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How Tracks Changed Forever After the Last Tokyo Olympics

In Tokyo 2021, athletes will race across a world class synthetic track. But it wasn't always that way. Races used to be held on cinder tracks — and it means that they were practically competing in a different sport.

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Man Declared Dead By Three Doctors Woke Up Before His Autopsy

What in the world happened? Gonzalo Montoya Jiménez, a 29-year-old prisoner in the maximum security wing of Asturias Central Penitentiary in northwest Spain, was declared dead by three different doctors. However, much to everybody’s surprise, he woke up in the morgue, mere hours before his own autopsy! This baffling event has led hospital officials to conclude that the cause is catalepsy: 

[...] was found unresponsive in his cell during a morning roll call on 7 January 2018 and had been transferred to a hospital mortuary in a body bag when pathologists heard something strange.
The day before Jiménez was found 'dead', he complained of feeling ill, and while it was unknown exactly what caused his condition, officials described his body as showing signs of cyanosis – a purplish discoloration of the skin caused by poor circulation or lack of oxygen – in addition to rigor mortis.
Hospital officials told Spanish media the faux fatality could be a case of catalepsy, in which the body enters a trance or seizure-like state, exhibiting a loss of consciousness and sensation, together with physical rigidity.
Just how Jiménez became cataleptic is unclear, although the prisoner experienced epilepsy, and takes medication for the condition – but his family said it wasn't always easy for Jiménez to adhere to his medication schedule in lock-up, so that might have had something to do with it.

Image credit: wikimedia commons 

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Gamer Beats Dark Souls With Pizza

Now this is just amazing! Game developer and controller modder Super Louis 64 beat Dark Souls with only a controller made out of a Pizza Hut pizza. The modder explained that he used a special board, some wires, and plugged them to each pizza slice. How did he incorporate the controls to the slices though? He further explained that each pizza slice was actually its own button: 

[...]And in order to heal in-game, he had to take an actual bite of pizza, which is an unusually excellent incentive to take some damage. Watch the clip below and enjoy the majesty of beating Dark Souls with a pizza controller.
The whole point of the tech that Super Louis 64 used is to turn ordinary (or not so ordinary) objects into controllers, so Pizza Hut pizza is merely one of the greasier, messier options he could have selected. Nonetheless, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Dark Souls is really hard with a normal controller, so beating it with a whole squadron of pizza buttons is still a pretty awesome (and mildly ridiculous) feat.
“For twenty dollars, I was able to beat Dark Souls and have a good meal at the same time,” concluded Super Louis. That sounds like a stellar Friday to us. Let us know what you think of it.

Image credit: Super Louis 64

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Redditor Unwraps Iconic Apollo 11 Image

Reddit user Michael Ranger (rg1213) was able to unwrap or flip the perspective of a photo of Buzz Aldrin on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Ranger was able to unwrap Buzz Aldrin’s visor into a 2D image so we can essentially ‘see’ what Aldrin saw, and then opened the photo in Google Street View: 

Ranger downloaded a high-resolution film scan in RAW format, which allowed him to make some edits before creating the panoramic image and video. Ranger sharpened, and color corrected the image in Photoshop. The visors of the spacesuit helmet are gold, so Ranger used the source image to help color correct the mirrored image in the visor. Ranger also 'added more room in the initial photo crop around the edges of the visor so that when it was unwrapped it would more accurate account for the space in the final image that represents the inside of [Aldrin's] helmet.'
It's wild to think that we are getting a new perspective on an iconic image and moment in human history more than 50 years after it occurred. Reddit user SlowCrates writes, 'It's kind of eerie. This is an unintended, unanticipated photo. It's literally people 52 years in the future using modern technology to catch a new perspective of the past. What kind of fancy ways will people be looking at our present 52 years from now?'

