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UFO Briefings, Space Garbage Trucks, Disappearing Beanfields and More Mysterious News Briefly — August 30, 2021

Researchers are using Japanese rat snakes (Elaphe climacophora and E. quadrivirgata) to track radioactive contamination in and around the Fukushima Exclusion Zone because they spend a lot of time in and on soil, have small home ranges, are major predators in most ecosystems, and are a relatively long-lived species. Japanese rat snakes can tell how radioactive they are by the volume of the screams scientists make as they run away.

A new study found that the heightened volcanic activity of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) 56 million years plugged up the seaway between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, effectively ending the mixing of their waters. “I wasn’t so bad now, was I?” asked the barge captain who plugged up the Suez Canal.

New research into the rare and strange deep-sea-dwelling cookiecutter sharks found the tiny but fierce creatures take bites out of dolphins, swordfish, whales, great white sharks and other creatures far bigger than themselves, but actually prefer chunks of tiny cephalopods, crustaceans and small fish. Anything that takes bites out of great whites deserves a scary name than ‘cookiecutter’.

Private company Astroscale Inc. plans to deliver the world’s first garbage truck for removing defunct satellites in 2024, recently announced its prototype completed its first demonstration in space – a catch-and-release demo that will eventually lead to suicide missions where they catch satellites and then plunge into the atmosphere to a fiery incineration. Wait until the satellite rights advocates hear about this.

Researchers are getting close to confirming whether uranium cubes thought to have been part of Nazi Germany’s unsuccessful attempt to develop nuclear technology are the real thing – a task helped by new technology that can tell their age by how much they’ve decayed. Are they nuclear scientists or dentists?

A farmer in Climax in northwestern Minnesota wants to know what made his bean field collapse – falling 25 feet and creating a quarter-mile long ravine — geologists with the University of North Dakota think dry weather, a drop in water levels on the nearby Red River and recent rains formed a perfect storm to cause it. It’s tough to get answers and searches on “climax” are no help.

Satellite photographs are picking up periodic huge glowing and growing mats of bioluminescent microorganisms, with one south of Java that grew to be larger than the combined areas of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Fishing crews would like answers – especially with crews who can’t sleep with a light on.

A Freedom of Information Act request by The Black Vault uncovered a declassified Department of Defense briefing card filled with messaging and talking points to help public affairs officials navigate tricky questions on unidentified aerial phenomena, extraterrestrial technology and other questions about UFOs and aliens. It also works great in dealing with tough questions from your spouse on where you’ve been all night.

Scientists have discovered what is believed to be the world’s northernmost landmass – an unnamed island 700 meters north of Oodaaq, the previous northernmost island which is 700 km (435 miles) south of the North Pole – which expands the territory of Denmark until it disappears underwater due to climate change. Close neighbor Santa will not be happy about losing his secret fishing spot.

SpaceX launched a shipment of ants, avocados and a human-sized robotic arm to the International Space Station on Sunday. Well, that’s what it was at launch time – when it gets there, it could be a cargo of ant-covered avocados and a robotic arm scratching itself.

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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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