The ancient Romans were reportedly loath to embark on any major undertaking, particularly battles, before they had consulted sacred chickens. As told by HistoryCollection.com:
The pullarius [keeper of the sacred chickens] was responsible for keeping sacred chickens and using them to make divinations or "predictions." These holy birds, which had been sourced from the island of Negreponte (now Euboea, near Athens), were kept unfed in their cages for a predetermined amount of time before being released and presented with some grain. If they ate the grain, the venture upon which the Romans were consulting them was deemed favourable. If they didn't touch it, however, the venture lacked the god's backing and was therefore to be abandoned.
Publius Claudius Pulcher And The Sacred Chickens
However, the advice of the sacred chickens wasn't always followed. As told by the Anecdotes from Antiquity blog:
During the First Punic War, Publius Claudius Pulcher turned to the sacred chickens for approval of his plan to launch a surprise attack on the Carthaginian fleet at the harbour of Drepana. When the chicken watcher notified Pulcher that they were not eating, which constituted a bad omen, he replied, ‘Since they do not want to eat, let them drink!’ and had them hurled into the sea. The naval battle which ensued saw the near annihilation of the Roman fleet.
I never saw the 2017 movie Downsizing
, but I understand that it involved the premise of shrinking people so that they would use fewer resources.
Perhaps the speculations of "theoretical biologist" Thomas Easton, published in Omni magazine in January 1983
, may have inspired the movie:
The burgeoning birthrate will cease to be a problem once we've bred a race of humans half normal size. That at least is the prediction of Thomas Easton, a theoretical biologist and technical writing teacher at the University of Maine.
"Cut people down to about three feet in height and they won't eat as much food," Easton says. "Cars could then be the size of little red wagons, with all the old gas guzzlers converted to buses. In fact man's appetite for open space and raw materials would decrease to match his stature.
"This new breed of human," Easton says, "would have far more muscle, with the ability to run and jump almost like a cat. Reduced weight would ease the wear in joints, cutting the prevalence of arthritis. Since less blood would be pumped through a small circulatory system, the heart's work load would be diminished and there would be fewer cardiac arrests.
"The technology to shrink humans," Easton says, "will probably be available within a decade. A genetically engineered virus, carrying genes coded to create small people, could be placed in a reservoir or released in the air. Then everyone infected would absorb the genes and produce lilliputian offspring."
Not sure how a cigar-smoking toddler promotes coffee...
A dispute between neighbors in Lodi Township, Michigan has resulted in one of them (a farmer) creating a 250-foot wall of cow manure along the property divide. The non-farmers are calling it a "poop wall" and complain that it smells awful. The farmer disagrees, saying that it's merely a "compost fence". Plus, it turns out that it's perfectly legal since it's on his property.
More info: mlive
, fox detroit
In 1920, Alva Dawson of Florida was granted a patent for a "combined head covering and hair comb"
. In his patent he explained:
Among the objects of the invention is to provide a combined head covering and comb so constructed and arranged that the wearer of the head covering may comb up his hair coincidentally with the removal of the head covering from his head, and hence without rendering himself conspicuous in so doing.
I'm pretty sure it wasn't possible to use this hat-comb without rendering yourself very conspicuous.
Popular Science - Oct 1920
"So business will not be interrupted if enemy airplanes should loose gas bombs on Rome before quitting time, a new transparent gas mask that enables a typist to see clearly while enjoying protection from noxious fumes has been introduced into the war-minded Italian capital."
Elmira Star-Gazette - Feb 4, 1935