Cool facts on just about everything
Hungarian astronomers have confirmed a second 'moon' orbiting Earth. It's actually a cloud (about 400,000 km away. Kordylewski, an astronomer for whom the cloud is named, first photographed it in 1956. It was finally confirmed again in 2018. Skeleton Lake in Roopkund, India is in the Himalayas and is the home of thousands of human bones belonging to at least 300 people. Radiocarbon dating dates the bones back to 850 BC and examination of the bones reveals that everyone died in a similar way, blows to the head from directly above. It confirmed what local legend and song already suggested, they died of a severe hailstorm. Bonnethead sharks eat grass as well as fish and squid! In fact, upwards of 62% of their diet has been found to contain sea grass. However, it was not known whether or not they could digest the grass. Recently, they've been found to have enzymes that break down fibre and carbohydrates. The Cave of Swallows in Mexico is the largest cave shaft in the world. The massive opening is 49 by 62 m with a cave floor of 333 metres (1092 ft). From it's highest point, it's 370 metres to the bottom. Mining for cryptocurrency (including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Monero) between January and June, 2018 used more energy than the country of Denmark. In fact, looking at the energy required to produce $1 of product, it used more energy than what's required to mind conventional minerals, such as copper, gold, platinum and rare earth oxides. Metabele ants (M. analis) in sub-Saharan Africa have been observed triaging wounded brethren and transporting moderately wounded home to the nest. Considering only about 13 new adults mature daily, it's worth the colonies' efforts to treat the injured. The 'treatment' involves wound licking. This would drop the mortality rate from 80% to 10% if the treatment was allowed to complete. Uranus'
icy clouds contain significant amounts of hydrogen sulphide, the same
gas that produces the "rotting eggs" smell or flatulence, confirmed in Nature Astronomy. This, naturally, confirms what we already knew about how bad Uranus smells.
African wild dogs have been observed using sneezing as an act of communicating. The rate of sneezes increases before the group moves off to hunt. When the dominant male or female sneezes, they seem to hold more weight, having to only sneeze a few times before the group moves off as opposed to the usual 10.
Colobopsis explodens is an ant that, when threatened, will explode, releasing a toxic, viscous substance that also will kill its attacker. Using muscles, it'll cause glands of liquid to rip open and the body wall to erupt, releasing the substance.
The extinct elephant bird that lived in Madagascar was likely blind. Based on an examination of it's skull, the part of the brain that is dedicated to sight (based on comparisons with existing birds) is so small that it couldn't have had very good vision. The bird, 4 metres tall and weighing 300-600 kg, it's closest living relative is the Kiwi.
City birds in Mexico City have been seen tearing apart cigarette butts and using those contents to build their nests. It's been hypothesized that this is because the butts protect the nests from parasites that would otherwise harm the chicks.
Scientists have finally created metallic hydrogen! Using two artificial diamonds with flat bottoms, they squeezed super-cooled hydrogen to 500 GPa (5 million times atmospheric pressure). Observations with lasers suggest that the gaseous hydrogen has solidified to a metal as shiny as aluminium.
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