Image credit: NASA

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A Guide To The Gigantic Triceratops

You’ve seen them in films, museums, picture books, toy stores, illustrations-- the Triceratops, with its well-known three horns and massive size, is one of the best known dinosaur species. While its existence in pop culture is interesting, it’s also important to note that even a well-studied species such as the Triceratops presents a lot of intriguing questions up for debate. Science Focus details  some cool facts about the dinosaur: 

“It’s a fabulous looking animal,” says Prof Paul Barrett, a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. “It’s kind of like a cross between a rhinoceros and a unicorn. For me, one of the reasons I like it is it almost looks like a heraldic beast. You can imagine having a Triceratops skull on your coat of arms.”
Triceratops had a big head. Its skull was one of the largest of any land animal known to science and particularly big relative to the size of its body. “It took up about a quarter of its whole body length, which is an unbelievably big skull,” says Barrett.
The skull is also what makes Triceratops so memorable, with its bony frill and three dramatic horns. It’s easy to assume that its fearsome features were used in prehistoric battles with predators like the T. rex and while that may be true, their function is more complicated, says Barrett.
“As with many of the things we see in the natural world, there was probably more than one use of the horns,” he says. “I suspect they are something to do with signalling, for showing off to other Triceratops and potentially for shoving or battling contests over territory or mates or food resources.”

To learn more about this gigantic creature, check out the full guide here! 

Image credit: wikimedia commons 

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Stray Cat Follows A Human Home

This cat just straight up said, ‘Oops, you’re my dad now!’ Basil Akwan and his girlfriend noticed a pair of kittens that visited the cafe where they worked for food and cuddles. The cats would always wait in the same spot for them, until one day one of the cats decided to follow Akwan home. Akwan realised, after noticing that the cat was following him to his car, that she was trying to tell him that she wanted to be his pet. Ever since then, Sophie has been happily getting her cuddles and treats from Akwan, and her sister was adopted by his girlfriend. 

Image via: Basil Akwan

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Get $33,000 By Moving To These Italian Villages

Not only do you get extra cash, you also get a chance to move to a beautiful village! Understandably, uprooting your life and moving to a new place is difficult and nerve-wracking. That’s why, as part of the offer, the Southern Italian village of Calabria is offering a hefty sum of $33,000 to people who are willing to move to their beautiful region. There’s no catch in this incredible offer, as Calabria just aims to reverse their population decline: 

The program is open to anyone under the age of 40. Then, all you have to do is take up residency and commit to starting a local business or even just work professional roles. It honestly sounds like the premise of a light-hearted comedy movie.
"We want this to be an experiment of social inclusion," says Gianpietro Coppola, mayor of Altomonte. "Draw people to live in the region, enjoy the settings, spruce up unused town locations such as conference halls and convents with high-speed internet. Uncertain tourism and the one euro houses are not the best ways to revamp Italy's south."
"The goal is to boost the local economy and breathe new life into small-scale communities," says Gianluca Gallo, a regional councilor. "We want to make demand for jobs meet supply, that's why we've asked villages to tell us what type of professionals they're missing to attract specific workers."
The active residency income project will be open for applications soon.

Image credit: La So (Unsplash) 

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Golden Tortoise Beetles

They look like mini tortoises at first glance, but they’re not! The golden tortoise beetle, aside from its uncanny resemblance to its namesake, also looks like a walking gold piece with legs. That doesn’t mean they’re actually made of gold though, absolutely not! These beetles can change their color according to the season. In addition, their mood can also alter their current color or appearance. 

Image via Imgur

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Flesh-Eating Bacteria Clean Up Michelangelo’s Works

Duke Alessandro de Medici is leaking. Well, to be exact, his corpse, buried in his father’s tomb, which is now the Medici Chapel, is leaking bodily fluids along with other compounds accumulated over time from glue and plaster. The grime is now evident in the marble statues that adorn the area, which were created by Michelangelo: 

Anna Rosa Sprocati, a biologist at the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, hand-picked from her catalog of more than 1,000 bacteria to test against the stains. They had successes and failures, with some of the bacteria eating not just the human remains, but the delicate Carrera marble, too. But the chapel's museum believed that bacteria would be more effective than harsh chemicals or abrasives.
Sprocati's all-female team picked the eight most promising bacteria and tested them on a gridded section behind the altar of the church. The ones that worked were then put on the tomb of Giuliano di Lorenzo, specifically the statues of Night and Day. The bacteria successfully cleaned Night's hair and eyes of accumulated residue.

