One of the best modern movie soundtracks, no matter what the academy thinks…
Listening to the radio, I heard the story behind rocker David Lee Roth’s notorious insistence that Van Halen’s contracts with concert promoters contain a clause specifying that a bowl of M&M’s has to be provided backstage, but with every single brown candy removed, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation to the band. And at least once, Van Halen followed through, peremptorily cancelling a show in Colorado when Roth found some brown M&M’s in his dressing room. This turned out to be, however, not another example of the insane demands of power-mad celebrities but an ingenious ruse.
As Roth explained in his memoir, Crazy from the Heat, “Van Halen was the first band to take huge productions into tertiary, thirdlevel markets.
We’d pull up with nine 18-wheeler trucks, full of gear, where the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors — whether it was the girders couldn’t support the weight, or the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren’t big enough to move thegear through. The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment, and so many human beings to make it function.” So just as a little test, buried somewhere in the middle of the rider, would be article 126, the no-brown-M&M’s clause. “When I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl,” he wrote, “well, we’d line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you’re going to arrive at a technical error… Guaranteed you’d run into a problem.” These weren’t trifles, the radio story pointed out. The mistakes could be lifethreatening. In Colorado, the band found the local promoters had failed to read the weight requirements and the staging would have fallen through the arena
Sticking plungers to chickens’ butts… you know, for science!
Chickens and other birds are modern relatives of non-avian theropods, a large order of dinosaurs that contains Tyrannosaurus rex, raptors (like Deinonychus), and other primarily bipedal reptilian beasts. They stood mostly on their two rear legs and used massive muscular tails for balance:
They weren’t all big monsters, though. There were also cute little theropods like these guys:
If you need help keeping your dino-groups straight, contrast theropods with sauropods, which include these large, long-necked, four-on-the-floor herbivores:
There’s many more sub-orders of dinosaurs, find out where more of your favorites fall on this Wikipedia page.
Seeing as chickens and their relative are the closest living thing to theropod dinosaurs, a group of biologists thought they’d be a great model to study how T. rex and friends walked. The only problem is that chickens don’t have the long tails that their dino ancestors carried around.
Solution? Stick one on and film ‘em!
The addition of a plunger-butt tail affected the bird’s center of mass and its gait, as well as where it held its bones during standing and walking. You can read more about the research at io9, or check out the original paper (open access) at PLOS One.
Previously: Check out a great TED-Ed video about the evolution of feathers in dinosaurs, narrated by Carl Zimmer.
Chicken + plunger = dinosaur!
Makes me want to re-watch Breaking Bad.