Archive for the 'science' Category

you learn something new every day

Kraft paper is named thus because it is produced from chemical pulp produced in the kraft process. (Which in turn got its moniker from the German Kraft, meaning ‘strength’.) And I always thought it was some cute respelling of the word craft (since the paper is often used in crafts)!


dogs, cats and birds


from here

Dogs come when they are called.

Cats take a message and get back to you later.

Birds shred the message and poop on it.

Truer words were never spoken!

you learn something new every day


burrowing owls
photo from here

The burrowing owl is one of the few types of birds which live underground. And I must say, they’re awfully adorable too!

you learn something new every day

In 1951, cancerous tumour cells from Henrietta Lacks were cultured to create the first known human immortal cell line for medical research. It is now known as the HeLa cell line.

you learn something new every day

When deer stot, they ‘spring into the air, lifting all four feet off the ground simultaneously’.

not just a pretty boy

Since we’ve been keeping two lovebirds (a type of small parrot) for the past few years (since they hatched!), I’ve begun to take greater interest in birds, particularly parrots – which are considered among the smartest birds in the world.

All birds occupy a non-mammalian ‘otherness’ that, except for two scrawny legs, makes them seem alien and, at times, as Alfred Hitchcock knew and exploited, even threatening. They can’t entirely repel our powerful urge toward anthropomorphism, but they resist many of the other hallmarks of rewarding pet ownership. They don’t curl up on your lap or spring in the air for your ball, or sleep contently at your feet, or catch mice. How we choose to keep them, moreover, is curiouser still. Perched in tiny cages, often with their wings clipped, they are denied their very bird-ness: that is, the awesome power of soaring flight that is their most salient characteristic.

And yet many people forge a profound bond with birds, and love their winged animals with a fiercely felt reciprocity. This is especially true of parrots.

Read this very evocative article on the complicated bonds between parrots and their humans.

you learn something new every day

The space between your eyebrows is called the glabella!

you learn something new every day

Read this interesting article and discovered the word plastrons, or the underside of turtle or tortoise shells!

you learn something new every day

Watched a whole ton of parrot videos this weekend and discovered that Snowball, a male Eleonora cockatoo, is the first non-human animal conclusively demonstrated to be capable of dancing! Isn’t he the cutest thing? :D

you learn something new every day

Recently read this very lovely photo essay of a very special family:


In it, I encountered the term spraint, which of course simply means ‘otter dung‘. And checking out this new word made me wonder if every type of animal droppings has its own name?

you learn something new every day

There is actually a water allergy and it is known as aquagenic urticaria!

you learn something new every day

The science of mountains is called orology.

you learn something new every day

The earthy scent of rain is known as petrichor.


In Japan, robot dogs can rest in peace

ISUMI (Japan) – Incense smoke wafts through the cold air of the centuries-old Buddhist temple as a priest chants a sutra, praying for the peaceful transition of the souls of the departed.

It is a funeral like any other in Japan. Except that the “dead” are robot dogs, lined up on the altar, with tags to show where they came from and which family each belonged to. They are “AIBOs”, the world’s first home-use entertainment robots equipped with artificial intelligence and capable of developing their own personality.

“I believe owners feel they have souls as long as they are with them,” said Mr Nobuyuki Narimatsu who heads an electronics repair company specialising in fixing vintage products.

Continue reading ‘万物有灵’

you learn something new every day

Last night, I read this Quora topic and found out about James Harrison, or the Man with the Golden Arm. A truly amazing man indeed!

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