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15 Fascinating Terms from Orphan Black

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The third season of Orphan Black is coming to an end this evening, and if you haven't been watching we suggest you clone yourself and catch up double time. The hit BBC America series about clone experimentation gone awry has it all: a talented actress (Tatiana Maslany) adroitly playing multiple, multi-accented characters; backstories and references steeped in literature and myth; and, best of all, the Clone Club.

What’s the Clone Club? Check out these 15 fascinating Orphan Black terms and find out.

1. ORPHAN BLACK

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First things first: what the heck is an “orphan black”? Apparently it refers to a “child in the black,” or an orphan in hiding from the black market. Main clone (and the last one to know she is a clone) Sarah Manning and her (non-clone) foster brother Felix were both considered such children, so much so that their foster mother, Siobhan, had to smuggle them out of England.

2. LEDA

Project Leda is the initiative behind the development of a line of female clones. With the exception of Rachel Duncan, who was raised by the project’s lead scientists, the Leda clones grew up unaware of their clonage.

The name Leda comes from the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, in which a king’s daughter is raped (or seduced, depending on the interpretation) by the god Zeus in the form of a swan. Later Leda, having also slept with her mortal husband the same night, gives birth to two eggs—one containing the mortal Castor and Clytemnestra, and the other, the divine Pollux and Helen.

3. AND 4. SARAH AND HELENA

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Clone Helena is named for the immortal Helen, and herself seems immortal, or at least very difficult to kill. Also, like Helen of Troy, Helena has a twin sister, Sarah, who, as one Redditor suggests, might be named for Sarah in the Old Testament. The Old Testament Sarah was thought to be barren but eventually bore a son. The Leda clones were developed to be infertile, but the twins aren't: Sarah has a daughter, Kira, and Helena is shown to have viable eggs.

5. COSIMA

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In addition to being a clone with enviable dreadlocks, fan favorite Cosima is a Ph.D. candidate in Experimental Evolutionary Development Biology. She’s also based on real-life Ph.D. candidate and science writer, Cosima Herter.

The real Cosima is the science consultant for the show, and in addition to checking the scripts for accuracy, she seeks the sources of inspiration for the episode titles. For season one, it was Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species; for season two it was Francis Bacon's Plan of the Work; and this season, it's Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address.

6. CASTOR

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Where there are female clones, there are male ones. While Project Leda was overseen by the scientific Dyad Institute, Project Castor is the doing of the “military faction” with the idea of creating an army of super-soldiers. The problem is, like mortal Castor, the Castor Boys are prone to death—dropping like mayflies, as Siobhan says—although it’s not (yet) clear why.

In a recent episode, the “original Castor” was found. But this original Castor turned out to be a woman with two cell lines, one male and one female, making her the original Leda as well as the original Castor and reminiscent of the original original Leda in Greek myth.

7. THE DYAD INSTITUTE

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The Dyad Institute is a biotechnology company owned by the mysterious (and probably evil) Topside corporation. The word dyad refers to duplicated chromosomes produced during mitosis, an early stage of fetal development, as well as any two individuals that are regarded as a pair. Dyad comes from a Greek word meaning “two.”

8. NEOLUTIONIST

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Dyad is headed by scientist Dr. Aldous Leekie, a famed “neolutionist,” or neo-evolutionist. Neolutionists believe that humans shouldn’t have to wait for nature to take its course in terms of evolution but should utilize technology to direct evolution themselves.

9. FREAKY LEEKIES

Fans and followers of Dr. Leekie are known as Freaky Leekies, partly because they’re freaks for the scientist but also because they dress and physically alter themselves in a way that they would consider “neolutionary” but others might deem freakish.

Aldous Leekie is most likely named for both Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World—a dystopian novel in which “natural” reproduction has been abolished and human embryos are raised in hatcheries—and Louis Leakey, a pioneer in the study of human evolutionary development in Africa.

10. MONITORS

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Monitors are like Buffy the Vampire Slayer Watchers, only clueless. Dyad assigns each Leda clone a "monitor," usually under the guise of a significant other, who reports back to the institute on the clone's health, sleeping patterns, etc. However, the monitors don't know what their employers are up to nor do they know that their charges are clones.

11. PROLETHEAN

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The Proletheans are religious extremists divided on their views on clones. Traditional Proletheans—like those who raised Helena to be a clone-killing machine—believe clones are an abomination. A sect headed by the super-creepy Henrik Johanssen believes in the intersection of science and religion to the point of forcing women, including his own daughter, to become surrogates for “miracle” babies made with his sperm and Helena’s eggs.

The name Prolethean may have come from Lethe, the river of forgetfulness in Greek mythology. In one depiction of Leda and the Swan, Hypnos, the god of sleep, is shown drugging Leda with water from the River Lethe, the way Henrik drugged Helena before artificially impregnating her.

12. THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU

A copy of this novel by H.G. Wells contains all the clone secrets as written in code by Project Leda scientist—and Rachel’s adoptive dad—Ethan Duncan. In the novel, Dr. Moreau performs vivisection, or surgical experimentation, on live animals to create animal-human hybrids called “Beast Folk," only to be killed by one of his own creations in the end.

13. SESTRA

Sestra, or “sister” in various Slavic languages, is what Ukraine-bred Helena calls her fellow clones—after she decides to stop killing them, that is. “Brother-sestra” is what she calls Felix.

14. CLONE CLUB

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“You just broke the first rule of Clone Club!” says Cosima.

“What?” Sarah asks. “Never tell anyone about Clone Club?”

Those in Clone Club, both clone and non-clone, are aware of Project Leda and are against further human experimentation (unlike "proclones" like Rachel). To keep in touch, Clone Club members use burner phones they’ve dubbed "clone phones."

Clone Club—or Clone Clubbers—are also other terms for Orphan Black fans.

15. CLONE DANCE PARTY

Another good thing about Clone Club (besides being able to share clothes and DNA) is the clone dance party, which is what fans dubbed the sestras' spontaneous celebration on what they thought might be Cosima’s final night as she battled a mysterious illness.

The clone dance party itself had clones, including an extended behind-the-scenes cut and a mini-clone version created by the actress who played a younger Leda clone.

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8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
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Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

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11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
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Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

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