Scientists Baffled by Man Who Can Change His Pupil Size on Command

A 23-year-old student in Germany can reportedly shrink and enlarge his pupils on command, a feat previously thought to be physically impossible.

The dilation and constriction of the pupil were believed to be completely automated processes triggered by various factors, like entering a bright or dark environment, but a recent case study suggests that isn’t always the case. A young student in Germany is believed to be able to voluntarily control the tiny muscles that adjust the size of the pupil, a feat once thought to be impossible. The authors point out that while some people can alter their pupil size via “indirect methods”, this person is instead able to directly control the sphincter muscle in his eyes to adjust the size of his pupils.

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Would You Pay $21,500 to Run in the World’s First Premium Ultra Marathon?

Described as “the world’s first premium ultra,” the Highland Kings marathon requires participants to pay a £15,499 ($21,500) entrance fee. That makes it the most expensive ultramarathon on Earth.’

Ultramarathons aren’t usually associated with luxury, but Primal Adventure, an outdoor adventure business based in Scotland, is hoping to change that by organizing what many are calling the most expensive ultra marathon in history. The Highland Kings, a four-day camping race covering a distance of 120 miles on the west coast of Scotland, is limited to only 40 participants, each of whom will be required to pay an entrance fee of £15,499. The premium cost will give them access to luxury amenities like butlers, Michelin-star chefs, and hydrotherapy pools, among others.

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Techa – Russia’s Radioactive River

The Techa River flowing down the eastern flank of the Ural Mountains in Russia is considered the world’s most radioactive river, as a result of having been used as a dumping ground for nearly 80 million tons of radioactive wastewater over several years.

At first glance, the Techa River looks pristine, inviting even, and you’d never guess that it once was – and by some accounts, still is – the dumping ground of a secret nuclear compound responsible for exposing tens of thousands of people to as much as 20 times the radiation suffered by the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. 23 or the 24 rural communities that the Techa flowed by have been evacuated in the last 13 years, but not before thousands of people developed cancers, or suffered chromosomal abnormalities and birth defects. Even today, when authorities claim the levels of radiation in the Techa River are “acceptable”, Geiger counters still beep ominously when placed near the waterline…

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Chinese Woman Claims She Hasn’t Slept in 40 Years

Chinese media recently reported the bizarre case of a woman who claimed that she hadn’t slept in about four decades but never felt tired or sleepy either.

Most people can’t go 24 hours without a little shut-eye, but Li Zhanying, a woman from Henan, China claimed to have gone 40 years without any sleep, a feat confirmed by her husband and their neighbors, some of whom actually put her to the test, only to fall asleep themselves. Li last remembered getting some sleep when she was five or six, but now in her mid-40s, sleep is nothing but an old memory.

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The Parlor Roller – A Unique Pigeon Breed That Does Backflips Instead of Flying

Although there are plenty of flightless bird species on Earth, the Parlor Roller pigeon is believed to be the only one selectively bred by humans until it lost its capacity to take to the skies and developed a completely new and bizarre means of getting around – backflips.

Seeing a parlor roller pigeon roll on the ground, you would think it was having some sort of seizure, but in reality, the birds are rolling on the ground because it comes naturally to them. No one knows exactly how or when the breed was created, but experts and enthusiasts speculate that its origins can be traced back to mid-19th century Scotland when someone probably encountered a specimen with a slight tendency to roll on the ground and decided it was worth emphasizing via selective breeding. It is believed that over years of selective breeding, pigeons that rolled over long distances were obtained.

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French Man Has Been Paying His Namesake’s Taxes for 15 Years

A French pensioner has appealed to authorities to help him finally remain in charge of his own taxes and not those of his namesake, whose yearly taxes he has been paying for the last 15 years.

Having a popular name does have some advantages. It’s easy to remember and people never look at you funny when you say it. However, it’s not all good, as the protagonist of today’s story will tell you. Francis Lopez, an 83-year-old man from Montpellier, France shares the same name, the same birth date, the same city, and even most of the digits in his social security number with another man, and for some reason, authorities always send him his namesake’s taxes as well. Lopez has been paying someone else’s taxes for 15 years, but because of a new tax withholding law, he is afraid that it will really start to cost him.

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Ubang, the Nigerian Village Where Men and Women Speak Different Languages

They say women are from Venus and men are from Mars, and nowhere is that more evident than in Ubang, a unique Nigerian rural community where men and women have their own separate languages.

It’s hard to believe that men and women who grow up together in the same community can end up speaking different languages, but in the case of Ubang’s residents, it’s totally true. It’s not exactly clear what proportion of the words in the men’s and women’s languages are different, but there are enough examples to make sentences sound different when spoken by the opposite sex. For example, for ‘clothing’ men use the word ‘nki’, while women say ‘ariga’; ‘kitchi’ means tree for men, while women say ‘okweng’. These are not just some subtle pronunciation differences, but totally different words and it’s been like this for as long as anyone can remember.

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Fastest-Accelerating Roller Coaster Closes Because Riders Keep Breaking Their Bones

Do-Dodonpa, the world’s fastest-accelerating roller coaster, has been temporarily closed after a number of people broke their backs or necks after riding it in the last nine months.

Located in the Fuji-Q Highland Park, in Fujiyoshida, Japan, the Do-Dodonpa roller coaster has been operating since 2001, offering riders an adrenaline-fueled experience. It is famous for being able to accelerate from 0 to 180km (112 miles) per hour in just 1.56 seconds, which makes it the world’s fastest-accelerating roller coaster. Despite its  “super death” speed, Do-Dodonpa had never been associated with rider injuries until December of last year, when people started suffering bone injuries after going on the roller-coaster. Six cases have been reported since, four of which involved broken back or necks.

