I've decided to experiment with Tumblr, which makes it easier to upload images (blogger requires more clicks to deal with the spacing). We'll see how this goes.
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Chul An Kwak, a Korean designer, created these tables to inject more emotion into what he sees an otherwise static aspect of our lives. Which is kind of beautiful, actually.
I think these are the bees' knees. Or rather, the octopus' kneew.
At Boing Boing and Nerve.com and a bunch of other places. Sent in by @publichistorian and Jonathan Harford, because you all know me so very well.
by Michelle Hunter
CAMBRIDGE - The spineless sea creatures on display at the Harvard Museum of Natural History look as though they were once alive. They don't look like they were hand made, and crafted more than a century ago. Yet for the first time, Harvard is displaying its incredible collection of "Sea Creatures in Glass."
The collection of glass sea creatures by father and son duo, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, were acquired by Harvard University around 1878. Fifty-eight of Harvard's 429 glass sea creature models are on display at the museum's special exhibit, which is on until March 1.
"I never would have guessed that these models were over 100 years old," said Suet Wong, a Northeastern University student visiting the museum.
The intricacy of each jellyfish, amoeba and octopus model demonstrates the preciseness and complexity each one required to be made. But why glass? The glass models were preferred to real specimens, traditionally kept in formaldehyde, because they kept their color and would also never lose their shape - as specimens do when they sink to the bottom of the jars they're kept in, explained Blue Magruder, the museum's director of communications.
With tools that were big and awkward, nothing like modern technology that glass makers use today, the Blaschkas fused and glued glass together and created their own pigments by melting colored stone. They would also use copper wire for certain models for tentacles that were too fine to be made of glass.
"It's exciting that the models are both beautiful, exquisite works of glass art, as well as anatomically precise and scientifically valuable teaching models of marine creatures which can be so difficult to preserve and display," said Elisabeth Werby, the executive director of the museum.
This special exhibit also displays the original work station and tools the Blaschkas used to create these delicate models.
"These are the tools they used. These are tools you would pluck your eyebrows with. It was human skill," said Magruder.
The museum exhibit provides an extensive background on the Blaschka family, who had a long history of glassmaking. The family actually got its start in the business by making glass eyeballs. As the family business succeeded, Leopold Blaschka (1822-1895) the fourth generation and father to partner and son Rudolf (1857-1929), decided to create sculptures of living organisms that would document natural history, which was becoming a popular field at that time. The family commissioned invertebrate to museums and educational facilities throughout Europe.
"I can't believe that the museum had these special artifacts hidden away in the back," said Carly Yarbrow, a student at Quinnipiac University.
As museums and private collectors began to buy the Blaschkas' work, which also included replicas of plants and flowers, the glass works caught the attention of a botany professor at Harvard, George Lincoln Goodale. He thought that these may be an excellent way to teach the students about flowers because the glass would not lose its shape or color and would remain three dimensional.
"The Blaschkas made over 4,000 plant models for Harvard University," said Magruder. "It took them over 10 years to get some of the colors to be exactly of the real specimen's."
The plant exhibit has been permanently on at Harvard since 1893 and people have come from all over the world to see it.
As for the sea creatures, they are not permanently on display and will go back in to storage with the rest of the collection in March. However, works for a smaller, permanent installation of the sea creatures are being discussed, said Werby.
From the boring-sounding Journalism Students' Online News Service
Select sculpture, and feast your eyes on the first two images. They're two different views of a gorgeous bronze tentacle sculpture.
The city of Hakodate, Japan has been producing official tourism videos unlike any you’ve ever seen before — action-packed affairs starring famous landmarks as giant robots that battle a runaway mechanical squid hijacked by vengeful aliens.
The first video begins with an interesting factoid: According to a survey of 100 aliens, Hakodate is the number one city they would most like to invade.Via Pink Tentacle
Via Elliot. Because he's weird.
This work is entitled Octopus games, dating from 1840-42. Definitely better than Rudolph's reindeer games.
Photograph from the American Friends of the British Museum (The Arthur R Miller Collection)
Via the UK Guardian. Thanks to n8!
