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Richard Evans
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You might call him Flipper, but other dolphins know him by a distinctive, high-pitched whistle. Just like others call you “Bob” and you “Jen” (there’s a Bob and Jen in the audience, right?), dolphins use actual names to distinguish themselves from members of their pod, according to a new study by a team from the University of St. Andrews. Scientists have known for some time that whistles play a vital role in dolphin language, but it wasn’t until 2013 that Dr. Vincent Janik revealed how complex a system it truly is.Janik and his crew found a pod of bottlenose dolphins off eastern Scotland and recorded their whistles and clicks. Then Janik broadcasted their signature sounds into the water, and when he did, the dolphins started talking back. For example, let’s say there was a dolphin named “Marino.” Janik played Marino’s identifying whistle, and Marino would respond with a sound that meant, “Hi! Did you call me?” But if Janik played random sounds, like the name of a dolphin from a different pod, the mammals kept quiet, proving they weren’t squeaking just for squeaking’s sake. Janik’s discovery is pretty amazing considering that no other species of animal—with perhaps the exception of parrots—uses names. But then, dolphins are the second most intelligent species on the planet.
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Pointing is a universal human gesture. It’s so basic that babies learn to do it by their first birthday. However, when we try to explain hand signals to our animal friends, it doesn’t go very well. Not even those brainy chimpanzees understand what our gestures mean. A few animals, like dogs, grasp the concept, but they have to be trained. However, if Ann Smet of the University of St. Andrews is right, there’s one creature that just gets it.Elephants are like the long-trunked Einsteins of the animal kingdom. We’ve already read about how they’re self-aware, use tools, and have intricate death rituals, and Smet believes African elephants comprehend human gestures without any previous training. Smet’s team experimented on eleven captive elephants working at a lodge in Zimbabwe, choosing this group because their trainers use vocal cues instead of body language to communicate with the pachyderms. Smet’s test was pretty simple. An elephant watched as she displayed a piece of fruit. Then she stepped behind a screen and hid the treat in one of two buckets. Next, she brought the buckets out, set them down and pointed at the one with the fruit. After numerous tests, Smet found the elephants picked the correct bucket 67.5 percent of the time. At first, that might not sound so impressive, not until you realize that one-year-old human babies scored an average of 72.7 percent on a similar test. Essentially, elephants are about as smart as your baby . . . or your baby is about as stupid as an elephant. It all depends on your perspective.

What surprises me is that people are surprised that animals who understand gestures from each other are able to understand human gestures. . . 
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In his study, Dinets describes how American alligators and mugger crocodiles use sticks to capture birds, a process so simple it’s terrifying. These crocodilians live in swampy areas which are also home to egrets and herons. Every year, the birds need to build nests for their eggs, and that’s when the reptiles strike. Imagine you’re a heron in a Louisiana bayou, and you need to make a nest ASAP. Competition for building supplies is fierce. You’re poking around, looking for sticks, when you see several floating in the water. They’re just the right size, but as you lean down to pick them up, something shoots out of the water and snap! There was an alligator under the water the whole time, and the sticks were resting on his snout, a trap to lure in lunch.What’s truly amazing is the crocodilians only set their traps during nesting season. Not only have they discovered how to use sticks as camouflage, they’ve figured out when the birds need them the most. It look like these reptiles are far more cunning and creative than we previously thought, which is bad news for birds and one-handed pirates everywhere.
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Some one bookmarked every death in the Game of Thrones
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‘Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons’
– WOODY ALLEN
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A flu-like virus ravages the Earth killing everyone within 24 hours. Only the black race seems immune. This blessing soon becomes a curse as the rest of Earth’s population rises as flesh-hungry zombies. Contains 11 scary short stories by various authors.

http://www.amazon.com/White-Zombie-Anthology-ebook/dp/B009WQR2R2

The Race War is over. The zombies have won.
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#atheist   #atheism   #godless   #science  
Via https://www.facebook.com/pages/Catalyzing-Change/193431794045607
The Bios Urn is a biodegradable urn made from coconut shell, compacted peat and cellulose. Inside it contains the seed of a tree. Once the remains have been placed into the urn, it can be planted and then the seed germinates and begins to grow. It will turn your remains into a Tree After You Die!
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