Jellyfish invasion!

Behold the fearsome echizen kurage — the latest threat from the briny deep.

These jellyfish are six feet wide, they weigh up to 450 pounds, they’re covered in poison tentacles, and they’re totally b0rking the food supply of Asia. For reasons that no scientist can figure out, they have in recent months been massing at levels 100 times larger than normal off the coasts of China Japan and North Korea. They’re getting caught in fisherman’s nets and ruining their hauls, such that incomes in some fisherman regions are down 80 percent. In a delightfully Godzilla-class move, the three governments are convening a joint “jellyfish summit” this month to figure how to fight this gelatinous menace.

In the meantime, the locals are making the best of it, as the British Times reports, because …

… rather than just complaining about jellyfish they are eating them. [snip]

Coastal communities are doing their best to promote jellyfish as a novelty food, sold dried and salted.

Students in Obama have managed to turn them into tofu, and jellyfish collagen is reported to be beneficial to the skin.

Some speculate that heavy rains in China have sparked the jellyfish invasion; others wonder about global warming. If it’s the latter — man, one could scarcely ask for a better argument in favor of signing Kyoto. “What, you want to get killed by a quarter-ton jellyfish?”

(Thanks to Andrew Griffin for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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