Mysterious News Briefly — March 18, 2022
Scientists at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems have built the BirdBot -- a robot leg that emulates the backwards (to humans) bend of bird legs using a foot-leg coupling through a network of muscles and tendons that extends across multiple joints so it needs fewer motors than previous legged robots. Our future dystopian world will now include robot pigeons in the park.
The Arabian oryx, an antelope cousin, became extinct in the wild in 1972 due to hunting and poaching but a team at the University of Sydney has decoded the DNA of zoo specimens and is developing breeding strategies to promote diversity as the species is bred and re-wilded. Kind of takes the fun out of being wild, doesn’t it?
Palaeobiologists at the University of Leicester identified startling similarities between the mouths of grasshoppers and mammal teeth which allows the insects to go beyond grass and hop on all kinds of foods – even meat – and cut, grind and chew them with mammalian mandibles. We saw Mammalian Mandibles open for The Animals and Manfred Mann.
Project Blue Beam believers beware – scientists from the University of Cambridge and Disney Research have developed a new method to display highly realistic holographic images using 'holobricks' that can be stacked together to generate large-scale holograms. Would that mean a holographic Dwayne Johnson would be built like a 3D brick sh-thouse?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers in fabric research have developed cloth which can ‘hear’ sounds using a fabric yarn interwoven with an electrical, or ‘piezoelectric’ fiber which converts the pressure waves of audible frequencies into mechanical vibrations which can then be processed into electrical signals. Finally, your rock concert T-shirt can enjoy the show as much as you do.
Researchers from the University of Queensland found that a tiny worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) cut in half can spontaneously re-join two separated fragments in a process called axonal fusion which uses an enzyme known as ADM-4 as a molecular glue, or fusogen, during nerve repair. This could explain why robins prefer to swallow worms whole.
The list of confirmed exoplanets just lost three members and could possibly drop one more after a closer look by astronomers at the objects Kepler-854b, Kepler-840b, and Kepler-699b and decided they’re too big to be exoplanets so they must be stars. Optometrists need to give astronomers a special eye chart with just planets and stars.
Here’s big news for anti-matter fans -- physicists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics found that when hybrid helium atoms made from both matter and antimatter are bathed in liquid helium, dropping their temperature to near absolute zero, they maintain an unlikely uniformity instead of bouncing around in disarray like most other atoms. A lockstep army of hydrogen atoms – let’s hope no one figures out how to put this in a bomb.
The world’s largest Hummer SUV is the Hummer H1 X3, which is three times the size of a standard Hummer H1 -- it measures 6.6 meters high, 14 meters long, and 6 meters wide (21.6 x 46 x 19.6 feet) and is powered by four diesel engines. When he saw it, Hummer lover Arnold Schwarzenegger was rumored to have said, “I’ll be back … with my checkbook.”
Environmental chemists who study the indoor environment and the contaminants people are exposed to in their own homes say we should start leaving out filthy shoes outside instead of bringing them in covered with drug-resistant pathogens, hospital-associated infectious agents, cancer-causing toxins from asphalt road residue and endocrine-disrupting lawn chemicals. That’s scary, but these scientists need to weigh this against the sight of some of your ugly feet.