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The Quick 10: Happy Birthday, Marvin the Martian!

Marvin the Martian crash-landed on our planet sixty-one years ago tomorrow. Maybe he's your favorite and maybe he's not (I would be in the latter category), but there's no doubt that he's one of the most beloved Looney Toons characters to many fans. Happy almost-birthday, Marvin, and please wait to destroy Earth until I'm no longer on it.

marvin1. Marvin was invented because Bugs Bunny had already outwitted a loud, obnoxious blowhard whose follow-through wasn't that great: Yosemite Sam. Animator Chuck Jones decided that what Bugs needed was a foil who was just the opposite of the red-headed hillbilly: quiet and soft-spoken, but super destructive.

2. Marvin's debut on July 24, 1948, was in the animated short Haredevil Hare. Bugs is chosen to explore space, and when he gets to the moon, he discovers this strange little creature plotting to blow up the earth. At this point, Marvin didn't have a name "“ or at least, we didn't know it. See for yourself, and take note of how different Marvin's voice is "“ Mel Blanc changed it after this appearance.

mars3. Marvin's uniform is based on the uniform of Mars, the Roman god of war. You can see the resemblance, right? But instead of the impressive feather plume on top of the helmet that the god is often depicted wearing, poor Marvin has to make do with the head of a push-broom. No wonder he has such a complex!
4. He has a girlfriend "“ or at least, there's a female Martian he wishes was his girlfriend. Her name is Queen Tyr'ahnee, and alas, she doesn't love poor Marvin "“ her heart belongs to Duck Dodgers. She's voiced by Tia Carrere.
5. He also has a dog, which you already know if you watched the whole Haredevil Hare video. He goes by the clever name K-9, and if he looks suspiciously like Pluto who has eaten some bad potato salad, that's because he is rumored to be based on the famous Disney dog.

marcia6. Trying to destroy Earth runs in the family, because on Tiny Toon Adventures, Marvin's niece Marcia serves as his apprentice. Duck Dodgers shows up to battle Marvin, of course, and brings along Plucky Duck as his own little sidekick. By the end of the episode, though, Marcia and Plucky get sick of their elder counterparts fighting over the universe and run off to play.
7. Marvin has some unexpected fans "“ Ludacris among them. In his song "Mouthing Off," Luda says, "Yo, I am goin' to blow up the Earth with my 'pew-36 explosive space modulator," which is a reference to Marvin's weapon of choice. T-Pain name drops the whole thing in "Time Machine": "Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator, Goin' on a trip I be back home, boy I'll see you later."

rover8. NASA seems to appreciate Marvin, even if he is rather obsessed with destroying our planet: his likeness has appeared on both the Spirit and
Opportunity Mars Exploration Rovers.
9. If you're a fan of destructive little dude, you're in luck "“ the WB announced last year that they are working on a full-length film about Marvin's attempts to make Earth go kaboom during the Christmas season. Sounds suspiciously like How the Grinch Stole Christmas to me, but something tells me Marvin may not be persuaded to love the Earth quite as easily as the Grinch switched over to the Who side. He has been trying to get rid of us for more than two millennia now"¦

10. Speaking of which, have you ever wondered exactly why Marvin is so hell-bent on blowing up or otherwise destroying the Earth? In case you've never caught it in one of the cartoons, the answer is that Earth blocks Marvin's view of Venus.

Is Marvin one of your favorite Looney Toons characters? If not, who is? I think you all know that I would take Disney over Looney Toons any day, but I do have a certain affinity for Gossamer and Wile E. Coyote.

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Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
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If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).

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