A list of curious facts
One: The black heron is an African bird that has an excellent method of catching prey—it turns into an umbrella! Scientists are not exactly sure wtf it’s doing—whether the shade helps it spot fish better or lure fish looking for a dark place to hide. But it most certainly looks cool—in a goofy kinda way:) (Audubon)
Two: Japan is truly a neverending source of strange cultural trends. Say hello to “Taishoku daiko” also known as “job-leaving agents”—who do the hard work of quitting for you, be it from a Shinto shrine, a dentist's office or a law firm. Why overworked working stiffs need so much help: Japanese bosses can be extremely tyrannical and simply refuse to let you go—and act like “fanatics,” “bullies” and “mini-Hitlers.” According to one lawyer, “Switching jobs is a major challenge in Japan that requires tremendous courage.” Who knew! (Associated Press)
Three: Which of these shapes are ‘kiki’ and which is ‘bouba’?
If you picked ‘kiki’ for the jagged shape and ‘bouba’ for the blobby, curvy one, you are like most human beings. All of us associate nonsense words with a particular abstract shape. And it’s probably to do with how we move our mouth when we speak these words: “With ‘bouba’, our lips are rounded and our oral cavity is open; whereas our lips become tight and constrained when we pronounce ‘kiki.’”
Btw, this holds true for a majority of people across cultures, ages and languages. And to make it fun, we can even classify all sorts of things as ‘kiki’ or ‘bouba’—for example: these two avatars of Meryl Streep. New York Times has a fun interactive feature (splainer gift link) that lets you play the bouba/kiki game. For more on the research, check out Science Alert and Behavioural Scientist.