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Earth Day

Prepare to meet your match, humans: The otherworldly, intelligent octopus.

Octopus. Photo by Jens Petersen/Wikimedia Commons.


We've been poking at these wily mini-sea monsters with sticks, shutting them inside aquarium tanks, and grilling them with slices of lemon for thousands of years. But did we ever stop to consider how clever the octopus truly is?

Turns out, this creature's brain not only makes it the world's most intelligent invertebrate but, according to some measures, as smart as a golden retriever.

(OK, OK, yes. I hear your screaming, scientists. Comparing octopus intelligence to mammal intelligence is a dubious proposition, but the point is, they're really freaking smart.)

Combine that with their eight tentacles, each of which has a mind of its own (seriously), and you've got a force to be reckoned with.

Still not convinced? Here are 13 startlingly brilliant things that octopuses appear to be able to do that no creature so goopy and gangly should be able to do.

1. Octopuses* can bust out of their aquarium tanks and find their way back to the ocean.


By now, you've probably heard the story of Inky, the New Zealand octopus that got bored sitting in an aquarium being gawked at by cranky, field-tripping children and escaped via a drainage tube that led back to the sea. It's hard not to shake the feeling that he's seen too much and we're doomed.

*Right about now, you're probably flexing your fingers, gleefully preparing to type "Um, don't you mean octopi?" into that tantalizingly eager comment field, experiencing the delicious rush stoked by the opportunity to telling a stranger on the Internet just how wrong he really is. However, while "more than one octopus = octopi" is indeed every fifth graders favorite fun fact — and our fifth graders deserve all the support and encouragement in the world — "octopuses" is also correct, and that's the one we like best. Check it out.

2. They can slip their entire body through a hole the size of a medium-length hardcover novel.

GIF via Zena Cardman/YouTube.

Oh, you think you've got one over on that "helpless" octopus sliding around the deck of your boat. Uh uh, my friend. Once he finds an opening that roughly equals the lengthwise dimensions of a book that's slightly shorter than "Freedom" but a little bit longer than "The Road," that guy is gone like the wind.

3. Octopuses can open jars. From the inside.

No one keeps Baby in a jar.

GIF via Beata Svengt/YouTube.

4. Octopuses can open jars. From the outside.

However, Baby will get down with a jar to consume the poor unsuspecting creature hiding inside for dear life while holding the lid victoriously aloft like a trophy.

GIF via fishgurl35/YouTube.

5. Octopuses have also been known to defend themselves with rocks.

Come at me, bro. Photo by Sylkie Rohrlach/Flickr.

Cephalopod intelligence researcher Jennifer Mather reports observing octopuses building stone defensive structures outside their dens to protect themselves while they sleep.

Likely, these will be the battlements humans will be storming if the forces of humanity aren't too devastated by the initial octo-assault to counterattack.

6. They can take apart the plumbing of their own tanks, causing sweet, soggy mayhem.

Artists rendering. GIF via Nickelodeon/YouTube.

It happened in Santa Monica, where an octopus commandeered a water recycling valve and proceeded to wreak havoc on the aquarium's new eco-sensitive floor.

An innocent mistake? Or the start of a complex financial scheme that involves forcing the world's aquariums to accrue massive debt on floor maintenance, and hm ... just look who's waiting in the wings with a line of sweet, easy credit:

Let's make a deal, human. Photo by Eistreter/Wikimedia Commons.

A few strings attached, of course.

7. Octopuses have been seen jumping up on land to ambush unsuspecting prey.

GIF via CNN/YouTube.

Sure, he's taking a risk. He definitely can't survive up there for long. But killing is just that important to him.

8. They've also been known to turn out the lights for their own petty amusement.

Hellllloooo? Photo by Eric March/Upworthy.

At least, that's what an octopus in Germany did, just to mess with aquarium employees. Once he figured out that shooting water at an overhead spotlight would cause the simple humans below to scramble around like chickens with their heads cut off, that's exactly what he did. Again and again and again.

Yes, for these whimsically sadistic creatures, life is a laugh track, and we are the punchline.

9. Octopuses have been spotted making tools out of coconuts and shells.


Image by Nick Hobgood/Wikimedia Commons.

We've only known they could do this for about five years. And we've been readying our machete and flexi-straw-based defenses ever since.

10. They can also mimic other deadly sea creatures to scare the bejeezus out of potential predators.

A seemingly ordinary poisonous water snake? An octopus? You WILL NEVER KNOW. (OK, this actually is snake. But now you're on your toes! And you should be!) Photo by Jon Hanson/Flickr.

At least some species of octopus can camouflage themselves so well they look like poisonous fish or snakes to their enemies.

Why they would want to do this — considering that they are already terrifying octopuses — is unclear.

11. Octopuses have also been known to kill sharks.

Here, the octopus does so with a sneaky pre-emptive strike.

GIF via National Geographic/YouTube.

Aquarium employees put a shark and an octopus in the same tank. This did not sit well with the octopus.

Octopus solution: Strangle the shark in cold blood. Obviously.

12. They've also been known to escape their tanks to eat a fish in an adjacent tank and then return to their own tanks before anyone notices.

No walls can contain me! Image by WingedWolfPoison/Wikimedia Commons.

A number of these stories have been reported over the years (dating all the way back to the 1875), and some claim they're apocryphal, but this particular one appears to have actually happened in Boston in the 1980s.

According to aquarium employees, a giant Pacific octopus was caught leaving its enclosure and ambling a few feet to the next tank over, enticed by a number of rare, expensive fish that had been brought in.

For a $14 appetizer, that's really next level.

13. Octopuses have accidentally documented themselves stealing our video cameras to cover up evidence of their crimes.

GIF via Victor's Videos/YouTube.

We have the footage. We know what they're up to. And yet, we're probably powerless to prevent it.

Bear in mind: These facts are just what we actually know about octopus intelligence. There is clearly still a lot to learn and understand about them.

All in all, they're pretty fascinating creatures, and sharing the Earth with them is pretty awesome. 

partner boost

Pacifico and Quiksilver have teamed up to provide a sustainable merch collection and clean beaches

Shared values of sustainability and adventure come together in a beautiful way

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

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At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


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Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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Image courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Nenad Bach, founder of Ping Pong Parkinson's.

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Nenad Bach, a Croatian American recording artist, and peace activist has led an impressive life propelled by his inspiring optimism. As a musician, he’s performed alongside Bono and Luciano Pavarotti and took the stage at Woodstock ‘94. He’s recorded with legendary artists such as Garth Hudson and Rick Danko from The Band and The Grateful Dead’s Vince Welnick.

As an activist, he was highlighted by the United Nations for his World Peace in One Hour campaign.

But in 2010 his life came to a temporary halt after being diagnosed with Parkinson's, a nervous system disorder affecting movement. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, it’s a progressive disease that slowly worsens over time.

Over a million people in the U.S. and 6 million worldwide are affected by the disease.

After being diagnosed with Parkinson's, Bach was invited by a friend to play ping pong. The next day he couldn’t believe how much better he felt. His cognitive abilities improved, his tremors were less intense, it was easier for him to walk and talk and he felt a greater “desire to live,” he told Upworthy.

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Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

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