Comment Archives: stories: Life + Outdoors

Re: “Best-smelling Plant on Earth

Eight years later and not much has changed.

Posted by steve801 on 11/19/2017 at 2:11 PM

Re: “The Sound of Bells

Many may not know the story of the bell at the College of the Redwoods. This 3,340 pound bell was cast at Mare Island in 1883 and installed at Alcatraz Island as a fog signal until 1914. After serving the LA Inner Harbor Fog Station from 1915 to 1928 it was relocated to the Carquinez Lighthouse in San Pablo Bay. The bell last served at Shelter Cove from 1936 to 1945. It remained on site but was no longer used as a fog warned after being replaced by an offshore fog whistle and bell buoy. Tony & Mario Machi rescued it from falling off the cliff it perched on in 1964. The Coast Guard became aware of its precarious situation and, under protest from the Machi brothers, gave guardianship to the Humboldt County Historical Society. It was later donated it to the College of the Redwoods where it resides today.

Posted by Mary Ann M. on 11/18/2017 at 6:03 PM

Re: “Cannibal Lancetfish

George Mira - great comment. I think they consider the lancetfish to be slow in terms of sustained speed. I suspect that its dorsal fin and body shape allow it to maneuver quickly during feeding lunges. But as you point out, what we think we know about aquatic animals requires a lot of speculation...

Posted by MSidKelly on 11/18/2017 at 12:13 PM

Re: “Cannibal Lancetfish

From time to time we see these beautiful fish washed up on local shores. Their home range extends down over a mile deep. While I had thought from some morphological composition, that they stayed pretty deep (about 2,000 ft in the day), I suspect that they rise and descend in that happy crowd called the deep scattering layer by early navy sonarmen.

the Lancet's huge gape along with the rather transparent teeth are characteristics of those who live in the dark with limited access to lots of food including those on the chain up from organisms that fix calcium.

These are astonishingly beautiful animals, and strangely that large dorsal fin is a trait of some of the fastest fish existing. The sailfish extends its very similar back fin in order to change course as agilely as the smaller prey it eats, and their narrow bodies are indicative of the magnificent ambush predator, the Great Barracuda who, when moderate in size, can flash to different positions more quickly than the eye can follow.

But I suppose we have to go with any discoveries by cellular biologists, who must have been the source of the suggestion that Lancets are slow. Perhaps their morphology is relative to the other more benthic fish, some of whom only catch dinner a few times of year, and so benefit from a torpid existence.
On the other hand, exploring the hormonal and smooth muscle of someone like the rattlesnake, we find that some bodies actually develop in response to a NEED for lunch. That particular beauty increases anabolic activity that restores a digestive system withered from the once-a-month or twice-a-year dining event. We have only recently learned some of the cognitive and social capacities of fish, and know far less about the periodic physiological changes that occur in aquatic species. We mostly see 'em when they are drowning in a foreign milieu, close to or already dead.

When you come across a Lancet or a giant red squid, or some other mysterious old relative of ours (I have only come across two salps in my life, both on the same day!), it's a lot of fun to identify and find out more about its life and home.

I spent much of the first decades of my life in the sea, and have been saddened by the absence of the tremendous densities of fish and other organisms I can still picture, only in my mind. You can't imagine how once common were 16-18 ft. sharks, opaque walls of schooling fish and birds, or 500 pound grouper and even larger rays, flying through the world outside our knowledge. There are two generations older than me still living, and so the loss has been lightning fast as well as catastrophic.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by george mira on 11/17/2017 at 2:32 PM

Re: “Squid Pro Quo

Thank you Mike for the educational and entertaining monthly column. BTW, I have a recipe for the giant salp if you are interested.

Posted by Andrew Bundschuh on 11/07/2017 at 4:01 PM

Re: “The Name of the Blob

I liked reading this.

Posted by Andrew Bundschuh on 11/07/2017 at 3:54 PM

Re: “Myth of the Invisible Ships

Another explanation could be that they very well sighted the ship but interpreted it as something "supernatural" of an evil kind and therefore regarded it dangerous to focus with their eyes.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lars Vegus on 11/03/2017 at 3:52 AM

Re: “Sharktober, Part Four

Good read and great points. We are all fated to shuffle off someday and we rarely get to choose how that will happen. Until it does, we have work to do.

