Tuesday, January 31, 2006

True or False? Part Two

Here are a few more common myths explained:

Animals can predict impending natural disasters.
This has been a belief going back to 2000 B.C. when it was documented that weasels abandoned their normal habitats moments before earthqakes struck the island of Crete. Most recently, people witnessed elephants and other animals running towards higher ground before the tsunami hit Southern Asia.

So do animals posess a sixth sense when it comes to predicting Mother Nature's wrath?
At this point, scientists cannot say there is ample evidence to conclude that animals have some sort of extraordinary powers to do so. It's well documented that animals do have keener senses than humans. Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, for example. Animals probably are able to sense certain vibrations, changes in air pressure, or smell the change in the wind - and their natural instincts guide them to avoid disasters. Therefore, you have a few elephants running away from the sensed danger, and other animals follow their own herding instinct and 'get the hell outta Dodge.'

This belief is FALSE, although anytime you see a bunch of animals running in a certain direction in a panic...you probably should follow.

* * * *

A dog's mouth is more sterile than a human's.
I've heard this quite a bit. I am a dog lover, but I do not allow my dogs to lick my face. Some dog owners do...and they say it's OK because they state the fact that a dog's mouth is actually cleaner and more germ-free than a human's.

Why do people believe this?
There were some studies done a couple decades ago that proved human bites had a higher rate of infection than any other mammal's bite. It seems from these findings, people drew conclusions that a dog's mouth - or any other animal's mouth - was more sterile that a human being's.
Recently, those studies have come under fire as not being so accurate.

The truth is that a dog's mouth is not more sterile that our own. "A dog's mouth contains a lot of bacteria," says Dr. Gary "Ask the Vet" Clemons. "Remember, a dog's tongue is not only his wash cloth but also his toilet paper." I've watched my dogs lick themselves...now why would I think that somehow their mouths are cleaner than mine? I know where MY mouth has been, and I can say for sure it has not been in my crotch. So this myth is truly a myth - and a FALSE one indeed.

* * * *
Running in the rain is effective.
Most of us to this - we're outside in the rain with no umbrella, so we run (or walk very fast) to get underneath some shelter. So is it worth it to run in the rain? Do you really end up less wet by running?

Scores of physicists have created formulas and many scientists have done a ton of experiments. The problem is - there are just too many variables involved with this situation. The size and shape of the human body, wind velocity, rain direction - all of these affect the outcomes. The main argument against this belief is that if you run, you will actually get more wet; the runner is simply running into the "rain field" and therefore getting more drops to hit him. An Italian physicist, several from England, a few from the States - all have come up with the same conclusion, overall:

When caught in the rain, it's best to run. Two scientists from North Carolina took the test outdoors to the Appalachian Mountains during a 1996 summer rainstorm. One of them wore a cotton sweatsuit and hat and ran a 100 meter loop in the rain. Then donned a dry, but identical sweatsuit and hat and walked 100 meters. Here's what they found: The walker's sweatsuit was 40% wetter/heavier than the runner's. Interestingly, the runner's hat was far less wet as well.

So this belief is actually TRUE. One physicist has a website where you can enter all kinds of data - like your body's dimensions, your speed, rain speed, and windspeed. Then it will tell you how wet you will be on your head, your chest, your rear and your sides. Check it out here. No matter what physics tells you, however, I think the best thing is for you to get an umbrella. And guys, you won't look like a sissy carrying an umbrella. Without one in a rainstorm, you will look like a moron. A wet moron.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

True or False? Part One

I love the show "Mythbusters." It's a great program on the Discovery Channel that attempts to either debunk a common myth or prove that the myth is in fact truth. They answer if it's possible to use an umbrella as a parachute or if dropping a penny from the Empire State Building could in fact kill a pedestrian down below. If you haven't seen the show, you need to - as the two hosts enjoy blowing things up.

