Mysterious News Briefly — March 12, 2021
The Pazyryk carpet, woven in 400 BCE, is the world’s oldest example of a knotted-pile carpet and its colors are still brilliant today, and the reason — discovered recently by researchers using high-resolution x-ray fluorescence microscopy – is that weavers used fermented wool made from the roots of the rose madder and aluminum. Can you get fermented wool by getting sheep drunk? (Asking for a ram friend.)
According to physiologists at the University of Pittsburgh, some people can tolerate the cold better than others because they lack the muscle fiber protein α-actinin-3 – a genetic mutation that also makes them better endurance athletes. So you were right – your neighbor who runs in the snow really IS a mutant.
The small herd of hippos left behind in Colombia by drug lord Pablo Escobar now numbers around 80 and researchers think there could be 800 by 2050 because they’re helping the local ecology by filling an environmental niche left open when South America’s semiaquatic hoofed mammals went extinct 100,000 years ago. The moral: when life gives you hippos … make excuses why hippo poop in the rivers is good for the environment.
Climate change has made the American West hotter than ever before, to the point where researchers studying regional butterfly populations found that the total number of butterflies observed west of the Rocky Mountains has fallen by 1.6 percent every year since 1977. Living in a cocoon and not seeing what’s going on around you is only a good thing if you’re a butterfly.
A new study found that the human sense of smell is such a strong memory trigger because there’s a direct path between the primary olfactory (smelling) cortex in the brain and the hippocampus – the brain’s “memory hub” – that has never been changed or rerouted by evolution. This means even cave men held animal skins up to their noses and decided they were OK to wear for another day.
Seals wearing ocean monitoring devices tracked by satellites are telling scientists that Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier – already the fastest-melting glacier on the continent — is melting even faster than previously thought. Which explains why the monitors show the number one activity of seals these days is face-flippering.
In 2012, scientists declared that the Archean Maniitsoq structure in Greenland is a three-billion-year-old meteorite crater, making it the world’s oldest, but new research into zircon crystals in the rocks found no shock damage caused by a meteor, meaning the structure it’s actually the result of normal geological processes. There goes millions of dollars invested in “World’s Oldest Crater” T-shirts.
In a new tweet, Elon Musk revealed that Tesla’s Cybertruck will be able to power a tiny house with its battery. The day we see Cybertrucks in trailer parks is the day Elon Musk will know he owns the world.
Scientists at Imperial College London have designed nanoprobes called bioharmonophores that target cancer cells and glow, making tumors easier to spot and remove. When the lights go out, it means Elvis and cancer have left the building.
In lab tests performed on human cells at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Comprehensive Cancer Center at The Ohio State University, researchers found that stimulating blood vessels with electricity showed a marked increase in blood vessel permeability, suggesting that electrical stimulation could make wounds heal faster. The tough part will be getting your bleeding finger into the socket. (Kids, don’t try this at home!)