Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fun Fact, A Look Ahead 8/18/2012

First off, I have to apologize for getting behind a bit, I have been a bit busy!  I have pushed back (or is it forward?) the promised posts from the last couple of days, so here is today's "A Look Ahead," with what I think is the most interesting "Fun Fact" yet!

Sunday:  Perfume-Loving Lions and Record-Breaking Cheetahs - Lions from the Denver Zoo fawn over the men's perfume "Obsession," while Sarah the cheetah become the world's fastest animal!

Monday:   The Sounds of Star Wars - Chewbacca may look like a bear, but was he voiced by one, too?

Tuesday:  The Salton Sea - Learn about how just a few people in southern California were able to severely alter their natural surroundings.

Wednesday: Learning Latin Roots - Common roots in scientific names in animals, as well as a few interesting and humorous ones!

Thursday:  Fossil Penguins:  Aptenodytes ridgeni and Pygoscelis tyreei - Finding out about more fossil penguins, these closely related to some alive today!

Friday: Animal Spotlight:  The Aye-aye - One of my favorite animals, the aye-aye, is featured in this "Animal Spotlight."

Saturday: The Loch Ness Monster....Fact or Fiction? - Spoiler Alert:  It's Fiction

Fun Fact:  If America didn't attack Japan with atomic bombs in World War II, the Japanese might have come under siege by bat.

Although I originally thought this to be a hoax, it certainly appears as if this is real.  I have found information on it on multiple sources.  And it is actually a brilliant plan too!  Here is what happened:
 On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, bringing the United States into World War II.  When Pennsylvanian dentist Lytle S. Adams heard the news on the radio, he thought back to his trip to New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns, and their extensive bat population.  He then thought up his idea for the "bat bomb:" strapping small, incendiary devices to thousands, perhaps millions, of bats, and releasing them over a strategic city in Japan.  The bats, as they would anywhere else in the world, would try to find cover in buildings, trees, and whatever nooks and crannies they could find before daybreak.  Then they would ignite the incendiary devices.  "Think of thousands of fires breaking out simultaneously over a circle of forty miles in diameter for every bomb dropped," he said.  Luckily for Adams, he knew Eleanor Roosevelt, and contacted her with his idea.  The White House actually liked it.  Said a Presidential memorandum: "This man is not a nut. It sounds like a perfectly wild idea but is worth looking into."  
Now, animal rights activists, beware.  Obviously, this plan is not very kind to the animals, and involves all sorts of animal cruelty.  To get the bats shipped, they forced them into a hibernation by sticking them into ice cube trays.  Next, the bats would be loaded into what essentially looked like a bomb-shell, consisting of 26 trays, with each of the trays containing compartments that would hold 40 bats.  Dropped from 5,000 feet, parachutes would deploy at 1,000 feet, all while the bats were awakening from their hibernation.  They would then fly off and roost, and then set the city on fire when the time was right.
Bats were the ideal creatures for this project, too.  They are nocturnal, so the Japanese would be hard-pressed to figure out what was going on.  They occur in simply massive numbers, so obtaining a great deal of them would not be super problematic.  In many caves, bats occur in the millions.  Furthermore, when bats are hibernating, they require no food, and therefore need little care when it comes to cleaning up little messes.  And finally, and perhaps most importantly, bats can carry more than what they weigh in flight, making them the perfect candidates for carrying bombs.  
The plan was to send 10 B-24 bombers, each with around 100 shells chock-full of bats, would fly from Alaska, and release around 1,040,000 bats over the cities of Osaka Bay, such as Osaka, Amagasaki, Hannan, Kobe, Sakai, and Nishinomiya.  However, the weapon experienced a few changes of hand, most notably to the hands of the Navy in August 1943, following an incident near Carlsbad, New Mexico, where bats were accidentally released.  They roosted under a fuel tank, and set fire to Carlsbad Army Airfield Auxiliary Air Base.
The project was ultimately canned in 1944, when it was learned that the bat-bomb project would likely not be operational until about halfway through 1945.  It seems likely that the atomic bomb is what caused the projects termination, even after an estimated $2 million was spent on it.  But who knows?  Perhaps this is REALLY what is going on at Area 51.

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