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Man Gets 5 Doses of 3 Different Covid-19 Vaccines in 10 Weeks, Just to Be Sure

Authorities in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro are currently investigating how a local man was able to receive at least five doses of three different Covid-19 vaccines in just 10 days.

According to official records, the unnamed man started getting Covid-19 vaccines in May, and continued getting new jabs into June, until his vaccination marathon was finally discovered by staff at a vaccination station earlier this month while attempting to get yet another Covid shot. Records obtained by Brazilian media show that the man got his first Pfizer shot on May 12, the second dose of AstraZeneca on June 5, the second dose of Coronavac on June 17, another second dose of Pfizer, on July 9th, and the “first dose” of Coronavac on 21 July. It’s not clear what his sixth dose was supposed to be.

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Miracle Baby Shark Born in Female-Only Tank Baffles Scientists

In what scientists are calling a world-first for the species, a”miracle” baby shark was born in a tank full of female smooth-hound sharks in Sardinia, Italy.

Parthenogenesis, or “virgin births,” have previously been observed in nature, from various species of plants, insects, reptiles, birds and fish, but never in smooth-hound sharks, which explains why the staff at Acquario Cala Gonone were shocked to see the young baby among all the females. The asexual birth of the miracle baby shark is yet to be officially confirmed, but the team at the Italian aquarium says no other explanation makes sense.

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You Can Now Spend $1,450 on a “Destroyed Sweater” to Look Like a Hobo

Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga has been raising eyebrows with a new line of extremely distressed sweaters that look like they’ve been munched on by rats, but cost a small fortune.

Balenciaga designers have always tried to push the boundaries of what is considered luxury fashion, but sometimes they tend to go overboard. Remember that $2,300 luxury skirt inspired by rubber car mats? Well, they found a way to one-up themselves with an entire line of distressed, high-quality wool sweaters designed to make the wearer look either extremely poor or like they narrowly escaped an encounter with an aggressive wild animal. The only thing that screams luxury fashion is the price tag, which stands at a whopping $1,450 on the Balenciaga online store.

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“Silent Man” Has Been Causing Traffic Jams by Standing in the Middle of Traffic for Seven Years

An Englishman dubbed “Silent Man” has caused numerous traffic jams in his home city of Swansea over the last seven years by simply standing in the middle of traffic. Because he never says a word, no one has any idea why he does it.

Ever since 2014, David Hampson has repeatedly hindered traffic by standing in the middle of the road, in the exact same spot. The 51-year-old is subject to a criminal behavior order which forbids him from obstructing any public highway in England and Wales, but judging by his past action, he doesn’t care much about such accusations. In 2018, Hampson was sentenced to three years in prison for blocking the road in exactly the same spot as always, just outside the Swansea Central Police Station. And just as always, he refused to offer any explanation, or say anything else for that matter. The same thing happened the last time he decided to block the road, in December of 2020. Now he faces criminal charges.

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Capybaras “Invade” Upscale Gated Community in Argentina

Residents of Nordelta, Argentina’s most famous and arguably most beautiful gated community, have been battling hordes of capybaras, giant, adorable rodents that act like they own the place because technically they do…

A 1,500ha suburban development built on the wetlands of the Paraná, the second most important river in South America after the Amazon, Nordelta is home to some 40,000 people, many of whom paid a premium to own a home in what is a stunning location. Positioned just north of Buenos Aires, among picturesque lakes and streams. Nordelta is one of the most coveted places to own a home, but also one of the most contested by environmentalists, who contest its reason for existing. That’s because the wetlands it was built on were the home of various species of plants and animals, including capybaras, who have now returned to reclaim their rightful place.

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Woman Banned From Belgian Zoo Over “Relationship” With Chimpanzee

A Belgian woman has been issued a ban by the Antwerp Zoo, because of her close “relationship” with a male chimp that she had been visiting frequently for years.

Adie Timmermans has been visiting Chita, a 38-year-old male chimpanzee, for at least four years, and claims that they’ve developed a very powerful bond that can be described as a “relationship”. However, the animal caretakers at Antwerp Zoo believe this relationship has been causing social problems for Chita within her group of chimps. Because he is so close to Adie, Chita is ignored by the other primates and is not considered part of the pack. To improve his relationship with his own kind, the zoo recently issued a contact ban, forbidding Timmermans from getting too close to Chita’s enclosure, and instructing her to avoid making eye contact with the animal. 

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China’s Anti-Desertification Poster Family Has Been Fighting the Gobi Desert for 22 Years

Wang Tianchang and his family moved into the Gobi Desert 22 years ago, at a time when most people were running away from the encroaching wasteland. The Wangs have been fighting the desert ever since, becoming a symbol of China’s anti-desertification campaign.

Desertification is one of China’s most serious environmental problems. The great Gobi Desert at stretching along the border with Mongolia has so far eaten away about 650 million acres of the country’s land and is showing no signs of slowing down. As it moves ever deeper into the heart of China, massive sandstorms blow sand into the capital Beijing and other major cities, putting millions of lives at risk. The Great Green Wall, a reforestation program designed to create a 2,800-mile tree barrier at the edge of the advancing desert has had limited success so far, but the Chinese media machine focuses less on the shortcomings and more on the successes, using everyday heroes like Wang Tianchang and his family.

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