Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Fluff #2: For When Enough is Enough

Thing the First: Blue Tide hits Washington Coasts

What a freaking mess! Someone should do something about this! Photo: Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium

This is old news now, but I was resisting putting it on the blog for a long time. Really strong westerly winds have pushed literal heaps of everyone's favorite blue tautonomical cnidarian onto coastal beaches in Washington and Oregon over the last month. Is it called a "blue tide"? I don't know. Should it be? Maybe, "blue tide" is kind of redundant. In any case, yes, Velella velella has become a victim of its own ingenious dispersal ability (1), and create just endless fields of rotting blue mesoglea (2). The most stunning statistic coming out of this whole ordeal is that only 50% of science journalists know how to capitalize latin names. Editorial Fails include: USA Today, The Weather Channel, KOMO news (local, and having the opposite problem as the others). CNN did get it right, but then lost points for referring to "something fishy going on in Washington" which is as original as it is semantically correct - not at all. Anyway, there's a lot of cool pictures. This isn't really something anyone is concerned about, they aren't a huge health hazard, or an endangered species, and this isn't some major environmental catastrophe. This happens from time to time to these guys, and could happen more frequently as climate change alters the frequency of certain weather patterns.

Thing the Second: Pretty Subtidal Seattle OR Pretty (Subtitle: Seattle)

If you think it's beautiful above the waterline in Seattle this time of year (and you're right, it's ridiculous), check out this video my very talented friend Eliza Heery made celebrating our green waters! Eliza does what she calls Urban Marine Ecology, exploring how marine ecosystems function so closely to an extremely dense urban environment.

Thing the Third: Foaming with rage and bruised all over the chest

Just some old crummy boat...wait it looks familiar! Photo: Richard Rodriguez, Bitter End Blog

The most faithful molluscophiles among you will remember my reference to John Steinbeck's (and Ed Ricketts', cough cough) description of the infuriating intractability of the the Sally Lightfoot Crab (Grapsus grapsus, naturally). The vignette was from the Log from the Sea of Cortez, detailing a whimsical collecting trip the likes of which will never occur again. Some have tried, like really tried, down to the brand of beer, which was evidently a crucial aspect of the trip. But I suspect we won't get narrative like Steinbeck out of it(3). Anyway, the point is that the boat Steinbeck and Ricketts took, the Western Flyer, is still in existence, sort of, in Port Townsend, WA. It's sunk more than once, and certainly has some tragedy in its history, but the new owner hopes to restore it and potentially return it to Monterey - hopefully not as a restaurant...A book about the post-Steinbeck/Ricketts history of the Western Flyer recently came out - in time for father's day, score.

Happy weekend!

References and Miscellany:

1. If you don't recall the mechanics of the By-the-wind sailor, might I recommend this resource?
2. Word of the Day! There, go impress your friends and family and don't say I never gave you nothin'!
3. However, evidently there is currently a museum exhibit resulting from the repeat journey (inscrutably) at the AZ museum of natural history

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