In Alaska, wood frogs freeze for seven months, thaw and hop away

"On an organismal level they are essentially dead," said Don Larson, a graduate student at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks who studies frogs. "The individual cells are still functioning, but they have no way to communicate with each other."

The craziest thing of all may be that in this frozen state, they can withstand temperatures as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit for as long as seven months, and then, when spring arrives, thaw out and hop away.”

Read more from the Los Angeles Times.

Every Year 250,000 Horseshoe Crabs ‘Donate’ Their Blue Blood to Save Humans

Do you give much thought to horseshoe crabs? No, me neither. But it turns out that without them, we could be in a very precarious position. Horseshoe crabs – or to be more precise, their incredible, baby blue blood – are used to test for bacterial contamination, thus saving countless lives each year during medical procedures. The only trouble is, we have to catch a quarter of a million horseshoe crabs each year to do this, and then we have to drain their blood.”


(via inhabitat)

Photography as a Balm for Mental Illness

An artistic activity such as photography is “literally and figuratively enlivening,” according to Ellen J. Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard and author of “On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity.” “When people are depressed, they tend to retreat from the world. Noticing things in the camera puts you in the present moment, makes you sensitive to context and perspective, and that’s the essence of engagement. I have years of research telling us how good that is for health and well-being.”

Learn more from the nytimes.

Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food?

Maybe you’ve wondered, while looking at the price tag on some organic produce, whether that label is telling the truth.

Peter Laufer, a writer and professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, doesn’t just wonder. He’s an outright skeptic, especially because the organic label seems to him like a license to raise prices. And also because those products are arriving through supply chains that stretch to far corners of the world.

The U.S. imports organic soybeans from China, spices from India, and dried fruits from Turkey. “It just screams to my perhaps prejudiced, cynical, journalist’s mind: Is there anything wrong with this?” Laufer says. “This needs some checking.”

Read more from NPR.

Dogs Feel Jealousy, Raising Questions About Its Evolutionary Origin

Despite the wide variety of species that have complex social structures – elephants, monkeys, chimps, dolphins, giraffes, wolves, corvids, and lots more – many have argued that jealousy requires a sophisticated understanding of the self and of other’s social goals and desires.

That skepticism has proven reasonable in the case of guilt. What many dog owners report as guilt is probably the dog’s learned response to the owner’s own scolding behavior. As I wrote in 2012 at Scientific American, dogs probably give the “guilty look” because they’ve learned that it reduces the likelihood or severity of their scolding, not because they know they’ve broken a rule.

But dog owners may actually be right when it comes to jealousy. That’s because young infants and toddlers, with their immature, developing brains, appear capable of at least simple forms of the emotion. Indeed, it was after reading a small but growing literature on jealousy in babies that Christine R. Harris and Caroline Prouvost of the University of California, San Diego, decided to adapt the experiment for pet dogs.”

Learn more at io9.

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