A roundup of mysterious, paranormal and strange news stories from the past week.
Scientists have solved the mystery of a 500 million-year-old microscopic, spiny creature with a mouth but no anus, called the Saccorhytus coronarius, which was originally thought to be the earliest-known ancestor of humans – fortunately for us, researchers in China and the UK conducted a detailed X-ray analysis of the creature and concluded it belongs to a group called the ecdysozoans, the ancestors of spiders and insects. It’s a good bet this creature avoided fiber and prunes.
Zide Door Church of Entheogenic Plants, a psychedelic church in Oakland, California, is suing the city and its police department for infringing upon their first and 14th amendment rights in a 2020 raid in which they confiscated $200,000 worth of cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms the church gives out ‘free’ as sacraments to donating members. Can I get an “Amen, dudes!”?
NASA announced that its Artemis 1 Moon mission, launching later this month, will carry hundreds of yeast strains as part of the BioSentinel experiment which will shoot the tiny yeast-filled BioSentinel cubesat into an orbit around the Sun to study the effects of solar radiation on them – making the yeast the living organisms who have traveled the farthest into space. If they’re exposed to a little milk and sugar, will they boldly grow where no yeast has grown before?
In a recent study, researchers fed rats regular sugar-sweetened soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi for 57 days and found the sodas did enough damage to their brains to cause memory issues, cognitive impairment, and cellular distress – basically permanently dumbing them down. Does this mean the only people who can remember Coke and Pepsi advertising jingles are people who don’t drink Coke and Pepsi?
The space company Rocket Lab announced plans to launch its lightweight Electron rocket to Venus in May 2023, making it the first private mission to travel to another planet and look for life there. If it brings back samples to sell, it would be the first spaceship to truly deserve the name “Enterprise.”
A 14 feet long (4.3 meters) giant squid washed onto the rocky shore of Scarborough Beach in Cape Town, South Africa, this week, making it the second giant squid to show up on a South African beach this year – stoking fears it is a legendary warning of potential tsunamis or a modern scientific warning of pollution and climate change. Nothing like a kraken to get people shakin’.
NASA officials announced at a recent town hall meeting that its scientific study into unidentified aerial phenomena will be led by astrophysicist David Spergel, the president of the Simons Foundation in New York City, cost no more than $100,000, begin this fall, last about nine months, and be conducted by a panel of 15 to 17 of "some of the world's leading scientists, data practitioners, artificial intelligence practitioners, aerospace safety experts, all with a specific charge, which is to tell us how to apply the full focus of science and data to UAP." Only $100,000? That’s barely enough for commemorative T-shirts, coffee-mugs and bobblehead dolls.
Police in Amersfoort in The Netherlands were called out to investigate pet rabbits digging up human bones, including skulls, dating back to the 19th century, in a family garden – so far, the Dutch forensic institute NFI has not been able to determine how the remains of at least three people ended up in the garden. The real question is, who will play the evil doctor in the movie ‘Frankenbunny’?
A team of UK doctors claims to have successfully changed the blood type of three donor kidneys from the rarer blood type B to "universal donor" type O – a discovery that will help members of ethnic minority groups which tend to have blood type B and are forced to wait longer for rare type B kidneys for transplants. Will this help those RH negative extraterrestrials better hide themselves among humans?
A man in Holualoa, Hawaii, took photos of what he believes is an alien big cat which, while some say it resembles a big dog, experts say could be an American Cougar, a Southwestern Lynx or some other large feline that should not be on any Hawaiian island unless it’s in a zoo. Even if it’s an alien cat, you know polite Hawaiians will still say “Aloha” when they see it.
Proud dog owners who think their pet is ‘gifted’ may now be able to prove it – a new study identifies a rare group of dogs known as Gifted Word Learners by their unique ability to learn the names of multiple toys and are more playful than the other dogs. Gifted dogs also take AP courses in obedience school.
The UK-based robotics company Engineered Arts has added twelve new actuators to the face of its humanoid robot Ameca and it can now contort its face into expressions of disbelief, disgust, pain and regret – making it the world’s most human-like robot when it comes to making faces. The next test is to see if its AI can figure out what to do when a mom tells it to stop making weird faces or their face will freeze into one forever.
Deep inside an iceberg off Greenland, scientists discovered a juvenile variegated snailfish (Liparis gibbus) containing the "highest expression levels" of glowing green antifreeze flowing through its veins – allowing it to swim through frigid waters and light its way in the process. Just like cars, it is a bad sign when you see one with a puddle of antifreeze underneath it.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists have proposed a radical new solution to climate change – giant sheets of bubble wrap in space that would absorb some of the sunlight reaching the Earth and completely eliminate the effects of all of our greenhouse gas output. It could also stop an alien invasion if they see it and decide to stop and chill out by popping bubbles.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to hold off from declaring the ivory-billed woodpecker as extinct after a research effort from Pittsburgh called Project Principalis released a 2021 video of what its researchers say is one of the rare birds in flight at an undisclosed location in Louisiana – unfortunately, the video is not clear and wildlife officials are not yet convinced. It almost seems like the ivory-billed woodpecker is getting coached by a stocking-capped guy named Waldo.
A rare collection of animal knucklebones known as astragali were found in Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park in central Israel and are believed to have been used by women and children for games, gambling and divination during the Hellenistic period 2,300 years ago – one game involved throwing five knucklebones into the air at once and catch all of them in one hand. Even more amazing, kids played this game without wearing helmets.
Scientists studying pebbles taken from the asteroid Ryugu by Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission say the “precious samples” are “undoubtedly among the most uncontaminated Solar System materials available for laboratory study” and “provide the best proxy we have for the bulk composition of the Solar System.” Well, they were uncontaminated until Hayabusa2 got there.
Marine biologist Reuben Shipway dove down to the shipwreck in Rhode Island's Newport Harbor that is believed by many to be that of Captain Cook's HMB Endeavour and reported that shipworms, which many call the "termites of the ocean," have eaten all but 10% to 15% of the historic ship. There’s so little left, the shipworms may have to just make soup out of it.
Fossils of a dinosaur about five feet long recently discovered in South America have been identified as a new species named Jakapil kaniukura and may have looked like a mini Stegosaur from the Cretaceous era between 97 million and 94 million years ago – revealing for the first time that a lineage of armored dinosaurs lived in the Southern Hemisphere but had gone completely undetected until now. A mini Stegosaurus sounds like something a T. rex would have used to clean its muddy feet.
From the “Duh!” file comes a new study from researchers at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, who found that people don’t like to eat food with humanlike features – which is why so many turn their heads to Gingerbread Men (and women) and pies with smiley faces on them because we tend to anthropomorphize them and feel guilty and almost cannibalistic when eating them. It’s a cookie, people … not a people cookie!