A giant tumbleweed roughly the size of a Volkswagen beetle was spotted hurtling its way down a four-lane road in California this week.
The jaunty brown bundle of brush was captured on video and posted on Tuesday on X, formerly known as Twitter, where it has gathered a number of fans who have compared it to a giant hairball, belly lint gone wild, and the critters from the eponymously named 1986 sci-fi horror movie.
The poster of the video offered no information about the bouncing plantcarcass, other than to say that it was “the mother of all tumbleweeds.” But that got us thinking. Not just about cowboys and classic Western movies, but about where tumbleweeds come from and their propensity for taking over roads and neighborhoods.
First off, tumbleweeds aren’t one specific species of plant. They fall under an umbrella of noxious weeds that when dry, break off at the root, setting off on a seed-spreading expedition.
One of the most common and most problematic for crops is the Russian thistle, or Kali tragus. It is believed to have hitched a ride from Ukraine to South Dakota in a shipment of flaxseed back in the 1870s, and it has plagued the country’s dry, arid lands ever since.
In 2020, a swarm of tumbleweeds took over a stretch of Washington state highway that piled up to 30 feet high in some places. Cars and trucks were trapped for hours. Authorities dubbed it Tumblegeddon.
A couple of years later, about 100 homes in Victorville, California, were seemingly swallowed up by thousands of prickly tumbleweeds that were strewn about by 50 mph winds.
“It looked like a war of tumbleweeds, like we were being invaded,” Victorville resident Bryan Bagwell, 42, told NPR at the time.
In a similar incident in 2014, a tumbleweed explosion knocked down fences, blocked highways and trapped people inside their homes in Colorado.
Experts say there is more tumbleweed tumult in our futures. A 2019 study from the University of California, Riverside, found that a new species of gigantic tumbleweeds — Salsola ryanii — that can grow up to 6 feet tall, grows more vigorously than others. They also say it’s likely to expand its territory as a result of climate change.
It seems Kourtney Kardashian may have had a lookalike from the olden days, after a TikTok user found her doppelganger in a century-old photo.
California real estate agent and Cuban singer Karina Nuvo couldn’t believe it when she stumbled upon what appears to be an old-school photo while grabbing food at her local supermarket.
“Was Kourtney Kardashian alive in 1912?” she wrote in the caption.
@lanuvovidakarina Doppelgänger at a Grocery Outlet @Kourtney Kardashian Barker #groceryoutlet #altadena #schoolhouse #1910s #twin #twinsoftiktok #doppelgänger #fyp ♬ Kourtney Kardashian – forthehome
The video has since gone viral, clocking up 3.3 million views on TikTok alone.
Nuvo – who is also a two-time Grammy nominee – said that she has tried to go viral in the past with her videos but failed, until she shared the clip of the Kourtney lookalike.
“So, of all things to go VIRAL, I have tried to do videos on spreading awareness on so many levels that are humanitarian and for health. I am not someone who understands this whole algorithm nor do I post for any views, but I’ll be darned that the one video that I post on TikTok that has gone viral,” she continued.
Kuvo added some funny to the video by using a voiceover of Kourtney in a famous scene from her family’s reality TV show, The Kardashians.
In the scene from 2022, an exasperated Kourtney loses patience with her ex Scott Disick as her relationship with now-husband Travis Barker grows serious. Scott is wanting to still attend family events and holidays, but now that Kourtney has moved on with Travis, it’s a no from her.
“I don’t have the energy for this … I am unsubscribing from this drama,” Kourtney said in a confessional from the show, which Kuvo used as her voiceover in the TikTok clip.
TikTok fans agreed that the woman in the photo looks exactly like the reality star, expressing their shock in the comments.
“It’s her doppelganger for sure!” one wrote, while another said, “My jaw dropped.”
Another user joked, “I knew it I knew they were vampires”, referring to the ageless Kardashian clan.
“North [West] did say Kim [Kardashian] was over 100 years old then retracted lmao,” a TikToker added, referring to a jibe North made about her mother on a recent episode.
