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Clumsiest Animal Alive Stages Jail Break

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  • Xing Er, the panda, crawled a metal pole to escape the Panda House in Copenhagen Zoo.
  • He left behind a female, Mao Sun, and toured the zoo grounds.
  • Zoo keepers safely tranquilized him and he was returned to the enclosure.

We’re all about zoo animal escapades, like our post about Snowbank, the peacock who escaped a Boston zoo. Here’s another almost unbelievable one, given the notorious clumsiness of pandas. That they’re even considered a bear is laughable. Somehow, a remarkably athletic panda escaped his enclosure at a zoo in Copenhagen, becoming our favorite news story this week. Xing Er shares a habitat with a female companion, Mao Sun. Surveillance video shows him climbing a metal pole, covered in electrical wire, and escaping to wander about the zoo. 

Zoo employees cornered and sedated Xing Er, then returned him unharmed to his enclosure. No zoo guests were injured during the escapade, either. The brand-new Panda House from which he escaped represents a $24.2 investment by the zoo. And it’s a little lax in the security department. While zoo officials were pleased with the outcome, a spokesman stressed to the Associated Press that they want to “ensure that it does not happen again.” Not only for Xing Er’s safety, but you have to imagine how unhappy the Chinese government would be if someone lost a panda they’d lent out. 

 

All zoo pandas belong only to China, who used to give them as gifts as a gesture of goodwill. Now, China leases them out to 27 zoos around the world, who pay a fee to the government. Half that fee goes to research and preservation for pandas. The loaner system seems to have worked. The International Union for Conservation of Nature recently upgraded the panda from endangered to vulnerable. 

Panda, an actual bear

If you’ve seen them toddling around like cartoon characters, it’s hard to believe pandas are actual bears. They also share characteristics with raccoons, but on a molecular level are ursine. I’d feel more threatened running into a raccoon in the woods than a panda bear. They’re also part of the order Carnivora. Still, their diet is 99% bamboo shoots and leaves, which they spend all day munching in a bewildered, content way. In the wild, they’ll sometimes eat bugs and carrion. But in captivity, they’re just fed an assortment of compost items to fill in that other 1%, like honey, eggs, and potatoes. 

 

Experts are examining Copenhagen Zoo’s Panda House to make sure in the future the bears stay put.  

 

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Bringing Sexy Back: Birdsong Gets Sultrier Due to Coronavirus

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  • You might not be crazy – the pigeons cooing in the backyard actually do sound more attractive

The COVID-19 pandemic is still going strong, with rates of new infections indicating that we might be heading towards a new spike. And with very well thought out responses from authorities – such as Florida lifting all coronavirus restrictions – it seems that the virus will not be going anywhere any time soon.

But at least the ‘Rona has opened up a treasure trove of scientific opportunities. Some of the discoveries we’ve previously covered include the psychology of toilet paper hoarding and that refusing to wear a face mask might mean you’re a sociopath.

It’s not just humans that scientists have turned their curious eye on, though. Just this week we wrote about the Finnish dogs trained to sniff out coronavirus infections.

Speaking of animals, have you noticed that the birds have sounded a lot sexier than usual lately? If you have, then first of all, that’s a bit weird. But second, you’re actually correct.

A brand-new study published in the journal Science has found out that male birds are singing to a different tune. It’s all thanks to lower noise levels as people have been isolating themselves from society.

White-crowned sparrows in the San Francisco Bay area are now able to sing more softly and still be heard, the researchers have found. This has allowed them to expand their vocal range and sing songs that are much more likely to get lady birds (not the bugs) in the mood.

Hey Little Mama, Lemme SCREAM IN YOUR EAR

In case you haven’t been to San Francisco, it’s usually pretty loud in the city. There’s a lot of traffic and yelling and other kinds of sounds that we the people like to emit.

Imagine then being a little birdie boy in the city, trying to find a hot chick to woo. You sing and sing until you’re hoarse, but no one listens.

That’s because no one can hear you.

“When the city was loud, [the sparrows] were singing really loudly,” the new study’s lead author Elizabeth Derryberry, a behavioral ecologist from the University of Tennesee, summarized to ScienceAlert.

Surely you’ve noticed a similar effect yourself when at a particularly loud bar or party. It’s hard to whisper sweet nothings into someone’s ear when the music’s so loud you have to scream bloody murder so they can hear you in the first place.

“Birds holding breeding territories in areas with higher noise levels sing higher amplitude songs, a common response to noise known as the Lombard effect,” the researchers state in the study.

