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Bizzare & Odd

Top 10 Most Outrageous Opening Lines in Literature

THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY [1979] Douglas Adams Image

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

#09 – NEUROMANCER [1984] William Gibson
NEUROMANCER [1984] William Gibson Image

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

#08 – 1984 [1949] George Orwell
 1984 [1949] George Orwell Image

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

#07 – INVISIBLE MAN [1952] Ralph Ellison
INVISIBLE MAN [1952] Ralph Ellison Image

“I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me.”

#06 – NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND [1864] Fyodor Dostoyevsky
NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND [1864] Fyodor Dostoyevsky Image

“I am a sick man . . . I am a wicked man. An unattractive man, I think my liver hurts.”

#05 – ORLANDO [1928] Virginia Woolf
ORLANDO [1928] Virginia Woolf Image

“He—for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it—was in the act of slicing at the head of a Moor which swung from the rafters.”

#04 – ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST [1962] Ken Kesey
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST [1962] Ken Kesey Image

“They’re out there. Black boys in white suits up before me to commit sex acts in the hall and get it mopped up before I can catch them.”

#03 – TRAINSPOTTING [1993] Irvine Welsh
TRAINSPOTTING [1993] Irvine Welsh Image

“Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday night. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?”

#02 – FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS [1971] Hunter S. Thompson
FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS [1971] Hunter S. Thompson Image

“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like ‘I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive . . .’ And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming, ‘Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?'”

#01 – THE METAMORPHOSIS [1915] Franz Kafka
THE METAMORPHOSIS [1915] Franz Kafka Image

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”

Top 10 List Courtesy of Michael Conor Sullivan

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Bizzare & Odd

First-Ever Pig-Monkey Chimeras Born In Chinese Lab

It was unclear why the piglets died, but the non-chimeric pigs died as well (Image: IG)

“The findings could pave the way toward overcoming the obstacles in the re-engineering of heterogeneous organs and achieve the ultimate goal of human organ reconstruction in a large animal.”

Sometimes when you read “noble cause” statements like that one in scientific papers about research that border on, crosses over or flat-out erases the line of ethics, you can almost hear their eyes winking and their fingers straining to stay crossed from across the ocean. That seems to be the case with most recent stories out of China where scientists have already genetically-edited human embryos, with the twins being born last year and, as far as we know, are still alive. Unfortunately, that may not be the case with the researcher who did the embryo editing – he disappeared for a time and is said to be under constant surveillance. Now, a new report announces that other Chinese researchers have edited pig embryos and, unlike in previous experiments, the embryos were not destroyed and pig-monkey chimeras have been born. How soon before they’re creating pig-human chimeras?

“We believe this work will facilitate future developments in xenogeneic organogenesis, bringing us one step closer to producing tissue-specific functional cells and organs in a large animal model through interspecies blastocyst complementation.”

In China, “one step closer” seems to mean “we may be already doing it (wink-wink).” In a paper published in the journal Protein & Cell and reviewed by New Scientist, co-author Tang Hai, a researcher at the State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology, confirms these are the first full-term pig-monkey chimeras. (In a chimera, each cell is from a separate parent while hybrids cells have combined genetics from both.)

The team modified monkey cells to make them fluorescent, then took embryonic stem cells and injected them into over 4000 pig embryos which were then injected into sows. Ten piglets were born and two were confirmed to be chimeras, with multiple tissues – heart, liver, spleen, lung and skin – partly made of monkey cells. The two piglets died within a week, but so did all of the piglets born alive, which leads Hai to believe the problem had to do with the in-vitro fertilization, not the fact that they were chimeras.

“Interspecies chimerism still has a long way to go before clinical application is possible.”

Does it? This experiment created living pig-monkey chimeras. An experiment in Japan in August 2019 created human-rat chimeras, but the embryos were destroyed early in the process. The same was said to have happened with a human-monkey chimera in China. The latest experiment allowed the embryos to live – albeit without human cells being involved. How long before a human-monkey chimera arrives?

“What happens if the stem cells escape and form human neurons in the brain of the animal? Would it have consciousness? And what happens if these stem cells turn into sperm cells?”

he asks. Núñez assures that Izpisuá’s research team has created mechanisms “so that if human cells migrate to the brain, they will self-destruct.”

Doctor Ángel Raya, the director of the Barcelona Regenerative Medicine Center, asked that question of Estrella Núñez, who worked on the human-monkey experiment and was told they had created mechanisms “so that if human cells migrate to the brain, they will self-destruct.”

The Chinese research team suspect that the deaths could have been due to the IVF process instead than the chimerism (Image: GETTY)

When the shortage of human organs for transplants becomes acute, what decision will those with money make? Past experience tells us that in these situations, the first thing to “self-destruct” is ethics.

Do you hear the wink-winking?

Source: Mysterious Universe

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Amateur Astronomer records a mysterious explosion on the Moon

On December 1, 2019, Peter Lawrence of Thornton, an English astronomer, recorded a strange red flash on the moon, as if it were an explosion. What caused the red flash?

