This is one giant Kraken News update and it really delivers (ahem). First off though, the dictionary giants at Merriam Webster reckon that they have finally laid the plural of octopus debate at rest. We disagree, the plural of octopuses should clearly be OCTOPOSSE and the plural of squid is an INK TANK. Mwahahaha. Kraken humour is the best.
Babies, you say?
You may have seen this warm and fuzzy bit of Kraken news before, but if not, here is the ABC showing you how premature babies at the Chicago intensive care unit are saved by an army of crocheted octopuses. In Dublin, Ireland they are calling for people to crochet for the cutely-named “Tentacles for Tinies” programme. You can find your own octopus crochet pattern to save preemie babies here.
As if the preemie babies weren’t enough to break your heart, there is also a Kraken-inspired medical syndrome of a ‘broken heart’. Yes, you heard that right. Our Japanese friends named the Takotsubo syndrome after a type of octopus-trapping pot used by fishermen (tako – octopus, tsubo – pot). It refers to the occurrence of sudden stress-related cardiac weakening and can follow chronic emotional stress. The name comes from the octopus trap, because the left ventricle takes on a shape resembling this fishing pot.
Maybe not quite as spectacular as the 2017 National Geographic winner:
There was this beauty of a photo of a tiny bobtail squid, who were found employing an amazing hunting technique:
Hunting for shrimp by the light of the moon and the stars, the squid begins to emit a glow. It might seem counterintuitive to call attention to themselves by glowing, but they’re actually a step ahead of us. They are deploying a tactic called counter-illumination. They emit just enough light to match the moonlight from above, effectively erasing their shadows from the seafloor so that predators can’t stalk them by the dark shape below.
But wait, Blue Planet 2 is out and there’s a ton of cool new Kraken footage…
Some clever Krakenologists have managed to strap a camera on the fearsome predators, the Humboldt Squid, and found that they quite like to have a bit of a chat!
Here, we can see what happens when octopuses actually ‘have a bit of a chat’:
And finally, not to be outdone, there are Valentines Day dates to watch octopuses fall in love...
And after you fall in love, you have some nookie
This lovely tale of team work, babies – including this incredible microscopic footage of how squid babies hatch – and falling in love could almost make us forget that nothing is horrific as Kraken sex:
The Blanket Octopus has an unobtrusive mating habit. The male octopus is 40,000 times smaller than the female. The male swims up to his woman of choice and sticks his mating arm to her body. In doing so the male actually dies. The female octopus never realizes the encounter. The arm is left behind and crawls around her body until it arrives in her gill slit. It waits in the slit for the eggs to mature. Once the eggs are matured, the female rips open the sperm packet over the eggs. By that point in time, the male lies dead somewhere, deep in the ocean.
This poor octopus in our lair, Wellington, even had his genitals ripped off by an amorous female. No, her name was not Loraine Bobbitt. To make things worse, she then probably used the testacle (real name: hectocotylus) to inseminate herself!
Talking about Kraken sex, this story about a zoo worker sexually assaulting a Giant Pacific Octopus and having his genitals ripped off for it, really took it a sucker too far. Maybe it was the Russian hackers trying to detract from the fact that Jared Kushner allegedly has octopus tentacles, but this one was debunked as a giant bit of FAKE NEWS.
To stay on the theme, can your kid spot the dreaded ‘fake news’ (an important skill in this day and age, ahem)? After all, we are all going to need to work hard to save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus from extinction…
Then there is this guy, who managed to combine child molesters, fake news and vampire squids all into a 2 min episode on Republican tax cuts. I personally prefer my vampire squids in the deep sea:
Wait! I suddenly feel really hungry! I want to eat me some Kraken!
Krakenologists have recently (well, in 2009) discovered that most cephalopods, bar the ancient nautilus, are venomous. Not that that should stop you from following one of these delicious recipes. Although I would steer clear of the ‘dancing squid’ in case it chokes you to death in zombie revenge.
On that topic, did you know the difference between ‘venomous’ and ‘poisonous’? Cephalopods are classed as venomous rather than poisonous because they deliver their toxins via a bite or wound. Poison is passively absorbed into the blood through skin, or eaten.
But to eat tasty tentacles, you first have to catch them, which is not without consequences – especially if you do it whilst throwing bombs at seals!!! FFS. Here is a great description – from the fisherman’s mouth – of what happens when you overfish a sensitive ecosystem. In several places, they even have to put temporary bans on Kraken fishing to preserve the delicate balance.
A slightly more gruesome fishing topic, is the footage of this 10-year old kid biting an octopus between the eyes to “kill it humanely” [WARNING! Depicts Kraken murder]:
And then, we have had some excellent Kraken depictions in art, literature, film and gaming…
“I can best explain the difference between classic science fiction and Afrofuturism if I used the octopus analogy. Like humans, octopuses are some of the most intelligent creatures on earth. However, octopus intelligence evolved from a different evolutionary line, separate from that of human beings, so the foundation is different. The same can be said about the foundations of various forms of science fiction.
Talking about science fiction, what happens when you mate Dread Lord Cthulhu with Hello Kitty? Tentacle kitty, of course!
The renowned children’s book author Jen Brett met with a giant octopus as inspiration for her new “Mermaid” book which is based on the Goldilocks story. But with Kraken instead of bears, I assume.
Talking about mermaids, here is a long description of the challenges of creating the Ursula costume for a “My little mermaid” production.
And Sean Astin told us how much better the original “Goonies” would have been – if they had left in the giant Kraken attacking the ship at the end. And if you loved “20,000 Leagues under the Sea” which the Goonies scene was inspired by, you’ll be stoked to hear about the new book “Nemo Rising” about to come out.
As revellers in Thailand have found out, when you ride a giant Kraken, you may be in for the ride of your life. The ‘octopus ride’ took flight, injuring 17 passengers, when some of its tentacles broke.
Somewhat safer is the 80s arcade game version of “Squids vs Jellies” – if the inane soundtrack doesn’t drive you batty.
Not even hair is safe from the Kraken as these poor models discovered.
Then, there is this glorious intersection of Chtulhu’s horror, art and the civil service.
Finally, I shall leave with with the most hilarious post this week: David Attenborough battling Cthulhu in Blue Planet 2.