Meanwhile, another fan thought they also spotted a lookalike of Kourtney’s daughter, Penelope Disick, in the old photo.
“There is a little girl that resembles Penelope too,” they noted.
A plague of rats is creating havoc in Karumba, a small coastal town in Queensland, Australia, where hordes of rodents are chewing on electrical wires and otherwise eating everything they can find — and washing up dead in massive numbers, creating a literal stink in the community.
“The stench is quite bad,” Carpentaria Shire Council Mayor Jack Bawden, whose shire includes Karumba, told NPR. But if coastal winds prevail, he added, “it is still livable.”
The rural town isn’t alone: Other parts of Western Queensland are also enduring a plague of native long-haired rats, whose population exploded after copious rainfall boosted plant vegetation across hundreds of miles in the inland Outback.
The long-haired rat eats shoots and leaves — and then leaves for the north, seeking more food, researcher Emma Gray of the school of biology and environmental science at Queensland University of Technology told NPR.
Like an army, the mass of rats also has a very effective, and literal, force multiplier. Gray says they can “produce 12 young every three weeks when conditions are good!”
As photos and video from the scene show, thousands of rat carcasses are decaying in and around Karumba, after washing up in clumps on seawalls and shorelines.
It’s not unusual for thousands of visitors to descend on Karumba, whose human population numbers in the hundreds. Those annual guests are “grey nomads” — retirees who arrive in campers and RVs, drawn by the allure of scenic water views, fishing, and a laid-back atmosphere.
But alarms were raised earlier this year. In July, a Carpentaria official informed the shire’s council that “the public have reported an increased number of rats and mice.” The council considered creating a fact sheet about what the meeting minutes dubbed a “Rat Plague.”
“They come in waves,” Karumba resident Jon Jensen told the 4BC radio station in Brisbane. “They almost seem trained and organized. They’re in numbers, mate, and they swim around in the rivers like little puppy dogs.”
Everywhere they go, the rats eat — and eat.
“They’re hangry, they’ve swum a long way, they’ve come across land a long way,” Jensen said, “and they’re eating anything and everything they can get their hands on.”
Rats destroyed a car by attacking its wiring at Derek Lord’s rental business in Normanton, near Karumba, he told Agence France-Presse. The rodents were so bold, he added, they broke into his ducks’ cages and stole their eggs.
You can’t even escape them out on the water. Rats have been scampering up anchor chains of charter and fishing boats. Commercial fisherman Brett Fallon has been seeing “at least 100 rats a night” on his boat, he told Australia’s ABC.
The rats’ migration ends in Karumba
The town of Karumba, outlined in red, has long been a destination for massive rat migrations. “The rats hit the Norman River and just start swimming,” Carpentaria Shire Council Mayor Jack Bawden told NPR.
Google Maps/Screenshot by NPR
Queensland’s topography, with a river system that twists its way to the northern coast, funnels the rodents toward the shore — and dead or alive, hordes of them arrive in Karumba, a fishing and port community on the Gulf of Carpentaria.
“The rats hit the Norman River and just start swimming where the tide and currents take a huge number out to sea,” Mayor Bawden said. “Being hardy little buggers, high numbers reach the other side in Karumba.”
Once they’ve arrived, there’s little anyone can do to curtail the plague. Traps have been set up, he said, but in the face of such multitudes, the measure “really is a token gesture.”
The best the government can do, he said, is to sweep bodies of rats away to keep walkways and boat ramps passable.
Animal Control Ranger Phil Grieve has been collecting dead rats by the hundred — that’s how many can fit into each disposal bag, he told TV station 10 News First Queensland.
“First day, I got 18 — so that’s 1,800” rats, he said.
When will the plague be over?
To the layperson, a plague of rats might seem to signal the apocalypse. But Gray says the long-haired rats arrive in cycles.
“This phenomenon is a natural process and occurs at irregular intervals ranging from 3-17 years,” she said.
