To the Bayaka people, who inhabit the jungles of the Central African Republic, honey is an extremely valuable commodity. Besides being a rare and delicious delicacy, it provides essential energy and nutrition.
So, when a beehive is found in the jungle, some men are willing to take extreme measures to secure the precious honeycombs for their family.
Tete is an hour into a 40 meter (131ft) climb to a beehive way up in the canopy of a massive tree when we join him:
Not only does Tete climb without a harness (he uses only a vine wrapped around the tree), but once he gets to the crown of the tree, he still has to battle the angry bees as he carefully makes his way to the hive.
“When climbing trees, you have to empty your heart of fear… If you have fear you will fall.”
Once Tete arrives at the hive, he has to break into the interior. He passes the honeycomb down to his eager family via a basket pulley system. Even bee stings don’t stop his wife and kids from thoroughly enjoying the feast.
When you think of the fastest animals in the world, you probably don’t think of salamanders or crabs. Surprisingly however, these two unassuming creatures top the list of the world’s fastest animals.
Both share the ability to make lightning-fast movements with different parts of their body. The hydromantes salamander takes the top spot with the animals kingdom’s fastest tongue, and the mantis crab comes in second with a hammer claw that moves so fast it actually creates a compression wave that boils water in front of it.
Check out the video below to see these two amazing creatures in action:
For everyone who came here to see a cheetah in super slow-motion, don’t worry, I got you- watching cheetah videos has been a favorite activity of mine since I was a kid.
Cheetahs, the fastest land animals on our planet, are capable of reaching speeds up to 75 mph. When chasing prey at these extremely high speeds, cheetahs use their tails as a rudder to help steer:
The peregrine falcon is the world’s fastest bird, and the fastest animal if we’re talking about moving the whole body.
These fighter-pilot like falcons assault their prey (almost exclusively other birds) from above, reaching a terminal velocity of 200 mph as they dive-bomb from sky (terminal velocity is the point at which air resistance stops an object from accelerating during free fall).
The falcons strike with a clenched fist which either stuns or kills their prey. The falcon then twists in midair to snare the other bird.
The situation in Ukraine has been all over the place lately, with conflicting reports constantly coming from both sides, so I don’t blame you if you haven’t been keeping up with it.
There have been a few recent developments, however, that are worth noting. Since the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russia’s subsequent annexation of the Crimean peninsula, there has been significant unrest in Ukraine’s eastern cities, specifically in the coal-mining region of Donetsk.
A number of pro-Russian separatist groups have emerged in eastern Ukraine since all the tension began. Though they typically wear uniforms that bear no particular flag and claim to be Ukrainian, many people believe that a significant portion of these groups are actually covert Russian forces.
The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is the most organized and most visible of these groups. They recently announced that they would be holding a referendum in the Donetsk region and the neighboring Luhansk region on May 11th.
Originally, the referendum was to be a vote on whether or not to legitimize the new Ukrainian government. Then, members of the DPR said people would be asked whether they wanted to leave Ukraine and join Russia, “Crimea-style”.
As of May 8 however, the referendum simply asks, “Do you support the act of state self-reliance of the Donetsk People’s Republic?”. DPR representatives have said that a follow-up referendum will be held on the 18th to decide on whether or not to join Russia.
The Ukrainian government and the international community have denounced the referendum (as well as the DPR’s self-proclaimed state) to be illegitimate and illegal.
However, separatist forces are in control of a number of towns and cities in the region, and have commandeered 80 local schools to hold the votes (the feature image for this story was taken at one of these schools), so local governments have been forced to comply.
Then earlier today, the Kiev Post reported that Ukrainian anti-terror forces in Slaviansk had captured a small group of armed separatists who had 100,000 ballots for tomorrow’s referendum that were pre-marked “yes”. The Kiev Post called the group “Kremlin-backed rebels”, but the publication is known to be supportive of the new government in Kiev so it’s possible that their report may be a bit sensationalized.
Check out the original report from the Kiev Post here. Read more from the BBC about the upcoming referendum here.
About three weeks ago (on the evening of April 14), the anti-western militant group Boko Haram (whose name literally means Western Education is sinful) stormed an all-girls boarding school in the Chibok region of Nigeria and kidnapped 234 female students.
“God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instruction.”
There was also a report last week that some of the girls were being sold as brides to their kidnappers for just $12 a piece.
Although Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon has made speeches assuring that the government will find the girls, it doesn’t seem that much is actually being done, and Nigerians have very little confidence in the government finding the girls.
