How William Barker Took On 50 Enemy Planes and Lived!

 

Canadian pilot William Barker won a VC for his actions on 27 October 1918.

Barker was born in Dauphin, Manitoba. He became the top-scoring ace on the Italian Front, with a tally of 52, and Canada’s most highly decorated soldier, receiving twelve awards for gallantry in all.

Barker takes to the skies

Enlisting in 1914, Barker spent a harrowing year in the trenches of the Western Front before requesting a transfer to the Royal Flying Corps. His first role in the RFC was as gunner-observer. It was during the closing stages of the Battle of the Somme, in November 1916, that Barker earned the first of his military decorations.

Whilst carrying out reconnaissance and directing Allied artillery, a superior German reconnaissance aircraft appeared out of the sun and locked on to Barker’s outdated B.E.2. Things looked grim for Barker and his pilot but with one burst of his Lewis gun, Barker took the attacker down becoming one of very few B.E.2 observers to score a kill.

Despite his skill as an observer, Barker craved the chance to fly his own plane. In January 1917 he earned his pilot’s certificate and was soon back above the Western Front flying reconnaissance missions. In April he won the Military Cross for his actions at the Battle of Arras, directing shellfire and eliminating a pair of German long-range guns.

The Sopwith surfaces

A head wound caused by anti-aircraft fire saw him return to England in August 1917. He was assigned to training duties, which didn’t suit him at all. But it came with one perk, the chance to fly the new Sopwith-Camel single-seater fighter.

This stirred his determination to return to the front, yet numerous requests to transfer were turned down. Infuriated, Barker took his Sopwith up and, in a move worthy of a court martial, buzzed RFC headquarters! His wish was granted, he was transferred back to the Western Front to fly Sopwiths.

Fighter ace

What followed was a series of daring exploits in the skies above the Western Front that rendered Barker an ace and earned him the respect of his fellow pilots.

Late in 1917 Barker was transferred to the Italian Front and by the end of the year was the theatre’s leading ace. He built a reputation as a remarkably gifted pilot, and a risk taker. He led a squadron on a  low level attack against the Austrian army headquarters in San Vito al Tagliamento. The aircraft zipped up the streets of the town, so low that Barker was beneath the telegraph wires. There were no casualties but the attack certainly struck a chord with Austrian morale!

By September 1918, with his tally approaching 50 and his nearest rivals either dead or grounded, Barker was the undisputed ace of the Italian Front. Too big a name to risk, he was recalled to Blighty. But Barker knew the war would soon be over, he wasn’t going home without taking one last opportunity to add to his score. On 27 October, he took off to seek out one last dogfight.

50-1

He found his target shortly after, a German reconnaissance aircraft. Closing on the plane, its crew unaware, Barker opened fire and the plane fell from the sky. But the last flight of William Barker wasn’t over yet, he turned to find an armada of up to fifty Fokker D-7 biplanes heading in his direction. With no chance of escape, Barker flew into the fray.

Bullets ripped through his cockpit, hitting him in the legs and arms. He passed out twice, his Sopwith Snipe somehow remaining airborne until he regained his senses. Fifteen D-7’s gathered on his tail, ready for the kill. But Barker wasn’t ready to give up yet, he turned his Snipe around and took them on, sending all fifteen scampering for home.

In the most one-sided of dogfights, William Barker had claimed another six victories. But by now he was bleeding heavily. Unable to control his beaten up Sopwith Snipe any longer, he crash landed.

The remarkable event was watched from the ground by Canadian general Andy McNaughton, who recommended Barker for the Victoria Cross.

Barker worked in the aviation industry after the war but never fully recovered from his wounds and suffered with debilitating depression. In March 1930 he took off for the final time from an airfield near Ottawa, a flight that ended the life of this extraordinary pilot.

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5 World-Famous Movie Scenes That Were Total Accidents

FIVE

The Big Shark Attack Scene In Jaws Was A Real Shark Randomly Attacking The Set

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is infamous for the wildly expensive and dangerous animatronic sharks they were forced to use in place of the real deal. (Real sharks don’t always hit their marks, you see. Also they eat their co-stars.) Robots, no matter how primitive, were the best option. But Spielberg forgot one important thing: When you’re in the ocean, you don’t get to decide when sharks show up. The sharks do.

