"A glutinous mass, endowed with a malignant will"
September 1, 2017 10:21 AM   Subscribe

 
Octopuses
posted by shnarg at 10:43 AM on September 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


And of course, the piece begins with a discussion of the first known piece of Japanese tentacle porn.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:48 AM on September 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


i want this thread title on my tombstone
posted by poffin boffin at 10:49 AM on September 1, 2017 [35 favorites]


… A glutinous mass, endowed with a malignant will, what can be more horrible?

Arpaio?
posted by strelitzia at 10:54 AM on September 1, 2017 [8 favorites]


:D
posted by evilDoug at 10:55 AM on September 1, 2017


Does not mention Grigori. LRB, you fail.
posted by chavenet at 10:59 AM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


Or you could say: "Octopuses are the closest we can come to knowing what our intelligence would be like to aliens."
posted by edmz at 10:59 AM on September 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


i want this thread title on my tombstone

I'd think it would be more appropriate for prize bull octorok, myself.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:02 AM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


If the movie about Dory taught me anything it's also that they're snarky in addition to being wise and a bit jaded.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:05 AM on September 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm glad the author immediately contradicted the baseless allegation of malignancy.
posted by edheil at 11:06 AM on September 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


I find it heartening that the Closest Thing To Intelligent Alien Life We've Ever Encountered™ is, as far as we can tell, gentle, hospitable, and good-humored. While it might be arrogant to project human experience onto alien minds, I think it's arrogant as well to assume that human have a literally universal monopoly on the capacity for kindness and grace. The belief that an alien or artificial intelligence will be necessarily malign, necessarily indifferent to our worth and our suffering, also seems to me a projection; I think there are a lot of minds out there, of all sorts, and many of them are friends we haven't met yet.
posted by Iridic at 11:34 AM on September 1, 2017 [13 favorites]


The makers of Arrival had this figured out as well.
posted by rikschell at 11:37 AM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


Re: the plural of octopus, you can go either way.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:38 AM on September 1, 2017


"What does it feel like to be an octopus?"

Peter Watts has a story that provides an answer to that question: I once spoke to a man who’d shared consciousness with an octopus...
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:46 AM on September 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


Octopuses are the only animals I don't eat for ethical reasons. I am aware of how illogical that is; I don't care. Octopuses are awesome.
posted by quaking fajita at 11:51 AM on September 1, 2017 [25 favorites]


Octopuses

Octos puss.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:02 PM on September 1, 2017 [7 favorites]


It makes me so sad that in 2017 there is still debate on whether other beings feel pain.
posted by twilightlost at 12:10 PM on September 1, 2017 [9 favorites]


Octopuses are the only animals I don't eat for ethical reasons.

Octopuses are the reason I turned vegetarian earlier this year, aged 46. I've not eaten one often, but after reading about them early this year I decided I could never eat something so intelligent again.

And then I got thinking about pigs etc.
posted by dowcrag at 12:28 PM on September 1, 2017 [11 favorites]


When I read the thread title my first thought was literally: "oh, wow, a new Trump thread already? But the current one is only at 1,500 comments..."

Anyhow, +1 for octopi. Love them.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:32 PM on September 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


quaking fajita: "Octopuses are the only animals I don't eat for ethical reasons. I am aware of how illogical that is; I don't care. Octopuses are awesome."

Me too, on both counts.
I'm pretty close to giving up on pigs, for the same reasons.
posted by signal at 12:34 PM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh boy, I see the octopuses' plan to lull humanity into a false sense of safety is proceeding apace.
posted by ejs at 12:40 PM on September 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


Since the legs seem cognitively semi- independent, I think pluralization is probably:

1) Octopus
2) HexaDecaPus
3) DuoDecaQuatroPus
4) TriDecaDuoPus

Etc.
posted by jenkinsEar at 12:42 PM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


TIL those are arms, not tentacles
posted by thelonius at 12:45 PM on September 1, 2017


The dolphins beg to differ.
posted by Devonian at 12:58 PM on September 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


Oh boy, I see the octopuses' plan to lull humanity into a false sense of safety is proceeding apace.

DAGON RISING!
posted by clavdivs at 1:03 PM on September 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


"utilitarianism for animals, Kantianism for humans."

This chimes perfectly with the conversation we had today with my 5-year old about breeding dogs.
posted by Laotic at 1:52 PM on September 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


This is a beautifully written piece. I knew octopuses were clever and curious, but I didn't know they only live for a couple of years and that they turn white when they are "old."

This quote made me smile:

When they try to escape, which is often, they tend to wait for a moment they aren’t being watched. Octopuses have flooded laboratories by deliberately plugging valves in their tanks with their arms.

At the University of Otago, an octopus short-circuited the electricity supply – by shooting jets of water at the aquarium lightbulbs – so often that it had to be released back into the wild.

Jean Boal, a cephalopod researcher at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, reported feeding octopuses in a row of tanks with thawed squid, not an octopus’s favourite food. Returning to the first tank, Boal found that the octopus in it hadn’t eaten the squid, but was instead holding it out in its arm; watching Boal, it slowly made its way across the tank and shoved the squid down the drain.

posted by vickyverky at 2:29 PM on September 1, 2017 [11 favorites]


Agreed about the fine writing, vickyverky.
Even large octopuses – the largest species, the Giant Pacific, has an arm span of more than six metres and weighs a hundred pounds – can fit through an opening an inch wide, or about the size of its eye.
posted by doctornemo at 2:44 PM on September 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


We couldn't have had this conversation 4 hours ago?
posted by biffa at 3:09 PM on September 1, 2017


The makers of Arrival had this figured out as well.

If we're talkin about octopi from outer space, Monsters (2010) is a well-written low budget sci-fi film (on Netflix ?) that's worth seeing if you like this sort of thing.
posted by ovvl at 3:58 PM on September 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


the octopus gave up its protective, molluscan shell in order to embrace a life of unboundaried potential. But the cost was an increased vulnerability to toothy and bony predators.

My life in a molluscshell.
posted by tenderly at 4:05 PM on September 1, 2017




I have a policy of not eating any animal that I consider likely to be sapient, which includes octopuses. I make an exception for animals that would gladly kill and eat me, given the opportunity, so pigs are still on the menu. Fair's fair.

To be completely honest, I think I'd give octopuses a pass even if they would like to eat me, because, frankly, they're way cooler than I am.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 8:35 PM on September 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


Here's another good previously about distributed intelligence, incl. octopodes That's right octopodes, fight me.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:57 PM on September 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


The makers of Arrival Ted Chiang

had this figured out as well.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:20 PM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


To Talk With Aliens, Learn to Speak With Dolphins

Alan Moore, it has been said, knows the score.
posted by biffa at 8:21 AM on September 2, 2017


Meh, octopi are delicious, no matter their intelligence. Which so far hasn't extended to fishing for humans.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:40 PM on September 2, 2017


"octopi"

Yeah, just to be clear, its etymology is Greek, not Latin, so octopi is definitely wrong. So it's either octopodes, if you want to form a Greek plural, or octopuses since, you know, at this point it's an English word.

Anyway, I heartily approve of this post because the cephalopods are incredibly cool and quite intelligent. I never tire of reading articles like this.

I want an octopus friend -- like a life companion, hanging out, having adventures, solving crime. That sort of thing.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:50 PM on September 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


We couldn't have had this conversation 4 hours ago?

We've been having this conversation for years
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:41 PM on September 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh boy, I see the octopuses' plan to lull humanity into a false sense of safety is proceeding apace.

They see us as suckers?
posted by Chitownfats at 4:05 PM on September 3, 2017


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