- If you ever find this author in a coma, just come whisper ‘shrimp tacos’ in my ear.
Some people love pizza, some like roasted Brussels sprouts, while others swear in the name of sushi. The point is, we all have a favorite food that we could eat every single day.
But do you like your favorite dish enough that just hearing its name would bring you back from the grips of death?
It’s alright if you don’t, that kind of an obsession with food might not be healthy. But the family of one Taiwanese teen can thank their son’s love for fried chicken fillets for rousing him from a two-month coma.
Talk about a miracle cure.
It Starts With an Accident
The ordeal of the 18-year-old teen, identified only by his last name Chiu, began in July 2019. He was riding on his scooter in Hsinchu County, northeastern Taiwan, when he got into a traffic accident, reported Taiwan News.
It wasn’t just a small bump, either. The accident left Chiu’s body utterly mangled, battered, and broken.
According to Hsieh Tsung-hsin, director of the ICU at Ton Yen General Hospital, said the teen had suffered massive damage to most of his internal organs. The list of medical terms he used to describe Chiu’s injuries include subdural hydrops; pneumothorax; laceration of the spleen, right kidney, and liver; bleeding from abdominal cavity fractures; and common iliac artery bleeding.
In short, it was a small miracle in itself that Chiu was alive at all. As emergency responders rushed him to the hospital, Chiu slipped into a coma.
Here’s an interesting medical fact for you, doctors use a scale called the Glasgow Coma Scale to rate the severity of the condition. The scale runs from a high of 15 – the least severe – to a low of 3.
Chiu got the lowest score on the Glasgow scale. Things weren’t looking good.
The doctors at Ton Yen put their game face on. Through a series of emergency surgeries, they managed to stabilize Chiu’s condition.
Among the procedures that the young man received were craniotomy, laparotomy, right kidney nephrectomy, splenectomy, liver repair, right clavicle and right femur open reduction and internal fixation, bilateral internal iliac artery embolization, and enterostomy.
We don’t know what half of these operations are, and frankly, we’d rather not know. But we do feel like an average human wouldn’t pull through that list of operations.
Chiu, however, turned out to not be an average person. Dr Hish said that he lived due to his “strong will to survive” – in addition to the extensive number of surgeries.
But although Chiu was no longer in immediate danger of dropping dead, he did not wake from his coma.
A Helpful Threat
For the next 62 days, Chiu remained in his unconscious state. According to a nurse, his family stayed at his bedside the entire time, praying for him to wake up soon.
“It was a constant tug-of-war with the god of death,” the nurse told UDN.
One day, Chiu’s older brother was with him at the hospital. Attempting to engage in some brotherly banter, his brother gave Chiu the following ultimatum:
“Brother, if you don’t wake up, I’m going to go eat your favorite chicken fillet,” the older Chiu said.
Despite his coma, the younger Chiu must have been conscious on some level. That’s because he clearly heard his brother, and he wasn’t about to let anyone beat him to his favorite meal.
Suddenly, Chiu’s heart rate monitor began to beep faster. According to doctors, his brother’s threat caused Chiu to start regaining consciousness and his vital signs began to stabilize.
Noting this, other family members started recording encouraging messages to Chiu and playing them to him. After spending six months in the hospital, the young man was back on his feet.
At the end of last year, he finally returned home. The story doesn’t tell what he had as his first meal, but we’re pretty confident in guessing it might’ve been fried chicken.
Some time after his discharge, Chiu returned to the hospital, but not as a coma-ridden patient. Instead, he came back to thank his saviors with a cake.
This might sound like made-up story, but there is actually scientific backing to it. According to a study by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, voices of loved ones can help awaken an unconscious brain.
The research found that coma patients who heard familiar stories in the voices of their family members several times a day recovered consciousness significantly faster than those who didn’t.
“We believe hearing those stories in parents’ and siblings’ voices exercises the circuits in the brain responsible for long-term memories,” said adjunct associate professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Theresa Pape.
Giving the brain something familiar to process four times a day for six weeks helped coma patients become more aware of their environment. Some even started responding to conversation and spoken directions.
“It’s like coming out of anesthesia. It’s the first step in recovering full consciousness,” Pape said.
According to Pape, the speech therapy doesn’t help just the coma patient. It can also benefit the family members during an incredibly emotionally difficult time.
“Families feel helpless and out of control when a loved one is in a coma,” said Pape.
“It’s a terrible feeling for them. This gives them a sense of control over the patient’s recovery and the chance to be part of the treatment.”
Banded Mongoose Females Send Their Pack to War… And Then Have Sex with the Enemy
- We’ve heard about “blood lust”, but this is ridiculous.
We usually associate animal behavior with cuteness. Whether they’re running, jumping, bouncing, nibbling, or anything else, it’s usually adorable, right?
But if you’re read Oddee at all – or paid any attention to nature for that matter – you’ll know that just as often animals aren’t quite as innocent as we make them out to be. In fact, they can get downright disturbing.