Image credit: wikimedia commons 

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Woodland Children Have Better Mental Health, Study Finds

Researchers have discovered that children with daily exposure to woodland areas can have better cognitive development and a lower risk of emotional problems. The study, published in Nature Sustainability, studied adolescents aged 9 to 15 across London for over four years. Exposure to green spaces, such as woodlands, were found to have higher scores for cognitive development, as CNN details: 

Exposure to green space was associated with a beneficial contribution to young people's cognitive development, researchers explained. The same associations were not seen with exposure to blue space -- though the sample of children studied generally had low access to it, researchers noted in the study published Monday.
Lead author Mikaël Maes said that, while the team had established an association between woodlands and better cognitive development and mental health, there is no causal link between the two -- something that could be studied in the future.
"Currently, the mechanisms why humans receive mental health or cognition benefits from nature exposure is unknown. Scientific research on the role of the human senses is key to establish a causal link," Maes, a PhD researcher at University College London's school of Geography, Biosciences and Imperial College London School of Public Health, told CNN.

image credit: Pascal van de Vendel(Unsplash) 

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Is The Sims 2 On The Nintendo DS Haunted?

If you’ve played The Sims 2 on the Nintendo DS, then you might share your opinion on this odd take: the game is ‘very, very weird,’ as Kotaku’s Leah Williams writes. Aside from its odd and lowkey scary story and characters, the game is actually good in terms of quality and technical prowess. However, that does not stop fans from pointing out that the game is creepy as hell: 

It’s not exactly a normal game, and the vibes it gives off has given people the heebie-jeebies.
“There was definitely something eerie about that game,” wrote Redditor LazerGuidedMelody in the thread. “There was something almost post-apocalypse about it… Despite there being people around the hotel, the saloon, the street, it always feels so empty.”
“One of the first stages of the game you had to do jobs for Frankie Fusilli who was like a mobster, who made you try and blow up the mayor,” wrote Lucaienn. “Later he would make you bury a wriggling suitcase in the desert and after that the mayor was no where to be found.”
“The part that would make me start a new game entirely would be when the alien invasion happened with ‘the music’,” Ginkos-lover wrote. “It would have me so shook that I would start a whole new save and make sure I never got to that point.”
The aura of the game was too much for Redditor Vio-lex. “I’d say I’m pretty interested in weird and creepy stuff, but Sims 2 on DS was too out there for me as a kid,” they wrote in the thread. “Strangetown looked deserted and it had a really derelict, abandoned atmosphere… The cult plot was especially creepy for me when I was younger and still is.”

Image credit: EA

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Snoop Dogg’s Twitch Streams Have Been Muted

He hasn’t noticed at all! Snoop Dogg has started streaming on Twitch over the last few months, and has brought happiness to his viewers by smoking spliffs and playing through Madden NFL. His streams on the platform had a lot of memorable instances, from the one time he rage-quitted and left his camera open for seven hours, to now not realizing that he’s on mute: 

Recently, it looks as if Snoop moved his gaming setup and streaming gear to a new location - and that move may have brought with it some technical issues. In a broadcast earlier this week, it quickly became apparent that Mr Dogg had muted himself on his end. Because he has the chat function disabled, his viewers were unable to tell him what was going on and he streamed for over an hour in complete silence.
The assumption was that word would reach him after this stream, and that he'd fix whatever issue had contributed to his involuntary vow of silence. Not so. Over on Reddit, one viewer gently pointed out that "Snoop Dogg has now streamed without audio three times in the last four days," and still doesn't seem to have any idea.
On the one hand, I find it incredibly easy to believe that Snoop has no idea his streams are muted. I find it even easier to believe that he does know and just doesn't care enough to get it fixed. Meanwhile, some fans conspiratorially believe that these last three streams have been muted because Snoop isn't actually the one playing them - he's simply spectating another stream while on camera enjoying some of the devil's lettuce.

mage Credit: Snoop Dogg Via Twitch

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The Guardians of Traffic

You may have heard by now that the Cleveland MLB team, eights months after announcing they would change their name, will officially be called the Cleveland Guardians at the end of the current season. Now, before you make a joke about Guardians of the Galaxy, there is a perfectly local explanation for the new name, eight sentinels known to all Cleveland residents who pass over the Hope Memorial Bridge, possibly on the way to see a baseball game. They are the Guardians of Traffic.

