Do Animals Experience Grief?
News of a mother orca carrying a dead infant through the icy waters captured the attention of many around the world. She was trying to keep her infant afloat as best as she could, before finally leaving him behind. This was the most obvious display of grieving of a marine mammal. Not all scientists agree that animals have the capacity to express grief or to respond in some complex way to death. Grief is a complex emotion that demands a certain level of understanding, the feeling of losing something or someone. Jules Howard, a zoologist wrote:
“If you believe J35 (mother orca) was displaying evidence of mourning or grief, you are making a case that rests on faith, not on scientific endeavor.”
A growing number of scientific evidence supports the idea that nonhuman animals are aware of death, they can experience grief and sometimes they will mourn the dead one or even ritualize the dead. This type of behavior requires a certain level of intelligent behavior.
However, scientists don’t know that much about death-related behavior in nonhuman animals. Only a few scientists have explored the idea how nonhuman creatures think and feel about the death. Or do they have a concept of death at all? Still, animals show affection especially to their newborns and sometimes they express behavior that could be viewed as a presentation of complex emotions such as grief.
Hurricane Lane started moving on August 22, carrying strong winds and heavy rains. The hurricane has impacted space science by closing some of the most iconic telescopes and has delayed the launch of a mission designed to help NASA’s research on distant icy moons.
Hawaii’s Mauna Kea is home to the iconic Keck Observatory telescopes which had to be closed on August 23.
In the released statement, Hilton Lewis, observatory director confirmed that the facility will remain closed without regular night observations.
In the statement, Hilton Lewis confirmed that the observatory will stay closed because flooding is causing some road problems through the whole island. Lewis stressed that the facility was not impacted by any damage from the hurricane.
The hurricane had an impact on Systematic Underwater Biogeochemical Science and Exploration Analog (SUBSEA), a mission that was due to sail on August 23, 2018. However, the oceanographic mission was postponed. It is planned that the mission will explore the seafloor at Lo-ihi, which is the volcanic seamount off the coast of the Big Island. Scientists will study geology and microbes at the site which they hope could monitor the environments found below the ice of Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa. The oceanographic mission and observatory are prioritizing safety and they are waiting for the storm to pass before setting to explore the unknown, the deep ocean and the far-away galaxies.
The Purest Drop of Water
It might seem shocking that we are not really drinking super clean water. Whether we buy bottled water or not, the water is always full of certain impurities which are mainly not dangerous for us.
However, a group of researchers at the Vienna University of Technology announced they have created the clearest drop of water in the world. This ultrapure drop of water could explain how a self-cleaning surface becomes covered with a mysterious layer of molecules once it comes in contact with water and air.
A co-author of the study and a chemist at the Vienna University of Technology, Ulrike Diebold said:
“We had four labs [around the world] studying this and four different explanations for it.”
When a TiO2 surface is exposed to ultraviolet light, it can react in a way that all organic compounds are gone. Creating a super clean drop of water was quiet a challenge since water easily becomes contaminated with any visible or invisible traces of impurity. Perfectly clean and pure water doesn’t exist. To create this perfectly clean water, the group of scientists had to designs a gadget that would push water to its limits.
Diebold said: “The key is that neither the water nor the titanium dioxide had ever been exposed to air before.”
When water is exposed to air it is automatically contaminated by traces of impurity in the air.