Octopuses are pretty weird. So weird, in fact, that we know very little about their strange and solitary existences, with Quartz suggesting that "they are the closest creature to an alien here on Earth." Now, 33 scientists from respectable institutions like the University of Alberta's Department of Biochemistry and the Center for the Physics of Living Organisms at Michigan Technological University have taken it a step further — and suggested that octopuses might have actually arrived on Earth millions of years ago from outer space, The Daily Grail reports.
The researchers' claim is made in the journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, and it suggests that a "plausible explanation" for the octopus' genetic weirdness is that "squid and/or octopus eggs arrived in icy bodies several hundred million years ago."
This is quite the leap from the slightly-less-fringe theory of panspermia, which is "the idea that life has spread throughout the universe via comets, asteroids, etc.," as The Daily Grail explains — although panspermia is typically thought of as a possible method for the delivery of microbes or viruses to our planet. The researchers are actually suggesting that "cryopreserved" octopus eggs crashed into Earth several million years ago as a legitimate explanation for the creatures' extraordinary evolution.
There are plenty of skeptics, including biologist P.Z. Myers, who calls the research "garbage" and notes that while there "are novelties in cephalopod evolution," that doesn't just mean you can use it "as evidence [of] an outer space origin for the octopus." He argues that if octopuses really came from another world, "they would be completely unrelated to any other animal lineage on the planet. They would not be related to other mollusks … They would be totally alien." Read more about the debate over whether octopuses are aliens at The Daily Grail. Jeva Lange
Trump reportedly dictated his letter to Kim Jong Un and then immediately released it without warning our allies
There's a reason President Trump's letter to North Korea's Kim Jong Un sounded suspiciously like campaign-trail Trump — the president reportedly dictated it to White House aides.
Trump released a letter Thursday announcing that he would not travel to Singapore next month for a historic summit with Kim. While it was plenty cordial, noting Kim's "effort with respect to our recent negotiations," it also struck a few distinctly Trumpian notes, boasting of the U.S. nuclear stockpile ("so massive") and blaming Kim's behavior for the cancellation ("tremendous anger").
White House sources told The Wall Street Journal that Trump dictated the letter and then ordered staffers to release it immediately, without notifying global allies. That would explain why the South Korean government appeared so blindsided by the news, with President Moon Jae-In saying he was "very perplexed" by Trump's decision. Trump didn't tell South Korea or Japan ahead of time in an attempt to avoid the news from leaking, the Journal reports. Summer Meza
Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein will surrender to authorities and face charges of sexual abuse on Friday, NBC News reports.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are in the final stages of an investigation into allegations of sexual assault from actresses Paz de la Huerta and Lucia Evans. Weinstein has been accused of wide-ranging abuse by more than 50 women.
Weinstein has denied ever engaging in nonconsensual sex acts, but the New York Daily News reports that he will turn himself in to New York City police. The charges are expected to be brought in state court in Manhattan. A lawyer for Weinstein declined to comment. Summer Meza
Senate Majority Leader Mitch "Cocaine" McConnell (R-Ky.) "enjoyed" his re-election campaign's taunt of Senate candidate Don Blankenship after the former coal executive and ex-convict lost the West Virginia Republican primary to the state's attorney general earlier this month. Team Mitch's taunt had raised some eyebrows at the time for apparently relishing Blankenship's nickname for McConnell, "Cocaine Mitch," as well as for featuring McConnell in Pablo Escobar Narcos-inspired attire:
— Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) May 9, 2018
President Trump announced on Thursday that he would posthumously pardon Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion.
Johnson was arrested in 1912 for driving his white girlfriend over state lines. Prosecutors said it violated the Mann Act, which prohibited crossing state borders with a woman for "immoral purposes." Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to a year in prison. He then fled the country for several years before eventually coming back to serve his time. The case is now often seen as emblematic of racism entrenched in the U.S. justice system.
Johnson died in 1946. His pardoning marks the third-ever posthumous pardon in U.S. history, reports USA Today. The Obama administration opted not to pardon Johnson in part because of allegations of domestic violence against women, The New York Times reports.
Other boxing champions were invited to the pardoning ceremony, the Times reports. Sylvester Stallone was also at the White House on Thursday — his conversation with Trump in April is reportedly what inspired the president to revisit Johnson's case. Summer Meza
As the world reels from the news that President Trump will not meet with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un in June as was expected, the commander in chief is hanging out in the Oval Office with … Rambo.
Sylvester Stallone was at the White House for the pardoning of black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who was convicted in 1913 of transporting his white girlfriend across state lines, The New York Times reports. Trump was convinced to pardon Jackson after talking to Stallone following the funeral of Barbara Bush in April.
As it turns out, Trump isn't the only one to unwind with Stallone in Washington lately. Jeva Lange
Very cool. After spending all day in the Senate Armed Services Committee, I went to dinner & suddenly, in to the restaurant walked...@TheSlyStallone From Rocky to Rambo to a ton of other movies that I’ve watched over and over, really enjoyed the chance to meet him! pic.twitter.com/20s66XeGQP
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 24, 2018
Names are important — sometimes all it takes is a great name to realize someone is a winner. But even President Trump, who made his riches off of the association of his surname with all things gold and luxurious, gets name envy sometimes.
"I think you have the greatest name in politics," Trump raved to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) on Thursday. "If I had that name I would have been president 10 years sooner."
Trump praises Rep. Patrick McHenry for his name: "I think you have the greatest name in politics. If I had that name I would have been president 10 years sooner." pic.twitter.com/iOZWlT4tFj
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 24, 2018
You've gotta admit — McHenry University, McHenry Steaks, McHenry Vodka. It's kind of got a ring. Jeva Lange
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is likely having "a giggle fit right now" over President Trump's letter calling off their planned summit in Singapore next month.
Kim "got global recognition and regard," Pelosi went on. "He's the big winner. When he got this letter from the president saying 'okay, never mind' — he must be having a giggle fit right there now in North Korea." Pelosi said that it was clear Trump didn't know what he was getting into in the negotiations with Pyongyang, and mocked the language used in his "very chummy, palsy-walsy letter." Watch below. Jeva Lange
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) May 24, 2018