10 Times People Put Their Differences Aside And Helped One Another


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10 Times People Put Their Differences Aside And Helped One Another

MARK OLIVER MAY 28, 2017

https://listverse.com/2017/05/28/10-times-people-put-their-differences-aside-and-helped-one-another/

“I disapprove of what you say,” Evelyn Beatrice Hall once said (wrongly attributed to Voltaire), “but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

It is a motto many people aspire to live up to—but it is not always easy. We tend to hold our opinions so tightly that we treat them as a part of who we are, and when someone disagrees, we often feel like it’s an attack.

Some people, though, have gone beyond what could possibly be expected of them. A handful of people have reached across the divide and risked everything to save the absolute last person they would ever be expected to help.

10A Rabbi Invited a KKK Grand Dragon to Live in His Home

A few days after Rabbi Michael Weisser moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, he got a phone call. The voice on the other end called him a “Jew Boy.” Weisser would be sorry, he said, that he had ever moved to his town. Two days later, a package of anti-Semitic pamphlets showed up on his door with a card that read, “The KKK is watching you, scum.”

Weisser soon realized he was being antagonized by Larry Trapp, the Grand Dragon of the KKK in Nebraska. Trapp, he found out, was a blind man who had lost both legs to diabetes. Instead of being angry, though, Weisser decided to reach out to him.

He started calling Trapp once a week and leaving messages offering to help him out. Eventually, Trapp picked up, and Weisser greeted him by saying, “I heard you’re disabled. I thought you might need a ride to the grocery.”

Trapp hung up, but he called back a few days later, shaken. He told Weisser, “I want to get out of what I’m doing and I don’t know how.”

Weisser visited Trapp and befriended him, and after a while even invited Trapp to move into his home. There, Weisser and his wife took care of the blind and disabled man. It worked. Trapp did not just quit the KKK—he ended up converting to Judaism.

9The First Black Mayor of Washington Calmed a Race Riot

When Martin Luther King Jr. died, people were angry. Across America, people started to riot. They smashed windows, threw Molotov cocktails, and even bottled the firefighters who tried to put the flames out. And in Washington, D.C, the man in charge of calming them down was Walter Washington: the man who, shortly after, would become the city’s first black mayor.

Washington was as angry as anybody else, but he didn’t think rioting would fix anything. “What’s new about it? Martin being shot?” Washington later questioned. A black man getting killed, he said, “isn’t new.” And burning down a city would not bring him back to life.

So, he walked down the streets of D.C., trying to calm people down. Instead of just ordering them to stop, he asked them to help the people whose homes had been destroyed. Of everyone he asked, Washington claims, only one person said no.

He was not able to completely stop the riot, but he calmed it down. One witness would later say, “Mayor Washington probably saved hundreds of lives.”

8Prison Inmates Save a Guard’s Life

Prison guard Kenneth Moon was sitting at his desk quietly when a prisoner decided to make a jailbreak. He rushed behind the unsuspecting Moon, wrapped his arm around his windpipe and tried to choke him to death.

Other inmates saw what was happening—and instead of taking the chance, they rushed to the rescue. Three men rushed over within seconds, knocked the attacker to the ground and started prying him off of Moon.

One, David Schofield, called the other guards for help—but before they even made it, a crowd of more than a dozen other inmates had rushed onto the scene to help Moon get back onto his feet.

“I was thinking about this is somebody’s father and somebody’s son,”Terry Carswell, one of the men who helped, said afterward when asked why he did it, “Nobody deserves to die like that.”

7A Man Got the Lynch Mob Trying to Kill Him to Donate to His School

Laurence Jones was nearly killed by a mob in 1918. Rumors had been going around that the black Americans in Mississippi were planning a rebellion, and when a white crowd heard Jones tell his congregation to “fight to survive and succeed,” they figured he must be the one behind it. He would have to die.

The mob dragged Jones out of the pines, where they put a rope around his neck and kindling under his feet. Then they gave him a chance to say his last words before he was hung and burned alive.

Jones told them about the school he had opened to educate black children who did not have the same chances as everyone else. He listed off the white men who had helped him get it off the ground, trying to call for unity. He must have been incredibly eloquent because it actually worked.

