World’s Strangest

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Western Blue Jays Hold a Funeral for Dead Bird

Humans are not the only animal that mourn their dead, but this is quite surprising: when a Western Scrub Jay bird encounters a dead bird, it will call out to others to stop foraging [...]

Self-Cleaning Fabric

Are you a messy eater? Is ketchup for whatever reason incredibly attracted to the front of your t-shirts? University of California, Davis is working on a solution that could be designed just for you; a fabric that kills bacteria and breaks down compounds for all your fashion needs. “The new fabric has potential applications in biological [...]

Striped Skunk Color Pattern Explained

By Sean J. Barry, University of California, Davis (Image credit: Flickr users Clinton & Charles Robertson) I have solved a longstanding mystery: why skunks have their characteristic stripes. Striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) are among the most familiar yet least understood of North American mammals. For example, people commonly think of these vividly marked animals as denizens of forests, [...]

The Number of the Day: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

The number 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 — also known as 10 to the 27th power — doesn’t get used very often. But that hasn’t stopped University of California Davis student Austin Sendek from launching a campaign aimed at getting the Consultative Committee on Units to name the number “hella.” Related Facts: The largest number with a designated SI prefix [...]

Starfish Bulk Up to Cool Down

How do starfish keep cool when lying on the sand during low tide? Dr Sylvain Pincebourde and colleagues at the University of California, Davis and Bodega Marine Laboratory, Bodega Bay, California, studied starfish (okay, sea stars) in an aquarium, replicating tides and environmental conditions. They discovered that a starfish will ingest cold seawater to lower its [...]