A few great things going on this week. Some in the world of science, some in art.
1. In art, there are some great upcoming opportunities to see large artfully rendered mollusks. An octopus you can walk inside of at SFMoMA, and some large purple snails on a Causeway in Miami Beach.
2. I don’t know if this counts as art or not. Also, I’m admitting my shameful secret that I watch America’s Next Top Model (my best defense is that I watch it socially as a part of a longstanding weekly ritual involving takeout, TV, and beer). This week the models had to be underwater goddesses or some such, and a few of the photos in fact featured what I believe may be actual octopus tentacles.
3. Onto science. And something actually pretty gross. Swimmers in Alameda, CA (the island perhaps best known these days for being featured in many a Mythbusters episode as the site of their hijinks) are itchy, and it’s because of parasitic flatworms coming from an invasive species of snails. I’ve never swum in the San Francisco Bay, and this may just keep me from doing it.
4. In the battle of invasive species, the Asian carp threatening to invade the Great Lakes may be unsuccessful because the invasive quagga mussels already there. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
Am I the only one who reads “Asian carp” and thinks koi? What a pretty invasion this would be. I kid, I kid.
That, in turn, makes me think of the pond near my house. In the summer there are often kids there feeding the turtles– this pond is so full of turtles. When I was walking by one day I heard a kid say something about wanting to feed the goldfish. My heart sank a little as I thought of this poor kid who hadn’t learned the difference between a goldfish and a turtle. I looked in the pond and sure enough, there’s a big ol goldfish (maybe koi, didn’t get a good look) among the turtles. Faith in education: restored! I didn’t see any this summer, which makes me doubt they can last a winter in that pond, which is artificial and gets mostly drained in the winter.
5. Good news in science as well. Ten new species of snails discovered in Australia. Biodiversity!
6. This last one is both art and science. An interview with Dr. Pat Krug about a new species of nudibranch, and also a song about the solar powered nudibranch. Thanks to the folks at Deep Sea News for bringing this one to my attention.
To round out the week, a couple of photos from my most visited patch of nature, the Harlem Meer. It’s not mollusks, but it’s what I have for nature at the time being, and it is really fun to walk by this place twice a day and see what’s changing and what’s not.
I saw my favorite duck family today. There’s this feral domestic duck and what I assume are his/her offspring. They keep to themselves and don’t mingle much with all the other ducks.
Then there was this flower that’s been blooming for the past few days. It looked very curious to me, so I walked over to check it out.
Flower indeed. We’ve got a regular Andy Goldsworthy on our hands.
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