NASA is taking bids for a second lunar lander after controversy over the first contract with SpaceX resulted in a lawsuit by Blue Origin and another Musk vs. Bezos billionaire spat, with NASA says that competition is healthy. And in this case … entertaining.
If you’ve been wondering why boa constrictors and other snakes don’t suffocate while swallowing their prey whole, a new study found that boas can move specific segments of their ribs, allowing them to breathe with certain segments of their lung when others are hindered by constriction, even using a rear section as a bellow to pull air in when its ribs can’t move. Kids who don’t chew their food enough -- don’t try this at home.
Meanwhile, if you’ve been wondering how vampire bats became the only mammals that can survive on blood, a new DNA study comparing their genome to other bats found 13 genes that are missing or no longer work in vampire bats, allowing them to evolve to survive on iron and protein with hardly any fats or carbohydrates. Kids who don’t like vegetables --don’t try this at home.
From 1645 to 1715, the Sun went through a period of almost no sunspots which has become known as the Maunder minimum; HD 166620, located just 36 light-years away, seems to have gone into a similar period of dormancy for 17 years and astronomers are studying it to help understand why this occurs. Can stars just get bored?
An international team of scientists found remains of extinct giant two-humped camels (Camelus knoblochi) that lived in Mongolia about 26,500 years ago, meaning they lived with humans who probably ate the tasty behemoths into extinction.
A new robot, with two arms and two fingers on each ‘hand’, created at the University of Tokyo has learned how to delicately peel a banana successfully most of the time. We’ll be worried the first time AI thinks slipping on a banana peel is funny.
The 17th century Ye Olde Kings Head on Lower Bridge Street in Chester, believed by many to be Britain’s “most haunted hotel,” is now open to overnight stays by people who would then share the experience on a weekly paranormal show. Big Dead Brother?
The Geneseo City Museum in Genesco, Kansas, opened a permanent exhibit on local encounters with UFOs and aliens that it hopes will lead to the tiny town of 200 to be named the UFO Capital of Kansas, possibly in time for World UFO Day on July 2nd. If so many aliens can find Genesco, they obviously have better GPS than humans do.
The massive Glenzer Conger Ice Shelf on East Antarctica, about the size of New York City, suddenly and unexpectedly collapsed into the ocean between March 14 and March 16 – this concerns scientists because East Antarctica is one of the coldest and driest locations on planet Earth and this is its first major ice shelf collapse in recorded history. “NOW are you worried?” asked penguins.
University of Queensland neuroscientists using a powerful new gene sequencing technique were able to locate specific genes in the so-called “junk DNA” of mice brains that are linked to “fear memories” – a discovery that could one day aid in the treatment of fear disorders such as phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in humans. Do mice really want to forget about cats and traps?