In 1986 the Australian Cultural Terrorists stole a Picasso from a Melbourne art gallery; they threatened to destroy the painting if the government did not create an art prize called the Picasso Ransom. The culprits were never found.
Pobeda Ice Island was first discovered in 1840. It was seen again in the 1910s, but was gone by the late 1920s. By the 1960s it was back, only to disappear again in the 1970s.
The Australian beetle Julodimorpha bakewelli attempts to mate with discarded beer bottles, sometimes to the point of its own death.
Specially designated “sentinel chickens” allow health officials to track the emergence of infectious diseases like West Nile virus amongst human populations.
Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse led a French scientific expedition around the Pacific; in 1788 it disappeared without a trace. A young Napoléon Bonaparte almost went with him.
New Zealand entomologist George Hudson proposed modern daylight saving time so that he could catch more bugs.
In apartheid-era South Africa, the government sometimes designated specific people or whole ethnic groups as “honorary whites.” But not everyone accepted it.
Rabbits and cattle were introduced to a remote island near Antarctica as food for shipwreck survivors; they bred there in isolation for more than a century.
The 2021 Samoan constitutional crisis came to a head with a face-off between the old prime minister who wouldn’t leave, the new prime minister who couldn’t start, the head of state, the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, and the Speaker of the House. [2 of 2]
Samoa’s first female prime minister was elected this year despite the most dramatic and twist-filled constitutional crisis in the country’s history. [1 of 2]
In 2004, in response to an Australian law defining marriage as between a man and a woman only, a group of activists declared independence and raised a rainbow flag over the Coral Sea Islands.
Between 1867 and 1927 the New Zealand government built, supplied, and maintained a set of supply huts on islands in the Southern Ocean so that no more castaways would starve to death while waiting for rescue.
In 1864 two ships were wrecked on the same desert island. Despite sharing the island for an entire year, the crews never met and had no idea they were not alone.
In 1976 most African countries boycotted the Olympics because the games would not ban New Zealand.
The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw many feminist utopias that portrayed a society run by women: by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Irene Clyde, former New Zealand prime minister Julius Vogel, and the influential Bangladeshi author Begum Rokeya.
The brown tree snake can climb trees and power poles by looping itself into a lasso.