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Watch pet octopus complete complex obstacle course, earning her return to home in the wild

Sashimi showed Mark Rober she could thrive in the ocean after getting used to being hand-fed at the pet store.

octopus in an underwater maze

Sashimi had to push buttons and move objects out of the way to get to her goal.

When you start listing the kinds of animals people keep as pets, "octopus" may not even make the list. But some people do try to keep the smart cephalopods as pets, and some pet stores do sell them.

YouTube science and engineering educator Mark Rober found this out first hand when he procured his pet octopus, Sashimi, from a pet store. After some research, he found out that octopuses (yes, "octopuses" is just as acceptable as "octopi") are not bred in captivity, which means Sashimi was taken from the ocean. As he says, he was "hit with the startling realization" that he had unintentionally become "the bad guy from Finding Nemo."


To make things right again, Rober found out from the pet store exactly where Sashimi had come from and set out to determine whether she would be able to go back home and live in the ocean again after becoming accustomed to being hand-fed at the pet store. Returning her to the wild wouldn't exactly be thoughtful or kind if she couldn't feed herself, so Rober constructed a maze for Sashimi with some delicious shrimp—her favorite food—at the end to see if she could figure out how to get to them.

"The idea was that if she could figure out and remember how to solve an obstacle course maze, then I would be assured that she could figure out and remember her early days hunting in the ocean and we could send her back home with confidence," shared Rober.

So in classic Mark Rober fashion, he constructed a complex underwater maze for Sashimi to navigate. And as he explained how she figured out each obstacle in the course, he also shared some fascinating facts about octopuses, such as:

- Their ability to color and shape-shift is unmatched in the animal world, with the ability to mimic larger, more predatory animals

- Their blood is blue because it's cooper-based, which is more efficient in cold water environments.

- If they lose an arm, they can regrow it completely, and you won't be able to tell it's any different than the original.

- Octopuses are the closest thing we have to intelligent alien life on Earth, in that octopus intelligence evolved independently of the vertebrate creatures we associate with animal intelligence.

- They have twice the number of neurons as a cat, but only a third of them are in their brain. The other 2/3 are in their arms, giving them the ability not just to taste and smell but also to think and act with their arms, independently of their brain.

Watch Sashimi make her way through Rober's maze, which took her about a month to master.

Rober's ability to educate and entertain at the same time without overdoing either one is part of why he has nearly 30 million followers on YouTube. But his willingness to drive 8 hours to return Sashimi to her home so she could live out the rest of her short life in the wild is part of it, too. It's one thing to study an octopus in a maze simply for the fun of it; it's another to know it's being done in service to the animal itself.

Well done, Sashimi. We hope you find plenty of shrimp to nosh on now that you're home once again.

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Music’s biggest night took place Sunday, February 4 with the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Now, fans have the opportunity to take home a piece of the famed event.

Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we’ve created an opportunity for our brand, our partners and consumers to come together over shared values, to participate during a moment when we can celebrate our passion for music and our commitment to make meaningful investments to preserve the environment,” says Rustom Dastoor, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America at Mastercard.

The campaign kicked off with an inspired self-guided multi-sensory tour at the GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard, where people journeyed through their passion of music and educational experience about Mastercard’s longstanding commitment to tree restoration. Then, this year’s most-nominated GRAMMY artist and a passionate voice for the environment, SZA, led the charge with the debut performance of her new song, Saturn.

Mastercard’s partners are also joining the mission by encouraging people all over the country to participate; Lyft and Sirius XM are both offering ways for consumers to get involved in the Priceless Planet Coalition. To learn more about how you can support these efforts, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

“SZA has a personal passion for sustainability – not just in forest restoration but in the clothes she wears and the platforms and partners she aligns herself with. It was important to us to partner with someone who is not only showing up big at the GRAMMY Awards – as the most GRAMMY-nominated artist this year – but also showing up big for the environment,” says Dastoor.

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Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a cat? To watch the world from less than a foot off the ground, seeing and hearing things humans completely miss, staring out the window for hours while contemplating one of your nine lives?

Well, thanks to one person, we need wonder no more—at least about what-they're-seeing part.

The TikTok channel Mr. Kitters the Cat (@mr.kitters.the.cat) gives us a cat's-eye view of the world with a camera attached to Mr. Kitters' collar. And the result is an utterly delightful POV experience that takes us through the daily adventuring of the frisky feline as he wanders the yard.

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Bluey's little sister Bingo learns to wake up in her own bed in "Sleepytime."

If you're reading this article as an adult who keeps hearing people talk about "Bluey" and are wondering what all the fuss is about, hi there. I used to be you. I'd heard people recommend "Bluey" over and over, but I had no inclination to watch a children's show after already paying my dues in that department. My youngest is a teenager. Why on Earth would I want to watch "Bluey?"

I was wrong. So very wrong. It took my teen checking it out and getting hooked for me to finally cave and watch a few episodes. Initial intrigue morphed into sheer delight, and now I'm a totally unapologetic "Bluey" evangelist.

And I'm not alone. More and more adults are falling for the family of Australian Blue Heeler dogs and comparing their favorite episodes. One fan favorite that comes up frequently is "Sleepytime." Many adults find themselves in a puddle by the end of it. But why?

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Scientists tested 3 popular bottled water brands for nanoplastics using new tech, and yikes

The results were alarming—an average of 240,000 nanoplastics per 1 liter bottle—but what does it mean for our health?

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Columbia University researchers tested bottled water for nanoplastics and found hundreds of thousands of them.

