Mysterious News Briefly
Beginning this weekend (April 17), Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Mercury will become visible to the naked eye as they form a five-planet alignment in the order of each planets' distance from the sun – it’s a trick of perspective only visible from Earth, and the Moon will join the lineup in mid-June. Get your apocalyptic predictions ready now!
The Punch Bowl Inn in Hurst Green, Lancashire, was reportedly haunted by the ghost of infamous highwayman Ned King before it was demolished in June 2021 “without consent” of the local planning commission, so the Ribble Valley Council has ordered the owners to rebuild it stone by stone back to its original state. Will the owners be billed for temporary lodging for Ned King’s ghost?
Researchers at Yale have taught a robot hand gripper how to fidget as a way for it to learn to handle objects just like a human hand would by adapting in real time to small differences between small toys and other fidget-inducing tools. People who are in danger of losing their jobs to robots should start carrying fidget spinners to give them to play with at work so they get fired.
After Australia declared koalas as endangered across much of the country's east coast, scientists at the University of Newcastle are working on a koala sperm bank to be used in a captive breeding program that will allow reintroducing genetic variations into wild koala populations without having to relocate them. What gets koalas in the mood to donate sperm? (Asking for a kinky Australian friend.)
A minuscule amount of microscopic moon dust that NASA confirmed was part of the first lunar sample collected by Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong sold for half a million dollars at auction, far short of the pre-auction estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million. What will Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos tell their investors now?
It what sounds like the plot of a dystopian movie thriller, two of the co-founders of the Russian cryonics company KrioRus are fighting over the ownership of dozens of frozen brains, with each former partner trying to steal the brains from the other while risking that they might thaw and be destroyed. Meanwhile, Russian zombies wait with bated breath.
Less than a year after the practice was legalized in Colorado, the Colorado Burial Preserve laid to rest its first composted human remains as dozens of people spread the soil created from the deceased using a method a body is placed in a vessel, covered with straw or another organic material, and placed in a temperature-controlled environment for several months until microbes break down all of the organic material, including the bones. Can worms tell the difference or do they think all compost tastes like chicken?
The Journal of Headache and Pain reports that 52% of the world population is affected by a headache disorder every year, 14% of these disorders are migraines and on any given day 15.8% of the world population has had a headache disorder. And that was BEFORE people read the study.
Cretaceous-period freshwater fossils found in the Koonwarra fossil bed in southern Australia dating back 100 million years show a new species of now-extinct freshwater fairy shrimp (Koonwarrella peterorum) whose females appeared to reproduce without sex – the first freshwater shrimp to show evidence of parthenogenesis or asexual reproduction. What was the evidence – fossilized male fairy shrimp with frustrated looks on their tiny faces?
Archaeologists in Guatemala discovered fragments of the oldest Maya calendar on record dating back to between 300 BCE and 200 BCE – this is not the Long Count calendar but the evidence shows this Maya divination calendar has been in continuous use for at least 2,300 years by the Maya and other pre-Columbian societies. It doesn’t predict the end of the world but it may show the original Groundhog Day.