The last large rat migration or irruption in the region, Gray said, happened around 12 years ago. But records of them go back for centuries.
“As quickly as the rats irrupt or ‘boom’ in numbers, so too do they decline or ‘bust,’ ” Gray said.
The decline can be linked to several factors, from a change to dry conditions to increases in inbreeding and disease — and predators that feast on the rodent influx. Feral cats, for instance, are eating well.
“Generally during a rat irruption, the area also sees a significant increase in the number of predatory birds such as letter-winged kites, black-shouldered kites and eastern barn owls,” Gray said.
To Bawden, the mayor, the rats are “a nasty quirk of nature, and nature usually cleans up its own mess.” He added, “This year we have them in all their glory and can’t wait for them to disappear.”
The long-haired rat’s alternate name is “plague rat,” according to the Queensland government website. The rat’s conservation status, as you might guess: “Least concern.”
The ancient Maya have long been a point of interest for archaeologists and researchers attempting to understand civilization.
Their work has seen them discover countless relics and artefacts hidden deep inside the jungle.
Much of this has consisted of things like pyramids and jewellery, though one find trumped them all.
Deep inside the jungle of Belize, Central America, archaeologists have uncovered what may be the largest royal tomb found in a century of work on Maya ruins in the country.
Along with a range of mystifying hieroglyphs that hinted at the existence of a so-called “snake dynasty”, researchers came across an altogether more gruesome object deep inside a forgotten tomb.
On excavating a stairway to a large part of the structure, researchers found within it the remains of a male adult, believed to be aged between 20 and 30 years old, lying on his back with his head to the south.
Archaeologist Professor Jamie Awe, who led the excavations with a team from his institute, Northern Arizona University, and the Belize Institute of Archaeology in 2016, said analysis revealed much about the man.
Results showed he was athletic and “quite muscular” at the time of his death, though there was little indication to explain how he had died.
“[It is] one of the largest burial chambers ever discovered in Belize,” Prof Awe told The Guardian.
Alongside the gruesome remains he and the team also found jaguar and deer bones, six jade beads potentially from a necklace, 13 obsidian blades, and 36 ceramic vessels.
At the bottom of the staircase, they came across two caches that had nine obsidian and 28 chert flints and eccentrics, chipped artefacts that are shaped into animals, leaves, or other significant symbols.
Even if none of this had been found, the tomb would have proved extraordinary given its vast size, some 4.5 metres by 2.4 metres.
Most Maya tombs were built as additions to existing structures, but this tomb was built at the same time with the structure around it.
A common practice with the ancient Egyptians, it has never been seen before among the Maya.
“In other words, it appears that the temple was purposely erected for the primary purpose of enclosing the tomb,” Prof Awe said. “Except for a very few rare cases, this is not very typical in ancient Maya architecture.”
Most Maya sites were ruled through family dynasties, and the tomb at Xunantunich is the first such royal tomb to be found at the site.
Both male and female tombs have been found across Belize, including those of the so-called “snake dynasty”, named after the snake-head emblem usually found alongside its structures.
The snake dynasty dominated Belize for decades in the 7th century and moved their capital to various sites around the country.
Prof Awe said the hieroglyphic panels found inside could prove “even more important than the tomb”, by providing clues to the dynasty’s history.
His and the team’s work was peer-reviewed for publication in the Journal of the Precolumbian Art Research Institute.
Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, there’s something to be said about the unexplainable.
Take the Bulgarian prophetess Baba Vanga for instance.
Born in 1911, Vanga was blind since her early childhood and able to predict a range of wild events throughout history and after her passing.
But how spot on was she?
Reportedly 85 percent to be exact, which is probably why even Soviet leaders sought her counsel.
Though we can’t be absolutely convinced as a lot of her triumphs are based on recounts and second-hand tales, you can’t deny that she’s been correct about a lot of things.
1. 2022 floods
Vanga predicted that large cities around the world would be hit by large-scale droughts and water shortages.
In 2022, the UK has had the driest July since 1935 and an officially declared drought on 12th August.
