Flaming Lips, Brain Lights, Yellow Crazy Ants and More Mysterious News Briefly — October 15, 2020
The Flaming Lips band is testing the idea of performing a concert with both the band’s members and small groups of audience members encased inside of plastic bubble. If you remember doing something like this back in the 1960s, it was just the ‘shrooms talking.
Global Flyway Network, a conservation group that studies long-distance migrating shorebirds, tracked a male bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica) flying nonstop for 11 days from southwestern Alaska to a bay near Auckland, New Zealand, setting a new record for the longest nonstop migratory flight. Wow, that female bar-tailed godwit in New Zealand must have some hot plumage.
Using a new technique called optogenetics, researchers at Stanford University shined lights that triggered neurons deep inside the brains of mice and altered their behavior without the need for surgery. Isn’t this what happens at a Pink Floyd laser show?
In a tweet, SpaceX founder and opinionated billionaire Elon Musk shared his opinion on UFO and alien sightings: “I have seen no evidence of an advanced civilization visiting Earth. Fuzzy pics that are worse than a 7/11 security cam frame grab don’t count!” Quit complaining, Elon – put your money where your mouth is and develop a better dash cam for Teslas.
According to Holger Krag, head of the ESA’s Space Safety Program, the biggest contributor to the current space debris problem is “explosions in orbit, caused by left-over energy—fuel and batteries—onboard spacecraft and rockets,” and the only good solution is to redesign spacecraft for clean disposal and moving defunct missions to “graveyard orbits.” In the meantime, “Explosions in Orbit” would make a great name for a metal band.
University of Leeds scientists have developed a new AI-controlled robotic arm that will eventually perform autonomous colonoscopies without the help of a gastroenterologist. Millions of people with clenched cheeks just screamed, “What could possibly go wrong??!!??”
New 3D virtual reality software, developed by the University of Cambridge and 3D image analysis software company Lume VR Ltd., uses allows super-resolution microscopy data to give scientists the sensation of walking inside individual cells. Throw in encounters with a VR Raquel Welch or Meg Ryan and this sounds like a blockbuster.
Yellow crazy ants, which spit formic acid and can form supercolonies that overwhelm native species, are spreading in Australia’s tropical forests and the Invasive Species Council is demanding action by the Australian government. While they’re waiting, they might consider wearing bush clown shoes.
Using hair, fur and bone samples, researchers in the Upper Midwest of the U.S. found that seven carnivore species – wolves, pumas, coyotes, etc. – are now getting nearly half of their food from human food sources, including garbage and pets. Before you get any ideas, that includes ugly dogs and cats.
Columbia University astronomer David Kipping presents the argument in a new paper that there’s essentially a 50-50 chance that we are living in a simulation created by an advanced civilization. Those sending out SETI messages might want to include a polite request to the advanced civilization’s Help Desk.