A roundup of mysterious, paranormal and strange news stories from the past week.
The skies over Sioux Falls, South Dakota, turned green this week but it wasn’t due to aliens or a wicked witch – meteorologists say a thunderstorm occurred during a time of red light like sunset, the water particles in the grey clouds bent some red light to appear blue, and they all merged together to make the sky appear green in color. Toto now knows that if he’s not in Kansas, he’s in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
An international team of astrophysicists found the exact location of a “space manatee” – a manatee-shaped astronomical object known as SS 433 which contains a black hole shooting out jets of highly energetic particles and X-rays in a "non-classical acceleration process" across the Milky Way, making it the first known microquasar, but it is no danger to Earth because it’s more than 100,000,000,000,000,000 kilometers away. Do lonely male space explorers mistake this space manatee for a space mermaid?
Researchers analyzing what was thought to be a well-preserved mummified dog puppy discovered in the Siberian permafrost in 2018 is not a dog but an 18,000-year-old young wolf that is still cute and cuddly but not very closely related to the earliest dogs that were being domesticated at the time. If prehistoric Siberians mad the same misidentification, it probably cost them an arm and a leg.
According to a new study of 8,200-year-old remains found near Lake Onega in northwestern Russia, some human bones were used to make pendants that living humans wore – the pendants showed no signs of cut marks or tooth marks, so it doesn’t appear they were the result of cannibalism. That still only dials it down to 9 on the creepy scale.
Higher-than-expected wind speeds on Mars kicked up pebbles that struck the Perseverance rover’s weather station Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) and ironically damaged the two wind sensors that measure speed and direction – fortunately, MEDA can still keep track of wind at its landing area in Jezero Crater, but with decreased sensitivity. Nothing gets male NASA engineers more depressed than the words “decreased sensitivity.”
Long-lost copies of The Roswell Morning Dispatch, a now defunct sister newspaper of the Roswell Daily Record, from July 9, 1947, have been found – the headline that day read "Army Debunks Roswell Flying Disk As World Simmers With Excitement," and the sub-headline said "Officers Say Disk Is A Weather Balloon" … giving more color to the famous and still unsolved incident of over 70 years ago. Some things never change – on the comics page, Beetle Bailey didn’t see anything because his helmet was down over his eyes.
A survey of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom taken to celebrate World UFO Day (July 2nd) found that 37 percent claim they’ve witnessed a UFO, 45 percent say they’ve believed in aliens and UFOs for as far back as they can remember, and one in four people call themselves “true believers” in extraterrestrial life. Do those numbers change after the pubs close?
Students at Kasturba Gandhi Girls’ Hostel located at Ambassa in Dhalai district of Tripura say they saw a figure wearing white clothes and they fell ill out of panic, causing other girls there to fear it was haunted, resulting in all 50 girls staying there to be evacuated and moved to another dormitory. Sounds like a ploy to get closer to the boys’ hostel.
In another school ghost story, authorities at Majiji Primary School in Bubi, Zimbabwe, brought in a “prophetess” to “cleanse” the school of what they thought were goblins that forced it to shut down last month, but the seer said the problem was the “spirit” of a male teacher who died at the school some time ago – the prophetess performed a cleansing ritual to rid the school of the male spirit. If this works, the prophetess may want to get a side gig helping sports teams end losing streaks.
Archaeologists from The University of Manchester have begun digging at Arthur’s Stone in Herefordshire –a 5,000-year-old Neolithic chambered tomb which has never previously been excavated and has been linked to King Arthur since before the 13th century because Arthur allegedly slew a giant here who left the impression of his elbows on one of the stones as he fell. Knights of the Odd-Shaped Stone with the Giant’s Elbow Print never caught on.
Researchers using an electron microscope to examine meteorite dust left behind by the massive space rock that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 and collected immediately after the event have discovered never-before-seen types of crystals hidden in the tiny grains – the crystals came in two distinct shapes: quasi or "almost spherical" shells and hexagonal rods, both with "unique morphological peculiarities". Morphological Peculiarities would make a great name for a band.
Fossils of an odd giant kangaroo found in the mountainous rainforests of New Guinea and dating back 50,000 years have been recently re-examined and reclassified -- the fossils are not related to a species of the prehistoric kangaroo genus Protemnodon, which once roamed all over Australia, but is a brand new kangaroo genus unique to New Guinea now called Nombe nombe. Is a giant kangaroo one whose pouch can hold an entire joey daycare center?
The wingless midge Belgica antarctica can freeze itself during the coldest winter months and thaw out in the spring, making it Antarctica's only native insect, but researchers have found that climate change is disrupting this cycle and could quickly drive the insect to extinction. The extinction of bugs should bug us all.
Data and social scientists from the University of Chicago developed a new algorithm that forecasts crime by learning patterns in time and geographic locations and can predict future crimes one week in advance with about 90% accuracy, but the model also showed a bias where crime in wealthier areas resulted in more arrests, but crime in poor neighborhoods didn't not. Get ready for a new show: “Law and Order: What Does the Algorithm Say?”.
Giant African snails the size of rats, which carry the parasitic lungworm that causes meningitis, have been confirmed in the city of Port Richey, Florida, forcing officials to quarantine the town for two years -- residents are banned from moving plants, soil, yard waste, debris, compost and building materials outside the zone. A quarantine caused by giant snails is called an escar-no-go.
The Permian–Triassic extinction event 252 million years ago almost completely obliterated life on Earth, but new research shows the species that saved life by bouncing back first were bottom feeders like worms and shrimps that ate organic matter that settled on the ocean floor and left trace fossils – trails and burrows – which showed their activity because their soft bodies didn’t fossilize. We’re descended from bottom-feeders … that explains a lot.
New ancient DNA research suggests that the world’s earliest seafarers who populated the remote Pacific islands nearly 3,000 years ago were a matrilocal society with communities organized around the female lineage, meaning that the men traveled to Micronesia because their wives wanted to go there. “Happy wife, happy life” is obviously older than we thought.
Research published in the journal Wildlife Society Bulletin shows that birds which are electrocuted on power lines combust into exploding limbs and burning plumage that fall to the ground and become a leading cause of wildfires – the study estimated that electrocuted birds caused at least 44 wildfires in the US between 2014 and 2018, including 40 acres that got torched in Montana in 2017 because a hawk holding a snake both got electrocuted. Kind of a reverse phoenix?
Just in time for summer, a new study found that some viruses can alter a person’s body odor to be more attractive to mosquitoes, leading to more bites that allow a virus to spread – the dengue and Zika viruses are two that can cause you to smell like a mosquito perfume, but an increase in Vitamin A can help the growth of Bacillus bacteria on the skin which reduces the odor. Mosquitoes buzz because they know they will ultimately win this battle.
While robots are taking away some of the more strenuous and risky tasks humans perform, new research on Americans who work alongside robots found that the humans are more likely to suffer negative mental health effects which caused an increase in drug or alcohol related deaths. You just know that AI has already figured this out.