Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sharks - Leading Economic Indicator?

All the financial Titans of Wall Street needed to do was look at the shark world to predict the slumping economy.

They look at their numbers to divine and predict the future of the financial markets and we look at ours.

According to the International Shark Attack File recorded shark attacks in 2008 slumped by 24%. If that's not a leading economic indicator please tell us what is these days.

So, in 2008 sharks took a break munching humans (thank you Mr.Shark) and in 2008 the housing debacle started to unravel in a big bad way. We will be the first to predict, based on our indicators, that 2010 will be an unheard of year for shark attacks on humans.

This shocking news will also dovetail nicely into the "great global recovery" story of markets near or at par with previously recorded highs - and all will be well with the universe again.

With the uncharted nature of global financial markets many ex industry titans have turned to jello, snow flakes, and oracle bones to peer into the future. We'll stick with sharks. A 24% slump is good news in our world.

1955 - Sharks and Jane Russel

A post of ours earlier this week with the original poster from the 1955 Howard Hughes epic "Underwater" prompted us to go look for the films original trailer. Yes it has sharks in it and a whole lot of museum quality dive gear as well. They also don't make swimsuits like that anymore:

Editors Note: Let's give a few props here to the original underwater shooters who made this film happen paving the way for generations of underwater films that inspired and educated.

Color Vision for Ancient Sharks

On a "cool science scale" we'll give this latest shark discovery a 9.9 up from a 7.5 because this story involves Callorhinchus milii:

PRIMITIVE deep-sea fish may have viewed the world much as we do. The elephant shark, which evolved about 450 million years ago, is the oldest vertebrate to have "the colour vision system we know as humans", says David Hunt at University College London.

Until now, ancestors of modern sharks from 374 million years ago were the oldest known creatures to have both rods to see in dim light and cones, for bright light.

Now Hunt's team has found that the elephant shark, (Callorhinchus milii), has rod pigments. It also has two copies of the long-wavelength cone pigment gene, a duplication which may have given them trichromatic vision like primates (Genome Research, DOI: 10.1101/gr.084509.108).

S.F Bay Sharks? We Got 'Em

For shark guys who spend a lot of time looking for sharks in far flung places it's reassuring to discover that our very own San Francisco Bay, with an average depth of 21 feet, is home to some very big sharks.

In fact 13-14 foot critters are being discovered on a weekly basis prompting a research team from U.C Davis in tandem with the Aquarium of the Bay to try and discover more about our homegrown super predators. Naturally if there are sharks and science going on in San Francisco you'll find David McGuire front and center with camera and editing bay in hand to cover it.

Join him this weekend during the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival - this years festival contains 30% more sharks:

Jamie Proctor - On Sharks

With the kind of interest you reserve for those with those who exhibit a stunning intelligence and yet choose to wear Speedos as daily wear - we set about reading the free form sharky zeitgeist of Jamie Proctor the other day.

Who is Jamie Proctor? A blogger, who apparently loves sharks and hates dolphins:

"Don’t fear the sharks. You don’t have to love them, cherish them, and try to give them huggles (that last one’’s a bad idea all around), but you don’t have to fear them. And you definitely should not hate them. Ever. If you have to hate something, hate dolphins, because we all know what smug little buggers they are, with their cutesy faces and high levels of intelligence and apparent attitudes of friendly curiosity that make forming anthromorphic attachments as easy as playing pin-the-tail-on-the-elephant. At least hating dolphins is a challenge, with a lot of mental effort going into forming delusions that large. Hating sharks is like hating people who don’t quite agree with you: it’s easy to do and a sign that you are a major-league dip with the intelligence of a fruitcake. And if you don’t quite agree with that, I hate you. "

Editors Note: We're curious to see Jamies take on animatronic sharks vs dolphins.