During the climax of the film, our heroes are stranded on a boat that is slowly sinking, while the monstrous shark waits in the waters below. In a last act of defiance, oceanographer Hooper lowers himself into the water inside a shark-proof cage, intending to poison the beast. Clearly, this is the moment when Hooper gets turned into a fine red mist, right? That’s how it goes in the novel, after all. And while the script also initially called for the death of Hooper, Spielberg reconsidered after seeing footage of a breakout performance. No, not by Richard Dreyfuss — by a live shark.

Universal PicturesThe shark would later return to direct Jaws 3D.

While shark photographers filmed footage in Australia to give Spielberg a realistic underwater cage scene, a wild shark appeared and decided to try its hand (fin?) at the movie business. The shark pounded the hell out of the cage, eventually getting itself tangled in the cables. There was a problem: Neither Hooper or a dummy representing Hooper was in the cage while the shark was going ape in a mess of wires. The footage of a terrifying shark going bonkers was great, but unless Hooper was wearing an invisibility cloak, an empty cage messed up the narrative. So Spielberg rewrote the script, having Hooper swim away in time and thus survive the movie. Even better, he escaped the fate worse than death which claimed Roy Scheider: the sequels.

FOUR

The Godfather‘s Cat Was A Stray Coppola Found Wandering The Set

At the beginning of The Godfather, Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone sits in his office granting wishes like a well-dressed genie who just came from the dentist. While a series of Italian goons come and pay their respects, Corleone sits idly, stroking a tiny cat. It’s a boss move, and makes for an iconic scene. And it only happened because Francis Ford Coppola has a soft spot for strays.

Paramount Pictures“It meowed me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

Neither the script nor the novel it was based on had Don Corleone own a cat. The kitty was a last-minute addition to the scene, made solely because Coppola had found it running around the studio lot and thought it was adorable. One problem: The cat enjoyed the attention so much that its purrs drowned out Brando’s dialogue. Still, Coppola refused to cut the cat, even when it got so bad that they had to consider using subtitles. Fortunately, the crew managed to adjust the sound enough to keep Vito’s dialogue comprehensible — as comprehensible as Brando could get during his Big Mac period, anyway.

THREE

Woody Allen Actually Sneezed During Annie Hall‘s Cocaine Scene

In Annie Hall, Woody Allen stars as neurotic comedian Alvy Singer, who sleeps with women far out of his league and generally nerds his way through the druggy intellectual scene of 1970s New York. But when Singer sits down with some of his new bohemian friends to try cocaine, he accidentally sneezes and sends a cloud of good-time dust across the room.

United ArtistsAnd that’s why they call it “blow.”

The scene perfectly exemplifies how dorky and out of place Allen’s character is, and it only happened because Allen himself is such an actual dork. Whatever white powder they put in front of Allen for the scene genuinely didn’t agree with his sinuses, and he had a massive allergic reaction. Allen hung onto the scene, and it got so much laughter from test audiences that he decided to keep the blooper in the final cut. It wound up becoming one of his most celebrated gags. It also taught Allen that real-life mistakes will always be more interesting than the ones you fabricate — something he has since vigorously applied to his personal life.

TWO

The Song During A Clockwork Orange‘s Darkest Scene Was An Improvisation To “Lighten The Mood”

Stanley Kubrick is the master of layers, seeker of the perfect take, and scourge of gaffers wanting to get home in time for dinner. It should come as a surprise, then, that the very director who allegedly made Shelley Duvall crazy by forcing her to do 127 takes in a row left one of his most iconic scenes completely up to chance.

A Clockwork Orange is about Alex Delarge, a 17-year-old sociopath played by Malcolm McDowell who only lives for violence, sexual assault, and classical music. And in one scene, we get to see all three, when McDowell does a gleeful jig in the midst of a gruesome home invasion and gang rape, all while crooning the lyrics to “Singin’ In The Rain”.

That part of the scene was improvised by McDowell. Apparently, Kubrick thought that the whole vibe was getting a bit too dark (as rape scenes tend to be), and he asked McDowell to sing a jaunty little something to pick up their spirits. McDowell picked “Singin’ In The Rain” because he thought it was “Hollywood’s gift to the world of euphoria,” and Kubrick agreed.

