Monday, December 15, 2008

Squid Riots: Real Life Cthulhu News

Great Cthulhu stirred, and Mankind flinched. It stared as a tremor of a dream filtering through the minds of mortals as a filament of smoke might at first flit unnoticed under a street light. But to those sensatives, a portion of the brain was excited to a fever frenzy. Thus the madness began. -CP

[Yes, these are real stories pulled from Saturday night's internet news services.]

Dateline: New Zealand
Collosal squid attracts monster fan club
by DEIDRE MUSSEN - Sunday Star Times Sunday, 14 December 2008

A giant squid yesterday pulled in more than twice the usual number of Saturday visitors to Te Papa. Up to 6500 people queued for the first opportunity to see the world's only displayed colossal squid.
About 100 people sprinted to the 495kg creature's 6m tank inside Wellington's museum when the doors opened at 10am.
The squid, the largest of the museum's three specimens of the world's largest invertebrate, proved a gigantic hit.
"It's huge," said a wide-eyed Inzimam Ali, seven, of Johnsonville, who pestered his parents for a week to visit the exhibition after seeing a billboard about it.
"It makes me hate the sea," said Lena Riki, 20, of Upper Hutt, who took her children, three-year-old Iranui and 12-month-old Arapeta to the exhibition.
The colossal squid has also created a giant worldwide frenzy. When scientists thawed it in April, the BBC reported it was the most globally viewed internet story for the week.


Dateline: Spain
Vandals wreck world's largest giant squid collection
By: thinnkSPAIN, Saturday, December 13, 2008

According to the president of the Centre for the Study and Protection of Marine Species (CEPESMA), vandals have caused around €24,00 euros worth of damage to the world's largest collection of giant squid at the Aula del Mar exhibition centre in Villar, near Valdés,
Luis Laria explained that, since last summer, vandals got in by taking advantage of a temporary door, smashed windows and broke display cases containing male and female giant squids each measuring ten metres long as well as skeletons of whales, tortoises, marine birds and fossils.
Describing their actions as "deplorable," the naturalist said that what hurt most was the "complete lack of respect" shown for fifteen years' hard work.
The CEPESMA exhibiition houses 21 examples of giant squid, which, although common on the Cantabrian coast, have never been filmed in their natural habitat.


Dateline: USA
HOME-SCHOOLING: 'Unit study' opens up learning
by Kate TsubataSunday, December 14, 2008

Maryland home-schoolers Wendy and Eric Pavlat have been educating their six children since the birth of their first, some 11 years ago, but officially for seven years. Eric is a high school teacher, Wendy a medical researcher with Johns Hopkins who decided to put family ahead of career. ... Take, for instance, the giant squid. When her son requested a "Squid Day," Wendy happily complied, and they immersed themselves in the world of squid: eating squid hot dogs, playing with squid puppets and answering questions about squid. As they delved deeper into the subject, they decided to create a scale model of the 60-foot leviathan out of a long roll of paper, and hit upon the only possible surface on which to display it: the ceiling. The giant squid's portrait stretched from the front door through all the rooms of the house. To get a sense of the scale, they then created outlines of themselves swimming on the ceiling with the squid. ...


Dateline: USA
Everything's in season for squid along Pacific Coast
by Tom Stienstra Sunday, December 7, 2008

Out of Half Moon Bay, 100 miles out to sea, the ocean surface erupted for a half mile in a froth of white water and tentacles.
"The squid were eating a school of fish," said commercial fisherman Bob Longstreth. "I've seen them out there. Serious predators."
In another episode, a gang of Humboldt squid had circled the boat New Salmon Queen from Emeryville. The squid were in full attack, with the anglers aboard hooking up on every drop. Capt. Craig Shimukuzu got out his video camera to film the action and as he pressed the record button, the ocean "blew up" - a pod of 10 killer whales came to the surface in a feeding frenzy of their own, slashing the squid to bits with their teeth.
On Thursday morning out of Bodega Bay, 20 fishermen aboard the New Sea Angler caught an estimated 15,000 pounds of Humboldt squid in 90 minutes; 400 squid that averaged 30 pounds and topped out at 70, with 90 percent of them hooked near the surface. Capt. Rick Powers said he found the squid on the northwest edge of Cordell Bank.
Humboldt squid were first seen off California in 1930, then not again until the El Niño year of 1997. They disappeared again for five years, but since 2002, they have been here to stay, according to the Monterey Bay Research Institute, taking over new territory. They are best known off the coast of South America, and in recent years, Baja California, but have expanded their range north along the Pacific Coast.
They are one of the fastest growing creatures in the world, transforming from a single cell to as much as 100 pounds during an average life span of about one year. They average 15 to 60 pounds and measure up to 6 feet long.
"They're an eating machine," Powers said. "They eat their body weight daily."
Humboldt squid are built for the job. They have 10 tentacles that are filled with teeth-lined sucker cups, including two extended tentacles that pull victims into razor-sharp beaks. "We've seen them eat each other," said Craig Stone at Emeryville Sportfishing.

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