Random Photo For June 7th

  • Random number between 1999 and 2015 = 2005
  • Random number between 1 and 12 = 8
  • Random number between 1 and 31 (or 30 or 28 or 29) = 18

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We were in Seattle, our first trip there, a family vacation. In the iconic Farmer’s Market, I saw this sculpture of a giant squid suspended above us.

By all accounts, squid can get quite large, and they’re not stupid. The exhibit curiosity and non-random, non-instinctive behaviors. There have been instances of remote vehicles thousands of feet down in the ocean seeing giant squid and having the squid come back several times to investigate and even play with the submarine.

Better yet, their aquatic relatives, the octopus, are in some cases being shown to be as intelligent as a chimpanzee or dog. They can be trained to perform complex tasks and can use simple logic and reason to solve problems. For example, in this video (which has Spanish titles, but a favorite Jean Michel Jarre soundtrack) an octopus figures out how to unscrew a jar in order to get at the food inside.

I’m hoping that we don’t manage to kill off all of the squid and the octopus as we continue to screw up the planet. We’re seeing significant temperature increases in the oceans as the atmospheric temperatures rise. We’re also seeing the oceans getting more acidic as the warmer water combines with the increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere, creating increased amounts of carbolic acid at the sea/air interface. Of course, we also have issues like oil spills that are causing major amounts of damage in the areas where they occur – look at how much oxygen levels in the water fell and marine life suffered after the British Petroleum spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Then we overfish for many species, depleting them to the point where they’re near extinction, which in turn depletes the species which feed on them, which in turn…

Given the increasing odds that at some point we’re going to screw up so badly that we put ourselves on the endangered species list, I hope that species like the squid and the octopus are able to survive. I know that in the long run, Mother Nature will do just fine without humans, just like she did just fine without dinosaurs and millions of other species before us. Something else will rise to the top of the food chain when primates are gone, just like mammals and primates rose when the dinosaurs faded into history. The planet will be just fine without us.

Maybe it will be octopus that get the next crack at it. If we don’t take them with us.

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Filed under Critters, Disasters, Photography, Travel

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