Apr 21, 2021 I Paul Seaburn

Thunderstorm Asthma, Robot Overlords, T-Rex Packs and More Mysterious News Briefly — April 20, 2021

Mysterious News Briefly — April 20, 2021 

The most severe occurrence of "thunderstorm asthma" ever – it happened in Melbourne, Australia, in 2016 when ten people mysteriously died – has finally been explained as the result of a combination of lightning strikes, wind gusts, low humidity and popping pollen grains deep in the lungs. If you have asthma during a thunderstorm, make sure you’re not holding a metal inhaler.

Astronomers have discovered a super-Earth planet orbiting GJ 740, a red dwarf star situated some 36 light years from the Earth, and its year lasts only 2.4 days. This is truly a planet where, if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.

Stone age bears left mounds of feces in Chiquihuite Cave in Mexico 16,000 years ago and those piles allowed scientists to recreate the entire genetic code of the Stone Age American black bear and an extinct short-faced bear called Arctodus simus which died out 12,000 years ago. That lasted until one decided to sh-t in the woods … and a question was born.

A new study found that bearded dragon embryos can use two different sets of genes to become a female lizard -- one activated by the sex chromosomes and the other activated by high temperatures during development. If pregnant females can figure out how to eliminate the beards too, males are in big trouble.

In her new book, MIT robotics ethicist Kate Darling says the best way to get along with AI robots is to treat them as animals rather than humanoids, thereby making it easier to see them as servants rather than replacements or overlords. How did that work out on Orwell’s Animal Farm?

According to new research, opinions based on emotions are surprisingly stable and long-lasting, even as emotions change quickly or swing back-and-forth “Duh,” said every politician and cable news executive.

A survey of star formation activity in the Orion Nebula Cluster found that, contrary to popular belief, young stars compete with each other to accrete interstellar gas from their surroundings, and this is what determines how big the eventually get. This also explains Hollywood.

Using new techniques, scientists have recovered nuclear DNA, which is far less abundant than mitochondrial DNA, from cave sediments in Spain and Siberia and identified evidence of ancient humans without the need for fossils, an arrival of Neanderthals 100,000 years ago in the Spanish cave, and two radiation events in Neanderthal history during the early part of the Late Pleistocene (129,000 to 11,700 years ago). No, it won’t help find your keys.

A Tesla owner who found that his Model 3’s Autopilot system kept slamming on the brakes in the middle of the same stretch of road finally traced the problem to a giant stop sign printed on a nearby billboard that it was interpreting as a real traffic sign. There’s no need to bow down to our robot overlords until they can at least control their own presidential limos.

Paleontologists studying a mass tyrannosaur death site found seven years ago in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah have found evidence to indicate that tyrannosaurs may have lived in social groups and hunted in packs like wolves. Stephen Spielberg is already trying to figure out how to do a new movie with dinosaurs in masks.

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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