Of course, they didn’t have the budget to license the song, and no way in hell would Gene Kelly ever agree to it, but that wasn’t a problem. Kubrick simply didn’t pay for it. Besides, merely having your work featured in a Stanley Kubrick film should be more than enough compensation.

No seriously, that’s what Kubrick thought.

ONE

That Wasn’t A Joke — Ben Stiller Just Forgot His Line In Zoolander

In 2001, Ben Stiller decided to turn a pair of sketches he had directed for the VH1 Fashion Awards years previously into a feature film, presumably to get people to forget about The Cable Guy. The result was Zoolander, starring Stiller as Derek Zoolander, a male fashion model who finds out that being a fashion model isn’t all eating disorders and stupid tiny dogs. Male models are in fact highly trained assassins … with eating disorders and stupid tiny dogs. While on the trail of an evil fashion mogul, Zoolander meets a hand model, Prewett (played by David Duchovny), who knows all about the assassination program. Zoolander asks him why they pick male models to become killers, to which Prewett gives a lengthy and easy-to-follow explanation.

And Zoolander replies, “But why male models?”

It’s supposed to illustrate how short Zoolander’s attention span is, but it truly illustrates how short Ben Stiller’s attention span is, because the line was really a mistake. During Duchovny’s long monologue, Stiller had forgotten what line he was supposed to say in response, and accidentally repeated the last one he could remember. Duchovny, always a pro, responded in-character, “Are you kidding? I just told you like a minute ago.” Stiller realized the exchange was pretty funny and worked for the character, so he decided to keep it in the movie. And it goes to show: You can feign stupid all you want, but nothing is funnier than the real thing.

 

Windowless planes will give passengers a panoramic view of the sky

Ever since air travel was invented, people have been fighting over the window seat. Not any more! The Center for Process Innovation, a British technology and research firm, is creating the future of air travel!

The futuristic planes will actually be windowless. Instead, the entire length of the plane will be covered in OLED touch screens. Essentially giving everyone in plane a virtual window seat!

Within 10 to 15 years these planes could hopefully be a reality!

The touch screens with be connected to cameras that are place all over the outside of the plane. This allows the screens to display a realistic view of what is going on around the plane outside.

If you get sick of looking at the sky, you can turn the virtual window into an entertainment system as well.

Not familiar with OLED-touch screen technology? OLED is an abbreviation for organic light-emitting diode. This means that there is a film comprised of organic compounds the is capable of projecting light as a reaction to an electrical current.

It might sound scientific, but this tech is currently being used in televisions, tablets, mobile phones, and computer monitors. By the time these planes are actually manufactured. there will most likely be a more advanced screen on the market.

With the entire walls of the plane filled with screens, passengers could look out at the view surrounding them and never have to worry about getting a good seat again.

They say the projections on the screens will reflect the real world outside, I’m sure this new technology will excite a few conspiracy theorists.

This cool, new concept isn’t without its setbacks. Many people have raised concerns that the amount of light caused by all the screens might cause some passengers discomfort.

You can watch the video below to learn more about the future of transportation!

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The invisible Superyacht.

Plans for an ‘invisible’ superyacht which blends into the sea and makes those on board feel like they are ‘floating on air’ have been unveiled.

The 106-metre Mirage, which could cost as much as £200million, will be completely clad in specially mirrored glass which reflects the image of the sea back to onlookers.

This will make it look as if the 4,200-tonne vessel has ‘vanished’ to people from as little as 50 metres away – though any radar will still detect the yacht with plenty of time to manoeuvre. Meanwhile, the yacht’s own radar can also look out for smaller boats on a collision course, giving the captain time to take any evasive action.

'Invisible' superyacht: Mirage has been designed to 'vanish' into the sea and give its billionaire owner some privacy

 

‘Invisible’ superyacht: Mirage has been designed to ‘vanish’ into the sea and give its billionaire owner some privacy

 

Mirage will be completely clad in specially mirrored glass which reflects the image of the sea back to onlookers, making it invisible from 50 metres away

 

Designed to be the ultimate purchase for privacy-hungry billionaires, Mirage comes fully equipped with a helipad, spa, outdoor theatre and cinema.