Other countries also faced this issue such as France, Italy, and Portugal.
She also predicted that Australia and Asia would experience floods, which also came true.
‘Horror, horror!’ she reportedly said.
“The American brethren will fall after being attacked by the steel birds. The wolves will be howling in a bush, and innocent blood will be gushing.”
Though cryptic, there’s a lot of keywords that could point to planes, American people, bush and his retaliation war.
3. The Kursk Sub
Back in in 1980, Vanga was said to have predicted that Kursk would be ‘covered with water and the whole world will weep over it’ in a 1999 event.
Though it sounds as if she was mentioning the Russian city, it’s uncanny that just one year later there would be sunken nuclear submarine killing 118 crew members.
4. Obama and Trump
She reportedly saw when the US would have their first black president.
The oracle predicted that the 44th president would be a black man, which happened to be the year Barack Obama took over.
There have also been claims that she foresaw the Trump conundrum.
She allegedly said: “Everyone will put their hopes in him to end it, but the opposite will happen.
“He will bring the country down and conflicts between north and south states will escalate.”
5. The Indira Gandhi assassination
Indira Gandhi was the prime minister of India in the 1980s and committed an atrocious attack against the Golden Temple in 84 before being shot dead by her bodyguards as revenge.
Now, in 1969, Vanga had a vision of Gandhi: “The dress will destroy her. I see an orange-yellow dress in the smoke and fire.”
The prime minister wearing a saree with similar colours on the day she was killed.
6. Her death
Imagine knowing when you will die?
The clairvoyant was privy to her own demise six years before she would die and spoke of it in 1990, pointing to August 11, 1996, as the day it would all end.
She also allegedly correctly predicted Chernobyl, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the death of Princess Diana, but a lot of it is heresy.
And what about 2024?
Well, she made predictions for every year up until 5079 so she might get something right.
According to reports, her top four predictions for 2024 are as follows:
1. Putin’s assassination
2. Increase in terrorist attacks in Europe
3. Biological attacks
4. Huge economic crisis
Let’s hope we’re in the 15 percent of wrong predictions on these ones…
A Brazilian boy’s culinary curiosity has proven to be costly after he ate a fried gecko and fell seriously ill, requiring multiple trips to the hospital.
The 11-year-old child initially fell ill November 7 after spending the weekend at his father’s home in the central city of Formosa when the idea of eating a lizard piqued his interest, according to online news outlet G1.
The dying to know boy almost killed a reptile while he was playing and approached his stepmother and her mother about possibly eating it.
The stepmother told the Civil Police that they came to the agreement that she would prepare him the peculiar dish if he captured more lizards.
He eventually did and returned with four, which the woman cleaned, seasoned and fried before he sat down to eat.
‘The father’s current mother-in-law is a very simple person, it seems that she had been hungry in the past and commented to the child that in the past people ate that because they were in need,’ Civil Police chief Paulo Santos said.
Santos indicated he was not sure that the stepmother and her mother would be charged because the boy was not forced into eating the animal.
His ‘stunned’ mother, Raquel de Souza, said he she took him to Formosa State Hospital after he began experiencing headaches, swelling in the tongue, diarrhea, vomiting and urinating a dark liquid.
The boy was discharged three days later but his health worsened Monday. He visited the hospital’s urgent care unit, where he spent several hours before he was discharged.
He fell sick again Wednesday night, requiring him to be hospitalized a third time.
The boy was discharged three days later but his health worsened Monday. He visited the hospital’s urgent care unit, where he spent several hours before he was discharged. He fell sick again Wednesday night, requiring him to be hospitalized a third time.
De Souza said that tests revealed that ‘his intestinal flora is all messed up due to the amount of bacteria in his body.’
Her son, she explained, has had problems eating and has been limited to a fruit and coconut water diet. In addition he has dropped from 99 to 95 pounds since he first got sick.
‘Since he ate the gecko, every day he feels something, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, fever, lack of appetite,’ de Souza said.
