Mysterious News Briefly — April 30, 2021
If you’re wondering what the drones of the future will look like, University of South Australia researchers have designed a model based on a 300-million-year-old “apex insect flyer” – the dragonfly – whose flapping wings and long body give superior skills in hovering, cruising and aerobatics. “Hold my dung ball and watch this,” said house flies everywhere.
Excavations in the Kom al-Khaljan site of the Nile delta region have uncovered 110 tombs dating back to three different civilizations -- the civilization of Lower Egypt known as Bhutto 1 and 2, the Civilization of Naqada III, and the second transition era known as the Hyksos period – and most of them have individuals buried in them in the squatting position with their heads facing west. At their funerals, no one said, “They look so natural.”
Researchers using the mineral barite — a combination of ocean salts and barium released by volcanic ocean vents — have determined that Earth's continental crust is at least 3.7 billion years old, about 500 million years older than previously thought. Like everyone else, the crust prefers to think you’re as young as you feel.
The town of Nowra in New South Wales has suddenly become overrun with a massive flock of white corella cockatoos which are wrecking storefronts, covering roads with droppings and doing other destructive behavior all while being a protected species. If Alfred Hitchcock were alive, he’d be working on “The Birds II: Terrifying and Trash Talking Too.”
After 15 years of bouncing radar off the cloud-covered surface of Venus, a UCLA-led team has finally determined the precise length of a day on Venus – an average day on Venus lasts 243.0226 Earth days, roughly two-thirds of an Earth year – and that length can vary by as much as 20 minutes per day. With that kind of work day, it’s no wonder men took Mars and let women have Venus.
The mantis shrimp delivers one of nature’s hardest and fastest punches (68 mph or 110 kph) and researchers recently discovered the young start punching start punching at just 9 days old. Every kid is thinking: “That must come in handy when asking for a raise in allowance.”
Forget the alligators – the most dangerous things in power plant pipes are salt monsters in the form of twisted mineral crystals that grow quickly and clog the pipes … but engineers at MIT have figured out how to make microscale gaps on the inside of the pipes that causes the crystals to grow into weird shapes that easily fall off before they become a problem. That shaking you feel is plumbers shuddering at the thought.
A man in Indonesia loves his job so much that he named his newborn son Statistical Information Communication Office. He’d better hope to keep this job because therapy for the poor kid will cost a fortune.
A tiny fossil found in the Scottish Highlands that shows evidence of having two distinctly different types of cells has been determined to be a billion years old – making it the oldest fossil of its kind and the possible missing link between unicellular and multicellular animals. Not as exciting as finding the first creature to move from water to land but biologists are easy to please.
On a farm near Hulunbuir in the northern Chinese province of Mongolia, a lamb born with stumps for hind legs learned how to walk on its two front legs like a human walking on their hands. In that position, if this lamb belonged to Little Bo Peep, it would come home wagging its tail in front of it.