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10 Things That Have "Rained" From the Sky

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We’re all familiar with the phrase “raining cats and dogs,” but what about fish and frogs? Since biblical times, there have been reports of strange things falling from the sky. Some incidents have occurred more than once and are the result of natural causes. Others were more random and are less likely to repeat themselves.

1. Raw Meat

A few pieces of poultry fell from the sky in Virginia last year, one landing on the head of a teen in the middle of a horseback riding lesson. Experts guess that a seagull was the culprit. But it was buzzards, thought to be responsible for regurgitating venison or mutton, that caused the event now known as the Kentucky Meat Shower. There have been other incidents over the years as well.

2. Fish

Typically, fish are scooped up by water spouts and dropped in bunches—and that's just what happened in the remote Australian town of Lajamanu in 2010.

3. Blood

At least, that’s what it looks like. This most recently happened last year in India. In an Examiner article that analyzed the different “red rain” cases that have been reported over the past two decades, the publication quoted two scientists who concluded that “the mysterious red color in the rain is caused by [an] unidentified life form that does not have DNA.” Other scientific theories today about how the rain turns red revolve around meteor dust and micro-organisms.

4. Frogs

Like fish, frogs are easy targets for updrafts and can be carried and dropped miles and miles away. In one 2009 incident, tadpoles rained down on a town in central Japan.

5. Sharks

In 2012, a shark fell on the 12th tee of a Southern California golf course. A course marshal found it and transported it back to the ocean, where it was successfully released. Witnesses say the shark had puncture wounds and concluded that it had been scooped up by a bird and carried over land before it was able to shake free.

6. Worms

Water spouts were thought to be the cause of 120 worms falling in tangled bunches onto a group of students during gym class.

7. Golf Balls

We all joke about golf-ball sized hail, but what about real golf balls? Popular Mechanics cited a St. Petersburg Times story that reported “dozens and dozens and dozens” of golf balls falling on the town of Punta Gorda on the gulf coast of Florida in 1969. Water spouts and an abundance of golf courses were thought to have been behind the strange and dangerous occurrence.

8. Money

A German woman was able to collect “a substantial amount of money” that fell from the sky as she was driving. In what is a really impressive combination of honesty and foolishness, she later turned it in to police!

9. Spiders

Spiders can’t fly, but they can build a parachute with the best of them. In 2007, a group of them “rained” down upon some hikers in Argentina.

10. Mud

J.W. Moore of Easton, Pennsylvania, wrote to the editors of Science Magazine to recount a "mud shower" caused by a dust storm and subsequent rain that occurred on April 12, 1902. It happened again later that year, this time in New Zealand: According to a telegram from November 14, "The south train yesterday afternoon encountered a shower of red mud the whole way from Henley to Waihola."

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Animals
25 Shelter Dogs Who Made It Big
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If you’ve been thinking of adding a four-legged friend to your brood and are deciding whether a shelter dog is right for you, consider this: Some of history’s most amazing pooches—from four-legged movie stars to heroic rescue dogs—were found in animal shelters. In honor of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, here are 25 shelter dogs who made it big.

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This High-Tech Material Can Change Shape Like an Octopus
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Octopuses can do some pretty amazing things with their skin, like “see” light, resist the pull of their own sticky suction cups, and blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. That last part now has the U.S. Army interested, as Co.Design reports. The military branch’s research office has funded the development a new type of morphing material that works like an octopus’s dynamic skin.

The skin of an octopus is covered in small, muscular bumps called papillae that allow them to change textures in a fraction of a second. Using this mechanism, octopuses can mimic coral, rocks, and even other animals. The new government-funded research—conducted by scientists at Cornell University—produced a device that works using a similar principle.

“Technologies that use stretchable materials are increasingly important, yet we are unable to control how they stretch with much more sophistication than inflating balloons,” the scientists write in their study, recently published in the journal Science. “Nature, however, demonstrates remarkable control of stretchable surfaces.”

The membrane of the stretchy, silicone material lays flat most of the time, but when it’s inflated with air, it can morph to form almost any 3D shape. So far, the technology has been used to imitate rocks and plants.

You can see the synthetic skin transform from a two-dimensional pad to 3D models of objects in the video below:

It’s easy to see how this feature could be used in military gear. A soldier’s suit made from material like this could theoretically provide custom camouflage for any environment in an instant. Like a lot of military technology, it could also be useful in civilian life down the road. Co.Design writer Jesus Diaz brings up examples like buttons that appear on a car's dashboard only when you need them, or a mixing bowl that rises from the surface of the kitchen counter while you're cooking.

Even if we can mimic the camouflage capabilities of cephalopods, though, other impressive superpowers, like controlling thousands of powerful suction cups or squeezing through spaces the size of a cherry tomato, are still the sole domain of the octopus. For now.

[h/t Co.Design]

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