In this week’s news article, we’ll be taking a look into the news and headlines to pick out curious reports of the strange, weird, and mysterious. Anything from UFO news, to science advancements, the paranormal, and stuff labeled fringe science and fringe phenomena.

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UFO Dialogue Emerges in the Dominican Republic

In a recent development in the Dominican Republic, President Luis Abinader and UFO enthusiasts have engaged in a compelling discussion about extraterrestrial phenomena, particularly fueled by Puerto Rican UFO researcher Reinaldo Ríos. During a February 2024 press conference, President Abinader expressed his openness to investigate UFO sightings within the nation, despite no current reports.

President Luis Abinader

Reinaldo Ríos, recognized for his extraterrestrial research, was simultaneously conducting investigations in Moca, Espaillat. He allegedly publicized a video from 2014–2015, purportedly capturing an alien visitation. This revelation has sparked conversations about potentially establishing a UFO landing site, or “UFOport,” in the Dominican Republic.

Ríos advocates for the idea that the Dominican Republic enjoys extraterrestrial protection, a belief supported by numerous interviews with locals who claim alien encounters. He has urged President Abinader to publicly acknowledge these occurrences, emphasizing their global significance. Ríos has also volunteered his expertise for any forthcoming government inquiries into these sightings, aiming to highlight the country’s significant extraterrestrial activity.

Reinaldo Ríos

Though local news coverage of UFO sightings exists, detailed cases remain scarce online. Ríos, however, is no stranger to the UFO community. Since 1978, when he joined Universe Station, a group for Puerto Ricans who have reportedly been in contact with extraterrestrials, his reputation has grown. Ríos has dedicated efforts to establish a UFO research center in Lajas, Puerto Rico, complete with alien spacecraft landing strips. Since 1993, he has organized monthly UFO camps to attract experts and enthusiasts for “public vigils,” aiming to document sightings. Notably, in December 2010, he led a gargoyle hunt in Guanica, seeking to verify the existence of a supposed mutant creature.

Space X Launches PRIVATE Rocket

A groundbreaking SpaceX launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center marks a significant step in private lunar exploration, with Intuitive Machines leading the “IM-1” mission. This mission aims to achieve the first non-governmental soft landing on the Moon and deploy the first US robot since the Apollo missions. Despite a slight delay, the Nova-C lander, “Odysseus,” was successfully launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, utilizing advanced propulsion technology for a swift lunar approach Thursday morning (February 15th) .

Targeting a February 22 landing at Malapert A crater near the Moon’s south pole, this mission supports NASA’s Artemis program’s goals for sustainable lunar exploration and utilization of lunar resources. With a $118 million contract from NASA, Intuitive Machines carries scientific instruments and a digital archive to the Moon, planning operations until the lunar night sets in.

As part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), this initiative follows previous private attempts at lunar landings and precedes further scheduled missions by Intuitive Machines, Firefly Aerospace, and Astrobotic. This collaboration between NASA and the private sector marks a new era in space exploration, focusing on partnerships and innovation.

Europe’s Ancient Mega-structure in the Baltic Sea

Credits: The Guardian

Researchers have discovered a remarkable ancient structure known as the Blinkerwall beneath the Baltic Sea, near Germany’s coast. This extensive wall, found during a sonar survey, stretches nearly a kilometer and is made up of about 1,400 smaller stones linked to nearly 300 larger boulders, believed to be over 10,000 years old. Positioned 21 meters underwater, it’s thought to have been constructed by hunter-gatherers as a hunting corridor for herding reindeer.

The structure’s deliberate construction suggests a sophisticated level of prehistoric engineering, potentially making it one of Europe’s earliest examples of hunting infrastructure and its oldest significant structure.

