Rest in peace old man. You did a good job, despite the odds.
Rest in peace old man. You did a good job, despite the odds.
I just came across a remarkable image of the bigfin squid on Reddit.
The image on the right originates from this video. I think the term ‘otherworldly’ is applicable here. Definitely worth watching.
Some more details from dear old Auntie Wikipedia:
The first record of this family comes from a specimen (Magnapinna talismani) caught off the Azores in 1907.
Of particular interest was the very large fin size, up to 90% of the mantle length, that was responsible for the animals’ common name.
The first visual record of the long-arm squid dates back to September 1988. The crew of the submersible Nautile encountered a long-armed squid off the coast of northern Brazil at a depth of 4,735 metres (15,535 ft).
In November 1998, the Japanese manned submersible Shinkai 6500 filmed another long-armed squid in the Indian Ocean south of Mauritius, at 32°45′S 57°13′E and 2,340 metres (7,680 ft). A third video taken from the ROV of the oil-drilling ship Millennium Explorer in January 2000, at Mississippi Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico (28°37′N 88°00′W) at 2,195 metres (7,201 ft) allowed a size estimate. By comparison with the visible parts of the ROV, the squid was estimated to measure 7 metres (23 ft) with arms fully extended.
The bigfin squid may the same as / related to the long-armed squid (pictured below).
Creatures this beautiful really don’t deserve such boring names.
Back in May we moved into a second-floor apartment in Sunninghill, Johannesburg. We have a good vantage point from our terrace, useful for taking pictures of approaching storms — particularly lightning strikes. That said, choosing the right direction to point the camera (even with a decent Tokina wide-angle lens) is something of a lottery, but nonetheless a lot of fun. I’ll dump our better lightning pics in this post.
Incidentally, we count around 11 lightning conductors within a 100-metre radius of our apartment. I’m guessing this area sees a fair amount of action over the summer months…
UPDATE (28.11.2013): Another nasty lightning storm, thankfully from a distance.
UPDATE (30.10.2013): Cheese and rice and sweet monkey of murky, this town has some heavy weather. Today we had an intense storm pass over us at around sundown. Lovely colours, terrifying weather. Still loving it though…
According to the Internet this camera is the Zeiss Ikonta 521/2, first released in 1947. The Zeiss Ikontas are ‘viewfinder folding cameras’, reasonably named thus because they have a viewfinder (this one pops out the top) and a folding concertina-like lens that gives the Ikonta a distinctly steampunk (rather than a post-war) look. So far so good.
The only trouble is that you need both hands to release the upper and lower lens catches in order to fold it away. I can honestly say that I had never expected to physically wrestle a damn camera with both my thumbs.
A thought that you were thinking about
I strongly recommend reading this post, where a chap actually goes to the tremendous effort of testing a 521/2, with real film and all. The review contains tips, tricks and insights, such as:
‘However once loaded i winded on which was my next challenge as i didn’t know that you winded on for a while so i shot some shots onto the paper the first time I loaded it before the numbers arrived in the little opening in the back much to my relief, i then new i was on the right track!’
There is a mist in the lens that makes all the pictures look like a dream or a thought that you were thinking about.
As poetically implied above, the post further includes fuzzy (and rather pleasing, admittedly) sample photographs. Coincidentally, I had experienced exactly the same effect when I wore my contact lenses for too long.
A few more details here:
Since taking an interest in photography, my wife and I seem to have become the family’s de facto ‘Keepers of the Old Clickers’.
Here’s one that belonged to my grandfather — a Zeiss Ikon Box Tengor Type 56/2 which was produced from 1951 to 1956.
A quick glance at the manual makes me wonder whether these old box cameras were really as easy to use as everyone assumed. Also, the language employed in the manual is awkward and even condescending, perhaps translated from German. Consider this extract:
As the camera is not a worthless toy it should be treated with care and not exposed to rain or left on wet grass, etc., but kept in its leather case in a place where it cannot be damaged. The care you devote it will have a good effect upon the film, the lens and, above all, the picture.
‘Not a worthless toy’? Thanks for pointing that out…
More information below:
I find it odd that most of us share a set of core ethical beliefs. For example, helping a family member in trouble is pretty much a universal trait. Murder is usually an undesirable act, particularly when committed within a family or social group. Stealing is bad, giving is good and so forth.
Why exactly do many of us already hold such core beliefs? Ideologies, religions and other ethical structures such as Confucianism tend to be localised, both geographically and temporally. Where does our basic ethical framework come from? Why does the concept of ethics exist at all?
