[February 8–February 14, 2021] Surviving supercentenarians, TikTok traders, and a “Frozen” finding—all round-up in this week’s weird news from Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Europe’s Oldest Person Celebrates 117th Birthday After Defeating COVID-19

Sister André, born Lucile Randon, showed no symptoms of the COVID-19 virus when she tested positive on January 16, with other Sainte Catherine Labouré nursing home residents in Toulon, France. Of the 88 residents in the facility, 10 of the 81 infected passed away.

The French nun appears to have her priorities straight. Upon speaking with her doctor, she was reportedly only concerned about the other residents and whether her meal and bedtime schedules would change. André was quarantined to her room until nursing home staff members were confident that she was no longer contagious.

The mildness of André’s COVID-19 experience has shocked many due to her age and the virus’s heightened risk for the elderly, but her advanced age may have been the thing that saved her.

Apparently, living over 110 years may have its perks. According to Live Science, supercentenarians like André may have higher amounts of immune cells that can protect them against viruses like COVID-19. While scientists cannot say for certain that these cells are what helped Sister André, we can’t help but wonder if her daily glass of wine and piece of chocolate contributed to helping her make it to the big 1-1-7.

TikToker Turns Bobby Pin into Tiny House

In May 2020, TikTok creator Demi Skipper set off on a mission to barter her way to homeownership, beginning with a single bobby pin. Millions of followers and a tiny house later, she has proven victorious!

Inspired by Kyle MacDonald’s 2006 endeavor of trading a red paperclip up to a farmhouse, Skipper, of San Francisco, began documenting her “Trade Me Project” on TikTok as a way to entertain her followers during the COVID-19 quarantine.

After setting some ground rules for the project, including no trading for money and no trading with people she knows, Skipper began recording how she used Craigslist and Facebook to make her trades.

Skipper kicked off her adventure by trading the initial bobby pin for a $10 earring, and has since upped the stakes with trades for a MacBook, limited-edition sneakers, a minivan, and beyond—ultimately landing herself a mobile cabin in exchange for a Jeep Liberty.

Skipper’s trading goals don’t end there. She plans to continue trading until she has acquired a single-family home without the burden of spending cash or taking on a mortgage. 

@trademeprojectTrading a Bobby pin until I get a house – Part 28 ##trademeproject ##fyp ##trade♬ Blinding Lights – The Weeknd

Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Defrosts Mystery Behind Dyatlov Pass Incident

The mystery of the 1959 Dyatlov Pass incident is thawing out after a simulation used in Disney’s animated film Frozen helps prove a long-speculated avalanche theory.

In the 62 years since nine hikers died during a 200-mile journey through the Russian mountains, researchers and conspiracy theorists alike have pondered how exactly their demise came to be. Theories have ranged from a KGB mission to military testing and death by a bad mushroom trip. The most prominent—and logical—hypothesis has always been an avalanche, except it was filled with questions of terrain and inconsistent injuries on the victims’ bodies… until now.

In 2019, the head of the Swiss technical institute EPFL’s Snow Avalanche Simulation Laboratory began pondering how an avalanche could have been the cause of the incident after being asked for insight by The New York Times. Coincidentally, he watched Frozen shortly after and found himself so fascinated by its realistic depiction of snow—specifically in an avalanche scene—that he simply could not “let it go.”

After acquiring the animation code from the film’s animators, the team simulated the avalanche believed to have caused the Dyatlov Pass incident and discovered that it was completely feasible for a slab avalanche to cause the injuries found on the hikers’ bodies while killing them.

Dyatlov Pass Incident

A view of the victims’ tent as the rescuers found it on February 26, 1959. The tent had been cut open from inside.

False Alarm as Firefighters Respond to Prep of 10,000 Chicken Wings

North Carolina firefighters responding to a call about a restaurant on fire were relieved to discover that the only flames to be found were those of 10,000 hot chicken wings.

A misinformed motorist called 911 after seeing smoke billowing from Ronni’s Pizza as he or she drove by Saturday night. When the Lewisville Fire Department arrived, they instead found a giant chicken wing preparation in play for Sunday’s Super Bowl orders.

After a massive sigh of relief, the firefighters enjoyed a few laughs, some good food, and a photo op with the restaurant staff.

Earlier this evening we were dispatched to Ronni’s Pizza for a commercial building fire. While it looked bad when we got…

Posted by Lewisville Fire Department on Saturday, February 6, 2021

Sea Cucumbers Save Ecosystems with Plentiful Poops

While sea cucumbers may look a bit lost as they scoot their oblong bodies around the ocean floor, these eyeless weirdos are actually working hard to save ecosystems with their poop. Believe It or Not! one colony can expel well over 70,000 tons of poop in a single year!

A recent study reveals observations from Heron Island Reef, located just south of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, where researchers counted over three million sea cucumbers living on the 7.3-square-mile reef. Through feeding experiments, the team deduced that one single sea cucumber expels about 1.3 ounces of poop every day—about 30.8 pounds a year!

This impressive poop rate is critical to the health of the ocean’s ecosystems. Sea cucumbers suck up sediments and micro-organisms, releasing beneficial derivatives, including calcium carbonate, ammonia, and nitrogen, out the other end.

Considering that sea cucumbers use their butts to both breathe and defecate, we’d say these are some busy booties.

By Meghan Yani, contributor for Ripleys.com


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