MRI captures woman, Betelgeuse eclipse and more top science news of the week

Our most read science stories this week contain some timeless life lessons. First, do not enter the MRI room carrying metal, especially if that metal is a loaded gun. Second, don’t cross orca, even if you are a great white shark. Finally, never judge a sea cucumber by its cover – no matter how off-putting the cover may seem. – Rose Shepherd

A woman walks into an MRI machine with a gun and is shot in the ass

Image: Nimon (Shutterstock)

A woman’s medical exam turned into a literal pain in the ass thanks to a misplaced firearm. An adverse event report submitted to the Food and Drug Administration details an alleged incident in which the woman was shot in the right hip by her own gun, which was activated by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. – Ed Cara Read more


Critical rocket parts end up crushed in a landfill, jeopardizing the satellite mission

Vega C rocket before launch.

Vega C rocket before launch.
photo: ESA

The latest mission of the European Space Agency’s Vega rocket has encountered a strange setback. Key fuel tanks needed for its final flight were found mysteriously damaged at a depot, jeopardizing a planned 2024 launch. – George Dvorsky Read more


The iconic star Betelgeuse will temporarily disappear from the sky next week

Betelgeuse as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope on August 13, 2020.

Betelgeuse as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope on August 13, 2020.
Image: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Credit: Davide De Martin

The bright star Betelgeuse, a prominent member of the constellation Orion, is due to be occulted by asteroid Leona on December 11. This event, which is expected to last no more than 10 seconds, will cause the star to temporarily disappear from view, a phenomenon visible in a narrow path on Earth. – George Dvorsky Read more


Killer whales attacked a white shark and ate its guts. Again.

An orca whale spotted in Canada's Johnston Strait, British Columbia.

A great white shark washed up near Portland, Australia, in October was killed and eaten by killer whales, according to researchers who examined the fish’s remains. – Isaac Schultz Read more


NASA discovers the root cause of the parachute problem when landing an asteroid sample

The capsule to return the sample to the ground in Utah.

Mismatched labels in OSIRIS-REx’s landing plans are what caused the parachute to malfunction during the return capsule’s descent to Earth on Sept. 24, NASA says. – Isaac Schultz Read more


Gizmodo Monday Puzzle: Can You Solve This Viral Math Quiz?

Image for article titled MRI captures woman, Betelgeuse eclipse and more top science news of the week

Image: Photo: Shutterstock Graphics: Vicki Leta

Every few months, a math problem goes viral on social media. This week’s puzzle comes from a real math test problem given to students in Singapore, and it went viral because it caused disagreement among the solvers. It is a complex exercise in logic, unlike any exam paper from my school days. – Jack Murtagh Read more


Magnesium supplements may protect your liver from acetaminophen

Image for article titled MRI captures woman, Betelgeuse eclipse and more top science news of the week

Image: Sergey Neanderthal (Shutterstock)

Magnesium supplements may be able to blunt the well-known side effect of the pain reliever acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol, new research suggests. The study found evidence in laboratory animals that oral magnesium can prevent acetaminophen-related liver damage by affecting the gut microbiome. – Ed Cara Read more


“Designer mushrooms” may emerge as scientists unlock the genetics of magic mushrooms

Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms.

Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms.
Image: YAR photographer (Shutterstock)

Researchers in Australia analyzed the genomes of more than 100 commercial and wild-grown varieties of Psilocybe cubensis, a psychoactive fungus known as the magic mushroom. The findings may eventually help growers develop “designer mushrooms” that have their own unique health benefits, the team says. – Ed Cara Read more


Panera’s ‘Charged Lemonade’ blamed for second death in new lawsuit

Image for article titled MRI Captures Woman, Betelgeuse Eclipse and More Top Science News of the Week

Image: photo-denver (Shutterstock)

Panera Bread is again accused of causing someone’s death with its highly caffeinated ‘Charged Lemonade’ energy drink. The family of Dennis Brown, 46, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the chain this week, claiming Brown’s cardiac death in early October was caused by the drink. This is the second such lawsuit filed against the company this year, but Panera has denied responsibility for both deaths. – Ed Cara Read more


This sea creature could fight cancer, it looks like poop

A specimen of Stichopus cf horrens collected from plastic pens at the Bolinao Marine Laboratory at the UP Institute of Marine Sciences.

A Stichopus c.f. terrible specimen collected from plastic pens at the Bolinao Marine Laboratory at the UP Institute of Marine Sciences.
Image: Hiyas A. June

Great things can come in small, slightly off-putting packages. Scientists from the Philippines have revealed in detail the molecular secrets of Stichopus cf. terrible, a type of sea cucumber that bears more than a passing resemblance to something else. Their findings indicate that these animals contain several compounds that could have potential medical benefits in humans, including anticancer agents. – Ed Cara Read more


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