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So, a bunch of fisherman caught this huge, 28-foot giant squid off the coast of the Falkland Island, and London’s Natural History Museum decided to put it on display. As the BBC reports, they had quite a time figuring out how to present the briny beast. It turns out it’s pretty hard to defrost a giant squid: It’s hard to time the pacing of the warm-up so the thin little tentacles don’t rot while waiting for the thick mantle to defrost.
But once the thing is de-iced, there’s an even thornier curatorial challenge: Where do you get a tank big enough — and weirdly-shaped enough — to hold a creature that is as long as a bus but thin as a human?
They called Damien Hirst, the British shock-jock artist famous for producing big icky installations of entire animals (sharks, horses) sliced like salami:
“We contacted Damien Hirst’s group after seeing their animals preserved in formalin. They put us in touch with a company who could make these tanks,” explained Mr Ablett.
The squid now resides in a glass tank, filled to the brim with preservative solution, and is one of 22 million specimens that can be seen as part of the behind-the-scenes Darwin Centre tour of the Natural History Museum.
(Thanks to Debbie Chachra and Will Hanisko for this one!)
I'm Clive Thompson, a writer on science, technology, and culture. This blog collects bits of offbeat research I'm running into, and musings thereon.
Currently, I'm a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. I also write for Fast Company and Wired magazine's web site, among other places. Email or AOL IM me (pomeranian99) to say hi or send in something strange!
May 20, 2011 » 02:28 PM
From Christopher Kennedy’s very droll book “Neitzsche’s Horse”.
July 28, 2010 » 07:35 AM
“Wr” - S
July 06, 2010 » 10:05 AM
My Xbox broke, and I was trying to Google some possible technical solutions, when I noticed that Google appears to be encouraging me to make a typo. I suppose it’s possible that Google’s algorithms know that typing “wont” instead of “won’t” would produce better results.
June 29, 2010 » 05:00 PM
On the other hand, when I tried the test for multitasking, I was pretty abysmal. I performed worse than people who identify themselves as heavy multitaskers, and those who identify as low multitaskers.
June 29, 2010 » 04:58 PM
I finally got around to trying out the interactive “test your distractability and multitasking” page at the New York Times, which they put up alongside their story earlier this month about how computer distractions are eroding our lives.
According to the test, I guess I have good focus — I’m not very distractable!
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