Mysterious News Briefly — January 10, 2022
You may think zoo air stinks, but two different research groups showed that it’s full of DNA from all of the animals living there – a tool that could one day help provide non-invasive looks at the biodiversity of forests and jungles. Does it work underwater? (We’re sniffing for you, Loch Ness monster.)
New studies found that bacterial colonies organize themselves into biofilms that form complex ring-like patterns once thought to be unique to plants and animals. Sorry, young scientists – telling your mom you’re growing artistic biofilms won’t get you out of cleaning the bathroom.
Japan recently unveiled the world’s first Dual-Mode Vehicle (DMV), a bus-train hybrid that runs both on roads and rails and can switch between them in just 15 seconds. Is this a getaway vehicle worthy of the next James Bond movie?
At the Consumer Electronics Show CES 2022, Sierra Space unveiled its Dream Chaser spaceplane, which is set to launch for the first time this year into low-Earth orbit, and its Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) habitat – a giant inflatable house for moon colonizers. Do they really expect to attract more customers by offering a lunar bouncy castle?
If you stay awake at night wondering why green comets don’t have green tails, help is on the way – researchers found that the cyanide (CN2) and diatomic carbon (C2) which give green comets their glow are broken down by solar ultraviolet radiation which also causes green comets themselves to fade as they approach the sun. If that doesn’t help, try not surfing science websites before bed.
Scientists at South Korea's Ajou University have created a life-size, steel and aluminum robotic hand with 20 joints that is capable of holding fragile objects like raw eggs, crushing cans and working with precision tools like tweezers and scissors. It’s time to worry when it gives the scientists the finger.
Uplift Aerospace has signed a deal with NASA to install and manage a locker-sized vault on the International Space Station to store items such as art works, precious gems, rare coins and museum artifacts that will eventually be brought back and sold for a much higher price. Does this sound like the plot of an outer space art theft movie?
IBM is selling the health care portion of Watson, the artificial intelligence that once defeated two Jeopardy champions and won $1 million. What is “Not worth the hassle” for $1 billion, Ken?
The “Golden Eye” – the last portion of the 21-foot (6.5-meter) mirror on the James Webb Space Telescope -- swung into place and the 18 mirrors will now be adjusted while the telescope travels 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away over the next two week before reaching its permanent location. If this reminds you of Pierce Brosnan, you’re showing your age.
Attention Space Force – laser scientists in China unveiled a 1.5 kg pulse megawatt laser ‘small enough for a satellite’ that the Chinese Academy of Sciences says is not a weapon. And the first Death Star was just a ‘makes them feel kind of icky’ star.