Mysterious News Briefly — December 15, 2020
Less than 48 hours after SpaceX’s Starship SN8 ignited into a fireball as it landed after an otherwise successful test, Starship SN9, the next one in line, fell over in its Texas assembly building and crashed into a wall. A nervous Elon Musk may try to corner the world markets on horseshoes, rabbits’ feet and four-leaf clovers.
The Tolkien Society has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise $6 million to purchase and restore the house where J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and most of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and turn it into a Tolkien literary center. they could make that much just by charging for selfie videos taken by the special Lord of the Rings ring security camera.
Arctic ground squirrels hibernate for eight months at near-freezing temperatures while slowly recycling their body’s own nutrients so they wake up fresh and ready to go without any muscle damage – something a new study says can help astronauts stay fit on long missions. All they’ll need is something to satisfy their sudden craving for nuts.
A woman in Moscow who says she’s always been interested in inanimate objects eventually became romantic with one and recently married a briefcase she named Gideon who she claims is also her mentor. Gideon apparently coaches her on getting a handle on problems, making snap decisions and carrying on brief conversations.
According to new research, by the time children are three years old, they prefer the visually complex fractal patterns of nature to simple geometric shapes. Needless to say, the blocks and balls industries are probably not pleased with this study.
For those who like to plan ahead, new research shows that mass extinctions of land animals — mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds — happen on a 27-million-year cycle that may be tied to Earth’s orbit around the galaxy. Can Siri handle a wakeup call that far in advance?
Lancaster University researchers have identified a crystalline material with the ability to capture solar energy, store it for several months at room temperature, and release it on demand in the form of heat. Big deal, said Vitamin D.
Scientists at UC Berkeley and Gladstone Institutes have developed a new CRISPR-based COVID-19 diagnostic test that uses a smartphone camera that gives a positive or negative result in 15 minutes, as well as estimates of viral load and how contagious a patient might be. Who knew those ugly up-the-nose selfies would actually be a good thing?
Scientists from the University of Bristol digitally reconstructed the brain of a Thecodontosaurus and the 3D image showed they had probably been very wrong about how the dinosaur lived – it may have walked on two legs and was occasionally carnivorous. The real question is, did it spend most of its time with its long neck twisted upward thinking, “Does that comet look bigger to you?”
Zoox, the robotaxi company owned by Amazon, unveiled its fully autonomous electric ride-sharing vehicle and admitted it will also be used for package deliveries. No surprise here — the only things at Amazon not used for package deliveries are Jeff Bezos’ shoes.