In Brief – October 2021


Golden-tongued mummies
A team of Egyptian-Dominican archaeologists have unearthed 2,000-year-old mummies with golden tongues placed inside their mouths. The 16 mummies were discovered at Alexandria’s Taposiris Magna temple in Northern Egypt, buried in rock-cut tombs popular in the Greek and Roman eras. A gold foil amulet, shaped in the form of a tongue, was found placed in the mouth of a mummy. This used to be a special ritual to ensure their ability to speak before Osiris, God of the Underworld, in the afterlife.



Afghan baby named after rescue flight
An Afghan mother who went into labour on an evacuation flight named her daughter Reach after the jet’s call sign Reach 828 that evacuated them on Aug 21 to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Defence officials did not provide other details about the family due to safety concerns, and the mother’s face was digitally blurred in photos shared by the US Air Force on its Twitter handle.



A virgin shark gives birth
Named Ispera, or “hope” in Maltese, a “virgin birth” shark in the Cala Gonone Aquarium, Italy, may be the first of its kind say scientists. The female baby smooth-hound shark was born to a mother that has spent the past decade sharing a tank with another  female, and no male sharks. This rare phenomenon, known as parthenogenesis, is the result of a female’s ability to self-fertilise its eggs in extreme scenarios caused by climate change and overfishing, or natural selection pressures, such as predation and disease, having wiped out all the available males.



Airport transforms into eco park
French landscape architect Mosbach Paysagistes has combined technology and nature to transform the former Taichung airport into an ecological oasis. Roughly based on philosopher Rudolf Steiner’s principle of 12 senses, the park has 12 different fields, each designated to a sense. The landscape includes, among others, a speech field by a lake crafted to create echoes and smell fields with flower plantations emanating perfumes.



Iceland firm removes CO2 from air
Using advanced technology Swiss company Climeworks has set up a plant that sucks carbon dioxide from the air and turns it into rock. The company claims that its Orca plant can draw 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the equivalent of the annual emissions from about 870 cars, out of the air every year. The CO2 is collected using fans to draw air into a collector, where it is heated and collected to be mixed in water before being injected at a depth of 1,000 metres into the nearby basalt rock.


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