Mysterious News Briefly — May 5, 2021
It’s creepy clown season again – the police department of Annandale, Minnesota, is asking residents to be on the lookout for one of those weird people in scary clown getup that seem to pop up around the country as soon as the weather gets warm or, in 2021, the pandemic shutdown eases up. If you see one, practice creepy clown social distancing – stay at least one length of a seltzer bottle squirt away from them.
Christie’s auction house is offering a bottle of Pétrus 2000 that spent more than a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station, and the owner expects to get at least $1 million for it. Some of that money should go to the ISS crew members who spent a year resisting the urge to pop the cork themselves.
Using a wind tunnel filled with helium-enriched air whose lighter nature alters the speed of sound, researchers tested both wild and lab-raised bats and found they can not only hear better than we can but have an innate ability to detect the speed at which sound travels. If this were a movie, Batman would be answering the question long before Commissioner Gordon finished asking it.
Astrobiologists with the Breakthrough Listen project have released the preliminary results of a SETI survey in which they surveyed around 60 million stars in a search for the radio signals that could mean the presence of intelligent life and detected absolutely none. Somewhere in the afterlife, Enrico Fermi turned to Stephen Hawking and said, “Told you so.”
Astronomers suspect that a mysterious galactic ripple stirred up by the Large Magellanic Cloud — a small galaxy about to collide with the Milky Way — is being caused by dark matter in the galactic halo, and they’re planning to study it to learn more about the mysterious dark matter. Someone should be watching for ET insurance agents and lawyers rushing to the collision.
A team of researchers at the University of Delaware discovered that single-use disposable plastics such as plastic bags and plastic bottles can be broken into smaller carbon molecules that can be used in jet engines and as diesel fuel. It’s time to worry when the captain walks through your plane begging for water bottles.
Lepidopterists (people who study caterpillars, butterflies and moths) and ecologists are warning that Australia’s ecosystem could be harmed by the extinction of the Phyllodes imperial caterpillars that are recognizable by the bizarre pattern on their large heads that makes them look like giant scary cartoon skulls with teeth. (Photo here.) Nightmares of a world without Phyllodes imperials are scarier than those with them.
Excavations taking place to improve the water system at Baltimore’s Lake Ashburton dug up some rocks that geologists have identified as being from an ocean that disappeared hundreds of millions of years ago when the collision of the Earth’s tectonic plates thrust them upwards. Maryland blue crabs refer to the disappearance of the ocean as their day that will live in infamy.
An Australian surfer who lost a leg in an attack by an 18-foot great white shark in 2015 has finally won the right to keep a tooth the shark left embedded in his surfboard, getting an exemption from the law banning people from possessing parts of protected species. Is there a law overturning exemptions if a dentist claims a shark with dental insurance shows up demanding treatment for a missing tooth?
MDMA, the illegal drug popularly known as Ecstasy or Molly, has been shown in a new study to be effective in treating those suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when combined with talk therapy. This could help legalize MDMA but won’t help raves still closed by the pandemic.