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iLoveHandles
iLoveHandles

Elevated Silverware That Keeps Your Table Safe From Food

iLoveHandles
iLoveHandles

How many times has this happened to you? You're cooking mac and cheese and use a spoon to mix the cheesy goodness around. You go to put the spoon down, but you're afraid of the goo it's going to leave on your counter. For these kinds of everyday troubles, there is Cantilever flatware, the seemingly obvious solution to a commonplace problem. So obvious, we're hitting our heads for not thinking of it first.

Created by design team iLoveHandles, the sensible utensils are shaped so that the messy part never tarnishes the clean table. Now you no longer have to look for a plate or bowl to temporarily stash your dirty tools. The line includes a knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks, and spatula.

"I am a bit of a germaphobe," designer Rich Moore told Co.Design. "I was warming up some lunch and I went to put my fork down on the counter. I instinctively put it face-down because, that way, the least amount of surface area touched the counter. We realized that we could tweak the angle a tiny bit, and it wouldn’t touch at all. So, we started bending forks and 3-D printing prototypes to test the idea."

Creating the fork and spoon was simple, as they only needed small tweaks in their angles. The knife was slightly more difficult. Because it's a flat shape, it was tricky to make it float above a surface without adding a clunky weight to anchor it down. The solution eventually came in the shape of a tapered triangle. Once the designs were drawn, Moore sent them to his partner Avik to begin 3-D prototyping.

Despite being a genius design, the studio has had some problems getting it off the ground. "We were told by so many factories that they simply could not do it. We almost gave up several times. They kept trying to sell us other flatware that was ‘similar,’ missing the entire point," Moore said. Likely the unusual shapes of the cutlery made it difficult to mass-produce.

Thankfully, the designers found a willing factory, and production began. You can purchase the utensils here and never have to worry about sauce puddles again.

[h/t: Co.Design]

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C. Zdenek
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Animals
Drumming Cockatoos Keep the Beat Like Human Musicians
C. Zdenek
C. Zdenek

The ladies love drummers—or at least that's what these male cockatoos are hoping. The shy but clever birds make their own drumsticks and their own music, with each bird playing his own unique rhythm. A report on the birds' advanced chick-scoring technique was published in the journal Science Advances.

Music, with its rhythm and instruments and performance and style, has long been believed to be the sole province of humans. Other animals don't make music, we told ourselves. They just make noise.

Then scientists started paying attention to the palm cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) of Australia's Cape York Peninsula. Like other birds in the parrot family, female cockatoos select their mates after seeing what the males have to offer. In this case, that means impressive crests, rosy cheeks, and a kickin' beat.

Not any drumstick will do. Male palm cockatoos craft their instruments with care, selecting just the right twigs and seed pods and trimming them down to the right size and shape. Then, and only then, does the performance begin.

Two palm cockatoos.
"Anyway, here's Lipstick Vogue."
C. Zdenek

Researchers tracked 18 males seasonally from 2009 to 2015. The moment the scientists saw a bird beginning to craft a drumstick, they switched on the camera and audio recording equipment. Eventually, they'd amassed Behind the Music footage of 131 different drum sessions.

Analysis of the recordings revealed that the birds' musical lives were even more nuanced and fascinating than they seemed. These birds have flair.

"Each of 18 male palm cockatoos, known for their shyness and elusiveness, was shown to have its own style or drumming signature," lead author Rob Heinsohn of Australian National University said in a statement.

"Some males were consistently fast, some were slow, while others loved a little flourish at the beginning."

Heinsohn said the unique rhythms could act like a signature or a call sign, identifying each bird as its beats ring through the forest.

They've got rhythm, too.

"The icing on the cake is that the taps are almost perfectly spaced over very long sequences," Heinsohn said, "just like a human drummer would do when holding a regular beat." 

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Josh Cassidy / KQED
Watch Archerfish, the Champions of Spitting
Josh Cassidy / KQED
Josh Cassidy / KQED

In southeast Asia, archerfish spit streams of water at insects outside the water, knocking them in and making them convenient targets for gobbling. There are only seven known species of fish that use this hunting technique, and they've gotten quite good at it. Archerfish are able to calibrate the velocity of their spit to precisely hit their targets, using water as a weapon.

In this beautiful Deep Look video, we learn about the archerfish, its impressive spitting ability...and its puzzling ability to recognize human faces. Crank this up to 4K resolution and enjoy:

For more on the archerfish and the research discussed in the video, check out this KQED blog post. You might also enjoy our coverage of those archerfish face-recognition experiments.

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