An old Civil War veteran recognized the names and realized Jones was telling the truth. “We have made a mistake,” the old white man told the mob. “We ought to help him instead of hang him.”

The mob pulled him down and even passed around a hat. They raised $52.40 for his school. Jones did not hold any grudges over it. “I have no time to quarrel,” he said, “and no man can force me to stoop low enough to hate him.”

6Muslims in Pakistan Built a Christian Church

The people in the Pakistani village of Khaksabad got worried when they heard about violence in the nearby town of Gojra. A Muslim mob had attacked a Christian community, and it had torn the whole town into a mess of violence and hatred. They did not want that happening in their town.

When their local Christian church was swept away in a monsoon, they got the chance to do something about it. The Muslims of the town started a fundraiser to help the Christians out, partly just out of sympathy and partly as a way to bring two split sides of the community together.

Muslims helped out eagerly, donating every penny they could, and they raised enough to build a brand new church for their Christian neighbors.

“A church is also a house of Allah,” one Muslim shopkeeper said about it. “We worship the same God.”

5A KKK Member Saved the Life of a NAACP Member

When John Brown was stationed in Vietnam, he found himself in command of a man named Rayford—in his words, “a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan.” And Rayford was not about to take orders from a black man.

John Brown was, himself, a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and having to deal with a racist like Rayford made him angry. Rayford would flat out refuse to follow Brown’s orders, and Brown would get extra hard on him in response, one time even slapping him in the face with his NAACP membership card.

When Brown’s life was on the line, though, he was saved by the last person he would have expected. His fingers had been shot off, he was under fire, and he thought he was going to die. Rayford, though, ran through a hail ofmachine gun fire to rescue him.

Despite their differences, Rayford got Brown to safety. Brown never saw Rayford again. The experience, though, changed his life. He would later say, “I learned that two people, no matter what their differences are, or races, can come together on one accord.”

4A Criminal Saved the Life of the Cop Who Was Booking Him

When Jamal Rutledge was dragged into the police station for violating his probation, it was hardly the first time his hands had been in chains.

He was locked in a room with Franklin Foulks, the officer who was booking him, when Foulks had a stroke. The officer collapsed to the ground, and Jamal was the only person who could see it happen.

Jamal tried to help him, but with his hands cuffed behind his back, he could not do much. So instead, he started kicking on the door and calling for help. Officers rushed in and gave Foulks CPR, saving his life.

The officer hailed Jamal as a hero and held a convention in honor of the man they had arrested. There, Jamal told the crowd his life would be different now; “People do bad things,” he said, “but they can change their life around.” From that day forward, Jamal promised, he would be an upstanding citizen.

It didn’t happen. Jamal has been in and out of jail since he was eight years old—it is hard to change what life has shaped you into. Jamal was arrested again before long, and is currently in prison. He is still a lifelong criminal—but, as he proved by saving Foulks life, he is also a human being.

3Larry Flynt Tried to Save the Man Who Shot Him

Hustler publisher Larry Flynt was shot and paralyzed by a white supremacist on a rampage. His attacker was Joseph Paul Franklin, a serial killer who added Flynt to his list for creating a photo shoot that put a black man and a white woman together.

Franklin was caught, and years later, he found himself on death row, waiting for a lethal injection. Only one person fought to save his life—and to his surprise, it was Larry Flynt.

He had confined Flynt to a wheelchair for life, but Flynt still didn’t want him to die. Killing Franklin, he believed, was an act of revenge that solved nothing. He teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union and filed lawsuits to try to get Franklin off of death row, saying, “I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself.”

It didn’t work, and Franklin ended up getting a lethal injection. Before he died, though, Franklin had a change of heart. He had to live alongside other races in prison, and it affected how he saw the word. He said, “I saw they were people just like us.”

2An Israeli and a Muslim Saved a Palestinian Terrorist

Ahmed Mansara was only 13 years old when he and his cousin ran through East Jerusalem with knives, stabbing innocent people.They were Palestinians, and they were ready to give their lives to send a message of terror to Israel.

The attack stopped when his cousin was shot and killed by an Israeli police officer. Mansara, panicking, ran for his life, but was hit by a car. A whole mob of people swarmed him, some yelling, “Die!” Some were calling him a “son of a whore,” and some called for the police to shoot him in the head.

