Mad Minute

May 21 (UPI) -- A Texas meteorologist shared weather radar footage showing a large swarm of bats being dispersed by gusts from a thunderstorm.

Chris Suchan, meteorologist for WOAI-TV, said a swarm of bats large enough to be picked up by weather radar emerged from Frio Bat Cave in Uvalde County on Wednesday night, and the radar footage shows the millions of Mexican free-tailed bats encountering a thunderstorm.

Suchan said the footage shows a gust front -- a powerful wind created by torrential rains pushing downdrafts outward -- colliding with the swarm of bats, dispersing the flying mammals.

"Dual-Pol radar works beautifully to distinguish these bats from rain when storms and the bats are on radar," Suchan said.

"It's easy to identify the ring signature, but on occasion, when they're starting to come out, it can look like a storm core until you see the ring show itself as they fan out."

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(Huffington Post) This big bird's no chicken.

Footage from Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve shows a solitary crowned crane standing up to a herd of elephants that were getting just a little too close to its nest.

"The elephant seemed rather bemused by the situation and remained curious as to why the bird was flapping its wings," Tayla McCurdy, who shot the footage, told Latest Sightings, which posted the 2018 video on its YouTube channel earlier this month.

McCurdy said the elephant first tried to brush off the bird with its trunk, then walked away to graze elsewhere. The elephant got a little more annoyed, however, when the bird attempted to menace one of the calves.

"The crowned crane moved off, realizing that there was no longer any danger, leaving the elephant to graze peacefully but keeping a close eye," she wrote.

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BRIDGTON, Maine (AP) — A bald eagle died last year in Maine after being stabbed through the heart by a loon, wildlife officials said.

A biologist at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife recently got word about the July 2019 attack, the Bangor Daily News reported Wednesday.

Danielle D'Auria believes it to be one of the strangest cases of eagle death she has ever seen.

The bird had been found with a puncture would in its chest by a loon biologist in New Hampshire. A dead loon chick was also discovered near the eagle.

When D'Auria heard about the case she had the bird radiographed fro a possible bullet wound as it is illegal in the U.S. to kill bald eagles.

The evidence showed no gun residue but indicated that the big bird had been stabbed through the heart by the beak of a loon.

"We know conflicts between bald eagles and loons have soared in recent years as a result of the recovery of our eagle population," D'Auria wrote in a blog entry for the state agency. "We are seeing more and more eagle predation on loon chicks and even adult loons."

The biologist believes the loon's attack was a result of its attempt to protect its chick from the bird.

D'Auria wrote the evidence is important because it shows an attack that appears to be the first recorded wherein a loon has killed an eagle.

She added, "Who would think a loon would stand a chance against such a powerful predator?"

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Men sporting big bountiful beards might have a reason to feel more confident — and not just because women might be more sexually attracted to guys who can grow them.

Research shows that flowing facial hair might have evolved to help fight-hungry humans better absorb blows to the head, according to a new study published in the journal Integrative Organismal Biology. The findings are the culmination of several research projects by the same team on human resilience, including experiments on the ability of the human face to take a punch and the human hands' efficacy as melee weapons.

"We found that fully furred samples were capable of absorbing more energy than plucked and sheared samples," according to the jaw-dropping experiment conducted by biologists Ethan Beseris, Steven Naleway and David Carrier.

Fortunately, no humans were slugged in the name of science. Instead, the team employed an epoxy composite skull covered in several styles of sheep skin — plucked, trimmed, and full-on mutton chops (so to speak). To replicate a punch, they then dropped a weight on the chin, and measured the force via load cell.

The scientists found that "peak force was 16 percent greater and total energy absorbed was 37 percent greater in the furred compared to the plucked samples," per the report.

Specifically, the tough tufts acted as shock absorbers that dispersed the energy generated by a punch just enough to prevent the fragile jaw from fracturing.

Researchers concluded that the beard may function similarly to the mane of a lion or a baboon, "serving to protect vital areas like the throat and jaw from lethal attacks" during a fight. Especially as it sprouts on one of the most vulnerable regions of the body — the chin.

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May 21 (UPI) -- A wandering herd of cows -- one with a plastic chair stuck over its head -- paraded into a Welsh town and ended up stampeding through the streets.

Noah Williamson, 12, captured video of the herd stampeding through Southgate, Gower, after he and his brother fled to get out of the way of the oncoming animals.