American sculptor Daniel Edwards, best known for his often controversial depictions of celebrities and other figures from popular culture, has produced a sculpture inspired by Nadya Suleman, aka “OctoMom”, the California woman who recently gave birth to octuplets. The sculpture is entitled “String of Babies, holds a baby bottle upright” and depicts Ms. Suleman as a disembodied cephalopod, beatifically embracing her brood with her hot pink tentacles.
From the always-essential Laughing Squid
Oceanic adventures abound from kitesurfing and windsurfing to snorkeling and scuba diving. But nothing puts a damper on a great adventure like getting stung by a jellyfish, unless, of course, you know how to handle one. Then jellyfish can become part of your adventure! For beachgoers, the possibility of a shark sighting may be on the minds of some, but chances are pretty slim that one will be spotted. Jellyfish sightings, on the other hand, are not so rare an occurrence.
The latest tentacle sitings:
ATM ad on Allen Street in the Lower East Side - the text reads "GET MONEY! GET MONEY!"
And Frank Lloyd of the Frank Lloyd Gallery in Santa Monica, CA blogs about Cindy Kolodziejski's beautiful but unsettling sculptures:
By A Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 9:33 AM on 07th July 2008
Marine experts have given 25 octopuses a Rubik's Cube each in a study aimed at easing their stress levels in captivity.
Scientists believe the intelligent sea creatures have a preferred arm out of eight that they use to feed and investigate with.
They are now testing this theory with a month-long observation project in which the octopuses will be given food and toys to play with.
Experts have launched a study at sea life centres across Europe to find out if octopuses have a favourite tentacle
They will then record whether the creatures use a specific limb to pick up the object or if they are octidextrous.
It is hoped the results of the Sea Life Centre study will shed light on 'handiness' in the animal kingdom.
Claire Little, marine expert at the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth, Dorset, said the study could eventually help to reduce stress among octopuses.
She said: 'It will be very interesting to see the results.
'Uniquely, octopuses have more than half their nerves in their arms and have even been shown to partially think with their arms.
'We hope the study will help the overall well-being of octopuses. They are very susceptible to stress so if they do have a favourite side to be fed on, it could reduce risk to them."
The octopus research will take place in the 23 branches of the Sea Life Centre attractions Britain and Europe.
A diagram of an octopus will sit alongside the tanks with the arms on the right labelled R1, R2, R3 and R4 from front to back. The left arms will be numbered in the same way but with an L instead of an R.
Items such as a ball, a jam jar and lego bricks will be dropped into the water for the octopuses to play with.
Visitors will then be asked to note down which arm was closest to the object and which arm picked it up.
If the octopus uses several arms, they must write them all down but in the order they touched it.
Staff at the centre will also do the same during feeding time.
Miss Little said: 'Visitors will be handed a form asking them to participate in our study.
'We will add the results to all of the data that has already been collected about octopuses. It will also help towards solving the mystery of handiness in the animal kingdom.'
The results will be analysed by Sea Life Centre biologists and the results will be announced in the autumn.
Presenting the latest and greatest -
The Cephalopodiatrist - A career out of squid? We can only hope.
The Celphalopod Tea Party - I think this blog may be doing similar things to what we do here at Today In Tentacles. I salute them!
Tentacle Studio - Amazing costume studio that made the Little Shop of Horrors Audrey II Broadway revival costume, some of the costumes for the Wicked Broadway musical, and many more.
Eff Likes to Play With Tentacles - Personal blog belonging to Eff. Slightly explicit, but nothing ridiculous. Not really tentacle related.
The Book of Tentacles - Forthcoming publication of sci fi/fantasy work.
By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times
February 27, 2009
It's not surprising that with eight arms and inquisitive nature, the two-spotted octopus is pretty handy around its tank at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.
Still, those reporting for work Thursday at the popular beachfront attraction were caught by surprise when they were greeted by water lapping around the kelp forest display, the shark and ray tank and the rocky reef exhibit.
The guest of honor in the aquarium's Kids' Corner octopus tank had swum to the top of the enclosure and disassembled the recycling system's valve, flooding the place with some 200 gallons of seawater.
