6. Due to the physiological advantage of no lactose threshold, ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes can run continuously for more than 3 days and nights without stopping and without sleeping.
For most people, running continuously for a few hours seems to be an impossible task. This is because each body has its own lactate threshold. Once we start performing some physical activities beyond the lactate threshold, our heart begins to pound rapidly, lungs gasp for air, and fatigue sets in the muscles. But none of these symptoms occur for ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes, even when he keeps running for days and nights without any sleep.
This superhuman feat is achieved by Karnazes because of his lack of lactose threshold. He has completed some of the toughest endurance tests on the planet such as a marathon to the South Pole at a temperature of -25C without snowshoes. He had even run a marathon in 50 states in 50 consecutive days in the year 2006. For Karnazes, running for three days and nights without stopping is an easily achievable feat. (1, 2)
7. Famously known as the Human Computer, Shakuntala Devi was a human calculator who once defeated a UNIVAC computer by 12 seconds.
Born in an orthodox brahmin family, Shakuntala Devi’s mathematical ability was recognized by her father when he indulged his 3-year-old daughter in a game of cards. It turned out that the little girl easily beat her father by memorizing the cards. Since then, she and her father have headed out on foot to display her talents at school and business settings. By her teens, she moved on to a bigger stage in London, and soon, the child prodigy became famous all over the world as “Human Computer”. Her talent earned her a place in 1982 edition of Guinness Book of World Records when she multiplied two 13-digit numbers (7,686,369,774,870 and 2,465,099,745,779) and presented the answer (18,947,668,177,995,426,773,730) in just 28 seconds.
Some of her other famous mental calculation feats are:
- In 1977, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, she extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds, beating a UNIVAC 1101 computer, which took its 62 seconds.
- In 1988, a professor of psychology, Arthur Jensen, decided to test her performance. So, she was asked to calculate the cube root of 61,629,875 and the seventh root of 170,859,375. Jensen reported that Shakuntala Devi provided her the solution (395 and 15, respectively) even before he could copy down the numbers in his notebook.
- While in a tour in Europe, once on the BBC and second at the University of Rome, her testers pronounced her wrong, but then, they had to admit calculation errors in their own work.
8. A woman named Veronica Seider has 20 times better vision than the average. She can identify people more than a mile (1.6 km) away.
Veronica Seider was born in West Germany in the year 1951. When she enrolled as a student in Stuttgart University in West Germany, her extraordinary vision came to the attention of the general public. The University claimed that Veronica could see details from as far as 1.6 km. Her superhuman vision can be derived from the fact that normal human being can barely see details from 20 feet away. While the visual acuity of a normal human eye is 20/20, Veronica has the acuity of 20/2. Veronica’s eyesight is comparable to that of a telescope as she claims that she can view the constituent colors that makeup color in color television sets. (1, 2)
9. Blinded at the age of 13 months, a man named Daniel Kish taught himself to see the world around him with bat-like echolocation. He has trained himself to hear the echo of a sharp click produced with his tongue and then interpret their meaning.
Daniel Kish was born with a form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma. To save his life, doctors removed both his eyeballs just when he was 13 months old. Daniel started using the technique of echolocation at the age of two. He says that clicking the tongue for echolocation came instinctively to him. Using this technique, he can detect buildings 1000 feet away, a tree 30 feet away, and a person six feet away. He can even echolocate a one-inch diameter pole nearby or a golf ball. Also, he can differentiate objects by using this technique. He can easily tell the difference between a pickup truck, a passenger car, and an SUV.
Daniel Kish is now the President of World Access for the Blind (WAFTB), which is a nonprofit organization founded by him in 2000. With the help of his organization, he had taught echolocation to at least 500 blind children around the world. (1, 2)
10. “The Iceman” is the nickname of a daredevil adventurer, Wim Hof, who has the ability to withstand extremely cold temperatures. He had even climbed to 67 kilometers altitude at Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts and shoes.
Remember the time when your mom used to cover you from head to toes in winter so that you won’t suffer from the cold? Even when we grow up, we cover our body in warm clothes before stepping out in the chilly winter winds. But surprisingly, a Dutchman, Wim Hof, requires no such protection from cold. He has this incredible ability to withstand extremely cold temperatures due to which he earned him the nickname “The Iceman”. Wim Hof credits this superhuman ability to exposure to cold, meditation, and a breathing technique similar to Tibetian technique Tummo. He even scaled up to 67 kilometers altitude of Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts and shoes. He couldn’t reach the top due to a recurring foot injury.
His other feats include:
- 2008: Hof created Guinness World Records by staying immersed in ice for 1 hour, 13 minutes and 48 seconds.
- 2009: In February, Hof reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in two days wearing just his shorts. In the same year, he completed a full marathon of 42.195 kilometers above the arctic circle in Finland. He finished in 5 hours 25 minutes wearing nothing but shorts.
- 2010: Hof broke the ice endurance record by staying immersed in ice for 1 hour 44 minutes.
- 2011: He again broke ice endurance record by staying immersed in ice for 1 hour 52 minutes and 42 seconds. In September he ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water. (source)