For an example, you could go read our story about naked mole rats and their infant-enslaving ways. You can then come back here for the latest chapter in our series of wanton animal cruelty.
This time around, we’ll be taking a look at the banded mongoose. These animals engage in something that in general is pretty exclusively human behavior – they wage war.
If you were to see a mongoose battlefield, you might think it sort of resembles something out of The Lord of the Rings. The critters will arrange themselves in battle lines and await the command of their leader before charging into the enemy formation.
But there’s nothing so noble as defeating a Dark Lord motivating this battle. A recent study has found has found that banded mongooses will march to war for one reason only.
The female leading the army wants to mate.
And you thought human dating got messy.
A Mongoose Explained
As we usually do with articles like this, let’s first answer question: what the heck is a banded mongoose?
These 1.5-feet-long critters live in the grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa. They get their name from the dark bands that run across their otherwise brownish-gray fur.
The banded mongooses are carnivorous and will eat pretty much anything small enough, such as insects, crabs, birds, eggs, and snakes. Unlike most other mongooses, they live in packs of 10-40 individuals that move between burrows and other hiding places every few days.
At the head of the pack stands one dominant female. However, when a female goes into heat, he may find his position is not quite as all-powerful as he might think.
According to the new study, when a banded mongoose female enters estrus – the fertile period of her reproductive cycle – she will understandably start attracting the attention of the males from her pack. Only, that may not be what she wants.
Michael Cant, a biologist at the University of Exeter and one of the authors of the study, said that nearly all inter-group mongoose battles are initiated by females in estrus.
“We think females play a role in inciting these conflicts to escape the males in their own family groups during the confusion and chaos of battle,” Cant told the Associated Press.
Banded mongooses are usually extremely loyal to their birth pack. They live together, they guard their burrows together, and they raise their pups together.
This loyalty, however, seems to fall apart when a female starts looking for a mate. The researchers found that females take the lead in steering their packs into places where they’re likely to run into competing mongoose bands.
“This is fascinating research on a pretty unique situation,” said biological anthropologist Michael Wilson from the University of Minnesota, who was not affiliated with the mongoose study.
“What’s driving this is partly the dilemma the females find themselves in.”
A dilemma? What is he talking about?
A Bloody Distraction
Wilson is talking about incest, that’s what. Since the mongooses live in such tightly-knit groups, inbreeding can become a real problem.
To avoid this situation, Wilson said the female mongooses have a strong drive to find mates from other mongoose groups.
“But it’s really hard to do that because as soon as they come into estrus, they get followed doggedly by a male in their own group. The only way they can shake him off is to visit the neighbors and start a fight,” Wilson explained.
And so, the female will lead her lusty followers into bloody battle. After forming into the aforementioned battle lines, the males of two mongoose armies will charge each other with fire and fury.
“They bunch up into writhing balls, chaotic and fast-moving, and you hear high-pitched screeches,” Cant described the battle.
So Violent They’re Almost Human
While the mongoose warriors are tearing each other to pieces, the instigating female will sneak behind enemy lines and mate with their males. And so the mongoose pack receives new genetic material – bought with the blood of their own.
According to Cant, this is a classic example of “exploitative leadership”. The instigating female benefits at the cost of her own pack.
“The findings do not fit a heroic model of leadership, in which leaders contribute most to aggression and bear greatest costs, but rather an exploitative model, in which the initiators of conflict expose others to greater risks while contributing little to fighting themselves,” he said in a statement.
You could argue that the group does end up benefiting from the battle in the long run by avoiding inbreeding. The study found that 20% of a banded mongoose band’s pups are fathered by males from different groups.
Still, the immediate result of a mongoose war is that good number of a pack’s males will be either severely injured or dead. No matter how good it was for the instigating female, you can’t help but ask whether it was worth it.
But the large numbers of casualties highlighted another curious fact that the researchers picked up on. Apparently, the mongoose battles aren’t extraordinarily bloody when compared to some other war-waging species.
“The mortality costs involved are similar to those seen in a handful of the most warlike mammals, including lions, chimpanzees, and – of course – humans,” the researchers said.
They also found that the exploitative leadership model is very much human-like.
“A classic explanation for warfare in human societies is leadership by exploitative individuals who reap the benefits of conflict while avoiding the costs,” they added.
Seems the mongooses are painting a caricature of humanity. And it’s not a pretty picture.
Alien Monolith Discovered in Utah Desert
- Dear extraterrestrials, please stop leaving your weird metal constructs on public land.
Are we alone in the universe? Or do alien creatures occasionally – or maybe even regularly – descend from the skies to walk on Earth?
Some people certainly think so, and not all of them are UFO-hunting crackpots either. For example, you could go read our story of the ex-U.S. military boss who thinks we should have a defense plan against UFOs.
But if aliens do visit Earth, why don’t we ever see anything they might’ve left behind? Sure, there’s an occasional purported alien artefact – in addition to whatever what was involved in the Roswell crash – but if there were regular extraterrestrial visitors to Earth, you’d think they’d leave behind otherworldly sandwich wrappers or something.
