May 25, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

Worst Phobias, Robotic Pasta, Rare ETs and More Mysterious News Briefly

Engineers at North Carolina State University developed a soft robot shaped like curly rotini pasta that can navigate through mazes and traverse sandy surfaces without any programming or outside energy source using instead a concept called ‘physical intelligence’ to navigate its flexible liquid crystal elastomer body around obstacles. Is it intelligent enough to avoid a nearsighted human trying to throw it into a pot of boiling water?

According to a new state-by-state survey by ProWritingAid of phobias in the U.S., the most common phobia is the fear of holes (trypophobia), followed by fear of water (aquaphobia), needles (trypanophobia), death (thanatophobia) and crowded places (agoraphobia); the least common are fear of the dark (nyctophobia), clowns (coulrophobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), heights (acrophobia) and small spaces (claustrophobia). Pity the poor guy who can’t read the survey because it fell into a hole filled with water and crowded with needles that could puncture him to death.

The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium (the official trade group for the cheese) has teamed up with Kaasmerk Matec and p-Chip, which creates digital tracing technology, to put tiny, food-safe chips in legitimate wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano in order to stop the sale of fraudulent cheeses which is a $2.08 billion market almost as large as the legitimate $2.44 billion Parmigiano Reggiano sales. Finally, a conspiracy theory for cheeseheads and a new meaning for 'cheese chip dip'. 

If venomous snakes and spiders weren’t already scary enough, new research finds that their venoms also contain bacteria that cause infections, meaning treatment for their bites must now include antibacterial drugs as well as anti-venom. Makes you wonder why so many people still live in Australia.

Yet another TikTok time traveler – this one is named @thatonetimetraveller and claims to be from the year 2026 – revealed in a video that 2026 is when humans will make contact with a powerful alien species known as the 'Unknowns' who will introduce us to advanced technology. Hey @thatonetimetraveller -- if they become known in 2026, won’t the Unknowns then have to change their name?

Professor and TV scientist Brain Cox said in a recent interview that other intelligent beings could exist in the universe but are “extremely rare” – he predicts there could be “on average one per galaxy.” If galaxies could facepalm, the Milky Way just looked at us and did one.

For those hoping to cash in on mining asteroids for precious metals, Jonathan Jiang of NASA’s Jet Propulsion laboratory used an economic analysis of the rate at which space budgets increase over time and how humans have increased their sphere of operations since the start of the space age and predicted humans won’t walk on an asteroid, let alone mine it, until at least 2073. By that time we’ll have seen enough movies about asteroids destroying Earth that we won’t want to have any part of them.

Bad news for meditation fans – a new study of 200 healthy people with no meditation experience or mental health concerns underwent MRI brain scans, then were part of an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course followed by another brain scan which showed no evidence of structural brain changes among any of the participants. Said disbelieving meditators: “Om my.”

For those who think they’ve heard it all … a family in Karnataka in southwestern India owns a celebrity hen that is laying eggs in the shape of cashews – her total is up to ten as the family awaits a diagnosis from their veterinarian as to what might be wrong with their black hen and if the eggs are OK to eat. If the egg is in the shape of a nut, is it vegan?

One strange anomaly that always provides excellent photos is the ‘superior mirage’ and witnesses in Cornwall off coast of Coverack have crystal clear pictures of a large ship floating through the air high above the surface of the sea which occurs when the air below the line of sight is colder than the air above it. If only Bigfoot could swim.    

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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