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Saturday, January 28, 2006
Video captures octopus attack on sub in B.C.
Last Updated Fri, 27 Jan 2006 13:40:23 EST
CBC News

Rare video footage shows a giant octopus attacking a small submarine off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Salmon researchers working on the Brooks Peninsula were shocked last November when an octopus attacked their expensive and sensitive equipment. ....

"It was only afterwards when I replayed the video and I thought, 'Oh, yeah, that's pretty neat.' But at the time, it was just scary."

I especially like this part:
"Old octopuses become what we call senescent, or senile, reaching the end of their life. And sometimes their actions are very inappropriate."

24 comments:

Fresh Air said...

Are you sure that isn't a video of Strom Thurmond trying to give Hillary Clinton a hug?

Seneca the Younger said...

Bless you. I was having such a tough time coming up with a punchline.

Skookumchuk said...

And sometimes their actions are very inappropriate.

It troubles me (well, a bit, anyway) that there are numbers of such people who clearly inhabit a moral universe having so little in common with mine. I don't have much to do with these people, so as a practical matter it is of little importance, but it is still troubling.

A long time ago, I did a mining job in Surinam. I spent time in a remote river village and talked with the inhabitants about the perils and benefits of living where they did. We agreed that it was probably better to live in the jungle where - while it was dangerous - you could hunt your food and build your own house as opposed to struggling to make ends meet driving a taxi in the capital. I might have been talking to homesteaders in Alaska. And none of them had Rousseauist misconceptions about the nature of that wilderness. So a jaguar on the prowl that might eat a little child was simply being a jaguar, not being "inappropriate".

One of the reasons that people calling the behavior of an octopus "inappropriate" doesn't bother me too much is that it is probably a cultural tic that will quickly be abandoned in the face of any serious threat to our lifestyle and standard of living. For a person cleaning up an abandoned city, or living without electric power, or spending half the day looking for food, an attack of a giant octopus on a submarine would not be described as "inappropriate". The octopus would just be doing what an octopus does.

RogerA said...

Hey--I guess I am now officially in the old octupus category--fortunately there are no submarines to attack.

Syl said...

skook

LOL I agree.

Kind of like a dog humping the dinner guest's leg. How inappropriate!

Syl said...

We even attempt to civilize our animals. Problem is being 'civilized' doesn't remove the basic dynamics of reward and punishment. So when the left decided rewards are to be favored under all circumstances because punishment is 'so uncivilized' we're all in trouble.

Like Mark suggesting we should reward Hamas for winning the election by giving them aid. No matter that they've disavowed the roadmap and desire to wipe Israel off the map, they should be rewarded anyway.

chuck said...

Then there is this video that made the rounds last week, octopus eating shark. It looks a bit set up, though, or at least cut and edited.

who, me? said...

"Inappropriate" is one of those silencers the feeling-tone-liberals love. "Wrong" or "Dangerous" can be argued as to definition. Inappropriate" -- an epithet I was frequently on the wrong end of in progressive company -- translates as "I have spoken."

Not to mention the governessy quality of the diction, which is "inappropriate" for adults dealing with equal adults.

It's the telling tip of a chillingly reductionistic iceberg of a rhetorical meme, right up there with the "Voice of a Neuter" of Joel Stein, discussed at American Digest.

chuck said...

And not to neglect the decapodiformes, here are giant squid pictures. I'm waiting for some colossal squid video, it would make me feel like a boy again.

Skookumchuk said...

chuck:

Visions of Ned Land and his harpoon on the deck of Walt Disney's Nautilus.

As a little kid, I devoured all the Jules Verne books. I remember telling my Mom how cool it would be if we got a set of dinner plates like those described in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - an "N", encircled by the words "Mobilis in Mobili".

Hey! We have a bay window in our family room facing our deck out back. We could redecorate the family room in 1860's velvet overstuffed furniture and replace the bay window with a huge opening "camera lens" just like the movie. Next, we transform the back deck into an undersea landscape, complete with a papier-mache giant squid. I could grow a beard just like James Mason.

Now to convince the wife . . .

Seneca the Younger said...

I dunno, Skook, I find the description of a 100 lb octopus attacking a thousand-pound minisub as "inappropriate" as kind of nicely descriptive. Octopi are quite smart, in general, and usually pretty reticent -- this doesn't seem like either.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Buddy Larsen said...

Gee, I hope this link works--I saved it sometime back, thinking if anyone ever showed any octopi interest, they'd like it. (snip)

"Yet another Great Pacific Octopus of the Leisure-Suit Larry mold once tried to pull into his tank a BBC videographer who got her hand a bit too close, wrapping his tentacles up and down her arm as fast as she could unravel them. When she finally broke free, the octopus turned a bright red and doused her with repeated jets of water."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/22/magazine/22animal.html?_r=1&incamp=article_popular&pagewanted=print&oref=login&oref=login

Buddy Larsen said...

The author, Charles Seibert, could make an interesting essay out of a mud puddle.

Peter UK said...

Up to all sorts of tricks octopuses

chuck said...

Hey, thanks for the link, Buddy. I liked this bit about halfway in:

Indeed, animals like dogs and cats point up what often appears to be a paradoxically prodigious "duh factor" behind this otherwise cutting-edge science. While scientists may tussle endlessly over the validity of applying the word personality to nonhumans, for people in the everyday world - especially those who spend any time around animals - the assertion that they have distinct personalities seems absurdly obvious.

I recognize the human tendency to assign personalities and awareness to everything from rocks to cars, but when it comes to animal personalities I definitely feel that old duh coming on. I don't want to get into any arguments about the difference between temperament and personality, however.

Buddy Larsen said...

I'd say 'personality' is the expression of 'temperament'. Begging question, 'if a temperament is alone in a forest, does it have a personality?'

Seneca the Younger said...

Is personality a property of the organism? Or of the observer?

Peter UK said...

Seneca,
Is personality the construction of the organism or tha observer?

Buddy Larsen said...

Personality is definitely affected by the Heisenberg Principle. So, I guess it would be a behavior descriptor. Still doesn't answer the question, tho, does it?

Peter UK said...

Buddy,
Strangely "personalities" come across on line,so there may be a verbal component

Seneca the Younger said...

Peter --- Exactly.

How about this: "Personality" is a Bayesian approximation of our predictions about the behavior of another.

Buddy Larsen said...

That's good. How 'bout personality is to person as photograph is to object?
(that way, you get the feedback loop in, as that least tangible of all tangibles, the photon stream)

Peter UK said...

Seneca,
That would help explain why those with life or death riding on their evaluation of "personality,often have a keen sense of people reading.
Con artists are very good at projecting the personality which will reassure their mark.

Buddy Larsen said...

The 'con', remember, is short for 'confidence'.

You can still hear references to 'confidence men' in old 40s movies.

Kinda dirty, turning what's best in people, against them.