Day: September 26, 2009

British Airways adds a “fly next to your children” fee

British Airways Boeing 767, featuring "De...

Cory Doctorow: “British Airways has broken new exciting new ground in the race to make flying as awful as possible: they have announced a fee (ranging from £10-60 per passenger) for advance seat selection, explaining that this will be the only way that families and other groups travelling together can be assured that they’ll be sitting next to each other. I wonder what happens if you don’t pay it while flying with a two-year-old in her own seat; do they seat her at the other end of the plane from you and explain to the strangers on either side of her that they’re responsible for her well-being for the duration? …” (Boing Boing)

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U.S. scientists net Architeuthis in Gulf of Mexico

Giant squid, Architeuthis sp., modified from a...

‘U.S. scientists in the Gulf of Mexico unexpectedly netted a 19.5-foot (5.9-meter) giant squid off the coast of Louisiana, the Interior Department said on Monday, showing how little is known about life in the deep waters of the Gulf.

Not since 1954, when a giant squid was found floating dead off the Mississippi Delta, has the rare species been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico.

Giant squid, which can be 40 feet long, are usually found in deep-water fisheries, such as off Spain and New Zealand.

“This is the first time one has actually been captured during scientific research in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.’ (Reuters)

And:
Don’t mess with them: “Is there any doubt that the scariest animal in the world is the giant squid? Just its name paralyzes my heart with fear in a way that “killer whale” or “jumbo shrimp” do not. Most of us first caught a glimpse of this denizen of the deep trying to kill Kirk Douglas in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and we all had the same question: How angry do you have to be to try to kill the recipient of an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement? The answer was instantly branded onto all of our brains: as angry as a giant squid.

The giant squid is an “eat the crew, ask questions later” kind of cephalopod, and motion pictures have rightly depicted it as a very angry animal that’s not given to conversation. To see a giant squid is to be attacked by a giant squid, the saying goes. But, like Tom Cruise between movies, the giant squid is camera-shy. And, just like the diminutive actor, Architeuthis dux spends long periods lurking out of sight, surely up to no good, before bursting forth, tentacles flailing, and exercising its alternate belief system. In Mr. Cruise’s case, the alternate belief system is Scientology. In the giant squid’s case, the alternate belief system is a desire to wrap you in its horrible tentacles and poke you to death with its poisonous beak. There are similarities. Leave giant squid alone.” — Grady Hendrix (Slate)