Mysterious News Briefly — October 13, 2020
While the speed of sound in air is 761.2 mph (1,225 km/h), researchers have discovered the upper limit to the speed of sound is about 36 km per second (22.3 miles per sec, 129600 km/h, 80529 mph), which is twice the speed sound travels through diamonds. This is probably very close to the speed moms hear babies crying.
Researchers using sediment cores from the Canadian Arctic have determined that this past decade has been the Atlantic Ocean’s warmest in nearly 3,000 years, and this warming has contributed to the increase in severe hurricanes and influenced temperatures and precipitation over landmasses both adjacent to the ocean and on the other side of the globe. Please yell “YES ALREADY!” whenever someone asks if it’s hot enough for you.
In order to help them survive in their male-dominated underground world, scientists have found that female moles grow testicles which do not produce sperm but supply them with male sex hormones (androgens) giving them a surge in testosterone. Be careful — the most dangerous mole in your life may not be the one on your back.
The establishment of the new Dong Chau-Khe Nuoc Trong Nature Reserve in Vietnam is seen by wildlife conservationists as a major step in the protection of a number of threatened species, including the saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), a mysterious antelope-like bovine so rare it has been called the “Asian unicorn.” Sure, it’s a good thing, but are real unicorns getting tired of this constant dilution of their brand name?
Astronomers at the Royal Astronomy Society used the European Southern Observatory to observe a massive black hole sucking in a nearby star in a process that looked so much like a certain meal they’ve dubbed it “spaghettification.” Should this be declared a holiday for Pastafarians?
Waymo One, the self-driving taxi service company, is now offering Phoenix customers rides in autonomous vehicles with no human operator inside them to take over in the event of an emergency. Those who miss their favorite cab drivers should bring along swatches of cloth that smell like cigarettes, food or sweat.
Israeli security experts say hackers are able to trick semi-autonomous driving systems into slamming on the brakes by briefly flashing an image of a road sign, person or obstacle on a digitally-controlled billboard. Wait until fast food restaurants discover this.
The journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces reports that Penn State scientists developed new wearable sensors that can be printed directly onto a person’s skin without causing any pain or permanent harm. Do we really need a cellphone tattoo that actually works?
The Scientist reports on a new study comparing the brain scans of high-impact rugby players with those of athletes in noncontact sports and found similar tiny but significant problems in the brains of rowers, swimmers and other non-impact competitors. After 2020, these scientists may also want to test the long-term impact of face-palming.