Itsy-Bitsy Spiders Follow Laser Pointers Like Cats Do

Kaldari, Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0
Kaldari, Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0

Humans of Earth, we have feared our spider neighbors long enough. It’s time we appreciated them for the helpful, adorable little critters they are. You need proof? We’ve just learned that the presence of a laser pointer turns jumping spiders into teeny, eight-legged kittens. For this information, we can thank Twitter and scientists—although the heroes of this story are not arachnologists but astronomers. Jamie Lomax spends most of her time studying objects in space at the University of Washington. But one afternoon, she found her work interrupted by a very small object much closer by:

And then another spider fell. And then another. “It was a little unnerving,” Lomax told The Atlantic. “I’m not scared of spiders but if someone else wants to take care of the spider in a room, I’ll gladly let them do it over me. And I don’t really want them raining down on my head.” Suggestions on how to deal with the spiders came pouring in. They were pretty much what you’d expect—“nukes and fire” was a popular option—with one exception:

Lomax had not tried lasers. But her colleague at the University of Washington, Emily Levesque, was reading the tweets, too, and she couldn’t wait. “She has a laser pointer and she happens to be the only other person with spiders in her office,” Lomax said. “She ran down to me and said: You have to see this.” Consummate scientists, the two astronomers tested the spiders on different-colored lasers to see which they’d prefer. For whatever reason, the green light was like spider catnip.

The scientists’ progressively sillier and more fascinating spider/laser updates drew a large following of astronomers, laypeople, and spider experts, including Nate Morehouse of the University of Cincinnati. Jumping spiders don’t spin webs, Morehouse explained. They rely on their keen eyesight to stalk their prey the same way cats do. The spiders’ enormous, sophisticated eyes “are built like … wait for it … Galilean telescopes”—that is, tubes with a convex lens at one end and a concave lens near the other.

“They can definitely resolve the moon in the night sky,” Morehouse tweeted. This image, of wee spiders gazing up at the moon, has already inspired at least one artist. Lomax is also into it.

If all this doesn’t just melt your heart, there’s probably no hope for you.

[h/t The Atlantic]

Swear Off Toilet Paper With This Bidet Toilet Seat That's Easy to Install and Costs Less Than $100

Tushy
Tushy

The recent coronavirus-related toilet paper shortage has put the spotlight on the TP-less alternative that Americans have yet to truly embrace: the bidet.

It's not exactly a secret that toilet paper is wasteful—it's estimated to cost 437 billion gallons of water and 15 million trees to produce our yearly supply of the stuff. But while the numbers are plain to see, bidets still aren't common in the United States.

Well, if price was ever the biggest barrier standing in the way of swearing off toilet paper for good, there's now a cost-effective way to make the switch. Right now, you can get the space-saving Tushy bidet for less than $100. And you'll be able to install it yourself in just 10 minutes.

What is a Bidet?

Before we go any further, let’s just go ahead and get the awkward technical details out of the way. Instead of using toilet paper after going to the bathroom, bidets get you clean by using a stream of concentrated water that comes out of a faucet or nozzle. Traditional bidets look like weird toilets without tanks or lids, and while they’re pretty uncommon in the United States, you’ve definitely seen one if you’ve ever been to Europe or Asia.

That said, bidets aren’t just good for your butt. When you reduce toilet paper usage, you also reduce the amount of chemicals and emissions required to produce it, which is good for the environment. At the same time, you’re also saving money. So this is a huge win-win.

Unfortunately, traditional bidets are not an option for most Americans because they take up a lot of bathroom space and require extra plumbing. That’s where Tushy comes in.

The Tushy Classic Bidet Toilet Seat.

Unlike traditional bidets, the Tushy bidet doesn’t take up any extra space in your bathroom. It’s an attachment for your existing toilet that places an adjustable self-cleaning nozzle at the back of the bowl, just underneath the seat. But it doesn’t require any additional plumbing or electricity. All you have to do is remove the seat from your toilet, connect the Tushy to the clean water supply behind the toilet, and replace the seat on top of the Tushy attachment.

The Tushy has a control panel that lets you adjust the angle and pressure of the water stream for a perfect custom clean. The nozzle lowers when the Tushy is activated and retracts into its housing when not in use, keeping it clean and sanitary.

Like all bidets, the Tushy system takes a little getting used to. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll never want to use toilet paper again. In fact, Tushy is so sure you’ll love their product, they offer customers a 60-day risk-free guarantee. If you don’t love your Tushy, you can send it back for a full refund, minus shipping and handling.

Normally, the Tushy Classic retails for $109, but right now you can get the Tushy Classic for just $89. So if you’ve been thinking about going TP-free, now is definitely the time to do it.

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Do Dogs Get Headaches?

Even without raging benders, dogs might still get headaches.
Even without raging benders, dogs might still get headaches.
damedeeso/iStock via Getty Images

Like babies, dogs can be hard to read in the medical ailment department. Are they listless because they’re tired, or because they’re sick? What’s behind their whining? And can they suffer that most human of debilitating conditions, the headache?

Gizmodo polled several veterinarians and animal behavior specialists to find out, and the answer seems to be a resounding yes.

Although a dog can’t express discomfort in a specific way, particularly if it doesn’t involve limping, animal experts know that canines that have diagnosed brain tumors or encephalitis can also be observed to have a high heart rate, a sign of physical pain. According to Tim Bentley, an associate professor of veterinary neurology and neurosurgery at Purdue Veterinary Medicine, administering painkillers will bring a dog’s heart rate down. If signs of physical distress also decrease, a headache was likely involved.

Unfortunately, not all dogs may offer overt signals they’re feeling some brain pain. According to Adam Boyko, an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, dogs instinctively try to mask pain to avoid showing weakness.

Ultimately, dogs have many of the same central neural pathways as humans, which can likely go awry in some of the same ways. But the kind of persistent headaches owing to head colds or hangovers are probably rare in dogs. And while it goes without saying, they definitely don't need any of your Advil.

[h/t Gizmodo]