Last week, Naomi Mutah, a representative of the Chibok community from which the girls were taken, organized a protest outside of the NIgerian capital of Abuja. The protestors criticized the government for not doing enough to find the girls and fight Boko Haram.
Earlier today, the BBC reported that Nigeria’s First Lady Patience Jonathon called a meeting for those affected by the tragedy- the Chibok community sent Ms. Mutah to represent them. Following the meeting, Ms. Mutah was taken to a police station and detained.
The first lady is a very powerful political figure in Nigeria and apparently felt slighted that the mothers of the abducted girls had sent Ms. Mutah to the meeting.
Pogo Bitrus, another community leader from Chibok, told the BBC that he had been to the police station where Mutah was reportedly being held, but found no written records of her being there. He said he hoped the first lady would soon, “realize her mistake.”
The AP talked to another community leader, Saratu Angus Ndirpaya, who was at the meetings. She said that the first lady had accused the activists of supporting Boko Haram, and had even accused them of completely fabricating the abductions to give the government a bad name.
On the morning of April 1, 1976, renowned English astronomer Patrick Moore got on the BBC radio station and made an astonishing announcement: Moore said that at exactly 9:47 a.m. that day, the planets of Jupiter and Pluto would align with the Earth.
Moore continued, saying that the combined gravitational pull of the two planets would cause a noticeable reduction in the strength of gravity on Earth. He called it the Jovian-Plutonian gravitational effect.
Sure enough, right after 9:47 a.m., the BBC was flooded with hundreds of calls from people claiming that they had personally experienced the phenomenon. One woman even said that she and her 11 friends were,
“wafted from their chairs and orbited gently around the room.”
The BBC revealed the hoax soon afterwards. Read more about the prank here.
NHK is Japan’s national public broadcasting organization, similar to the BBC in Britain. As a public broadcasting network, it has an obligation to be politically unbiased.
However, in the last two weeks, some of the NHK’s 12 board-members have been making some pretty radical claims.
Naoki Hyakuta (Photo: Japan Free Press)
First is Naoki Hyakuta, who recently said that Japan was,
“Lured into the Second World War by America while liberating Asia from white colonialism.”
He also denied a number of war crimes, most notably the 1937 Nanjing massacre, when Japanese troops sacked the city of Nanjing, killing thousands of Chinese civilians.
Then there’s the NHK’s new chairman, Katsuo Momii, who shocked reporters at a press conference two weeks ago when he said it was “only natural” to tow the government line on territorial disputes with Japan’s neighbors, saying,
“When the government says left we can’t say right.”
Momii then defended Japan’s system of sex slavery during wartime, saying that systems like this are “commonplace” during war.
So what explains these sudden outlandish claims from a network that is historically respected for its impartiality?
Naoki Hyakuta and Katsuo Momii are 2 of 4 NHK board-members who were reportedly hand-picked by right-wing President Shinzo Abe.
Recently, an unusually scathing editorial in The Japan Times stated that,
“Momii is perfectly willing to, in effect, turn NHK into a propaganda mouthpiece of the current administration.”
These drastic claims definitely aren’t helping Japan’s already tense relations with the Chinese, who are highly pissed off (and very justifiably so, I might add) at the denial of the Nanjing massacre.
Scientists from the Royal Veterinary College may have just discovered the reasoning behind birds’ V-formations.
The researchers attached mini data-loggers to a group of bald ibises that were being re-taught a long-forgotten migration route as part of a project by the Waldarappteam in Austria to bring the bird back in its native European habitat (they were wiped out by hunting).
The birds were being taught the migration route by following a micro-light that they had been previously trained to follow. The mini-loggers, meanwhile, kept track of the position, speed, direction and each individual wing-flap of every bird.
They discovered that by flying in a V, the birds save energy by taking advantage of upwash, the air that is pushed upwards at the birds’ wingtips. By flying just behind and to the side of the bird in front, an individual can use their upwash to make flight less strenuous.
The team discovered that when flying in a V, the individual birds’ heart-rates are lower than when flying alone. They also discovered that the birds coordinated their wingflaps to,
…to match the good air off the bird in front…Each bird [kept] its wingtip in the upwash throughout the flap cycle,”
according to lead researcher Dr. Steven Portugal. He went on to say,
They’re able to sense what’s going on from the bird in front, where this good air is coming from and how to position themselves perfectly in it.”
Young Elephants, like many animals, are not immediately fully familiar with the functions of their bodies. One example is their inability to drink water using their trunks. Instead of filling their trunks and then refreshingly emptying them into their mouths, the babies prefer to get down and dirty. Watch this adorable video by BBC of a baby Elephant trying to learn the proper drinking process.