If we take away all the history, politics, cultures, religions, dozens of ethical models and the general confusion (and conflict) they create, we are left with a few simple requirements, such as survival, risk mitigation, and propagation. I believe ethics are primarily an evolutionary development, a behavioural metastructure that offers an individual an evolutionary advantage. Specifically, ethics represents a set of standard behaviours that help promote stability, thereby potentially prolonging the life of the individual, their family unit and the community. All that really matters is maintaining your own life, those of your children and – by mutual association – the people around you.
Cooperative behaviour is a standard trait found amongst many life forms, most often in the form of symbiosis or mutualism. It makes sense: working together and sharing resources is a useful long-term survival strategy. Even humans generally make a real effort to get along just like any other social species. One might even suggest that our desire to cooperate is hard-coded into our genes. If that is true, then ethics is the abstracted expression of gene-line survival and propagation rules, a trait presumably unique to sentient beings.
Before modern humans started dabbling in agriculture, settling in towns and generally putting on airs we lived a nomadic existence for some two hundred thousand years – or over two million if we include our australopithecine ancestors. What basic ethical code might our forebears have followed, and on what basis? Most likely the survival of a genetic line took precedence, followed closely by the welfare of the immediate community who are mutually dependent on each other for safety. With these factors in mind, a simple ethical framework might have looked something like this:
(A) Be ‘good’ to your own genetic group and its associates. These include children, spouses and extended family members, followed by unrelated friends and the larger community – probably in that order.
(B) Persons outside your genetic group can be both a threat and an opportunity. Sometimes it is worthwhile to be good toward strangers – though preferably not at the expense of (A).
(C) Hurting another individual – be it by stealing, killing and so forth – is usually a poor decision because it creates conflict within or between the groups listed in (A) and (B).
(D) While communal stability is preferred, change is frequent and unavoidable, like aging, the weather and animal migrations. While it is necessary to adapt to change, try to follow (A), (B) and (C) as you go along.
While our ancestors may well have followed their own simple ethical codes we should dispel the old notion of the ‘noble savage’, which is a fiction invented by the ancient Hellenic cultures, recently revived by the Victorians. Our forebears were no angels; they loved, bickered, and fought amongst themselves and with others, most commonly for food and sexual partners, thereby propagating the same tired old power politics and corruption we face in modern society.
Thanks to technological progress, the only real difference today is our ability to wipe ourselves out with spectacularly powerful nuclear weapons and deadly pathogens. Worse still, our technology has made killing remarkably easy; a fight to the death with fists or a flint knife is a far more dangerous proposition that pressing a button to launch a drone strike on the other side of the planet.
And yet – while it sometimes seems we specialise in being horrible to one another, the opposite is equally true.
What shall we make of our tendency to help strangers, even at the risk to our own health and safety? I am inclined to believe that altruism is an unintended side effect of intelligence, specifically of heightened empathy – the ability to consider the viewpoint of an external party.
Many of us experience distress upon encountering other humans or animals in pain. We can literally feel their anguish. Offering our help can reduce their suffering, which works out rather well because our own ‘reflected’ pain correspondingly decreases too. In that context at least, giving money to a malnourished child languishing in a distant warzone is, strictly speaking, not an altruistic act because I gain something positive for my troubles. Giving to the poor is not a one-way empathy ticket.
A similar theory holds that an ‘altruistic act’ equates to an ad hoc (and high-risk) investment, where a giver/actor gambles that either the recipient or those who witness the act of charity may return the favour at some future juncture. If the latter theory is true, then perhaps altruistic acts are no more than advanced survival mechanisms that emerged in parallel with intelligence. Still, let’s not complain.
Our intelligence has forged us into one of the most successful species the world has ever seen – but we risk becoming victims of our own success. For the first time in Earth’s history, a species must consider the concept of self-imposed limitations. I believe the basic ethical toolkit I outlined earlier is still relevant today (particularly point D) – but it will require some modification. While survival remains our top priority it also means we need to limit our numbers, which is something of a paradox in terms of survival strategies.
The trouble is that people are not good with limits. We like to stretch our legs, but the world is getting too small for such luxuries. Nevertheless, our wild successes and achievements are based on our unique intelligence and ability to cooperate in times of crisis. We already know how to save ourselves. All we need now is the will to tackle the job.
It would be the ethical thing to do.
Want to know what a Hydra eats?
What is an Abstract? Or a Lightliner (pictured below)?
Where are the Slurries?
Who the hell is Saint Magoeba?
And what are the Terrapin’s secretions and excretions?
Prepare to be (partially) enlightened. I uploaded a glossary to the main menu above, listing many terms that appear in my Sumsphere and Origin novellas. Includes pretty pictures too…