Mysterious News Briefly — January 15, 2021
NASA’s “mole” – the drill deployed by the Mars InSight lander to dig at least 10 feet deep to take the Red Planet’s temperature – has been shut down after months of hammering (at least 500 times) that never got deeper than 3 cm (1.1 inches). “Next time, send a laser thermometer!” said everyone who has left lockdown to go back to the office or to a restaurant recently.
A debate has ensued on Reddit after someone asked whether one Cheetos cheese puff (regular, not extra crunchy) could do damage to or even destroy the International Space Station in a collision, with most agreeing that the Cheeto would disintegrate harmlessly on a direct hit but could do some damage to a solar panel. One thing the discussion did cause is crew nightmares.
Researchers from the National Centre for Amazonian research in Brazil filming eels were stunned to see the normally solitary creatures form packs to herd prey and then attack with a synchronized electric shock – a behavior never seen before. Next, they’ll be surrounding beachfront parlors and demanding tattoos.
If you see a grizzly bear lounging in a cool pool in Yellowstone National Park, a new study warns it might be a lactating female cooling down to help facilitate increased milk production. If it’s not a lactating female, it’s probably her mate trying to hide from crying cubs.
Bat conservationists have discovered a new species of bats in a mountain range in West Africa that they described as having a “striking” orange and black color. Unfortunately, they’re already critically endangered so what the orange-and-black bats need now is a college football team to adopt them as their mascot.
University of New South Wales researchers are working on a new type of stem cell called induced multipotent stem cells (iMS) that can be made by reprogramming human fat cells to act as stem cells. This is great news, but how about spending a little time finding how to reprogram fat cells into skinny cells?
Amazon’s Blue Origin space exploration company successfully launched its New Shepard rocket, marking the maiden voyage and return of its NS-4 upgraded crew capsule with six seats and one human-sized dummy named “Mannequin Skywalker.” Hey Alexa – give me a clever name for our space dummy.
Sad news from Bochnia in southern Poland where archeologists discovered the charred remains of two women they believe were burned at the stake in 1679 after being accused of being witches responsible for the murder of a child and then interrogated on a Torture Rack. Thank goodness humans are not this cruel today … right? Right?
SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule returned to Earth from the ISS carrying 12 bottles of French Bordeaux wine aged in space for a year and then packed in steel cylinders to survive the trip and splashdown. Will anyone be surprised if the bottles show scratch marks that match the fingernails of frustrated astronauts?
Wikipedia turns 20 today – it was created in 2001 by Jimmy Wales as an encyclopedia written from a neutral point of view with free content and no firm rules, and has become the 13th-most-popular website (ahead of Netflix and Reddit). Go ahead, look it up.