literally walking sideways

How do you prepare to send someone to a place no one has ever been? To do this, NASA created a series of simulators in the 1960s that simulated what astronauts might encounter in reality.

NASA training
NASA: Astronauts Prepared for Lunar Gravity in Exotic Pose

Aldrin practiced collecting samples on artificial moonlit landscapes indoors. Armstrong trained in piloting on a training simulator in Houston. And to simulate walking in the atmosphere with the gravity of the moon, astronauts, dressed in spacesuits, were hung sideways on special cables and forced to walk for hours on the walls of the Langley Research Center.

For 20 years we could not find a photo of Armstrong on the moon

After that flight, it was officially believed that there was not a single photo of Neil Armstrong, taken on the moon while leaving the ship, since he had the camera all the time.

Neil Armstrong on the moon
NASA Here it is, the only snapshot of Neil Armstrong on the Moon that could not be found for 20 years. By the way, later NASA decided to make red stripes on the commander’s spacesuit so that the astronauts could be easily distinguished.

However, in 1987, NASA historians managed to make a discovery: there is still a picture, but it is the only one. Edwin Aldrin took a camera that Armstrong had placed on the open panel of the lunar module’s cargo hold before collecting rock samples and shot a panorama. Part of this panorama was the shot with Armstrong.

Buzz Aldrin received communion on the moon

When Eagle landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had to wait a bit before embarking on their first moonwalk. Aldrin, as an elder in the Presbyterian Church, made good use of his time and did things that no other person has ever done. He took part in the first religious sacrament ever performed on the moon – the rite of Christian communion. Armstrong declined to participate.

Aldrin had originally hoped for a live radio broadcast, but at the last moment NASA dropped the idea. All because of a lawsuit initiated by the militant atheist Madaline Murray O’Hare: she filed a lawsuit against the agency in connection with the fact that the crew of Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve 1968 in lunar orbit on the air read the first chapter of Genesis.

Scientists were terribly afraid of space microbes

Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins found themselves stuck in a biological defense quarantine upon arrival. Since humans had never been to the moon before, NASA scientists couldn’t be sure that some deadly space plague hadn’t come along with the astronauts.

Apollo 11 crew
NASA Upon arrival on Earth, the Apollo 11 crew communicated with the world only through the glass of the special van. Even with President Nixon.

As soon as their capsule splashed down in the Pacific on July 24, 1969, the trio were sent into a mobile quarantine van, which was taken to NASA’s Lunar Reception Laboratory in Houston, where the team remained until August 10, 1969.

Film cassettes and sample containers were less fortunate. The films were sterilized in an autoclave for several hours, after which they were sent to the darkroom. There, one of the photo technicians accidentally took the cassette with his bare hands (just the one that the astronauts dropped on the moon) and was taken out in the moon dust. He had to take a five minute disinfectant shower.

Lunar Reception Laboratory
NASA This is the building of the Lunar Reception Laboratory, where the crew spent 18 days of quarantine

The sample containers were double sterilized: first with ultraviolet light, then with peracetic acid. Then they were rinsed with sterile water and dried with nitrogen. The opening of the containers was delayed due to unstable pressure in the vacuum zone.

They suspected a small leak in one of the gloves that could be used to manipulate the samples. Less than a week later, the gloves were torn. Most of the lunar samples were exposed to the earth’s atmosphere, and two of the technicians had to be quarantined. Then four more technicians were quarantined. In total, more than two dozen people have been quarantined.

President Nixon prepared in advance for mission failure

As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin jump across the moon’s surface, Richard Nixon’s anxiety peaked. After all, if something goes wrong, he will have to make excuses to ordinary Americans for billions of wasted tax dollars.

Employees of the 37th President of the United States prepared a statement that he was supposed to read in case the worst happened. Even the NASA staff chaplain was on a low start. Watching the Apollo 11 adventures live, the President could only hope he didn’t have to read that statement. As we know, it was never necessary to read it. The mission failure speech was only made public 30 years later.

Astronauts did not land where planned

When Lunar Module Eagle, with Armstrong and Aldrin aboard, undocked from Command Module Columbia, in which Collins remained, the residual pressure inside the tunnel connecting the two spaceships was not sufficiently relieved. So “Eagle” received a small, but still an additional impetus.

Nine minutes before landing, Armstrong realized that the Eagle would fly past the planned landing site. According to astronauts’ estimates, they should have missed by about five kilometers (in fact, they missed by six).

Lunar module "Eagle"
NASA Lunar module “Eagle” after undocking from the command module “Columbia”

But the search for a new safe landing site is not so bad. Due to the overload, the Eagle’s onboard computer distracted astronauts with constant emergency signals, and radio communications with the Mission Control Center were patchy. Fortunately, since the on-board system alarm was intermittent, the MCC considered the risk of overload low and gave the go-ahead to land.

When the Eagle had only 30 seconds of fuel left, Armstrong gently guided the lunar module towards the makeshift landing pad: “Houston, says Tranquility Base. The Eagle sat down. “

The lunar module nearly exploded

As adrenaline dropped and the astronauts completed their tasks, another problem was brewing. Although the Eagle’s landing engine had already been turned off, the sensors recorded an increase in pressure in its fuel line. This could mean only one thing: an ice plug formed in the system, and the accumulated fuel vapors were heated from the unit that had not yet cooled down.

At NASA, the situation was considered critical, and if the increase in pressure is not eliminated, the Eagle could explode. However, before the instructions for venting the fuel system were given to Armstrong and Aldrin, the ice plug melted, the pressure returned to normal, and the problem went away on its own.

