Scientists discover glow-in-the-dark shark
Despite our best efforts to catalog all the different forms of life in existence, scientists say we’ve only discovered the tip of the iceberg: 86 percent of existing plant and animal species remain unidentified. Researchers recently discovered one of those unknown species, a glowing shark hiding in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian Islands. The shark measures less than a foot long and weighs less than 2 pounds. “A large part of biodiversity is still unknown, so for us to stumble upon a tiny, new species of shark in a gigantic ocean is really thrilling,” researcher Stephen Kajiura said in a statement. —J.B.
NASA posts Earth-protector job opening
Attention all space alien hunters! NASA is accepting applications for a planetary protection officer to guard Earth from alien invasions. The winning candidate will get a galactic annual salary of up to $187,000, plus benefits. The position may conjure images of Star Trek’s Enterprise crew boldly searching for extraterrestrial life where no one has gone before, but the reality isn't quite that glamorous. The planetary protection officer will make sure humans don’t contaminate planets and other objects in space with earthly microbes and that no alien microorganisms hitchhike back to Earth. One industrious applicant sent a letter to NASA outlining his qualifications: The 9-year-old said his sister believes he is an alien. —J.B.
Alternative to addictive opioids
Abuse of opioid prescriptions that work well for pain relief but are highly addictive has become a national crisis. But doctors may soon have an alternative. A San Francisco-based biotech company, Nektar, has developed a non-addictive type of opioid, NKTR-181, that provides pain relief without the euphoric highs that can lead to abuse and addiction. —J.B.