Jan 22, 2021 I Paul Seaburn

Clapping Butterflies, Strange Gin, Jetpack Guy and More Mysterious News Briefly — January 21, 2021

Mysterious News Briefly — January 21, 2021

Newly discovered internal documents concerning the infamous “Jetpack Guy” seen multiple times by pilots over LAX airport reveal an email discussion between the FBI and one of the American Airlines pilots who saw the jetpack guy in which the pilot was shown a drone that looked like a human jetpack flyer and he confirmed that’s what he saw. Somewhere, DB Cooper is pondering why he didn’t think of that.

if you ever wondered what ants are farming on ant farms, a new study found that Amazonian Attine ants grow a food fungus using bacteria that contain an antifungal agent to fight off fungal parasites – a compound that could be used for medical applications. Does this mean stomping on an anthill can kill athlete’s foot? (Asking for an itchy friend.)

If you’ve ever wondered how butterflies fly with those huge wings, biologists from Sweden's Lund University determined that they bend the wings to form a cup, “clap” them together to produce thrust, and then open them to provide stability. That faint slow-clapping sound you hear is butterflies applauding the fact that we’ve finally figured this out.

From the “Ewww!” file comes word that two former professors in biology now run a distillery in South Africa where they produce Indlovu gin from – get ready – dried elephant dung. You may want to be more specific the next time you ask the bartender for a ‘jumbo’ martini.

NASA is feeding image data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter into an AI machine-learning algorithm as a way to identify which craters on Mars are the newest – information that will help write the history of the Red Planet. Why is this algorithm looking for the newest Martian craters and not the latest Earth potholes?

Computer scientists at Texas A&M University are training artificial intelligence with ‘reinforcement learning’ to help optimize traffic lights in order to reduce traffic jams and delays and improve commute times. Who would have imagined that only artificial intelligence machines can still remember commuting.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has acquired two former oil drilling rigs to serve as floating spaceports for future Starship launches and landings, naming them Phobos and Deimos after the two moons of Mars. Look up “irony” in the dictionary and it now shows the founder of an electric car company buying former oil rigs.

With a three-month delay in the arrival of a Russian supply ship to the International Space Station, American astronauts have been donating portions of their own food to their cosmonaut companions. It was probably awful until the cosmonauts figured out a way to make freeze-dried hotdog stroganoff.

For New Zealanders having a hard time understanding why they shouldn’t live near active volcanoes, researchers from the University of Canterbury (UC) School of Earth and Environment have been firing volcanic rocks at houses to demonstrate the damage they can do to roofs, cars and people. What’s next – floods of hot oatmeal to show the dangers of lava flows?

An international team of researchers studying catnip’s euphoric effect on cats found that the compound psychoactive nepetalactone not only activates the feline brain's opioid reward system, it also wards off mosquitoes. That’s probably a good thing since cats stoned on catnip have a tough time swatting mosquitoes.

Paul Seaburn

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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