The Octopus: Smart, Dumb, Other?

I've been pretty quiet on the blog while I've been off visiting grandparents in other states this past week. But in the meantime, Slate has published a piece I wrote for them on the beguiling mystery of octopus brains. I wonder if this guy would find it enlightening.

Update: A couple readers pointed out to me that I should have said octopuses jet water, not air. Sorry for the slip--it should be fixed shortly.


More like this

My book Soul Made Flesh will be coming out in January, but in the meantime, I've posted an excerpt on my web site. You can read it online or print out a pdf.
And they are! Just yesterday I was hanging around with a bunch off atheists and they were all pretty angry. They were even getting angry with each other. I could hear "get off my lawn" as a more or less constant droning sound in the background. People who are not atheists, or who may be…
Last fall the Loom was awash in tattoos from scientists. Since then, I've moved them over to my Science Tattoo Emporium. If you haven't checked it out recently, let me invite you over. Incredibly, someone sends me a new science tattoo just about every day. I post them as fast as I can, but I've…
I'm back from Pittsburgh, where the blogging-meet-science writing workshop went very well. Science writers are definitely curious, although you could hear some moans about the end of dead-tree publishing (a bit premature, in my opinion). Amy Gahran, my fellow panelist, is going to post a podcast on…

While I have no problem with a condemnation of the tradition of throwing dead octopuses on the ice at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit -- including the fact that the team even encourages the tradition by lowering a gigantic octopus mascot from the ceiling -- I think it is a tad unfair to single out only the man in the picture (Al Sobotka) who is, after all, the guy tasked with cleaning up said mollusks, not the person who actually threw them in the first place.

I have read articles in the past about people buying the octopuses at local fish markets near the arena (in Detroit's Greektown neighborhood), but I have not seen anything that discussed whether there is any significant ecological impact that otherwise wouldn't occur.

More on the tradition can be found on the "reliable" source of Wikipedia:…

By Tobias Zimmerman (not verified) on 23 Jun 2008 #permalink

Great article. Oh, and I hope PZ never sees that picture!

By themadlolscientist (not verified) on 23 Jun 2008 #permalink

You're just trolling for a Pharyngulation with a title like that, aren't you?

:makes note to buy Microcosm: