A robot designed to flip hamburgers has been fired from a fast food restaurant for being too good at its job. The robot fry cook, named Flippy, started working at a CaliBurger fast food restaurant on March 5. Two days later, Flippy was suddenly “retired” by store management. The reason? It turns out Flippy was flipping burgers too quickly for the human staff to keep up with. [Watch Flippy in action here.]
Good news: Platypus milk might be even healthier than you thought! Platypus milk, which mothers “sweat” out through special glands in their bellies, appears to contain a never-before-seen protein that can help baby platypuses fight drug-resistant bacteria. Australian researchers named the protein “Shirley Temple” for its curly shape. [Read more about delicious, nutritious platypus milk here.]
Genes in space
A NASA astronaut went into space for a year and returned with different genes than his identical twin brother. Geneticists think that living in orbit activated hundreds of “space genes” in astronaut Scott Kelly’s body, adjusting his immune system, bone formation and even eyesight to the stresses of space. Safely back on Earth, 7 percent of Kelly’s gene expression appears different than it did before his year in orbit. [Read more about Kelly's space genes here.]
The discovery of mysterious, 1,500-year-old, egg-shaped skulls in Bavarian graves has stumped scientists for more than half a century, but now some genetic sleuthing has helped them crack the case: The pointy skulls likely belonged to immigrant brides who traveled to Bavaria from afar to get married. [Read more about their journey here.]
Embalming human memories
A startup called Nectome wants to flood the arteries of living people who have terminal illnesses with embalming fluid to preserve their brain tissue. The idea is that the dead organ could then be converted into a map of all the connections among neurons — constituting a complete, physical "connectome," from which a person's consciousness might one day be resurrected. Several neuroscientists Live Science contacted were highly dubious that this "100 percent fatal" process could result in resurrection. [Read more about Nectome's plan here.]
It rained gold in Siberia on Thursday when an old transport plane carrying an estimated $378 million in gold, platinum and diamonds accidentally spilled its cargo while taking off from Yakutsk Airport. According to airport officials, the plane's cargo hatch ripped open during takeoff, causing nearly 200 solid-gold bricks to tumble onto the runway and nearby snow. Sadly for treasure hunters, police say they have recovered all of the spilled booty. [See photos of the spilled gold here.]
Gut bacteria's gut bacteria
Yo, dawg, I heard you like gut bacteria, so here's some gut bacteria that has its own gut bacteria. The parasites called whipworms — which affect an estimated 1 billion people worldwide and can cause diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss, as well as delayed growth in children — apparently have gut parasites of their own to help them grow and thrive (much like your own bicrobiome). What's more, researchers found that once a whipworm infection is established inside a host, the infection results in changes to the host's gut bacteria. [Read more about the Russian nesting doll of gut bugs here.]
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Original article on Live Science.