A mysterious walking hairball resembling the Cousin Itt character in the Addams Family movie and TV show was recorded by a security camera in the Reche Canyon region of California and the most popular explanation is that it’s one of those strange spotted skunks which walk on their front legs with their fluffy tails in the air to better spray their adversaries. Cousin Itt probably never thought he (it?) would have to sue anyone for identity theft.
Another person has drowned in Georgia’s Lake Lanier – a manmade reservoir in the northern part of the state where more than 200 people have died in swimming and boating accidents since 1994 (including a mysterious “Lady of the Lake” who appears dressed in blue and is believed to be a woman who drowned in 1958) and many believe is haunted because its creation in the 1950s flooded a number of cemeteries. Thousands of years of history and humans still haven’t learned not to mess with cemeteries.
Astronomers using the Gemini North telescope, the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, and the Hubble Space Telescope to observe Uranus and Neptune – two planets with similar masses, sizes, and atmospheric compositions but totally different colors – have determined that Uranus has an excess haze buildup in the planet's stagnant, sluggish atmosphere that makes it appear a pale shade of cyan to Neptune’s deep blue. Is that haze buildup a sign Uranus is the Planet of the Vapes?
Anthropologists analyzing the fossil teeth of megalodon sharks (Otodus megalodon) compared their zinc isotope ratios to those in fossilized teeth of early great white sharks and found the timelines of the species overlapped and they competed for the same foods, which means great whites may have brought on the extinction of the megalodons. Moral: never ignore anything with ‘great’ in its name.
The largest and oldest-known living plant on Earth has been found in Australia – the Posidonia australis is a seagrass discovered in Shark Bay, Western Australia, is at least 4,500 years old and spans 180 km (112 miles) of shallow ocean where researchers discovered what looked like a meadow was actually a single plant or ‘clone’ of the same individual. Let’s hope it doesn’t taste good in a salad.
Betelgeuse is the 10th-brightest star in the night sky but the red supergiant’s dimming to approximately one third its normal brightness in 2019–20 might have been missed if it weren’t for a weather satellite called Himawari-8 which accidentally picked up signals in the background while it scanned Earth as part of its daily weather forecasting scans. ‘The Dimming of Betelgeuse’ sounds like a great name for a prog rock album.
A seven-year study of the coffee drinking habits of 171,000 participants from the UK, all of whom had no known heart disease or cancer, found that those who drank any amount of unsweetened coffee were 16% to 21% less likely to die within that seven-year period compared to those who did not drink coffee, and participants who liked their coffee sweetened with one teaspoon of sugar had a 29% to 31% lower chance of dying. Does that mean it’s the choking on the biscotti that will kill you?
During its 25th flight on April 18, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter took a video of its fast flying ability as it covered 2,300 feet at 12 mph in a flight that took just over 2.5 minutes – its longest and fastest flight to date. That’s the kind of video that could convince Tom Cruise to begin work on “Top Gun: Martian Maverick.”
Using a new gene therapy technique, researchers at the University of California San Diego reduced neuropathic pain resulting from spinal cord or other nerve injuries in mice with no detectable side effects – a technique that could one day eliminate the need for addition-causing opioid treatments. We’ll know it’s real when we see pharmacists in the unemployment line.
Cuttlefish are smarter than they look … if you can see them -- a new study of European cuttlefish (sepia officinalis) found that they combine two distinct neural systems that process specific visual features from their environment and visual cues from their background environment to create at least 30 different body patterns they use to camouflage themselves on the sea floor. Navy SEALS – this could be your next uniform.