Mansara, though, was taken to a hospital jointly run by a Jewish doctor and Muslim. Mansara was a murderer, but he was just a boy—and it was their job to save him. They treated his injuries, giving him priority over some innocent people on the argument that his wounds were the worst, and they saved the life of a terrorist.

“We don’t ask who you are,” Ahmed Eid, a Muslim doctor at the Israeli hospital, said when asked why he didn’t leave Mansara to die. “We treat the terrorist the same as we treat the victim.”

1The Civil Liberties Union Stood up for the KKK’s Rights

When the KKK adopted a part of the highway in Missouri, the state could not stop them from doing it. They had the same rights as everyone else, the Supreme Court ruled, and so if the KKK wanted their name on a highway clean-up sign, they had the right to do it.

Missouri, though, got the KKK back. They changed the name of the highway to “Rosa Parks Highway.” Infuriated, the KKK refused to clean it. Once they were derelict in their duties, the state could legally ban them from adopting a highway—and they did.

Since then, though, the KKK has been fighting for the right to adopt a highway, saying, “We just want to clean up the doggone road. We’re not going to be out there in robes.” And they have gotten support from the last group you would expect: the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU defended civil rights activists in the past, but they felt they needed to support the KKK this time. If the KKK lost the right to fight this in court, they argued, it would let the courts refuse to hear any group they wanted.

They defend equality and free speech, the ACLU argued, even if that means equality and free speech for the Ku Klux Klan.

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Top 10 Disturbing Facts About Facebook


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Top 10 Disturbing Facts About Facebook

WILLIAM KENENDY MAY 29, 2017

https://listverse.com/2017/05/29/top-10-disturbing-facts-about-facebook/

Ever since the Edward Snowden incident, people are suspicious of major online companies such as Facebook and Google. We know they are collecting lots of data. Only Facebook knows how much data they collect on their users, but estimates peg the number at about 500 terabytes per day.A terabyte is 1,024 gigabytes. The average 720p movie is about one gigabyte. That means Facebook is collecting the equivalent of 510,000 movies every day.

The sheer scale of data mining is impressive, but what they can do with this data is more impressive, or creepy, depending where you sit on the megalomaniac scale. Facebook is a part of everyday life. Is that a good thing? Here are ten disturbing facts about Facebook to help you decide.

10Facial Recognition


When a friend tags in a photo on Facebook, this information is added to Facebook’s giant stack of data. The social network has AI bots that sift through all this data to do pattern matching with your face.

Facebook’s algorithm is so good that they claim to have an accuracy of 98 percent. With every newly uploaded photo, they get better at pattern matching faces. The question now becomes how long we have until Facebook sells this information to retailers. Remember that scene inMinority Report when Tom Cruise is in a shop that changes what is on the mannequin based on what they know about him?

9Facebook Knows Where You Are At All Times


If you have the Facebook Messenger app, the chances are that you didn’t tell it to stop sharing your location. It’s not a bad thing if you want Facebook to know where you are. But what about other people? What if a stalker wanted to track you down and follow you? Could they also use Facebook Messenger?

One programmer investigated and created a simple Chrome plugin called Marauder’s Map. The name refers to a map Harry Potter had in Hogwarts that allowed him to see where everyone was in the castle. Marauder’s Map was capable of giving the exact coordinates of friends who used Messenger.

By looking at a simple map, the programmer was able to identify exactly where his friends were. In response, Facebook disabled location sharing from the Messenger app. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t collecting that data.

8Using Facebook Makes You Feel Worse


The more you use Facebook, the worse you will feel. Heavy use of social media has been shown to cause a host of different problems, including decreased face-to-face relationships, increased sedentary behavior, and erosion of self-esteem through unfavorable social comparison. Studies carried out by Yale showed that the use of Facebook had a substantial impact on mental health. The activity of liking other’s content and clicking links predicted a self-reported decrease in physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction.

When it comes to Facebook, people carefully tailor what is presented to show the highlights of their life and omit the downsides. Others who are browsing someone’s profile feel worse when they are comparing themselves to that person’s highlights.

7Facebook Creates An Echo Chamber For Your Views


After the election of Donald Trump and the recent Brexit crisis, people were quick to turn the blame toward Facebook and Google for curating “fake news” articles. The evidence was so strong that even the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, had to make a promise to filter out fake news sites and warn users not to be swayed by different websites.

