Hear and Now: It's Underwater Week!

Allison Loudermilk

Hear and Now: It's Underwater Week! HowStuffWorks NOW
Hear and Now: It's Underwater Week! HowStuffWorks NOW

It's summer here in Atlanta, Georgia, where HowStuffWorks is based. Which means it's hot. So the HowStuffWorks Now team headed underwater to cool off and find out what's happening in the marine depths.

First up were some seriously opportunistic catfish from Down Under. We always knew there was something kind of wacky about catfish. And this week's story, brought to you by Christian Sager, just reinforces that impression. It turns out that catfish are quite capable of snacking on terrestrial animals, like mice. The questions is, how are they getting them in the first place? Are they beaching themselves, as other catfish have been known to do to eat pigeons? Or are the hapless mice just falling into their maws? Here's the study and the story.

In other news, cuttlefish just keep getting cooler. You've probably already heard tales about cross-dressing cuttlefish. This week Robert Lamb reported the news that these crafty cephalopods also are quite the mathematicians. In fact, Taiwanese researchers who tested 54 different pharaoh cuttlefish would rank their number sense among primates and human infants. They found that the cuttlefish surveyed could count to five and perhaps higher. Here's the study for that one. (By the way, if you want more cephalopod fun, check out HowStuffWorks Now editor Christopher Hassiotis' ode to a googly-eyed squid.)

And then, of course, there's China. Here's the deal: China wants to build an underwater lab in the South China Sea to serve as a center for mining operations, one of the country's major industries. Minerals and rare earth metals are necessary components in much of our tech, and China is the world's leading supplier of electronics. (Who's excited about the iPhone 7, by the way?). The thing is, nobody's exactly sure if there will be a whole lot of minerals and rare earth metals to be found down there. And China being China, that may or may not be the full story about the lab's intended purpose. Jonathan Strickland gives you the scoop on that story.

That's our aquatic act for this week's podcast. We hope you like what you hear, either by listening to the podcast player we've embedded in this article or by catching it on your favorite podcast service. If you want more, please subscribe