Carrier Pigeons: Mother Nature’s Express Delivery Service1m20s

Carrier Pigeons: Mother Nature’s Express Delivery Service

Today, if your home phone is still plugged into the wall, you are being archaic. We live in a world of instant everything – food, calls, texts...Imagine what it must have been like to have to send a pigeon to deliver your message and wait for the reply? Pigeons have been used as messengers since 3000 B.C. The raven might have the thunder in Game of Thrones, but it is the pigeons who are the go to bird to deliver your message even today. How do they do it, you ask? They just fly home! Thanks to their abilities for magnetoreception, they instinctually align and orient themselves to the magnet fields of the Earth. The simplest example comes from the first Olympic games in 776 BC, when every athlete was to bring his own pigeon; if they won, he would release the pigeon, so that the bird might deliver the news of the victory to his village. Even the famed Genghis Khan was a huge fan of homing pigeons and used the birds to establish communications with Eastern Europe and Asia. These birds were a massive tactical advantage for his men. For the past few years, the police has caught carrier pigeons attempting to various contraband into prisons, like drugs, sim cards, even cell phones! Let us see you send a cell phone via email!

A Look Back (and Forward) at the Flying Car1m29s

A Look Back (and Forward) at the Flying Car

Taking personal transportation from the ground and up in the skies seems closer than ever today. It seems that science fiction is slowly creeping into reality, as cars are getting more and more capable of flight. The world might be one flying DeLorean poorer, but present time car manufacturers are close to creating the first automobile that will shorten the distance you have to pass towards your destination. Cartoons and movies might have had characters behind the steering wheel of a flying car for the past few decades. Hollywood surely won't even bat an eyelash if a car flew over their sky. But people have been trying to get their cars flying in the skies for the past century. In fact, the first car to be successfully airborne was the Aerobile in 1934. Also called Aerocar, it was the first roadable aircraft that saw the light of day but never hit the pavement. The Aerocar was invented by Waldo Waterman, an inventor and aviation pioneer from San Diego, California. Dozens of flying car prototypes have been made and tested since then, but the one who may have gotten closest to actually releasing one into the public has to be – drum roll please – Elon Musk! The Tesla CEO claims that his flying Model F will be ready to ship in 2019. Uber is also joining in on the “Back To The Future” plan, saying that they plan to have their cars in the air by 2020.

The Sakoku Edict: Why The Japanese Couldn't Leave Their Own Country For Two Centuries1m35s

The Sakoku Edict: Why The Japanese Couldn't Leave Their Own Country For Two Centuries

In the 1600s Japan was not a big fan of Western culture. To emphasize that point it banned its citizens from traveling abroad with a penalty of death if they did for over 200 years. Sakoku (literally "country in chains" or "lock up of country") was the foreign policy of Japan under which no foreigner or Japanese could enter or leave the country on penalty of death. The policy was enforced when missionaries from Spain and Portugal came with ambitions to spread the Christian faith in Asia. Christianity was forbidden in Japan and rewards were offered to anyone who will give out the location of Christians to the authorities. No one was allowed to enter or leave the country. If people were caught leaving it, they would be mercilessly executed. Japanese people who were abroad and wanted to return were also prohibited. Japanese ships were prohibited from leaving Japanese waters and foreign ships were not allowed to approach. The only fleet allowed to dock were the Dutch East India Company, who they trusted. Almost 220 years after the enforcement of Sakoku, American warships were sent to intimidate the Japanese into trading and in 1853, Japan opened it's borders once again.

Operation Yellow Ribbon1m41s

Operation Yellow Ribbon

The events of September 11, 2001 will never be forgotten. Through the darkness of that day shone a light as one small Canadian community opened their doors & their hearts to stranded airline passengers from around the globe.

The Woman Who Survived a 10,000 Foot Fall1m25s

The Woman Who Survived a 10,000 Foot Fall

When a 17-year old girl celebrated Christmas by falling 10,000 feet from a plane she proved Santa might not need to be packing a parachute. As far as holiday airport mayhem goes, chances are the 92 occupants (86 passengers and 6 crew) of the propeller powered LANSA Flight 508 flying between the Peruvian cities of Lima and Pucallpa had probably all seen worse. For some of them, the seven hour wait in the busy airport a day before Christmas might have been the most frustrating thing. Two of said passengers were Juliane Koepcke and her mother Maria, traveling home to meet her father. At the 40 minute mark of what was supposed to be an hour long flight, Flight 508 hit a thunderstorm in a pitch black sky. As the plane continued further into the storm, its body began to shake violently. Juliane was in the midst of a 10.000 foot free fall, when she fell unconscious. When she did come around, she was on the ground in dense rain forest, with with a severe concussion and a broken collarbone, a scrape on one arm and a deep gash on her leg, the rest of the plane scattered across almost 6 square miles Despite being heavily injured and unsuitably dressed for the jungle, the 17-year-old set out to find her mother. With a bag of sweets she found in the wreckage as her only source of food, she struggled to get out of the wreckage. Eventually she stumbled across a group of lumbermen, maggots falling from her open wounds. The men took her to a nearby village, where a pilot flew her to a hospital in a town called Pucallpa, where she was finally reunited with her father.

The Christmas Island Miracle: The Migration of the Bright Red Crab2m05s

The Christmas Island Miracle: The Migration of the Bright Red Crab

There are an estimated 40 to 50 million Red Crabs on Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. When “wet season” comes, the island experiences “rivers of red”, as the Red Crabs begin their migration towards the ocean. Their migration is in sync with the lunar cycle. Why, you might ask? Well, because these red crabs go near the ocean to begin their mating rituals! Sounds quite romantic, doesn’t it, full moon and the ocean? Islanders have accepted their rituals and support them so much, that they have built fences on the sides of the roads, underpasses and bridges to help the crabs travel safely towards their ultimate spawning destination. There, the males will dig burrows, where they will inseminate their chosen females. The female Red Crabs can produce up to 100,000 eggs in a season and she will stay with them in the burrow for the next 12 days. At the 12th day mark, the females exit the burrows just before dawn, when the outgoing tide is perfect for hatching the eggs upon impact. Most if the juvenile crabs will get eaten by the predators in the ocean, but those who do survive will come back and begin the next chapter of The Christmas Island Miracle!