Jan 21, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

The Time Machine, Vegan Violin, Tonga Volcano and More Mysterious News Briefly — January 20, 2022

A violin maker in Malvern Hills, England, has made the first official vegan violin – he kept the instrument entirely free of animal products by using components like steamed pear, berries and spring water to dye the wood inlays, glue it together and make the bows and strings. The worst thing that could happen is if the $11,000 instrument were to be purchased by Meat Puppets.

Scientists from the University of Salzburg found that the human brain is able to respond to unfamiliar extraneous voices, even in a dream, while a person is asleep – a trait that helps it quickly determine the presence of potential threats. If you leave the bedroom TV on when you fall asleep, you now know why you’re terrified of that creepy insurance lizard.

A machine learning model has been taught to predict a person's years of life by looking at their retina, which is the tissue at the back of the eye, and the algorithm is so accurate, it predicted the age of nearly 47,000 middle-aged and elderly adults in the UK within 3.5 years.  Be worried if your eye doctor demands you pay your bill immediately in cash.

Actress Yvette Mimieux has died at the age of 80 – she rose to fame in the 1960 movie “The Time Machine” based on H.G. Wells’s classic 1895 novel which introduced the idea of using a machine or vehicle to travel to the past or future. We’re grateful that, unlike modern TikTok time travel videos, Yvette wasn’t pixelated.

Colin and Donna Craig-Brown of New Zealand thought their 17 pound potato – which they named Dug the Spud even though it looks more like a space alien – was the world's largest potato, but now the Guinness World Records people want a piece of the potato to be DNA tested in order to determine if it really is a potato. The potato is interested too – it wants to know if it’s descended from Russets or reds.

A group of more than 60 scientists and policy experts published an open letter to world leaders  to ban solar geoengineering via aerosol spraying to dim the sun and cool the Earth because it will affect some regions more than others, and there are uncertainties about the effects on regional weather patterns, agriculture, and the provision of basic needs of food and water. The more we hear about it, the more “geoengineering” sounds like an oxymoron.

Seismic reports indicate that the recent underwater volcanic explosion in the nation of Tonga had a force of ten megatons of TNT, making it more than 500 times as powerful as the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, and was loudest eruption since Krakatau in 1883. Think about that the next time you complain about loud fireworks.

China’s Yutu-2 rover has spent two years on the far side of the Moon studying the regolith or lunar soil and has experienced varying degrees of mild slip and skid – indicating that the far side’s regolith resembles dry sand and sandy loam on Earth. Moon explorers are not looking forward to the constant drone of ATVs.

A team from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris found that when you include snail and slug species in calculations, the Earth has lost up to 13 percent of all known species since the year 1500 – meaning a sixth mass extinction event is underway and it’s almost entirely man-made. The only thing not going extinct is extinction denial.

Researchers in China have developed a wireless flexible skin patch that enables the exchange of tactile stimuli between a human operator and a robot – allowing an operator to control a robot remotely and feel what it feels. Sounds like fun until it’s time to draw lots and you get the crash test robot.


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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