The bizarre sex life of the giant squid is one of the topics at an international cephalopod conference in Hobart this week.
Marine biologists are continuing to unlock the secrets of the giant squid, saying the deep-sea monster may not be a cannibal as previously thought.
It was thought the species was cannibalistic when parts of a fellow giant squid were found in the stomach of a specimen caught off Tasmania's west coast in 1999.
But New Zealand based marine biologist Steve O'Shea believes that was the result of some bizarre mating methods.
He says the creatures do not mean to eat each other but the females accidentally bite bits off of the males during mating.
OK that is still cannibalism! Even if the squid plans to do it, or if they are somehow into that sort of thing, it is still cannibalism.
That and really, really, really disturbing...
In the Pipeline's Derek Lowe reviews a company that claims to have invented a new type of water:
One of these in the December issue, though, is weird enough that you can hear the editorial staff wrestling with their better selves. Phrases like 'The company claims. . .' and 'Company spokesmen maintain. . .' keep running through the whole article. It's titled 'Water-Based Nanotech for the Life Sciences', and profiles a small Israeli company called (oddly) DoCoop. What DoCoop is selling is water.
But not just any water. . .Neowater! (Trademarked, natch). This is 'a stable system of highly hydrated, inert nanoparticles', which supposedly have thousands of ordered hydration shells around them. This, the company says, modifies the bulk properties of the water. And what does that buy you?
Well, according to the company (there, I'm doing it, too), it will do pretty much everything except change the cat's litter box for you. It makes reactions run faster, at lower concentrations. It improves all biochemical assays and molecular biology techniques - PCR, RNA interference, ELISAs, you name it. Brief mentions are made of delivering molecules directly into cells with the stuff. It has applications in diagnostic kits, in drug delivery, in protein purification, and Cthulu only knows what else.