KSJ Tracker January 25, 2013

Giant squid to make its TV debut in 'Monster Squid: The giant is real.'

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

On Sunday, the Discovery Channel will show the first video of the giant squid in its natural habitat, at 8pm/7 central. I'm not generally inclined to post TV listings at the Tracker, but this one intrigues me. I read Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" as a kid, and I saw the Disney movie starring James Mason as Capt. Nemo, and I've been intrigued by the giant squid ever since. (Wikipedia describes the film as an early example of steampunk. This observation is in parentheses because it has nothing whatever to do with what I'm talking about.)

It turns out that the giant squid is a shiny silver color, making it look in real life more like some robotic demon than it did in the illustrations that generally accompany Verne's tale. Arikia Millikan has a nice scene-setter at The Verge, where she notes that the giant squid made an early appearance in the scientific writing of Pliny the Elder, even though no one knew whether the thing existed.

The researchers who sought and captured the video of the squid had help from Ray Dalio, whom Millikan describes as the "billionaire manager of the world's largest hedge fund"--which makes him, I suppose, the Wall Street equivalent of a giant squid. 

Dan Vergano also has a nice intro to the show at USA Today, where we learn that a teuthologist is not a practitioner of specialty dentistry, but a squid expert. 

You will find plenty of other stories on the web, and if you want a peek of Architeuthis (the giant squid genus), you can find a Discovery Channel teaser on Youtube. 

I'll see you Sunday night. We're serving calamari, but don't let that get around.

-Paul Raeburn


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