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Watching Octopus Stripes Change May Help Us Save Them



Various individuals belonging to the species Octopus chierchiae.

Liu et al., 2023, PLoS One, CC-BY 4.0

The distinct striped pattern on pygmy octopuses varies from one individual to another, which may help researchers keep track of the rare animal.

Zebra pygmy octopuses (octopus), also known as the less specific striped octopus, live in shallow waters on the Pacific coast of America and have alternating brown and white stripes running across them.

Feeling that little is known about the animal or how it interacts with the environment, Benjamin Liu and his colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley have bred two adult males and two adult females in their laboratory.

The team then individually kept 25 baby octopuses, which they photographed and videotaped once a week for about 2 years.

When the octopuses were about two weeks old, their patterns became visible to the naked eye and were fully visible by four weeks. Pygmy zebra octopuses often change their appearance to mimic their surroundings in response to disturbance, so the researchers only focused on specimens that persisted for hours or days.

They found that each of the 25 octopuses had a unique stripe pattern.

Volunteers who were shown photos of octopuses could even tell if the photos were of the same octopus or two different ones, with an average accuracy of 84.2%.

This suggests that individual zebra pygmy octopuses can be repeatedly identified and tracked in the wild over time, which may contribute to their conservation, the researchers write in their paper. These octopuses are rare and gentle, so ideally they should be studied in a way that doesn’t move them away from their natural habitat, they wrote.

While the stripes on zebra pygmy octopuses appear to vary between individuals, it is not clear why they have these stripes at all. “The fact that they can turn bands on and off and even do it unilaterally makes me think they are used in communication or at least to make the signals more obvious,” says Roy Caldwellauthor of the study.


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How to watch Europe launch its JUICE alien-hunting satellite live on Thursday



On Thursday (April 13), the European Space Agency (ESA) is launching an exciting new mission to study whether Jupiter’s moons have the potential for alien life: Jupiter’s icy moon explorer, also known as JUICE (will open in a new tab). And you can watch the launch thanks to ESA live stream (will open in a new tab)scheduled to start at 7:45 AM EST (11:45 GMT) and launch at 8:15 AM EST (12:15 GMT).

JUICE is a satellite that will study Jupiter’s three moons. 92 known moons: Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. Each of these worlds has an ocean of water hidden under a shell of ice. These subsurface waters are an important target for astronomers looking for life beyond Earth, as they could potentially host life. In accordance with ESAJUICE investigates this key question: “Is the origin of life unique to our planet, or could it originate somewhere else in our solar system or beyond?”

This mission will be the first to orbit a satellite in the outer solar system, as it will spend time orbiting Ganymede. The four largest moons of Jupiter are known as the Galilean moons because they were discovered by Galileo Galilei; of these, Ganymede is the largest and only moon in the solar system with a magnetic field.

An Ariane 5 VA 260 carrying Juice is ready for launch at the ELA-3 launch pad at the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on April 12, 2023. (Image courtesy of ESA – S.Corvaja)

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So many satellites in orbit. Can we clear the space?



At the end of 2022, a European satellite unfurled a shimmering silver sail behind it. The purpose of this appendage was simple: to accelerate the self-destruction of the satellite by pushing it into the Earth’s atmosphere.

As strange as it may sound at first glance, this was the latest in a growing wave of efforts to tackle the growing problem of space debris. In recent years, the situation over our sky has changed dramatically. For decades, since the beginning of the space age in the late 1950s, satellite launch rates have remained fairly stable. The growth in the number of satellites is now exponential, fueled by the efforts of corporations like Amazon. Collisions in space, meanwhile, produce clouds of debris that could pose a danger to spacecraft for decades.

Why did we write this

As the amount of man-made debris in space grows, so does the search for solutions. Some experts say the first step is to think of space not as an endless garbage dump, but as a common area requiring agreed-upon norms of behaviour.

Threat mitigation efforts are underway, including so-called active garbage disposal. Concepts include the cosmic equivalent of a net, magnet, or harpoon. Another approach is to minimize the creation of new debris, mainly by promoting international agreement on what the norms of behavior should be.

