October 4, 2007

Illustrated BMI Categories, an art project to show you what the classifications underweight, normal, overweight, obese, and morbidly obese look like on real people. I learned a lot about the Body Mass Index just by people's reactions to this.

He rigged up a Practical Image Recognition system to stop his cat from carrying prey into the house. It worked, and also kept skunks and birds from getting in (with photo evidence).

Newscaster: "That is the wrong video." I never would have known it if he hadn't told us.

Horrorwood takes a look at scary movies about hands with minds of their own. I've known guys to use that excuse, too.

A down-to-earth account of the Great Boston Molasses Flood. How many jokes can you make about two million gallons of molasses in January? A lot.

Bone Broth 101

Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?

If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).


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