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All is Fair in Cephalopod Love and War

RV AO483 RANDD  DV 20140926151554 All is Fair in Cephalopod Love and WarScientists over at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Duke University have taken interest in the remarkable ability of the octopus to camouflage instantaneously whenever it so pleases. Now what happens when they apply this handy technology to soldiers and tanks? You get a pretty decent replica of the cephalopod’s pigment sacs thanks to some silicone elastomers  that contain specialized molecules that respond to force. The devices, no bigger than a quarter, include a gold-plated protective insulator that allow electric voltage to control them without causing any damage. So when voltage is applied, the elastomer stretches to produce surface deformations and pigment variations in the form of circles, lines and even letters. Cut the voltage off and, voila, the elastomer goes back to it’s relaxed state. Pretty freaking cool if you ask me. They also plan to use the fancy new technology for ship hulls in the future. While this is all well and good, I really hope they make an octopus suit of sorts available to the general public – it would make my daily excursions so much more fun.

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Well, Who Doesn’t Love Calamari?

octopus cannibalism 140925 670x440 300x197 Well, Who Doesnt Love Calamari?While this is falsely entitled to suggest this is the first time Octopus Cannibalism has been caught on film (National Geographic has this wild, violent video from 2010 of an octopus completely engulfing another), this is still pretty fascinating to me. Perhaps they meant this is the first time this specific species has been recorded engaging in this behavior? Anyway, not quite as exciting as the 2010 footage, the video shows O. vulgaris leisurely noshing on a deceased octopus. Since it’s not on film, it’s hard to determine whether the cephalopod actually killed his buddy or if he happened upon the corpse and decided to chow down, starting with the arms (c’mon, that’s the best part!). Follow the link for a video from Live Science above, or check out more from Discovery News.  Think I’ll pick up some squid from my local fishmonger for dinner tonight. 

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OMG! But How Will I Ever Catch That Octopus, Then?

 One of my goals in life to make my passing an easy event is to own an octopus in the very near future. Also, another one of my new favorite words is “betentacled”. Like a fancy hybrid of “bespectacled” or “bedazzled” but cephalopod-ified. I’m down with that. Check out this offering from Discovery.com about a robot octopus that swims at warp speeds. As Ze Frank refers to my eight-armed subject of adoration, the “floppy floppy spider of the sea” isn’t exactly notorious for being a speedy little guy or anything, but this “roboctopus” (love that) is capable of crawling and carrying things across the Aegean Sea. It’s flexible silicone arms enable it to move at a speed of 100 millimeters per second. I haven’t timed my swimming capabilities lately, but I’m pretty sure I could still catch it! Researchers in the video point out that this guy has drawn quite the school of fans, following him around on his excursions. This allows the fish to tag along with a creature that normally would make them a meal. Sigh. I still want the real thing.

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Alternative Uses For Reef Glue: Sealing Open Wounds 101

247671 10154623876680570 784423659686197938 n 225x300 Alternative Uses For Reef Glue: Sealing Open Wounds 101Welp, my cat literally tore me a new one today, slicing through a few of my dermal layers down to the muscle. Ouch, to say the least. Not really in the mood to venture over to my local walk in clinic or the emergency room (for something that’s deemed an “emergency” they sure take their sweet ass time). So left to my limited resources, Jared had the brilliant idea of “Reef Glue” to seal the gaping wound. Not the most comfortable experience but it got the job done. So what to do when you’re faced with a similarly unfortunate situation? Properly clean and sterilize the affliction. I took extra care with this step because cats harbor ridiculous amounts of bacteria. I’ve been bitten before right through the pressure point between my pointer finger and thumb. It looked like someone took a rubber glove and just blew it up. I also wailed for about 2 hours after that and didn’t sleep. Cats are dirty. I love mine but they’re dirty. I hope you don’t find yourself in my boat (kayak for one, please) but if you happen to, please get looked at by a doctor, I can’t stress that enough.
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Reefs in Art: Sculptural Whales and Elements Edition

 Reefs in Art: Sculptural Whales and Elements EditionColossal always manages to deliver when it comes to reef art. I love it all. 29 (aka, my favorite number) year old Chinese sculptor Wang Ruilin put together this dreamy collection, appropriately titled “Dreams”. The animals are portrayed not necessarily as traditional animals, but vessels, somewhat like a version of Noah’s Ark but with animals and no people. Inspired by a painting of a horse by artist Xu Beihong around the age of four, Ruilin became obsessed with the powerful creatures and describes his pieces as “works that originally exist from various experiences.”. I’m in love with them, they make me want to shrink down and crawl through their lush mountains.
 Reefs in Art: Sculptural Whales and Elements Edition dreams 11 150x150 Reefs in Art: Sculptural Whales and Elements Edition Reefs in Art: Sculptural Whales and Elements Edition

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Convicted Former Idaho Aquarium Director Wants To Consult On New Aquarium Facility

idaho Convicted Former Idaho Aquarium Director Wants To Consult On New Aquarium Facility Convicted and sentenced for illegal trafficking in 2013, former Idaho Aquarium director Ammon Covino now wants to get back into the aquarium business. I have written about the story on reefs.com here. Covino was sentenced for conspiring to bring illegally harvested rays and sharks to the Boise aquarium. Covino was sentenced to a year in federal prison, fines, and two years of supervised release. The Court also barred Covino from any employment in the aquarium business while on his release. MORE

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Fincasters Episode 44: Long Fin Clownfish

 The long-finned clownfish made a big splash at MACNA 2014 in Denver. Fincasters interviews Matt Carberry of Sustainable Aquatics, which is developing the fish for the retail market. More: Fincasters Episode 44 Long Fin Clownfish

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Barely There: Trace Elements in the Reef Aquarium

trace elements Barely There: Trace Elements in the Reef AquariumWhat are trace elements exactly and what role do they play in our reef aquariums? To put it simply, trace elements are elements that appear in very small quantities in salt water. They are vital to all sorts of biological processes and due to the limited size of our aquariums can be depleted rapidly. Trace elements can be replenished through regular water changes or with chemical additives, but before you run out and start dosing trace elements, it is important to realize just how scarce they are in our reef systems. To kick off this discussion, let’s take a look at the composition of salt water. Saltwater with a specific gravity of 1.025 is 96.5% water. “Sea salts” make up the remaining 3.5%. That 3.5% salt is made up of major elements and trace elements. The major elements are sodium, chloride, sulfate, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Those major elements comprise the vast majority of “sea salts.” If you were to remove those major elements from the mix, what is left is a whopping 0.7%. More: Barely There: Trace Elements in the Reef Aquarium

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