The video shows the cows running through the street, with one of the bovines toward the rear moving a little slower due to a plastic chair being stuck over its head.

Angharad Williams said the cows belong to her uncle, who is out of town. She said the herd is known to roam, but the stampede through town was unusual.

She said the cow with the plastic chair on its head was able to shake itself free of it when the herd headed back toward its usual grazing area.

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May 21 (UPI) -- A Kansas family is celebrating an unusual milestone: the high school graduation of the state's first set of sextuplets.

Sondra and Elden Headrick's sextuplets made headlines in 2002 as the first healthy set of six babies to be born in the state, and they have now become the first sextuplets to graduate together at Norwich High School.

The parents said the children were conceived via intrauterine insemination with help from a fertility doctor, but they were shocked to learn the number of children that resulted.

The now-18-year-olds -- Ethan, Grant, Sean, Danielle, Melissa and Jaycie -- weren't able to receive their diplomas in a traditional ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but their school is tentatively planning a special ceremony for July.

"They worked really hard to get where they are. I couldn't be any more proud of them than I am," Elden Headrick told KWCH-TV.

The siblings are mostly splitting up to attend different schools, with Grant taking a gap year, but they said they plan to remain close.

"It'll be different since we're all from a small town. We'll be branching out probably into larger cities and stuff, so I think we'll all explore who we are," Melissa Headrick said.

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Scientists have reported getting so high on the nitrous oxide emitted by penguin poo that it actually made them ill.

The levels of nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, given off by the colony's faeces was about 100 times higher than in a fertilised field.

Professor Bo Elberling, from the University of Copenhagen, said the "truly intense" amount of nitrous oxide exhumed was enough to send someone "completely cuckoo".

The gas comes from the nitrogen in the penguins' diet

"It is truly intense - not least because nitrous oxide is 300 times more polluting than CO2," he explained.

"After nosing about in guano (the term given to the excrement of seabirds and bats) for several hours, one goes completely cuckoo. One begins to feel ill and get a headache."

He added: "The small nitrous oxide cylinders that you see lying in and floating around Copenhagen are no match for this heavy dose, which results from a combination of nitrous oxide with hydrogen sulphide and other gases."

Nitrous oxide canisters are often sold legitimately for producing whipped cream, but they are also taken recreationally through a balloon - with users often littering the small canisters behind.

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(FOX) The Cincinnati Reds' top pitching prospect, Hunter Greene, showed off his unique training regimen as he, along with the rest of baseball, awaits the all-clear to return to his team's facility to get ready to start the season.

Green tweeted a video Sunday showing himself firing a pitch through the open window of a driverless vehicle that rolled through the shot. Greene claimed the car was a Tesla.

"Watch ya lips!" Greene captioned the video.

Greene, 20, had Tommy John surgery last year and was expected to be completely healthy for the 2020 season and possibly join the starting rotation later in the year.

"I've gone through a lot emotionally, spiritually, mentally," Greene said at a Reds fan event in January, according to the Courier-Journal. "Physically, I've been working out and throwing and running for a long time now, but it's been more of the mental, spiritual side and the emotional side of being able to get through this rehab process."

The Reds selected Greene with the No. 2 pick of the 2017 draft out of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

In 2018, he had a 4.48 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 18 games for Single-A Dayton of the Midwest League.

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(CBC) When a Calgarian sailed away last September on a year-long solo trip around the world, he couldn't have guessed he'd be left virtually unable to contact the outside world — and wondering whether COVID-19 would leave anyone to come back to — after a giant wave capsized his boat, destroyed its electrical equipment and turned his navigational charts into mush.

Bill Norrie, a seasoned sailor, mapped out an ambitious course to sail from Vancouver Island to the Southern Ocean aboard his 28-foot Bristol Channel Cutter yacht dubbed Pixie.

It wasn't unlike other journeys Norrie had undertaken with his wife, Cathy. The pair had sailed together to 22 countries around the world in five years of voyaging.

But this time, Norrie would be on his own. Cathy would stay behind to spend time with the couple's new grandson.

On Sept. 1, 2019, Pixie embarked from Port Renfrew.

"Good day from west of USA," Norrie wrote on a blog three days later. "All is well."

Heading south, Norrie sought to sail all of the Southern Ocean beneath the world's five southernmost capes, the last of which being the South Cape on the south coast of New Zealand, before heading home in September.