“This improves signal efficacy by increasing communication distance, but it can come at a cost. Males that sing at higher minimum frequency often have lower vocal performance, which here is the ability to produce rapid trills at wide frequency bandwidths.”

To put that in plain terms, the birds have to sing so loudly that they’re unable to perform the voice tricks that get girl birds all hot and bothered. Basically, they’re expecting Tom Jones but are getting George Fisher.

Think what you will about their respective styles of music, but it’s pretty clear why Tom is a sex symbol and George… Isn’t.

“Jimmy’s singing ‘What’s New Pussycat’, and Bob’s doing ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ again… Ugh, I should’ve just stayed home tonight.”

Those Sexy, Sexy Birds

But now, with COVID-19 forcing everybody to stay home, San Fran has quieted down. So much, in fact, that noise levels in the city are lower than what they’ve been in decades.

Traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge has crashed to something we haven’t seen since 1954, the study states. Considering how many more cars there are around now than there were 70 years ago, that’s pretty astounding.

Even in the city, the ambient volume has fallen by 50% ever since the stay-at-home orders came into effect. The sparrows noticed that their surroundings had gotten quieter, too, and started singing differently.

Derryberry says that the male birds are now singing much more quietly, and are able to hit much lower notes than before. And what girl bird could resist the deep crooning voice of an avian Barry White?

“Their songs also sounded better. They sounded sexier,” says Derryberry. “They were better competitors, and they sounded like better mates to females.”

The study notes that the volume of the sparrows’ song fell by as much as a third. Despite this, their tweeting carried over twice the distance as before the coronavirus.

According to the researchers, these results are consistent with reports from people saying that birdsong has become more audible over the summer.

“A doubling [in the birds’ communication distance] would allow people to hear birds at twice the previous distance, or effectively four times more birds than usual,” the study reads.

So what’s the takeaway from all this? Derryberry says that the results show just how quickly birds adapt to environmental changes, and that curbing noise pollution could have positive effects on biodiversity.

Maybe we can also infer that ladies prefer a steamy ballad to brutal death metal. But that’d probably depend on the lady in question.

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Men Create Literal Man Cave Under Grand Central

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  • An electrician, carpenter, and wireman filled a secret storeroom with a futon couch, flatscreen tv, fridge, and microwave.

I’ve worked some unpleasant jobs before. Boring, endless jobs where I’d think, I’d give anything to get out of here. Even for a few hours to escape the interminable boredom of hourly employment. Three MTA workers actually did something with those feelings, converting a storeroom beneath Grand Central Station into a “man-cave.” The room, which looks pretty nice in the Associated Press story, has a flat-screen tv, refrigerator, microwave, and futon couch. 

Photo by Alec Favale on Unsplash

Literally a Man-Cave

Allegedly, a carpenter, an electrician (both foremen), and a wireman would hang out in the room, drinking, eating snacks, and partying. The Inspector General for the MTA, Carolyn Pokorny, got a tip about the room’s existence, leading to an investigation. If they ruined what they had because they couldn’t keep it off Instagram, I’m going to be so disappointed. 

Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash

Without the tip, it seems like the MTA would have never discovered them. The room was through a locked door for the exclusive use of the MTA Locksmiths. Then, they put a sign on the interior door saying “Foreman’s Office” (clever). It seems only the three men had keys for the man cave. 

 

The MTA suspended all three men without pay pending the investigation. These aren’t master criminals–they left receipts for things they ordered for the room with their names on it just lying around, including a pull-up bar and cot. According to a Gothamist post, the TV linked to the electrician’s phone. 

They Almost Got Away With It

Photo by S. on Unsplash

The carpenter and electrician closed ranks fast, claiming someone stole their devices. The wireman admitted the guilt of all three. Thanks to the carpenter (I assume), there were wooden cabinets in the room, hiding most contraband. It sounds like the MTA at least has a sense of humor about the discovery. 

 

 “Many a New Yorker has fantasized about kicking back with a cold beer in a prime piece of Manhattan Real Estate–especially one this close to public transportation,” the IG said in a statement, “But few would have the chutzpah to commandeer a secret room beneath Grand Central Terminal and make it their very own man-cave.”

 

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Australian Lingerie Ad Sparks Satanic Panic 2.0

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  • Hell must be running on a deficit if a two-bit skeleton onesie is the best they can afford.

