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University Deletes Press Release Claiming Evidence of Bugs on Mars

Entomologist William Romoser from Ohio University claimed this week to have spotted evidence of insect-like creatures living on the surface of Mars, pointing at blurry photographs.

“There has been and still is life on Mars,” Romoser said in a press release about his presentation.

But after broad backlash, the press release has since been disappeared from Ohio University’s site.

And on EurekaAlert, the release has been replaced with a message that says it has been “removed at the request of the submitter.”

A PDF poster of Romoser’s research including images is still available through ResearchGate and copies of the release remain elsewhere on the web.

“The faculty member no longer wishes to engage with media regarding this research, so we have opted to remove the story from our website and EurekAlert,” Ohio University spokesperson Jim Sabin told Futurism.

University excludes press release alleging evidence of insects on MarsMontage credit: Daily Express

Unsurprisingly, not everybody in the scientific community agreed with Romoser’s fringe claims. Biology professor at Oregon State University David Maddison told Space.com that Romoser is seeing things, pointing out that it may be an example of pareidolia, the phenomenon that leads people to see patterns in random stimuli.

“I, personally, have pareidolia with respect to insects, beetles in particular,” Maddison told Space.com. “I’ve worked on beetles for decades; I have collected many thousands of beetles around the world. Through the years I have built into my brain a pattern-recognition system for picking out beetles.”

In other words, Rosomer is probably wrong, even though he probably thinks he’s right.

“I do not think there are insects on Mars,” Maddison added. “The photographs that are in that press release you sent are entirely unconvincing, as they fall within the range expected in zillions of non-insect objects photographed in lowish resolution on a Marscape.”

And NASA is just as skeptical.

“We have no scientific data that would support this claim,” said NASA in a statement to CNET. “There is insufficient oxygen to sustain the metabolism of metazoans on Mars. On Earth, animals, especially as complex as these, need lots of oxygen. There are only traces in Mars’ atmosphere.”

But that isn’t stopping NASA from looking for forms of life in distant places — far from it.

“Although we have yet to find signs of extraterrestrial life, NASA is exploring the solar system and beyond to help us answer fundamental questions, including whether we are alone in the universe,” a NASA spokesperson told CNET.

Next year, NASA will launch its Mars 2020 rover to the Red Planet for a February 2021 landing. Part of its mission will be to look for signs of past microbial life. Maybe then, we’ll discover if the distant planet is crawling with insects or not.

READ MORE: It’s Still Not Aliens: ‘Mars Bug’ Claim Could Damage the Search for Life [Space.com]

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Fact or fiction

PlayStation 5’s new alleged design appears on the web

PlayStation 5 may look like this / © Twitter - Alcoholicaust

Drawings of the future Sony console leaked again on the Internet. But this is not similar to previous times.

In anticipation of the release of the Sony Playstation 5 game console, the official release of which is scheduled for the end of the year, leaks appear one after another on the network regarding the design of the device. A Twitter user with the nickname Alcoholikaust, who several months ago circulated the alleged PS5 images online, posted in his account a new version of the design of the console.

It looks even stranger than the previous options. The device consists of two beveled quadrangular plates separated by a kind of layer. At the same time, the bottom plate has two additional triangular “ears”, and the power button is located on it. The interfaces for connecting the controller and the fan grill are likely to be located in the middle of the device.

Alcoholikaust notes that he cannot be one hundred percent sure that these are indeed the final drawings of the device. Commentators, in turn, noted that a similar design would be more suitable for the Xbox: if you look closely, the shape of the console in the pictures is a bit like the letter X.

The characteristics of the future PlayStation 5 were unveiled in April 2019, and in December the alleged photos of the brutal design (below) of the console appeared on the network .

Новая версия дизайна Playstation 5

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Eyewitnesses say they saw the extinct huge Moa

According to official science, the huge New Zealand Moa birds disappeared in the late 15th century. But, they have been observed in the centuries to come and continue to be found in our time.

Hundreds of years ago, there were non-flying birds in New Zealand with powerful legs, similar to huge ostriches. Moa had no wings, even rudimentary ones. They ate fruits and plants. They lived carelessly until the first Maori arrived in New Zealand.

For the Maori, the cumbersome heavy giants reaching 3.5 meters in height, which posed no danger to humans, were an extremely easy prey. Over the course of several hundred years, humans have significantly reduced Moa’s population so that they remain very few, and about 500 years ago, the last Moa was officially killed.