According to infectious disease doctor Marcelo Daher, the curious boy well-being may have been jeopardized if the lizard was infected with parasites.
‘The risk of acquiring a disease is very high,’ he said. ‘There is a risk of sensitization by the animal’s own protein and a risk of a serious allergic reaction. You have to be very careful and careful when eating some wild animals.’
A crew aboard a Japanese fishing boat got a little bit more than they bargained for when they dredged up the corpse of a 30-foot sea creature.
Knewz.com reported that the carcass weighing a staggering 3,968 pounds had the fishermen convinced they stumbled upon a modern-day dinosaur.
According to the Daily Star, the finding took place east of Christchurch in New Zealand, aboard the Japanese trawler Zuiyo Maru in 1977. The find was followed by excitement as the fishermen thought they had found an unidentified animal of potential biological significance.
However, due to the foul stench emanating from the rotting carcass, the captain, Akira Tanaka, decided to return it to the ocean, so as not to spoil the fish they had already caught – but not before photographs and samples were taken for later analysis.
The creature, nicknamed Nessie, possessed distinct features, including a long neck, four large red-colored fins, and a 2-meter-long tail. It was noted that the chest cavity contained no internal organs, and the gut had opened up due to decay. Nevertheless, flesh and fat remained intact, allowing for the extraction of amino acids for examination.
The discovery caused a frenzy in Japan, giving rise to what became known as the “plesiosaur craze.”
Many scientists, including those from Yokohama and Tokyo University, believed that the creature resembled a sea serpent or a prehistoric plesiosaur, a species that had perished alongside the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
In fact so large was the craze that the shipping company went so far as to order all its vessels to search for the dumped carcass, but their efforts were in vain.
Despite the widespread enthusiasm not everyone was convinced. Hans-Christian Bjerring, a Swedish paleontologist, expressed skepticism and suggested that microscopic analysis of the fins and skin samples taken from the creature would have provided a conclusive answer.
“If it’s true that the Japanese collected samples of fins and skin, it would be possible to conclude from a microscope what it is.”
“If it would be shown to be a hitherto unknown animal from the sea,” his analyses continued, “it is as big of a sensation as the discovery of the coelacanth in 1938… but there is reason to be suspicious of the claims of plesiosaurs, for example, as the marine environment and fauna changed drastically since the age of the plesiosaurs on earth.”
Notably, there is no record of such an examination.
As time went on, scientists eventually concluded that the identity of the carcass could not be definitively determined.
However, many agreed that it was most likely that of a basking shark or a closely related species. Decomposing basking shark carcasses often lose their lower head area and dorsal and caudal fins first after they die, resulting in a resemblance to plesiosaurs.
Building No. 7 on Gvardtsiv Kantemirovtsiv Street (now known as Mariy Primachenko Street) in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, was the most recent addition to the block. Equipped with elevators and running hot water, this apartment complex exudes a level of luxury not typically seen in Soviet-era residential buildings.
The first family came here in 1980. They couldn’t have expected more. It was definitely one of the best apartments in the city. However, their joy was short-lived.
Just a year after arriving, their 18-year-old teenage daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and died within a few months. The family had just recovered from the tragedy when their 16-year-old son contracted the same terrible disease and died shortly afterward. This was followed by another death – that of his mother and the third victim of leukemia.
The family wondered whether the apartment was cursed, but the story of the mysterious affliction did not find a wide audience, and doctors attributed the illness to poor heredity. The family soon moved out, and the city executive committee gave the keys to the apartment to another family.
In 1987, tragedy struck residents again. Their teenage son died of leukemia, and his younger brother was in critical condition in hospital. The worried father demanded an investigation.
It was not until two years later that officials were confident enough to send a team of investigators with dosimeters. They found high levels of radiation in the apartment. Especially in the room where the children slept, the radiation levels were off the charts. Investigators eventually discovered that the radiation was coming from the walls. The residents of the building were immediately evacuated and the wall was demolished. The piece of concrete was sent to the Kyiv Institute for Nuclear Research where scientists extracted a small capsule containing highly radioactive cesium 137, which is used in radiation level gauges.