But now we may have just found something. State officials in Utah have discovered a strange object sticking out of the ground in the middle of the desert.
What they found sure looks alien. It’s a 10-foot-tall shiny metal monolith, jutting out of Utah desert.
Anyone who’s watched 2001: Space Odyssey should be having chills right about now. The find is eerily similar to the black ominous rectangle responsible for human evolution that was depicted in the movie.
But what on Earth is the strange object? Is it even from Earth?
A Strange Discovery
The strange object was discovered on November 18 by officials from the Utah Department of Public Safety, who were giving a helicopter ride to their colleagues from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
They had taken to the air to perform a count of bighorn sheep in a part of southeastern Utah. As they were flying over the Red Rock Country – a particularly famous desert landscape – one of the biologist onboard the chopper noticed something on the ground.
Between the red rock faces, something metallic was shining.
“One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” the helicopter’s pilot Bret Hutchings told KSL TV.
“He was like: ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like: ‘What?’ And he’s like: ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’”
Not one to turn down such an enthusiastic request, the pilot identified a suitable landing spot. He brought the craft down, and the officials began to walk toward the thing they’d found.
And there it was. In the middle of nowhere, hidden between tall cliffs, stood a rectangular, polished silvery metal monolith.
“I’d say it’s probably between 10 and 12 feet-high,” Hutchings said.
The Out-of-place Oddity
Not only was the monolith itself strange, but its location made it even more eerie. There was no immediate indication of who had brought it there.
The officials found no footprints or car tracks. It was as if the thing had fallen out of the sky and buried itself in the ground.
What’s weirder, the soil around the spot is particularly hard-packed. It would’ve taken some serious effort to dig and cut a hole big enough to hold the monolith upright.
Yet, there was no sign of such activity either.
“That’s been about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all my years of flying,” Hutchings told KSL TV.
“We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it.”
The crew couldn’t figure out the purpose of the object, either. They speculated that it might have some space-based applications.
“We were, like, thinking is this something NASA stuck up there or something. Are they bouncing satellites off it or something?”
Maybe it was NASA. Or maybe it was… Aliens.
Well, probably not. At least the helicopter crew doesn’t think so.
The thing is definitely an artificial construct, but the helicopter crew figured that it’s more of an art piece than any alien object.
“I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big Space Odyssey fan,” Hutchings said.
Whatever the monolith’s purpose, Utah Bureau of Land Management is currently determining whether it warrants a further investigation. Meanwhile, they’ve decided not to reveal the object’s exact location to the public.
“It is in a very remote area and if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue,” Utah Department of Public Safety said.
Yeah, right. That sounds exactly the kind of story they’d come up with to keep us in the dark about alien encounters!
Speaking of aliens, if the monolith is of extraterrestrial origin, its owners might be in for a hefty fine if Utah officials catch them trying to retrieve their metal rectangle.
“It is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you’re from,” the Department of Public Safety reminded.
Eel Refuses to Die, Busts out of Heron in Aliens Reenactment
- If you’re body-horror adverse, tread no further, it’s as gruesome as you think.
- Snake eels are hard-to-kill with hard heads and iron wills, they often burrow back out of the predators who consume them.
Nature is a brutal, unforgiving place. The fact the sun goes down at 3:30 in the afternoon should be reason enough to accept that as fact, but if you’re unconvinced (or a masochist), I present to you the eel. Researchers published a study in the Memoirs of the Queensland Museum journal about snake eels. They’re hard-headed, tough-to-kill guys who burrow out of the stomachs of the fish who eat them.
Make Sure Your Food is Dead
Not to victim-blame here, but if you’re not going to chew your food, then you have to accept that some horrific things can happen–like your brunch shreds your innards. In these circumstances, the snake eels rarely make it back out into the world. The predator’s immune system encloses them in a cyst or abscess, where they’re mummified. Presumably, the predator dies as well.
John Pogonoski, one of the snake eel researchers, told Live Science that their colleague once found a snake eels writhing around inside of a fish they caught and were about to eat. That sight alone would put me off food for a good long while.
A few weeks ago, Sam Davis, an engineer by trade who takes wildlife photos to relax, got the shot of a lifetime. He took a series of pictures of a Delaware heron flying around with a snake eel wriggling out of her neck. Traumatizing.
Just Out for a Nice Flight
Both the heron and the eel look remarkably casual in the photos, which are worth checking out on Live Science. Pogonoski even gave the heron even chances of surviving the encounter, as long as the wound didn’t get infected. The fact an eel-sized hole in the neck isn’t an instant death sentence for an animal is further evidence of how brutal it is.
However, the eel may have been in worse shape following its madcap dash for freedom. They require specific salinity if you remember our story about the freedom fighter dumping 100 eels into a Brooklyn lake. So if the two animals finally parted over land or a freshwater lake, the snake eel would still die.
Chew your food, folks.
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