Mysterious News Briefly — November 12, 2021
The latest crew transported via SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station contained the 600th person to reach space in 60 years — Germany’s Matthias Maurer was named #600 based on his mission assignment. That was the compromise after NASA realized how difficult it is to flip a coin in space.
Astronomers discovered the tiny black hole NGC 1850 BH1 in the Large Magellanic Cloud orbiting the Milky Way by looking for stars that seem to be in a binary orbit around nothing. Sounds like the premise for a new astronomy show starring Jerry Seinfeld.
Archeologists digging in the ancient city of Heliopolis in what is now Cairo located the remains of a temple erected during the reign of Pharaoh Nectaneb I, the founder of the 30th and last Egyptian dynasty – some of the artifacts included jugs to store beer and containers used to bake bread. Sounds like the 30th Dynasty was 1st in partying.
The world’s oldest known wild bird — a Laysan albatross named Wisdom that biologists first identified and banded in 1956 — is now at least 70 years old and just hatched another chick. She’s so old, her nest looks like it was crocheted.
A strange glow over a football stadium in Coventry, England, had some witnesses thinking Northern Lights while others were convinced it was soccer-loving aliens, but stadium officials finally revealed it was from artificial sunlight used by the grounds crew to grow and repair the pitch after it is played on. Everyone who’s ever seen “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” knows aliens prefer baseball.
Researchers at Northwestern University created a self-assembling gel that mimics the matrix that is found around cells to provide a scaffold to help them grow, injected it into the damaged spinal cords of paralyzed mice, and the mice were walking again after four weeks. Good news-bad news: this could one day help paralyzed humans or allow mice to recover from traps and exact revenge.
The fountain of youth may be in Pacific rockfish that live to be over 200 years old — biologists from the University of California, Berkeley, sequenced and compared the genomes of 88 species and found 137 specific genes that boosted the lifespans of the species. What gene allows a 200-year-old fish to blow out that many candles?
Maine lobsterman Bill Coppersmith pulled up a pot in Casco Bay this week and found a unique rainbow-colored cotton candy lobster with an iridescent shade on its shell from a genetic mutation – Maine lobster experts say it’s the first they’ve ever seen. Coppersmith is looking for a home for the cotton candy lobster – preferably one with no butter or clowns.
If you think wool sweaters itch, that’s nothing compared to the clothing of Neolithic people at the ancient city of Çatalhöyük in what is now Turkey – new research of cloth fragments found at Çatalhöyük, some of the oldest known woven fabrics, shows they were made from the bast fibers of oak trees. Overheard in a Çatalhöyük forest: “Does this tree make my trunk look fat?”
Scientists at Japan’s Kyoto University discovered that cats have a form of socio-spatial cognition which allows them to track humans in their house based on audio clues in the environment, especially the sound of voices. The sound cats home in on the fastest is the voice that says, “Where’s the can opener?”