I thought perhaps I should mention that the new banner is a detail taken from a 1979 Voyager photograph of Jupiter, presented by the one and only APOD. Something about some really cool digital processing by Björn Jónsson.
Anyway, yeah. Nifty.
So, anyway, I was impressed over the weekend at how many people asked me whether I had heard about the octopus and the coconut. It’s one of those nifty things science brings us from time to time. Dr. Julian Finn, to the one, told BBC’s Rebecca Morelle he “nearly drowned laughing” when he first witnessed the behavior. But I admit I like Brendan Kiley‘s description for Slog:
Octopuses continue their long tradition of freaking out human beings—now they’re using tools, excavating buried coconut halves (discarded by humans), tucking them under their … undersides, and “stilt-walking” them away to use as shelter ….
…. They escape from their aquariums, they grab birds from the land and into tidal pools, they solve puzzles, they recognize human faces, they occasionally attack divers, and now they build little houses for themselves.
Maybe the Haida were right all along: Octopuses are the people of the sea.
I just think it’s cool that we can add them to the list of tool-using animals. But, as with the crows, there is something a little unsettling about an animal that both uses tools and remembers who you are.
I adore this picture.
If you want a photographic critique, I suppose I could say the exaggerated colors make it look like a really cool scene from an anime, but that’s not it. Besides, how do I make a proper critique of an image shot from 1.3 million miles away from its object? By a robot? Flying through outer space? A billion miles from home?
But speaking of home, if you look just inside the G ring to the left of Saturn, you might see a tiny dot.
That’s Earth. Home. Us. From nearly a billion miles away.
How can I not adore this picture?