WTF Fun Fact 13538 – Michel Lotito

Michel Lotito, known as ‘Monsieur Mangetout’ (Mr. Eat All), was not your average eater. His diet included items that most would consider inedible: metal, rubber, and glass.

Lotito’s extraordinary consumption habits earned him a place in the Guinness World Record for the world’s strangest diet. Among his most remarkable feats was eating an entire airplane, along with bicycles, razor blades, and more.

The Method Behind the Madness

Born in 1950 and passing away in 2007, Lotito’s unique eating habits began in his teenage years. He discovered his ability to consume non-food items and developed a taste for them.

To prepare these items for consumption, he cut them into bite-sized pieces using an electric power saw. He swallowed these pieces whole, like a pill, aided by mineral oil and water to lubricate the process. Surprisingly, he managed to excrete these materials without significant problems.

Lotito’s preparations for consuming such bizarre items were meticulous. He had an incredibly high pain threshold, which he attributed to practicing sophrology, a form of self-hypnosis and relaxation. His first experience with eating glass at the age of 16 led him to explore other inedible objects.

What started as a simple party trick evolved into a lucrative career. Lotito performed in various shows, displaying his unique talent. He could consume items like bicycles, which he would eat over several days, and even razor blades, plates, and metal pieces.

The Anatomy of Michel Lotito

Lotito’s unusual diet is attributed to pica, a psychological disorder characterized by eating things that are not food. However, Lotito believed his physical makeup played a significant role in his dietary choices. He claimed to have incredibly strong teeth and powerful gastric juices that could melt metal.

Despite his unique ability, soft foods like bananas and hard-boiled eggs caused him discomfort. While there were doubts about whether his body was genuinely different from an ordinary person’s, his long-term doctor expressed concerns about the impact of his diet on his health.

Legacy of an Extraordinary Eater

Monsieur Mangetout’s diet remained a fascinating and cautionary tale. He passed away in 2007 due to natural causes. The extent to which his diet influenced his health or his death remains a mystery.

Over 15 years after his passing, Michel Lotito’s story continues to intrigue and caution new generations. As a performer, entertainer, and record-breaker, his legacy as a truly one-of-a-kind individual lives on.

Michel Lotito’s story is a testament to the incredible adaptability and resilience of the human body. His ability to consume what most would find inconceivable not only challenged our understanding of what is possible but also provided a unique perspective on the human experience. Whether it was his mental fortitude or a unique physiological makeup, Monsieur Mangetout’s life remains a fascinating chapter in the annals of extraordinary human behaviors.

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Source: “The man who ate metal: Monsieur Mangetout’s strange diet” — Guinness Book of World Records

WTF Fun Fact 13535 – Catgirl Nuclear Laboratory Hack

In a bizarre turn of events, a US nuclear laboratory, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), fell victim to a hack by a group self-identifying as “gay furry hackers.” The group, Sieged Security (SiegedSec), has an unusual demand: they want the lab to research the creation of real-life catgirls.

The Idaho Nuclear Laboratory Cyber Attack

The Idaho National Laboratory is not just any facility; it’s a pioneer in nuclear technology, operating since 1949. With over 6,000 employees, the INL has been instrumental in nuclear reactor research and development. The unexpected cyber intrusion by SiegedSec marks a significant security breach.

SiegedSec’s demands are out of the ordinary. They have threatened to release sensitive employee data unless the INL commits to researching catgirls. The data purportedly includes Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and more. SiegedSec’s tactics include using playful language, such as multiple “meows” in their communications, highlighting their unique approach.

The group has a history of targeting government organizations for various causes, including human rights. Their recent activities include leaking NATO documents and attacking US state governments over anti-trans legislation.

The Nuclear Laboratory’s Response and Investigation

The Idaho National Laboratory confirmed the breach and is currently working with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency. The investigation aims to understand the extent of the data impacted by the incident.

SiegedSec’s actions, while unusual, shed light on several issues. First, it highlights the vulnerability of even high-profile, secure facilities to cyber attacks. Second, the group’s unique demand for researching catgirls, while seemingly whimsical, echoes broader internet discussions about bio-engineering and human-animal hybrids. Lastly, it demonstrates the diverse motives and methods of hacktivist groups.

The Future of Catgirls and Cybersecurity

While the likelihood of the INL taking up research on catgirls is slim, the breach itself is a serious matter. It underscores the need for heightened cybersecurity measures in sensitive facilities. As for SiegedSec, their influence in the realm of hacktivism is notable, blurring the lines between political activism, internet culture, and cybersecurity.

