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OctopEscape
May 8, 2014 1:23 PM   Subscribe

"Hey, how am I gonna keep this octopus I have somehow obtained?" you ask.
"This handy jar will suffice," your friend tells you.
Your friend is way wrong. via kottke
posted by Etrigan (87 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
NO LID PLS

kinda like this jar tho.... cozy.
posted by The otter lady at 1:26 PM on May 8 [28 favorites]


I like that he opens it, but then decides the jar isn't such a bad home all in all.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:27 PM on May 8 [12 favorites]


"I like freedom... but I also like security."
posted by Etrigan at 1:27 PM on May 8 [17 favorites]


It seems that part of the way through the video the Octopus goes from:

1. Put tentacle on lid
2. Rotate slightly
3. Remove tentacle
4. Return to normal position
5. Repeat

To the much more efficient:

1. Put tentacle on lid
2. Rotate body
3. Repeat

That just showcases how insanely intelligent these wonderful creatures are.
posted by Twain Device at 1:29 PM on May 8 [20 favorites]


Octopi in jars are the new cats in boxes: they don't want the lid on but they will happily curl up inside.
posted by adipocere at 1:30 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


Pressure can that fucker, then we'll see if it can get out.
posted by Think_Long at 1:31 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


What I find truly terrifying about octopus is they have a life span of 6 months-5 years. Can you imagine if they kept on growing and learning. Our reign on this planet is tentative at best.
posted by tofupup at 1:32 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


It's like a Bonsai Kitten!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:33 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Velociraptors can only open doors. Losers.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:35 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Pressure can that fucker, then we'll see if it can get out.

Spoiler Alert: It can. It can get out of anything and everything. It can get out of your dreams and into your car. It is the Billy Fucking Ocean of the actual fucking ocean.

Take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by The Bellman at 1:35 PM on May 8 [92 favorites]


I came in to say what tofupup said. Good thing that octopuses don't have much facility for transmitting culture or we would be at war.
posted by planetesimal at 1:40 PM on May 8


Slightly more terrifying, OCTOPUS WALKING ON LAND.

Therefor in order to combat these obviously superintelligent and extremely terrifying creatures we should all commit to eating Fresh Octopus Salad a lot, because it's delicious.
posted by entropone at 1:41 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


Man, if the crows and the octopi ever team up we are fucked.
posted by asterix at 1:43 PM on May 8 [13 favorites]


Japanese art and popular culture would lead me to believe that this is in no way "The Terrible Ability of the Octopus."

Maybe A terrible ability, but by no means the only one.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:45 PM on May 8 [16 favorites]


Long ago I added the octopus and cuttlefish to my list of sentient beasts I will not eat (damn your tastiness, which I miss nonetheless).

I still love the story of the octopus that hitchhiked its way into a Monterey Bay Aquarium exhibit and having fattened itself upon his fellow tank mates, went on a walkabout to fresh hunting grounds.
posted by jamaro at 1:45 PM on May 8 [15 favorites]


Man, if the crows and the octopi ever team up we are fucked.

Don't worry, we'll just ally with the raccoons.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:46 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


I have eaten its brothers and sisters and now I feel ashamed.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:49 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


Yay this is awesome! We are so cool! Wheeeeeeee!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:51 PM on May 8


From the (delightful) story jamaro linked to:

“We’d noticed that there weren’t as many crabs coming out at feeding time in that exhibit,” said Senior Aquarist Barbara Utter. “Now we realize that’s where they’d all been going—into the octopus’s tummy!”

I'm sorry, but if you're going to use the phrase "the octopus's tummy" to an audience that does not consist solely of four-year-olds, you do not deserve to be a senior aquarist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:52 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


what I am left wondering is how they got it into the jar in the first place.
posted by spindle at 1:53 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


These octopi are so cool. All of them -- jar opening, walking, stealthing. This must explain the popularity of tentacle beasts on MeFi.
posted by Michele in California at 1:54 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


what I am left wondering is how they got it into the jar in the first place.

