Apr 20, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

Granny Ghost, Robot Catgirl, Microscopic Drummer and More Mysterious News Briefly

In a potential game-changer for cancer treatment, biomedical engineers at the University of Michigan developed a new noninvasive technique called histotripsy which uses ultrasound waves to break down liver tumors in rats, kill cancer cells and influence the immune system to stop developing any more of them – histotripsy is now in a human liver cancer trial. What would science do without rats that drink and smoke?

During a recent interview, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned that he once promised the Internet he would make real catgirls, but now thinks “We could make a robot catgirl.” Work on an inexpensive electric car first, Elon.

Rashes are difficult to diagnose and treat, so Raymond J. Cho, an Associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, developed a genetic fingerprint for rashes, enabling him to pinpoint the genetic abnormalities unique to the immune cells residing in each rash type and quantitatively diagnose otherwise visually ambiguous rashes. Until this gets approved by the FDA, stop scratching.

A South American wildflower named Gasteranthus extinctus because biologists thought it was long extinct has been found living in the foothills of the Andes mountains and in patches of forest in Ecuador – its status has been updated to ‘endangered’ but they won’t change the name because it’s still in danger of extinction due to deforestation. Cue up “I’m Not Dead Yet” from Spamlot.

Long-spined sea urchins, one of the most important herbivores on Caribbean coral reefs because they remove algae and create open space for coral growth, are mysteriously dying at a dangerous rate and biologists have no idea what could be causing it – a similar die-off occurred in the 1980s and the urchins eventually recovered event thought the cause of that one was unresolved. Is there anything that’s not dying off? (Asking for a nervous friend.)

Researchers from TU Delft in the Netherlands recorded the sound of a single E. coli bacterium playing a microscopic graphene drum, and measuring its random oscillations helped them determine if the bacteria had become resistant to antibiotics they applied on the graphene drum ... it had. Is this the first time drugs didn’t kill the drummer?

The largest known earthquake in human history was a ground-blasting magnitude-9.5 megaquake that caused a 5,000-mile-long (8,000 km) tsunami 3,800 years ago in what is now northern Chile – new research shows the tsunami’s 66-foot (20 meters) reached New Zealand and caused Chilean residents to abandon living on coastlines for 1,000 years. A detailed description can be found by googling “Things could be worse.”

Two massive arrays of sunspots that have appeared on the surface of the sun, with many individual sunspots large enough to swallow Earth whole, shot a powerful solar flare that just missed us a few days ago and are expected to grow in size and intensity until late 2024 or early 2025. Please stop wishing for something to distract you from the rest of the news.

Children at Phakamisani Primary School in South Africa told school officials and their parents they’re being terrified by a ghost resembling a “short granny-like figure with dreadlocks” that was only visible to the students, slapped some of them, and wouldn’t disappear until they threw salt at the apparition – while it sounds like a prank, administrators were forced to close the school down anyway. “Ghost Granny” sounds like a good horror sequel to “Mrs. Doubtfire.”

Researchers at Meiji University in Tokyo collaborated with the food and drink manufacturer Kirin to develop what they claim are the world’s first chopsticks that artificially create the taste of salt by using electrical stimulation and a computer worn on the eater’s wristband to transmits sodium ions to the mouth where they create a sense of saltiness – thus allowing chefs to reduce the high sodium content of many dishes. For this to catch on in the U.S., the computer first needs to stimulate the hand to properly hold the chopsticks.

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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