However, hunters reported that they sometimes saw separate instances of Moa. In all likelihood, a small population of Moa has managed to survive in sparsely populated forests.

There are many accounts of eyewitnesses who met Moa in New Zealand in the early 19th century.

Later, the number of these eyewitnesses dropped sharply. By the 20th century, Moa in New Zealand seems to have disappeared completely. Sometimes scientists come across remains of an animal that looked surprisingly fresh, such as a perfectly preserved leg. But, the laboratory study shows that these are very old remains.

Now, in New Zealand, native forests are becoming more crowded with numerous research enthusiasts, but the maximum they have found is some new species of lizards or insects.

However, Moa has sometimes been observed in modern times. Researcher Bruce Spightle has published Moa Sightings, describing more than a hundred modern eyewitness stories that have encountered huge, wingless birds with powerful legs in the woods.

One of the most famous sightings took place on January 20, 1993, when three friends – Paddy Frini, Sam Webby and Rochelle Rafferty, went on a hike in the Craigieburn Range, South Island.

At one point, the group stopped to rest. Then Frini noticed a huge bird about the height of a man, covered in red-brown and gray feathers, standing among the prickly bushes. Frini pointed to his friends’ bird and the three looked at her in amazement.

After a short while, the bird noticed the people and began to move nervously behind the bushes. At that moment, Frini managed to get the camera out of his backpack and take a picture before the bird disappeared.

Paddy Frini’s Photo

This photo, which is of rather poor quality, has caused a lot of commotion among biologists and ordinary people. It was hard not to believe Frini and his friends. They have long been hiking and are serious people, with no inclination for such jokes. But it was even harder to believe in the disappearance of Moa.

The scientists discussed this picture for a long time and finally decided that whatever it was, the creature was not Moa. They concluded that the neck was too thick, the legs not so long, and that from a certain angle the creature of the picture looked more like a deer.

For years, until the very end of his life, Frini visited the area, constantly trying to find Moa and take at least one more photo, but to no avail. He found several people in the same area and also saw something that looked like a large bird.

Another enthusiast is crypto-scientist Rex Gilroy, who has been searching for Moa in New Zealand for the past 30 years.

Gilroy and his castings with suspected traces of Moa

According to him, in 1980 he discovered a “completely fresh” footprint of Moa’s foot in the northern part of the country, and in 2001 and 2008, he even found a trail of very large bird tracks from which he made castings.

In 2007, he claimed to have found Moa’s large nest in an old stump, but did not show photos or say where it was, thus provoking criticism and allegations of lies. In his defense, Gilroy states that he hides the nesting area so that humans do not disturb the birds.

Many skeptics are convinced that Moa has indeed disappeared and all modern evidence is simply a hoax and a thirst for fame On the other hand, the testimony of eyewitnesses who saw Moa or their footprints always comes from those parts of the country that are still poorly populated and poorly studied.

That is, theoretically a group of large birds could really survive there. Moreover, Moa are not predators. The fruits and plants will be sufficient to feed them, even in a small forest.

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Has Iran downed the Ukrainian plane and will we ever know the truth?

A Ukrainian plane crashed in Tehran yesterday, presumably shot down by the Iranian Air Defense.

Such a version was launched by Jordan-based media Al Hadat. A profile on Facebook reported that a 177-person Boeing was hit by a rocket fired by the Islamic Republic’s armed forces. A short time later, the post was also posted to an account on the UK’s most popular Daily Mail network. Both editions deleted their posts in a few hours.

The reason for the publications were allegations that the engine of the machine caught fire in the air.

Investigators in Iran have indicated that they believed the original cause of the tragedy was a technical malfunction of the aircraft.

A representative of the air carrier, for its part, said the machine was working properly and the crew was made up of professionals.

Iran, meanwhile, is refusing to hand over the black boxes to Boeing’s fallen Tehran plane. This was reported by Iranian media Mehr, quoted by Reuters.

“We will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer and the Americans,” said Ali Abedzadeh, quoted by Mehr.

Abedzadeh also explained that he did not know where the box for analysis would be sent.

According to international air transport legislation, the country on whose territory the accident occurred has the right to investigate, said Abedzadeh. He added that “the investigation of this incident will be the responsibility of Iran, but the Ukrainians will be able to participate in it.”

Under the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to which Iran, the United States and Ukraine are members, an accident investigation is conducted in the country where it has occurred.

Nevertheless, according to industry experts, few countries are able to analyze the ‘black boxes’. These include Germany, the United States, France and the United Kingdom.

Boeing have not yet responded to the refusal.

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