I decided to do my own little mythbusters posts about things we all have heard and are common, everyday beliefs. Here are just a few interesting scientific "mysteries" that seem to have questionable explanations. True or False...

Yawning is "contagious."
We've all expereinced such a phenomonon. Someone near you yawns, and soon you yourself are yawning right along. You can easily set a chain reaction of yawns in any room. Why we yawn is actually still a mystery. The thought that we yawn in order to rid our bodies of extra carbon dioxide to get more oxygen into our lungs was shown to be incorrect by Dr. Provine's research in 1987.

Recent studies have shown that between 40-60% of the population finds yawning contagious. Why is that? Scientists believe it might be a remnant of an important social instinct from early man. They believe it was a way for a group to feel cohesive...or perhaps to signal to the group that it was time to sleep.

Although there are still questions to be answered, it's safe to say that this one is TRUE. Yawning, for some reason, seems to be "contagious." Even chimps have exhibited this behavior. I think researches should also investigate the contagiousness of farting.

* * * *

The five second rule works.
Many of us live by the "five second rule" when it comes to accidentally dropping food on the floor. You drop your buttered roll onto the floor, and if you pick it up within 5 seconds, it's pretty much germ-free and you can eat it without fear. Perhaps you are one of those that extends the five seconds to 10 seconds with particular favorites or treats. You drop a piece of chocolate, many of us will eat that thing a week later off the kitchen floor. In college, it was common knowledge the 10 second rule was the drunk version of the 5 second rule.
So is the five second rule true?

Unfortunately, several studies have shown that when both dry and wet foods are dropped onto a floor contaminated with bacteria (such as E.coli), the food becomes contaminated instantly. Even if picked up less than 2 seconds, that piece of food has germs sticking to it.
The good news is that most household floors are generally clean.

Sorry folks, unless you want to have the runs by dinner time, lose the five second rule - because this belief is FALSE.
* * * *

Men think about sex every 7 seconds.
I've heard this scientific statistic quoted by television shows and magazines for years. The logic here is that since men are genetically and instinctively made for mass pro-creation, men must think about sex often. There was some sort of scientific investigation, and the results were startling. Men think about sex every 7 seconds. That's over 12,000 sexual thoughts per 24 hour period!

How on earth would you even measure such a thing...have a participant sit there in an empty room and write little tick marks every time he thought about sex? Impossible. The most recent widespread poll was taken by ABC Primetime in 2004. They found that around 70% of men think about sex every day, women were HALF that. 43% of men think about sex several times a day, women were at 13%.

I'm sure there are men that think of sex a whole lot every day, but over 12,000? I doubt it. Maybe Charlie Sheen does, however.

So this statistic about the male libido is FALSE.

True or False, to be continued...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fish Fart to Find Friends

Canadian and British scientists discovered that herring create a mysterious underwater noise by shooting air out of their tiny little anal pores. Researchers suspect herring hear the high frequency farts as they're expelled, helping the fish form protective shoals at night. It's the first ever study to suggest fish communicate by farting.

"We know [herring] have excellent hearing but little about what they actually use it for," said research team leader Ben Wilson, a marine biologist at the Bamfield Marine Science Centre, British Columbia, Canada. "It turns out that herring make unusual farting sounds at night."

Wilson and his colleagues named the phenomenon Fast Repetitive Tick, which makes for the appropriate, FRT. But unlike the human version, these FRTs are thought to bring the fish closer together. They only seem to fart like this in the company of their fellow fish.

In college, my fraternity brothers bonded by releasing their own FRTs as well, however.

Two teams carried out the research in Canada and Britain. One team studied Pacific herring in Bamfield, British Columbia, while the other group observed Atlantic herring in Oban, Scotland. The fish were transferred to large tanks where their behavior was monitored using hydrophones and infrared video cameras. Gee, I wonder where they put the hydrophones. The fish were found to produce high-frequency sound bursts up to 22 kilohertz. The noise was always accompanied by a fine stream of bubbles.

...and giggles by the scientists.

