Hey, Thursday was Jaws‘s 35th birthday, according to some arbitrary standard—though technically speaking, it was Jaws (nee Bruce)’s 35th deathday; if the shark were really born today, it’d be at least 50 (35 years since the [spoiler alert, but whatever—you think maybe the shark lived happily ever after at the end? No! Died. Died died dead!] diving-tank-bon-bon-from-hell, plus the minimum of 15 years it takes great whites to reach maturity. Yes, this kind of calculation/precision is what we talk about when we talk about nerds). But that’s okay; to paraphrase the Bishop George Berkeley, “To be is to be filmed by Steven Spielberg.” So 35 years of Jaws. How to celebrate?
You could go on a touching introspective quest to find the original mechanical shark, weaving nostalgia in with film history and family anecdote in the special, eminently muggable way only NPR can. Or you could confront the pressing question: how do sharks affect the lives of the residents of Lincoln, Nebraska? Profoundly, apparently!
Rod won’t go in the water! Barbara quit being an all-state swimmer! Jeff keeps bolting from sharks in the Platt River! A tornado hit in the middle of the screening, which actually has a bit of a “suck it, coasts” awesomeness to it. A separate Journal Star blogger posed the question, “Can watching Jaws cure a fear of sharks”? Answer: no. Bloggers: shootable. Nebraska: totally sharkless. Journalism!
But let us not be devoid of celebratory spirit. If a guy who’s not entirely unreminiscent of a collegiate Nic Cage playing with rubber in his parents’ basement is your sort of thing, then you’re obviously me.
Assuming all that birthday cake’s gone down the ol’ shark gullet, it’ll mingle with a bunch of rogue antibiotics to create what one scientist terms “monsters,” according to study in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. The problem? Flushing. What do we love to flush, besides the usual suspects? Alligators, of course. Our hopes and dreams, definitely. Cocaine, well that goes without saying. But it turns out we’re also flushing extra antibiotics.
Overuse of antibiotics is a well-known risk factor for creating invulnerable strains of tuberculosis (consumption), staphylococcus (sepsis), and gonorrhea (2:15 a.m.), among others; apparently, it can create these same super bacteria in shark stomachs. That’s the magic of the food chain process known as “bioaccumulation”: a teeny bit of extra amoxicillin in a bunch of barnacles becomes a bit more when a (note to self: look up what kind of fish eats barnacles) eats the whole bunch, and this becomes yet more when a bunch of now moderately antibioticized Bob’s Barnacle Bass are gobbled by sharks. This Awesome Mega Super Bacterium is a minimal threat to the sharks, who are often denied access to primary care providers anyway and have to get their antibiotics from Mexico if at all; but for humans, it means we can no longer eat our ice cream out of raw shark stomachs. Dammit.
[via National Geographic]
Disease Penguins UPDATE
This super-evil-mega-kill-eye-stab bacteria has also been found in some seabirds, but mercifully not in penguins (the article is very clear on that!). Poor things have suffered enough. Like going bald and being dressed in tiny wet suits and then having the tale told in perpetuity to small children so that the emotional healing process can never really begin.
Team Jacob Sharks
Taylor Lautner is not afraid of supermegaevilsatan bacteria. No, “There are two things I’m afraid of: reptiles and sharks,” he told Jimmy Kimmel, he told MTV. Nonetheless, he jumped in the water and swam with sharks, describing them as “big”. I’m tempted to be more of a dick here, but isn’t that guy like sixteen? That the dumb things I said at sixteen (which were primarily about Green Day and girls, but my thoughts on those matters were plenty stupid) never made it onto Kimmel is probably a blessing for all involved. But hey, werewolf? I wasn’t afraid of no sharks. Just girls, and Green Day.
Oily Sharks Redux
Sharks and other fish are heading towards shallow water to escape the spread of oil from BP’s Deepwater Royal F***up. Although shallow water is, for the time being, clearer, there are worries that the overcrowding will deplete oxygen levels and, of course, force sharks into closer contact with humans. At this point, however, humans owe the fish a big one.
So have a heart: give a leg.
((know a thing or two about sharks, penguins, or how to write clearly, effectively, and submit your copy on time? Well, e-mail me and I might be a better person for it. No promises, though))
Image: Jack Vinson/Flickr