Promises of YouTube fame, obviously.
posted by Etrigan at 1:54 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry, but if you're going to use the phrase "the octopus's tummy" to an audience that does not consist solely of four-year-olds, you do not deserve to be a senior aquarist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Because you deserve to be PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:55 PM on May 8 [32 favorites]


There was an aquarium that noticed that fish in one of their tanks were vanishing. They set up a security camera to monitor the area at night, and what they was was an octopus moving the top off of its tank, pulling itself out and onto the floor, and dragging itself over to the other tank, pulling the top out of the way, going into the other tank and catching and eating fish.
When it was done, it pulled itself out of the tank, replaced the lid, moved over to its own tank, and replaced the lid there, too.

It's a good thing for us that they only live two years. If they lived as long as we do, they would rule the earth.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:56 PM on May 8 [27 favorites]


This is why I am even now genetically altering myself into an octopus so that I can be on the winning team, when the time comes...

It's always cool to me to think about how there are probably waaaaaaay fewer incidents of blue-ringed octopus envenomation than there could be, because of just how smart they are. Compare box jellies, which don't choose what they sting - you touch 'em, you're pretty screwed. Whereas I've heard and witnessed multiple incidents where a blue-ringed octopus was inadvertently found by an eager rockpool enthusiast or biology student, and either remained perfectly calm while messed with (no rings flashing), or made its presence known and was released before bad things could happen. I mean, seriously, those little dudes could just bite everything that touches them and get away with it, but they don't. They chill and check out the situation, and if they deem it non-life-threatening, nobody dies. And they're quite common in a lot of areas along the Australian coast where people go swimming frequently.

I know someone who literally picked one up in his bare hands, not realizing it was a blue-ring (they're pretty innocuous-looking without the rings - small, usually seen in shades of brown/yellow/grey), and carried it over to his biology professor, who was busy with other students. This guy waited around for a bit, until the professor noticed him holding it, and immediately lunged at him and thwapped the octopus out of his hands and into the rockpool, whereupon it flashed its blue rings and the dude's heart rate shot through the roof as he realized what he'd been holding.
posted by po at 2:02 PM on May 8 [18 favorites]


I'd ask my friends to come and see
An octopus's jar-den with me
posted by payoto at 2:04 PM on May 8 [11 favorites]


Who in the hell taught the octopus kingdom the secrets of lefty loosey, righty tighty anyway? IS NOTHING SACRED?
posted by payoto at 2:05 PM on May 8 [10 favorites]


(Please do not take my above comment as permission to pick up small octopi you find in Australian rockpools. PAINFUL DEATH is what the dude in my story held in his hands. Leave the octopi alone.)
posted by po at 2:07 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


what I am left wondering is how they got it into the jar in the first place.

I bet they just put the jar in there and the octopus was like "fuck yes, let me in that jar!!"
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:10 PM on May 8 [13 favorites]


I like that he opens it, but then decides the jar isn't such a bad home all in all.

Right? It's like "Hey, leave the door open, I like the breeze!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:12 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Man, if the crows and the octopi ever team up we are fucked.

CROCTOPI VS RATROACH coming in 2015 on Syfy.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:13 PM on May 8 [7 favorites]


Lucky that octopi are understanding. I would have beat the guy senseless with the jar after I got out.
posted by mondo dentro at 2:14 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


He probably opened the jar so he wouldn't suffocate... just saying, don't try this with untrained octopi.
posted by amtho at 2:33 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


In a market in Naples I once had occasion to consult my Langenscheidt and finally articulate:

"Il suo polpo sta scappando"

to a stallkeeper.

Dunno whether that made sense, but either way she unceremoniously walked the few meters down the street, scooped up the polpo and plopped it back into its tank. Sometimes I kinda feel a little bit bad about it, but Naples is a tough place for an octopus.
posted by tss at 2:35 PM on May 8 [30 favorites]


Hopefully some species survive ocean acidification so they get their chance to fuck up the ecosystem.
posted by PMdixon at 2:36 PM on May 8


(Please do not take my above comment as permission to pick up small octopi you find in Australian rockpools. PAINFUL DEATH is what the dude in my story held in his hands. Leave the octopi alone.)

