Amazing, Astonishing & Absurd: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week


A new episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind explore six species of gastropods, including the blue dragon (Glaucus atlanticus), pictured here on the right. Oxford Scientific/Getty Images
A new episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind explore six species of gastropods, including the blue dragon (Glaucus atlanticus), pictured here on the right. Oxford Scientific/Getty Images

What do corrupt government officials, robotic exoskeletons and $10 million dollar ransoms have in common? No, they're not part of the plot of a new high-stakes thriller set in the future (but that's a good guess). They're all featured in some of our coolest podcasts and articles this week. Keep reading to catch up on these stories and more!

The Amazing

Technology hasn't quite made it to the point where all humans can become cyborgs, but there are a decent number of exoskeletons on the market that can make our lives easier. One European prototype weighs only 7 pounds (3 kilograms) and can help mobility-impaired people maintain balance. Read about the exoskeleton here.

Gastropods are a wonderfully and sometimes terrifyingly diverse group of creatures. Stuff to Blow Your Mind Hosts Robert and Christian explore the grotesque and spellbinding snails and slugs of the land and sea in a new episode of the podcast.

And, in a serendipitous combination of exoskeletons and sea creatures, a recent article by writer Alia Hoyt digs into new research where scientists used shrimp shells to make bandages. Read about the study here to find out how chitin, a polymer found in the shells, is handy when it comes to patching wounds.

The Astonishing

Many people would probably think that anxiously dwelling on problems that haven't happened yet is pretty bad for mental health. And they'd be right: Worrying can be detrimental to one's well-being. But don't unfurrow your eyebrows yet — worrying can also be beneficial, for reasons explained in this new article.

If someone asked you your biggest fear, what would be your answer? Spiders? Heights? Losing a loved one? Well, if you're an American, there's a good chance corrupt government officials are what keep you up at night. But, if the aforementioned research can offer you any solace, it might be OK to worry about them. Read the article on American's biggest fears here.

It's well-known that marijuana affects working memory, a welcome science-based fact regarding a drug that's inspired much controversy and not nearly enough research. But a new study that shows the memory of elderly mice improved when using THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, proves we've got a long way to go when it comes to figuring out the drug. Find out what else the researchers discovered by reading this article.

The Absurd

English speakers' capacity to combine two existing words to create a new one knows no bounds — and "spork" is one of the least inventive. Fortunately, the story of the spork's creation is way more inspired. Listen to a new episode of FoodStuff episode about the utensil here.  

Plenty of Ferraris have sold for millions of dollars, but one Ferrari that almost demanded as much is the last you'd expect — the corpse of Enzo Ferrari, legendary race car driver and founder of the Ferrari auto company. In a new episode of CarStuff, hosts Scott and Ben discuss the odd plot some gangsters had to dig up Ferrari's body and sell it to the Ferrari family for $10 million.

In a new study that perhaps no one was anticipating but turned out to be totally insightful, researchers bravely filmed and watched an inordinate number of poop videos to determine that every mammal poops for an average of 12 seconds. Why 12 seconds? Find out in this article.