In 1859, a man named Thomas Austin in Barwon Park, Australia released 24 rabbits. These European wild rabbits spread rapidly, about 130 km per year. By 1926, there were over 10 billion rabbits in the island.
Since the peak in population, disease has reduced the rabbit population down from billions to hundreds of millions. Rabbits reproduce at a ridiculously fast rate. Rabbits are mature enough to reproduce after only three or four months of life.
After that, they have a very short gestation period of only 28-30 days. A female rabbit creates a burrow to breed in. A female rabbit can birth 5-6 litters a year, with about 5 baby rabbits in each litter. That means a single female rabbit could give birth to as many as 30 new rabbits in a year.
These rabbits are very hazardous to the ecosystem of Australia. Rabbits feed on certain plants in particular, so those plants got eaten up by the high population of non-native rabbits.
The absence of those plants affected other native animals in the area. This changed the ecological landscape of Australia. Rabbits also hurt the economy by overgrazing in farm areas.
Normally, first base isn’t stolen since you have to hit a ball to get on a base. To steal first, Germany Shaefer had to go back to first base from second base. It wouldn’t seem to make sense at all to go backwards in a baseball game, which is why Germany is the only one who has ever done it.
Germany’s decision to go back to first base was strategic, even though it must have looked like madness to those watching him play. A common play at the time was to have a player on first steal second, in order to distract the pitcher from tagging out a player on third base trying to steal home plate. Germany ran back to retry that play, which had failed the first time he used it. It succeeded.
Germany tried the same tactic in another games against the Chicago White Sox. The manager of the White Sox came out to complain. In 1920, a rule was passed which called a player out any time they tried to go backwards on bases after they had legally gotten another base. This meant that Germany would be and will be the only man ever successful at stealing first base.
Mount Wingen, known also by its more fitting name, Burning Mountain, is a hill in Australia. It is located in Wingen, New South Wales. The reason it is called Burning Mountain is the presence of a burning coal seam beneath the ground. The coal is believed to have been burning for more than 6,000 years in the sandstone.
The hill is part of Burning Mountain Nature Reserve, which is worked by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Visitors to the park can follow a trail along the hills from the parking lot. Along the trail they can read little signs about the area and also see the steam rising up from the oldest burning coal fire in the world!
Originally, visitors to the area thought the smoke came from some sort of volcanic action. Since then, it has been discovered that the smoke has nothing to do with a volcano and just because of burning coal. The underground fire isn’t stationary, rather it is moving towards the south at a rate of one meter per year.
It may seem like a small distance, but over the time it adds up to a considerable distance.
In Hiroshima, there are permanent shadows caused by the intensity of the nuclear blast when the bomb was dropped.
Hiroshima was an event that left both the emotional shadows of tragedy and also permanent physical shadows on the landscape of Hiroshima, Japan. These shadows were created by the great force of the nuclear weapon.
Thermal radiation travels in a straight line, which means that when it is blocked by an object it creates a shadow. These shadows still exist around Japan today. For example, the picture shows how a wheel blocked some of the radiation and created a shadow against the nearby wall.
This was a very common occurrence across Japan. Sometimes, there were shadows left of people, but no bodies found. This resulted from the extreme heat of the explosion which vaporized the bodies, leaving the shadows behind.
The shadows are a unique occurrence from the nuclear explosion and they remain even after many years. These shadows stand by as a reminder of a horrific moment in history. They serve as a reminder of the value of human life.
Chloé Kiddon and Yuriy Brun are computer science and engineering students at the University of Washington. Their challenge was to create a computer system capable of recognizing sexual related humor, a classification that can be difficult to program into computers since there is an element of subjectivity to it.
More specifically, Kiddon and Brun wanted the computer to identify "that’s what she said" jokes. For those who might not know, "that’s what she said" jokes are when a normal phrase is twisted to have a sexual meaning. “That’s what she said” jokes were re-popularized by the show "The Office," although they've existed for some time.
To identify jokes that are highly subjective and subject to cultural ideas requires some very particular specifications. The two big specifications Kiddon and Bun used were the identification of “nouns that are euphemisms for sexually explicit nouns” and sentences that “share common structure with sentences in the erotic domain.”
By giving the computer these two items to recognize, the students hoped the computer would be able to pick up the “that’s what she said” jokes. The computer system was relatively successful in identifying the jokes. Check out their results at the source.