Flanking either end of the Hope Memorial Bridge from both sides, are 4 towering pylons. Each pylon bears a massive statue on each side representing a "Guardian of Traffic." These winged Art Deco figures wear either winged helmets or winged laurel crowns. Each figure holds a different ground vehicle: a hay wagon, covered wagon, stage coach, passenger car, dump truck, concrete mixer, and two other trucks. The progression of vehicles from hay wagon to semi truck symbolizes the evolution of transport, and the breadth of their protection. They have stood on either side of the bridge protecting all who pass between them since the early 30's.

Henry Hering carved each piece out of a 43 foot tall sandstone slab based on designs by Frank Walker. The Guardians were Hering's first foray into the Art Deco style and they remain the only public Art Deco monument in the city.

-via Metafilter

(Image credit: Erik Drost)

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Superheroes’ Bathroom Habits

Different kinds of fanart have been around for a long time. From the rise of ‘alternate universes’ created by the fans for the fans, it isn’t surprising that even superhero characters get their own fair share of fan-made content. Artist JP ‘Pat’ Huddleston showcases his own take on the well-loved superheroes of today: how they might use the bathroom, as Creative Bloq details: 

There's no denying the illustrative skill here from Huddleston, but what makes the series stand out is the level of attention to detail and humour weaved in. Each character’s personality traits have been explored just the right amount (these images are safe for work, thankfully), and put to good use. Just a glimpse of Wolverine's claws while he's sitting on the toilet was enough to make us shudder (imagine those slipping out at the wrong moment, yeesh), but that reaction quickly turned to laughter when we noticed the Deadpool-themed pants. Genius. 
Speaking of Deadpool, we weren't surprised to see the anti-hero engrossed in Playboy while doing his business, and the unicorn plushie has made us love him all the more. Batman, it seems, prefers to spend this private time flicking through an issue of Wonder Woman. Never going to happen, Caped Crusader.
This whole series has hit on a winning recipe by combining a bucketload of talent and fun. You can see the full series of cheeky prints, which are also available to purchase, over on the Huddlestaff store. The question is, which character will soon be gracing your bathroom wall?

Image credit:  JP "Pat" Huddleston

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The Transgender Roman Emperor

You may never have heard of the Roman emperor Elagabalus, possibly because the name changed (according to Wikipedia, Elagabalus' royal name was Antoninus) and because he only ruled for four years, from age 14 to 18, then was assassinated in disgrace. Was it because Elagabalus promoted the worship of a sun god ahead of the Roman pantheon? Was it because he was incompetent? Or was it because of his sexuality? There is some evidence that Elagabalus may have been transgender.    

An 18th century English historian Edward Gibbon, wrote that Elagabalus “abandoned himself to the grossest pleasures with ungoverned fury.” Germany’s leading historian of Ancient Rome, Barthold Georg Niebuhr, said that “the name Elagabalus is branded in history above all others” because of his “unspeakably disgusting life.” An example of a modern historian’s assessment is Adrian Goldsworthy’s view that: “Elagabalus was not a tyrant, but […] incompetent, probably the least able emperor Rome had ever had.” Only archaeologist Warwick Ball describes Elagabalus as “innovative” and “a tragic enigma lost behind centuries of prejudice.”

When Elagabalus was alive, a Roman statesman who kept close tabs on the lives of his emperors. In his writings, Cassius Dio notably referred to Elagabalus by feminine pronouns and states that the emperor wanted to marry a former male slave and charioteer named Hierocles. Dio stated that Elagabalus delighted in being called Hierocles’s mistress, wife, and queen. Officially, Elagabalus was married five times (and twice to the same woman) all before he was 18, although there were rumours he also married a man named Zoticus, an athlete from Smyrna.

There were further clues from the written accounts of the teenage emperor's reign. Read what we know about the Roman emperor now known as Elagabalus at Messy Nessy Chic. 

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