While it's good of you to post the warning, I'm pretty sure anyone who hangs around in Australian rockpools has a death wish to begin with.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:40 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Wonderful transhumanist roleplaying game Eclipse Phase allows you to play as a hyper-intelligent octopus with a machine gun.

I present this fact without further comment, except to note that it is billed as a game of 'existential sci-fi horror'. For whom: not stated.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:42 PM on May 8 [6 favorites]


Let's acidify the oceans to fight this menace.
posted by hat_eater at 2:51 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


That so totally needs the sound effect Orson Welles used for War of the Worlds...
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:52 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


While it's good of you to post the warning, I'm pretty sure anyone who hangs around in Australian rockpools has a death wish to begin with.

I basically grew up in rockpools. That's not something a bloke usually admits, but it's true. You lot are making too big a deal of it. I've been stung and bit by just about everything in the eastern seaboard. Everything except the stonefish, which will kill your face off if you so much as think about it. Don't think of a stonefish! Oh, it's too late.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:03 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


What's a stonefi... ::thud::
posted by sarcasticah at 3:24 PM on May 8 [10 favorites]


Jesus no not another one!
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:27 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Octopus 1 : YouTube 111,770
posted by dmh at 3:29 PM on May 8


I'm sorry, but if you're going to use the phrase "the octopus's tummy" to an audience that does not consist solely of four-year-olds, you do not deserve to be a senior aquarist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Most aquariums I've visited are pretty obviously geared toward the younger demographic, so it doesn't surprise me that aquarium staff might speak that way sometimes. My wife and I take our daughter to the aquarium fairly regularly and it is always packed with kids, and there's all sorts of exhibits and presentations set up for kids. The staff usually deal with kids' questions and will point things out to them at the various tanks.
posted by Hoopo at 3:39 PM on May 8


I also imagine being super enthusiastic about your job, like a kid in a candy shop, is a good way to get good at it and stay good at it.

My oldest son has a high IQ but some of his most endearing traits are the way he acts like a five year old at Christmas if he gets a new game or if I cook him a favorite food. He's not immature and he has a bigger vocabulary than I have. He's just got the childlike innocence and enthusiasm for some of his favorite things down pat. And I adore him for it.
posted by Michele in California at 3:43 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


When the lid first comes off, it looks like a particularly jaunty hat. Almost a fez.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:47 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


When the lid first comes off, it looks like a particularly jaunty hat. Almost a fez.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy.
posted by The Bellman at 4:08 PM on May 8 [15 favorites]


Octopuses love jars. That's how fishermen catch them: long lines of ropes, with clay jars tied on at even increments.

The trick is how to get the octopus out of the jar once you've pulled the rope back up into your boat. The jars have a little hole at the bottom. The fisherman pours a little bit of fresh water into the hole, and the octopus comes right out.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:17 PM on May 8 [8 favorites]


In a market in Naples I once had occasion to consult my Langenscheidt and finally articulate:

"Il suo polpo sta scappando"

to a stallkeeper.

Dunno whether that made sense, but either way she unceremoniously walked the few meters down the street, scooped up the polpo and plopped it back into its tank. Sometimes I kinda feel a little bit bad about it, but Naples is a tough place for an octopus.


Dude. Not cool.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:13 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Once I saw a marine biologist on TV comparing octopuses and squids. She said that she had no problem eating squids because they were stupid and vicious, but she could never think of eating an octopus. I'm inclined to listen to her, if only because if / when the octopuses start plotting something, she's bound to be the first to know.
posted by Flexagon at 5:36 PM on May 8 [6 favorites]


I basically grew up in rockpools. That's not something a bloke usually admits, but it's true. You lot are making too big a deal of it. I've been stung and bit by just about everything in the eastern seaboard.

That is exactly what a creature that hunted by zombifying the brains of young children and sending them out into the world to attract more prey would say.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:57 PM on May 8 [8 favorites]


I also imagine being super enthusiastic about your job, like a kid in a candy shop, is a good way to get good at it and stay good at it.

