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The Week in Sharks: Happy Birthday Jaws; Please Don’t Eat the Clown He Costs 13 Bucks an Hour


Aging Sharks

Hey, Thursday was Jaws‘s 35th birthday, according to some arbitrary standard—though technically speaking, it was Jaws (nee Bruce)’s 35th deathday; if the shark were really born today, it’d be at least 50 (35 years since the [spoiler alert, but whatever—you think maybe the shark lived happily ever after at the end? No! Died. Died died dead!] diving-tank-bon-bon-from-hell, plus the minimum of 15 years it takes great whites to reach maturity. Yes, this kind of calculation/precision is what we talk about when we talk about nerds). But that’s okay; to paraphrase the Bishop George Berkeley, “To be is to be filmed by Steven Spielberg.” So 35 years of Jaws. How to celebrate?

You could go on a touching introspective quest to find the original mechanical shark, weaving nostalgia in with film history and family anecdote in the special, eminently muggable way only NPR can. Or you could confront the pressing question: how do sharks affect the lives of the residents of Lincoln, Nebraska? Profoundly, apparently!

Rod won’t go in the water! Barbara quit being an all-state swimmer! Jeff keeps bolting from sharks in the Platt River! A tornado hit in the middle of the screening, which actually has a bit of a “suck it, coasts” awesomeness to it. A separate Journal Star blogger posed the question, “Can watching Jaws cure a fear of sharks”? Answer: no. Bloggers: shootable. Nebraska: totally sharkless. Journalism!

[via NPR and the Nebraska Journal-Star]

Balloon Sharks

But let us not be devoid of celebratory spirit. If a guy who’s not entirely unreminiscent of a collegiate Nic Cage playing with rubber in his parents’ basement is your sort of thing, then you’re obviously me.

Ulcer Sharks

Assuming all that birthday cake’s gone down the ol’ shark gullet, it’ll mingle with a bunch of rogue antibiotics to create what one scientist terms “monsters,” according to study in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. The problem? Flushing. What do we love to flush, besides the usual suspects? Alligators, of course. Our hopes and dreams, definitely. Cocaine, well that goes without saying. But it turns out we’re also flushing extra antibiotics.

Overuse of antibiotics is a well-known risk factor for creating invulnerable strains of tuberculosis (consumption), staphylococcus (sepsis), and gonorrhea (2:15 a.m.), among others; apparently, it can create these same super bacteria in shark stomachs. That’s the magic of the food chain process known as “bioaccumulation”: a teeny bit of extra amoxicillin in a bunch of barnacles becomes a bit more when a (note to self: look up what kind of fish eats barnacles) eats the whole bunch, and this becomes yet more when a bunch of now moderately antibioticized Bob’s Barnacle Bass are gobbled by sharks. This Awesome Mega Super Bacterium is a minimal threat to the sharks, who are often denied access to primary care providers anyway and have to get their antibiotics from Mexico if at all; but for humans, it means we can no longer eat our ice cream out of raw shark stomachs. Dammit.

[via National Geographic]

Disease Penguins UPDATE

This super-evil-mega-kill-eye-stab bacteria has also been found in some seabirds, but mercifully not in penguins (the article is very clear on that!). Poor things have suffered enough. Like going bald and being dressed in tiny wet suits and then having the tale told in perpetuity to small children so that the emotional healing process can never really begin.

[via National Geographic and SFGate]

Team Jacob Sharks

Taylor Lautner is not afraid of supermegaevilsatan bacteria. No, “There are two things I’m afraid of: reptiles and sharks,” he told Jimmy Kimmel, he told MTV. Nonetheless, he jumped in the water and swam with sharks, describing them as “big”. I’m tempted to be more of a dick here, but isn’t that guy like sixteen? That the dumb things I said at sixteen (which were primarily about Green Day and girls, but my thoughts on those matters were plenty stupid) never made it onto Kimmel is probably a blessing for all involved. But hey, werewolf? I wasn’t afraid of no sharks. Just girls, and Green Day.

[via MTV]

Oily Sharks Redux

Sharks and other fish are heading towards shallow water to escape the spread of oil from BP’s Deepwater Royal F***up. Although shallow water is, for the time being, clearer, there are worries that the overcrowding will deplete oxygen levels and, of course, force sharks into closer contact with humans. At this point, however, humans owe the fish a big one.

So have a heart: give a leg.

[via Yahoo!/AP]

((know a thing or two about sharks, penguins, or how to write clearly, effectively, and submit your copy on time? Well, e-mail me and I might be a better person for it. No promises, though))

Image: Jack Vinson/Flickr

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  1. Alex Arceri says:

    Hy Chris interesting fact for you. The crazy fisherman dude Jaws was actually based on a guy named Frank Mundis. He was the very first person to catch a Great White off of the coast of Long Island. Any who the real interesting thing about his story is that
    A) Frank Mundis was completely illiterate and I mean completely My Dad has an autographed picture from him and its basically hieroglyphics.

    B) The way he caught the shark was CRAZY they were off the coast and saw a floating dead whale carcass. When they got closer they saw a HUGE ASS Great White feeding on it. The realing amazing thing is that in order to catch it Frank actually jumped Onto the dead whale, cut out a chunk of it, and used it as a bait to catch the shark.

    The Dude was a legend and thats why they based that character from Jaws off of him. Hope you enjoyed the facts and sorry for the long windedness of this comment

  2. JungheadinPA says:

    And antibiotic overuse/abuse usually leads to fungus among us. So those sharks are going to start getting yeast infections. But somehow they seem less threatening when I think of them as consumers of Monistat or Vagisil!

    This could lead to an empathy boom.

  3. Natalia says:

    “Disease Penguins UPDATE…Like going bald and being dressed in tiny wet suits and then having the tale told in perpetuity to small children so that the emotional healing process can never really begin.”

    Hahahaha! I’m so glad you wrote that! I work at the Academy of Sciences where the penguin in a wetsuit, Pierre, currently resides. Poor little guy. They just made a book about him and have been hyping it up nonstop to the kids who are constantly banging on the glass. Pierre can’t catch a break.

  4. Christian says:

    Wait wasn’t Taylor Lautner the Shark Boy?