The mainstream media focused on “fake news” (probably because it was competing with them) but failed to mention the other problem people faced with Facebook: what is referred to as the “filter bubble.”

Facebook’s main aim is to to get you to spend lots of time on their platform. If you read the above entry, you might now think this is bad for your health. It’s also bad for your intellect. Facebook gets you to stay around by curating what they think you will like to see. The problem with this is that, for example, if you are a left-wing political supporter, you will never see content showing the positive aspects of right-wing politics, and the same principle holds if you’re right-wing. This filter bubble also makes it seem that the political party you support is more popular than they are, even if they’re not.

Despite the mission of bringing people together, this aspect of Facebook may be driving them apart.

6Facebook Negatively Influences People With Eating Disorders


A small study with 84 college women at Florida State University found that those who use Facebook more often were more likely to report disordered eating. Another study from the American University in Washington, DC, found that girls who scan Facebook photos are more likely to indicate body dissatisfaction.

Once again, we come back to how Facebook makes us compare ourselves to others. If it can have an effect on people who aren’t currently suffering from any mental illness, the effect may be more pronounced on people already facing severe psychological issues like eating disorders.

5Facebook Makes Lonely People Feel Even More Lonely


New York University clinical psychiatrist Dr. Sudeepta Varma stated that Facebook keeps people in the know about what others are doing—but it also reminds them of what they themselves aren’t doing, which can make them feel left out. That was the conclusion from the study of 82 young adults who were active Facebook users.

The most shocking thing about this study is that it happened over two short weeks. After only two weeks of use, Facebook led to a steep decline in subjective happiness.

4Facebook Knows More About You Than You Think


Facebook’s News Feed is designed to keep you engaged as long as possible. During that time, Facebook builds an ever-evolving and complex mesh ofdata on their users. They create a profile using predictive analysis, which allows them to find out how susceptible you are to advertising, which way you lean politically, and whether you are more likely to pay with cash or a credit card.

They even guess how intelligent you are, based on what content you like. If you want to get a small snapshot into the kind of data Facebook collects, then I highly recommend the Chrome plugin Data Selfie.

3Facebook Engages In Political Censorship


Despite Facebook’s mission to have a society that is free and open, they have acted opposite to this goal by engaging in political censorship at a state level. There have been many examples of this, such as their blocking a page announcing a protest in Russia, an action that was a direct order from the Russian government.

Another example is in China, where Facebook developed special software to censor users’ posts. They even went as far as censoring satire because a UK government agency complained. Facebook also censored two men kissing.

2Facebook Will Happily Sell Your Data


Just when you think it can’t get worse than political censorship, you find out that anyone and everyone can get access to your data. Mastercard recently purchased Facebook data that details users’ online habits to uncover behavioral insights it can sell to banks. The intention is to merge Facebook’s data with their own so that they can also drive online sales.

Okay, Mastercard is a big company with lots cash. “Surely it wasn’t cheap,” you say. Well, one man spent $5 to acquire a total of one million Facebook users’ personal information. Facebook’s response was quite scary. They requested that the man send them the file, delete it from his computer, and “keep quiet.”

1Facebook Knows When You Are Sleeping


Through the Facebook Messenger app, users can see when someone was last active. Intrigued, a developer by the name of Soren Louv-Jansen started to look into this a bit more. By correlating user IDs with a time stamp, he was actually able to build a graph of all his friends’ sleeping patterns.

One hacker went even further and discovered that you could find out what device people were last active on. What an excellent way to freak out your friends. Just don’t use any of this information to open up to a girl you’ve had a crush on for a long time. It will make things weird. Fast.

William is a self-taught software developer who went from a job he hates to a job he now loves. As well as writing about himself in the 3rd person, William loves to write essays, code and writing about becoming a web developer on his blog.

There Are ‘Thousands’ of Bugs Making Pacemakers Vulnerable to Hackers


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There Are ‘Thousands’ of Bugs Making Pacemakers Vulnerable to Hackers

Image: Wikimedia

The more of our lives are wired, the more they become vulnerable to things like software glitches and hackers. That includes pieces of technology we put in our bodies—recently, it’s become clear that vital medical devices likeinsulin pumps and pacemakers possess the same vulnerabilities as those ill-advised connected tea kettles.