The danger of moon dust

Created billions of years ago by meteorite impacts, the Moon lacks processes that could give debris and tiny soil particles smoother shapes. The astronauts have discovered that abrasive dust is much more than a nuisance.

Buzz Aldrin's Trail on the Moon
NASA Aldrin’s boot imprint, which literally inherited in the history of astronautics.

In later missions after Apollo 11, with longer exits to the lunar surface, there were reports that dust particles penetrated the interior of the lunar module, covered the visors of helmets, and caused zippers to wedge. The moon dust penetrated even through the layers of the protective suit material.

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Bizzare & Odd

The peak of deaths on Halloween: the history of 1918 repeats itself in the USA

In the United States, the history of a century ago is repeating itself: in 1918, the Halloween celebration was canceled due to the Spanish flu epidemic – the noise of parties disturbed the sick in the hospitals. Mass events were banned this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but many Americans still decorate their homes and are going to celebrate the holiday online. They did not break traditions in the White House either. At the same time, some US residents are wondering: is it worth celebrating Halloween in 2020, when all thoughts are about death due to the coronavirus?

Americans have already begun preparations for the Halloween celebration, despite the cancellation of mass events. The focus has shifted from hosting parties to decorating their own homes and virtual flash mobs in which Tiktokers offer to dress themselves up as dead Disney princesses . However, some social media users have questioned the need to celebrate Halloween this year, given the coronavirus pandemic. 

“This Halloween will be the scariest one,” they tweet.

100 years ago in the United States there was a similar situation : all Halloween parties were canceled due to the Spanish flu epidemic, which killed 50 to 100 million people worldwide.

On the eve of Halloween, the number of cases of the Spanish flu increased – the second and most powerful wave of the epidemic occurred.

“Not only was there a peak in mortality on Halloween eve, but there were some pretty strong waves of disease,” Carolyn Orbann, assistant professor of medical sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia , told CNN . 

“The highest death rate was observed from October to December, possibly due to a more deadly strain of the virus and crowding in hospitals and military camps.”

However, those Americans who were not affected by the disease were tired of being locked up in quarantine and demanded a holiday. There are reports of local newspapers that year, which say that they celebrated more than ever “harsh and stormy”: and in Alabama, crowds of boys running from home to riots, forcing the police to drive on false calls and provoking accidents. A reporter for The Birmingham News wrote that after a month of quarantine, Birmingham residents were literally torn apart from the desire to celebrate Halloween.

“The Health Council’s order banning parties acted like a red rag for a bull — the killer joy of ordinary Halloween festivities poured in,” wrote local media in 1918. The Americans celebrated so vigorously that the San Francisco authorities had to ban people from making noise, because loud noises irritated patients in wards. 

“Conditions were dire in most places in the United States by October 31, 1918,” Elizabeth Otka, professor of English at the University of Richmond, told CNN. –

Shops, schools, churches were closed, there was devastation and the realization that celebrating Halloween was a bad idea.”

Denver has banned parties, during which they usually arranged “diving for apples, tying the tail to a donkey with a blindfold and other entertainment.” Many states have canceled Halloween celebrations for economic reasons – so as not to waste extra food supplies. “I saw a report from Missouri where they usually throw dry corn into each other’s house,” Orbann said. “But in 1918 the price of corn was too high to be scattered, and the children used sawdust to do it.”

Although public gatherings were banned in cities, some people threw house parties. “People did not break the rules, but adjusted to them,” the historian noted. Despite the horrors of the Spanish woman in 1918, people wanted to celebrate and visit each other, as now, in a pandemic, Elizabeth Otka notes. “1918 was remembered for the stacks of coffins and dead bodies, the gravediggers were simply exhausted,” she added. – Nevertheless, many continued to live as before, if none of their relatives was sick, forgetting how dangerous it can be.

It seems reasonable to spend Halloween this year differently, although I love the holiday, it’s great. But to stay alive, I think, is still better. “

To prevent a 100-year-old history from repeating itself on an entire scale, the Los Angeles authorities banned any Halloween parties, gathering at haunted houses, and children from running to neighbors for candy, although, according to tradition, they and so should be in masks and costumes – carnival. But the Americans are not discouraged and carry out flash mobs on the Internet. So, the participants of one of them on TikTok are invited to fantasize about what would become of the Disney princesses if they did not live to see the happy ending.

@charlottelooks

alice finds a bottle labelled ‘drink me’ unaware of its rapid shrinking side effects

♬ B3AKY Let Us Adore You Remix – Shiiny✨

Another resident in quarantine, Samantha Browning, came up with the idea of ​​painting Barbie toy doll houses for mysterious mansions from horror films. Her new hobby takes Samantha 5-10 hours. With Halloween approaching, items created in the summer have become more relevant, because now, in order to beg for sweets from neighbors, you don’t have to go to their houses, but do it in front of Samantha’s creations “contactlessly”.

“This year the pandemic canceled the traditional Halloween, but I decided to adapt the pipe railings on one of my mansions so that candy would slide down for families who still want to celebrate the holiday in a safe way,” explained Samantha on social media. “One of my dollhouses is on the inside veranda, and on Halloween night, I’ll probably put two of the creepiest houses outside with battery-powered candles.”

They did not cancel the holiday in the White House, even despite Trump’s illness. This was announced on Tuesday by CNN, citing a source. It is noted that when celebrating Halloween, the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be taken into account. 

This means adherence to the mask regime and other preventive measures. Usually on this day, relatives of the US administration staff , families of American military personnel and students of the capital’s schools are invited to the White House , and the head of state and the first lady treat children to sweets on the South Lawn of the White House.

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