The six-decked craft can sleep 14 guests and 29 crew members, and can cruise at a comfortable speed of 19 knots.

It was developed by Italian boatbuilders Fincantieri and Dutch firm Van Geest Designs to ‘disappear between water and sky’ and ‘blend into the horizon’.

Designer Pieter Van Geest said it had taken a year to develop the blueprints and would take another three and a half years to construct.

The six-decked craft can sleep 14 guests and 29 crew members, and can cruise at a comfortable speed of 19 knots

 

The six-decked craft can sleep 14 guests and 29 crew members, and can cruise at a comfortable speed of 19 knots

 

One of the 4,200-tonne vessel's stunning decks with luxurious steps leading between levels and striking glass fittings

One of the 4,200-tonne vessel’s stunning decks with luxurious steps leading between levels and striking glass fittings

 

A dining area on one of the superyacht's spacious decks with room to accommodate dozens of guests for parties

A dining area on one of the superyacht’s spacious decks with room to accommodate dozens of guests for parties

 

Mirage comes fully equipped with a helipad, spa, outdoor theatre and cinema. Pictured: The designers' vision of one of the six decks

Mirage comes fully equipped with a helipad, spa, outdoor theatre and cinema. Pictured: The designers’ vision of one of the six decks

‘The longest part was researching the reflective glass and how it would be built,’ he said.

‘The main reason in designing this yacht was to make something that belonged to its environment.

‘Most yachts nowadays stand out and break the horizon or the landscape, in a way, we have tried to minimise this effect.

A luxurious swimming pool area on the 'invisible' superyacht surrounded by satellites of sun loungers inches from the ocean

A luxurious swimming pool area on the ‘invisible’ superyacht surrounded by satellites of sun loungers inches from the ocean

 

The £200million vessel has steps leading down into the sea so its billionaire owner can take a dip from one of the lower decks

The £200million vessel has steps leading down into the sea so its billionaire owner can take a dip from one of the lower decks

‘The colour variable mirrored glass is developed by a German glass manufacturer, which has never been used on yachts before.

‘All the vertical panels on the yacht will have this finish. If you were on the water it would probably be invisible from over 50 metres away.

‘If you are on the yacht itself the mirror will project the yacht’s surroundings, so in a way, it will give you a floating on air effect when onboard.’

The 106-metre vessel was developed by Italian boatbuilders Fincantieri and Dutch firm Van Geest Designs to 'disappear between water and sky' and 'blend into the horizon'

The 106-metre vessel was developed by Italian boatbuilders Fincantieri and Dutch firm Van Geest Designs to ‘disappear between water and sky’ and ‘blend into the horizon’

 

Designer Pieter Van Geest said it had taken a year to develop the blueprints and would take another three and a half years to construct

Designer Pieter Van Geest said it had taken a year to develop the blueprints and would take another three and a half years to construct

Mr Van Geest declined to put a price on the Mirage, but maritime experts suggested £200million would be reasonable for such a unique, luxury vessel.

If that was an accurate price tag it would place Mirage in the top 10 of the world’s most expensive yachts.

The list is currently topped by the £4billion History Supreme, which is made of solid gold and owned by Malaysia’s richest man, Robert Knok.

Peaky Blinders Hairstyles and 1920s Fashion

peaky-blinders-fashion

Peaky Blinders has created an impressive name for itself, competing with some of the big boys including Game of Thrones and Stranger Things. Being as influential as they are, this style guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to recreate the boys’ hairstyles.

One of our favourite aspects of the show is the 1920s hairstyles and the Peaky Blinders fashion. From the flat caps to the hairstyles, we love how the Birmingham boys present themselves. This style guide will focus on their hair, so read on to learn for yourself how to recreate the Peaky Blinders haircut.

Tom Shelby Haircut

Let’s start with the head of the family, Tom Shelby. Played by Cillian Murphy, Tom Shelby’s hair was not only trending back in the 1920s but is also incredibly popular now. In fact, many things aired in these kinds of shows make their way back to the limelight, including the flat cap which is reported to have risen in sales by 85% since the show came to our screens. Anyway, back to the hair.

Tom Shelby’s hair is a short cropped style, with shaved back and sides and a short textured top. The sides aren’t shaved down to the skin but instead leaves enough to give the head a full coverage. The length of hair on the top is styled forwards, coming down over and across the forehead.

peaky-blinders-hairstyle-tom-shelby-grooming-inspiration-mens-fashion
Tom Shelby’s Hairstyle 

Get The Look

This style is so easy to re-create, just make sure you have the right face shape for it. Cillian Murphy is known for his pronounced high cheekbones which is the right kind of face shape to rock this lid with. Obviously, we aren’t all blessed with these cheekbones, however, our faces don’t have to be this defined – any cheekbones or oval face-shapes will do.

To achieve this look, you’ll need to go to the barbers and ask for about a number two on the back and sides. Get the top cut short enough that it doesn’t fall down the sides, but long enough to add some product in it to give it texture. Brush the top forward so that it gives almost a fringe – the amount of fringe you choose is up to you. Tom Shelby tends to push his to the side giving a side fringe effect, but if a full crop fringe is more you, go for it.

 

Arthur Shelby Haircut

Where Tom Shelby styles his hair pushed forwards, Arthur Shelby, played by Paul Anderson, likes his hair slicked right back, and again, this is a popular hairstyle today. Like Tom Shelby’s hairdo, Arthur’s is shaved short on the back and sides. Do you want to know a fun fact? People back in the 1920s shaved the sides and backs of their hair to prevent them from getting nits and lice. Nowadays, people shave for style purposes, but if the shoe fits…

Arthur’s hair is shaved back a lot shorter than Tom Shelby’s, but the top of his hair is longer and straight instead of curly. This slicked-back style is easy to achieve.

peaky-blinders-hairstyle-arthur-shelby-grooming-inspiration-mens-fashion
Arthur Shelby Hair Cut 

Get The Look

To get this look, you’ll need to shave your back and sides to a grade zero. Make sure the top of your hair stays pretty long so that you can slick it back the whole way. You’ll need a fair amount of wax or pomade to complete this look. You can either blow dry it back after you’ve washed it (or wet it) which will help it keep its shape, or you can use a product.

Take a small amount of product, be it was or pomade, and warm it up in your hands. This will make it smoother to add to your hair. Run the product through your hair with your fingertips, trying to make sure you get it all covered. Then use a comb and comb back your hair into shape, making sure the product runs all the way through. Always start with less product and build it up if you need more. The overall finish should hold your hair firm, but it shouldn’t go hard.

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John Shelby Haircut

John Shelby’s hair is almost a combination of Tom and Arthur Shelbys’ styles. His hair is completely shaved off on the sides, but the top of his hair isn’t as long as Arthur’s, although it is still straight. All three of these haircuts used to be styled this way as they were easy to wear with a hat, which, if you watch Peaky Blinders, you’ll know is an absolute staple for them.

These styles are also tidy and easy to maintain. If you want to go for this look now, you’ll have to keep on top of shaving the sides and backs of your head so that it doesn’t become untidy. John Shelby, played by Joe Cole, pulls off this look effortlessly.

peaky-blinders-hairstyle-john-shelby-grooming-inspiration-mens-fashion
John Shelby’s Hair 

Get The Look

To ace John Shelby’s hairstyle, you’ll need to get the back and sides of your head shaved off. If possible, leave a little bit of hair so that there is still some colour, but it will need to be very short. You’ll need to keep a bit of length on the top, but not too much that it starts to curl or falls down on your face. The trick to John’s hair is that it is that perfect length to stay where it is with little or no product, but still flops over.

If you were to use a product to get this look, use a light wax or pomade and go with the same technique as Arthur’s hair. However, don’t use as much on this look, as John’s hair doesn’t have that same slicked back, shiny style as Arthur’s.

 

Michael Gray Haircut

Here’s another fun fact for you. Michael Gray, played by Finn Cole, is the cousin of the Shelby boys in Peaky Blinders. Finn Cole is also Joe Cole’s (who plays John Shelby) younger brother in real life. How fun was that?

