We live in an era of 24-hour news in which we’re constantly bombarded by information from websites, social media, and television. Because of this deluge, there are fascinating news items you’re likely to have missed. Here are nine such events and discoveries from 2022 you may not have heard about.
1. The oldest known map of the stars was discovered in an ancient Christian manuscript.
The oldest known map of the constellations—the lost star catalog of Hipparchus—was discovered on parchment preserved at the Museum of the Bible. The map had been written in the fifth century on vellum leaves that were recycled half a millennium later to record the Christian manuscript “Codex Climaci Rescriptus” (Ladder of Divine Ascent) by John Climacus. “The newly-discovered text is a remarkable breakthrough that highlights the creative use of multispectral imaging technology to read previously lost texts,” said Brian Hyland, associate curator of medieval manuscripts at the Museum of the Bible. “It also attests to the accuracy of Hipparchus’s measurements.”
2. Lost ‘Tiny Book’ of Charlotte Brontë poems rediscovered.
A manuscript of unpublished poems by the novelist Charlotte Brontë, author of Jane Eyre, had been lost to public view for more than a century. But it was recently rediscovered inside a 19th-century schoolbook and sold for $1.25 million. As a 13-year-old, Charlotte created a 15-page book of poems in tiny text and sewed it into a miniature book with needle and thread. “A Book of Ryhmes [sic] by Charlotte Brontë, Sold by Nobody, and Printed by Herself” contains 10 never-before-seen poems written by the teenager. The book was purchased by the Friends of the National Libraries, a British nonprofit, and donated to the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, England.
3. Scientists use fitness trackers and AI to detect depression.
Mental disorders can present a wide variety of different symptoms, which can make it difficult for physicians to diagnose them early and accurately. But scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore are developing an AI-driven diagnostic tool kit that could help solve the problem of detecting mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. They use certain biological markers like heart rate and sleep patterns to make predictions about whether a person might be depressed. The tool’s accuracy is estimated to be around 80 percent.
4. Carvings found from a palace of an Assyrian king mentioned in the Bible.
Archaeologists working in northern Iraq discovered seven marble slabs, depicting Assyrian soldiers, palm trees, pomegranates, and figs, that were once part of the palace of King Sennacherib. Sennacherib was an Assyrian king who ruled from about 705 to 681 BC and conquered the fortified cities of Judah during the reign of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:13). The discovery offers exciting new opportunities for research, with archaeologists now returning to Mosul to dig deeper into the history of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, notes CNN.
5. Scientists revived organs in dead pigs.
Researchers were able to revive the cells and organs in pigs an hour after the animals’ deaths by cardiac arrest. The finding challenges the assumption that cardiac death is irreversible. The pigs weren’t reanimated after death (there was no restoration of brain activity), but their organs exhibited signs of cellular repair. If the process can be used in humans, it could potentially increase the number of human organs available for transplants.
6. The James Webb Space Telescope takes photos of distant parts of the universe.
The James Webb Space Telescope was launched on Christmas Day 2021. Since then, it has been dubbed the greatest scientific breakthrough of 2022. Among the discoveries are the first direct image of an exoplanet, a glimpse at the clouds of Saturn’s moon Titan, and observations of the most distant galaxies in the universe.
7. Christian monastery possibly predating Islam found in the UAE.
An ancient Christian monastery was discovered on an island off the coast of the United Arab Emirates that possibly dates as far back as the years before Islam spread through the area. The monastery on Siniyah Island, the second found on the peninsula, sheds new light on the history of early Christianity along the shores of the Persian Gulf. Archaeologists have found other similar churches and monasteries in Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.
8. Wreck of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance found in Antarctic sea.
A team of researchers discovered the wreck of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance vessel on the Antarctic sea floor. Endurance was last seen on November 21, 1915, when the Irish-British explorer Shackleton and his 27 men watched the ship sink into the icy water. The crew’s mission was to reach the South Pole by traveling over the then-unmapped terrain of the East Antarctic. The leader of the expedition that found the sunken ship said, “We have made polar history with the discovery of Endurance, and successfully completed the world’s most challenging shipwreck search.”
9. Earliest complete sentence in Canaanite language found on a lice comb.
The earliest complete sentence that has been found written in the language of Canaanite was found on a lice comb. Based on the shape of the letters, it was written around 1700 BC, about 100 years after alphabetic writing first developed, says Christianity Today. “Prior to this time everything was written in either hieroglyphics in Egypt or in the cuneiform script by various languages in Mesopotamia,” says archaeologist Michael Hasel, “so to have this complete sentence found at this early stage is quite remarkable.” The inscription on the comb says, “May this tusk root out the lice of the hai[r and the] beard.”