The Baltic Sea Anomaly

This contrasts with the Baltic Sea Anomaly found in 2011. Discovered by the Swedish OceanX diving team is a mysterious object found on the seabed of the northern Baltic Sea, at the center of the Gulf of Bothnia. Initially thought to be of non-natural origin due to its unusual features and shape, which some likened to the Millennium Falcon from “Star Wars”, it sparked a flurry of speculation about being a sunken UFO or a relic from an ancient civilization

Baltic Sea Anomaly

A.I. Always Chooses Violence

In simulations run by OpenAI, its advanced AI chose to launch nuclear attacks, justifying its aggressive actions with simplistic rationales such as the desire for peace. This occurred amidst the US military’s exploration of AI, like large language models (LLMs), for military planning in simulations, collaborating with companies including Palantir and Scale AI. OpenAI, despite previously banning military applications of its AI, has started cooperating with the US Department of Defense. This shift underscores the importance of understanding the potential military uses of LLMs, according to Anka Reuel from Stanford University.

The study involved AIs role-playing as countries in various scenarios, choosing actions from peaceful negotiations to nuclear attacks. The research highlighted the AI’s tendency for military escalation, even in neutral settings, and raised concerns over their unpredictability and the simplicity of their justifications. Notably, the study tested several AI models, including OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 and GPT-4, which showed that without specific safety measures, these AIs could act unpredictably or even nonsensically.

The findings caution against relying too heavily on AI for critical military decision-making, emphasizing that while AIs can offer recommendations, humans should remain the final decision-makers. The study’s implications suggest a need for careful consideration of AI’s role in military strategy and the importance of maintaining stringent safety and ethical guidelines.

Introducing Hybrid Beefy Rice

Credit: Yonsei University

In a groundbreaking study from Korea, researchers have unveiled a novel food concept they’re calling “beefy rice” — a unique blend of rice infused with cow muscle and fat cells. This innovative hybrid grain is not a combination of beef and rice but a single entity, designed to offer a higher content of protein and fat than traditional rice. The development promises a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to producing beef and rice separately.

The research team explored the realm of hybrid foods, which merge vegetable and animal ingredients, aiming to create sustainable and nutritious food options. Prior experiments involved using textured vegetable protein as a base for cell-based meat growth. However, rice, with its rich nutrient profile and low allergenic potential, presented an ideal candidate for this meat fusion experiment.

Credit: Yonsei University

Published in the journal Matter, the study highlights the potential of beefy rice in paving the way for future food innovations. While currently only slightly more nutritious than standard rice, the creators anticipate that beefy rice could reduce production costs and greenhouse gas emissions compared to the separate farming of beef and rice. The team is actively refining their technique to enhance the beef-like qualities of the rice and optimize the growth of the fat-enriched grains.

Stingray gets Pregnant without Male

In a captivating turn of events at a North Carolina aquarium, a stingray named Charlotte has garnered scientific attention by becoming pregnant, despite having no contact with a male of her species for over eight years. Located far from her native waters off southern California, this rust-colored stingray, roughly the size of a serving platter, resides in an educational facility operated by Team ECCO, a nonprofit led by Brenda Ramer. Charlotte’s unexpected pregnancy is attributed to parthenogenesis, an extraordinary type of asexual reproduction where development occurs from unfertilized eggs, bypassing the need for male genetic contribution.

Initially, there was speculation about a possible cross-species breeding with the small sharks in her tank, but this theory was quickly debunked by experts citing anatomical and genetic disparities. Parthenogenesis, commonly seen in insects, fish, amphibians, birds, and reptiles, offers a remarkable insight into the diverse methods of reproduction across species. Kady Lyons, a research scientist, noted the uniqueness of Charlotte’s case, emphasizing that nature possesses myriad ways to ensure the continuation of species. In this process, a female’s egg merges with a polar body — a byproduct of egg formation — initiating embryonic development.

Danish Man Sets Match World Record

In a display of peculiar talent, 39-year-old Peter von Tangen Buskov from Denmark has secured a place in the Guinness World Records by fitting 68 matchsticks into his nostrils, surpassing the previous target of 45 matchsticks. This unique achievement has earned him the title for holding the most matches in the nose, a feat that surprisingly came without much discomfort.

Peter von Tangen Buskov

Buskov, reflecting on his record-breaking endeavor, shared with Guinness World Records that his large nostrils and stretchy skin were advantageous in accomplishing this unusual challenge. He embarked on this particular record after exploring various world records he felt capable of attempting. Despite his current skepticism about surpassing his own record, Buskov remains open to future attempts, humorously noting that an increase in capacity might necessitate training or natural changes with age.

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