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Walmart Robots, Nuclear Halloween, Flytrap Brains and More Mysterious News Briefly — October 19, 2020

Mysterious News Briefly — October 19, 2020

A research team at Aalto University’s Department of Applied Physics discovered a way to coat the inside of pipes with compounds that repel liquids, allowing fluids a thousand times more viscous that water to flow ten times faster that H2O through the pipe. This could revolutionize the oil industry, not to mention eliminate condiment accidents and elbow strains.

Just in time for Halloween, astronomers have determined that the giant red star Betelgeuse, which is nearing the end of its life and will soon (in star terms) explode, is actually 25% closer to Earth than previously thought. The end is still 100,000 years off, so for a better Halloween scare, sit very close to the screen and watch the movie.

The annual conference of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, held online this year because of the pandemic, found its chat line censored by profanity filters over usage of words like “bone,” “pubic,” sexual” and “hell” (as in the Hell’s Creek fossil formation). Beavis and Butthead are undoubtedly having a good laugh over this one.

A new study of Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) found that the plants actually have short-term memories lasting up to 30 seconds that allow them to recall the touch of an insect and trap it on its second landing. If they can remember scenes from the movie, we’re in big trouble.

Robots have invaded Walmart as a store in Fremont, California, installed an autonomous robot that custom-makes smoothies to order, then texts the customer when it’s ready for pickup. What would really be impressive is if it also scanned customers and enforced dress codes.

The shortest unit of time is the zeptosecond (a trillionth of a billionth of a second) and scientists in Germany used it in a particle accelerator in Germany to measure the time it takes a light particle to cross a hydrogen molecule — 247 zeptoseconds – making it the shortest event ever measured. “We’re not worthy,” cried the blink of an eye.

For a truly scary Halloween night, you can’t beat spending it at the Wunderland Kalkar amusement park in Germany which is built on the site of a failed nuclear power plant and features a 58 meter (190 feet) high Vertical Swing ride inside what would have been the cooling tower. Before you ask, it was never operational so visiting there during the day does not eliminate the need for trick-or-treaters to carry a flashlight at night.

Nanyang Technological University in Singapore is now home to robots with artificially intelligent mini-brains which allow them to feel pain, then detect and repair damages to their bodies without the need for human intervention. Will someone at NTU please spray one with coronavirus and then watch closely and take notes?

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Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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