Tritonia Khaleesi – New Slug Named After the Mother of Dragons

By Anupum Pant

Wish you a Happy 2014

It’s the last day of the year! What am I doing?
I’m writing this blog-post while everyone in the city is partying. That might sound like a sad thing, but I like to think of celebration as something that isn’t the same for everyone.
For instance, think of the sea slugs for a moment. The last day of the year means nothing to them. Even when it is party time for everyone else, they do the thing they do every day. Although it makes sense here, sea slug is not to be confused with the first generation British surface-to-air missile.
Anyway, I wish all of my readers a very happy and a successful 2014. If you need some help with sticking to New Year resolutions, you could check this out – [Help!]

So, talking about sea slugs – A sea slug can be thought of as a type of a snail, without a shell living in the sea. But, why am I talking about sea slugs suddenly? There is a reason.

A new sea slug

Felipe de Vasconcelos Silva, Victor Manuel De Azevedo, and Helena Matthews-Cascon from the Federal University of Ceará discovered a new kind of sea slug off the coast of north-east Brazil. They decided to name it Tritonia khaleesi.
If it doesn’t ring a bell, it is probably because you do not watch Game of Thrones on TV. They named it after the mother of dragons, Khaleesi, from the Game of thrones – a fantasy drama television series which is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels.

Why did they name it that?

If I may quote the scientists themselves, their words pretty much answer this question:

The standard of the silver band on the back of the slug reminds braids Khaleesi of silver hair, especially in the last episode of the first season of the show. Besides silver color, the species is one of the smallest sea slugs, as well as Khaleesi is also described as low and new.

What did you learn?

Well, Several things! Things like:

  1. Scientific names can be after character names from TV shows or fantasy novels.
  2. The British called their first generation surface-to-air missile – Sea Slug.
  3. New species are being discovered even today. BTW, it is estimated that 86% of the species still living on earth are still waiting to get discovered.
  4. And of course, the new sea slug is named after Khaleesi.
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The Science of Sticking to New Year Resolutions

By Anupum Pant

Wait a minute. Have you started listing your New Year resolutions four days before the New Year starts? If you are planning on sticking to New Year resolutions this year, simple science says, you probably shouldn’t be making lists now.

Let’s admit it, many among us have made the same resolution for the last 5 years. We are not alone. More than 90% of the people do not succeed in achieving their New year resolutions. But, does that mean there is no point in pledging for something good?
No! of course not. If it is good, it is always good to go ahead. Paying attention to simple science can help you this year.

Hyperbolic Discounting

The first thing to know before applying science to help you stick with your resolutions is the term Hyperbolic Discounting. It states that we show a preference for something that arrives sooner than later. To give you an example, think of these 2 separate choices:

1. You are trying to eat better to lose weight. Salad is good for you but you don’t like it.
Now, I offer you only one of these two things to eat – a box of fries or a bowl of healthy green salad. The catch is that you know that you have to decide now, but you will have to actually eat it on the same day, next month. In this case most people choose, healthy green salad for next month.

2. In a second test, can you guess what happens if I offer you the same choice again and you have to eat it right after you choose and not the next month? You are more likely to say french fries.

Hyperbolic Discounting: We show a preference for something that arrives sooner rather than later. In the second choice, the satisfaction from eating french fries comes instantly. While the good results of a healthy diet is a culmination of your efforts over several months. So, you tend to choose the food item that gives you quick satisfaction. In other words, we need instant gratification.

The best way to illustrate this would be this TED talk where Silvia Barcellos talks about The Marshmallow Test and why we want instant gratification.

Real world example: If you are trying to quit smoking, you must have decided to add it to your list of resolutions for the next year. Later, when your friends ask you out for a New Year’s party, there is a great chance that you’ve already entered 2014 and are still smoking away packs. Technically, you have missed on the first day.
You chose instant satisfaction – partying – over your long-term goal of quitting cigarettes.

To avoid this

To avoid this, it is suggested that you either make lists just before you are going to start doing it. In this case, do it [making list] on Jan 31, 2359 hours. But you’ll be partying at that time. So, you could make lists now and start doing it right away.

In short, do not procrastinate. Things that are far, look smaller from where you stand. Bring your goals nearer to see how big they actually are.

Read more at [You are Not So Smart]

Some other common advice to keep in mind

  • Have just one or two very specific resolutions.
  • Pledge to include tiny habits in your everyday lives. Don’t have huge goals.
  • Use triggers.
  • Communicate your end goals to the greatest number of people you can in your social circle.
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