Tree Kangaroos, Australasia.

Tree Kangaroos inhabit the tropical rainforests of New Guinea and far northeastern Queensland, and some of the islands in the region — in particular the Schouten Islands and the Raja Ampat Islands near the northwestern coast of New Guinea. 
Although most are found in mountainous areas, several species also occur in lowlands, such as the aptly named lowlands tree-kangaroo.
Most tree-kangaroos are considered threatened due to hunting and habitat destruction. Because most of their motion and living involves climbing and jumping from tree to tree, they developed better locomotion.
Tree kangaroos thrive in tree tops as opposed to their cousin the kangaroo which survives on mainland in Australia.
Two species of kangaroo are found in Australia, Bennett’s which is found north of the Daintree River and Lumholtz’s.
Tree kangaroos have adapted better to regions of high altitudes. Tree kangaroos have at least fifteen known subspecies living in Papua New Guinea and Australia.
They must find places comfortable and well adapted for breeding as they only give birth to one joey per year.
They are known to have one of the most relaxed and leisurely birthing seasons. They breed cautiously in treetops during monsoon season.
Their habitats are breeding grounds for danger as they can easily fall prey to their natural predator, amethystine pythons, which also climbs and lives amongst the treetops in the forests.
Tree kangaroos are known to be able to live in both mountainous regions and low-land locations.
via Tree-kangaroo – Wikipedia

The Kodak Brownie Camera, 1900.

Kodak Brownie, 1900:
Image Credit: Photograph by David Duprey/AP
The Brownie was responsible for bringing snapshot photography to the masses in 1900.
A very simple cardboard box with a lens that took Kodak’s 117 roll film, the camera was named after cartoonist Palmer Cox’s popular Brownie character that adorned the box

It cost $1 (just under $30 in today’s currency) and proved very popular, selling 150,000 units in its first year and spawning a new popular photography movement with multiple follow-up models.
See more gadgets via 10 most influential portable gadgets – in pictures | Technology | The Guardian

The Doctors of the ‘Black Death.’

plague11By the 1600s, the plague doctor was a terror to behold, thanks to his costume — perhaps the most potent symbol of the Black Death. The protective garment was created by the 17th-century physician Charles de l’Orme (1584-1678).
De l’Orme had been the physician of choice for several French kings (one Henri and a Louis or two), and was also a favourite of the Medici family in Italy. In 1619 — as a carefully considered way to protect himself from having to visit powerful, plague-infested patients he couldn’t say no to — de l’Orme created the iconic uniform.
Its dramatic flair certainly made it seem like a good idea, and the costume quickly became all the rage among plague doctors throughout Europe.
Made of a canvas outer garment coated in wax, as well as waxed leather pants, gloves, boots and hat, the costume became downright scary from the neck up.
A dark leather hood and mask were held onto the face with leather bands and gathered tightly at the neck so as to not let in any noxious, plague-causing miasmas that might poison the wearer.
Eyeholes were cut into the leather and fitted with glass domes.
plague-doctor-mask
As if this head-to-toe shroud of foreboding wasn’t enough, from the front protruded a grotesque curved beak designed to hold the fragrant compounds believed to keep “plague air” at bay.
Favourite scents included camphor, floral concoctions, mint, cloves, myrrh and basically anything that smelled nice and strong.
In some French versions of the costume, compounds were actually set to smolder within the beak, in the hopes that the smoke would add an extra layer of protection.
A wooden stick completed the look, which the plague doctor used to lift the clothing and bed sheets of infected patients to get a better look without actually making skin-to-skin contact.

via Doctor’s Review | Doctors of the Black Death.

Cyril Percy Callister invented ‘Vegemite.’

Cyril Percy Callister (1893-1949), food technologist, was born on 16 February 1893 at Chute near Beaufort, Victoria, son of William Hugh Callister, schoolmaster and his wife Rosetta Anne, née Dixon.
After education at state schools, Grenville College, Ballarat, and the Ballarat School of Mines, he attended the University of Melbourne.
In January 1915 Callister joined Lewis & Whitty, manufacturers of food and household products. In June he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. Within three months the Department of Defence withdrew him to join the Munitions Branch.
Shortly afterwards he was sent to Britain and spent the war working on explosives manufacture in Wales, and in Scotland where he met and married Katherine Hope Mundell at Annau, on 8 March 1919; they had two sons and a daughter.
On his return to Australia in 1919 Callister rejoined Lewis & Whitty where he remained until that company was taken over.
In February 1923, he was appointed to Fred Walker’s small food company to develop a yeast-extract for retail sale.
Although this product was known overseas, no information was available about the process, and Callister developed it from brewers’ yeast.
Under the trademark Vegemite it was placed on the market early in 1924 and slowly became an established item, solely through Callister’s technological skill and perseverance.
Walker was also interested in methods for preserving cheese, and involved Callister in this as well. Thus the chemist rapidly became well informed in microbiology and began to experiment with cheese-processing.
With the help of patents held by the American James L. Kraft, he made a satisfactory product and Walker used this in 1925 to persuade Kraft to grant a licence for the manufacture of Kraft cheese in Australia.
So the Kraft Walker Cheese Co. was established in 1926 with Callister as chief chemist and production superintendent.
He was the key to the increasing technical emphasis of the company. In 1925 he had sent samples of Vegemite to London to be tested for Vitamin B activity—a far-sighted move in the very early days of vitamin knowledge.
The result confirmed Callister’s confidence in the product as a valuable nutrient. In 1926-31 he carried out detailed original studies on the scientific background of cheese-making to establish the parameters of good cheese quality. Convinced that background science was essential in any industry,
Callister became a director of the company in 1935, shortly before Walker died suddenly.
He continued to build up laboratory staff and supervise production and quality as the company emerged from the Depression and shouldered unexpected demands for the production of familiar and unfamiliar products during World War II.
Under his personal direction high tonnages of service rations for the Australian and United States armies were produced; the unfamiliar technology of dehydration was undertaken for government; and scientific staff greatly improved Vegemite, developed new knowledge of cheese manufacture and processing and of the behaviour of thiamine (vitamin B1) in foods, and introduced into Australia methods of assay of the B complex vitamins.
Immediately after the war he stimulated successful attempts to diversify the source of raw-material yeasts for Vegemite. He died of heart failure in 1949.

Bizarre Fact: In the early days of Vegemite slowly making its way into the hearts of Australians, the British yeast product Marmite was released in Australia.
For some strange reason the Vegemite company got panicky over the possible sexual powers of Marmite and so renamed its product Parwill for a very short period of time.
via Biography – Cyril Percy Callister – Australian Dictionary of Biography.

The Strange Story of Phineas Gage’s Brain, 1848.

gage1
What was supposed to be just another day on the job for 25-year-old Phineas Gage turned out to be anything but, with events transpiring to make him a legend – in neurology anyway.
On that fateful day, Phineas Gage suffered a traumatic brain injury when a very large iron rod went through his head.
Despite this, he survived and became one of the first to demonstrate a clear link between brain trauma and personality change.
On September 13, 1848, Gage was helping excavate rocks to make way for a railroad track on the Rutland and Burlington Railroad near Cavendish in Vermont.
Just prior to the accident, Gage was preparing for an explosion by compacting a bore with explosive powder using a tamping iron.
A spark created from the tamping iron ignited the powder, driving the iron straight through Gage’s skull.
It entered under the left cheek bone and exited completely through the top of the head, and was later recovered some 30 yards away, smeared with blood and brain matter.
To have an idea of extent of damage this iron would have caused, you need to realise its size.
The tamping iron was 3 ft 8 in. (1.11 m) in length and 1.25 inches (3.18 cm) in diameter at one end and tapered over a distance of about 1 ft., to 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) in diameter, weighing approximately 13 pounds (6 kg).
After the rod passed through his head, it is not known whether or not Gage ever lost consciousness, but within minutes of his injury, at the astonishment of the men on his crew, he was walking and talking and he sat upright in an oxcart for the 3/4 mile ride to his house where he was attended to by Dr. Edward H. Williams.
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via The Bizarre Tale of Phineas Gage.

The Pangolin family.

pangolin_and_her_b_3179348bThe physical appearance of a pangolin is marked by large, hardened, overlapping plate-like scales.
The scales, which are soft on newborn pangolins but harden as the animal matures, are made of keratin, the same material of which human fingernails and tetrapod claws are made.
The pangolin’s scaled body is comparable to a pine cone or globe artichoke. It can curl up into a ball when threatened, with its overlapping scales acting as armour and its face tucked under its tail. The scales are sharp, providing extra defence.
The front claws are so long they are unsuited for walking, so the animal walks with its fore paws curled over to protect them.
Pangolins can also emit a noxious-smelling acid from glands near the anus, similar to the spray of a skunk. Pangolins, though, are not able to spray this acid as skunks do.
They have short legs, with sharp claws which they use for burrowing into termite and ant mounds, as well as climbing.
The size of pangolins varies by species, ranging from 30 to 100 centimetres (12 to 39 in). Females are generally smaller than males.
The tongues of pangolins are extremely elongated and extend into the abdominal cavity.
By convergent evolution, pangolins, the giant anteater, and the tube-lipped nectar bat all have tongues that are not attached to their hyoid bone and extend past their pharynx deep into the thorax. This extension lies between the sternum and the trachea.
Large pangolins can extend their tongues as much as 40 centimetres (16 in), with a diameter of only 0.5 centimetres (0.20 in).
Read more via Pangolin – Wikipedia,