March 14, 2019 - Semi-identical twins, zebra stripes, and the mysterious Planet 9

Courtesy of  on  Unsplash

Courtesy of on Unsplash

Semi-identical twins

The lead story in this week’s podcast (listen above) features a woman in Australia whose reproductive system allowed something that’s never supposed to happen.

Generally when an egg is penetrated by a single sperm, that’s it. The door is closed and no other sperm can get in.

But in her case, another one did slip in. And it led to something so rare that we’ve only seen one other documented case of it.

Semi-identical twins.

The children are now 4-years old and probably wondering why so many doctors and scientists are so interested in them.

That means we have identical twins, fraternal twins, and now semi-identical. It’s a weird world.


Bugs hate zebra strips

Courtesy of  Antoine Plüss  on  Unsplash

Courtesy of Antoine Plüss on Unsplash

We’ve always wondered what those stripes were all about. Some scientists were sure they provided a cooling system somehow.

No, that was shot down.

Then there was the story that the stripes confused large predators. But no.

Now it looks like we have the answer, and it’s nowhere near as exciting as you might hope.

The stripes screw up the navigational skills . . . of bugs.

Yes, biting flies (the ones that carry diseases) can’t seem to figure out how to land on a zebra. And for the evolution of zebras, that’s a good thing. Thus, the stripes.

Check it out in the podcast above.


The mysterious Planet 9

Courtesy of NASA

Courtesy of NASA

Poor Pluto got robbed of its status as a planet, but fear not! There may be a 9th planet roaming around out there after all.

And, if so, it may be ten times larger than Earth.

Here’s the problem: If it does exist, it may be soooo far away that its orbit won’t bring it back close enough for us to see for thousands of years. Yeah, thousands.

For now it’s called Planet 9, but I gotta believe they’ll come up with something catchier soon.

The story is in this week’s podcast.


And check it out, you get bonus stories right here that aren’t in the podcast.

You know how much we love that smell of rain? Well, it turns out that you’re not smelling the rain at all. And no, it’s not the smell of ozone, either, which is what lots of people say.

So what are we smelling? Would you believe . . . bacteria?

It’s called petrichor (pronounced PEH-trih-core) and it’s actually a combination of plants and bacteria. How it actually happens is pretty interesting, and you can read more about it right here, thanks to Science News for Students.



I’ve been to Stonehenge a couple of times, and I love it. It even plays a role in a young-adult mystery series I’m writing.

Well, scientists think they’ve discovered where some of those large stones came from. Turns out they were quarried almost 200 miles away and transported to the site of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain.

I've got the story here, courtesy of UPI.


For more info on the story of semi-identical twins, you can visit here or here.

The zebra stripe info can be found here.

And the cool story about Planet 9 is spinning around here.

Thanks to Charlie Keaton for the Newz For Nerdz love theme.

Remember to subscribe on Spotify and/or the iTunes store to get every edition. Keep in mind that good reviews really do mean a lot to every podcaster. So be kind.

Enjoy your day!

Dom TestaComment