Today I realized I have a good reason to compare 20,000 files to find all segments of 20 lines or more that are shared between each file and any other. It is 'effin Christmas over here.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:03 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering whether the octopus watched the lid turning clockwise and understood to turn it counter-clockwise; or whether it had learned that lids unscrew counterclockwise; or whether it was just happenstance that it started turning the lid in the right direction. Anyone?
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:18 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


I'm not even sure how you'd make that distinction (between watching and understanding vs learning) for a nonhuman creature, exactly. Isn't that one of the questions that people ask about a lot of creatures that are/may be intelligent?
posted by immlass at 6:25 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


And that, my friend, is how you ace an interview at Google.
posted by Turkey Glue at 6:35 PM on May 8 [7 favorites]


SCHPOILER ALERT!!!!

What, no funny music?

lolz he gets the lid off and is then like "See, you can't keep me in jar, fool. But I'm gonna stay in here anyway 'cause I like having my tenties all cozied up."
posted by nowhere man at 6:38 PM on May 8


I'm wondering whether the octopus watched the lid turning clockwise and understood to turn it counter-clockwise; or whether it had learned that lids unscrew counterclockwise; or whether it was just happenstance that it started turning the lid in the right direction. Anyone?

My thought exactly. This octo may have had some practice. But remember a significant portion of the human population can't get that righty-tighty lefty-loosey thing right.
posted by ecorrocio at 6:50 PM on May 8


I'm wondering whether the octopus watched the lid turning clockwise and understood to turn it counter-clockwise; or whether it had learned that lids unscrew counterclockwise; or whether it was just happenstance that it started turning the lid in the right direction. Anyone? posted by Joe in Australia at 9:18 PM on May 8

That is what I was thinking - the octopus watched the lid getting screwed on and then did the opposite.
posted by mkim at 6:58 PM on May 8


I'm wondering whether the octopus watched the lid turning clockwise and understood to turn it counter-clockwise

They only show you the videos of the 50% of octopi who guess correctly, the ones who screw the lid tighter just get a label slapped on and sent to market.

Mmmmm.....fresh, self-processed octopus.
posted by 445supermag at 7:05 PM on May 8 [4 favorites]


They only show you the videos of the 50% of octopi who guess correctly, the ones who screw the lid tighter just get a label slapped on and sent to market.

I'd feel a lot better about humans' long-term chances for survival if we let the dumb octopi live and eat the smart ones.
posted by otters walk among us at 7:27 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Nah, we could also just pump CO2 into the atmosphere until the oceans acidify and kill them all.
posted by Justinian at 8:13 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering whether the octopus watched the lid turning clockwise and understood to turn it counter-clockwise; or whether it had learned that lids unscrew counterclockwise; or whether it was just happenstance that it started turning the lid in the right direction. Anyone?

There was a pretty significant cut between putting the lid on and the octopus starting to move the lid. We have no idea what the beastie tried before it hit on something that worked.
posted by Etrigan at 8:22 PM on May 8


I'm pretty sure I originally saw this here on the blue.. but here is more evidence of our soon-to-be-overlords.
posted by ApathyGirl at 8:28 PM on May 8


Etrigan: "We have no idea what the beastie tried before it hit on something that worked."

They should have left in the bit where it tried out the power of song.
posted by vanar sena at 8:42 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


They really are amazing animals. If they ever invent a brain interface that lets you talk to animals Octopuses are #1 and housecats are #2 on my list.

How social are they, anyway? You typically see them in isolation, and I've heard that they can be very territorial.
posted by codacorolla at 9:00 PM on May 8


> How social are they, anyway?

They seem to enjoy eating one another.
posted by planetesimal at 9:05 PM on May 8


I've had vague ideas of keeping a marine aquarium for the express purpose of putting an octopus and/or cuttlefish in it.

But octopods are notorious for being escape artists and vandals. There are many tales of researchers having difficulties studying them and keeping them due to wrecked aquarium and experimental equipment, not to mention simply escaping and going on overland journeys.

