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Festive, Freakish, Flammable: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

Before you invite friends out to eat, decide who's responsible for the check. andresr/Getty Images

Spring is right around the corner, but there's still time to grow your mind. The gardeners at HowStuffWorks have all types of knowledge seeds. Here are some of the stories you may have missed this week.

The Festive

Everyone loves to have a good time, but many nights out are ruined when guests realize too late that a restaurant meal they were invited to carries the expectation that they must pay for themselves — and possibly the birthday host as well. Financial writer Michelle Singletary recently insisted that hosts shouldn't invite people to a celebratory event unless they're able to pay for all of their guests. Not everyone agrees. Etiquette experts say the best way to avoid confusion is to set expectations in the invitation. However you decide to structure your get together, don't make things awkward when it's time to decide who pays the dinner bill.

The Freakish

Cuttlefish, masters of camouflage, have a newly discovered super power that may change the world. Researchers at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts discovered that these creatures can maintain an altered appearance for up to an hour without expending additional energy. This allows them to hold prey for long periods of time without being detected. Researchers theorized that if certain nerves in the cuttlefish's skin were cut, it would be unable to change colors, but they were wrong. The fish continued to swim normally in the tank. Scientists believe that other cephalopods like squid also use camouflage. Why does any of this matter? Because engineers are modeling technology after these fish that could be used to make dynamic 3-D maps and soft robots that could mold around an injured patient's leg.

The Flammable

One of the most perplexing events in history occurred over Siberia in 1908 when a fireball appeared in the sky, and an unknown force toppled trees and killed wildlife. People suspected that aliens, a black hole or even Nikola Tesla's death ray were to blame, but now scientists are certain that something entered the atmosphere from space and blew up before it hit the ground. The most popular theory is that an asteroid or meteorite hit but there's no crater in the region — the only evidence of an explosion was the flattened trees. How is this possible? This week on the Stuff They Don't Want You To Know podcast, our hosts discuss the Tunguska incident and the probability of another impact event in the future.