While the demand for catgirls is likely a playful facade, the breach at the Idaho National Laboratory is a reminder of the ongoing cybersecurity challenges facing institutions today. The INL’s breach is a wake-up call for enhanced security protocols in an era where cyber threats can come from the most unexpected sources.

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Source: “Gay Furry Hackers Break Into Nuclear Lab Data, Want Catgirls” — Kotaku

WTF Fun Fact 13630 – Mysterious Humming Noise in Ireland

In Omagh, Co Tyrone, a mysterious humming noise has left residents tossing and turning.

Since late October, the persistent humming sound has been the soundtrack to many sleepless nights across this Northern Irish town. The curious case of the nocturnal hum has not only disturbed the peace but sparked widespread intrigue and a variety of theories.

The Mysterious Humming Noise

Local residents describe the sound as a “sustained, persistent buzz or hum,” often accompanied by a tangible vibration. It’s a noise that doesn’t discriminate, affecting various parts of Omagh and its diverse population. Alliance councillor Stephen Donnelly, although not personally plagued by the hum, acknowledges the widespread discomfort it has caused. He reports that the council is on the hunt for both the cause and a solution, reaching out for specialized equipment and expertise to aid in their quest.

The intensity of the disturbance is not to be understated. For a “significant number of people,” the quality of sleep and, consequently, life has plummeted. As the hum chooses the night to make its presence known, the darkness brings with it the dread of another restless experience for the townsfolk.

The Sound of Speculation

The source of the hum remains as elusive as a whisper in the wind. While some suspect the nocturnal drone of generators, the lack of concrete evidence leaves room for speculation. The council’s environmental health officers are grappling with the challenge, their task complicated by the vast area over which the hum has cast its acoustic shadow. They’re considering bringing in a specialist company to detect the elusive source.

Councillor Donnelly urges caution against fanciful speculation, despite the colorful array of theories populating local gossip. From extraterrestrial visits to paranormal activities, the hum has inspired a spectrum of supernatural and outlandish explanations. Yet, Donnelly remains confident that the hum’s origins, when finally uncovered, will likely be rooted in the mundane rather than the fantastical.

It’s not just Omagh that’s abuzz about the hum; the story has echoed across the globe, reaching as far as Australia. This international spotlight has turned a local nuisance into a global conversation piece. It seems the world is just as curious about the hum as the residents of Omagh are desperate for a solution.

The Search Continues for the Source of the Hum

As the investigation continues, the people of Omagh await a resolution with bated breath. The council is committed to solving the mystery, hopeful that the introduction of advanced technology will bring answers and relief. Until then, the hum remains Omagh’s unsolved nocturne, a nightly enigma that has turned sleep into a sought-after treasure.

In the meantime, residents hold onto hope that the hum will soon be silenced and that their nights will once again be filled with the sound of silence.

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Source: “Source of mystery humming sound in Omagh ‘difficult to pinpoint,’ council says” — The Irish Times

WTF Fun Fact 13617 – The Stolen Gold Toilet

On a quiet morning in early 2019, Blenheim Palace became the scene of the theft of an 18-karat gold toilet. The piece, named “America,” was crafted by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. This functional piece of art was valued at a staggering $6 million. It was not only a statement on wealth but also open for palace visitors to use.

The Plot of the Gold Toilet Heist

Four men—James Sheen, Michael Jones, Fred Doe, and Bora Guccuk—executed the heist at the ancestral home of Winston Churchill. They snatched the golden toilet, leaving behind a trail of destruction and water damage. This act spurred a nationwide manhunt that resulted in their capture and subsequent charges ranging from burglary to conspiracy.

The aftermath of the theft left the palace with substantial flood damage. Of course, the audacity of the crime has both baffled and captivated the public. The men face a court date in late November. But the fate of the toilet remains shrouded in mystery. Authorities speculate that they may have melted down the golden throne, its form forever lost to greed.


The golden toilet, on display for visitors to use, questioned the art market’s extravagance. It stood as a challenge, blurring the lines between high art and everyday objects. The theft of the piece has stirred a debate about the value we place on art and the lengths some will go to own or destroy it.

“America” was more than a dazzling fixture; it was an interactive installation that invited contemplation on opulence and art’s accessibility. By making such a luxury available to all, the artwork broke down barriers. It allowed the public to partake in what is typically exclusive to the affluent. Cattelan’s work not only nods to the excesses of the art market but also poses questions about the value society places on material wealth.

