Mummy-Mia! 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
Including an unexpected find atop a volcano and a device to help the blind 'read' text
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2015 5:29 AM CDT
In this Feb. 28, 2015, photo, a mummified frozen body sticks out from the snow in a glacier on the Pico de Orizaba volcano, Mexico's tallest peak.   (AP Photo/Israel Mijangos Q.)

(Newser) – The world's oldest pretzel and a study that discourages you from telling kids they're super-special make the list:

  • New Finger Device Helps Blind 'See' and Hear Writing: MIT researchers have created a prototype of a finger-mounted device that uses a camera to scan text, which is then converted to speech in real time using an algorithm. The "translation" device could open up a huge number of books to not only the visually impaired, but also those who have trouble reading for other reasons (e.g., dyslexia). Developers even figured out two creative ways to keep users' fingers in line with the text.
  • On Mexico's Highest Peak, a Chilling Find: A team of climbers who trekked some 17,000 feet up the Pico de Orizaba volcano (North America's third-tallest peak) found not one, but two mummified corpses, nestled in the snow about 400 feet away from each other. Officials aren't sure who they are, but they're going to try to ID them through DNA and clothing samples. They do have some ideas about what happened—and if they're right, it happened more than half a century ago.

  • Break Out the 250-Year-Old Mustard: From a Bavarian dig site along the Danube River, scientists have excavated gallows remnants, a 1,200-year-old wooden house, and ... the world's oldest pretzel. There's a clue that indicates that the bread product, which is being called an "archaeological sensation," was probably tossed out by a baker having a temper tantrum of sorts.
  • Telling Your Kids They're Special Is a Bad Idea: They may end up as narcissists who think they're better than everyone else if you do, Ohio State University researchers say. Children between the ages of 7 and 12 were interviewed over an 18-month period, and results showed that "overvalued" kids were more likely to show signs of narcissism later on. The study suggests there's a better way to build kids' self-esteem.
  • Top Contender for Life Outside Earth: a Saturn Moon: We already suspected that Enceladus had a really big ocean. Now it turns out that the body of water on this moon of Saturn isn't only warm, it's got the same kind of hydrothermal activity going on as oceans on Earth—meaning, as one scientist puts it, "this may be the place to go look for life in the outer solar system." There's at least one section of that ocean we probably wouldn't want to go swimming in, though.
Click to read about more discoveries.
 

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