Space Superpowers, Iceberg Collisions, Fluorescent Wasps and More Mysterious News Briefly — August 25, 2021

Mysterious News Briefly — August 25, 2021

The Ever Given, the huge container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March and disrupted global trade for weeks, successfully passed back through the canal this week without incident. The spirits of the people who built the pyramids are still shaking their heads.

A metal detectorist in England discovered a tiny (.25 by .5 inch) pyramid-shaped artifact that may have come from the sword scabbard of an elite warrior living 1,400 years ago, but British researchers are at a loss to explain how it got their because it was found in a place where no archaeological site is known to exist. You know you’re dealing with a metal detectorist when the first thing they say to you is, “Is this anything?”

In a recent interview, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur warned billionaire space tourists that living in microgravity is “sort of like having superpowers” but it takes real grit to do mundane things in orbit as simple as brushing teeth, sleeping or going to the bathroom. She lost them at “superpowers.”

An “anomalous health incident” – the code phrase the US government uses for “Havana syndrome,” the mysterious illness suffered by US (and other) diplomats around the world and believed to be caused by directed pulsed radio frequency energy weapons — reportedly delayed US vice president Kamala Harris’ visit to Vietnam. What’s the code phrase for “Isn’t it about time someone does something about this?”

Rockets go up but Elon Musk wants to go down too – he wants to use his Boring Company to dig a new tunnel from the southern tip of Texas’ South Padre Island to the northern end of Boca Chica Beach to allow the public to circumvent highways blocked by traffic to his SpaceX Starbase. Boca Chica residents think the tunnel is just another sign of how Musk is worming his way into their lives.

Antarctica just missed a major iceberg collision when iceberg A-74, a berg about the size of Chicago which broke off in February, floated back to the Brunt Ice Shelf and clipped the edge – an incident that could have caused another gigantic piece of Brunt to break free had it been a head-on collision. Is there a pop-a-ding service for ice shelves?

Several species of Asian paper wasps of the genus Polistes have been found to glow brightly green under a black light, causing their nests to glow and sending scientists to study them in hopes of finding a new biofluorescent compound along with determining any benefits to the wasps this trait could bring. The wasps may be hoping their enemies don’t find out it’s just because they’re afraid of the dark.

California biologists claim they’ve found a way to make humans invisible to mosquitos by using gene-editing CRISPR technology to mutate two light receptors in the mosquito’s eyes – leaving their vision intact but removing their ability to visually identify humans. Many people are wondering if this could work with landlords, bill collectors and bounty hunters.

New research by Portland State University biologists has downgraded the Allosaurus, a large carnivorous dinosaur from the Jurassic Period that was thought to be a top predator on par with the T. Rex, to a measly scavenger feeding on the carcasses of enormous sauropod herbivores like the Camarasaurus and Brontosaurus. That sound you hear circling in the air above you is vultures cheering.

Researchers from a group of Chinese universities have created what they call a “metafabric” — a textile woven with nanoparticles that reflect most sunlight away from the wearer, thus keeping their bodies nearly 5 degrees Celsius cooler and serving as an alternative to running the air conditioner. If this can be used to make blankets and car seat covers, it could save many marriages.

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