I'm also conflicted about keeping them captive in general, even in professional aquariums. On one hand: woah, cool, octopus up close and personal. The other: extremely intelligent mollusk imprisoned in a box that's too small, no matter how big it is.

Ultimately I can't afford to keep a marine aquarium and I would probably be bad at it, but live octopus specimens aren't terribly expensive, starting at around $30. The main risk seems to be finding a dealer that actually can identify octopods and not accidentally send you a species that will rapidly outgrow your tank like a Giant Pacific Octopus.

And it would probably be cheaper to learn how to dive and get a scuba rig since there are octopods living in Puget Sound less than a mile from my bed. I could easily just go visit them in their natural environment.

Also, you can't really keep other fish in the tank for obvious reasons. Cephalopods are ravenous creatures who generally have a short life span in which they go from the size of a pinhead or bit of gravel to full size in about a year only to mate and die. They have to eat very frequently at a certain rate, but will also overeat unto sickness if you let them train/trick you into it.

Anyway, for the people in this thread fearing the octopus, it's the squid you really need to worry about. Where octopods are intelligent and gentle, squid are likely equally intelligent and actively malicious, if not possibly evil. It's like comparing a nice Piper Cub civil aircraft on a sightseeing pleasure cruise to a fully armed F-22 jet fighter piloted by a psychotic serial killer.

There's a reason why you don't see cute videos of squids escaping from jars. They're incredibly difficult to capture, raise or study. If you tried making this same video with a Humboldt squid of similar size, you'd just end up with a very pissed off squid gnawing and lacerating the researcher's hand and tearing it to bits and jetting water out of the tank. There are verifiable stories of Humboldts pulling Baja dory fishermen right out of their boats and pulling them under, and these aren't particularly large squid. A truly giant or colossal squid would be a living nightmare to encounter under water if it was peckish and thought you were edible, which you are. Imagine eight twenty foot prehensile tentacles, each covered in hundreds of suckers, with most of those suckers operating a rotating raptor talon ranging in size from small fish hooks to as large as a finger or thumb. Now imagine two more tentacles that are two to three times longer that can shoot out like a rocket two to three times the full length of the squid, covered in more hooked suckers, and all ten of these tentacles pulling you into (in this case of a giant or colossal squid) a beak the size of a grapefruit or larger.
posted by loquacious at 9:10 PM on May 8 [24 favorites]


As I understand it, octopods are fairly territorial but vaguely social. You can keep well fed octopods in a tank together, especially if they aren't both male.

Research on squid indicate they are social in a terrifyingly pack-hunting yet cannibalistic way.

Of the three cuttlefish are the most social, and tend to thrive in captivity in groups. They may also actually be the most intelligent of the group.

Granted, our mammalian concepts of "social" and "intelligence" don't map well, here. These are extremely alien species to us. We're talking about animals that distribute what we would identify as their brains throughout their entire nervous system. Imagine having your arm severed off, and that it could still "think" and feel pain. Further, try imagining thinking with your hand.

As vertebrates, we don't really have a frame of reference to understand that.
posted by loquacious at 9:21 PM on May 8 [6 favorites]


Plural of "octopus" is "octopodes" or "octopuses." Not "octopi." It's from Greek, not Latin.

Yup! I'm being that asshole. :-)

And the plural of "jar" is "jarpadodes." Also Greek.

Carry on.
posted by chasing at 10:02 PM on May 8 [4 favorites]


Shorter loquacious: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGG
posted by Sebmojo at 10:29 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


This is the one near loquacious' bed.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:34 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]




In the (as far as I can remember) really rather good National Geographic documentary "Octopus Volcano" (which you can see here) there's a scene where a female octopus dies after protecting her young during their infancy. Jesus Christ that scene made me cry.

Great post this, by the way.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:27 AM on May 9


Hey loquacious, how about I ruin sleeping and swimming for you forever too? That's why we need whales though people. They dive down and fight the squid and keep all us puny humans safe.
posted by Carillon at 8:08 AM on May 9


Plural of "octopus" is "octopodes" or "octopuses." Not "octopi." It's from Greek, not Latin.

