This Week

[October 20-26th, 2019] Driving rats, a 7,800-year-old pearl, the loudest bird, and the rest of the week’s weird news from Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Road Rage Rats?

While stepping into a car might not be a relaxing experience for those of us with lengthy commutes, rats apparently find the activity relaxing. A team of researchers at the University of Richmond have taught a pack of rats how to drive. They don’t pilot regular automobiles, but instead have their own little electric cars made from food containers. Learning seemed to have relaxed the rats, who were rewarded with Froot Loops for successfully operating their motor vehicles.

driving rats

Kelly Lambert/University of Richmond

7,800-Year-Old Pearl

Discovered in 2017 on Marawah Island, off the coast of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, it took nearly two years for experts to determine the age exact age of an ancient pearl. Dating back to somewhere between 5600 and 5800 B.C., the pearl formed naturally before being traded. At only 0.13 inches in circumference, its size may not be impressive, but its age certainly is.

oldest peral

Abu Dhabi Department of Tourism Handout

19-Hour Flight

Making its way to Sydney, Australia, from New York City, Qantas Airlines completed the trip in just 19 hours and 16 minutes. The flight was a test run for a non-stop flight between the cities and carried a small group of passengers subjected to a battery of tests and experiments to prevent severe jetlag. Their meals and sleep schedule were planned out and they were even able to exercise in the empty economy class.

qantas airlines

Headphone Warning

In the newest issue of Current Biology, scientists have finally determined the loudest bird on Earth. The white bellbird is native to northeast South America and has a call as loud as a pneumatic drill. Its mating song reaches an ear-splitting 125 decibels and is capable of damaging human hearing.

A Not-So-Quick Detour

A 65-foot stretch of construction in the United Kingdom’s Dorset county is sending drivers on a 41-mile detour. Closed for five days for a sewage project, a trip that normally takes just a second to complete at the posted 30 miles per hour speed limit now will take upwards of an hour.