The art community and the public alike await with bated breath for any news of the lost masterpiece. Will it resurface, or has it been irreversibly lost to the annals of infamous art heists?

This tale of ambition, art, and audacity continues to evolve. It reminds us of the potent allure that art holds and the powerful statements it can make—even when it comes in the form of a gold toilet.

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Sources: “Four Men Charged With 2019 Theft of $6 Million Gold Toilet” — Smithsonian Magazine

WTF Fun Fact 13616 – Belly Flop Science

In a splash of scientific curiosity, researchers from Brown University have dived into the mechanics of the belly flop. They’ve emerged with insights that could ripple through the field of marine engineering. Their research didn’t just skim the surface. The air-to-water impact dynamics resonate beyond the poolside into naval design and safety.

The Sting of Impact: A Fluid Problem

Assistant Professor Daniel Harris explained the painful truth behind the belly flop’s notorious smack. The sudden halt of a body moving from air to still water creates a formidable reaction force. This results in the body’s shockingly painful reception. This resistance, familiar to any brave soul attempting a belly flop, also poses serious considerations for naval engineering, where structures frequently endure similar high-impact forces.

The research team conducted experiments that replicated the belly flop using a blunt cylinder that vibrated upon impact. Previous studies have often focused on rigid bodies hitting the water. But Harris’s team explored the effects when the object is flexible, allowing for shape change or deformation under force.

Springing into Safer Belly Flop Landings

The researchers attached a soft “nose” to their impactor, buffered by a system of springs designed to soften the blow. It works much like a car’s suspension system. The assumption was that a more flexible system would distribute the impact over a longer period. This would reduce the maximum force felt during the splashdown.

However, their findings defied expectations. Instead of consistently cushioning the blow, the flexible system sometimes intensified the impact force. The culprit? The springs themselves. If not perfectly tuned, the springs’ softness could lead to increased vibrations, adding to the slamming force rather than mitigating it.

The key to a less painful impact lies in the delicate balance of the springs’ stiffness and the height from which the object is dropped. The springs must be just soft enough to absorb the impact gently without causing additional rapid oscillations.

The experiments, while causing a few wet lab coats, have paved the way for innovative approaches to entering water smoothly. Taking cues from nature, the researchers are now exploring how diving birds maneuver to lessen the blow of water entry. Their aim is to design a robotic impactor that mimics these biological techniques for blunt objects.

Implications Beyond the Belly Flop

This study, supported by the Office of Naval Research and Naval Undersea Warfare Center, has far-reaching implications. By understanding the vibrational interplay between structure flexibility and impact forces, engineers can develop safer, more resilient marine vessels and structures. They’ve effectively turned the dreaded belly flop into a lesson in sophisticated design and safety.

The research not only offers a recipe for less painful pool antics but equips marine engineers with the knowledge to better navigate air-to-water transitions.

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Source: “Want the secret to less painful belly flops? These researchers have the answer” — ScienceDaily

WTF Fun Fact 13613 – First Chimeric Monkey

Researchers have made a monumental stride in primate research by making the first chimeric monkey.

This marks the first successful birth of a chimeric monkey from embryonic stem cell lines. This scientific achievement has profound implications for the fields of genetic engineering, species conservation, and biomedical studies.

Understanding Chimerism in Primates

The study, led by senior author Zhen Liu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, culminated in the birth of a monkey with cells originating from two distinct embryos. Until now, this feat of chimerism had been achieved only in smaller mammals such as rats and mice. Published in the prestigious journal Cell, the research opens new avenues for understanding pluripotency. That’s the capability of stem cells to differentiate into any cell type—in non-human primates and possibly humans.

The cynomolgus monkeys, commonly used in biomedical research, served as the subjects for this groundbreaking experiment. The researchers established nine stem cell lines from blastocyst embryos and selected a subset of these pluripotent cells to inject into early-stage monkey embryos. This meticulous process led to several pregnancies and the birth of six live monkeys. One of these showcased a substantial level of chimerism.

The Making of a Chimeric Monkey

The researchers tagged the stem cells with green fluorescent protein. This enabled them to trace which tissues originated from the stem cells. Extensive analysis revealed that the chimeric monkey exhibited a wide distribution of stem-cell-derived tissues across the brain, heart, kidney, liver, and gastrointestinal tract. Remarkably, the live monkey displayed stem cell contributions ranging from 21% to 92% across various tissues, averaging 67%.

The presence of stem-cell-derived cells in the reproductive tissues was a significant discovery. It underscors the potential for these cells to contribute to the germline and possibly influence future generations.