New research makes clear just how vulnerable medical devices really can be. In a recent study, researchers with the security company WhiteScope looked at pacemakers and defibrillators from four different manufacturers, as well as the systems used to monitor and maintain them. And they found 8,000 different vulnerabilities inside the code of the cardiac devices. In case it’s not clear, that is a very big number.

The researchers found all four of the device ecosystems had major problems, including software systems that were not up to date and storage of private patient data that was not encrypted. When the devices were connected to monitoring systems, not one required a login name and password or checked to make sure that devices they were connecting to were authentic.

The report notes that pacemaker security faces “some serious challenges.” That might even be a little too polite.

This is particularly concerning in the aftermath of the Wanna Cry ransomware attack, which impacted many hospitals around the globe. That attack included the first known instance of ransomware directly affecting a medical device, in this case, hospital equipment made by Bayer.

The impact of hacked personal medical devices, though, could be far graver— endangering patient’s lives as well as exposing private medical data. This is something cybersecurity experts have warned about for years. Back in 2013, the hacker Barnaby Jack claimed he could take control of a pacemaker from up to 50 feet away and create a lethal shock using the device. Dick Cheney famously had a doctor remove the wireless capability of his pacemaker to protect it from hackers, even though it meant software updates would require surgery.

But while medical devices are often old and out of date and therefore more vulnerable to attack, so far there have been no known cases of hackers harming patients by exploiting those flaws. But the FDA and other agencies are increasingly concerned this might happen in the not-so-distant future. In January, the FDA issued a warning that certain cardiac implants could be hacked and reprogrammed to send out potentially deadly incorrect signals or shocks.

Last fall, Johnson & Johnson was forced to tell its customers that its insulin pumps had a security flaw hackers could use to deploy a potentially fatal overdose of insulin.

The more medical devices on the market that communicate wirelessly, the bigger the threat of hacking grows. Yet, it’s clear from reports like WhiteScope’s that for device manufacturers, even basic security like setting up a login and password is not much of a concern.

Another recent study looked at the broader medical device market and found that only 17% of manufacturers had taken any steps to secure gadgets.

Device manufacturers are beginning to pay attention to these things, hiring cybersecurity experts and setting up programs for white hat hackers to report flaws. But when a hack could mean life or death, they can’t fix those systems soon enough.

The Inside of a Beatboxer’s Throat is a Disgusting Display of Anatomical Gymnastics


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The Inside of a Beatboxer’s Throat is a Disgusting Display of Anatomical Gymnastics

Saturday 2:34pm

GIF source: Tom Thum

Let’s take an educational trip down the throat of a beatboxer and get a far too detailed look at the complex anatomical system that enables us to make strange noises.

Beatboxing YouTuber Tom Thum was curious if his natural ability to create complex and unique sounds might have something to do with some sort of physical abnormality. He visited an endocrinologist named Dr. Matthew Broadhurst in order to get two different examinations done using cameras inserted into his nose and mouth. Nothing notable about the beatboxer’s anatomy was found, but we do get some really gross imagery of what’s going on in the larynx of a beatboxer. In short, mesmerizing muscle contortions and gurgling floods of saliva.

You can see for yourself in the video below. There’s a grating intro that can be skipped by going to 1:10, and the good stuff starts around 3:47.

[Tom Thum via Boing Boing]

Researchers Discover a Method That Could Triple Our Screen Resolutions


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Researchers Discover a Method That Could Triple Our Screen Resolutions

Yesterday 2:07pm

GIF: Gizmodo

A research team at the University of Central Florida has developed a new surface that allows the tuning of individual subpixels on a display. The breakthrough might mean the potential display resolutions on LCD TVs could triple, virtually overnight.

The researchers have outlined the technical details in a new study published in Nature. Basically, what they’ve done is figure out a method to control subpixels with voltage. Each pixel on an LCD screen contains three subpixels. Each of those subpixels handles one of three colors: red, green or blue. A white backlight shines through the pixel and the LCD shutter controls which subpixel is viewable. For instance, if the pixel should be blue, the LCD shutter will cover the red and green subpixels. In order to make purple, the shutter only needs to cover the green subpixel. The white backlight determines how light or dark the color will be.

