Joey Chestnut downs 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes, winning the Nathan’s holiday pigging contest for the tenth time

July 4, 2017 • 4:30 pm

I’d be remiss if I didn’t post this today. Joey Chestnut, 33, a professional competitive eater (and not fat!), just won his tenth July 4 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, New York. And it was a record: 72 dogs (with buns) in 10 minutes: that’s 8.33 seconds per dog! Watch how he does it:

Chestnut’s the #1 ranked competitive eater in the world; see the link above for his other feats. There are some tricks to this, described in the video below:

World’s oldest albatross gives birth—at age 63!

March 4, 2014 • 2:09 pm

UPDATE: I mistakenly used last year’s article instead of this year’s. The fact is that, according to EarthSky, Wisdom produced another chick in early February of this year—at age 63! Here’s the photo of her with her offspring:


She looks great for an old bird, doesn’t she?

h/t to Reader Grania, who corrected me and also put the link to this photo in the comments.


“Wisdom” is not only the oldest living wild bird known to humans, but according to the Washington Post, she just gave birth to a single chick that hatched Sunday on the island where she lives: the Midway Atoll.

Her age is known because birds on the island have been tagged repeatedly (the tags tend to fall off after a few decades, and Wisdom has been tagged six times, with each new tag replacing a still-extant old one).

Wisdom, a Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) is one amazing bird:

Wisdom has raised chicks five times since 2006, and as many as 35 in her lifetime. Just as astonishing, she has likely flown up to 3 million miles since she was first tagged at Midway Atoll at the end of the Hawaiian Island chain in 1956, according to scientists who have tracked her at the U.S. Geological Survey. That’s “4 to 6 trips from the Earth to the Moon and back again with plenty of miles to spare,” the USGS said in an enthusiastic announcement Tuesday.

“It blows us away that this is a 62-year-old bird and she keeps laying eggs and raising chicks,” said Bruce Peterjohn, chief of the Bird Banding Laboratory at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel.

Here she is, a cougar bird with her much younger mate:

(From the Post): Wisdom (left) attempts to nudge her mate off the nest for her turn at incubating the couple’s egg. She’s 62; the male is presumed to be much younger. Photo by Pete Leary/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Although parrots have lived the longest in captivity, no wild bird is known to be older than Wisdom. That, of course, could simply reflect a paucity of tagged parrots—or other birds that might live a long time. But Wisdom beat out her closest rival a few years ago.

Albatrosses aren’t the world’s largest birds, or the oldest — parrots in captivity have lived to age 80, Peterjohn said. But they are easily the largest seabird, with wingspans as wide as eight feet, “like a sea gull on steroids,” Peterjohn said, dwarfing the average gray gulls that are known to roam beaches stealing french fries.

They’re the oldest known bird in the wild. Wisdom edged out the second oldest known albatross to reproduce, a 61-year-old named Grandma, of the Northern Royal species, Peterjohn said. But Grandma hasn’t been seen at her nesting ground at Taiaroa Head, New Zealand, in three years and is presumed dead.

Albatrosses mate for life, suggesting that Wisdom probably had to find a new, younger mate maybe twice down the line.

There are simply not enough good data to determine whether Wisdom is of extraordinary longevity or just average. As one researcher said, “half the birds could be 60 years old. . . These birds could be much older than we think.”

The Big Jump

February 19, 2014 • 10:14 am

This video of Felix’s Baumgartner’s famous 24-mile jump to Earth was posted on January 31 of this year and has already garnered over twelve million views. The new aspect of this video is that it’s filmed largely by GoPro cameras affixed to the jumper.

Reader Jon, who sent me the link to the video, adds this:

It’s been about a year and a half since Felix Baumgartner jumped from a balloon at the edge of space, but GoPro just recently released a video inviting everyone along for the ride. Baumgartner was wearing five GoPro HD HERO2 cameras to record his decent. Several other cameras were mounted to his capsule. The video starts with some historical footage of Joe Kittinger’s historic jump in 1960 from 19 ∏ miles. Kittinger served as capsule coordinator directing Baumgartner on his jump.

