The crew of a school vessel and Catalina Island Marine Institute instructors lined up last week to display the carcass of an 18-foot-long oarfish that was found in the waters of Toyon Bay on Santa Catalina Island, Calif. A marine science instructor snorkeling off the coast spotted the silvery body of the fish. “We’ve never seen a fish this big,” said Mark Waddington, senior captain of the Tole Mour, the institute’s sail training ship. “The last oarfish we saw was 3 feet long.” The oarfish, which can grow to more than 50 feet, is a deep-water pelagic fish — the longest bony fish in the world, according to the institute. They are likely responsible for sea serpent legends throughout history. Oarfish sightings are rare and they are largely unstudied.
Higgs’ new frontier: ‘proper’ retirement?
Nobel Prize-winning scientist Peter Higgs says he is hoping to fully retire next year at age 85 — and that he once turned down a knighthood.
Higgs won the Nobel Prize in physics with Francois Englert for helping to explain how matter formed after the Big Bang. He retired from teaching 17 years ago but is a professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh.
He told the BBC that he is “proposing” to retire “properly” next year.
Higgs also revealed that he turned down the offer of a knighthood from then-Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1999 because he thought “anything of that sort was premature” and because he didn’t want “any sort of title.”
Juno back up and running
Scientists say Juno, NASA’s Jupiter-bound spacecraft that looped around Earth to catapult to the outer solar system, is operating normally again.
The Southwest Research Institute, which leads the mission’s science operations, said Friday that Juno is out of “safe mode.” That’s a state a spacecraft is programmed to go into when it senses something is wrong.
Juno hit a snag last week after it flew past Earth to increase its speed to barrel beyond the asteroid belt to Jupiter. Scientists say Juno is on target to slip into orbit around Jupiter in 2016.
U.S. team wins $1 million prize
An Israeli nonprofit group has awarded a $1 million prize to a U.S.-based research team that is developing technology that allows paralyzed people to move things with their thoughts.
Israel Brain Technologies presented the award on Tuesday to BrainGate. The group is based at Brown University in Rhode Island and collaborates with Massachusetts General Hospital and other institutions.
BrainGate is developing an implant that can read brain signals and allow the paralyzed to move robotic limbs or computer cursors.
Kenya wants to chip every rhino
Kenya plans to implant microchips in the horn of every rhino in the East African nation to curb a surge in poaching and aid in the prosecution of the culprits, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service. The World Wildlife Fund is donating equipment for the project, including more than 1,000 microchips and five scanners at a cost of $15,294, the Nairobi-based agency said.