Cute but sad Dumbo octopus

Collision Detection reader Paul Gemperle is a big fan of the “Dumbo octopus”. As am I. And really — who isn’t? Only someone with an anvil for a heart could be unmoved by the gorgeous and thoroughly extraterrestrial spectacle of the noble Grimpoteuthis, which looks sort of like a gelatinous ghost from Pac-Man, with two floppy ‘lil ear-thingies on top.

So Paul and I were both excited and saddened to see this footage of a Dumbo octopus that, according to the Youtube poster, was caught during a beam trawl. “Excited” because it’s cool to see these things up close, but “sad” because, as Paul points out, the octopus doesn’t seem very happy.

Humanity, watch it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You mess with the Kraken, you’ll get the seven-mile-long Cthulhuian tentacles. I shudder to think of what sort of charges will be levied against us during the cephalopod truth-and-reconciliation commissions a few decades from now.

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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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Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson