The Time the Allies Tried to Disarm Hitler With Female Sex Hormones

Rebecca O'Connell/Getty Images/iStock
Rebecca O'Connell/Getty Images/iStock

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the situation during World War II definitely qualified as desperate. Accordingly, it seems very few proposed plans for defeating the Nazis were dismissed as being too over-the-top. At one time or another, the Allied forces debated dripping glue on Nazi troops in an attempt to stop them in their tracks, disguising bombs in tins of imported fruit, dropping boxes of venomous snakes, releasing live bat bombs, or using the "Great Panjandrum"—a massive rocket-propelled wheel of explosives.

But perhaps the most outlandish idea proposed involved making the Führer more like his sister—the mild-mannered Paula, who worked as secretary.

A study at the time by the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA, claimed that on the gender spectrum, Adolf Hitler fell notably near the middle—"close to the male-female line," wrote the OSS’s director of research and development, Stanley Lovell. The Allies thought if they could just tip him over the line into "female" territory, he would lose his hold on Germany and the war would be won.

Sources differ on whether the hope was that a more feminized Hitler would be less aggressive, and thus, less inclined to commit mass genocide, or that if he lost his facial hair and grew breasts he simply wouldn't have the confidence or charisma to allow him to serve as an effectively malevolent dictator.

But how to go about making Mr. Hitler more like Mrs. Hitler? By putting female sex hormones in his carrots, of course.

"There were agents who would be able to get it into his food—it would have been entirely possible," said Brian Ford, a British professor and the author of the book that first revealed the plot, Secret Weapons: Technology, Science And The Race To Win World War II.

If the plan was carried out, spies and members of the OSS would bribe Hitler's gardener to inject his carrots with estrogen. Over time, the estrogen consumption would make him more "feminized."

You're probably wondering: If the Allies had the means to inject foreign substances into Hitler's food, why didn't they just poison him and be done with it? Unfortunately, it wasn't that simple. Hitler, aware of his many enemies, employed a host of food tasters whose sickness or death would have sent up immediate red flags. Estrogen was chosen instead because it is tasteless, and would work slowly and subtly enough on the Führer and his army of testers to go undetected—until it was too late.

Lovell speculates that this plan ultimately failed either because someone noticed something suspicious about the carrots, or because the gardener found it just as easy to pocket the bribe and not alter the carrots at all. Either scenario implies that the Allies really did at least attempt to defeat Hitler with female sex hormones.

They should have stuck with the bat bombs.

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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A Prehistoric Great White Shark Nursery Has Been Discovered in Chile

Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
solarseven/iStock via Getty Images

Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) may be one of the most formidable and frightening apex predators on the planet today, but life for them isn’t as easy as horror movies would suggest. Due to a slow growth rate and the fact that they produce few offspring, the species is listed as vulnerable to extinction.

There is a way these sharks ensure survival, and that is by creating nurseries—a designated place where great white shark babies (called pups) are protected from other predators. Now, researchers at the University of Vienna and colleagues have discovered these nurseries occurred in prehistoric times.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, Jamie A. Villafaña from the university’s Institute of Palaeontology describes a fossilized nursery found in Coquimbo, Chile. Researchers were examining a collection of fossilized great white shark teeth between 5 and 2 million years old along the Pacific coast of Chile and Peru when they noticed a disproportionate number of young shark teeth in Coquimbo. There was also a total lack of sexually mature animals' teeth, which suggests the site was used primarily by pups and juveniles as a nursery.

Though modern great whites are known to guard their young in designated areas, the researchers say this is the first example of a paleo-nursery. Because the climate was much warmer when the paleo-nursery was in use, the researchers think these protective environments can deepen our understanding of how great white sharks can survive global warming trends.