To hear a herring fart, click HERE.

So how are fish farts used as communication?

Herring can detect sound frequencies up to around 40 kilohertz, way beyond the hearing range of most other fish. So a method of nighttime communication using pulses of air would enable herring to maintain contact after dark, but without giving their position away to predatory fish.

What seems to trigger the farting extravaganza is darkness and high fish densities, suggesting that herring indeed do use farting as a means of communication.

What seems to trigger farting extravaganzas for men are usually chilli, beer, and an eagerly awaiting audience.

This research does actually have useful purposes. Scientists fear that noise pollution by humans could interfere with the herring farts - and thus not enabling them to hear each other. Also, dolphins and whales are believed to use FRTs as an aid for finding herring - a staple in their diets. Noise pollution could adversely affect their ability to find food. Finally, studying the FRT phenomenon could help fishermen find shoals of herring for commercial purposes.

Like I said, I don't believe herrings are the only animals that use flatulence to communicate. Humans have developed different types of farts as well. Some of these types are used to communicate with fellow human beings, some are meant to inflict pain, and others attempt to solicit a response, such as laughter.

Here are just a few types of human flatulence:

Silent But Deadly Fart (SBD) - This fart is like a stealth weapon. Not a sound can be heard, yet the smell is foul enough to clear a room. Many times, people combine the SBD with a "fart and run"...often walking away and leaving a trail of destruction behind.

Eggy Fart - Smells like rotten eggs (or Hydrogen Sulphide). This kind has been known to make people ill, and make their eyebrows fall out. This is toxic and strikes fear into others. Even the farter cannot stand his own smell.

Windy Fart - This fart is released with a wooshing sound. Perhaps the anus musles are quite relaxed, and the smell isn't too bad at all. This fart might be caused by swallowing air. This is a non-toxic fart.

Drumroll Fart - Maybe you're holding in your farts, and you sort of have these internal ones. Sounds like a drumroll...preparing for the big release. At times, it sounds like growling.

Big Birtha - Staccato rip, long substancial resonance, and amazing awful smell. This is the one that people swear came out of a horse or a dog that just ate Beefarino. Some use the Big Birtha as a weapon or warning to stay away. Many times, the farter might even bend over in anguish, as this one could backfire and injure the anus. Other times, you swear the farter probably crapped in his pants.

Wet Fart - This one sounds like a child making a wet raspberry. You can actually hear the liquidity in the flatulance. This fart communiates to others that the farter probably has the "the runs."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New U.S. Military Weapon - The Flying Walrus

The United States military is creative indeed. First, they unveiled an "invisible" jet fighter and bomber utilizing stealth technology. Then, they have been perfecting the use of lasers and sound wave blasts as weapons. Now, they are turning to the past in order to move forward:

The blimp.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched the WALRUS Program and received several proposals by military and aircraft manufactureres from all over. The L.A. Times recently did a story on a small blimp manufacturing company, Worldwide Aeros. Igor Pasternak, a 41 year old Russian immigrant, is vying for a lucritive $100 million contract to build a new generation of war blimps for the United States military. Pasternak's competition? Military juggernaut Lockheed Martin. The two recently won $3 million phase II grants to continue to compete for the contract, and many people are rooting for the underdog to win the right to manufacture the blimps.

That's right, I said blimps. War blimps.

Why a blimp? Consider this: the U.S. C-130 cargo plane is capable of carrying a maximum load of 22 tons in wartime. These war blimps Worldwide Aeros and Lockheed Martin are working on will be able to carry between 500-1,000 tons...AND travel 12,000 nautical miles in 7 days. And these blimps will be "tri-phibian," traveling over air, water, and land - and doesn't need a runway.

But they're still blimps...as in Goodyear...or the Snoopy one MetLife flies overhead during football games. It's a big helium balloon, really.

“Once you get past the giggle factor of lighter-than-air, [you see] there’s a lot of interest,” said Brian Matkin, head of the smart weapons management office at the Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) at Redstone Arsenal, AL.

