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Frog Log

This Simple Device in Your Pool Can Save an Animal's Life

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Frog Log

If your pool has been open since the start of the summer, you've likely had to deal with frogs, mice, and other unwanted animals leaping into the water for a dip only to find themselves unable to leave. This product spotlighted by CBS Minnesota doesn't keep wildlife from falling into your pool, but it does give them a safe and simple way to climb out.

The Frog Log bills itself as a "critter-saving escape ramp." To install it, just place the semicircular pad on the water's surface against the side of the pool and lay the weighted pouch on the edge above it. Frogs, lizards, ducklings, chipmunks, and even some insects floundering in the pool will see the device's net trim and swim towards it. After hoisting themselves onto the platform, they can take the mesh bridge to safety.

Wildlife biologist Rich Mason was inspired to make the product after friends of his found 53 dead frogs in their pool one summer. He knew that such deaths could have been prevented, so he got to work building the tiny creatures an escape route. The Frog Log took hundreds of hours of research, testing, and development to make it a reality, and today Mason sells thousands of them to customers around the world each year.

Each Frog Log costs $23 with 3 percent of the profits going to help conservation groups like Amphibian Survival Alliance and Green People. Purchase your own through the Frog Log website to keep the critters in your backyard safe through the end of swimming pool season.

[h/t CBS Minnesota]

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Focus Features
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Animals
25 Shelter Dogs Who Made It Big
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Focus Features

If you’ve been thinking of adding a four-legged friend to your brood and are deciding whether a shelter dog is right for you, consider this: Some of history’s most amazing pooches—from four-legged movie stars to heroic rescue dogs—were found in animal shelters. In honor of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, here are 25 shelter dogs who made it big.

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This High-Tech Material Can Change Shape Like an Octopus
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iStock

Octopuses can do some pretty amazing things with their skin, like “see” light, resist the pull of their own sticky suction cups, and blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. That last part now has the U.S. Army interested, as Co.Design reports. The military branch’s research office has funded the development a new type of morphing material that works like an octopus’s dynamic skin.

The skin of an octopus is covered in small, muscular bumps called papillae that allow them to change textures in a fraction of a second. Using this mechanism, octopuses can mimic coral, rocks, and even other animals. The new government-funded research—conducted by scientists at Cornell University—produced a device that works using a similar principle.

“Technologies that use stretchable materials are increasingly important, yet we are unable to control how they stretch with much more sophistication than inflating balloons,” the scientists write in their study, recently published in the journal Science. “Nature, however, demonstrates remarkable control of stretchable surfaces.”

The membrane of the stretchy, silicone material lays flat most of the time, but when it’s inflated with air, it can morph to form almost any 3D shape. So far, the technology has been used to imitate rocks and plants.

You can see the synthetic skin transform from a two-dimensional pad to 3D models of objects in the video below:

It’s easy to see how this feature could be used in military gear. A soldier’s suit made from material like this could theoretically provide custom camouflage for any environment in an instant. Like a lot of military technology, it could also be useful in civilian life down the road. Co.Design writer Jesus Diaz brings up examples like buttons that appear on a car's dashboard only when you need them, or a mixing bowl that rises from the surface of the kitchen counter while you're cooking.

Even if we can mimic the camouflage capabilities of cephalopods, though, other impressive superpowers, like controlling thousands of powerful suction cups or squeezing through spaces the size of a cherry tomato, are still the sole domain of the octopus. For now.

[h/t Co.Design]

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