XKCD is a very intelligent comic, and pretty much every post has something to do with science. Every so often there is a large format comic explaining some macro scientific concept. Today's is talking about depths, likely brought about by James Cameron's recent dive. It does a pretty good job explaining how massive the ocean is. Be sure to click the image for an expanded version, and read all the fun facts (a few are jokes, but some good trivia in there!).
It's been a stormy, wet, and cold spring. We've had a lot of severe weather warnings all over the great lakes region and record tornadoes throughout the country. What's even more frightening that a tornado coming towards your house? How about a tornado coming towards you boat! At least with a tornado you can hide in your cellar. On the water, there is no hiding from one of these frightening natural phenomenons...
I had an awesome time at the Detroit Zoo last weekend. Among the many highlights of the day was a trip to the 126-seat Wild Adventure 3-D / 4-D Theater where I watched the Planet Earth: Shallow Seas 4-D Experience. All I can say is "Amazing"! For any boater interested in coral diving, and other shallow ocean life, get ready for an amazing experience. From their website... "In this epic 4-D adventure, hear the power of the ocean's waves as they crash along the shoreline, and feel the salty spray as you surf the coast with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in search of food. Glide alongside a cast of balletic sea lions as they dive through vast swirling bait balls of anchovy, and track a mother humpback whale and her calf as they navigate from their tropical nursery to the Arctic Circle. Experience the greatest gathering of seabirds and whales ever captured in Digital HD. Sense the pressure, feel the perils and smell the triumph as you celebrate Earth as never before in Planet Earth: Shallow Seas 4-D Experience."
- Tracking Whale Sharks With Astronomical Algorithms (wired.com)
- Record numbers of humpback whales spotted near Antarctica (gadling.com)
- "Humpback Whale Songs" and related posts (darwiniana.com)
I've got a little explorer inside of me, as most young men do. I've always dreamed of an expedition to a far away land. Unfortunately most everything has been explored and, short of diving miles below the ocean, there probably aren't any places I could discover and append with my name. There will likely never be an Amerigo Vespucci moment for me. Alas, I can still dream of times not so long ago when I would have most certainly jumped on some of the first expedition voyages to the great unexplored Antarctic! Today over at brainpickings.org, they've done just that, offering up a wonderful set of photos from a 1911 voyage by a group of Australian scientists. It's full of all the sea creatures, ship wrecks, and crazy fishing that every boater loves! "These images come from James Francis (Frank) Hurley, the official photographer to the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, and other members of the expedition who compensated for their lack of photographic acumen with sheer enthusiasm and visceral curiosity about the novel landscape that unfolded before their eyes."
Check out these awesome images and find the rest of them at brainpickings.org...
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- A Rare Look at Antarctica, 1911-1914 (brainpickings.org)
- Shackleton's Antarctica in Color (neatorama.com)
- Shackleton's Antarctica in colour, 1915 (howtobearetronaut.com)
- 2 for 1 on Antarctic Voyage! (thepolarpeople.co.uk)
- Antarctica - Mysterious Continent (librarianbrain.wordpress.com)
- On the shoulders of Polar giants (independent.co.uk)
- Antarctic lake hides bizarre ecosystem (sciencenews.org)
A while back (2006), beloved nature explorer and television personality Steve Irwin was "accidentally" killed by a "confused" Sting Ray. Having suffered a massive puncture wound to the heart, Irwin died on the scene before help could arrive. Nature sympathizers and sting ray supremacists alike declared the event an isolated incident in which Irwin was the clear provocateur. In typical fashion, the left wing media failed to report that the sting ray, a known Obama supporter, attacked Irwin with an unlicensed stinger barb. Now it appears this "isolated incident" was anything but! CNN is reporting that a massive 300 pound eagle ray has assaulted a Florida woman on a fishing charter for photographing their movements. Intelligence reports suggest that the Eagle Ray is the faster, and more maneuverable sting ray breed, often used for stealthy assaults.
A huge eagle ray weighing as much as 300 pounds landed on top of a woman on a boat in the Florida Keys last week, throwing her to the deck and pinning her underneath it, the captain of the boat told CNN. The woman, Jenny Hausch, was on the chartered boat Friday with her husband and three children, taking pictures of a group of eagle rays as they flew out of the water. "These eagle rays, they were flying through the air," said Kelly Klein of Two Chicks Charters. "These giant things go out of the water and slam back down." Hausch was in the front of the boat, snapping away, Klein said. "One of the rays jumped in the air and she gets this perfect shot," the captain said, adding that rays always jump twice. On the second jump, one ray hit her in the chest and she fell down, hitting her head, Klein said. "It keeps slamming and slamming on top of her, trying to swim away," she said. Hausch's husband and children watched in horror. Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers Aja Vickers and Bret Swensson were patrolling the water near the tour boat when they heard screams. "We turned around and looked and saw the eagle ray thrashing around in the boat and at that point we realized we had a problem," said Vickers.
When Vickers was questioned about the Eagle Ray's motives, she responded, "In 2008, a woman died from the impact when a ray jumped out of the water and hit her as she boated in the Keys, but [this was a] freak accident. This is a total one-in-a-million chance. These animals aren't attacking by any means. One theory is these animals jump during mating season."
Make note everyone, the sea rays are on the war-path again, and Vickers is a sympathizer! Early reports show that the giant river rays have not allied themselves with the eagle rays yet, but both parties have been trying to reach a strategic agreement for some time. Unless sanctions are brought against all tributaries and estuaries actively supporting all terrorists and radical oceanites, the problem will only spread.
- Ray slams woman on boat in Florida Keys (cnn.com)
- Dolphins, squids and sting rays oh my! (lindsaybellevoyage.wordpress.com)
- Have you ever kissed a Sting Ray? - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (travelpod.com)
- Woman attacked by flying ray (thesun.co.uk)
- Branch: Felted Sting Rays and Sea Turtles (mysweetgreens.com)
I for one am a huge fan of TED talks. They are self proclaimed "Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world". Occasionally one really strikes my fancy, as was the case with the talk given by Brian Skerry.
From the TED website...
Brian Skerry is a photojournalist who captures images that not only celebrate the mystery and beauty of the sea but also bring attention to the pressing issue which endanger our oceans. Using the camera as his tool of communication, Brian Skerry has spent the past three decades telling the stories of the ocean. His images portray not only the aesthetic wonder of the ocean but display an intense journalistic drive for relevance. Skerry's work brings to light the many pressing issues facing our oceans and its inhabitants. Typically spending eight months of the year in the field, he often face extreme conditions to capture his subjects. He has lived on the bottom of the sea, spent months aboard fishing boats and dived beneath the Arctic ice to get his shot. He has spent over 10,000 hours underwater.
A contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine since 1998, Brian Skerry has had twelve stories published in the magazine with several more upcoming.
To read more about Brian Skerry, check out his amazing website full of fantastic high res images from the mysterious deep here. His photography really piques the inner-child fantasy I've always had about the ocean. Travelling by boat over open water has always left me wishing I could know just what was swimming about underneath the hull, living quietly in the deep.
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