First off, one of my staff has decided to name my new octopus "Violet". Fine by me, although I generally don't like to give names to these animals. They have a very short life span, and since this one is an adult (the largest octopus I've seen in Rhode Island waters) I doubt she will be with us for very long. I'm hoping to get a year or two with her, but I don't expect more than that.
Below is a movie of her unscrewing the cap from a glass jar to get at the crab we placed inside. How smart are octopi? We taught her this trick in about an hour. First you place an empty glass jar in her tank. Because they are so curious she will investigate it and realize it's not a threat. Next, you place a crab inside the jar, but without a cover on it. She of course will see the crab and simply reach in and grab the food. Then you place the cover on the jar and barely turn to secure it. She'll figure out that by twisting the cap a bit it will come off and she gets the food. Finally, you screw the cap on and let her go at it. Watch the video below:
How cool is that? (Video by Rebecca Bray. Violet lives at the Biomes Center.)
This one is for my neurobiologist sister, who may find this article about how science explains the insane habit of “speaking in tongues” interesting. (Thanks to
D. Sidhe someone's past comment for clueing me in to this NYT link generator in order to access subscription only articles.)
Comedy Central won’t allow their shows to be uploaded to YouTube any longer, but you can watch all of The Daily Shows here, although the video quality stinks, at least on my computer.