Blissfully Ignorant of Your Ignorance

Get Smart

‘You’re pretty smart right? Clever, and funny too. Of course you are, just like me. But wouldn’t it be terrible if we were mistaken? Psychologists have shown that we are more likely to be blind to our own failings than perhaps we realise. This could explain why some incompetent people are so annoying, and also inject a healthy dose of humility into our own sense of self-regard.’ (Mind Hacks).

Canine Weapon Delivery Systems

Soviet military dog training school in Moscow ...
Soviet military dog training school in Moscow Oblast

Exploding Dogs Were Used as Mobile Anti-Tank Mines During World War II (part of my sometime series, The Annals of Human Depravity).

In a tactic pioneered by the Soviets, the dogs (usually Alsatians and also called hundminen or dog mines in German) ‘were trained to carry explosives on their bodies to enemy tanks, where they would then be detonated’ by timer or remote control, with obvious consequences for the animal in question.

Fortunately for the dogs, a number of impracticalities, described in the article, limited the extent and duration of this approach, although various countries including the United States continued to train dogs as suicide bombers until the end of the 20th century and ‘insurgents attempted to use them during the Iraq War. In this case, there’s only one documented case of a bomb actually being detonated while attached to a dog though; protests rose up among Muslims who believe that animals should be killed only for food.’

Other animals have been trained to become wartime munitions delivery systems as well, including cats, birds, rats, camels, donkeys, mules and horses, monkeys and marine mammals. (Gizmodo).

All the Habitable Planets Within 60 Light-Years of Earth, Visualized

‘There may well be more than 60 billion habitable planets littering the Milky Way, but it’s virtually impossible to make use of that figure. Instead, how about this picture, which shows you how many planets are within 60 light-years of Earth.

In the image, the size of the circle represents the size of the planet, while color indicates the kind of star it orbits: dusky red signifies that it’s spinning around something similar to the Sun, gray means that the star is a different size. Dark circles represent planets the same size as Earth.’ (Gizmodo)