Along with this lovely jellyfish photo that she posted to the BoingBoing Flickr Pool, Kate Tomlinson asks, "How come they don't sting each other?"
Not a bad question. How does a creature with no brain—but with long, venomous tentacles—manage to travel in dense packs without things getting really socially awkward? I took Kate's query to Southern Fried Scientist, a science blogger who doubles as a graduate student studying deep-sea biology.
Jellyfish can and do sting other jellyfish, he says, but really only when they're hunting jellies of another species. They don't sting the other members of their same-species swarm. Neither (luckily) do they zap themselves. It works because jellyfish tentacles aren't inherently poisonous. Rather, it's the nematocytes—special cells that line the tentacles. When touched, nematocytes fire off microscopic quills that lodge in a victim and pump in the venom. But this weapon comes with a built-in safety switch.
"Jellyfish have chemoreceptors that turn the nematocyte on or off," Southern Fried Scientist says. If the receptors pick up the chemical signature of the jellyfish's own species, nothing happens. Everything else is assumed to be potential prey (or, at least, a potential threat) and, thus, worth firing upon.
Leon Hong writes, "I made this science-y animation for my wife Elaine Hsiao's research — with the hopes that people will learn something new about how all the microbes that live in and on us affect our brains and behavior."
NASA’s Voyager 2 space probe has officially left our solar system and entered interstellar space. Now more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from Earth, the spacecraft has crossed the boundary of the bubble-like heliosphere around the planets and is no longer touched by the plasma wind from our sun. Voyager 2’s twin Voyager […]
Hawaiian monk seals are endangered and closely monitored by NOAA scientists who are alarmed that the seals keep getting eels stuck really deep in their nostrils.
So you’ve got a good eye for pictures? We’ve got a good eye for deals. And this holiday, there are some solid deals out there for photographers. Check out some of our favorite recent discounts on gear, software, and e-learning for photogs of any experience. Gadgets RevolCam: The Multi-Lens Photo Revolution for Smartphones This […]
Take a scroll through any app marketplace and you’ll see that the doors are wide open for any game these days – and any game developer. Like any creation, virtual or analog, it all starts with an idea. And if you’ve got one of those, the Complete Unity Game Developer Bundle can walk you the […]
At the rate the world is shrinking, you don’t need to be a globetrotter for a second language to be a useful skill. And if you’re looking to learn that second language (or a third, or fourth), uTalk Language Education is the learning program that makes progression not only easy but fun. If you can’t […]