Archive for the ‘funny picture’ Category


There are laws about how close a nosy tourist can sneak up on a whale, and most people assume that’s to keep the whales safe from the people. So imagine this couple’s surprise at learning the law also keeps people safe from whales.

Through some combination of whale movements and people movements, the kayakers got closer to this mother humpback and her calf than she approved. First she thwacked the water with a humongous flipper. A moment later she launched out of the water for a full-body layout to encourage the couple to put on a little more distance. Great picture of the splashdown here.

As a totally unexpected bonus, we get an eye-opening comments board at the Times Online’s version of the story. Comments aren’t about whale conservation or close calls with wildlife. They’re about how annoying the metric system is. Amazingly, almost all the comments are pro-Imperial units. And they seem serious! You almost think one of the commenters is Grandpa Simpson (“My car gets forty rods to the hogshead, and that’s the way I likes it!”).

I’m still in shock from hearing recently about some U.S. undergraduates fighting to comprehend the metric system – one in particular whose preferred way to get from centimeters to meters was to convert to inches, then to feet, then back to meters. When did powers of 10 become arcane?

Maybe we should just measure everything in elephants, a la this Onion story. My favorite line:

We saw a rat in the street the other day and he kept going on and on about how huge it was, saying, ‘That thing must’ve been at least .074 elephants long!’

For the record, a full-grown humpback whale is only about 2 full-grown elephants long. But thanks to the power of allometry, it weighs in at 4 elephants. Probably only around 1 elephant of lifespan. Top speed? Just 0.5 elephant (but here the system breaks down: though slower on land, a humpback can surely outswim an elephant. Vice versa is just not worth contemplating.)


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Funny sign alert #5

You know you think about it every time you have to ride over the tracks. Or those storm drains with the big slots in them.

(Christchurch, New Zealand)

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Here’s ace photographer Chris Linder at 2 a.m. waiting for some love from the Iridium satellite gods.

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Funny sign alert #4


This place is full of funny signs. Wait till you see the one from the bathrooms with directions about where to upchuck.

This is in the radio issue room at McMurdo. I love it because I was in Germany earlier this year and was constantly confronted with signs that seemed like they ought to be readable but never were (not for me anyway). Also, when I was a kid my parents didn’t want us to know what they were talking about, they would speak German. They had met in Germany and both speak the language well, but when they needed a word they didn’t know they would make it up and then break out laughing.

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Funny sign alert #3


Needless to say, the possums are different in New Zealand.

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A herring gull in Scotland has earned equal parts scorn and adoration for taking on the law: stealing chips from a convenience store. The local news station has a good time with the story, which is now all over YouTube. The report is kind of hokey, but the footage is good and the reporter strays toward the Monty Python-esque about halfway through.

It may be a little too “America’s funniest home videos” for the more serious Scribble readers. But there’s something impressive going on here, too. Here’s a bird that learned to recognize that something completely manmade and unappetizing-looking could be turned into a meal. And it became so convinced of its reasoning, apparently, that it was willing to venture inside a shop. One envisions the gull, after innumerable dumpster dives, finally saying to itself, “You know, there’s got to be a better way of doing this.” Imagine its reaction when it discovered that not only does it work, but that the bags start out FULL…

At any rate, it’ll keep you going until things calm down around Scribble central. Thanks for reading.

***P.S. Geeky title alert: Herring gull = Larus argentatus

Thanks, Allison!

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actualsize.jpgHere at Scribble Central let me assure you that we are far too busy collecting obscure but fascinating bits of ocean science to pay much attention to page stats. Nevertheless it’s distressingly difficult to ignore one post’s reigning popularity.

That would be Cute Baby Pictures #1. It’s just resoundingly, devastatingly, congenitally popular. Just last week alone the post (first published a full year ago) got looked at upwards of 200 times.

There’s just a staggering number of people who search the Internet on the chance that whatever the cuteness of their current favorite baby pictures, something even more doggedly cute has just been posted.

It’s a bit difficult for a writer to discover that his most resonant work so far is a picture of a silver-dollar-sized turtle and some funny socks. But far be it from me to deny the public what it wants any longer. I’m releasing baby watermelons onto the World Wide Web.

Above, revel in the adorableness of this little one, barely bigger than a stripedy-blue reef fish. And truth be told, that’s a pretty small fish.

australia.jpgBut oh, how they grow – and in just a few short months (we’re thinking October, maybe) this little guy’s going to be a corker. His big sister over here at the left is already nearly the size of Australia.

No watermelons were harmed (yet) in the making of this post. Watermelons were grown organically on land formerly described in the Scribble Climate Experiment. They live in constant natural peril from organic gophers.

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