The team at UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center has demonstrated a way of using an embossed nanostructure surface and reflective aluminum that could eliminate the need for subpixels entirely. On a test device, the researchers were able to control the color of each subpixel individually. Rather than one subpixel being dedicated to blue, it can produce the full range of color that the TV is capable of displaying. With each subpixel suddenly doing the work of three, the potential resolution of the device is suddenly three times as high. Additionally, this would mean that every subpixel (or in this case, a tinier pixel) would be on whenever displaying a color or white. That would lead to displays that are far brighter.

Next up, the researchers have to scale up their demonstrations and show that the technology would work with current hardware. “It allows you to leverage all the pre-existing decades of LCD technology. We don’t have to change all of the engineering that went into making that,” Daniel Franklin, one of the authors of the paper, told the UCF college news outlet. Another issue is frame rate. While this new method is capable of cycling much faster than similar colour-changing technologies that have been considered in the past, it’s still not up to par with the refresh rates we’ve come to expect for playing high-speed first person shooters.

Still, if these hurdles can be overcome, a huge leap in screen resolution would be just on the horizon.

[Nature]

Mystery of the Flickering Red Lights in the White House Grips the Internet


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Mystery of the Flickering Red Lights in the White House Grips the Internet

Today 1:04pm

GIF source: Fox 35

Internet-fueled conspiracy theories have plagued US politics over the last year and made voters on both sides of the aisle appear to be reactionary maniacs. But conspiracy theories can also be fun. And the entirely benign saga of red lights flashing in the windows of the second-floor residence of the White House is about as fun as these things get.

A livestream of the White House went viral last night in certain corners of the internet when strange red lights were seen strobing in the windows for almost 17 minutes. White House spokespeople and the Secret Service offered no comment on the cause of the phenomenon, so the internet did what it does and served up some wild speculation. No one seemed to nail a really good joke about the situation but the general strangeness of the situation was enough.

The most ubiquitous theory was that it had something to do with Russiabecause of the color red. Others joked that Trump was blowing off some steam with a club night. Maybe the orb from Saudi Arabia was brought homeby the administration? Dark occult rituals were certainly a possibility. There’s a movie from 1977 called Red Light in the White House, could it offer any clues?InfoWars told everyone they were being unreasonable with their nutjob reactions. And by far, my favorite hypothesis is that Trump was being treated with light therapy for his dimentia.

But none of those scenarios are likely to be true. The most reasonableexplanation has been that we’re simply seeing the reflection of a nearby emergency vehicle’s lights in the windows. Here’s a video of an ambulance in Washington DC. Let’s go to the GIFs for further analysis. Enhance:

White House:

Ambulance:

Yeah, different playback rates aside, it definitely appears that those emergency light patterns could line up. Thanks for the memories internet.

[Twitter]

Top 10 Secret Ways Animals Help Humans


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Top 10 Secret Ways Animals Help Humans

ABIGAIL KELLEY MAY 22, 2017

http://listverse.com/2017/05/22/top-10-secret-ways-animals-help-humans/

Who doesn’t love animals? We all know the beauty of the adorable creatures that live with us, like cute puppies and fuzzy kittens, but animals can do more than just make us laugh with the clumsy mistakes they make. Animals are used in almost every scientific field from medicine to the aerospace industry, and they play a crucial role in the advancement of human life.

Scientists continuously study animals and their unique qualities and find ways to apply those qualities to problems humans face every day. This includes utilizing our most intelligent and trainable animals but also the evolved chemical traits of smaller, lesser-known animals. So, here are ten ways animals help us out that you may never have realized even existed.

10Keyhole Limpet Proteins


Keyhole limpets are sea snails with, wide, conical shells that feature a small hole at the top, and they have a secret superpower. They contain a protein known as keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), which is used in a wide array of medicines, ranging from cancer and Alzheimer’s medications to vaccinations for animals and humans. The complex structure of hemocyanin makes it a perfect candidate for fighting disease, because it contains many binding sites, which allows other particles bind to it easily.

Limpets aren’t the only sea organisms that are used in unexpected ways by humans. For example, kelp is used to create a creamy texture in a myriad of products ranging from ice cream to toothpaste. However, keyhole limpet proteins are used in medications for very serious diseases, and entire companies specialize in the production and sales of KLH. Industries such as this are constantly growing as we find more uses for KLH in medications. Since limpets are invertebrates with no true brain, using them in the medical field has the added bonus of eliminating the question of morality involved when using animals for scientific testing.

