Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Do Cats Love Being in Circles?

I guess most of you have seen this because it's been all over the internet over the past two weeks; a cat owner makes a circle on the floor using masking tape, a wire or a rope, and the cat, as if drawn by a mysterious, unseen force, walks into the circle. All. By. Itself.
Image: http://www.boredpanda.com/how-to-trap-a-cat-circle/
After reading from the website, one of my friends—an avid cat lover—started an experiment of her own using masking tape and, voila, it worked!
Image: Hooi Yuan Teng
Interestingly, according to a Taiwanese website, cats also favour smaller circles, especially those that have more or less similar diameter to the cats' body.
Image: http://www.boredpanda.com/how-to-trap-a-cat-circle/
But why? What triggers the cat to behave in such a way?
Do cats have a secret affinity for circles?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Poor Whales, They Can Only Taste Salty

Two years ago I wrote an article about how carnivorous animals are oblivious to the taste of sweet things: tigers, lions, dolphins, sea lions, and your cat cannot differentiate between a bowl of sweet milk and a bowl of plain water.

But cetaceans, it seems, have lost more than just their sweet tooth.
Dolphins in the Ocean World Park, HongKong. Image: Malcolm Tang
Five basic types of taste exist: sour, sweet, bitter, salt, and umami. These five tastes can be distinguished by humans and are fundamental for physical and ecological adaptations in mammals. Umami and sweet tastes are attractive because they not only taste good, but are also essential to the ingestion of protein-rich and nutritious food. Salt, at low concentrations, is an attractive taste and is associated with sodium reabsorption and basic functioning of cells and neurons. Bitter tastes can cause taste aversion,thus protecting mammals from ingesting toxic substances. Sour tastes are unpleasant and can prevent the ingestion of unripe and decayed food resources.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

大便能吃吗 Part II

去年我写了一篇 “大便能吃吗?”,里头解释人类为什么能 / 不能吃大便。

其实呢,可以的话当然我会劝你别吃,别闹坏肚子。
可如果真的很想吃,就别吃别人的,吃自己的。也必须是拉了即刻就吃,可以添加调味料,不需加热,不需重煮,万万不可留隔夜,除非存放在冰箱里。

可是有些人,得了一种病,必须吃大便。

为什么?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mount Bromo-Mount Ijen-Bali

It's been a while since I last blogged, and that's primarily because I was kinda busy with work and life and erm, preparing for this trip (my friends and I have been preparing for this trip since February, but we didn't actually prepare for it until a week before the trip).

So yeah, here's a brief summary of what to look out for in these three places.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Can You Really See The Great Wall Of China From Orbit?

Legend has it that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure that can be seen with the naked eyes from orbit. 

However, according to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who had just returned from a five-month mission aboard the International Space Station, it is not possible to see the Great Wall of China from orbit.

So you're telling me that it is not possible to see a 8850km-long man-made structure from another man-made structure parked 330km above the surface of the Earth?

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