Conversation Piece, July 16, 2017

A weekly series.

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Enjoy our Sunday series, Conversation Piece, a NUVO–curated digest of things on the Internet we think you’ll want to talk about.

Cookies for breakfast?! Anyone who’s ever read a health and fitness magazine knows the “eat this not that”-style nutritional breakdowns are full of surprises. This Vox article on American breakfasts sallies forth in the spirit of such comparisons, taking a hard look at the sugar content of the meals we often start our day with, and offering their nutritionally equivalent desserts for contrast. Having granola? That’s five Oreos. Fruity yogurt? Worse than ice cream. Don’t even get them started on pancakes. Eggs it is, then. See the piece here.

Toy story. Meet Lonnie Johnson—the NASA engineer who grew up tinkering with science fair inventions in 1960s Alabama before going on to invent the Super Soaker water gun. Seeing as the Soaker is perhaps the best summer toy ever, kids and kids-at-heart everywhere owe Johnson a great debt (may we add that he worked on the Nerf Gun, too?). And Johnson is still going—working on battery technology and eco-friendly cooling systems to this day. Learn about this delightful person, here.

So when a bird does it, it’s news. Ravens have paranoid, abstract thoughts about other minds—so reads this Wired headline. The story goes on to explain how the intelligent/terrifying birds can theorize they’re being spied on, and alter their behaviour as a result—hiding food even if a competitor is not visible, say. They can also complete complex logic puzzles, and mimic human speech, and show empathy for other birds. Learn more, here.

Wheels on eels. A truck hauling 7,500 pounds of sharp-toothed, eyeless hagfish overturned on Oregon’s highway 101 this week. Also known as “slime eels,” hagfish produce a copious, mucous-like slime when distressed—a single fish can produce a gallon, seemingly instantly, and predictably, they made a mess on the highway it took over seven hours to clean. The fish were en route to South Korea, where they’re considered a delicacy. Slippery road ahead, indeed. See the whole nightmare, here.

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July 16, 2017