Friday, July 9, 2010

Kissing an octopus and other diversions

In Washington, a Pacific Giant Octopus is released into the wild with a kiss!  I don't know that I'd kiss a cephalopod, but the picture of science center directer Patrick Mus doing it is pretty darling.

The German branch of PETA released a statement demanding that Paul the (psychic) octopus be released into the wild, claiming that octopuses are "capable of complex thought processes, they have short- and long-term memories, use tools, learn by observation, show different personalities and are particularly sensitive to pain."  I'd argue that their first point is highly dependent on the definitions of "complex" and "thought processes", their second point says little about the intellectual capacity of an animal, their third point is contentious even among those who care, being supported by a very few examples, their fourth point is based on one study that (as far as I know) has not been replicated, their fifth point is only supported by anecdotal evidence (and "personality" is a very loosely defined term,) and their last point (again, as far as I know,) has never been specifically investigated.  Nonetheless, it makes good news.

In the town of Whyalla (where our heroes from the last link post were arrested for stealing cuttlefish,) cuttlefish are an important tourist trap, as well as possibly being a special, isolated genetic pool.  If I were in Australia, I'd go see them.

In the most exciting recent news story (in my opinion, at least,) a deep sea squid's penis is seen in action.  Really.  No, I'm not joking.  Just click it.

Partially in response to the whole Pepsi-blog incident at Science Blogs (which seems to have mostly resolved pretty quickly,) Adam Bly, CEO of SEED Media Group has started a new blog, Science is Culture.  In response to the fiasco, I've updated my blogroll to link to the new locations of those who left Science Blogs.

I've also updated my format and added some new folks to the blogroll.  I'm working on a few posts at the moment (including a cephalopod reading list with reviews,) so stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Octopuses have been seen carrying coconut halves around to form a little shelter when they need one. Surely that's an un-contentious case of tool use?