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The Spill: Smart Puffin

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Tensions with Iran

The U.S. and the Middle Eastern country of Iran have been at odds for a long time, but over the past week relations have gotten worse. On New Year’s Eve, protestors attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq. President Trump said Iran supported the protest.

On January 3, a U.S. drone killed a powerful Iranian official, Major General Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani had organized terrorist attacks against the U.S.

Iran held a funeral for Soleimani, with crowds turning up on the streets to mourn him. Some of them expressed anger toward the United States.

Trump’s choice to kill Soleimani has been controversial, meaning that Americans have been arguing about it. Some people called the move reckless, while others say that it was a good decision for the defense of the U.S. People are now wondering how the future relationship between Iran and America will look.

The Canadian Army Plays Pokémon Go

Soldiers in Canada were ordered to play Pokémon Go. The Canadian army faced a problem when people started arriving on its military bases, trying to hunt down digital Pokémon in the area.

One man who was arrested attempting to collect Pokémon at CFB Borden explained to officers that “I have to beat my kids” at the game. A woman was caught at the entrance to a base, “whilst the three children with her were climbing all over the tanks.”

The game involves traveling to different places to collect the digital creatures, especially at hotspots called PokeSpots and PokeGyms.

“Fort Frontenac is both a PokeGym and a PokeStop,” wrote Major Jeff Monaghan at Canadian Forces Base Kingston. “I will be completely honest in that I have no idea what that is,” he added.

At least three officers were ordered to wander around Canadian army bases playing the game to find Pokémon – a job better suited to kids, some suggested. “We should almost hire a 12-year-old to help us out with this,” said security expert David Levenick at CFB Borden in Ontario.

The military warned people not to enter the bases – even if Pokémon were living there.

Puffin Observed Using “Tool”

Puffin footage from Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences

Only a few animal species have been seen using tools to help them perform tasks.

Researchers in Iceland recorded a puffin using a small stick to scratch an itch or to remove a tick from its body. The same thing was seen in Wales, which is more than 1,000 miles away. This suggests that tool use may be “widespread in this group.”

“I was surprised and excited,” said Annette Fayet, an ecologist who was studying the birds. While some birds use tools to get food, this observation shows that birds can use tools for grooming, too. It is the first time a seabird has been seen using a tool for this purpose.

Whatever is going on in the secret lives of birds, science and observation are slowly revealing that these creatures are more intelligent than most of us have ever thought.

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