Mysterious News Briefly — February 17, 2022
During a Senate hearing, Robert P. Storch, President Biden’s nominee for Inspector General of the Department of Defense, said that if confirmed, he will follow through with current efforts involving the “comprehensive assessment” of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP). That may be his job, but the president still gets to tell extraterrestrials to “get off my planet!”
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is testing a tiny reusable launch vehicle-technology demonstrator (RLV-TD) which Indian sources say looks like a miniature version of the space shuttles NASA used from 1981 to 2011. Sounds like they may be following the led of the winter Olympics bobsled and going from the four-person model to the mono-shuttle.
African wild dogs -- which have to compete for food with lions, hyenas, wildebeests and other large carnivores – show signs they’re evolving to cope with humans in order to find more to eat. Do they look to see if any other wild dogs are watching before they sit and beg for scraps?
Researchers have developed two new gene-editing methods for ticks in order to alter parts of the tick genome involved in harboring and transmitting pathogens as a way to control the spread of Lyme disease. What could possibly go wrong and will we need a magnifying glass to watch it?
Experts at Britain’s Natural History Museum confirmed that a pet giant walking stick (Diapherodes gigantea) is the "first reported gynandromorph" in that species – the stick insect is half male and half female, having the bright green body of a female and brown wings of a male. Does the body argue with the wings when the temperature in the museum is too high?
A recent study at Lancaster University found that a neural network called StyleGAN2 not only can create human faces indistinguishable from real ones, people looking at the AI-generated faces found them more trustworthy than the faces of actual people. What’s the surprise? Have you ever trusted someone more after seeing their driver’s license photo?
The think tank Adam Smith Institute suggests the Moon should be divided into parcels of land and assigned to different countries to rent out to businesses, thus boosting their economies, and increasing space tourism, exploration and discovery. Sounds radical, but it beats everything going to one rich pseudo-country named Elonia (capital city is Muskow).
A sad discovery in Peru – six mummified children found in the grave of an important and powerful man at the dig site of Cajamarquilla about 15 miles east of Lima appear to have been sacrificed to accompany him to the underworld. Why is it never the other way around?
Something for cyborgs and those considering neural implants to think about –people who received retinal implants made by Second Sight Medical Products are in a panic because the company has filed for bankruptcy and the products may be rendered obsolete and stop working unexpectedly. WWTSD? (What would Tony Stark do?)
Some scientists now thing the Russian flu – a mysterious respiratory illness that emerged in Russia in 1889 and spread across the globe -- may have been caused by a pandemic coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Did they treat it with vodka – and did it work? (Asking for a science-skeptical friend.)