Massive Marsquakes, Medieval Gunpowder, Rat IDs and More Mysterious News Briefly — September 28, 2021

Mysterious News Briefly — September 28, 2021

Archeologists recently discovered a medieval skeleton near Milan Cathedral showing signs that the person died by one of history’s most painful deaths – being tortured on the wheel in a punishment that usually involved being tied to a cart wheel and being rolled or dropped repeatedly. Have we progressed or just changed wheels?

NASA’s InSight lander this week measured one of the biggest, longest-lasting marsquakes it has ever detected — estimated to be about a magnitude 4.2 and lasting nearly 90 minutes — and it was the third major quake in less than a month. If the band hadn’t broken up, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars would be recording “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”

The journal American Chemical Society Omega reports a team of researchers have recreated a score of “medieval gunpowder recipes” and their experiments show that developing it was “a slow, trial-and-error process” resulting in many brown-robed alchemists ending up with cartoonish black faces from explosions. Elmer Fudd and the Roadrunner still don’t have a good recipe.

Two “three-strand bracelets feature a total of 112 diamonds” that once belonged to Marie Antoinette are up for auction and it’s estimated they will sell for between $2 to $4 million, if not more. Somewhere in the afterlife, Elizabeth Taylor is trying to borrow some wings and fly in to place a bid.

By using dash cam footage taken on Feb. 28, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. local time, scientists in Slovenia were able to piece together the incoming path of a spectacular fireball and determine it probably was a chunk of a near-Earth asteroid and led them to find three pieces of it. Why can’t they be used to find Bigfoot, Waldo or your cell phone?

A coal waste power plant in Venango County, Pennsylvania, was sold to Stronghold Digital Mining which is now using it to power about 1,800 cryptocurrency mining computers. Loretta Lynn needs to head back to the studio and record “Bitcoin Miner’s Daughter.”

Samsung Electronics announced plans to develop neuromorphic chips that will allow scientists to  ‘copy’ the brain’s neuronal connection map using a breakthrough nanoelectrode array and ‘paste’ the map onto a high-density three-dimensional network of solid-state memories. Are we ready for Dr. Frankenchip?

From the “Here’s another thing you never thought about but will now worry about” file comes a study on serial killers which modeled how many may never have been caught and determined that, while 1172 serial killers were caught in the US during the 20th century, there were probably seven who were never captured. That just gave Stephen King seven more book ideas.

The British pest control company Rentokil Initial has developed a hi-tech identification system that will allow cameras at rat-infested sites to use facial identification technology to identify individual vermin to enable controllers to count the number of rats targeting a specific location, before following them and catching them one-by-one. Pet rat breeders are hoping this could one day be used as a rodent dating service.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows that the outer winds of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a 10,000-mile-wide storm system with winds clocked at 400 miles per hour, have picked up speed in the past decade. What we need is a stronger telescope that can see if Jovians are stockpiling toilet paper.

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