Remember the 80s? What a great decade, with neon windbreakers, New Wave music, yuppies, late-stage Cold War… What a time to be alive.

And then there was also the Satanic Panic. You know, the mass hysteria about how supposedly everything from roleplaying games to heavy metal music and actual real-world social issues was some kind of a global conspiracy to turn the entire world to worshipping the Lord of the Pit?

Haha, what a silly thing to think! The people in the 80s sure had some wild imaginations. I sure am glad all that’s over.

Okay, fine. You know how these kinds of intros work. It’s not over at all.

This time it seems Old Nick is trying to get his sulfur-reeking claws on our souls through lingerie advertisements. At least that’s what people seem to think on social media, and when have they ever been wrong?

The vessel for Satan’s devilish plot is a new ad published by Australian lingerie firm Honey Birdette. But the arm of the Devil is long, and the company also operates some stores in California.

An underwear company seems like a fitting conduit for temptation. Why else would Honey Birdette produce such sinful attire if not to lead good people down the path into sins of the flesh?

In theory, Satan seems to be on the right track. But can the final product pull through?

A Sight for Sinful Eyes

The advertisement that’s set righteous souls aflame with divine fury is a video promoting Honey Birdette’s new bondage-inspired collection – aptly titled The 666 Club.

The firm uploaded the video on their Instagram page. Just so you know, it’s fairly saucy for an ad, as are the other related pictures. You might want to grab the Bible or some holy water or something to safeguard your eternal soul.

The red-tinted video opens up with an ominous line: “Don’t forgive them, Father, for they do know what they do.” Alright, that’s pretty clever.

Next, a pretty model starts wandering through a night club, which we can probably assume to be the titular 666 Club. She is clad in an ever-changing variety of undergarments from the company’s new line.

Apparently abyssal magic allows you to change clothes in the blink of an eye.

Underlining the tempting power of these bras and panties, the club is filled with writhing, smooching couples of all orientations. But they’re clearly in awe of the Satanic might of the main model, since none of them dares lay a hand on her.

And so she continues her journey through the club untouched until the Prince of Darkness himself appears to feel her up! No, it’s not Ozzy, just some dude painted red with a corny villain ‘stache and goatee.

The cartoon devil is quickly replaced by a bunch of people in equally cheap skeleton onesies. I think I’ve seen these things for sale at the Dollar Store for $1.99 around Halloween.

And then the ad’s over. Can you feel the forces of Hell grabbing hold of you already?

Me neither.

Empowering Satan

But some people sure did, since the video’s comment section is riddled with crusaders denouncing this blatantly Devil-worshipping sin fest.

“Thought it was just me. But all these Satan comments make me realize I’m not crazy for feeling a little [meh emoji] about this,” wrote username jsattt.

Yeah, we wouldn’t be so sure about that.

D_amatus007 saw the video as nothing more than yet another sign of our world slowly slipping down into the depths of Hell. “Not surprised everything you see in the video is satanic. It’s the new way and what many seek and are fighting for as we sit here,” they commented.

Others who have shopped with Honey Birdette before have been put off by the ad. Lingerie that covers barely anything is fine, but a devilish figure that looks like he could be an elementary school student’s home-made Halloween decoration?

How dare they!

“You guys just lost a very loyal customer you Satan worshippers! Disgraceful!” wrote username ezcali.

“WTF anti-Christian much? Unfollow. Not buying your brand now!!!” yelled mstessascott.

Still some thought the video was directly channeling power to the Devil. Or something like that.

“Little bit s**tty empowering Satan like that,” thought loius_meyer.

But, in the name of fairness, others had more reasonable criticisms for the ad. Sprinkled in the comments are people who are just straight-up not that excited about what they’re seeing.

“I’m gud luv, enjoy. So disappointed in the plain designs,” said username natvanel.

Poor Effort, Devil

Now, we here at Oddee don’t claim to be experts on all things Satanic or anything like that. And by no means do we want to disrespect anyone’s deeply held beliefs when it comes to what’s good for your soul.

But really, a guy in red bodypaint and a cartoon goatee? Some dudes in cheap skeleton bodysuits? At the end of October there’ll be a Halloween party on every block that will get more sacrilegious than this.

You’d imagine an organized group of Satan worshipping masterminds would be a bit more sinister. If this is the best Hell’s demonic legions can cook up, they’d better step up their game. The most sinful thing about this video is the costume department’s budget.

Is this really what’s supposed to tempt us into damnation? Not today, Satan.

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