Posted by Ken Campbell on 10/30/2017 at 9:36 AM

Re: “Sharktober, Part Four

Again ALL about a fish. NEVER mention the slaughtered Children by the glorious sharks.

Posted by Glen James on 10/26/2017 at 11:37 AM

Re: “Sharktober Part 1

Right. You have NO idea yet speak like you do.

Posted by glen folkard on 10/19/2017 at 1:54 PM

Re: “Sharktober Part Three

The shark cage divers in your part of the world use surfboards to attract sharks to make money from dumb tourists. Us surfers and swimmers are "plucked" from the surface here in Oz every day and listed as NOTHING. Just gone.

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Posted by glen folkard on 10/19/2017 at 1:36 PM

Re: “Myth of the Invisible Ships

I am not really satisfied by the writer`s explanation. The problem is that those ships were FOREIGN enough to activate the Anxiety System in our brain. And that triggers orientation reactions. So, the ships must have triggered some reactions, most of them unvoluntary, and yes, orientation reactions include turning the head and focusing attention on the foreign enough object.

On the other side i am not completely taken by the "it is so foreign it was invisible" explanation either. It smells of Paul Feyerabends studies in cultural relativism.

What we have here is a classic clash of psychology (orientation responses) with philosophy (cultural relativism)

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Posted by Marco Jajac on 09/28/2017 at 7:56 AM

Re: “Shots, Shots, Shots

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Re: “Shots, Shots, Shots

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Re: “Shots, Shots, Shots

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Posted by CARLYBETH7 on 09/14/2017 at 8:32 PM

Re: “How Did Our Agates Form?

An agate is a regular rock, until after time it is turned into a beautiful rock called an agate.
Thank you for this reading.

Posted by Auburn Wooten on 09/13/2017 at 7:31 AM

Re: “Unwrapping the Past

These kinds of discoveries are great for verifying that the messages in the bible have not been corrupted through the process being re-written or translated. The earlier the better.

The tech is rather cool too...

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Posted by Robert Lockett on 09/09/2017 at 8:33 PM

Re: “Science. It Works, etc.

Without question, science works for 'some' things. The things it does NOT work for are the more interesting questions for those not satisfied with spending our years only 'masticating' the empirical. If you play with science too long you might go blind Barry.

Robert Jastrow was ALSO once worked for NASA (as if it matters). In fact, according to Wiki, "He was the first chairman of NASAs Lunar Exploration Committee, which established the scientific goals for the exploration of the moon during the Apollo lunar landings. At the same time he was also the Chief of the Theoretical Division at NASA (195861). He became the founding director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in 1961, and served until his retirement from NASA in 1981."

He said some interesting things regarding science...

"There is a strange ring of feeling and emotion in these reactions [of scientists to evidence that the universe had a sudden beginning]. They come from the heart whereas you would expect the judgments to come from the brain. Why? I think part of the answer is that scientists cannot bear the thought of a natural phenomenon which cannot be explained, even with unlimited time and money. There is a kind of religion in science; it is the religion of a person who believes there is order and harmony in the Universe. Every event can be explained in a rational way as the product of some previous event; every effect must have its cause, there is no First Cause. This religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control. If he really examined the implications, he would be traumatized."

"Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact."

"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

Posted by Robert Lockett on 09/09/2017 at 8:27 PM

Re: “Bright Lights, Small Town

What a fabulous, beautifully written, poetic and truthful story Peri Escarda. Thank you. I have many similar feelings and memories of the Fair....Jeff DeMark

Posted by jeffdemark on 09/07/2017 at 11:21 PM

Re: “Westworld vs. Realworld

"I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment; or as the Nazi liked to say, of Blood and Soil."

It's comforting to think that the mass exterminations of the Nazi regime are some uniquely horrible destination on a wrongful path from which we can turn back. Yet what I understand about early human societies and those of our nearest relations, chimpanzees, is that they are prone to make war on their neighbors and wipe them out where possible. Genocidal regimes are acting out the nastiest and most violent of human norms with the efficiency offered by modern technology. While their reach and power may be greater, their homicidal desires and their justifications are as old as 'Cain'. I don't think turning away from materialism and back to the bible will reduce violence, quite the contrary.

Posted by Esme Pendergast on 09/07/2017 at 11:19 AM

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