Killer Finds: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
Including mushroom-powered phones and the missing piece of an ancient poem
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2015 5:56 AM CDT
Image of Jesse James assassin Robert Ford.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A long-awaited Mars announcement and some new lines to a very old story make the list:

  • Scientists Uncover Missing Piece to Ancient Poem: In 2011, a professor was examining 90 clay tablets for sale when he suddenly told the director of Iraq's Sulaymaniyah Museum to pony up the money for one of them. What that $800 buy turned out to be: a missing piece of the 12-tablet Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, considered one of the first pieces of literature. The fragment adds 20 lines to the poem and previously unknown details.
  • Biggest Evidence Yet for Water on Mars: Scientists have found the strongest evidence yet of liquid water on the Red Planet. The telltale signs are dark narrow streaks on the planet's surface that suggest salty water is present, thought its source is still a mystery. That's not only exciting news in general, but for astronauts in particular.

  • Lost Photo May Show Jesse James and His Killer: Few photos have been found of outlaw Jesse James, and even fewer show James and his assassin Robert Ford—but one has apparently just been authenticated. A renowned forensic artist says an undated tintype photo shows James seated next to Ford, the partner in crime who killed James in 1882. The story behind the photo is fascinating.
  • How Portobello Mushrooms May Power Your Phone: A scientific paper shows it's possible to make batteries out of organic biological materials that are cheap, environmentally friendly, and easy to produce. In fact, engineers developed a new kind of lithium-ion battery anode that uses portobello mushrooms, which turn out to be so efficient that they could replace the industry standard of synthetic graphite. This could affect our daily lives in a big way.
  • Test Can Detect Any Virus: A new test developed by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis may prove an invaluable aid to doctors who can't figure out what's wrong with their patients. It's able to detect, all at once, pretty much any virus that afflicts humans and animals, thanks to a gene-sequencing breakthrough.
Click to read about more discoveries, including a glowing turtle.
 

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