Japanese Restaurant Employs Masked Monkey Waiters

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Welcome to Kayabuki restaurant in Utsunomiya, Tochigi.

The place is a traditional ‘sake house’, which makes its choice of staff even stranger – a couple of monkeys named Yat-chan and Fuku-chan working as waiters (or waitresses, we’re not sure). 16-year-old Yat-chan is the older of the two, but he moves quickly between tables as he takes the customers’ drink orders. Fuku-chan gives diners a hot towel and helps them clean their hands before they order their drinks, as is the custom in Japan.

Believe it or not, the pair is actually certified by local authorities to work at the restaurant.

The customers like them as well, so they get tipped with soya beans. One customer, Takayoshi Soeno said, “The monkeys are actually better waiters than some really bad human ones.”

Japanese animal-rights laws only permit the apes to work at the restaurant for two hours a day. But Otsuka plans to bring up another generation of monkey-workers, and has 3 baby monkeys in the pipeline already.

Monkeys working as waitstaff…that I get. It’s the masks. Oh god, the masks…clowns would be better.

Via Oddity Central.

The Tactics of Cheating in Baboons

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Gelada baboons (Theropithecus gelada) live in social groups of about a dozen females and fewer males. Each group is lead by a dominant male who has mating privileges with all the females. Subordinate males are not allowed to mate with his “harem” and typically hang around the edges of the group. However, genetic research reveals these subordinate males can father nearly 20% of the group’s young.

After carefully studying more than 1,000 sexual relationships among geladas, the research team found that cheating individuals do, indeed, make sexual noises less frequently. Most cheating between the female and subordinate happened while the leader male was at a safe distance away.

Photo via frankfocus.
Via Phys.Org.

Innovative Cartography

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It is easy to forget that population is not distributed evenly, particularly when looking at geographic based election maps. Above is a redrawing of the United States with fifty states, but distributed evenly.

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And above, a map of the writing systems used throughout the world. Note, writing system, not language.

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Now for the most popular sport mapped across the world.

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And above, power outlet distribution.

Via Buzzfeed.

Temporary Tattoos Could Enable Electronic Telepathy

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Temporary electronic tattoos could soon help people fly drones with only thought and talk seemingly telepathically without speech over smartphones, researchers say.

In recent years, brain implants have enabled people to control robotics using only their minds, raising the prospect that one day patients could overcome disabilities using bionic limbs or mechanical exoskeletons.

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Instead, electrical engineer Todd Coleman at the University of California at San Diego is devising noninvasive means of controlling machines via the mind.

The devices are less than 100 microns thick, the average diameter of a human hair. They consist of circuitry embedded in a layer or rubbery polyester that allow them to stretch, bend and wrinkle. They are barely visible when placed on skin, making them easy to conceal from others.

The devices can detect electrical signals linked with brain waves, and incorporate solar cells for power and antennas that allow them to communicate wirelessly or receive energy.

Via Business Insider.

Dolphin Seeks Help from Human Diver

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It turns out that the dolphin had fishing line and a hook stuck on one of its fins, so it approached a group of divers who were watching manta rays at night near Kona, Hawaii. Fortunately one of the professional divers was able to help remove some of the fishing line that was restricting the movement of the dolphin, though in the end they were unable to remove the hook.

It’s like dolphins and humans have a species-level deal: we’re the biggest assholes on land, they’re the biggest assholes in the sea (no joke, read up on it if you’re curious), so we’ll help each other where we can to avoid any other species displacing us.

Scratch my back, I’ll scratch your…er, pectoral fin.

Via Americablog.

The Tent Graves of Tennessee

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There are hundreds of these structures from near Albany , KY and across Tennessee mainly in the counties of Fentress, Overton, Putnam, White, Warren , Van Buren and continuing into Coffee County . They are also found in limited numbers in northern Alabama and northern Arkansas.

Reasons for their construction are often given as protection from animals such as cattle walking on the graves or to protect the grave from the weather. The date of the tent graves generally is between the middle 1800’s to the mid 1900’s.

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Via The Gravewalkers with many more fascinating photographs.

Archaeologists Uncover Prehistoric Settlement on Remote Scottish Island

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Evidence of a permanent Iron Age settlement on one of Europe’s most inhospitable islands has been uncovered by archaeologists.

It had been thought that the St Kildan island of Boreray, 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides in the Atlantic Ocean, had never been populated.

The team found remnants of an agricultural field system and crop terraces. Three possible settlement mounds were also uncovered. One of these contained the intact remains of a stone building with a “corbelled” roof, sealed by soil over the centuries.

Photo via Jim Richardson on National Geographic.
Via STV news.