"You're going to need a bigger boat." Infamous words while
battling one insanely gigantic, man-eating shark. Yes, Jaws is entertaining and slightly
frightening, but sharks aren't nearly as scary
as they are made to be.
Naturally, sharks aren't interested in feeding on humans; they'd much rather feast on tuna fish. Recently, a helicopter captured at least 50 black tip whalers, bronze whalers and spinner sharks off the coast of Australia enjoying some fresh tuna grub.
As frightened as humans are of sharks, sharks should be more worried about us. According to the Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research and Education, 73 million sharks are killed annually, many for their fins alone, which are used for shark fin soup, a dish sometimes served at Chinese weddings and banquets. Demand for shark fins has led to a steep decline in shark populations. Now, Illinois is taking legal action to help protect this important creature of the oceanic ecosystem. If our neighbors to the west are willing to help save our oceans, why not the Hoosier state? Oh, that's right: They're too busy with other things.
I thought about posting this video of a song about mountaintop removal but decided against it because it's awfully depressing, even without much footage of mountains exploding.
So instead, I'm sharing this incredible time-lapse video of the Milky Way and other celestial gorgeousness. Put it in full-screen HD and watch it in the dark with headphones on for maximum impact:
Randy Halverson writes about the creation of his video on his website, where he also links to a post Bear McCreary (who has composed for Battlestar Galactica, The Walkind Dead and more) wrote about creating the music for Temporal Distortion.
Aren't you glad I posted this instead of a depressing video?
Instead of letting delightful dung sit in a landfill, Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle would be happy to hand over a fresh bucket of their animals' waste to a lucky contestant. The person who correctly guesses the combined weight of two hippos, Water Lily and Guadalupe, will be the lucky winner of a 4-gallon bucket of the coveted animal poo along with other swag. It's no ordinary poo, though: The bucket will contain a delightful post-digestive combination from elephants, giraffes, zebras and other zoo inhabitants.
The zoo used to spend tens of thousands of dollars annually on sending the dumps to the dump but now makes money for the animals' care from the nutrient-rich fertilizer. The poo is so popular that the zoo holds a "Fecal Fest" twice a year.
How does the zoo deal with all that poo? Find out from Dan, the self-proclaimed "The Emperor of Excrement":
A $7,500 reward has been offered for info leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the killing of an endangered whooping crane last week.
The federally endangered bird was found in Jackson County, Ind., near Crothersville, on Dec. 30, and Indiana's Turn In a Poacher program announced the joint reward today. People with tips on this poaching or any other violations of fishing, hunting and environmental laws can submit them anonymously by calling 1-800-TIP-IDNR (800-847-4367) and be eligible for cash rewards.
Only about 500 of the endangered birds exist in the wild today, and various programs have been set up to help them. Check out the video below of people - acting as surrogate parents - working with whooping crane chicks to teach them how to migrate by following ultralight aircraft.
For more details about the incident and reward, check out the DNR article on the case.
After reading Jim's post yesterday on Indiana Living Green about adopting a climate-change skeptic, I came across two videos about what humans are doing to the planet and the debate over it. I first saw the video at the bottom of this post, which is a mostly beautiful piece about how we're killing the planet and its creatures. Uplifting stuff.
Then I saw the first video below, posted last month on YouTube. Produced by Plomomedia in tribute to climatologist and Stanford Professor Stephen Schneider, who passed away in 2010 and is featured in the video, it's a quick look at the past few decades' worth of climate change, with an eye toward probabilities, risk management, consensus and tipping points. In it, Schneider basically says there is no absolute certainty one way or the other about how climate change will pan out. But as reasonable human adults should realize, there is often no such thing as absolute certainty in anything.
In looking at the world with less of a black/white, binary vision, perhaps we - as members of humanity - should do things not because we do or don't believe in climate change, but because we're acting unselfishly in the best interest of all - simply because it's the right thing to do. Schneider succinctly encapsulates the issue: "Our behavior in the next generation could precondition a sustainability issue for a millennium or ten, based upon the convenience of one species for one generation." How do you plan on explaining the sad situation of our planet to your great grandkids?
Thanks to SkepticalScience.com for posting the first video.
On 60 Minutes last weekend, Anderson Cooper visited a vibrant coral reef off the coast of Cuba, where he swam with sharks and a 200 lb. grouper, a large fish whose numbers are dwindling but which you can still find on your plate in Indiana, for a price.
It's amazing that, in the landlocked midwest, we can go to virtually any restaurant and dine on a bounty of ocean-dwelling creatures when, according to David Guggenheim, American marine biologist and senior fellow at The Ocean Foundation in Washington, D.C., what often shows up on our dinner plates is disappearing at an astonishing rate. According to Guggenheim, the majority of tuna and swordfish - "Predators that we just love to eat," in his words - have been depleted. And 90% of sharks have been killed in the past 50 years.
What can you do to help coral reefs from the your distant Midwestern life? A few things:
But there's always hope. Guggenheim says that "[doing] what you can locally" has far-reaching impacts, and Jim encourages you to hold fast to "a New Year's resolution, one that puts nature first - over everything else."
Do you feel a personal connection to what's happening in our oceans? Tell us about it.