The military believes these war blimps will change the face of how they conduct war. The war blimp would be a central part of the military's new 10-30-30 initiative - To get anywhere in the world within 10 days, win the battle in 30 days, and be prepared to fight again in another 30 days.

99 Luft Ballons indeed.

How does Pasternak feel about his 40 employee company going up against Lockheed Martin?

"In reality we don't feel Lockheed is our technical competitor," said Pasternak. "There is only one solution, and we have that one solution," the Russian-trained scientist insisted.

These blimps would utilize state-of-the art technology. The vehicle would take off into the air using nonflammable helium, but the bottom of its hull would act like a wing to give it additional lift and control. So it would be a blimp/airplane hybrid sort of deal. The craft would be powered by propellers. It could also land under a pilot's control, without ground handlers having to pull on tethers as with today's blimps.

"It can totally change how you conduct warfare," Pasternak said of the concept.

I think blimps could be used in both military and civillian situations. Imagine a blimp carrying tons of water and putting out those wildfires out West. Or maybe in times of natural disasters, blimps could go in and help evacuate thousands of people at a time. Maybe even use such blimps for travel, or entertainment purposes. Pasternak himself invisioned created "flying cruises" for 180 guests complete with rooms, casinos, and restaurant - and it could fly from L.A. to New York in 18 hours. You could use blimps to do surveillance and transport troops and cargo to friendly places.

But warfare? Are you kidding me?

I hate to rain on DARPA's parade here, and I'm no military genius or anything. But wouldn't a gigantic hellium-filled balloon make an easy target for our enemies? Could you imagine using these things in Iraq, for example? Insurgents would have a lot of fun using rocket launchers and just blasting these things out of the sky. I mean, really...these blimps would be floating targets. Just picture flying a giant silver blimp over Afghanistan looking for Bin Laden. He'd laugh his ass off. Any of our foes could easily bring our blimps down without much effort.

Actually, I know one country that could be brought to it's knees by these blimps:

"What do you expect from a culture and a nation that exerted more of its national will fighting against Disney World and Big Macs than against the Nazis?" ---Dennis Miller

Monday, January 23, 2006

"Just Thinkin' About Tomorrow..."

Just don't think about TODAY - Monday, January 23rd, 2006 - the gloomiest most depressing day of the year, according to Cliff Arnall, a health psychologist at the University of Cardiff, specializing in confidence-building and stress management. He's also an expert in seasonal disorders.

According to Dr. Arnall, by using a formula based on several variables, the Monday closest to January 24th is the bleakest day for people. What are these variables? What is this supposed formula? Check it out:

[W + (D-d)] x TQ
M x NA

The equation is broken down into seven variables: (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed quit attempt, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.

Let's step away from the whole formula thing and really think about this...why would today, or even these next few days be so depressing for people? You got the post Christmas blues/letdown, New Years resolutions are being broken, those holiday credit card bills have come in, winter weather for those above the equator, and most people don't have anything big to look forward to ahead.

“Following the initial thrill of New Year's celebrations and changing over a new leaf, reality starts to sink in,” Arnall said. “The realization coincides with the dark clouds rolling in and the obligation to pay off Christmas credit card bills."

Also, it's been common knowledge that Mondays in general are the most depressing - and out of any day of the week, absenteesim and suicide rates are the highest. Arnall devised his formula taking into consideration those relevant variables and also interviewed hundreds of participants. Looking at his formula, I don't see how "the need to take action" is going to be measured...but I think the whole point of the formula wasn't entirely based on pure mathmatics.

Just think about New Year's resolutions - the whole "turning over a new leaf" optimistic mindset we have at the end of last year. Now is about the time many of these affirmations are being tested...and when many of us are failing. So maybe you snarfed down that quarter pounder with cheese. Or maybe you drank too much last weekend. Oh crap, what happened to that nicotine patch and how did this cigarette suddenly end up in my mouth?