9Cancer-Sniffing Dogs


Dogs will make a few appearances on this list, as they’re so intelligent and easily trained, not to mention adorable. Dogs have about 60 times as many sensory nerves in their noses compared to humans. For years, scientists have known of their ability to sniff out cancer. If you have seen this in headlines, you may think, “Aww, how cute,” and move on. However, there is actually a lot of scientific evidence to back this up.[2] Back in the early 1990s, trained dogs were tested on their ability to smell cancer using various urine samples from patients with and without cancer. The canines could correctly identify samples from cancer patients about 95 percent of the time. Types of cancer they could identify ranged from liver to lung to breast cancer.

Although it is unlikely that dogs alone would ever be used to detect cancerin new patients (as much as having dogs around might make the doctor’s office more pleasant), scientist have found a way to implement their olfactory sense into diagnostic machines. They’ve created a device that can “smell” the chemicals being picked up by dogs that are linked to cancerous cells. While this area of study needs more funding before it is viable, the science is all there.

8Diabetes Dogs


While this topic started out as purely anecdotal and charming stories to make headlines, it has become fact. Cases of dogs predicting low blood sugar in diabetes patients have occurred regularly enough that it became clear they could smell something we could not. Scientists began to look into these cases and studied the exhaled breath of diabetes patients. They discovered that when blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels, the amount of a chemical called isoprene nearly doubles. Humans would never be able to notice such a thing, but the incredible noses of our noble pups can.

This is, of course, very impressive and could save even save lives. Dogs are trained to alert owners of this change, giving them time to eat and stabilize their glucose levels to stop themselves from passing out or even having a seizure. These diabetes alert dogs (DADs) are for sale right now. The only downfall? The dogs are hard to train and can cost up to $20,000 to purchase, and this does not even take into account the $1,000 per year it will cost to feed them, on average.

7Airport Falconry


If you’ve seen the movie Sully, about a pilot whose plane suffers duel engine loss, causing him to perform an emergency water landing on the Hudson River in New York, this entry will sound familiar. The movie was based on a real event, in which birds flew into both engines of a plane soon after takeoff, causing them to break and stopping the plane from flying. You might think there should be a simple way to stop problems like this from occurring. It turns out there is.

Trained falcons are used at airports to scare away smaller flocking birds from flying straight into planes during takeoff by using specific warning calls. This is widely practiced in the United States, where damages caused by birds flying into planes can cost more than $500 million per year. If even one engine is ruined, it can cost up to $2 million. Training falcons seems like a small price to pay for flight safety, especially in light of those numbers. Scientists calculate that there is about a one-in-four chance of a bird hitting a plane when falconry isn’t employed. So, next time you fly, be sure to be on the lookout and to thank your bird trainer!

6Growing Human Organs In Animals


As of January 2017, almost 80,000 people in the US alone were awaiting some kind of organ transplant. It is apparent that not all of these people will find viable organs before it is too late. In lieu of transplantation, scientists have been searching for a way to grow healthy human organs independently. There has been some amount of success, even though the process still has a long way to go before it is commercially available.

Scientists have successfully grown human organs inside large animals, such as pigs. Stem cells are taken from the transplant patient’s skin, and because they do not have determined growth, they can still grow into any type of organ or tissue. The main issue facing the medical community is that of morality. In order for the stem cells to grow into a needed organ, the animals must be engineered to develop without that organ so that the body can signal the undetermined cells to generate the required structure. There is currently a ban on using the procedure due to overwhelming complaints over the morality of using animals as vessels for human organ growth.

5Cancer Immunity In Sharks


For all of us who fear sharks above all else and wish we could go for a swim in the ocean without the threat of shark attacks, just know that they may have genes that could save countless human lives. Recent studies have shown that sharks have an increased immunity to cancer due to their overall highly evolved immune systems. The scariest sharks out there, hammerheads and great whites, are the species which exhibit these extraordinary genes. The genes, known as “legumain” and “Bag1,” are remarkably similar to genes that humans carry.

