A new entry in the best title ever competition: arXiv:0804.2162, “The secret world of shrimps: polarisation vision at its best”, by Sonja Kleinlogel and Andrew G. White. Secret lives of shrimp? That sounds more like an expose on the secret drug habits of the Roloffs on the T.V. show Little People Big World, than the title for a scientific article. (Yes it is politically incorrect to call little people “shrimps.” Having spent the first many years of my life being stared at for have a little person as a sister, however, I think you can cut me some slack, and just laugh ) Let’s see if makes it by the title police.
The paper shows, by the way, that the shrimp Gonodactylus smithiare actually measures circular polarizations of light. This is apparently the first biological system to be known to measure circular polarizations. Even more fascinating, apparently the shrimp perform a full characterization of the Stokes parameters of light, and thus are able to take full advantage of polarized light in its environment. What exactly, the shrimp are doing with this information, however, is, of course, the real question. All I know is that if I were a member of a cannibalistic species, I’d probably want any advantage I could find over my fellow shrimp. But how, exactly would seeing Jeffery Dahmer’s polarization help me escape his evil deads?