"It had grabbed the tube that pulls out the water and caused it to spray outside the tank," said aquarium education specialist Nick Fash. Judging by the size of the flood, Fash estimated that the water flowed for about 10 hours before the first staff member, Aaron Kind, showed up for work.
Kind issued an all-hands-on-deck call to summon co-workers to the pier with mops, water vacuums and fans. Even though the aquarium is built over the beach, it has no floor drain.
The tiny octopus, which is about the size of a human forearm when its appendages are extended, floated lazily in the water that remained in its tank.
It watched intently through glass walls and portholes as workers struggled to dry the place out in time for the day's first busload of schoolchildren to arrive on a 9:30 a.m. field trip.
Randi Parent, the aquarium's community outreach coordinator, said the only significant damage was to newly installed ecologically sensitive flooring in several offices. It consists of linseed-and-cork tiles that soaked up the seawater and squished beneath workers' feet the rest of the day.
The incident was reminiscent of a 1994 incident at San Pedro's Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in which an octopus named Octavia pulled a plastic pipe loose.
That giant Pacific octopus died when all of the water in her tank drained out.
Since octopuses are considered by many to be the most intelligent invertebrate -- and to have good memories -- Fash said he jury-rigged his octopus tank piping with clamps and tape in hopes of thwarting any further mischief by its occupant. "She would need tools," he said of his octopus, which until now had no name.
"Some people are suggesting we call her 'Flo,' " he said.
Via LA Times and the Huffington Post. Thanks to Matt for sending this story in!
Spotted recently at Halloween Addict, originally at The Gaia Store Online (link says "no products found."
In Soviet Russia, Squid Eat You!
Check out this original art by Nancy "Dot" Dorsner posted on her Flickr from the Cephalopod Love set. Oh yes, Cephalopod Love set.
Happy belated Valentine's Day! Because Tentacles are for Hugging.
Originally via Laughing Squid.
Reminds me of the great "Octopus vs. Shark" video that circulated a few years ago. Behold:
Mantis Shrimp Death Match via Japan Probe (last video). Octopus vs. Shark on Youtube.
"kimberly sent in this sweet maniac mansion cross stitch. Before you get up in arms, she knows that the green tentacle played the drums…she just happens to know that the green tentacle is actually proficient in many instruments. and, to back her up, I happen to know that he is quite a singer…"
Originally via SpriteStitch
If you ever wondered what the colorful creations born of EA's Spore gaming universe might look like in real-life robotic form, you need look no further than Yoichiro Kawaguchi's prototype robots designed to mimic the organic forms found in nature.
Far different from the geometrically sterile robots we're used to, Kawaguchi's robots are meant to function on a primitive/intuitive level, with biomimetic actuators like tentacles and claws used to move the robots through the real world. The current models are just the beginning, Kawaguchi's team hopes to have fully functional versions of these robots working in about two years.
Originally via Dvice.com
See the original on Flickr
Via Dark Roasted Blend.
Watch our new cornstarch tentacle overlords here at Laughing Squid.
And here's a glossy photo of some oobleck out at Burning Man, at my theme camp that goes by the same name.
Photo from Loupiote's Flickr and thanks to Walter (a fellow Ooblecker) for pointing out the Laughing Squid link.
It's a good ad, but the kicker comes at the end, when Baldwin reveals his SECRET ALIEN TENTACLES. I'm so thrilled.
Ads are rather proprietary, so I can't embed it for you. Check out the entire ad on Youtube.
Still from the ad via SlashFilm.
Lucid tentacles test 'n sleeved
Alternative Tentacles (a cool record label)
Nuclear Tentacles (WARNING this one is depictions of nude female humans. NSFW. It's not even tentacle in nature - although as you may recall, this blog does not cover that, as I have pointed out before.)
"It is very rare in nature to find octopuses with extra tentacles, but in December 1998, a common octopus was captured in Matoya Bay, Japan, which had a whopping 96 tentacles.
The unusual octopus had the normal 8 appendages attached to the body, but each one of those branched out to form the extra tentacles. The specimen survived for five months after its capture, and even laid eggs, which hatched into normal 8 tentacled octopi. Upon its death, the 96-tentacled octopus was preserved and now remains on permanent display at the Shima Marineland Aquarium in Shima, Japan.