Implications and Future Directions

The success of this study is not merely academic. It has practical implications, offering the potential to create more precise monkey models for neurological and other biomedical research. By enhancing the understanding of primate cell developmental potential, the study paves the way for innovative approaches in medical science.

Looking ahead, the team aims to refine their method to increase the efficiency of generating chimeric monkeys. They plan to optimize the stem cell cultures and the blastocysts’ environments, hoping to improve the survival rates of these embryos in host animals.

In conclusion, the birth of the first chimeric monkey from embryonic stem cells is a remarkable scientific milestone. It broadens our knowledge of primate biology and holds promise for future applications that could benefit both primate conservation and human health.

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Source: “First live birth of a chimeric monkey using embryonic stem cell lines” — ScienceDaily

WTF Fun Fact 13595 – Gender in Human-Robot Interaction

In the world of hospitality, there’s a growing preference when it comes to gender in human-robot interaction.

When guests interact with robots at hotels, they tend to feel more at ease with female robots. This trend is stronger when these robots possess human-like features, reveals a study from Washington State University.

Gender Stereotypes Extend to Robots

Soobin Seo, the mind behind the research and an assistant professor at WSU’s Carson Business College, sheds light on the reasons for this phenomenon. “People generally find solace when cared for by females, a result of prevalent gender stereotypes associated with service roles,” she explains. “This stereotype doesn’t stop at human interactions; it extends to hotel robot interactions too. And when these robots resemble humans closely, the preference is even more evident.”

Before the onset of the global pandemic, the hotel industry grappled with keeping its staff. Some hoteliers found a solution in automation and robots, employing them in various roles. They’re not just tucked away in the back, handling chores like dishwashing or cleaning. Robots today, in some establishments, welcome guests or even handle their luggage.

The upscale Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Las Vegas, for instance, employs female humanized robots named “Pepper.” On the other side of the spectrum, China’s fully automated FlyZoo hotel chain offers an exclusive robot and AI-powered experience to its guests.

Study Highlights Distinct Preferences for Human-Robot Interaction

To delve deeper into this preference, participants in Seo’s study visualized interactions with AI service robots during their hotel stay. Four distinct scenarios were crafted for this experiment:

  1. A male service robot, “Alex,” equipped with a face and a body resembling a human.
  2. “Sara,” a robot identical to Alex but female.
  3. Two other robot descriptions, gendered differently but portrayed as more mechanical with interactive screens replacing faces.

Feedback from participants was quite revealing. Those who imagined interactions with female robots, especially the human-like ones, found their experience more pleasant. In contrast, the male robot scenarios didn’t evoke a similarly positive response.

Future Considerations in AI and Hospitality

But it’s not just about gender preferences. The implications of substituting human hotel staff with AI robots span broader issues. Seo highlights a crucial consideration: “When a robot errs or malfunctions, like misplacing luggage or botching a reservation, guests will likely seek human intervention.”

Moreover, Seo and her team at WSU are currently probing another dimension: the robot’s personality. Do guests prefer robots that are chatty and outgoing, or those that are more reserved?

For AI robot developers and hotel employers, these findings are invaluable. Seo predicts an uptick in robot usage in hotels and restaurants, emphasizing the importance of understanding psychological dynamics in such interactions. “The intricacies we see in human-to-human interactions might very well shape the future of human-to-robot interactions,” she concludes.

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Source: “People prefer interacting with female robots in hotels, study finds” — ScienceDaily

WTF Fun Fact 13586 – Giant Squid Eyes

Did you know that giant squid eyes are the size of beach balls?

You might be able to surmise that a giant squid is…well, giant, simply by its name. And it stands to reason that a giant creature would also have giant body parts. But beach ball-sized eyes is a pretty amazing trait.

Deep-Sea Adaptations: The Role of Giant Squid Eyes

In the deep parts of the ocean, light is scarce. Giant squids live in this dark environment, and to navigate through it, they’ve evolved to have exceptionally large eyes. These eyes allow them to maximize the available light, providing them with a better chance of spotting food or potential threats.

In addition, bioluminescence is common in deep-sea creatures. This means they produce light, often in patterns or pulses. The giant squid’s big eyes also help it detect these faint light signals, enabling it to identify prey or predators from a distance.

The ability to interpret light signals in the ocean’s depths is crucial for survival. Different marine creatures produce varying light signals, each serving a unique purpose. Some use it to lure prey. Others to find a mate. And some even deploy light to distract or deter predators.

