Yesterday, several polite young German women packed the Scribbler into a sleek metal can and catapulted him across the Atlantic holding little more than a croissant and some very good chocolate. While he recovers from the shock, head over to Inkling for a story about the endangered Pacific tree octopus. An excerpt:
According to what little scientists know about it, the Pacific Northwest tree octopus is an amphibious species restricted to the temperate rainforests of the North American Pacific coast. The arboreal creatures abandon their coniferous homes each spring and migrate to the waters of Puget Sound to spawn. Sadly, years of logging, urban growth, overharvesting during the nineteenth century for hat accessories and depredation by its natural predator, the sasquatch, has driven this species to critically low levels.
You may think you’ve guessed the punch line, but you haven’t. This remarkable bit of yarn-spinning has its own site (here) and Connecticut researchers are using it to test the critical thinking skills of seventh-graders doing online research.
The octopus site itself is something of a marvel, going several layers deep without betraying so much as a nudge or wink. A particularly nice touch is the RSS feed to actual, breaking science news from major press resources like Eurekalert.org.
It’s such an endearing image – the thought of a harrowed little octopus ascending the Douglas-firs in a drenching Pacific rain, trying to escape the ruthless Victorian hat-merchants, only to be swatted, squished, and swallowed by a ham-handed but ruthless Sasquatch. Can any doubt remain that we live in an intelligently designed world at the mercy of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?