This was not the first instance of an over-tentacled octopus specimen being displayed in Japan...."
Read more - and see more photos! - at Cryptomundo.com
Harryhausen producer Charles Schneer dies
...Schneer had the idea of a making a film about a giant octopus that pulls down the Golden Gate Bridge and was introduced to Harryhausen by an Army friend. Harryhausen had honed his craft with Willis O'Brien, who, in the 1930s, was responsible for the most famous of all stop-motion creations, 1933's "King Kong."
Schneer and Harryhausen then made "It Came from Beneath the Sea," which gave Schneer his first credit as a producer. Keeping with Katzman's low-budget mantra, however, the film's octopus had only six tentacles instead of the customary eight.As Harryhausen says in his autobiography "Film Fantasy Scrapbook": "Two tentacles less to build and animate during the long process of stop-motion photography did save quite a bit of time. And in Hollywood, time is money." ...
Read more at Reuters UK
ARLINGTON, Virginia, December 16, 2008 (ENS) - Jellyfish blooms are ruining some of the world's most beautiful vacation spots, according to a new online report by the National Science Foundation on massive jellyfish swarms in U.S. waters and around the world.
At least 150 million people around the world are exposed to jellyfish every year, the report says. Swarms of stinging jellyfish and jellyfish-like animals are transforming many world-class fisheries and tourist destinations into "jellytoriums" that are intermittently jammed with the pulsating, gelatinous creatures.
This is happening in U.S. waters from Hawaii to the Chesapeake Bay, where 500,000 people are stung by jellyfish every year.
Another 200,000 people are stung every year in Florida, and 10,000 are stung in Australia by the deadly Portuguese man-of-war, according to the report.
These jellyfish explosions are generated by human activities, some scientists believe. Possible causes include pollution, climate change, introductions of non-native species, overfishing and the presence of artificial structures, such as oil and gas rigs.
Jellyfish swarms have damaged fisheries, fish farms, seabed mining operations, desalination plants and large ships, and they have disabled nuclear power plants by clogging intake pipes.
Dense jellyfish swarm in the Gulf of Mexico (Photo by Monty Graham)
"I'm often asked whether a single, overarching condition is triggering jellyfish swarms in diverse locations," says Monty Graham of Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. Graham says the abnormally large, dense or frequent jellyfish swarms are "a symptom of an ecosystem that has been tipped off balance by environmental stresses."
"The exact nature of such balance-tipping environmental stresses may vary from place to place and usually involve unique interactions with local ecology," Graham explains. "But such stresses are often caused by people."
So, just as a weakened person is vulnerable to opportunistic diseases, stressed ecosystems are vulnerable to infestations of jellyfish.
"There is clear, clean evidence that certain types of human-caused environmental stresses are triggering jellyfish swarms in some locations," William Hamner of the University of California at Los Angeles says in the report.
These stresses include the introduction of jellyfish species into non-native habitats by ships; the formation of ultra-polluted areas, known as Dead Zones, where jellyfish face few predators and competitors; and increases in water temperatures, which accelerate the growth and reproduction of many jellyfish species.
As prey, jellyfish are eaten by seabirds, salmon, sun fish, turtles and other gelatinous creatures.
But as marine turtles have disappeared, jellyfish have proliferated. All seven species of sea turtles eat jellyfish and all seven species are endangered. Their survival is threatened by fishing lines that trap them, pollution, beach development, climate change and sales of turtles and turtle parts.
Box jellyfish in Hawaii (Photo courtesy Waikiki Aquarium)
Jellyfish are not all bad - scientists are identifying ecological services provided by the gelatinous creatures. For instance, recent studies show that the tentacles dangling from the Bering Sea's large jellyfish provide hiding places for young pollock that are pursued by other predators but have grown too big for the jellyfish to eat.
Most species of jellyfish and jellyfish-like animals are not harmful to people, according to the National Science Foundation report. But it warns that all true jellyfish and some species of jellyfish-like creatures sting - and a single stinging tentacle may be studded with thousands of stingers.
