With the weekend comes a look at some of the happiest, most inspiring tales that took place over the past week. In addition, you can get your dose of weird by checking out the offbeat list.
We have a few stirring rescues this week. A teenager tackles a violent pit bull to save a young child, a group of bystanders rallies together just in time to catch a falling toddler, and a community bands together to save a farmer from bankruptcy.
A teenager willingly put himself in the sights of a rampaging pit bull to save a child from being mauled.
In Conroe, Texas, six-year-old Mason Lindeman was outside playing with his friends. His neighbor’s dog got loose, and it was definitely not in the mood for capers and cuddles. The dog attacked Mason, clamping its jaws down on the boy’s head.
Fortunately for Mason, 19-year-old Grant Brown was there and ready to act. He lunged at the pit bull, getting it to let go of Mason and chase him instead. He suffered cuts on his hands for his troubles, but the distraction allowed Mason to run inside.
The boy was taken to the hospital and was discharged in good condition. He needed a few staples in the back of his head but otherwise walked away with a few bruises and a small scratch. Mason’s mother, Jillian Lindeman, is hailing Grant as a hero, although he sees it as just doing the right thing.
Another dramatic scene unfolded in China where passersby managed to save a toddler who fell six stories.
CCTV footage showed a three-year-old boy on the outside of a balcony. He was barely hanging on and trying in vain to climb back in. A crowd of neighbors, security guards, and sanitation workers gathered below, trying to figure out a way to rescue him.
When someone brought a blanket, several people stretched it out immediately and tried to position it under the child. A few seconds later, the boy lost his grip and plummeted to the ground.
Fortunately, he landed safely right in the middle of the blanket. Even though he fell from the sixth floor, the child appeared uninjured. A neighbor took him to the hospital, but he was discharged in good health.
If you have a problem . . . if no one else can help . . . and if you can find them . . . maybe you can ask . . . the “Old Coots.”
A group of retirees from Salt Lake City started an advice booth as a way to cure their boredom. Now they have become the most popular attraction at the weekend farmer’s market. Calling themselves the “Old Coots,” the group of elderly friends has helped out 30–40 people.
There are six coots, all in their late sixties or early seventies. Retired journalist Carol Sisco is the only female “coot,” while seventh member, 58-year-old Chris Vanocur, has been described as a “coot in training.”
Normally, they got together every Saturday morning at a deli owned by one of them and chatted with each other. Eventually, this got boring, and they thought that, maybe, they should set up a booth across the street at the farmer’s market.
They hung up a banner that said, “Old Coots Giving Advice—It’s Probably Bad Advice, But It’s Free.” Again, this was mostly done to cure their boredom, but their service proved popular.
Many people came seeking advice. The “coots” realized that most of them just wanted an outside opinion from someone with nothing to gain or, better yet, a sounding board so they could talk through their issues out loud.
The most common problem came from young people looking for that special someone. But there were also a few quirky ones, like a man who wanted to get rid of the ghosts in his house.
New research presents the first-known case of a bottlenose dolphin adopting the calf of another species and raising it as the dolphin’s own.
Back in 2014, scientists spotted a mother dolphin with her calf off the coast of French Polynesia. Nothing unusual at first, although the baby looked a bit odd. It was a male around one month old, but it had a short and blunt beak whereas the species typically has slender beaks. Eventually, researchers realized that they were looking at the calf of a melon-headed whale.
The dolphin mother had adopted this orphan baby whale. Even more astonishing, she already had a calf and was raising the two youngsters simultaneously even though dolphins traditionally only care for one infant at a time. The melon-headed whale appeared to have ingratiated itself not only with its new family but also with the associated dolphin pod.
Adoption is one of those behaviors which we considered uniquely human, but it appears that other animals practice it, too. There is another well-documented case of capuchins taking in a baby marmoset.
As to how it happened, researchers believe it was a case of “right place, right time.” The orphan ran into the mother dolphin soon after she had given birth and her maternal instincts were still going strong.
One mother’s act of kindness has snowballed into a large charitable action by her entire community.
One day, Carrie Jernigan took her fourth-grade daughter, Harper, to the going-out-of-business sale at her local Payless in Alma, Arkansas. All she intended to buy when she walked into the store was one pair of shoes.
However, Harper asked if she could also get a pair of Avengers shoes for her friend. Carrie was ready to comply but soon realized that neither of them knew the friend’s shoe size.
As a joke, Carrie asked the clerk how much it would cost to buy all the shoes in the store. However, the more she thought about it, the more she realized that the idea was not so ridiculous after all. She left Payless with 1,500 pairs of shoes, intending to donate them to those in need.
