Weekend Links: Why Octopuses Are So Smart, 3-D Brain Art and More

Welcome to Weekend Links, a collection of fascinating science stories from across the web, curated by your science-loving friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

Yes, the Octopus Is Smart as Heck. But Why?

Carl Zimmer writing for The New York Times

To demonstrate how smart an octopus can be, Piero Amodio points to a YouTube video. It shows an octopus pulling two halves of a coconut shell together to hide inside. Later the animal stacks the shells together like nesting bowls — and carts them away.


The Mind-bendy Weirdness of the Number Zero, Explained

Brian Resnick writing for Vox

The computer you’re reading this article on right now runs on a binary — strings of zeros and ones. Without zero, modern electronics wouldn’t exist. Without zero, there’s no calculus, which means no modern engineering or automation. Without zero, much of our modern world literally falls apart.


The Hippies Were Right: It’s All about Vibrations, Man!

Why are some things conscious and others apparently not? Is a rat conscious? A bat? A cockroach? A bacterium? An electron? These questions are all aspects of the ancient “mind-body problem,” which has resisted a generally satisfying conclusion for thousands of years


A Compound that Makes Bees Into Queens Could also Aid Human Stem Cell Therapies

Anna Groves writing for Discover

Scientists have announced a breakthrough in stem cell research that could have major implications for medical treatments that involve regenerating human cells. And their discovery came from an unlikely source: royal jelly. 


This Sculptor Imagines Brain Waves in 3D

Lila Thulin writing for Smithsonian

Hoel was an artist long before science piqued her interest. She attended an arts high school in Natick, Massachusetts, but while at Hampshire College, she enrolled in a Neuroscience 101 course and was hooked. After that, Hoel spent time “running from the lab to the studio,” studying both neuroscience and sculpture.

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