Stinging gelatinous creatures cause various reactions in people, ranging from no noticeable sensation to rashes, and some cases, death.
Australia's beaches host many types of toxic gelatinous animals, including the Portuguese man-of-war and the world's most venomous animal, the Chironex fleckeri, which can kill a person in under three minutes. In addition, the potentially deadly Irukandji jellyfish, currently increasing in number, are small enough to slip through nets that protect Australia's beaches from the larger Chironex.
Beware, warns the report. Gelatinous creatures that are harmful to people live in every ocean.
Click here to view the report, "Jellyfish Gone Wild: Environmental Change and Jellyfish Swarms."
Originally via Environment News Service
Up for grabs with an octopus
Ed Walker, St. Petersburg Times Correspondent
In Print: Saturday, January 17, 2009
The subtle tug on the other end of the line did not feel like the grouper we had been reeling up.
"Maybe a grunt," I mentioned to my fishing partners. As I reeled the mysterious thing up from the bottom 60 feet below, it stopped pulling back altogether.
"What ever it was it is gone now," I mistakenly uttered.
As my rig came to the surface, I saw that there was indeed something attached to the hook — an octopus.
I lifted it into the boat and grabbed it behind the head. Immediately the tentacles wrapped around my arm and the creepy suction cups latched onto my hand, wrist and arm. Knowing that the beak in the center of all those legs can inflict a nasty bite I tried to pull it off, but it was too late.
He had me; his suction cups were locked on and lining me up for a bite. Just as the beak was getting near my skin I managed to rip him off and drop him on the floor of the boat. There he began slithering around, climbing the walls. Soon he simply walked himself up and out of the boat, which was okay by me.
During most years this encounter is relatively unusual; however, this has been one of the cyclical seasons during which large numbers of octopus appear over shallow shelves off West Florida.
It is the thing commercial stone crab trappers fear most. According to them, the octopus show up en masse every seven years or so and wipe out the fishery. When this happens, the marauding eight-legged creatures gobble up a good portion of all the stone crabs in the area.
Not only do they eat the wild crabs, they are adept at entering stone crab traps, eating the crustaceans inside then moving on to the next trap. The only evidence of what has happened to the would-be catch is a large number of crab shells and pieces in the bottom of the trap. Usually the stealthy creatures depart before the traps can be hauled aboard the boat.
Over the past few months the commercial crab catch has plummeted. Trappers generally describe their catch in the average poundage of crabs per trap among all the traps they pull in a day.
In late October many Nature Coast trappers were enjoying a 1 pound or better average over 300 to 400 traps per day. Then came the octopus. Now the catch has plummeted to as low as 15 pounds of claws total for the day out of the same number of traps. Many of the larger operators are hauling their gear in and hoping for a better season next year. In a recent visit to Pelican Point Seafood in Tarpon Springs I witnessed large commercial crab boats unloading their catch for the day, which consisted of more octopus than crab, a bad sign.
For the angler
For the most part, octopuses do not have an impact on hook and line fishing. They seldom prey on fish so the fish do not seem to mind them much. The one way octopus can benefit anglers is as bait. When the tentacles are cut off they make appealing yet tough bait for grouper, particularly red grouper.
Another bizarre benefit is that the tentacles will continue to move around for as long as 30 minutes after they are trimmed from the animal and placed on the hook.
Several years ago we used a piece of octopus to make one of the strangest catches ever. The bait had been on the bottom only for few minutes and the rod tip began to bounce. John Peppe reeled a struggling fish to the surface to find a good sized triggerfish that was not even on the hook. The suction cups on the piece of octopus had latched onto the raspy skin of the triggerfish and held onto him all the way into the boat.
On the table
Although octopus is one of the most popular items on the menus of greek restaurants in Tarpon Springs, cooking them yourself, at least in my case, has proved somewhat difficult. On several occasions I have tried, and no matter how much tenderizing I do they come out tough and chewy. Pounding with a tenderizing hammer or marinating to break down the toughness is what the pros recommend, but my fishing friends and I who have caught octopus have not had much luck.
For now, I'll stick with using them for bait and visit the sponge docks when I have a taste for grilled octopus.
