Saturday, August 05, 2006

You lear nsomething new...

Today I learned:

1. About global warming:
- when 9-11 occured, and planes were grounded for several days, the average daily temperatures rose 2-3 degrees acoss the entire nation. That's when scientists realized that the effects of global warming are much farther along, and worse than previoiusly thought - in an odd twist of fate, one of the things that is protecting us from the more severe effects is the layer of "protective" smog in our atmosphere.

2. About Spiders:
- There is currently an "infestation" of spiders in Australia that is causing mass panic. An article can be found here:
  • Crazy Spiders! AUG!!

  • 3. About Venomous snakes:
    - Bottles of (very expensive) "Habu sake" are sold in almost any alcohol store on the big island of Okinawa prefecture. The venom of 'Okinawa Habu', one of Japan's most poisonous snakes, is present in the sake (along with a dead snake on the bottom)... and it is reputed to increase male virility!

    - The King Cobra is the world’s largest venomous snake. The record length for a King was measured at 18 feet, 4 inches. King cobra bites can kill a full grown elephant in less than 3 hours.


    4. About me:
    - (I actually already knew this, sort of, but was reminded of it today when looking at snakes, and it's a sort-of interesting story, so here I go) I found a picture of this guy, who I swam with while scuba diving in Indonesia. Sea snakes are very curioius creatures, and like to inspect things. And inspect me, he did! He swam gracefully up to my face, bumped his nose against my goggles, moved backwards, looked at me for a moment, and then swam peacefully on his way.

    Of course, it's only in the last year that I've discovered that this particular sea snake has the most powerful neurotoxin venom in the world, 10x stronger than a rattlesnake's... I don't think I would have been filled with such wonderment, or been so pleased with himbumping his face against mine if I'd known that. Instead it would have been more... well... panic.

    I'll say, though, that it was worth it to see him. I did lots of incredibly (and sometimes stupidly) dangeroius things when I was living in Indonesia, and this was the least of my worries. Because sea snakes are, in addition to being the most poisonoius snake in the world, the most docile snakes in the world. IOW: cases of them biting humans withoiut being provoked are rare, if not non-existant. So I wasn't actually in any danger.

    **of note: I also got to swim with an ADORABLE orange blowfish, shaped like a little square box, and covered in tiny black polkadots. He looked just like this, except more square. And orange.

    And also... a sea turtle! Hooray ^_^

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