Is it dangerous to use a cell phone at a gas station? Isolated giant, hot pink slug. FBI followed Einstein, compiling a 1,400pg file [r/TodayiLearned, Episode #13]

#1

TIL that Freddie Mercury approved the Wayne’s World Bohemian Rhapsody scene just before his death

Queen guitarist Brian May recalls how ailing frontman was shown movie clip before he died – as he’s given an ethical award for badger work

The comedy film starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey was released in February 1992, three months after Mercury passed away.

May tells Sunday Night on 7: “Mike Myers actually sent a tape across, because he wanted Freddie to hear it. Freddie wasn’t very well by that time.

“I took it around and he listened to it and watched it – and he loved it. So Mike got the seal of approval from Freddie.”

Myers was horrified when movie bosses rushed out a re-released of Bohemian Rhapsody with clips from Wayne’s World added to the original video. He compared the act to “taking a whizz on a Picasso” and sent a note of apology to the band. But they replied: “Thank you for using our music.”

#2

TIL – That using a cell phone at a gas station can cause a fire or explosion is a common urban legend and has never happened anywhere in the world. Experts believe it to be impossible as no-one has been able to successfully create a fire or explosion by using a cell phone while fueling a car.

According to some experts, there is a danger that using a mobile phone near gas pumps could touch off an explosion, but not only have we found no real-life instances of such an explosion occurring, we don’t know anyone who has demonstrated experimentally that it’s even possible (including the folks at The Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters program). Even so, gas pumps in Australia bear stickers cautioning motorists to turn off their phones while refueling; Shell in Malaysia has affixed similar stickers to each of its gas pumps; numerous pumps in the U.S.A. are similarly adorned; Canada’s major gas pump operators have banned customers from using mobile phones while at the gas pump; and in 1999 the city of Cicero, Illinois, passed the first law in the USA banning the use of cellular phones at gas stations. All of this activity was in the nature of CYA cautions rather than a response to a documented hazard.

#3

TIL there is a giant, hot pink slug. It is only found in a single, isolated forest on an extinct volcano in Australia.

He’s big. He’s slimy. And he’s … neon pink?! Meet Triboniophorus aff. graeffei, a new species of 8-inch-long (20-centimeter-long) slug that’s found only on one Australian mountain.

Scientists already knew that a bright-pink slug lived on Mount Kaputar, thinking it was a variety of the red triangle slug, a species common along the east coast of Australia. But new research shows that the colorful critter is actually its own species, said Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger, Michael Murphy.

The pink slug had gone unstudied for so long because Australian slug and snail researchers—known as malacologists—are far outnumbered by their koala-investigating brethren, Murphy said.

Their research on the new slug will likely be submitted for publication soon, he added.

Meanwhile, though, the Australian government has moved to protect this rosy rarity and other unique species by designating their mountain home in New South Wales as an “endangered ecological area.”

You may check the photos of this wonderful creature at our website blind morning .com at this episode’s page.

#4

TIL the FBI followed Einstein, compiling a 1,400pg file, after branding him as a communist because he joined an anti-lynching civil rights group

ALBERT EINSTEIN WAS already a world-famous physicist when the FBI started keeping a secret dossier on him in December 1932. He and his wife Elsa had just moved to the United States from their native Germany, and Einstein had been very vocal about the social issues of his time, arguing publicly against racism and nationalism.

By the time of Einstein’s death on April 18, 1955, that FBI file would be 1,427 pages long. Agency director J. Edgar Hoover was deeply suspicious of Einstein’s activism; the man was quite possibly a communist, according to Hoover, and was certainly “an extreme radical.”

Einstein himself probably would have laughed out loud at those labels if he’d known about them; he’d heard far worse from the Nazis back home. And he was not at all intimidated by officialdom. “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth,” he declared in 1901.

Einstein did not return to live in Germany until April 1914, when his achievements led to a prestigious appointment at the University of Berlin. There, he continued to develop his ideas about relativity and gravity, which received spectacular confirmation in 1919 from observations of a solar eclipse and which have shaped our understanding of the universe ever since.

The rising Nazi party was soon denouncing relativity as “a Jewish perversion”—the 1920s equivalent of using “fake news” as an all-purpose put-down—and Einstein was receiving so many anonymous death threats that he tried to avoid walking alone.

But threats didn’t shut him down. Instead, he repeatedly used his newfound fame to speak out against what he saw as the wrongs of the world. Silence in the face of evil, he once said, “would have made me feel guilty of complicity.”

He denounced militant nationalism. “The measles of mankind,” he called it in 1929.

He questioned capitalism. “I regard class differences as contrary to justice and, in the last resort, based on force,” he wrote in 1931. “Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.”

He protested racism. In 1937, when African-American singer Marian Anderson was denied a hotel room in Einstein’s new hometown of Princeton, New Jersey, he and Elsa invited Anderson to stay in their home—the beginning of a lifelong friendship. He also befriended the African-American singer Paul Robeson, who had been ostracized for being a communist. And in a 1946 address to the historically black Liberty University in Pennsylvania, Einstein declared segregation to be “a disease of white people.”