Originally via the St. Petersburg Times
Tossing Tentacles at the John Dory
Brilliant expensive seafood in a darkling corner of Manhattan
By Robert Sietsema
published: January 21, 2009
85 Tenth Avenue, 212-929-4948
We were sitting at the raw bar at the John Dory, the only seats available unless you reserve weeks ahead. Walk in and sit down at around six in the evening, and watch as the wealthy arrive to claim their tables. The John Dory is the latest project of Spotted Pig chef April Bloomfield. Named after a largish deep-sea fish beloved of Brits that grows a fake eye on its side to discourage predators, the restaurant sits on lower Tenth Avenue at the ass-end of Chelsea Market, a strip that has improbably become the city's most upscale restaurant row.
Compared to nearby behemoths like Morimoto, Del Posto, and Craftsteak, the John Dory is relatively small and manageable, consisting of a bar, a pair of picayune dining rooms, and the seating that we occupied along the counter. This counter barely separates you from the narrow kitchen, allowing you to watch the cooking staff of 10 play Twister as they prepare your shore dinner. While the John Dory's décor reminds you of a Yankee fish house in Massachusetts or Maine, only half of its menu is devoted to traditionally prepared seafood. The balance plumbs the depths for creatures that can be served as stylish ceviches and crudos.
As has been reported, the menu is sometimes shockingly expensive. On our first visit, a half-dozen oysters set us back $24, though a general outcry resulted in a $6 discount by our second visit. From a choice of West and East coast varieties, these bivalves are as fresh as an Arctic breeze, accompanied by a spicy green cilantro mignonette and a fluorescent-orange carrot relish. Also among the uncooked selections is a choice of two scallops: tiny Nantucket Bays ($16), slicked with olive oil and a little sea salt, and a single large "day boat" scallop that comes sliced and squirted with colorful sauces. The best of the uncooked selections is the yellowtail, cut into fat matchsticks and dribbled with ginger oil, which is made crunchy with shreds of purple shallot and flakes of charred skin. What a beautiful picture it made on the plate!
We weren't so impressed with the octopus ($20): Rather than meaty appendages, we were served delicate baby tentacles tossed with bottarga (dried cod roe) in a fussy and lackluster salad. The minced razor clams were much better, napped with a zippy, bright-green parsley sauce. That stunning sauce is Bloomfield's signature, and we saw it again and again in its verdant variations. It came, for example, on cod milt (fish sperm, $16), a dish that defines just how far the menu will go to deliver novel seafood sensations. While this may conjure up images of ejaculating fish and hapless under-chefs running after them with paper cups, the semen comes in a sac that fries up like sweetbreads. For aficionados of weird food, it's delicious.
Naturally, the John Dory serves John Dory, and a variation of the green sauce came on the pair of crisp-skinned fillets we sampled one evening. A week later, a whole John Dory ($50) was available as an entrée for two, smothered in the same sauce. The whole-fish selection (which changes frequently) often includes a pair of fine red mullets in an adventuresome sauce of clementines and puntarella that was a tad too sweet, and a sea bass heaped with a green anchovy sauce that mated perfectly with the fish.
Certain entrées are perhaps too predictable—a fish soup ($30), for example, predicated on bouillabaisse. The brick-red broth is unimpeachable, and the assortment of shellfish and fish fillets is impressive. Still, the soup is a little boring as you spoon your way through it. More adventuresome are the pair of splendid squid carapaces stuffed with Spanish chorizo—in a recipe swiped from Casa Mono—and a Dungeness crab in a sauce so peppery that it made my nose run (it was probably inspired by Fatty Crab). There's also an oyster pan roast—a Yankee standard—filled with so much flavor that you may never want to eat the Oyster Bar's version again.
Then again, on second thought, maybe blandness is the whole point of a pan roast.
Originally found at the Village Voice
Tentacles - so hot right now. Apparently. Who knew?
More of some of the more elegant tentacle jewelry I've seen at FreshPicsArt
Another Etsy.com option from Squidglass.
Ok, none of these are particularly tacky, but I was thinking of this green plastic necklace that I wrote about earlier. I also found this silver specimen.