As Carrie was figuring out the best way to distribute the footwear, more and more organizations offered to help. In the end, the city is going to have a large back-to-school event where the shoes will be given away along with health checkups, haircuts, eye exams, and other goods and services donated by local businesses and churches.
When a farmer’s harvest was under threat as he was sidelined with injuries, dozens of his neighbors showed up with their machines ready to work his fields.
In February, 64-year-old Larry Yockey was diagnosed with melanoma. His condition led to a broken hip and a few broken ribs that significantly reduced his mobility.
Yockey is a fourth-generation farmer who has been working the same land in Ritzville, Washington, for decades. For the first time in 50 years, it looked like he might be unable to harvest his wheat crop, which was a serious problem as it accounted for almost his entire income.
His neighbors heard of his plight. Last weekend, a few dozen combine harvesters, trucks, and semis showed up on his land. Not just other farmers but mechanics and members of the fire department all chipped in to help Larry. They completed about three weeks’ worth of harvesting in eight hours.
While scrounging through the attic of his childhood home, a man stumbled upon a cult-classic video game that fetched him a nice sum at auction.
Scott Amos from Reno, Nevada, found a copy of the 1987 Nintendo game Kid Icarus. It was untouched, still in the bag with the receipt from a J.C. Penney store where it was purchased over 30 years ago.
After talking with his family, he says that no one remembers buying the game. It was most likely intended as a Christmas gift that somehow was forgotten and ended up in the attic.
Knowing that original cartridges from that era are sought out by collectors, Amos took it to an appraiser. He hoped it might be worth a few hundred dollars, but it was actually expected to fetch up to $10,000 at auction.
As it turns out, Kid Icarus is one of the rarest Nintendo games to find in sealed condition, with fewer than 10 copies in collectors’ hands. The game sold for $9,000 on Thursday. Amos plans to split the money 50-50 with his sister and take their families on a vacation to Disney World.
An Irish teenager won the grand prize at the 2019 Google Science Fair for his method of removing microplastics from water using ferrofluid.
At the moment, microplastics are one of the most dreaded pollutants in the world. By definition, they are smaller than 5 millimeters (0.2 in) in diameter and cannot be filtered out at water treatment plants using standard technology. The bulk of microplastics end up in the ocean, and all studies in recent years show that the contamination levels are much higher than expected.
Eighteen-year-old Fionn Ferreira devised a way of separating these microplastics using a ferrofluid mixture of oil and magnetite powder. Together, they bond to the microplastics but also react strongly in the presence of a magnetic field. They can be removed from the water using a magnet.
In 1,000 tests, Ferreira found that his technique was 87 percent efficient in removing various kinds of microplastics from water. Some, such as polypropylene plastics, proved to be more resistant than others.
For his work, Ferreira received a $50,000 academic scholarship. He believes that his method can be scaled up to be used at water treatment facilities, which would prevent huge quantities of microplastics from reaching the ocean.
A Canadian hiker used Metallica music to save herself and her dog from a cougar attack.
On Tuesday, Dee Gallant was strolling through the wilderness of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island with her pet husky, Murphy. Suddenly, she realized that they were not alone. In fact, they were being stalked by a cougar about 15 meters (50 ft) up the trail. As the wind was blowing in the opposite direction, her dog did not notice the animal until it was dangerously close.
Gallant actually knew a thing or two about cougar behavior and understood that its position and demeanor meant that it was getting ready to attack. She started waving her arms and shouting at the cat.
While this stopped the cougar in its tracks, it refused to back down. Then the hiker got the idea to whip out her phone and look through her music playlist for the loudest, angriest song she had.
She settled on Metallica’s “Don’t Tread on Me.” As soon as the first few notes started blaring, the startled cougar made a run for it into the bushes. Gallant and Murphy made a safe return home.
This week, Ethiopia set a new world record by planting over 350 million trees in less than a day.
Environmental experts say that one of the cheapest, simplest, and most efficient ways of reducing carbon emissions is to plant a lot of trees. As part of the Green Legacy Initiative started by the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, only 200 million trees were initially scheduled to be planted at 1,000 sites across Ethiopia.
However, enthusiasm for the program was much higher than anticipated. Millions of people participated and finished planting 150 million trees only six hours in.
According to the Ethiopian minister for innovation and technology, over 353 million seedlings were planted by the end of the day. The previous world record was set in 2016 by India with 50 million trees. This is just one step of a program intended to increase Ethiopia’s forest coverage after reaching an all-time low of 4 percent in the early 2000s, compared to 35 percent 100 years earlier.