So you get you fat butt out of bed, eat a very terrible breakfast at McDonald's - or even worse, you skip it. Then you smoke a few before heading outside, where it's probably gloomy or cold - or both, and head to your job you don't like...and you have to work, because those credit card bills aren't going to pay themselves. Oh...and have you taken a look at your most recent heating bill? I got mine...and let's just say it's less than $400, but more than $300. Indeed, this is a depressing time for many of us.

So what can be done? Easy - spend more money.

Arnall originally came up with his formula for a travel agency. They wanted to know when was the peak dates most people would book a vacation. “People feel bleak when they have nothing planned, but once they book a holiday they have a goal, they work toward having time off and a relaxing period,” Alex Kennedy, PR for the travel agency.

Have you watched TV lately? How many cruise ship or vacation commercials have you seen? Yesterday watching football, I noticed four of them in just one hour.

So just get past today...here in Phoenixville, USA it's cold and dark outside...and chances are it probably is too wherever you are. Those is Canada, have fun voting today. My British readers, don't kill yourselves. The bloody sun will come out...maybe in March. My friends south of the Equator in sunny Australia...damn you.

By the way...using the formula, the happest day of the year is June 23rd. Until then, keep your Zoloft handy and don't listen to depressing country songs.

Friday, January 20, 2006

WWMD...What Would Mongo Do?

Step off, Xenu, there's a new alien in town...and he lives among us. His name is Prince Mongo, from the planet Zambodia. Memphis might be 9 light years away from "home" for Prince Mongo, but the 333 year old 'savior' knows he's here on Earth to serve a purpose:

"I'm from another planet, there's no doubt about that," Mongo explains. "I'm here on a mission to save Earthlings, and I will in due time. The Earth is self-destructing and when the time comes I will save a few people and take them with me. People don't realize how much I've already saved them from. I saved them from the earthquake, tornadoes, hurricanes. I've used my energies to divert those things."

Well alrighty then...

Prince Mongo does live like a prince here on Earth, owning homes in Virginia beach, a million dollar mansion in Ft. Lauderdale, and "The Castle" in Memphis, TN (pictured left). He's well known for owning several bars and nice pieces of real estate in the Memphis area, but he's notorious for getting into trouble for serving alcohol to minors, run-ins with the courts and his neighbors, and for campaigning for office every couple years or so - only to lose by a great margin.

As far as the allegations of underaged drinking in his establishments, he denies all of them. "I have never been charged with a beer board violation," he insists. "I have never even held a liquor license in my name."

His neighbors haven't been too pleased with having an alien prince next door. He's had numerous wars with Tennessee neighbors over what he called "art" in his yards. Once, he was jailed for dumping trash in the yard of one of his enemies. Prince Mongo is an artist, and the art he's displayed on his front yards have consisted of: coffins, 50 toilet bowls, mannequins, and beach umbrellas.

Often times, he'll put Christmas trees up outside the front of his house in February or March. "My Christmas doesn't begin like y'all's. Christmas changes for me depending on the moon and the energy lines. This year, it's in February."

He made national news when he made a court appearance for such violations wearing green body paint, a green cape, weilding goggles, and a rubber chicken. The judge ordered him to wear normal clothing, and Prince Mongo refused, as was jailed for 10 days and fined $13,875.

Prince Mongo is also known for running for every political office in Memphis. He hasn't come close to winning yet, but he is not deterred and keeps working to get elected.

People call Prince Mongo crazy or eccentric. He believes he's just misunderstood. How can you call a guy that stands on his roof and howls at the moon, walks an invisible dog, and never ever wears shoes (even in the snow) crazy? Prince Mongo says, "I've got better things to do than listen to these dumbbells and these Hitlers who run up and down this street trying to destroy me. These people will be the first ones to be destroyed."

Sounds like a threat to me.