As I was scrolling down the thread I was honestly composing a comment in my head that went along the lines of ‘enough of the cool trivia, I want to start arguing about the correct pluralisation of octopus.’ But dammit, I snoozed and I loozed.

Anyway, as for the correct pluralisation, I’m sticking with octopotamuses.
posted by Ned G at 9:10 AM on May 9


Thanks for the fuel for my next nightmare.
posted by Lynsey at 9:19 AM on May 9




What is the plural of octopus?

Answer:

The plural form of octopus is octopuses (or occasionally octopodes). Although it is often supposed that octopi is the 'correct' plural of octopus, and it has been in use for longer than the usual Anglicized plural octopuses, it in fact originates as an error. Octopus is not a simple Latin word of the second declension, but a Latinized form of the Greek word oktopous, and its 'correct' plural would logically be octopodes.

Most dictionaries will list both octopuses and octopi as correct plurals.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_plural_of_octopus
Emphasis added. I likely would have never learned the correct pluralization had I just relied on a dictionary or some shit like that.
posted by Michele in California at 9:58 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]




> I likely would have never learned the correct pluralization had I just relied on a dictionary or some shit like that.

I hope you're joking. You get the "correct" (i.e., actually used) pluralizations from a dictionary; from random answer sites you get nonsense like what you quote. If "octopi" is incorrect, so is "peas" (which is etymologically singular, not plural). Once you head down the road of "I know people say it, but it's wrong," you're going to wind up on Bullshit Mountain.
posted by languagehat at 11:55 AM on May 9 [4 favorites]


Man, tl;dr eat less octopus but more calamari.
posted by Carillon at 12:59 PM on May 9


No, I was not joking. Yes, I have had Intro to Linguistics in college. I am aware that language is alive and changes and all that -- including that what we consider "correct" and "proper" changes over time with usage.

But I wonder why you are picking on me in particular and not on the two people earlier in the discussion who felt the need to talk about the correct pluralization. Perhaps you could take them to task and advise them that, no, octopi is fine in your opinion and why yours should trump theirs.

I wasn't sure if they were just messing with us or correct, so I googled it. I felt it verified what they said and I felt I had learned something, so I added the info I had found to the thread.

Now, I need to hash this out with my sons and find out what they think. Man. :-/ This has gotten too complicated.
posted by Michele in California at 1:20 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


After his initial squid beatdown, Cassell built himself some homemade fiberglass body armor modeled after the storm­trooper armor in Star Wars.

The week is not over, but imma go ahead and declare that this the best sentence I will read all week.
posted by thelonius at 6:15 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


The octopus obviously loves its sunroof, and the researcher was rude to close it without asking.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:25 PM on May 9


Hey loquacious, how about I ruin sleeping and swimming for you forever too?

I already can't sleep because of humans, so bring it. By the way, did you know that you're likely to never be more that a few meters from a spider?
posted by loquacious at 1:01 AM on May 10


> Yes, I have had Intro to Linguistics in college. I am aware that language is alive and changes and all that -- including that what we consider "correct" and "proper" changes over time with usage.

Then I don't understand how you could write what you did.

> But I wonder why you are picking on me in particular and not on the two people earlier in the discussion

I wasn't "picking on" anyone. I was responding to your comment. The two previous were wrong as well, but you specifically claimed the dictionary was misleading, which is why I chose your comment to respond to specifically. If you hadn't commented, I would have said pretty much the same thing in response to the others. But I presume they're just garden-variety ignorant; you, someone who has taken linguistics, should know better.

> I wasn't sure if they were just messing with us or correct, so I googled it. I felt it verified what they said and I felt I had learned something, so I added the info I had found to the thread.

So you believe Google over what you learned in linguistics class? I... don't know what to say. Anyway, what you "learned" was misinformation, so I corrected it.
posted by languagehat at 6:08 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


For my part, I am and have been well-aware of the "proper" pluralizations octopuses and octopodes for a long time. But here's the thing:

Octopi is more fun to say.

The end. :D
posted by po at 5:01 AM on May 13


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