“People on Earth are benefiting tremendously from space,” says Crystal Azelton, director of space applications programs at the Secure World Foundation, a US organization that promotes collaborative solutions to make space sustainable. “It’s fragile, it’s not infinite, and it needs to be managed in a way that’s sustainable.”

At the end of 2022, a European satellite unfurled a shimmering silver sail behind it. The purpose of this appendage was simple: to accelerate the self-destruction of the satellite by pushing it into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Strange as it may sound at first glance, this was actually just the latest wave of efforts to address a growing problem facing humanity in space – the proliferation of debris and satellites in orbit around our planet.

In fact, we treat space like a garbage dump.

Why did we write this

As the amount of man-made debris in space grows, so does the search for solutions. Some experts say the first step is to think of space not as an endless garbage dump, but as a common area requiring agreed-upon norms of behaviour.

And the task doesn’t get any easier: In early February, the United States gave Amazon permission to launch more than 3,000 satellites, not to mention the Russian rocket that destroyed a defunct Soviet satellite in November 2021, creating a new cloud of debris that would pose a danger. spacecraft for years, maybe decades to come.

There is hope, as the European Space Agency’s silver sail shows, but the situation is difficult. A multitude of countries and companies are currently striving to embrace a space perspective with a number of competing and overlapping priorities. This raises the question of who is responsible for cleaning up this mess, and whether we even need to care about it.

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Power outage and falling trees in Devon and Cornwall



A tree fell on a house on Raleigh Avenue, Cockington, Torquay.

Hundreds of homes were left without power and trees blocked roads as Storm Noah rages across Devon and Cornwall.

Wind gusts of over 60 mph (96.5 km/h) were recorded across the Isles of Scilly, with the weather service predicting winds up to 70 mph (113 km/h).

A woman was injured when her car hit a tree that fell on the A377 motorway near Copplestone, Devon, police said.

Elsewhere, a tree fell on a house in Raleigh Avenue, Cockington, Torquay.

The female driver of the A377 crashed into a tree blocking the entire road and suffered a facial injury.

Police confirmed that the fire department, road workers and tree care crew arrived at the scene, and everyone in the house was held accountable.

It said the road would be closed for the rest of the day and until Thursday until the tree was cleared.

The tree was cleared with the help of a local farmer and emergency services.

Lumberjacks clear a tree blocking a road in Plymouth

Surgeons saw down and removed a fallen tree in Plymouth

At 1400 BST, the National Grid reported that 268 homes in Devon were out of power.

More than 700 homes were also reportedly without power in the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall.

He confirmed that power had been restored to most properties in St. Austell and by 9:30 p.m. Moscow time, they were working to restore all houses.

He also stated that he intended to restore all electricity to the houses in Crediton by the same time.

Network Rail said speed limits were in place on the main line between Plymouth and Penzance.

National Highways has urged drivers on the M5, A38 and A30 to take extra care.

Buses were changed to Torquay due to a fallen tree on Hawkins Avenue. Stagecoach Southwest said.

According to the Met Office, the Isles of Scilly experienced wind gusts of up to 103 km/h.

Windy day in Ilfracombe

Ed Parkinson captured the breaking waves at Ilfracombe on Wednesday.

The National Trust has closed some of its Dartmoor sites.

In a yellow warning, valid until 20:00 BST, The Met Office predicted strong winds with severe coastal storms to the south and west.

It stated that strong winds, low temperatures and heavy rain or showers were caused by an Atlantic low-pressure system slowly moving east across the UK.


Strong wind blows away tents in Cornwall

Some vacationers were evacuated from campsites, as the tents were blown away by the wind.

Steve Ackland of Monkey Tree Recreation Park near Newquay said: “We had fantastic weather last weekend and that’s the other side of that.

“This is what you expect in Cornwall in April and the fact that there are still so many people around is a sign that this is a great place.”

Others, like vacationing Katrina Kay, stayed away.

“If you’re going camping you know what you’re on, it actually wasn’t bad,” she said.

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