With eyes as large as theirs, giant squids can distinguish between these signals. Recognizing the right light patterns means they can respond accordingly, whether that’s by hunting, escaping, or interacting with other marine life.

The Threat of Sperm Whales

Despite their impressive size, giant squids aren’t the top predators in their environment. That title goes to sperm whales, which are known to hunt giant squids. For the squid, detecting these formidable hunters early on is crucial.

The disturbance caused by diving sperm whales often triggers light reactions from bioluminescent organisms. Giant squids, with their big eyes, can spot these disturbances from afar, giving them a warning sign and a chance to evade the approaching danger.

Evolutionary adaptation is all about improving survival chances. For the giant squid, having large eyes is a product of this. Their eyes are specialized tools, honed over millennia, to give them an advantage in an environment where visibility is minimal. The size of their eyes facilitates more light absorption, allowing them to see and interpret crucial light signals in the vast, dark expanse of their deep-sea home.

In conclusion, the giant squid’s enormous eyes are more than just a fascinating feature; they’re instrumental in its survival. This adaptation serves as a testament to the incredible ways life evolves to meet the unique challenges of different environments.

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Source: “World’s biggest squid reveals ‘beach ball’ eyes” — Sydney Morning Herald

WTF Fun Fact 13585 – Butterflies Taste With Their Feet

Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet?

A Different Sensory World

Humans rely heavily on their eyes, ears, and mouth to interact with the world. We use our tongues to savor different flavors, but butterflies operate on a completely different sensory level. Their feet, not their mouths, are the primary tools for tasting. Before they even consider taking a sip of nectar from a flower or laying an egg on a plant, they first “taste” the surface to ensure it’s the right spot.

Why is this so? For a butterfly, survival depends on precise choices. Laying eggs on the wrong plant can spell disaster for the caterpillars that hatch, as they might not have the right food to eat. By using their feet to taste, butterflies can instantly determine if a plant is suitable for their offspring.

The Science Behind Foot-Tasting and How Butterflies Taste With Their Feet

Butterflies have specialized sensory organs called chemoreceptors on their feet. These chemoreceptors can detect and analyze minute chemical compositions on surfaces. When a butterfly lands on a plant, these sensors quickly determine the plant’s chemical makeup. If it matches the dietary needs of their caterpillar offspring, the butterfly knows it’s found the right place to lay its eggs.

Additionally, these chemoreceptors help butterflies locate nectar. Just by landing on a flower, they can sense if it’s worth their time or if they should move on to another bloom. Their feet essentially function as both a survival tool and a guide to the best dining spots.

How Do Chemoreceptors Work?

Just like our taste buds can identify sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, butterfly chemoreceptors detect various chemical compounds. When these compounds come into contact with a butterfly’s feet, a reaction occurs that sends signals to the insect’s brain. This rapid transmission of information allows the butterfly to make almost instantaneous decisions. It’s a quick and efficient system that ensures the butterfly spends its short life making the best choices for feeding and reproduction.

This unique tasting method has influenced various aspects of butterfly behavior and anatomy. For one, butterflies are exceptionally picky about where they land. They are often seen flitting from one plant to another, not just for the joy of flight, but in a quest to find the perfect spot that matches their tasting criteria.

Furthermore, their legs are perfectly designed for this purpose. Lightweight yet strong, they allow for quick landings and take-offs, and their structure ensures that the chemoreceptors come into maximum contact with surfaces, providing the most accurate readings.

Butterflies have short lifespans. Many species only live for a few weeks as adults. Given this limited timeframe, it’s essential for them to make the most of every moment. This is where their foot-tasting ability becomes crucial. It allows them to quickly discern the best places to lay eggs or feed, ensuring their genetic legacy and personal survival.

Moreover, the tasting mechanism influences their mating rituals. Male butterflies release specific chemicals to attract females. When a female lands near a potential mate, she can instantly “taste” these chemicals and decide whether the male is a suitable partner.

The Wider Impacts of Butterflies Tasting With Their Feet

This incredible adaptation doesn’t just affect butterflies; it impacts entire ecosystems. Plants have co-evolved with butterflies over millions of years. Some plants have developed chemicals specifically to attract butterflies, ensuring their pollen is spread. Others have developed deterrent chemicals to ward them off.

Such co-evolutionary dynamics shape our environment, leading to the diverse range of plants and butterfly species we see today. It’s a dance of chemistry and taste, all playing out under our very noses (or, in the case of butterflies, under their feet).

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Source: “How Do Butterflies Taste And Eat Their Food?” — Science ABC