Swearing Parrots, Gut Bacteria, and Seeing a Rocket Launch from Space: Lux Recommends #249

2 min readOct 9, 2020


By Sam Arbesman, PhD

Welcome to Lux Recommends #249, this week’s edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about (want to receive this by email? Sign up here).


Parrots removed from UK family safari park after teaching each other to swear — and laughing about it: ‘Because they were all quarantined together it meant that one room was just full of swearing birds’ — Deena

The Underground Poker Clubs Are Booming in Caracas: “They’re technically illegal and increasingly popular.” — Friend of Lux Nicky Sid

Darwinian Gastronomy: Why We Use Spices: Spices taste good because they are good for usAdam K

What if underwater robots could autonomously dock mid-mission to recharge and transfer data? Adam G

Ultra-rare ‘albino’ shark is first ever caught off coast of BritainAdam K

Gut Bacteria’s Role in Anxiety and Depression: It’s Not Just In Your Head: “Mounting evidence shows bugs in your digestive system influence the brain. Experts are now testing psychobiotics as mental health remedies.” — Adam G

Breaking Wave Clouds Over ColoradoAdam K


A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism by Adam Gopnik: “a manifesto rooted in the lives of people who invented and extended the liberal tradition. Taking us from Montaigne to Mill, and from Middlemarch to the civil rights movement, Adam Gopnik argues that liberalism is not a form of centrism, nor simply another word for free markets, nor merely a term denoting a set of rights. It is something far more ambitious: the search for radical change by humane measures.” — Sam


The Social Dilemma: “Explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.” — Lux friend Chuck Clarvit

My Octopus Teacher: “A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world.” — Lux friend Ben Brucker


This is what a rocket launch looks like from spaceAdam K

New York — before the cityAdam K

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