Some exciting research about slee … *snoooooore*

Another example of why science needs to study “obvious” things: peeing on jellyfish stings is a terrible idea.

One of the more interesting aspects about the scientific process is that it cannot be based on commonly held or assumed wisdom. This leads to criticism of experiments and, by extension, the entire field of science when researchers test something we all assume we know. For example: calling fruit fly research a waste of government funding because we all know what fruit flies are, dontchaknow?

Which is why it seems strange to research sleep. You know, that thing we all hate when we’re young and elusively seek as we age. But, what’s sleep for, other than to chase bunnies or be Vikings?

The prevailing theory is that animals need sleep to basically recharge the brain. But, then that would mean that brainless animals, like jellyfish, wouldn’t need sleep. Except it turns out that they totally do, you guys.

In what could easily be the plot of an already-cancelled Real Genius TV series (you’re welcome, Netflix), three Caltech students snuck into the jellyfish lab after hours to settle a bet: whether jellyfish sleep. They observed sleep-like behavior in the jellyfish:

1.  They didn’t move much at a set time of night.
2. They were slow to react to stimulus in this state.
3. After being kept up all night by squirt torture (welcome to SeriouslyGuys, disappointed porn Googlers), they were clearly out of sorts and needed a deeper sleep the next night.

So, it turns out you don’t need a brain to need sleep. Which means that, while we still don’t know why we sleep, this does explain why certain relatives will be passed out on your couch this Thanksgiving.

Animals finally being used as the filthy ruples they are

Jellyfish are the worst. As Nelson Muntz would point out, there are at least two things wrong with that name: they’re neither jelly, nor fish. Here’s what they are: a floating, dangerous nuisance in our waters.

And apparently worth a fair amount of lookdown fish. Aquariums use their own subjects as a source of currency, trading one animal for another. Puffins are like Ozzie Smith cards, snipefish are like Bobby Bonilla and jellyfish are akin to Tony Gwynn.

We still don’t know what a lookdown fish is, but with a name like that, it can only be disappointing.

Coming soon: Jellyfish toilet paper

Jellyfish are one of the biggest threats humanity currently faces, be they robotic, peanut-butter flavored, or infiltrators of our nuclear reactors. Plus, because of global warming and overfishing, their numbers are growing because they have fewer predators and they can live in places they didn’t use to. So how do we fight back?

We wipe our asses with them, of course.

Researchers in Israel are working on turning jellyfish into super-absorbent household items. If they are able to successfully make jellyfish into what they call “hydromash,” you will soon be able to use these invading hoards as toilet paper, paper towels, sponges, diapers and tampons. Who doesn’t want to put an animal that stings on their crotch?

Robot jellyfish are a thing now

What is it with researchers and jellyfish? Why can’t they just leave those things alone?

First, they started making larger jellyfish by feeding them peanut butter, now, they’re making artificial jellyfish. And of course they’re not small. Scientists at Virginia Tech have created a six-foot-long, 170-pound robot jellyfish. There’s no clear reason for it at this point, but the research funding is coming from the federal government. Specifically, the military.

Great. So we’re creating robojellies that will be weaponized at some point and almost certainly become sentient in our lifetimes.

Attack of the peanut butter jellyfish

As if we didn’t have enough things to worry about, “science” has given us another: super-sized sea creatures that feed on our snacks.

At the Dallas Zoo and Children’s Aquarium, scientists started putting peanut butter in a tank with moon jellyfish, apparently having no idea what would happen–because in Texas, “Hey, watch this!” qualifies as science. The jellies ate the peanut butter and grew larger than their species normally does. Plus, the normally translucent jelly got a brownish hue from all the peanut butter.

On the plus side, they taste great on a sandwich.

Jellyfish: The nuclear reactor’s nemesis

The animals are stepping up their game on our electricity systems. They’re going beyond their usual suicide missions on transformers that cause blackouts. It’s far worse than that, now.

A swarm of jellyfish has caused a Swedish nuclear plant to shut down. That’s right, they took an entire reactor offline, and those things can barely even swim, have you seen them? Operators of the Oskarshamn nuclear plant had to shut down one of their reactors because the sneaky jellies got into the pipes that bring in cool water from the sea and clogged it. They literally could have caused it to melt down if the reactor had been left unchecked.

What’s worse is that we now may have radioactive jellyfish out there, gaining untold powers, maybe even superintelligence, or the ability to swim.

Sheep with built-in mood lighting

This sheep exists as a warning to never drink the highlighter water out of old liquor bottles.
This sheep exists as a warning to never drink the highlighter water out of old liquor bottles.

Shepherds who tend flocks of sheep at night (sure, “night flocking”) will have an easier time finding their girlfriends, and it’s all thanks to science and its ongoing mission to make everything glow.

Researchers at the Animal Reproduction Institute of Uruguay inserted genes from the Aequorea victoria jellyfish into specially bred sheep. When exposed to UV light, the sheep glow a bright yellowish-green color.

We hope this trend continues until eventually all animals glow under black lights. It’ll make it easier to identify our enemies in the War on Animals, especially because they’re nearly immune to questioning. (Just try getting answers out of a stoat. They’re notoriously tight-lipped.)

SyFy Channel movie, meet real life

I’m calling it now: NUCLEAR DEATH JELLYFISH.

Doubt me if you will, but at least be aware of the facts. A metric crap-ton (roughly millions) of jellyfish made their way into nuclear reactors in both Israel and Japan. The power plant in Japan had to be shut down, and in Israel, the sea-water cooling system was clogged, which is never a good thing. Scientists have no idea at the moment why the poisonous jam entities are going after dangerous structures such as nuclear power plants, but just like aglets, we can only assume that their purpose is sinister.

It gets worse. If they become irradiated, a lifetime of comics tells me that the jellyfish will mutate into monsters. We may not jsut end up with some kind of Eldritch horror, we may end up with an electric Eldritch horror. Someone get the Ghostbusters suited up and enlisted, just in case.

Alcohol and sea creatures don’t (usually) mix

If you’re at the beach and see someone drowning, think twice before helping them.

In Florida, a man had allegedly been drinking since 9 in the morning recently and when he decided to go swimming. He pretended to be drowning and rescuers came to get him. Rather than let himself be saved, the man threw a jellyfish at them.

In completely unrelated news, The Guys are headed out tomorrow for a weekend-long experiment with alcohol and a beach atmosphere.

(via Deadspin)

Japan to be invaded by tentacled animals, just another Tuesday

As if machine rebellion and amphibian plagues weren’t enough, it seems that another sign of the end times has popped up in the form of terrifying swarms of monstrous jellyfish. Scientists monitoring jellyfish activity off the coasts of China and Japan have reported crazy-huge numbers of Nomura’s jellyfish, a giant species that is wider than a man is tall, and three times his weight.

Swarms (or blooms, for the cultured people among us) of jellyfish have been reported in increasing numbers in recent year, killing off fishing populations, shutting down beaches, destroying fishnets and even disabling power plants. One swarm (I don’t care nun for mys culture!) clogged the intake pipes of a power plant in the Philippines, causing a blackout and leading people to think that a coup d’etat had been launched. Which probably isn’t far from what the animals were attempting.

However, such swarms are also known to be a seasonal, natural phenomena, and part of the reproduction process of most jelly species. Theories posited to explain the increase in their size and frequency range from the effects of climate change (warming waters are drawing jellies upward), overfishing (species that eat jellies are being depopulated), and human impact (industrial waste and dams increasing the nutrient level in coastal waters).

Isolation, brothers and sisters! We don’t need to swim! Once they leave the water, the victory is ours!