So what is on the horizon for Prince Mongo? Will he fly off to Zambodia anytime soon? It doesn't seem so. Other than using his powerful energies to save us from natural disasters (he must've been off skiing when Hurricane Katrina hit), Prince Mongo has other plans:

"I'm about to start a Zambodian Planetology Church. It will be a very interesting church."

Here are just a few funny quotes from the Prince of Zambodia himself:

"Mannequins continuously bring me information from my planet."
"I don't need money. I live off the stars and the earth and the energy of the sun."
"You ever have sardines and eggs? They're good."
"When I hit Earth, I fragmentized and went all over the world. I then began assembling myself and still am."
"I don't care. I'll give anything away. People are always walking off with my TVs. I don't mind. I have a terrible phobia about throwing things away. Why throw things away when you can give it away?"

And my favorite Prince Mongo quote of all:

"There's great power in my hair; it helps protect me from demons trying to get near me."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Even Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker Wouldn't Try This

British scientists want to create hybrid embryos in the lab by fusing human cells with rabbit eggs. They will use the embryos to produce stem cells that carry genetic defects in order to better understand the complex mechanisms behind incurable human diseases. They probably also want to see if they can create rabbits capable of singing Beatles' songs.

Plans for the experiments have been proposed by Professor Chris Shaw, a neurologist and expert in motor neurone disease at King's College London, and Professor Ian Wilmut, the Edinburgh University-based creator of Dolly the sheep. They say creating the rabbit-human hybrids is necessary because of the shortage of human eggs available for research.

"The fertility of rabbits is legendary," said Shaw. "The most important thing is that with animal eggs, we have a much better chance of generating stem cells and if we wait for human eggs, it's going to be maybe a decade before we can do this. If we can use animal eggs, we could maybe have stem cells within one or two years," he added.

If the researchers are granted consent, they won't be the first to fuse human cells with rabbit eggs. In 2003, Huizhen Sheng at Shanghai Second Medical University published work in which she claimed to have extracted stem cells from hybrid embryos made from rabbit eggs.

So how will they do it?

To make a hybrid embryo, a human skin cell would be taken from a person with motor neurone disease and injected into a hollowed-out rabbit egg. The resulting embryo would contain only a tiny amount of rabbit DNA in a microscopic structure that generates energy in the cell. The rest of the DNA would be human. Within a week or so, the egg will have divided to form a tiny ball of a 200 or so cells, from which stem cells could be extracted. "They will never grow beyond the 200 cell stage and they will have no human features," said Prof Shaw.

Many scientists question the ethics involved here.

Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics said: "There is a lot of innate wisdom in the yuk factor, or repugnance as it is also known. My question is: what will they actually create? It is simplistic or deliberately deceptive to say they are simply making stem cells. In order to obtain stem cells they surely have to go through the blastocyst stage; they have to create a 'something' from which to derive the new cells. What is this something? It must be human to be of any use to researchers."

I'm not a scientist, Mr. Quintavalle, but I know exactly what that SOMETHING is going to be:

I did a post back in August on something similar. Read it here: Teenage Mutant Ninja HUMANS?

Monday, January 16, 2006

"Blame It On The Rain"

Those wise lyrics by the world-renouned music sensation, Milli Vanilli, might ring of some scientific truth, according to a recent article published in Astrophysics and Space Science. Godfrey Louis and A. Santhosh Kumar of Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, India claim that in July of 2001, blood red rain fell for a period of a couple weeks - and that after careful analysis, the rain contains ALIEN LIFEFORMS.

Nope, this isn't some sci-fi story...it's an actual article published in a peer-reviewed and authoritative scientific journal - in fact, Astrophysics and Space Science has a history of being conservative in its publishing.

On July 21, 2001, there was a meteor airburst event near Changanacherry in the Kottayam district. Many people recall the loud sonic boom during early morning of that day. Just a few hours later, rain the color of blood began to fall. For two months, red rain fell sporadically around the state of Karala in southern India. Scientists first attributed the strange crimson rain to particles swept from the desert or other dust-like material that was carried off by winds and then was dispersed during precipitation. Makes sense to me.

However, “the red rain occurred in many places during a continuing normal rain,” Louis and Kumar write. “It was reported from a few places that people on the streets found their clothes stained by red raindrops. In a few places the concentration of particles were so great that the rainwater appeared almost like blood.” (Real samples are pictured left).

After many rain samples were analyzed, they ruled out the possibility that desert dust airlifted from far away was the cause. “The red rain started in the State during a period of normal rain, which indicate that the red particles are not something which accumulated in the atmosphere during a dry period and washed down on a first rain,” the pair wrote. “The nature of the red particles rules out the possibility that these are dust particles from a distant desert source. And such particles are not found in Kerala or nearby place.”

About 55 tons of the particles came down during that two month period. These particles were analayzed for their chemical make up, and then biological make up. The elemental composition consisted of carbon, oxygen, iron, sodium, aluminum, chlorine, and silicon. Nothing alien there, right?

The biological analysis turned up something very interesting: cells...unusual cells. At first glance, the cells actually resemble red blood cells. The particles look like one-celled organisms and are about 4 to 10 thousandths of a millimeter wide, somewhat larger than typical bacteria. “Shapes vary from spherical to ellipsoid and slightly elongated… These cell-like particles have a thick and coloured cell envelope, which can be well identified under the microscope.” The particles seem to lack a nucleus, the core DNA-containing compartment that animal and plant cells have, the researchers wrote. Chemical tests indicated they also lacked DNA (actual cells are pictured right).

Louis and Kumar added that the particles show “fine-structured membranes” under magnification, like normal cells. The outer envelope seems to contain an “inner capsule,” they added, which in some places “appears to be detached from the outer wall to form an empty region inside the cell. Further, there appears to be a faintly visible mucus layer present on the outer side of the cell.”

That is freaky indeed. Unknown cells with no nucleus, therefore no DNA??? Some believe it might be some sort of alien bacteria. It's quite possible that's the case. Louis and Kumar noted that "even after storage in the original rainwater at room temperature without any preservative for about four years, no decay or discolouration of the particles could be found.”
Bacteria with such survival power are called Extremophiles, and they are able to survive in deep space for long periods of time. Extremophiles - what a great name for a punk rock band.

The scientists' findings might be a strong case towards proving that panspermia is possible. It's the hypothesis involving meteors transporting living extremophiles. Within a meteor, it's possible the right conditions exist to protect such life forms during entry of Earth's atmosphere.

Regardless, strange objects raining down on us is not a new thing. Cases in point:
1877, South Carolina: several one-foot-long alligators fell on J. L. Smith's farm. They landed, unharmed, and started crawling around, reported The New York Times.

1881 Worcester, England: a thunderstorm in brought down tons of periwinkles and hermit crabs.

November 1996, southern Tasmania: Eesidents woke up on a Sunday morning after a night of violent thunderstorms to find a strange, white-clear jelly-like substance on their property. Apparently, it had rained either fish eggs or baby jellyfish.

June 1997, A Korean fisherman, trolling off the coast of the Falkland Islands, was knocked unconscious by a single frozen squid that fell from the sky and konked him on the head. He awoke 2 days later with serious head injuries.

August, 2001, the Wichita, Kansas area experienced an unexplained rain of corn husks. The news report stated that "thousands of dried corn leaves fell over east Wichita - from about Central Avenue to 37th Street North, along Woodlawn Boulevard and on east - each about 20 to 30 inches long."

My personal favorite...

1990, a Japanese fishing boat was sunk in the Sea of Okhotsk off the eastern coast of Siberia by a falling cow. When the crew of the wrecked ship were fished from the water, they told authorities that they had seen several cows falling from the sky, and that one of them crashed straight through the deck and hull.

Frozen squids, corn husks, and cows...it makes alien life forms in the rain seem more plausible...