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Daytime Limbo

What I hate: delivery men. Delivery men who do not allow me to schedule a delivery time, nay, even a preferred delivery half-day. Delivery men who INFORM me that they will be here to deliver my (memory foam) mattress "sometime between 11:30am and 2:30pm" -- which as many of you might agree, is a SUCKY window for anybody who is trying to put in a half-day of work. Delivery men who then call at 11:40am, to INFORM me that "it's gonna be a little later, maybe 3pm, or after", and to whom I can only reply, "I'll be here". Because what the hell else am I supposed to do? Even as I watch any hope of their making the delivery early in their window and me actually getting in for a REAL half-day of work spiral down the drain. *SIGH*

What rocks: when you TiVo a Discovery Channel special on killer whales, and you start watching it, and it turns out that it is narrated by DAVID ATTENBOROUGH. Bonus!


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 20th, 2004 07:01 pm (UTC)
i'm telling you. people are bastard-coated bastards stuffed with a bastardy center.
Oct. 20th, 2004 07:15 pm (UTC)
Addendum: after all that, they actually showed up at 2:17pm.

::wrings hands:: Oooooh, I hope I like this mattress! It's labelled "plush", which is what it's supposed to be, but it doesn't feel as plushy as the one I tried in the store. Of course that's the one that people have been laying all over and softening up for who knows how long. We'll see.
Oct. 20th, 2004 07:24 pm (UTC)
I managed to catch a show on orcas the other day, though I think it was on MSNBC Adventure. I'm not sure if David Attenborough narrated it, though.
Oct. 20th, 2004 08:04 pm (UTC)
Was the one you saw about killer whales having culture and traditions? It was kind of cool and interesting, although it came to a conclusion that I thought could have been self-evident to anyone who knows anything about killer whales.

It started off contrasting orcas' wild identity as apex predators with their cooperation with humans in captivity, with Shamu as an example. That is: in the wild orcas hunt mammals; humans are kinda sea-lion shaped, but even slower; why do they tolerate and even cooperate with humans? Partial answer, at least: because Shamu comes from a pod that was fish-eating, not mammal-eating, duh.

The programme went and examined four orca populations in different areas that had developed behaviors, or as the programme argued, culture, based around type of prey -- penguins, herring, sea-lions, gray whales. It noted that there are companies taking people to snorkel with orcas off Norway, and the orcas there have never attacked the seal-shaped slow humans. Obviously: those are fish-eaters.

I'd love to see a follow-up programme that examined whether there's any evidence for how the mammal-eaters interact with humans. Because naturally the core question is: can the orcas reason, can they differentiate by perceived evidence what's prey and what's not? Or is it all just rooted in what they are trained from the earliest age to regard as prey? I don't know if any evidence exists to test the theory of how the mammal-eaters would react to human divers.

Anyway, it looked like the programme was made at least in part by the BBC.
Oct. 20th, 2004 08:13 pm (UTC)
Hmm, no, the one you caught sounds interesting!

I've seen the one I saw before- it does discuss orca dialects and family structure, but it mainly talked about the resident pods around Vancouver and then talked about the whales that surf up onto the beach to grab seals in Argentina.

The mammal-hunting orcas are really fascinating. I would think that sonar bouncing off a wetsuit-clad human would be different than the sonar bouncing off a fat seal. I think I've read somewhere that dolphins can actually "see" inside people when they hit them with sonar- seeing that a woman is pregnant for example. I'd think orcas could do the same.

By the way, there is a fascinating article in the latest National Wildlife about orcas attacking great white sharks around the Farallon Islands. Oooh, here's a link! Apparently, a tagged great white who was in the vicinity of an orca attack near the Farallon Islands immediately turned and swam all the way to Hawaii. :D

I wonder what the mammal-eating orcas think of the fish-eating orcas?
Oct. 20th, 2004 08:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, that article is cool!

Tim Cahill (a sort of travel/adventure writer) has an anecdote about diving in this place (forget where) that has a lot of Great White activity, and boats taking people out so they can go down in shark-cages to look at them. (And how flimsy a lot of the safety precautions were.) He was free-diving, though, not in a cage, because I think he was diving with an underwater-cameraman, or something. Anyway, this underwater-camera-guy was the one who came up with this plan to deal with all the great whites milling around. Cahill was swimming along holding this sort of belly-board against his body, and when a shark would seem to be coming close, he'd pull it out and flash it broadside to the shark. It was painted to look like an orca. Apparently the sharks would all suddenly veer the heck away. Their depth perception isn't good enough to tell that it wasn't an actual orca in the middle-distance.

Heh. Scare-orca!

We do know that fish-eating and mammal-eating orcas share the same range, sometimes -- the transients and the residents in British Columbia, for example. Impossible to tell what they think of each other. They don't fight, but they also don't socialize, and they have those different dialects.

While I appreciate the program's suggestion that learned behavior that is passed on from generation to generation is tantamount to culture, it also made the point that orcas from different "cultures" do not interbreed. For a single species to have such a widely dispersed population (the program claimed that orcas are exceeded only by humans in terms of "most widely dispersed mammal species"), and yet to have such distinct "cultures" (far more distinct, in terms of all the behaviors and language that separate them, than other mammal species that adapt to different environments and prey conditions), is remarkable.

And yet, to truly elevate the cetacean society to "near-human" status, here's what I guess I'd like to know -- *could* orcas from these different "cultures" interbreed? What stops them? Because if you're using words like "culture" then you're kind of suggesting that culture/civilization isn't just a human invention; fine, but... Humans can and do exchange mates across sometimes wide cultural gaps. Not always, not often. But we're capable of it, and it does happen.

I'd like to know if a fish-eater adult could be plunked down amongst mammal-eaters, and learn the culture of that new tribe. And vice-versa. And if they'd interbreed *then*. Or more about why they don't interbreed *now*.

Oct. 20th, 2004 08:47 pm (UTC)
I'm cleaning out my desk at work, and I found the official invitation to the David Attenborough presentation we attended. Would you like it? I think I kept it because it sports a lovely drawing of a penguin. And it's just darn cool.
Oct. 20th, 2004 08:54 pm (UTC)
Nah. Thanks, though. I thought about saving my copy of the program, and then didn't. But it remains in my heart. :)
Oct. 20th, 2004 09:10 pm (UTC)
I see a screen shot of David riding an orca naked in your future.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )