Extraordinary, Eccentric and Eerie: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

A person dressed as Frodo from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" displays his hobbit feet. Considering their dumpy stature, did hobbits really have the endurance to travel so many miles and battle so many creatures? Matej Divizna/Getty Images

Summer has drawn to a close and given way to autumn here in the Western Hemisphere, but nothing's changed at HowStuffWorks — we're still pumping out amazing stories about the weird and wonderful world we live in. So bust out your fuzzy socks and hot chocolate (what, too soon?) to cozy up with a few of our podcasts and articles!

The Extraordinary

The chance of getting struck by lightning is pretty low. In fact, there are relatively few occurrences with worse odds. (Among them are winning the lottery or becoming a movie star.) But there's an even smaller chance that a person would actually die from lightning — and now, the number of annual lightning deaths in the United States is at the lowest it's been since lightning fatalities in the nation were first recorded. Find out why here.

The Eccentric

J.R.R. Tolkien's hobbits — small and stout though they might be — traverse long and dangerous distances. But would these creatures really have enough stamina to make it through all those adventures? In a new article, Stuff to Blow Your Mind host Robert Lamb questions the health and physical capabilities of Bilbo and Co., a topic that researchers have surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly, depending on how big of a Tolkien fan you are) delved into.

The Eerie

The world has had its fair share of apocalyptic scares that turned out to be, well, totally wrong — but that's not going to stop prognosticating folks from calculating their own doomsdays. Based on a speculative concoction of verses and numbers in the Bible, constellations and writings, as well as the supposed imminent collision of Planet X with Earth, doomsday predictor David Meade expects the world to enter a new, dark era on Sept. 23. Stuff They Don't Want You to Know hosts Ben, Matt and Noel discuss the world-ending prophecy in a new episode of the podcast. Listen here (or read about it here) before time runs out! (OK ... maybe we're being facetious.)

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