You know Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. But did you also know that the Edinburgh-born innovator is the person we have to thank for the metal detector? He devised the contraption not as a way to look for loose change and other left-behind items on the beach, but in an attempt to help save the life of President James Garfield. (Spoiler alert: Garfield died anyway.)
In this week's all-new edition of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is sharing the details of 35 key—but lesser-known—inventions devised by some of the world's greatest inventors.
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Animal prosthetics and wheelchairs allow dogs, cats, and even zoo animals with limited mobility to walk again, but wild animals with disabilities aren't usually as lucky. Vittles, a baby raccoon rescued in Arkansas, is the rare example of an animal that was severely injured in its natural habitat getting a second shot at life.
As Tribune Media Wire reports, Vittles came to wildlife rehab specialist Susan Curtis, who works closely with raccoons for the state of Arkansas, with a traumatic brain injury at just 8 weeks old. The cause of the trauma wasn't clear, but it was obvious that the raccoon wouldn't be able to survive on her own if returned to the wild.
Curtis partnered with the pet mobility gear company Walkin' Pets to get Vittles back on her feet. They built her a tiny custom wheelchair to give her balance and support as she learned to get around on her own. The video below shows Vittles using her legs and navigating spaces with help from the chair and guidance from her caretaker.
Vittles will likely never recover fully, but now that she's able to exercise her leg muscles, her chance at one day moving around independently is greater than it would have been otherwise. She now lives with her caretaker Susan and a 10-year old raccoon with cerebral palsy named Beetlejuice. After she's rehabilitated, the plan is to one day make her part of Arkansas's educational wildlife program.
Summer is nearing its end, so here’s a close-up view of the nightmare that has come for you at every barbecue, outdoor movie night, and sweaty porch get-together. Mosquitoes, those deadly, pesky bloodsuckers, are even more terrifying up close, as this 4K video from San Francisco–based PBS station KQED shows.
A mosquito bite isn’t a bite like anything you’d imagine: There are six different needle-like stylets that pierce the skin, including two bearing tiny, super-sharp teeth that saw through skin. Watch the process below.