Something exploded on the moon or was it a lunar wave, a hologram or perhaps a glitch in the matrix or something else?

According to atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley “The technical name of this event is a ‘Ducted Mock-mirage Red Flash.’ As the Moon set, it dipped into a strong temperature inversion layer with warm air above cooler air – light rays bend when they cross the layers, in this case strongly enough that ‘ducting’ occurs — that is, the rays bounce up and down, trapped in an optical duct”, reports spaceweather.

Credit image and video clip Peter Lawrence via Spaceweather.com

How many technical scientific explanations are thought in an instance, to try to give a justification or a plausible answer to an unknown phenomenon. Many researchers are convinced that the Moon is protected by a holographic shield, while others say that the Moon is an artificial object inhabited by extraterrestrial civilizations that use the satellite as a center of control and surveillance of the earth’s humanity.

Lawrence created a short clip of the strange red flash.

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NASA has found new evidence that our Sun is not an ordinary star

THE NASA Parker Solar Probe made the closest flight ever to the sun in August 2018, collecting vast amounts of data using cutting-edge scientific instruments at a distance of 24 million kilometers – a mission that also set the highest speed record ever achieved by a man made object. 

About two years ago, NASA launched the Parker space probe toward the Sun, which finally reached the distance closest to our star and transmitted the first results of its observations of the luminary. It turned out that the strangeness in the behavior of the magnetic field of the Sun, including its ultrafast turns, lasting only a few seconds, does not end there. How can our seemingly well-studied star surprise us?

Scientists are beginning to spread what they have learned from the collected data. Four new articles published in the Nature magazine reveal new discoveries that may rewrite the way we understand the way stars are born, evolve and die. They can also help us find new ways to protect astronauts from harsh space conditions while traveling long distances through the Solar System.

Our sun may be weirder than it seems

Why is the corona of the sun hotter than its surface?

According to the portal newsweek.com, the first results of the mission were published in four scientific articles of the journal Nature. Despite the fact that the Sun is a key factor in the existence of life on Earth, there are huge gaps in our understanding of the whole multitude of phenomena occurring in its vicinity. So, it is known that the corona – the outermost part of the atmosphere – is much hotter than the surface of the Sun, reaching about a million degrees Celsius compared to 5500 degrees. The reason for this phenomenon is still unknown to scientists. At the same time, our star also produces the so-called solar wind, which constantly bombards Earth’s magnetic field. However, how exactly and why does it arise?

In order to help specialists understand such difficult issues, the Parker probe was designed, which came closer to the Sun than any other artificial object in the history of mankind. During his last three flights, scheduled for 2024 and 2025, it will approach the surface of the Sun at a distance of 6 million kilometers. Currently, the solar probe rotates at an approximate distance of about 24 million kilometers from our star at its closest point from the star.

The solar corona is fraught with many mysteries

The first studies of the space probe were aimed at studying the solar corona and its magnetic fields. It is known that it is the corona that produces the electrons of the solar wind, which are noticeably accelerated, leaving the place of its appearance.

Stuart Bale, principal researcher of the instrument cluster on board the probe at the University of California, Berkeley, said:

The complexity was mind-boggling when we began to examine the data. Now, I got used to it. But when I show colleagues for the first time, they are impressed.

The most surprising finding that the teams made was that the magnetic fields emanating from our star seemed to unexpectedly spin back and forth, causing local disturbances – what scientists called ‘switchbacks’ – which might even make them point back to the sun a few times.

The cause of this is still a mystery to scientists, but they can enable us to understand how energy flows away from the sun and throughout the solar system.

Justin Kasper, principal investigator at the University of Michigan, said in announcement:

Waves have been seen in the solar wind since the beginning of the space age, and we assumed that closer to the sun the waves would get stronger, but we did not expect to see them organize themselves at these structured and coherent peaks of speed.

Using new observations, the team found that while a “fast” solar wind, whose speed can reach 900 kilometers per second, comes from large holes in the corona at the North and South poles of the Sun, a “slow” solar wind comes from smaller holes in that part of the corona, which is located near the equator. It is known that the fastest recorded solar winds moved at a speed of 1.8 million kilometers per hour.

A team from NASA has also proven that the solar wind revolves around the Sun 10 to 20 times faster than standard models predicted. Such impressive speeds can be associated with unexpected changes in the magnetic field of a star. Researchers have discovered that magnetic fields can be traced down to coronal holes, sometimes suddenly turning as much as 180 degrees in just a few seconds.

Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA headquarters, said in the statement:

The sun is the only star we can look at close. Getting source data is already revolutionizing our understanding of our own star and stars throughout the universe. Our small spaceship is facing brutal conditions to send home surprising and exciting revelations.

Currently, the Parker solar probe continues to revolve around our star, getting a little closer with each circle. Activity on the sun increases and decreases during the 11-year cycle, which is currently in the “solar minimum”, characterized by fewer sunspots than usual. In the coming years, the activity of the Sun will increase until it reaches the so-called “solar maximum”, which will occur at the end of the mission of the Parker probe in 2024.

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