Amazing, Abnormal and Absorbing: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, set to compete in his last races before retirement, has a pretty unusual stride. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, set to compete in his last races before retirement, has a pretty unusual stride. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

We know it's easy to get bogged down in all the information the internet throws at us. So, if you've missed a lot of our podcasts and articles this week, we won't judge. But we will make sure you're all caught up. Here are some of the best that might've escaped your notice.

The Amazing

Usain Bolt, the world-class Jamaican sprinter, is regarded as the fastest man on Earth. But a physical quirk may be causing — or even impeding — his superspeed: his unusual stride. Read about it here.

Humans' endeavors in space seem so fantastic and, dare I say, far-out that many people regard space missions in disbelief, citing various conspiracy theories. But some of NASA's missions really do seem like a plot line straight out of a sci-fi flick, like its plan to knock an asteroid off course with a spacecraft. Yep, you read that right. Get the details on the project in this article.

Ibn Battuta had a serious case of wanderlust. The Moroccan traveler journeyed extensively throughout the Islamic world. In fact, he visited so many places that we can't list them all here. Hosts Holly and Tracy take you on a trip through the scholar's life in a new episode of the podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class.

The Abnormal

There are many items that could go on a person's "do not eat" list, including dehydrated and powdered placenta. Yet some adventurous souls are ingesting pills of that exact substance. It's not a new practice, but it has gained popularity in the West in recent years. Find out why people would want to eat their own organ by reading this article.

In a new episode of the podcast Stuff You Should Know, hosts Josh and Chuck take on detective roles, digging into research to figure out who committed the murder of eight people in a small Iowa town in 1912. It was a heinous crime, so this isn't pleasant territory. But it remains unsolved, and J & C see if they can get some answers.

The legend of Utsuro Bune involves a lone boat that washed up on the shore of Japan in the early 19th century, inscribed with an unknown language and carrying a mysterious woman. The tale only gets weirder from there. Hosts Ben and Matt discuss ancient Japanese UFOs in this episode of Stuff They Don't Want You to Know.

The Absorbing

If asked to give up food or their smartphones for a day, many people who store their lives in their phones might choose the former. (Well, humans can go weeks without food anyway, right?) Our point is, folks often have their eyes down on their mobile devices, which can cause serious accidents when they're walking through busy city streets. But one U.S. city has proposed a solution: a ban on texting while crossing roads. Learn about the Honolulu law in this article.

Who wouldn't want to be privy to supercool secrets about the Vatican, like why the popes used to sit on seats with holes in them? We'll answer for you: nobody. So, listen to this episode of Part-Time Genius for some Vatican trivia you can use to impress your curious friends!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the nation is in the midst of a prescription opioid overdose epidemic. More than 11 million Americans reported they misused them in 2015, and research suggests it has to do with the way doctors prescribe the medicine. Get the details of a new survey on opioid painkillers in the U.S. here.