But while he was aboard the boat, far away from civilization or any human contact, the world changed.

Norrie and Cathy have a running joke — whenever the pair experience knockdowns, a loss of equipment or huge storms at sea, they call these events "dragon attacks," named after a supposed medieval practice of drawing mythological creatures on areas of maps thought to pose danger.

The first of these dragon attacks on Norrie's journey took place near the Falkland Islands, located south of Argentina, forcing him to sail to South Africa in early February for repairs.

Soon after he left, the world would begin to feel the serious impacts of the pandemic, and worldwide lockdowns went into effect.

Cathy did her best through texts and email to keep Norrie informed of the latest developments but, isolated and cut off from media, it was difficult for him to understand.

He would receive a sentence or two from Cathy each day, and it slowly began to dawn on Norrie that what was happening was major. But the experience was surreal, given that Norrie had gone months without seeing another human.

And soon, just south of Tasmania, Norrie met another dragon.

On April 25, Norrie saw a huge storm was heading his way.

He didn't want to go any further south, so he sailed just underneath the island. He was struck by its spectacular beauty, having not seen land for two months.

But fearsome waves soon began to form and Norrie needed to chart a course between small islands to get around Tasmania.

Norrie climbed up to the companionway to chart his course — and froze.

Coming toward him, he saw a wall of water. It fully engulfed him.

He held his breath. Secured by a harness and tether fastened to padeyes (rigid rings that lines can be attached to) in the cockpit, he was safe — but soon, the boat tipped over.

He continued to hold his breath, long enough for the waves to dissipate and for Pixie to turn right side up. When the chaos ceased, Norrie clambered up into the cockpit to try to sort out what had happened.

It was bad. Norrie discovered the flood had effectively soaked and destroyed the boat's electrical equipment. Beyond the ability to send a few words through a tracking app, his communication with the outside world was effectively shut off.

He sailed on. But as the days went on, he wondered the worst — was he going to come home to find the world depopulated?

Norrie was aided by a backup battery GPS and a magnetic compass to help with navigation. His paper charts, soaked, turned to tissue paper.

Severe weather conditions continued, with Norrie and Pixie battling headwinds the whole time.

Compounding the stress was the fact that New Zealand was initially reticent to welcome Norrie into the country, especially given the country dropping most of its lockdown restrictions on May 13.

But as New Zealand tracked Norrie's journey and determined he was not a risk of spreading the virus — given his self-imposed months-long isolation — things changed.

Exhausted and soaked, Norrie pulled Pixie up to the dock on Thursday evening. In the darkness, he saw 10 police officers approach. Norrie said all of them were smiling.

"By the time they did their research and looked up our tracker and whatnot, they were major fans," he said. "They've treated me a little bit like royalty here."

Stepping aboard dry land for the first time in months in Christchurch, Norrie was welcomed with beer, biscuits and freshly baked goods. Media snapped his arrival, and he soon became a celebrity — an international traveller arriving in the country in the wake of a long lockdown.

"I'm a spoiled, fortunate man," Norrie said. "I'm almost hoarse from telling my story … I can't walk down main street, people stopping me, wanting to take a picture with me. I go to a restaurant, there's a crowd around me.

"I'm not used to this. I've never had this attention in my whole life."

And though he's been far away from the rest of the world amidst the pandemic, the journey isn't over yet — Norrie plans to head back into isolation for the next leg of his journey, heading north, and eventually, back home.

"Compared to the Southern Ocean, she'll be a lot warmer," he said. "I'm just so relieved to be on ground and out of the Southern Ocean and on my way home. It's a very emotional time."

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A semi hauling dozens of cattle overturned, scattering the animals outside a Nebraska liquor store.

The crash happened Thursday night outside Lucky Joe's Liquor in Neligh.

Neligh Police told Channel 8 Eyewitness News the driver suffered minor injuries. Of the 31 cattle inside, three were found dead when officers arrived and four others had to be put down due to injuries.

The semi did not hit the liquor store, but some debris caused minor damage.

Neligh Police said there have been several accident at the same curve, which is on Highway 275 near Riverside Park, over the last 15 years. Police said the accidents have been the result of drivers not paying attention to posted signage in the area.

The crash is still under investigation.

Video of the crash was shared with Channel 8 Eyewitness courtesy of Antelope County News.