I absolutely need this in my life.
100 years of unprovoked shark attacks (1912-2013)
Andrew Barr and Richard Johnson | National Post
Surfer numbers have increased dramatically since the 1950s and advances in wetsuit technology mean people are going into the water all year round and staying out in the surf for longer periods, all of which increases the odds of someone being attacked by a shark. With this in mind, the National Post’s graphics team takes a look at the century in unprovoked shark attacks.
Blue = Male survivor
Pink = Female survivor
Black = Fatality
Looks pretty colourful to me.
Read more here including a break down of activities during the attacks and a close up of injury location (if any).
This is a great visual back up for this (Attn: NERDS: Free journal article). Remember when I posted about a new paper seeking to reclassify human-shark interactions? No? That’s ok. Here’s a snippet from the abstract:
There are few phrases in the Western world that evoke as much emotion or as powerful an image as the words “shark” and “attack.” However, not all “shark attacks” are created equal. Under current labels, listings of shark attack may even include instances where there is no physical contact between shark and human. The dominant perception of intent-laden shark “attacks” with fatal outcomes is outdated as a generic term and misleading to the public. We propose new descriptive labels based on the different outcomes associated with human–shark interactions, including sightings, encounters, bites, and the rare cases of fatal bites. We argue two central points: first, that a review of the scientific literature shows that humans are “not on the menu” as typical shark prey. Second, we argue that the adoption of a more prescriptive code of reporting by scientists, the media, and policy makers will serve the public interest by clarifying the true risk posed by sharks and informing better policy making.
Feeding Indian mackerel (Rastrelliger kanagurta)
Anglerfish suncatcher by trilobiteglassworks
A Shocking Report on your Seafood: Oceana CEO
Do you know what you are serving your family tonight? If it’s fish there’s a good chance that you don’t.
Today Oceana unveiled its landmark national seafood fraud report, one of the largest of its kind and one that should make consumers sit up and demand change.
Over the past several years Oceana tested 1,215 fish samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states. DNA testing confirmed that fully one-third of this seafood was mislabeled—that is, what we ordered wasn’t what we got.
No matter where you live, seafood fraud is likely to be an issue. But if you live in Austin, Houston or Boston, it is especially widespread. According to our investigation, almost half of the fish tested in these cities was mislabeled. In Southern California the problem was even worse, with mislabeled fish accounting for more than half (52%) of the seafood we tested! Elsewhere, rates of mislabeling were found to be 39 percent in New York City, 38 percent in Northern California and South Florida, 36 percent in Denver, 35 percent in Kansas City, 32 percent in Chicago, 26 percent in Washington, D.C., 21 percent in Portland and 18 percent in Seattle. Nationwide, sushi restaurants mislabeled their fish 74 percent of the time.
As one of our scientists told me, these findings are disturbing—and they’re disturbing for a few reasons. Not only can seafood fraud rip you off by making you pay more for less expensive fish but it can actually be bad for your health. Our scientists found that some fish that had landed a spot on the FDA’s “DO NOT EAT” list for sensitive groups such as pregnant women and children because of its high mercury content was nonetheless being substituted for safer fish. In New York this meant tilefish disguised as red snapper and halibut, while in South Florida king mackerel became grouper. Elsewhere escolar, an oily fish that is known for its purgative effects in some consumers, was substituted 84% of the time for white tuna
If that wasn’t bad enough, mislabeling can be harmful to the oceans as well. By disguising one species as another, it can be nearly impossible for consumers to make responsible decisions to avoid eating overfished species.
So what can you do about it? Right now the United States imports more than 90 percent of the seafood it consumes, but the FDA inspects less than one percent of that seafood specifically for fraud. Obviously this needs to change and we need to call upon our lawmakers to ensure full traceability for all seafood sold in the country. Oceana is hard at work behind the scenes to make this happen. In the meantime, if you don’t want to be duped by seafood fraud you can start by asking where and how your seafood was caught, be wary of fish that seems cheaper than it should and, when possible, buy fish whole.
Seafood is one of the healthiest sources of protein on the planet and should be a part of any healthy diet, but we need to know that what we’re buying is what the label says it is—for the good of our health, our wallets and our oceans.
Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana
Stonefish by Samantha Craven
After a couple of seconds of “what are you doing? That’s just coral!”, I finally spotted this sneaky seahorse my buddy was looking at.
Paddle Flap Scorpionfish [Rhinopias eschmeyeri] by Samantha Craven
Giant Frogfish (Antennarius commersoni) by Samantha Craven
The unusual appearance of the frogfish is designed to conceal it from predators and sometimes to mimic a potential meal to its prey. For the scaleless and unprotected frogfish, the camouflage is an important defense against predators. Some frogfish can also inflate themselves, like pufferfish, by sucking in water in a threat display.
Frogfish generally do not move very much, preferring to lie on the sea floor and wait for prey to approach. Once the prey is spotted, they can approach slowly using their pectoral and pelvic fins to walk along the floor.
What Do Fish Thoughts Look Like?
Like us, zebrafish get hungry. But unlike us they have to engage full-on hunting mode instead of just walking to the fridge to get a snack. By observing a fish brain while it hunts for dinner, Japanese scientists have seen exactly what thoughts look like on the scale of single neurons.
Zebrafish, a common model organism used in biology labs around the world, were held in place while a paramecium snack swam in front of their eye. The scientists were able to genetically engineer the fish’s neurons to glow green when activated, and because the fish are nearly transparent, they could use sophisticated microscopes to map which neurons were firing.
What you’re looking at is the thought pattern of a zebrafish tracking its prey! This is the “thought” that represents “yum yum dinner”. It’s super-important to know that no single neuron holds a thought. Anything that we think or feel exists as a network of neurons firing (or not firing) in a very particular pattern. Understanding that pattern can help us map how an abstract thought is written in “meatspace” so to speak.
The only catch is taking the pattern you see and making it understandable. That fish thought above? That’s the thought, but we have no clue what it means yet. Like following a road map without labels, this trip through the brain is still a confusing one.