Michael Gray’s hairstyle is probably the most formal of the Peaky Blinders’ hairdos. His hair is slightly longer on the sides and floppier at the top, with less visible product holding it together. This style is the most transferable to everyday life – it easily matches any casual and smart outfits. This is a suave hairstyle that is so common nowadays. Unlike the other Peaky Blinders’ haircuts, this one is much more formal and it suits everyday life. Here, we see Michael Gray wear his Peaky Blinders Suit which goes perfectly with the do.

peaky-blinders-hairstyle-michael-gray-grooming-inspiration-mens-fashion
Michael Gray’s Hairstyle 

Get The Look

To achieve this look, you need to allow your hair to grow on the sides. There is still a bit of shave action going on to fade the bottom of the hair, but other than that, it’s all kept a pretty consistent length. Michael Gray has a slight curl in his hair, but unlike Tommy’s, the curl isn’t textured – it’s quite styled and smooth.

This will mean you’ll require some heat to perfect the curl (unless your hair is naturally curly). A round brush will work best for this as it will grab the hair allowing you to dry it easily from all the angles. Add some hairspray or another light product to finish the look – a wax might weight down the curl too much, losing definition. Make sure you keep this style brushed a looking smooth.

usefulproducts

Alfie Solomons Haircut

This haircut is all about the beard, and we all know how well Tom Hardy can grow a beard. Beards come and go in trend – sometimes it’s all about the fresh shave, and other times, the bigger the beard the better. Right now, a beard is good. However, Alife Solomons beard is quite full-on – we much prefer a neat, tidy and groomed beard, which is why we stock a whole load of products to help you shape and treat it.

Alfie Solomons has quite a full head of hair. The sides are shaved down but meets the beard, creating a frame for the face. This is a good hairstyle to go for if you have a rounder face as the beard will elongate it. When you have a full beard like this, always try to join your head hair to your facial hair for a cleaner finish.

peaky-blinders-hairstyle-alfie-solomons-grooming-inspiration-mens-fashion
Alfie Solomons Hairstyle 

Get The Look

You’ll need to be able to grow an impressive beard to pull off this look. If you’re still patchy, wait a few years and try again. Tom Hardy sports a pretty rough and ready beard (not just in Peaky Blinders), but we recommend you go for one that’s a bit more tamed. There are plenty of beard grooming kits that will help you cut down and shape your beard, but you can also go to a barber if you need help with this.

To keep your beard healthy, it’s important to wash it as well as your head of hair. There are also beard exfoliators and oils which will keep it smooth and reduce flyaways. Finally, invest in a beard comb or brush. You’ll be amazed at how often these will come in handy, especially when your beard gets bigger. If knots keep occurring, use a leave-in beard conditioner and comb to ease them out, or sleep with a nourishing beard mask in. Keeping your beard healthy is just as important as keeping your hair healthy.

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How To Nail The Peaky Blinders Hairstyles

  • Tom Shelby’s hair is shaved short to bout a grade two on the sides. The top of his hair is long enough to be pushed back and given texture using a product. It’s up to you whether you go for a pushed forward fringe or side fringe.
  • Arthur Shelby has a much more polished look, with his sides shaved completely and the top of his hair long and slicked back. Use a wax or pomade to complete this look and work it back with a comb.
  • John Shelby’s hair is a happy medium between the aforementioned. The sides are shaved off but and the top is textured, just not as long as Arthur’s.
  • Michael Gray has the more formal hairstyle of them all. This is achieved by having the same length back and sides and combing it neatly backwards. Finish off the bottom of the hair with a fade.
  • Alfie Solomons sports one hell of a beard. Make sure you’re able to grow a beard before you commit to this style. There are plenty of shaping and smoothing products to make sure your beard remains healthy, neat and clean.
 

 

Forget ‘survival of the fittest’ – the laziest will inherit the earth

Species which use the most energy in their daily lives die out quicker than less energetic animals, say evolutionary biologists

A study of over 300 species of molluscs that have lived and died in the Atlantic over the past five million years found that those with high metabolisms were the most likely to be extinct.
A study of over 300 species of molluscs that have lived and died in the Atlantic over the past five million years found that those with high metabolisms were the most likely to be extinct.

It is the perfect comeback for those who are admonished for not pulling their weight. Never mind that work is piling up, being lazy is a winning evolutionary strategy that postpones the extinction of the species.

That, at least, is one interpretation. Researchers who studied nearly 300 forms of mollusc that lived and died in the Atlantic over the past five million years found that a high metabolism predicted which species had gone the way of the dodo.

