Do Animals Deserve Privacy, Too?

As Europe struggles to agree on new rules on sharing private banking data with the U.S. designed to stem the flow of international financing for terrorism, a new privacy issue has emerged that some people may consider less serious: animal privacy.According to a study by Brett Mills, a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia in the U.K., television documentaries might be intruding into animals’ privacy.

“We can never really know if animals are giving consent, but they often do engage in forms of behavior which suggest they’d rather not encounter humans, and we might want to think about equating this with a desire for privacy,” says Dr. Mills, whose academic expertise is in TV shows such as sitcoms.


Did That Dog Just Smile At You ?

You come home after work and the family pooch greets you, grinning ear to ear. That’s a true expression of emotion, right? Your dog is really showing she is happy to see you? Most likely, according to new research that for the first time documents and catalogues changes in the facial expression of laboratory mice in response to a particular emotion, pain.

And although a dog is different from a mouse, all pets probably express emotions in much the same way that humans do, according to Jeffrey Mogil, a psychologist and neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal, senior author of a study published online in the journal Nature Methods.

The finding may not be all that surprising, because we all know our pets love us and express that emotion unconditionally, but it has been largely a matter of faith ever since Charles Darwin published his book, “The Expression of Emotion in Men and Animals,” way back in 1872. Oddly enough, there is still much debate over whether animals really feel human-like emotions, but Mogil is confident that his research shows that for at least one emotion — pain — mice feel it, and express it, in a way that is surprisingly similar to the way humans show they are in pain, which Darwin also predicted.

Flying Fish Leaves Picture-Perfect Pattern

When you think of the words “beautiful” and “fish” together, odds are that you’re picturing the real showstoppers, the brightly colored tropical fish that catch the eye and the imagination.

But this flying fish — photographed in the air over the still waters of the Timor Sea — makes the flashy colors of those other fish seem downright gaudy. Its graceful pose, combined with the remarkable pattern it leaves by dragging its tail fin along the surface of the water, is a perfect example of why nature has always inspired artists.