There are certain feats and accomplishments that may be wild, fraught, and beyond imagining for most of us, but that are impressive and inspiring nonetheless, and the motivation behind which makes at least a decent deal of sense. Maybe you would never have wished to be the first to reach the South or North Pole, the summit of Everest, or the surface of the moon, but you can surely understand why a person would strive for such. (Exhibit A: famed mountaineer George Mallory‘s retort when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest: “Because it’s there.”)
Then there are other things dudes have done for reasons that are all but inscrutable, but that are goddamned awesome just the same. And it’s at those that we’re looking today. Here are six things people have done that probably didn’t need to be done, but that are inarguably worth a toast and a tip of the cap.
In 2014, Alan Eustace, a silicon valley computer scientist, broke the previous record for the highest ever skydive (which took place from approximately 24 miles up) when he jumped from a balloon some 26 miles above the surface of the earth, well into the stratosphere. And actually, Eustace didn’t jump so much as he used an explosive charge to blast himself separate from the balloon, below which he hung 135,889 feet above a southwestern desert. During the next four-and-a-half minutes of his fall, Eustace would break the sound barrier, reaching a top speed a bit over 822 miles per hour.
It’s common knowledge that we know more about the surface of the moon than the bottom of the ocean, but ocean depths have long been calculated by scientists. But hey, why settle for knowing how deep something is when you can go there? With plenty of support, of course, explorer Victor Vescovo, who was evidently bored after summiting the tallest mountains on all seven continents, would, in the summer of 2019, become the first person to reach the deepest point in all five of the world’s oceans. These are the Atlantic’s Puerto Rico Trench, 27,480 feet down, the Southern Ocean’s South Sandwich Trench, 24,390 feet below sea level, the Indian Ocean’s Java Trench at 23,596 feet under, the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, at a staggering 35,843 feet underwater, and the Arctic’s Molloy Deep, at a paltry 18,209 of depth. Next, he’ll probably have to head to Mars to get excited.
In March of 2010, Ram Singh Chauhan was certified as having grown the longest mustache known to mankind. He had grown his whiskers out to a length of 4.29 meters, or 14 feet. But he didn’t stop there. As of the last time it was measured, his mustache was out past 18 feet. You’re probably wondering how long that took, and the answer is: A long time. Ram apparently began the ‘stache that would set the record in 1970.
Back in 2007, a group of Israeli scientists decided to see if they could inscribe the entire Hebrew Bible onto a really small surface. In fact, it was smaller than a pinhead; the actual little piece of silicon onto which their particle beam inscribed the 300,000-word book was a bit smaller than half the size of a grain of sugar. This time, though, it wasn’t entirely just a “let’s see if we can!” operation; in fact they were working on how to store massive amounts of data in very small spaces, looking to a future when we can inscribe data on DNA.
Before flying aloft in his own homemade steam-powered rocket, “Mad” Mike Hughes had already set a record by jumping a 6,500 pound Lincoln Town Car stretch limousine a distance of 103 feet back in 2002. Hughes turned to rocketry apparently in a bid to get high enough to prove his Flat Earther views, and in one of the three launches he reached an altitude of 1,875 feet. That flight ended safely thanks to a successful parachute deployment. Sadly, a third flight ended in Hughes’ death because of a failed deployment of the chutes during the launch. Respectfully, commercial aviation may have been a better way to check for the curvature of the globe.
Richart Sowa spent seven years building a floating island primarily out of recycled plastic bottles and he anchored his floating piece of paradise in a bay of Cancun. No mere stunt, the island became a permanent home where he resides with his partner and their dog in a three-story home complete with electricity (from solar power, of course), clean water (from rain), and even a decent internet connection. Oh, and also there are two ponds, a hot tub, a decorative waterfall, and presumably very little eco guilt.