What a Gas: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
Including a first-of-its-kind centipede
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2016 5:45 AM CDT
A giant new supply of helium has been found, huge news for this rare but valuable gas.   (AP Photo/Two Eagles Balloon Team)

(Newser) – A new supply of a critical element and scary news about Beijing were among the notable discoveries of the week:

  • 'Game Changer': Giant Helium Field Found: What scientists are calling a "game changer" for society has been discovered deep in Tanzania's Rift Valley: a helium field so massive it could replenish the world's scant stockpile. Helium is vital for a number of applications, including MRI scanners, and the discovery is all thanks to a whole new way of looking for the gas.
  • Scientists Find First Amphibious Centipede: Scientists at London's Natural History Museum have discovered the first amphibious centipede known to exist. It's eight inches long with a painful bite, long legs, and "a horrible dark, greenish-black color." The first a-ha moment came when a honeymooner lifted a rock, and the centipede underneath behaved in a way that centipedes usually don't.

  • Tunnel Hand-Dug by Jews to Flee Nazis Is Found: A 100-foot escape tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners using only their hands and spoons has been unearthed in Lithuania. Stories of the famous tunnel have circulated for 70 years, but it's only now that they've been verified. The story of how the tunnel came to be dug in the first place is particularly grim.
  • This City Is Sinking Twice as Fast as New Orleans: If New Orleans is sinking, Beijing might as well be in freefall. A new study in the journal Remote Sensing finds depleted groundwater is causing the Chinese capital—the growing Chaoyang district, in particular—to sink as much as four inches per year. This might be especially bad news for a particular type of commuter.
  • No Evidence Pelvic Exams Are Necessary: If you hate the annual pelvic exam, potentially good news: A government task force says there's no evidence that it's necessary to do the exams as a matter of routine for healthy, asymptomatic, non-pregnant women. No official recommendation is out yet, but see why some critics think the exams do more harm than good.
Click to read about more discoveries.
 

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