It is the weekend and I present a Hodge-podge of stories that I cam across this past week and thought my reader may find either informative or entertaining…..
I will begin with some news from my state of Mississippi…..
The last thing Wiley Prewitt of Exford, Mississippi, expected to find on a walk was a fossil from an animal that roamed the region roughly 11,000 years ago.
Prewitt stumbled upon what resembled a jawbone with black teeth on October 26, near Rosedale, around 140 miles northwest of Jackson, as he poked around a sandbar that had exposed itself, due to the low water levels on the Mississippi River.
“I could tell from the teeth right away that it was a fragment of a carnivore’s jaw but I dared not hope it was from an American lion,” he told McClatchy News. “It certainly looked right but I wouldn’t let myself believe it.”
Was it the first of its kind? Surely it couldn’t be the American lion? Questions were aplenty, and there was only one way to rightly confirm.
Three days later, Prewitt visited a Mississippi Fossil and Artifact Symposium & Exhibition event and asked for an expert opinion.
Little did he know that his discovery made history.
Then there is a scary prediction thanx to climate change…..
Over 100,000 tonnes of microbes – yep, you read that correctly – could come flooding out of melting glaciers in the wake of the climate crisis, according to a new analysis. Given that this scenario will involve the release of over a quintillion different microorganisms, it’s safe to bet that some may have the potential to be disease-causing germs.
Scientists at Aberystwyth University in Wales looked to work out how much microbial matter could be released due to the melting of eight glaciers across Europe and North America, as well as two sites in western Greenland.
Even under moderate climate change, they estimated that around 2.9 × 1022 cells would be released into the surrounding environment. This is roughly the equivalent of an average of 0.65 million tonnes per year of cellular carbon, which includes microbes, being dumped into the world’s ecosystems across the Northern Hemisphere over the next 80 years.
“The number of microbes released depends closely on how quickly the glaciers melt, and therefore how much we continue to warm the planet. But the mass of microbes released is vast even with moderate warming. While these microbes fertilize downstream environments, some of them might be harmful as well”, Dr Arwyn Edwards, study author and biologist from Aberystwyth University, said in a statement.
Are we on the cusp of ancient diseases waiting to infect?
This next report should fuel the ‘Ancient Alien’ myth (as if they needed anymore crap to spread)….
Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb is planning a $2.2 million expedition to determine if a meteor that crashed near Australia is really a UFO.
The supposed meteor crashed into the southwestern Pacific Ocean in 2014 about 100 miles off the coast of Papua New Guinea near Australia.
“The material of it is tougher than iron, based on the data, so the question is whether it’s just an unusual rock or perhaps a spacecraft from another civilization,” Loeb, chairman of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy from 2011 to 2020, told Sunrise.
“I was able to receive full funding for this expedition to Papua New Guinea and we will scoop the ocean floor and figure out the composition of the object.”
The meteor in the Pacific Ocean is just the third known interstellar object of its kind on Earth and predates any previously known material from solar systems other than ours.
One of the others, Loeb believes, is extraterrestrial alien technology that visited Earth in 2017.
Contrary to the above report…..we may actually be alone in the universe…..
Alien civilizations may have slowly wiped themselves out due to climate catastrophes on their home planets.
In a new paper published in the pre-print server ArXiv, a group of NASA scientists analyzed the ‘Great Filter’ theory, which posits that ancient alien civilizations may have wiped themselves out before they had any chance of making contact with humanity.
The new study serves as a warning for our civilization and paints a picture of a universe that has been home to many civilizations, precious few of which, if any, have lasted long enough to become interplanetary species.
Lastly an cool animal story…..Crows are smart but they continue to prove they are beyond smart…..
Crows are smart; super, super smart. Not only can they build tools from memory and use them to work on other tools, but they even grasp the concept of zero. Now, crows have proven their ability yet again, showing they can handle a concept once thought unique to humans: recursion.
Recursion is a concept that makes its way into various fields, from programming to human language. Recursion emerges when you define something (whatever that thing may be) using the very thing you are defining as part of the definition.
In language, recursion also does some funny things. Take for instance the sentence “The mouse the cat chased escaped.” It’s not exactly the nicest-sounding sentence but while it’s a bit confusing, it still makes perfect sense. A human reading that sentence and trying to make sense of it would figure out that “the cat chased” is enclosed within “the mouse escaped”.
Crows seem to have mastered yet another feat once thought unique to humans
The Baguette has its big day……
The announcement was celebrated in the most appropriate way, per Axios: with baguettes waved in the air. (See photo evidence here.) UNESCO on Wednesday voted to add the baguette to its “intangible cultural heritage” list, which now numbers 600 items. Reuters notes that some 16 million baguettes are said to be made daily in France, a country of 67 million people. President Emmanuel Macron hailed the decision, referring to the bread as “250 grams of magic and perfection in our daily lives,” per CBS News.
The baguette’s history is murky. Some say Napoleon called for the shape so that his soldiers could more easily carry it; others give credit to an Austrian baker. What isn’t questioned is the impact a 1920s French law had on skyrocketing the baguette’s importance: The law barred bakers from working before 4am. Per the AP, “the baguette’s long, thin shape meant it could be made more quickly than its stodgy cousins, so it was the only bread that bakers could make in time for breakfast.”
UNESCO defines intangible cultural heritage as “traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants,” and ones that should be preserved by humanity. Despite France’s affinity for baguettes, there are some concerns about the health of the industry behind it. France’s Culture Ministry has cited a “continuous decline” in the number of traditional bakeries, with some 400 closing annually since 1970.
A baguette, cheese and wine….a great day!
There you have all the useless info you missed last week.
Have a great weekend…..be well….be safe….
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”