Bag1 plays a role in what is known as apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Programmed cell death is much better than it sounds. The system evolved in order to get rid of defective cells, including cancerous ones. In the case of cancer, this system has broken down or been overwhelmed by mutated cells. Scientists believe Bag1 plays a role in the regulation of apoptosis.

Sharks have an amazingly fast healing rate for open wounds as well as a shockingly low infection rate, especially when you factor in the constant contact with various bacteria that live in the ocean. It’ll still be a while before we figure out exactly how they heal so well, but specific genes found in sharks and rays but not bony fish appear to be a factor.

4Dogs Sniffing For Science


Okay, this is the last dog fact, I promise. Sure, dogs are used to sniff out cancer or diabetes, but their noses can also help us indirectly. Scientists, ever thrifty, have found a low-cost and effective way to weed out invasive plant species: dogs trained to track them down in an effort to keep our nature beautiful and safe. Companies that specialize in this kind of conservational science are currently thriving.

Imagine this as your career: spending all day with a lovable dog, training it to find the scent of a particular plant, and then walking out into an open field and letting it roam free until it comes across the scent for you. This is a real job, and I may need to consider a career change. Teams of eight to ten dogs at a time will go out and reveal about two times as many invasive plants as humans can find, just by sniffing. The method is effective, not to mention inexpensive, since the scientists involved don’t need to buy $20,000 dogs. They can often just train their own.

3Algae Used In Biofuels

Photo credit: Fred Hsu

Yes, algae aren’t technically animals, but they still have some powerful uses that shock many people. Algae are now being developed as a source of renewable energy. From tiny single-celled organisms to giant kelp, their ability to photosynthesize can help save us from our energy crisis. There are thousands of different types of photosynthetic algae, all with unique properties. Using these organisms as fuel would be as cost-effective as the algae would be cheap to produce. This could be the next step in sustainable, affordable energy.

The process is somewhat confusing for those of us not boasting a PhD, but it includes extracting lipids from the algae and subjecting them to high-intensity heat and pressure conditions, a procedure known as hydrothermal liquefaction. This will concentrate the amount of energy created by the algal cells and could ultimately be used in products from jet fuel to gasoline to ethanol. Big oil companies such as ExxonMobil have even been taking notice of the science behind algae. The development of this technology is still underway, but however you feel about big oil, there’s no denying the power of these tiny plants.

2Oysters Removing Nitrogen


ExxonMobil started a project in 2014 which is planned to take until 2030 to complete and involves adding one billion oysters to the coastal ecosystem in New York. In the past three years since its inception, about 20 million oysters have already been placed. This is clearly a gigantic undertaking, taking up copious time, resources, and workers. However, it does ultimately serve a purpose. Mollusks, including oysters, retain nitrogen in their systems in order to maintain homeostasis. This will allow for a healthier marine ecosystem in surrounding areas, where too much nitrogen may be causing harmful algae to flourish.

Marine animals must find ways of dealing with nitrogen if they are to survive. Fish, mollusks, and other marine animals excrete ammonia through urine, which is highly toxic. Oysters, however, will store nitrogen and excrete waste in other forms. Ammonia carries only one nitrogen molecule, whereas releasing uric acid or urea will expel higher levels of nitrogen. In the case of New York Harbor, oysters will essentially pull in water with high nitrogen levels, filter it, and convert the nitrogen into less toxic forms, making the water safer and healthier.

1Plastic-Devouring Worms

One of the world’s largest pollution problems is plastic. It accumulates all over the planet and is constantly ending up in the ocean. If you walk along a polluted beach, you can find plastic from all over the world, some of which may have traveled thousands of miles from another continent. This problem claims the lives of thousands of sea creatures each year, and humans are always trying to come up with creative and cost-effective ways of reducing plastic use and pollution. Luckily, there is an animal that has already figured out a way to break down our plastic bag problem.

The larvae of wax moths, which are often used as bait by fisherman, have the ability to eat plastic without being harmed. Since learning this, scientists have been studying these little worms to determine if they can really have a strong impact on lessening human waste. We know they have the ability to digest plastic, but it is unknown whether or not they can survive and thrive on plastic alone. The worms are also only a few centimeters long, so there would need to be a copious amount of them to make a dent. However, if they do indeed love plastic, they may in the near future be bred to be set loose on human trash.