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April 28, 2019

Shark on the hunt

From the New York Times

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This shark is going where many thought no sharks would go: on a daytime swim through a kelp forest to chase seals she wants to eat.

As the seals evade her, the shark charges deeper into the forest.

The video collected by researchers revealed a surprising hunting behavior in the ocean predators that had never been documented.

She zigzags through gnarled seascape that eventually snags the camera from her fin — and then the footage stops.

We're used to the idea of sharks as predators in the open ocean, not creatures that stalk seals through tangles of sea grass.

"People would anecdotally say the sharks won't swim into the kelp, not the great whites," said Oliver Jewell, a doctoral student at Murdoch University in Australia.

Great white sharks typically hunt at dusk or dawn, near the ocean's surface, and will jump out of the water to snag cape fur seals — just like on T.V.

But in the middle of the day, cage divers and researchers near Dyer Island Marine Reserve, off South Africa's west coast, had noticed sharks lurking in areas close to the island's cape fur seal colonies, which are surrounded by kelp forests.

They assumed the sharks, too big to maneuver through the dense vegetation, avoided the kelp forests where seals hide.

But this footage reveals there’s more to a shark's predatory strategy than previously known.

"We kind of thought they would wait for the seals to come out of the kelp but no, they're not that patient," said Mr. Jewell, who led the research that captured this footage, which was published earlier this month in Biology Letters. "They want to go in and find them."

In other well-studied white shark populations in South African waters, sharks aren't found near kelp, because there isn't much kelp.

But here, mixing oceans stir up nutrients so kelp — and the animals it feeds — thrive.

When Mr. Jewell worked in this area in the past, he could only see sharks at the surface or track their movements by following the ping of an acoustic tag.

Near kelp forests, he almost always lost the signal.

So to find out what the sharks truly were doing during lunchtime, he and his team attached sensors and cameras to their dorsal fins.

Clamping a camera onto a shark fin is about as easy as suctioning one to a whale's back — and bloodier, with more teeth.

In a small boat, one person stirred up chum in the water to lure in the shark.

Mr. Jewell stood at the boat’s side, dangling a fish head from a rope.

If they were lucky, this brought a shark close enough to a third person who was lying on his belly, holding a long pole with the tag on a spring clamp that he attached to the shark.

After that, the team hoped for a tag that stayed on, as well as some visibility and an interesting shark.

Then they hoped to retrieve the tag.

After three years they finally captured this footage and more from a total of eight sharks.

"It was just relief," said Mr. Jewell.

Researchers can now better understand how sharks use these environments for hunting and find new ways to conserve this rare and vulnerable apex predator.

And Mr. Jewell hopes this footage will change people's Hollywood perception of the Great White.

"People think sharks are mindless killing machines," but that’s not how they behave in the wild, he said. "They’re very calm and they're also curious animals, and they're just there doing their own thing."

April 28, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Driving on the Right

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Above, a world map showing the driving directions for all countries and any changes that have occurred in the past starting with Finland's change in 1858 [sic].

[via Amusing Planet]

April 28, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Building the largest ship in the world

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From Wired: "At 194 feet wide and 1,312 feet long, the Matz Maersk Triple E is the largest ship ever built. It can carry 18,000 20-foot containers; its propellers weigh 70 tons apiece; it is too big for the Panama Canal, though it can shimmy through the Suez."

April 28, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Truth

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By Marseille-based artist Fabien Bouchard.

April 28, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Acupressure Reflexology Foot Massager Mat

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From the website:

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This easy-to-use foot mat is a simple, at home way to practice reflexology.

By applying pressure to the coordinating pressure points on your feet, you can target specific systems of the body.

Reflexology is great for alleviating stress and promoting overall well being.

This portable mat features firm massage points that focus on improving mindfulness, breathing, digestive well-being, and posture.

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$10.

April 28, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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