Alright, dear readers, okay. the author has a soapbox to stand on and a bone to pick today: it has to do with fishing ethics and sustainability, and is remarkably un-funny (as opposed to the rest of BV’s posts which are , of course, hi-LAR-ious. ahem) . What does this have to do with the picture above you might ask? well, this photograph was published by the Guardian UK online on Saturday; it depicts a Somali fisherman hauling his catch to market in Mogadishu.
Quite aside from the sheer visual impact of this photo, with the ruins in the background and the somewhat blank expression on fisherman’s face, the photo is a visual reminder of the difference between fishing for sustenance–for survival– and for vanity, masking itself as tradition.
Let me backtrack a bit… ah… okay, yes. Here we go: shark fishing is an important aspect of both commercial and artisanal fishing in Somalia, and studies have not yet shown how dramatically this practice may effect the population of hammerhead, grey, and mako sharks in the area. Some would like to see even traditional shark fishing banned, in the interest of preservation. Truth be told, the author of BV has not done enough research to say whether she falls into this camp or not.
But she will say this; in comparison to the horrific commercial massacre of sharks that occurred in Somalia in 2008, in which thousands of sharks washed up on shore after having had their fins brutally lopped off by commercial fishermen, the artisanal practice of going to sea in small outboard-motorized vessels, and hand-carrying one’s catch to market, at least seems to even the playing field a bit. Would you want to trade places with this man? No. I she a damned sight more respectable than the consumers who like to consume shark fins because.. oh, why was that again? oh, yes, because it helps float their peckers and demonstrates their wealth?
The answer, dear readers, is YES.
Further reading: A grassroots organization in Hong-Kong Boycotts the traditional banquet dish of shark fin soup. HUZZAH for grassroots advocacy.
Well, this is another post inspired by the Discovery Channel series Life. Unfortunately, Dear Readers, while the Fried Egg jellyfish (Phacellophora camtschatica) is strange and beautiful, it is also singularly boring. Terrible at cocktail parties. Seriously. Even with the author of BV’s overactive imagination, she could find nothing more fascinating to write about about this behemouth than the shape that its name implies. Which leaves her with nothing to say but pass the tabasco, and mind the tentacles.
If you are like the author, dear readers, you were inordinately excited by the release of the first installment of the “Life” series, a follow-up to “Planet Earth,” which aired on the Discovery channel and its affiliates this sunday. And if you know the author at all (at all, I say), the three of you who read with any regularity (ahem) would immediately have recognized that the sea krait was destined to be the newest addition to the annals of BV.
Because it is impossible to ignore the single most prominent feature of these Hydrophiidae : sea kraits Do. It. All. Day. Long. In more scientific terms, they “copulate. prodigiously. diurnally.” During which time the much smaller male is unable to disengage.
You read it right, dear readers. “Unable to disengage.”
No female sea kraits were available for comment (or their native reticence prevented them from kissing and telling), but we might imagine that this unique (ahem) situation has its benefits and its drawbacks:
*First: the male is unable to claim fatigue and roll over before he gets the job done. BUT:
*this leaves the female no option of… shall we say creative vocalization and a speedy retreat. NEVERTHELESS:
*there is no need for the female to long for just a bit more post-coital cuddling, AND
* she has no need to wonder if he’s going to call again. After all, dear readers, she knew he was a snake when she picked him up.
The humanatee is an ancient, intelligent beast, most often found in large “schools,” though members of far-flung schools frequently gather together in large, gregarious groups called “conferences.” During these sporadic expeditions, humanatees may demonstrate dominance by flashing the “TT” position. These strange creatures then show off to potential mates by uttering strange, unintelligible sounds in rapid succession.
Infighting and promiscuous behavior is not uncommon in conferences.
But dear readers, the humanatee, contrary to appearances, is not its own worst enemy. The humanatee is among our worlds most endangered species, and though abundant, is seriously threatened by the rough economic waters currently plaguing our shores and those the world over. Worse, funding for conservation programs has recently been cut dramatically, leading some experts to wonders whether there is adequate habitat in today’s academe for the humanatees.*
Finaly, dear readers, an un-ironic post. The link below takes you to National geographic’s interactive program, which allows you to build, attach, and follow a “penguin cam’ under the ice in the Antarctic. You can follow this link to other animals as well- enjoy!
This video asserts the indominatble power of natural instinct over conditioning.
It is rare that the author of BV allows something to go (almost) entirely without commentary. This video, however, needs no snark; it is amazing, and stands easily on its own. A big thanks goes out to AVB for bringing this video to my attention: Thanks, Amy.