Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Reasons to love the innernet: the Macronesia project

Longtime readers of this blog will recall that the larger issues of state and Church and whatnot are really not what get me through the days.

There are a lot of reasons to trash the internet, and I've not been holding back on them lately. But I always add the caveat that I actually really love the innernet. I wouldn't be employed without it, for one thing, and I'd probably still be living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, would never have gone to Toronto, never started writing professionally and never have reconnected with my family in England or lived in Italy or moved to Norcia or become an Oblate.

Another thing I probably wouldn't have done was get into cephalopods or marine biology, a rediscovery of an avid childhood interest.

Marine Biology, however, is a huge motivator.

The name says it all: the flamboyant cuttlefish is one of the most striking cephalopods, in appearance and behavior. Usually no more that 8 cm (3 in), their small stature is offset by their big and bizarre behavior and literally "flashy" coloration. They usually move around by "walking" along the bottom, waddling by moving the bottom of the mantle back and forth in a comical elephant-like shuffle, while undulating their fins and waving their brightly-colored tentacles. When startled, they will "gallop" off, darkening in coloration and waving their tentacles wildly. Most striking is their habit of flashing black and white bars of color along the mantle. When at rest, they can go light or dark to find camouflage on the ocean bottom.

The flashy color and flagrant behavior is no bluff...they are highly toxic, one of only three poisonous cephalopods.

One very useful thing about the innernet, arguably the most important thing it does after informing, is getting people together. The other day a good friend sent me a link to the Facebook page of 2240 other people who think cephalopods and nudibranchs and sea stars and mantis shrimp are the best thing evah.

No, I'm not kidding. Ask anyone who actually hangs out with me.

Will Hilary suddenly interrupt a perfectly good conversation about Pope Francis or the end of the world with the exclamation, "You guys have to see this amazing cuttlefish!"

Yes. Yes I do. All the time.

More people than you would think are big cephalopod fans. Here's a guy, Shane Siers, who has made a whole career out of making videos of the cuttlefish and other fauna in a tiny island in the South Pacific. Macronesia.

My kinda people.



Han said...

Ha ha! Nice try, but I am wise to your tricks. This is just nefarious R'lyehian propaganda to lull us into complacency so that we well be caught unawares by the unspeakable horror that will rise from the sea when the stars are right.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

I heart Cthulhu

and so do you.