This bunny is earless. But why? According to the buzz on the Internet, it's because he was born near the site of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meldown—the victim of radiation exposure in the womb. Theoretically, that could be true. But I'm not convinced. Specifically, before you let this bunny give freak you out, I think you need to demand two key pieces of evidence.
First, we don't actually know where this bunny came from. Everything I've seen on it is based on one video, and isn't particularly well sourced. Without that, it's impossible to know whether the bunny even comes from Japan, let alone the Fukushima area. It's also impossible to know whether this bunny was really born recently.
Second (and probably more important) earless bunnies aren't a particularly rare phenomenon. You don't even need a genetic mutation to get one. In fact, mother bunnies—especially those living with overcrowding, or other stressful conditions—are known to "over groom" newborns, biting their little ears down to nubs in the process. It's a common enough occurrence to spark debates on rabbit owner websites over whether or not earless baby bunnies should be killed. (And three years ago, Vincent the earless bunny—born nowhere near any recent nuclear meltdowns—became an Internet sensation on the strength of his cuteness alone.)
It boils down to this: Radiation exposure has health risks. Radiation can be a teratogen—something that can affect the physical development of a person or animal. But a weird-looking bunny in a video is not necessarily proof of a nuclear-related mutation in Japan. I'm not saying there's no way they could possibly be related. But, to start believing that, I'd first need proof that this bunny is from where he's supposed to be from, is the age he is supposed to be, and that he actually exited the womb earless. Until that exists, I think it's more likely that this bunny (wherever he's from) became earless the same way most earless bunnies do.
Scientists discovered this new species of “glass frog” in Ecuador’s Amazon lowlands. Hyalinobatrachium yaku’s belly is so transparent that you can clearly see its kidneys, bladder, and beating heart. From Science News: Yaku means “water” in Kichwa, a language spoken in Ecuador and parts of Peru where H. yaku may also live. Glass frogs, like […]
Jennifer Raff — a bioanthropologist and geneticist who researches and teaches at U Kansas and U Texas — provides some excellent advice and context on how to read a scientific paper, from figuring out which papers and journals are worthy of your attention to understanding the paper in its wider context in the relevant field.
Apple released this lovely new commercial featuring Carl Sagan reading from his magnificent 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, now available as an audiobook. This surprising partnership spurred Adweek to interview my friend Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife, collaborator, and creative director of the Voyager Golden Record, about being […]
Learning a new language will give your resume an upgrade, sure, but it will also provide a huge cognitive boost for mental tasks outside of translation and conversation. Bilingual brains have been shown to be better at handling multiple concurrent tasks, and gaining fluency in a new tongue is an amazing way to improve memory, […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]