From the serial number imprinted on the capsule it was established that the object was lost in a quarry from which gravel was taken for the construction of apartments. By a terrible coincidence, the capsule mixed with the concrete and became stuck inside the walls between apartments 85 and 52, close to the children’s beds, resulting in a tragedy in which four people lost their lives. Ultimately, seventeen other people were identified as having received varying doses of radiation and were treated accordingly.
Building 7 is still standing today and people still live in it. Radiation levels have now returned to natural levels.
Here’s something you don’t read every day: Akmal, a 14-year-old boy from Gowa, in Indonesia, claims that he has laid 20 eggs in the last two years, with the last two popping out at the hospital, in front of doctors.
Akmal has reportedly been hospitalized several times for his bizarre condition over the past couple of years. During his latest trip to the hospital, the boy allegedly laid two eggs in front of the baffled medical staff treating him.
Doctors maintain that it is impossible for eggs to form inside the human body, and suspect that the boy has either been swallowing them whole or pushing them up his backside. An X-ray revealed a large egg high up the boy’s rectum, but his father, Rusli, insists that he would never put them there himself.
He never swallowed eggs whole, why would he do that? I am an imam in my village, so there’s no voodoo. I only believe in the Lord,” the man told local reporters in Gowa, Indonesia.
“In two years he laid 18 eggs and 2 today, so in total there have been 20. I cracked the first egg and its content was all yellow, no white,” Rusli added. “A month later I cracked another one, and its content was all white and no yellow.”
Muhammad Taslim, a spokesperson for the hospital, said that doctors believe the eggs were deliberately shoved into Akmal’s rectum for some bizarre reason, but since they can’t prove it, they decided to quarantine the boy for a while, to see if this truly is some sort of medical oddity.
“Our suspicion is that the eggs were deliberately shoved into Akmal’s rectum. But we did not see it directly,” Taslim said. “Scientifically chicken eggs cannot form inside the human body. It’s impossible, especially in the digestive system.”
Kompas reports that the eggs recently laid by Akmal were analysed in the lab and turned out to be chicken eggs.
The people of Omagh, a small town in Northern Ireland, have been complaining about a mysterious humming sound that can be heard at night and disrupts their sleep.
In recent weeks, the Omagh District Council has actively been trying to identify the source of a nighttime noise that several residents from all over the small Northern Ireland town have been complaining about. Unfortunately, all their efforts so far have ended in failure, leaving them with no other choice than to call in sound experts to solve the mystery.
People “usually characterize it as a persistent buzz or hum” that differs from the sound of passing vehicles and that can only heard late at night, usually around 12:00 am – 01:00 am. While some have gotten used to it, others claim that it is interfering with their night sleep and demand that something be done about it.
“Officers are currently investigating the use of specialist equipment, or procurement of a specialist company, to assist in detecting the source of the noise,” a council spokesperson told the BBC. “Due to the wide area where the sound has been reported it is difficult to pinpoint the exact source(s).”
“I appreciate that when a story like this is kind of draped in mystery and intrigue that it can very easily become a subject of trivialization but certainly from people I have spoken to … they are very concerned about the ability that they have to make sure they get a good night’s sleep,” Alliance councilor Stephen Donnelly said.
Some of the theories being thrown around about the source of the mysterious hum range from farm or factory machinery to flying saucers. Unfortunately, local authorities don’t have much to go on as of this writing, which is why they plan to bring in sound experts.
“It’s like a vibrating noise, real loud at night, about 12 or 1 every night,” one man described the sound.
Interestingly, Omagh isn’t the only place plagued by a mysterious sound. For years, the English village of Holmfield has been affected by a mysterious noise that has come to be known as the Holmfield Hum. A similar phenomenon has been occurring in Windsor, a Canadian city near Detroit. That sound has been dubbed, you guessed it, the Windsor Hum.