The Weird Week in Review

Donkey Not Reliable Getaway Vehicle

Three thieves dropped in through the roof and robbed a store at 2AM in Juan de Acosta, Colombia. They took rum and a variety of food and loaded the goods onto their getaway vehicle -a donkey they had stolen earlier. However, the donkey, a 10-year-old animal named Xavi, did not want to cooperate and began braying loudly. The commotion drew the attention of police in the small town, and the thieves fled on foot. The stolen items and the donkey were returned to their respective owners.

Goat Cheese Fire Closes Tunnel

A truck carrying 27 tonnes of Brunost, a caramelized brown goat milk cheese, caught fire as it traveled through the Brattli Tunnel at Tysfjord, Norway. The driver abandoned the vehicle about 1,000 feet from the tunnel's end. The fire burned for five days straight, while toxic fumes kept firefighters at a distance. No one was injured in the incident, but the tunnel may remain closed for several weeks.

Welsh Tourist Wrestles Australian Shark

Paul Marshallsea of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, was barbecuing at Bulcock Beach in Australia when he heard bathers yell "Shark!" The 62-year-old tourist saw a shark approaching children and ran into the water, grabbed the shark, and pulled it away from the youngsters.

Helicopters and lifesavers on water bikes later lured the shark out to sea with the tide.

An Australian coastguard spokesman said: "We don't recommend manhandling sharks but this gentleman did a great job."

The six-foot dusky shark snapped at Marshallsea's leg, but missed by a fraction of an inch. A nearby TV crew caught the action on video.

Live Otters Found in Unclaimed Luggage

A suitcase was left unclaimed in the oversize luggage area of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on Tuesday. There were no identifying tags on the bag, so customs officers opened it and found 11 juvenile otters -alive! They were identified as six Smooth Coated Otters and five Oriental Small Clawed Otters. Wildlife traffic investigators in Asia said they have seen otter skins being smuggled, but this is the first case of live otters intercepted in transit. The otters were sent to the Bang-Pra Breeding Center in Chonburi.

Chicken Wing Shortage May Affect Super Bowl Parties

The day of the Super Bowl is the second-biggest day for eating in America, ranked just behind Thanksgiving. A game day staple, the chicken wing, will be scarcer and more expense this year. Chicken producers raised fewer birds this year due to the high price of feed corn, which was affected by the nationwide drought. Only 1.23 billion wing segments will be available on Super Bowl weekend, which is 12.3 million less than the number consumed last year. The wholesale price of chicken wings is at an all-time high, at $2.11 a pound in the northeast.

Boy Fakes Kidnapping to Hide Bad Grades

An unidentified 11-year-old boy in Xinzo de Limia, Spain, sent his father a text message to say he'd been kidnapped. When the father called the son's phone, the boy whispered that he'd been grabbed off the street and put in the back seat of a car. The father, a policeman, issued a nationwide alert and authorities set up roadblocks across the region. Within a few hours, the child was found hiding in an empty apartment.

The boy explained that he had come up with the elaborate ruse to stop his parents talking to his teacher in a meeting scheduled for that afternoon fearing that they would be angry over his recent poor grades.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
quiz
One-Syllable Presidents
iStock
iStock
nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Health
Feeling Down? Lifting Weights Can Lift Your Mood, Too
iStock
iStock

There’s plenty of research that suggests that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. In some cases of depression, in fact—particularly less-severe ones—scientists have found that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants, which don’t work for everyone and can come with some annoying side effects. Previous studies have largely concentrated on aerobic exercise, like running, but new research shows that weight lifting can be a useful depression treatment, too.

The study in JAMA Psychiatry, led by sports scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, examined the results of 33 previous clinical trials that analyzed a total of 1877 participants. It found that resistance training—lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push ups, and any other exercises targeted at strengthening muscles rather than increasing heart rate—significantly reduced symptoms of depression.

This held true regardless of how healthy people were overall, how much of the exercises they were assigned to do, or how much stronger they got as a result. While the effect wasn’t as strong in blinded trials—where the assessors don’t know who is in the control group and who isn’t, as is the case in higher-quality studies—it was still notable. According to first author Brett Gordon, these trials showed a medium effect, while others showed a large effect, but both were statistically significant.

The studies in the paper all looked at the effects of these training regimes on people with mild to moderate depression, and the results might not translate to people with severe depression. Unfortunately, many of the studies analyzed didn’t include information on whether or not the patients were taking antidepressants, so the researchers weren’t able to determine what role medications might play in this. However, Gordon tells Mental Floss in an email that “the available evidence supports that [resistance training] may be an effective alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms that could be prescribed on its own and/or in conjunction with other depression treatments,” like therapy or medication.

There haven’t been a lot of studies yet comparing whether aerobic exercise or resistance training might be better at alleviating depressive symptoms, and future research might tackle that question. Even if one does turn out to be better than the other, though, it seems that just getting to the gym can make a big difference.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios