Tall Tales

Man learns to talk to frogs

And other stories from the stranger side of life

Three frogs

A 70-year-old biology professor and conservationist in Australia has mastered imitating and understanding the shrills, croaks and whistles of frogs. Dubbed “the frog whisperer”, Michael Mahony told Reuters: “Sometimes you forget to work because, you know, you just want to talk to the frogs for a while and it’s sort of good fun.” His students, however, have mixed feelings about the croaking chatter. “I’ve never been into yelling at them to find out where they are,” said one.

‘New planet’ discovered

Astronomers have discovered a vast, previously unknown comet or minor planet entering the solar system. The “mega-comet”, which is expected to reach the orbit of Saturn in around 2030, has been given the snappy title of 2014 UN271. It is estimated to measure between 60 and 230 miles across. “This is the coolest thing we’ve found”, said Pedro Bernardinelli, leader of the team at the University of Pennsylvania that made the discovery.

Bezos petition gathers pace

A petition with over 114,000 signatures is demanding that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos be denied re-entry to Earth after he launches into space next month. The petition compares Bezos to the Superman villain Lex Luthor, adding: “Billionaires should not exist... on earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter, they should stay there.” Bezos is set to fly with his brother and two others on the first crewed flight of the autonomous New Shepherd rocket.

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