Wikipedia articles of interest
1. Aposematism. You know that thing where poisonous animals have very brightly coloured skin to stop predators from eating them and die in the process?
I’ll have forgotten what it’s called next week, unless I reread this post multiple times. My tendency to forget all kinds of stuff I’ve supposedly learned is part of what separates me from high IQ-folks; my knowledge retention rate is much lower. Though I don’t care enough about it to do something about it, like trying to improve my memory.
Interesting related fact: The highest of the ‘fatality to summit’-ratios of the eight-thousanders is that of Annapurna. Also: “Annapurna I holds the highest fatality rate among all 14 eight-thousanders. As of 2005, there have been only 103 successful summit attempts, and 56 lives have been lost on the mountain”. Half of all who climb that thing die yet people keep doing it. The best reason the first solo climber of that mountain could come up with when asked the question why? “I did it for my soul.”
3. Republic of Venice. The ‘history of…’ article has more.
4. Execution by elephant.. Exactly what it says on the tin. A few quotes:
“Hindu and Muslim rulers executed tax evaders, rebels and enemy soldiers alike “under the feet of elephants”.” Yes, tax evaders.
“Some monarchs also adopted this form of execution for their own entertainment.” (remember how it was before the tv? You have to do something to keep the boredom at bay…) […] “in the Mughal sultanate of Delhi, elephants were trained to slice prisoners to pieces “with pointed blades fitted to their tusks”.”
“The use of elephants as executioners continued well into the latter half of the 19th century.”
5. Bergmann’s rule.