Welcome to a blog now shared by one, two, um... four people. Wipe your shoes off on the mat and delve into the posts featuring rants, museum pictures, and some cool facts. Nerds of all kinds welcome.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Media Review #3: Jurassic Park 3D

April 29, 2013,

This is the last Jurassic Park movie, I swear. Don't eat me. How can I not review this movie after seeing it over my spring break a week ago. It's a classic movie both in terms of science and in general. If anything deserves attention during it's re-release it's this movie.

Also that Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello are 33 and 29.

Ariana grew up into Jenna Bush-Hager and Joe grew up into Seth Green

The movie is the same thing story and editing wise as the original. Theres no extended scenes, new scores or extra CGI like one would expect in something like a Star Wars Re-release. The only things that were changed was the Resolution, the sound quality, and the removal of some of those glaring production gaffes like the hand on the raptor hip in the kitchen, the camera crew caught on film and the wire attached to the flipping jeep.

What was best that was new was the quality of the 3D in fact. I likely have a positive opinion of the 3D because it's Jurassic Park and I didn't have a lot of high hopes for it given it's status of post converted 3D since what you see on film happened over 20 years ago. Despite this, the 3D didn't look like a pop up book (ex: Clash of the Titans). It looked like it was filmed natively. It really struck me during all the scenes with dinosaurs. it made them look 10x more real. Even the stuff with the humans looked real, hairs actually stuck out as opposed to looking flat.

Yeah, not much piss to take from it since Jurassic Park was a pretty great movie. I'll find some movie with an annoying religious undertone for the next one so I can try to be funny again. Otherwise I have to act mature and write a "serious" review.

You'll just have to enjoy this video I think is really a sneaky Jeep advertisement taking place during the Vancouver Riots after a soccer game.

 I post it because I can. Suck it, Connor.

The Lethargic, Blind, Poisonous, Ravenous Greenland Sleeper

Bad Joke Sleeper Shark is the new meme.

That smiling blubber torpedo up there isn't some hastily photoshopped seal or missile with a face. No, my friends, that is the amiable Greenland sleeper shark, the laziest shark in the world. Known by many names, such as the Greenland shark, gurry shark, ground shark, and the Inuit Eqalussuaq, this species of sleeper is the great white shark of the Arctic, often longer but slightly lighter. Reaching a total of 24ft long and 3100lb is roughly the length of nineteen cocker spaniels and the weight of 442 pomeranians.  Just so you get a grip on the size:

You see the kid looking in its mouth? That is the look of a kid who has been to Vietnam to back and just doesn't give a crap.

And now we delve into more facts. The Greenland sleeper is surely the northernmost species of sharks, cruising along at a speed demon rate of 0.34m per second, which translates to about... 0.765mph. In fact, the Greenland sleeper is so slow, it has to sneak up on seals in their sleep. Meanwhile, great whites are out there ramming into seals and launching themselves out of the water at more than 40mph. All in all, the Greenland sleeper is the ocean's stoner, the reason being that unlike the salmon shark, they cannot regulate their own body temperature. But still, oceanic druggie.

These colours, man...

Do you want to know just how chill this slow-moving, giant, Arctic shark is? Say hello to Ommatokoita elongata:

What is this, besides what looks like a facehugger from Alien had it been made in the 50s. Its a copepod (Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants is one too) with a fondness for parasitism. The female copepod attaches onto the eyes of Greenland sleepers and their relative, the Pacific sleeper; the main reason being (besides nightmares) that sharks' skin is covered in denticles, making it tough to get a grip. The copepod grazes on the surface of the cornea, slowly ebbing away at it, slowly blinding it. Luckily for the shark, it barely needs its eyes anyways, and while not benefited from the relationship, is pretty much unharmed. Just try not to think of these copepods attaching to your eyes (they won't anyways, but it sounds like a totally rad B-movie plot).

 *cue woman scream*

So we've covered how slow they are and how chill they are, but what does a Greenland shark eat? Well, they have a hankerin' for mostly fish. Skates, eels, lumpfish, wolffish, flounders, sculpins, capelin, herring, and chars, even other sharks, make up the bulk of its diet. And yet, much like the similarly-sized great whites and tiger sharks, it adds a little zest to its diet with some pretty big animals. Not only seals, but porpoises, caribou, horses, and polar bears. For a shark that can't even break 2mph, it sure can hunt down some prey. Of course, some of this could be carrion, but its jaw-dropping to think of. And they do it all with a set of chompers like this.



And while you may be thinking of going out and spearing a Greenland shark to avenge all the cute little caribou, the fluffy bears, and pretty horses killed by it and then eating its corpse, you may want to slow down there, buster. Greenland sleeper flesh is poisonous. Unusually high concentrations of urea (its in your urine, stop giggling) and trimethylamine oxide, a protein stabiliser for the shark. The effect of eating its fresh flesh (no rhyme intended) is symptoms similar to extreme drunkenness and intoxication; sled dogs that eat it can't even stand for a while. The flesh has to be boiled in several changes of water, or go through periods of drying and fermentation for months. The end result is a Greenlandic/Icelandic delicacy, known as hakarl.

Bon apetit.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Salmon Sharks: Because Who Needs What You Learned About Sharks Anyways?


I wish I had an excuse for being absent for long. I wish I could say I spent the last month bravely battling sea monsters on a cargo ship Europe-bound in the Atlantic. But sadly, sea monsters don't exist and I have no excuse then. However, we are going to the sea for today's blogpost. That shark above, which looks like one of those "realistically-drawn" cartoon characters that isn't realistic looking at all, goes by the name of the...


(dun dun dun)

Alright, alright, it's not the most terrifying shark ever. Maybe that honour belongs to a mako or a tiger shark or a bull shark or a great white. But as an Internet Samaritan, I can tell you some neataroony stuff on them, and I promise to never use "neataroony" again.

Radical? Maybe I should stop using ridiculous adjectives.

Its practically first grade biology: all fish are cold-blooded, just like reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. They're so stupid that they're not even endothermic. Bunch of losers, that's what they are. The salmon shark missed out on your 1st grade Biology class however and decided it didn't need to be ectothermic (look at me, throwing around big terms like I'm at Harvard). Why's that?

Because they live off the waters of frickin' Alaska.

Yes, the salmon shark lives in Alaskan waters, one of the few sharks to brave the cold (not as cold-adapted as the massive Greenland sleeper). Similar to great whites and makos, it is facultatively "warm-blooded" and in waters of 36 degrees F, its body temperate can be 61 degrees F. Pretty crazy. This feat is thanks to retia mirabilia, represented below in this fabulous dolphin model.

For those who might struggle reading it (remember to click the image), the hatching represents retia mirabilia. RM, as we'll call it for short, is a network of veins and arteries adjacent to each other, and is Latin for "wonderful nets". RM pretty much is in charge of how ions are exchanged in the blood stream, and are found in birds with webbed feet (in penguins' flippers and nasal passages too), many mammals, and several fish species, the salmon shark being one of those. It can be found in swim bladders of fish as well as muscular regions, the latter of which helps maintain body temperature. Its some pretty neat stuff. We were even thought to have RM once. We were promptly let down.

"They're too mainstream anyways."

Some other cursory information on salmon sharks in case your life ever depends on it. They can reach 10ft long with anecdotes of 14-footers, and can weigh up to 990lbs. They are nearly as swift as their mako cousins, reaching speeds of 50mph. They are named for eating salmon, but also dine on halibut, herring, sablefish, and squid. Got it? Got it.