Evolution of the door

February 18, 2014 • 12:12 pm
Reader Gunnar called my attention to this really cool door, one that I’d love to have.  His comment was this:
This is smart.  Off topic, but celebratory of human beings’ endless ability to re-create beautifully.  I’d love to know how the curiosity, thoughts, ideas, and pictures developed in this inventor’s mind.


Woman pregnant with baby and cat!

February 13, 2014 • 3:33 pm

Like God, Ceiling Cat can apparently impregnate women. Greg Mayer has been checking out this now-viral ultrasound scan from imgur: it first appeared last year, and there is no overt evidence that it has been Photoshopped.

Yep, there’s a cat in there. . .

Ultrasound cat

This is the first in a “spot the cat for dummies” series (the second and final installment will be tomorrow).

Another Alex Honnold climb

February 11, 2014 • 12:17 pm

Alex Honnold, whom I’ve featured on this site before, is probably the best rock climber on Earth, and here’s a slo-mo video showing part of his recent free solo climb of a huge wall in Mexico. The YouTube notes say this:

On January 15th, 2014, Alex Honnold made the first free solo ascent of El Sendero Luminoso (5.12d), a 15 pitch big wall near Monterrey, Mexico. This is footage from pitch 7 (5.12a), filmed by Cedar Wright, Renan Ozturk, and SkySight RC for Camp 4 Collective. The full film is coming soon to The North Face’s YouTube Channel.

Honnold did the 1750-foot (533 m) climb in three hours.

I simply can’t imagine doing this without safety equipment. You have to have immense confidence in your ability to overcome any obstacle on that wall, and if you screw up, you’re dead.

Didga the cat on a remote-controlled skateboard—and a cat contest reminder

January 24, 2014 • 3:02 pm

Business first: remember that the Cat Confession Contest closes this Sunday (Jan. 26) at 5 p.m. Chicago time. Email your entries to me; and remember—the confession must be honest. We have several dozen entries already, and I have to say that nearly all of them are hilarious.

Now for the pleasure: your end-of-the-week Felid Reward, in this case Didga, the Skateboarding Cat. Didga, an Australian cat (is that feline abuse?) rides around his neck of Australia on a remote-controlled skateboard. As The Laughing Squid notes:

Didga the cat pulls off some sick tricks while riding around the streets Coolangatta, Australia on “Ollie”, a remote-controlled skateboard.

The Action starts when Ollie, a skateboard, takes his friend Didga, a CAT, for a ride around a beautiful beach town. On the way Didga “shows off” by jumping on, off, up and even over obstacles. One of those obstacles happens to be a large Rottweiler dog.

video & photo via CATMANTOO

This really is one of the best cat videos I’ve seen, and Didga rides that board like a champ. (Notice, too, his resemblance to Hili!) It is not a fake video, though clearly many takes were shot.

The Great Didga

h/t Lori Anne

The unbearable cleverness of squirrels

November 3, 2013 • 2:35 pm

I guess I’ve got squirrels on the brain today, probably because they’re eating like gluttons, probably putting on fat for the winter.

Matthew sent me this video showing the ingenuity of our favorite rodent.  As he said, “From a BBC programme in 1991. My kids had this on video and used to chortle with delight at it”

Ohio State band does the Hollywood blockbusters

October 29, 2013 • 5:09 am

This wonderful video of the Ohio State University marching band performing at halftime of OSU’s game with Penn State was made just last Saturday, but already has over four million views on YouTube. Watch and see why. It’s a tribute to Hollywood’s blockbusters.

Don’t miss the T. rex nomming the bandleader; that parts starts at about 5:59.

The YouTube notes include this:

Coming off of their Michael Jackson Tribute show, students had a week to learn the drill associated with this show and a little over a week to learn the music.

And don’t forget they’re playing their instruments as they make the figures!

h/t: Chris