Evian, Fiji, Voss, SmartWater, Aquafina, Dasani—it's impressive how many brands we have for something humans have been consuming for millennia. Despite years of studies showing that bottled water is no safer to drink than tap water, Americans are more consuming more bottled water than ever, to the tune of billions of dollars in bottled water sales.

People cite convenience and taste in addition to perceived safety for reasons they prefer bottle to tap, but the fear factor surrounding tap water is still a driving force. It doesn't help when emergencies like floods cause tap water contamination or when investigations reveal issues with lead pipes in some communities, but municipal water supplies are tested regularly, and in the vast majority of the U.S., you can safely grab a glass of water from a tap.

And now, a new study on nanoplastics found in three popular bottled water brands is throwing more data into the bottled vs. tap water choice.

Researchers from Columbia University used a new laser-guided technology to detect nanoplastics that had previously evaded detection due to their miniscule size. The new technology can detect, count and analyze and chemical structure of nanoparticles, and they found seven different major types of plastic: polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate.

In contrast to a 2018 study that found around 300 plastic particles in an average liter of bottled water, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January of 2024 found 240,000 nanoplastic particles per liter bottle on average between the three brands studied. (The name of the brands were not indicated in the study.)

As opposed to microplastics, nanoplastics are too small to be seen by microscope. Their size is exactly why experts are concerned about them, as they are small enough to invade human cells and potentially disrupt cellular processes.

“Micro and nanoplastics have been found in the human placenta at this point. They’ve been found in human lung tissues. They’ve been found in human feces; they’ve been found in human blood,” study coauthor Phoebe Stapleton, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University’s Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy told CNN Health,

We know that nanoplastics are making their way into our bodies. We just don't have enough research yet on what that means for our health, and we still have more questions than answers. How many nanoplastics does it take to do damage and/or cause disease? What kinds of damage or disease might they cause? Is whatever effect they might have cumulative? We simply don't have answers to these questions yet.

That's not to say there's no cause for concern. We do know that certain levels of microplastic exposure have been shown to adversely affect the viability of cells. Nanoplastics are even smaller—does that mean they are more likely to cause cellular damage? Science is still working that out.

According to Dr. Sara Benedé of the Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of Food Science Research, it's not just the plastics themselves that might cause damage, but what they may bring along with them. “[Microparticles and nanoparticles] have the ability to bind all kinds of compounds when they come into contact with fluids, thus acting as carriers of all kinds of substances including environmental pollutants, toxins, antibiotics, or microorganisms,” Dr. Benedé told Medical News Today.

Where is this plastic in water coming from? This study focused on bottled water, which is almost always packaged in plastic. The filters used to filter the water before bottling are also frequently made from plastic.

Is it possible that some of these nanoplastics were already present in the water from their original sources? Again, research is always evolving on this front, but microplastics have been detected in lakes, streams and other freshwater sources, so it's not a big stretch to imagine that nanoplastics may be making their way into freshwater ecosystems as well. However, microplastics are found at much higher levels in bottled water than tap water, so it's also not a stretch to assume that most of the nanoplastics are likely coming from the bottling process and packaging rather than from freshwater sources.

The reality is, though, we simply don't know yet.

“Based on other studies we expected most of the microplastics in bottled water would come from leakage of the plastic bottle itself, which is typically made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic,” lead author Naixin Qian, a doctoral student in chemistry at Columbia University, told CNN Health. “However, we found there’s actually many diverse types of plastics in a bottle of water, and that different plastic types have different size distributions. The PET particles were larger, while others were down to 200 nanometers, which is much, much smaller.”

We need to drink water, and we need to drink safe water. At this point, we have plenty of environmental reasons for avoiding bottled water unless absolutely necessary and opting for tap water instead. Even if there's still more research to be done, the presence of hundreds of thousands of nanoplastics in bottled water might just be another reason to make the switch.

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Mom creates 'Montessori-inspired' home to increase toddler independence

Having children can present challenges that you may not always think about until it presents itself. Parents spend time preparing for a baby by baby proofing the house to make sure there's nothing dangerous that a newly exploring baby could get into. But when they become toddlers the focus shifts slightly to making the home more accessible to their little curious minds.

One mom decided that she would create a "Montessori-inspired" living space for her home to cater to her daughter's development. Roxan posted a video on social media showing how her home is set up with smaller versions of things in order to make sure her toddler can reach them. Cereal dispensers are on a small shelf that comes to the toddler's hip. There's tiny sink and soap dispenser so she can wash her hands and brush her teeth. Even the coat rack is down on the little girl's level.

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One simple breathing exercise could be all you need to enjoy a good night's sleep

The doctor backed hack just might cut through all the hype.

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But unlike most viral elixir recipes, this trick for falling asleep fast is actually doctor approved.

Dr. Kunal Sood, who is a TikTok celebrity in his own right with 2.2 millions followers, revealed that finally getting some long awaited shuteye might come down to a super simple breathing exercise.
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Smart mom leaves babysitter a list of 'add-on' chores to make more money if she chooses

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via KIvanKC/TikTok and KIvanKC/TikTok. Images used with permission.

Katrina Ivan's list for her babysitter.

A mother in Missouri has found a way to maximize date night with her husband. She left a note for her babysitter, giving her options to make more side cash by completing small tasks around the home.

The goal was to have a night out and to return to a cleaner and better-organized home. It makes sense. Most of the time, babysitters just sit around while the kid sleeps, so why not make their time more productive and profitable?

Katrina Ivan, a science teacher, posted the list she sent her babysitter on TikTok and the video received over 1.5 million views.

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