Thursday, June 26, 2008

best piece of mail...EVER!

When I first moved out to the my particular corner of the midwest (or as I like to call it "the cornhole of america") I received a most intriguing piece of mail:

Very mysterious, no? I asked friends who I thought sent it and they all denied ownership so I was stumped. I wanted to put it on the blog right away but due to complete inertia, I still haven't replaced my broken camera battery charger. So I resorted to using the camera in my computer.

I finally found out (after months of waterboarding innocent friends) who sent these buttons and all I can say is...Thanks Corrie!!!!! And, I can't wait until you are in Chicago!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

just in time for summer!

The cephalokini!

photo from here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

really big squid eyeballs!

do you ever lay awake at night wondering about the colossal squid they caught last year in antartica? well, they are finally slowly thawing it out in new zealand (so that it doesn't turn into squid oatmeal). they just took out its eyeballs, and not surprisingly, they are really big: 11 inches across (the pic is of the lenses, which are apparently orange sized).

Thanks to my dad for sending me this story from the nytimes!

Monday, April 28, 2008

a great birthday card

even though it's not my birthday, robin sent this amazing card to me:

(my squid whisk offered to hold the card for me.)
Thanks, Robin!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Paleozoic cephalopods in a blanket!!!

Now that I am unemployed and living in a burnt out cornfield in the Midwest, I can focus a lot more time on finding amazing things like this site, courtesy of the Kentucky Geological Survey. Now I thought geological surveys had to do with, well, rocks and oil and fossils and the like. But no! They deal with hot dogs! I haven't seen anything this amazing since the octodog!

The site is an instructional how-to on making cephalopods in a blanket, I 'm guessing to feed future geologists? The page is under the "earth education" section. Apparently it was either, feed the kids rocks, or feed them cephalopods in a blanket. A great, albeit misinformed, quote on the site about making cephalopods in a blanket (or for short, CIBs): "This recipe uses a variation of the old pigs-'n-a-blanket theme in order to make edible cephalopods. Cephalopods were squid-like animals that lived in shells. They were very common in Paleozoic-era seas. They would probably have tasted like calamari (a fancy name for squid to trick people into eating it), but what are your chances of getting a child to eat squid?"

There is also an amazing diagram of how to cut the ends of the hot dogs into tentacles, obviously done on some fancy computer program intended to map oil fields (although not fancy enough to give the cephs enough tentacles):

Here are the CIBs before their amazing transformation:

And after! Voila! CIBs!

It's not hard to picture these little guys swimming peacefully in a Paleozoic sea, with little cinnamon roll nautiluses, jellyfish made of cotton candy, and little jelly bean isopods. Wheee!

¿Se habla cephalopod?

Connie and Matt recently traveled to Mexico, where they spotted this mysterious octopus. That has something to do with drinking?

This is what Connie had to say about it:
"we saw this somewhere between mexico city and san miguel de allende. we passed more than one of these things. maybe a restraunt chain? we were on the bus, so we couldn't investigate. (the bus was moving, hence the awkward image quality.)"

Very mysterious.

¡Que mysterioso!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Viva octopus lovin'!

Behold, Abdopus aculeatus, a small octopus that lives in the waters off of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Christine Huffard, a grad student at Berkeley (now a post-doc at the Monterey Bay Aquarium) was studying a large population of these octopuses and discovered some of their (until now) secret bedroom tactics.

This is all big news because everyone used to think octopuses were solitary and would just mate and then go their separate ways, without even an exchange of phone numbers or a goodbye text message. Robert Caldwell, a researcher at Berkeley had this to say about octopuses and their ways: "They're obsessively secretive, solitary and pretty spooky," Caldwell said. "If you watch them, they watch you back. It's hard to study them." Oh my god, octopuses are like the masons!

Researchers found that male Abdopus aculeatus will intently guard the females they choose to mate with. They will also strangle other males who try to get near their mate of choice. The press release for this story stated that the octopuses "hold hands" but this is actually referring to the fact that the male will insert his sperm releasing tentacle (known as the hectocotylus) and leave it inserted for a long time. If the female goes anywhere, the male gets dragged his "hand."

Christine Huffard, PhD extraordinaire, also found that there were tiny males who would "sneak" matings with females. They did this by mimicking female colors, or hiding until the larger male went away--proof of the existence of metrosexual octopuses?

Finally, one other thing that I love about this story is that it found that males like larger female octopuses much more than tiny ones. That's right! Eat your sandwiches octopuses! Male octopuses do not like skinny bitches!

Thank you to Erin, Fabienne, and my mom for sending info about this my way!

I ruthlessly stole information from the Globe and Mail video, Berkeley news announcement, and NPR story for this post.