Mysterious News Briefly — November 23, 2020
Florida appears to be giving up on ways to curb the spread of invasive 20-foot Burmese pythons and is instead looking for ways for Floridians to eat the mercury-loaded snakes safely. Would that include looking for ways to make 20-foot-long buns?
While quarantining at home with COVID-19, Elon Musk tweeted that he doesn’t see terraforming Mars into a habitable planet any time soon and is instead pushing for the first Martian colonies to live under giant glass domes. How about being a coronavirus bubble boy on Earth first, Elon?
The cover of the debut issue of HIGHTech, a magazine by Highsnobiety, is Lil Nas X in an astronaut helmet loaned to him by SpaceX. What’s next … Old Town Rocket?
From the ‘when life deals you lemons’ file, researchers are turning surplus, unsold milk, which amounts to 50 million gallons annually, from dairy cows – a main source of greenhouse gases (you know how) – into advanced activated carbons with the right porosity and surface chemistry to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduce greenhouse gases. It’s expensive, but it’s less dangerous that trying to train cows to hold in their emissions.
In a big letdown for the ‘life on Venus’ crowd, a reanalysis of data announced earlier this year that the planet’s atmosphere contains phosphine — a potential marker of life — found a processing error in the original data set which drops the amount of phosphine found significantly. Revenge by the ‘men are from Mars’ crowd?
Good news for future fiancés – researchers at Australian National University used something called a “diamond anvil cell” to generate extreme amounts of pressure and crush carbon atoms into diamonds in just minutes and at room temperature. Once they make the engagement ring, can this be used on really hard walnuts? (Asking for a friend unclear on the concept.)
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi – who has flown on the space shuttle, a Soyuz capsule and the SpaceX Dragon — says the Dragon is the best because it “feels like you are actually inside a dragon bringing us up to space.” If that’s the case, shouldn’t spacesuits be coated with Tums?
During a spacewalk last week, two Russian cosmonauts successfully patched the crack in the ISS’s Russian module Zvezda, which has been leaking air for over a year, using a patch made of rubber and aluminum foil. That clapping sound you hear is dads around the world high-fiving.
For the first time, researchers have developed an algorithm that uses biochemical signals from the synthesis of DNA molecules to generate perfect random numbers at a scale never before seen with other methods. Now all they need to do is figure out how to get it into a slot machine and they’ll be billionaires.
Using recordings of their songs, researchers in Guatemala found that greater sac-winged bats (Saccopteryx bilineata) have formed into separate species over time with completely different songs for communicating about food, sleep, sex and other bats. Greater sac-winged bats – the country-western singers of the animal kingdom.
Scientists from Facebook and the Georgia Institute of Technology are training artificial intelligence to develop a deeper understanding of language by allowing it to play multi-player roleplaying games. Will this ensure that AI never gets dates?