Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber.

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Wildlife in the living room: This baby elephant would like you to change the channel. Credit: Francoise Malby Anthony/io9

Stray baby elephant wanders into living room, gets a snack. The Newscripts gang would like a baby elephant, please. [io9]

Scientists at England’s University of Leicester have run the numbers and determined that Noah’s ark could have held 70,000 animals. Stay tuned to future studies from the group, including “How badly did David beat Goliath?”, “Is a Jonah-rich diet good for whales?”, and “Can burning bushes actually talk?” [The Telegraph]

Scientists have determined that, aside from humans, only two animals can actually dance: parrots and Asian elephants. Then again, their strict definition of “dance” may exclude a lot of humans. [NPR]

How did engineers of the Ming dynasty move 100-ton stones to the Forbidden City 500 years ago? Ice paths, of course. [Seriously, Science?]

NASA is working on a surgical robotic device that would allow astronauts to operate on themselves in space. And we thought space ice cream was cool. [io9]

Check out this behind-the-scenes look at artists putting together an exhibit on pterosaurs. Says one scientific artist of his work: “It’s great at cocktail parties: a billionaire hedge-fund manager and a 5-year-old both want to talk to you with equal interest.” [New York Times]

President William Henry Harrison—whose death a mere month after he took office is commonly blamed on pneumonia developed after his numbingly long inaugural address—may actually have died thanks to a marsh of human excrement near the White House. So much for the perks of the presidency. [New York Times]

A dog from Texas has turned up in Cincinnati, four days after running away from home. The dog said he decided to make the trek to Cincinnati after a breeze rolled in from the north and he wondered, “What’s that smell?” [Cincinnati.com]

More olfactory news: Recycled vegetable oil can be used to pave dusty country roads, leaving behind a faint french fry smell. The discovery means there’s never been a better time than now to eat someone’s dust. [CBC]

 

 

Author: Jeff Huber

Jeff Huber is an associate editor at C&EN. He enjoys finding peculiar news stories that make him laugh and/or tilt his head in a thoughtful manner. This hobby has served him well as a contributor to the Newscripts blog.

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