Meet the humble snot snake!

Meet the humble hagfish, an ugly, gray, eel-like creature affectionately known as a “snot snake” because of its unique defense mechanism. The hagfish can unleash a full liter of sticky slime from pores located all over its body in less than one second. That’s sufficient to, say, clog the gills of a predatory shark, suffocating the would-be predator. A new paper published in the journal Current Biology reports that the slime produced by larger hagfish contains much larger cells than slime produced by smaller hagfish—an unusual example of cell size scaling with body size in nature.

Hagfish slime is an example of a non-Newtonian fluid, in which the viscosity changes in response to an applied strain or shearing force. … Applying a strain or shearing force will increase viscosity—in the case of ketchup, pudding, gravy, or that classic mix of water and corn starch called “oobleck”—or decrease it, like non-drip paint that brushes on easily but becomes more viscous once it’s on the wall.

Hagfish slime can be both. It turns out that the suction feeding employed by many of the hagfish’s predators creates a unidirectional flow. The elongated stress of that sucking flow increases the goo’s viscosity, the better to suffocate said predators by clogging of the gills. But when the hagfish is trying to escape from its own slime, its motion creates a shear-thinning flow that actually reduces the viscosity of the slime, making it easier to escape. In fact, the slimy network quickly collapses in the face of a shear-thinning flow.

Lots more exciting, thought-provoking analysis like this in the article.

As a youth, our family fed ourselves significantly by coastal fishing. I caught a hagfish – once! I wish I hadn’t.

Whistleblower confirms Facebook’s crap profiteering ideology

The 37-year-old whistleblower named Frances Haugen liberated “tens of thousands” of pages of documents from Facebook and even plans to testify to Congress at some point this week. Haugen has filed at least eight complaints with the SEC alleging that Facebook has lied to shareholders about its own product.

Fundamentally, Haugen alleges there’s a key conflict between what’s good for Facebook and what’s good for society at large. At the end of the day, things that are good for Facebook tend to be bad for the world we live in, according to Haugen. We’ve pulled out some of the most interesting tidbits from Sunday’s interview that highlight this central point.

1) Facebook’s algorithm intentionally shows users things to make them angry

2) Facebook is worse than most other social media companies

3) Facebook dissolved its Civic Integrity unit after the 2020 election and before the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection

4) Political parties in Europe ran negative ads because it was the only way to reach people on Facebook

5) Facebook only identifies a tiny fraction of hate and misinformation on the platform

6) Instagram is making kids miserable

7) Employees at Facebook aren’t necessarily evil, they just have perverse incentives

8) Haugen even has empathy for Zuck for some stupid reason

9) Haugen believes she’s covered by whistleblower laws, but we’ll see

RTFA. If you’re interested in Facebook. I only maintain a listing of posts on this blog over there because of the traffic it represents. I’ve been online since the early 90’s…like and appreciate the level of communication and information sources that have developed over the years on the Web. Facebook doesn’t offer the best of anything, IMHO.