Tag Archives: curiosities

Earth Swallows Sleeping Florida Man In His Bed

Normally, you hear about these kinds of acts of God only in the Bible:

“It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the desert until you arrived at this place, and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them” — Deuteronomy 11:5-6

A guy named Jeremy, his wife, their two-year old daughter, Jeremy’s brother Jeff, their aunt and a dog were sleeping in a house in Seffner, FL just east of Tampa. Around 11pm, a sinkhole opened up beneath one of the bedrooms, where the 36-year old Jeff was sleeping. He shouted for help, and his brother ran to find him being swallowed up by the sinkhole. The brother called 911 and jumped into the hole but he couldn’t get Jeff out. Police got there just in time to pull the brother out of the still-sinking earth, but there was no sign of Jeff.

The sinkhole house: 240 Faithway Drive, Seffner, FL.

 

Engineers came and surveyed the area to find a way to go in looking for Jeff, but he was probably long dead already. The hole was 20′ x 30′, and the house passed a sinkhole inspection six months before.

The Tampa Bay Times says that sinkholes are common in Central Florida, but that it’s rare for people to get caught up in them. Although, in March of 2011, it did happen to a woman not much further east, in Plant City. She had her cell phone though and called 911; police saved her when they arrived, but it was a close call: everything but her fingertips had been swallowed up by the earth.

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From Tampa Bay Times and CBS News, via NPR

An Egg Inside An Egg

It’s like a Russian egg doll: a chicken farmer apparently found an egg that was really big, so he cracked it open, only to find another egg inside. And lest you think this is a hoax, it’s not: eggsperts call the phenomenon ovum in ovo.

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From YouTube, via FAIL Blog

 

 

Black Twin, White Twin

In 2005, a woman in England gave birth to twins that looked pretty much alike. Over the next year though, one got darker and one got lighter. Now, even though they share the same father and mother, the twin named Kian is black, and the one named Remee is white.

 

This is obviously a rare happenstance, which simply gets determined by which egg gets which of the seven genes that control skin color. In this case, it helped that both of the parents were also the children of interracial couples, so both of their DNA had the capacity to make black or white babies.

 

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From The Daily Mail

The World’s ‘Shortest Man Ever’ Record Has Been Broken

In early January, an 18-year old Indian woman was crowned shortest living woman, measuring just over two feet: 24.72 inches. She was by no means the shortest woman ever, who was 22.8″, nor the shortest person ever, who at that point was an Indian man measuring 22.4″. She wasn’t even the shortest person alive then, due to a 23.6″ Philippino guy named Junrey. Poor Junrey’s reign didn’t last long though: you become eligible for the title at 18, which he turned on June 12th, 2011. He now lost the title, barely half a year later, to a 72-year old Nepalese guy who is not only the shortest living man, but, as far as humanity knows, the shortest man that ever lived: Chandra Dangi, 21.5″ short.

Chandra Dangi, the shortest man that ever lived

 

Poor guy hasn’t had an easy life, either. He really wanted to get married, but never found a wife. His parents died before he was a teenager and his evil relatives used to parade him around at freak shows — like in a Lemony Snicket novel. He makes a living weaving headbands in the middle of nowhere, Nepal. He was discovered by researchers studying the people in the region.

From The Guinness Book of World Records and Sky News, via Neatorama

The World’s Smallest Living Woman Is 2 Feet Tall

In mid-December of 2011, the Guinness Book of World Records (which is no longer owned by Guinness Breweries) crowned an 18 year old Indian girl the shortest woman in the world. She is from west-central India, is 24.72 inches tall, and is named Jyoti Amge. Since she is a diagnosed dwarf, she won’t grow any taller.

World's Shortest Living Woman

 

Jyoti is not the shortest living person, since there’s a guy in the Philippines who comes in at 23.6 inches. Neither of them are the shortest people that ever lived: the shortest woman ever was a Dutch woman who measured 22.8 inches and lived from 1876 to 1895; the shortest man ever was an Indian man (no longer true, see below) who measured 22.4 inches and lived from 1957 to 1997 — he was also the shortest adult ever recorded and died from complications due to heavy smoking.

Update, 27 February 2012: a Nepalese man has claimed the title of world’s shortest man ever, measuring 21.5 inches in height.

From The Guinness Book Of World Records

There’s A Cat With Two Faces — Not Metaphorical Ones, Either

It’s funny how things like this come to light not because they exist at all, but because they broke a record. In this case the news isn’t that two-faced cats exist, or that they’re common enough to have a group name (Janus cats) because apparently everyone knows that already; no, the news is that one (or two) named Frankie and Louie is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest one, like anyone actually cares about that.

Frankie and Louie

So back to the real shocker: the Harvey Dent of cats. The medical term for it is disprosopus, which literally means “two-faced” in Greek. It’s caused by the embryo having too much of a protein called the Sonic Hedgehog Homolog — seriously. It’s called that because the hedgehog gene was discovered first, but then three homologous genes (ones that serve similar functions) were also found; the first two were named after kinds of actual hedgehogs (desert and Indian), but the third was named after the fictitious video game character. Anyway, the Sonic Hedgehog Homolog (SHH) controls a bunch of things during embryonic development, including how wide the face is — too wide, and things start to duplicate. So you end up with a cat like FrankenLouie that has three eyes, two mouths and two noses. (Interestingly, the Sonic Hedgehog Homolog is also involved in turning chickens into dinosaurs).

Normally, animals and people (yes, it happens to people) with this disorder don’t survive for more than a few days or weeks because of related complications. For example, a two-faced pig named Ditto died of pneumonia because he was breathing through one mouth while eating through the other and got food in his lungs. The reason FrankenLouie has been able to live so long is because it only has one functional esophagus.

Lali Singh

About three years ago, a girl named Lali Singh was born in India with two complete faces: four eyes, two noses, two mouths. She was revered as a reincarnation of the warrior goddess Durga, who had three eyes. Raised without proper medical care, she died at two months old from a heart attack. She was the oldest known disprosopic human.

Update, June 2013: Another two-faced cat named Deucy was born in Oregon. And between it and Frankie and Louie, another one, named Harvey Dent, was born in Florida in 2012, but died two days later.

Here’s a video of Frankie and Louie:

From New York Daily News and The Sun