Joshua Foer is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Joshua is a freelance science journalist and the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica, with Dylan Thuras.
The arrow-stork of Mecklenburg might be my favorite object in the Atlas Obscura:
Until the 19th century, the sudden annual disappearance of white
storks each fall had been a profound mystery to European bird-watchers.
Aristotle thought the storks went into hibernation with the other
disappearing avian species, perhaps at the bottom of the sea. According
to some fanciful accounts, "flocks of swallows were allegedly seen
congregating in marshes until their accumulated weight bent the reeds
into the water, submerging the birds, which apparently then settled
down for a long winter's nap." A 1703 pamphlet titled "An Essay toward
the Probable Solution of this Question: Whence come the Stork and the
Turtledove, the Crane, and the Swallow, when they Know and Observe the
Appointed Time of their Coming," argued that the disappearing birds
flew to the moon for the winter.
On May 21, 1822, a stunning piece of evidence came to light, which
suggested a less extra-terrestrial, if no less wondrous, solution to
the quandary of the disappearing birds. A white stork, shot on the
Bothmer Estate near Mecklenburg, was discovered with an 80-cm-long
Central African spear embedded in its neck. The stork had flown the
entire migratory journey from its equatorial wintering grounds in this
impaled state. The arrow-stork, or pfeilstorch, can now be found,
stuffed, in the Zoological Collection of the University of Rostock. It is not alone. Since 1822, some 25 separate cases of pfeilstorches have been recorded.
Zoological Collection of the University of Rostock
On Thursday May 26, Red Nose Day will return for the second year. It’s all about giving to children to fight hunger, sickness, and homelessness. In the video above, the most famous magician in the world, David Copperfield, has his own magical way of asking you to get involved. There’s going to be a two-hour TV show on […]
Facebook gets a bad rap, but where I live, it has brought neighbors together, and it started because of the things I didn’t want to share.
When the Congressional Science committee wants to talk about the cold weather, and when NASA has to defend their budget by explaining why NASA is important, it can make people who believe in facts… a bit tense.
If you’ve got a killer app idea, but don’t have the technical expertise to pull it off, get a crash course in all things app development with the Comprehensive Android Development Bundle, now over 90% off in the Boing Boing Store. Across 83 hours of training, you’ll learn to develop for the world’s most popular mobile OS, mastering […]
Jared Sinclair developed the RSS reader app Unread, which made $10,000 in its first 24 hours on the iOS market. And we’ve all heard the story of Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen, whose creation was reportedly earning $50,000 a day at the height of its 2013 explosion. While those are rare examples, they’re also testament to the […]
If you or your company’s IT system are besieged by black hat cyber attacks, an ethical hacker might be all that stands between crippling damage and a company’s long-term prosperity. It’s no wonder that the market for IT security specialists is exploding. Certification is the key – so learn the tenets of ethical hacking and get […]