A farmer in Russia's Sverdlovsk region allegedly fertilized his field with chicken poo and unwittingly unleashed a fly-pocalypse, according to local news reports. Footage recently captured by state news agency Channel One Russia and shared online June 13 revealed unsettling views from the village of Lazorevy. In the video, piles of dead and near-dead flies cover floors, tables and other surfaces in villagers' homes. Meanwhile, outdoors, seething swarms of flies gather on roads, yards and fields. Residents of Lazorevy told Channel One that the origins of the "plague" could be traced to a local farmer named Andrei Savchenko, who purportedly spread his fields with tons of fertilizer made from chicken droppings. The feces, which came from a nearby poultry farm, may have contained millions of fly eggs, Channel One reported. [The Science of the 10 Plagues] In one terrifying scene in the video, a reporter tosses a handful of soil into a crawling fly mass on a dirt path; he then cringes as … [Read more...] about Terrifying ‘Fly-Pocalypse’ Descends Upon Russian Village
Hundreds of tiny islands around Scotland didn't arise naturally. They're fakes that were constructed out of boulders, clay and timbers by Neolithic people about 5,600 years ago, a new study finds. Researchers have known about these artificial islands, known as crannogs, for decades. But many archaeologists thought that the crannogs were made more recently, in the Iron Age about 2,800 years ago. The new finding not only shows that these crannogs are much older than previously thought but also that they were likely "special locations" for Neolithic people, according to nearby pottery fragments found by modern divers, the researchers wrote in the study. [In Photos: Anglo-Saxon Island Settlement Discovered] Initially, many researchers thought that Scotland's crannogs were built around 800 B.C. and reused until post-medieval times in A.D. 1700. But in the 1980s, hints began to emerge that some of these islands were made much earlier. In addition, in 2012, Chris Murray, a former … [Read more...] about Neolithic People Made Fake Islands More Than 5,600 Years Ago
A woman in England who recently celebrated her birthday requested a cake decorated with a picture of her favorite singer, Mariah Carey. However the birthday girl was probably feeling emotions when she saw the result, which was topped not with the singer of "Hero" but with the face of one of science's heroes: Marie Curie, who conducted groundbreaking work on radioactivity. As a cake topper, the renowned scientist looked "very festive," said writer Harriet Alida Lye, who tweeted a photo of the cake on June 14. Lye's tweet about her cousin's cake — which read "Happy Birthday Siobhan" around Curie's somber face, and was surrounded by pink-frosted cupcakes — was shared more than 43,000 times, and has since received over 200,000 likes. [The 10 Noblest Nobel Prize Winners of All Time] Carey's prowess as a musician is notable: She is a world-renowned recording artist who earned five Grammy Awards since the release of her debut album in 1990. However, Curie's accomplishments are … [Read more...] about Woman Who Requested Mariah Carey Cake Got Marie Curie Instead
Baby pterosaurs — flying reptiles that lived alongside dinosaurs — were probably able to spread their leathery wings and fly shortly after emerging from their eggs, scientists reported in a new study. Preserved eggs and embryos from Argentina and China suggested that pterosaur babies, or "flaplings," according to the researchers, had skeletons and wing membranes that were already flight-capable when the flaplings were freshly hatched. Previously, other researchers had suggested that hatchling pterosaurs' bones and wings weren't developed enough for the animals to take to the air. But this new analysis presents a greater range of developmental stages, delivering a more complete picture of the embryos as they grew. This suggests that embryos described in earlier studies were not yet fully developed; by the time the pterosaurs were ready to hatch, they would be ready to flap away on their own, the authors wrote in the new study. [Photos of Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age … [Read more...] about Baby Pterosaurs Could Fly. So, Did They Need Their Parents?
The auction of a pistol said to have been used by the painter Vincent van Gogh to shoot himself has reignited a debate about who actually pulled the trigger: Did Van Gogh commit suicide, or was he shot by someone else? The gun will be auctioned in France on Wednesday (June 19), where it's expected to sell for more than $50,000. For years, most Van Gogh experts have accepted the explanation that he shot himself in the chest with a pistol in a suicide in July 1890. [30 of the World's Most Valuable Treasures That Are Still Missing] Such a gun was found more than 70 years later, in a field near the French farming village of Auvers-sur-Oise where Van Gogh died, and it has widely been accepted as the weapon he used to shoot himself. Van Gogh lived on for 30 hours before dying from the wound. His last words, according to his brother Theo, were "the sadness will last forever." In the years since his death, the Dutch expressionist painter, who cut off his left ear in a dispute with the … [Read more...] about Did Van Gogh Shoot Himself? Auction of Pistol Reignites Debate.