Celebrating the end of the week with a collection of upbeat news nuggets.
Cats' Secret Rumbled
What do cats and singer Katy Perry have in common? Their vocal chords, according to new research. Experts have "long puzzled" over how a creature as small as a cat "can produce the deep resonance of a purr", said The Guardian, "when such vocalisations are usually only produced by animals with far longer vocal cords", such as elephants. Until now, the dominant theory was that cats' brains sent continuous bursts of signals to muscles in their throats, causing them to contract 30 times a second and producing a purr. But after dissecting and carrying out tests on the voice boxes of eight recently deceased domestic cats, scientists at the University of Vienna concluded that felines use a similar technique to "vocal fry" – the "croaky voice" used by singer Perry and others - which does not require a barrage of brain signals nor continued muscle contractions. Instead, "pads" embedded in cats' vocal cords add an extra layer of fatty tissue that allows them to vibrate at low frequencies.
No Fossil Fuels
Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, will ban gas- and diesel-powered cars from the city centre from 2025 to improve air quality and reduce noise pollution from traffic. “We want to create a better living environment for the people who live and work here,” said the mayor.
Crazy But True
A bungee jumper has broken a world record by leaping 941 times off the Auckland Harbour Bridge over a 24 hour period. Mike Heard, 41, beat the previous record of 765 jumps set by Frenchman Francois-Marie Dibon in Scotland in 2022. The New Zealander’s achievement involved leaping off the 141-foot-high bridge an average of more than 39 times every hour.
As well as writing his name into history - though Guinness World Records has yet to confirm the achievement - Mr Heard succeeded in raising funds for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.
Fat Bear Week
Ultimately, this Alaskan competition is an annual celebration of success. For bears, fat equals survival. Each winter, bears go into hibernation and may lose up to one-third of their body weight as they rely solely on their fat reserves. So, survival depends on eating a year's worth of food in six months. At Katmai, bears are drawn to the large number of salmon readily available from June through September. Salmon have long since been the lifeblood of the area, supporting Katmai's people, bears and other animals. Fat bears exemplify the richness of this area, a wild region that is home to more brown bears than people and the largest, healthiest runs of sockeye salmon left on the planet. So, congratulations to momma bear Grazer for attracting the most votes (108,000) this year. Staying on the theme of biggest is best...
A Minnesota horticulture teacher set a world record this week for the heaviest pumpkin after growing a giant jack-o’-lantern gourd weighing 2,749 pounds (1,247 kgs). Travis Gienger won the 50th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, California, with an enormous, lumpy, orange pumpkin that could produce at least 687 pies.
Just when you thought the world of footwear couldn't get any more unconventional, Crocs, the brand known for its comfy clogs, has thrown a curveball at the fashion world. Hold on to your ten-gallon hats because Crocs is set to release a pair of Croc Cowboy Boots, and they are downright hilarious. These boots combine the classic Western style of cowboy boots with the distinct comfort and functionality of Crocs. The cowboy boots go on sale on 23 October for $120.
UK Mega Wind Farm
The world’s largest offshore wind farm under construction has produced its first power. A single rotation of one of its wind turbines - with 107m long blades - can power a home for two days. The wind farm, located in the North Sea off the UK’s Yorkshire coast, has installed the first of a planned 277 turbines, says EuroNews. As of 7 October, it is connected to the UK’s national grid and is providing renewable power to homes and businesses. When complete and at full capacity, the wind farm will supply 5 percent of the UK’s electricity demand.
“Hands up if you’re ready to do something you’ll regret this weekend. Go forth! You have my blessing.” Florence Welch
On this Day
13 October 1982: IOC Executive Committee approves the reinstatement of Native American Jim Thorpe's gold medals from the 1912 Olympics. Here's the story...
Oops: a seagull stole my GoPro. Was it for fame and fortune?