Jan 29, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

Dancing Mars Rover, Witch Pardon, High-Tech Pizza Slicer and More Mysterious News Briefly — January 28, 2022

In a week of unusual maneuvers to remove rocks stuck to it, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover first dislodged pebbles obstructing its sample collection system by spinning its “bit carousel” 75 degrees to knock them off, then removed two more by shimmying and shaking one leg. Who knew doing the Hokey Pokey at a wedding reception was training you for a job at NASA?

A team of students from Kundong High School in Japan won a regional innovation competition with their high-tech device that shows how to cut a round pizza or cake so that all of the slices are equal no matter how many are needed – it uses geometry and math to calculate the exact size and angle, then beams a laser for the knife-holding cutter to follow. Does this revolutionize the pizza industry or political negotiations?

Engineers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a soft, stretchable, self-powered thermometer that can be integrated into stretchable electronics to make extremely flexible smart clothing. Isn’t ‘smart boxers’ an oxymoron?

After 20 years of study, astronomers have finally determined the mysterious downward movement of a strange solar flare emitted in 1999 – these” supra-arcade downflows” were not the product of breaking magnetic fields but were formed in the turbulent environment on their own and dropped because of an absence of plasma in a solar phenomena similar to the mixing and separating of oil and water. Who knew that one day your experiments making salad dressing would help in the astronomy lab?

The art world is buzzing over news that a blue glass bowl estimated to be around 2,000 years old was unearthed by archaeologists in Nijmegen in the Netherlands and the Roman artifact has no visible cracks or chips. Once the insides are tested, we may finally know what Romans snacked on while watching the finals of gladiator contests.

The parliament of Catalonia, a government region in northeastern Spain, announced it has formally pardoned more than 700 women who were executed for "witchcraft" between the 15th and 18th centuries, but supporters of the move still want some of Catalonia's streets to be named after the persecuted "witches". Worst possible name for one of these streets? Witch Way.

Researchers from the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory confirmed that, in a test last August, they got more energy out of a fusion reactor than was originally needed to make the material fuse – making it the first time anyone has crossed the threshold of “ignition” of inertial confinement fusion and moving us one step closer to a true fusion generator. Is it too soon to put up your “Solar panels for sale” sign?

Kyle Hippchen, a 43-year-old Endeavor Air captain from Florida, revealed he was the person who won a spot on SpaceX’s first tourist flight but had to give up his seat because his 330 pounds exceeded the 250-pound weight limit, so he gave his seat to his college roommate and fellow space zealot Chris Sembroski. Or was he afraid of what might happen if the capsule crashed in desolate mountains and the other passengers noticed they brought no food?

A mysterious animal captured recently in Pennsylvania that some think might be a Chupacabra has escaped from the wildlife center where it was being held before DNA testing could be repeated. Was it upset that longtime Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement?

According to a new study, a "highly predatory" 13-year-old female brown bear woke up from hibernation and killed 38 reindeer calves in a single month, then 18 young moose the next month. Time to get a new mattress?

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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