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Nature

Watch this octopus change colors as it dreams

An octopus dreaming

Octopuses can light up in different colors when they dream.

That’s according to a marine biologist who captured this octopus snoozing away in a fish tank.

The neuroprocessing abilities of cephalopods (i.e. brain with tentacles attached) like the octopus activate their color-changing cells in response to their environments.

The shift to a more darker color represents the octopuses movement off the seafloor while the camouflage sequence mimics the change that happens when octopuses hide from prey.

Watch the snippet below and the entire clip on PBS.

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Culture & Society Technology

Christopher Reeve explains what Superman represents

In this video, the later Christopher Reeve who played Superman explains what the fictional superhero represents.

In a world of selfishness ushered in by smart devices and social media, Superman as a friend metaphor is a subtle reminder of the power of relationships.

It’s nice to know that there’s someone out there who’s willing to offer a hand and be a friend regardless of supposed differences, whether that be in race or politics.

Big thinking, small fragile world — such prescient words from Superman in the tribal world that is today.

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Architecture & Design

New York’s Park Avenue once included a walkable park lane

New York City Park Avenue in 1920s

Park Avenue in New York City used to have a dedicated park lane that ran down the middle of 5th Avenue. Hence the name “Park” Avenue.

Even more, the term parking was first referenced in association with trees, not driving lines.

From The Etymology of Parking:

According to the 41st Congress, the proper way to park in cities was on the side of the streets with the roadway running down the center. Of course, in 1870 the members of the Senate were discussing the parking of trees and smaller plants, not automobiles. The first parking system was an early street tree system where parking defined the planting of trees, grasses, and flowers along the side of roadways and the creation of sidewalks for pedestrians.

But given the ubiquity and priority of cars, the park gradually narrowed to make more room for vehicles.

An aerial shot of Manhattan in 1924 with the walkable parks included

As a consequence of the automobile explosion, lawmakers also passed laws to forbid jaywalking. Cars officially ruled the road, not pedestrians. And crosswalks bloomed.

As someone who used to work in New York, remnants of these ambulatory streets are still there, especially around mid-town. Some of the small islands create a little space for statues and decorations, especially around Christmas time.

Hat tip to Adam Fisher-Cox on Twitter

Categories
Nature Science

How 16-year-old Greta Thunberg inspired a climate strike movement

“No one is too small to make a difference,” says 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

Ever since the Swede took to the Swedish Parliament last year to call for stronger climate action against global warming, she’s inspired similar strikes across the globe.

On Friday, thousands of students skipped school and adults skipped work in cities around the world from New York to Paris, Nairobi, Seoul, Bangkok, Islamabad, and Johannesburg to protest inaction on climate change.

“We deserve a safe future,” said Greta Thunberg in her speech at the New York Climate Strike to an estimate 250,000 people.

A reluctant activist who proclaims Asperger Syndrome as her superpower, Thunberg serves as a reminder that all it takes the effort of one dedicated and persistent individual to change the world.

Categories
Animals Culture & Society Nature

Neanderthals were great hunters but poor artists

Neanderthals were great hunters but poor artists
An early human painting of a lion from the Chauvet Cave in Southern France

Neanderthals were great hunters but poor artists.

According to a study done by professor Richard Coss, their inability to draw could’ve been due to the fact that they didn’t have to plan as hard as Homo Sapiens to hunt down prey in their native Eurasia.

Homo Sapiens, on the other hand, chased hard to get game in the open grasslands of Africa. They developed superior hand-eye coordination as a result of drawing out their prey on cave walls. Such artistry not only made them better visualizers and hunters, but it also helped them develop smarter brains.

Survival of the fittest

Historian and author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Yuval Noah Harari also argued that while Neanderthals might have had larger brains than and an even superior tools to fellow Homo Sapiens, they lacked communication and shared stories, concepts that emerged from rounder skulls.

Categories
Animals Nature

A backpack that allows you to take your kitty anywhere

Cat backpack

Ever wanted to take your kitty for a long walk through nature?

This pet carrier breathable backpack made by Lollimeow allows owners to take their fellow felines wherever the human wants to go.

The bag contains a bubble window for hiking with 9 large ventilation holes on both sides and the front.

It’s time to let the cat out of the bag

There are obvious space and safety issues with the bag. Imagine using this on a hot day, not to mention potential bathroom mishaps.

Some folks might prefer to take their cats for a walk on a leash or in a stroller.

Of course, the ideal scenario for any curious cat is freedom from the tyranny of indoors.

All in all, the backpack may come most handy as a convenient go-to traveler for short trips to the vet. But it’s also airline approved!

Use wisely.