The sea snails, sea slugs, mussels and scallops which burned the most energy in their daily lives were more likely to have died out than their less energetic cousins, especially when they lived in small ocean habitats, the scientists found.

While the causes of extinction are varied and complex, the work points to a new link between the rate at which animals use energy to grow and maintain their body tissues and the length of time the species has on Earth.

“The lower the metabolic rate, the more likely the species you belong to will survive,” said Bruce Lieberman, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who led the research at Kansas University. “Instead of ‘survival of the fittest’, maybe a better metaphor for the history of life is ‘survival of the laziest’, or at least ‘survival of the sluggish’.”

The scientists examined 299 species of gastropods, such as snails and slugs, and bivalves, including mussels and scallops, that lived in the Western Atlantic Ocean any time from the Pliocene more than five million years ago to the present day. When the researchers calculated resting metabolic rates for each species, they found that energy use differed markedly for the 178 species that had gone extinct compared with those that live on today. The work is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“The probable explanation is that things that were more sluggish or lazy had lower energy or food requirements and thus could make do with little when times were bad,” said Lieberman.

The work could help conservationists to better forecast which species are likely to die out first as global climate change hinders food production. The next step is to find out whether metabolism plays a role in the extinction rates of other animals, including those that live on land.

“This result doesn’t necessarily mean that lazy people are the fittest, because alas sometimes those lazy people are the ones that consume the most resources,” Lieberman added. “Humanity’s laziness, when it comes to trying to arrest the changes to the planet we are causing, may be the biggest peril our own species faces.

“But in a nutshell our work indicates that being sluggish can make you more likely to survive. So, here’s to a nap, after we solve our planet’s environmental crisis.”

10 Facts About the Battle of Hastings

The Battle of Hastings is one of the most famous and significant in British history, despite taking place nearly 1,000 years ago. Like so many battles throughout time, it was sparked by one man’s desire to dethrone a king and claim the crown for himself. In this case, that man was a French duke whose victory in the battle was to usher in Norman rule over England. Here are 10 facts about the battle.

1. It was unusually long by medieval standards

Beginning at 9am on 14 October 1066, the battle lasted less than a day and is believed to have been over by nightfall. But although this may seem short by today’s standards, at the time such battles were often over within an hour.

2. It did not actually take place in Hastings

Although it became synonymous with this coastal town in Sussex, the battle actually took place in an area seven miles away. Today, this area is aptly named “Battle”.

3. Fighting was sparked by the arrival in England of William the Conqueror

William, who then held the duchy of Normandy in France, wanted to usurp England’s King Harold II. He believed the English throne had been promised to him by Harold’s predecessor, Edward the Confessor.

4. William had an advantage

The French duke had two weeks in between landing on the Sussex coast and the Battle of Hastings to prepare his forces for a confrontation with the English army. Harold and his troops, on the other hand, had been busy fighting another claimant to the throne in the north of England just three days ahead of William’s arrival. That, coupled with the fact that Harold’s men had to hurry back down south, meant they were battle-weary and exhausted when they began to fight. But despite this, the battle was closely fought.

5. It is not clear how many fighters took part

There is much debate over how many men were put forward by each of the opposing sides, though it is currently thought that both armies had between 5,000 and 7,000 men.

6. The battle was bloody

Thousands of men were killed and both leaders were feared dead at various points. However, it was Harold who eventually succumbed.

7. Harold met a gruesome end

The English king was killed during the final assault by the Normans but accounts differ as to how he actually died. One particularly grisly telling says he was killed when an arrow became lodged in his eye, while another describes how he was hacked to death.

8. The battle has been immortalised in the Bayeux Tapestry

This embroidered cloth, measuring nearly 70 metres in length, depicts scenes from the tale of the Norman conquest of England. The tapestry was made in the 11th century but is remarkably well preserved.

9. Early accounts of the battle rely on two main sources

One is chronicler William of Poitiers and the other is the Bayeux Tapestry. William of Poitiers was a Norman soldier and although he did not fight at the Battle of Hastings himself, it was clear he knew those who had.

10. The battle brought an end to more than 600 years of rule in England by the Anglo-Saxons

In its place came Norman rule and that brought with it many wide-reaching changes, including to language, architecture and English foreign policy.