Hakai Magazine

Coastal science and societies

I am the walrus. You are the coral. They are the egg men. Photo by Reinhard Dirscherl/Corbis
I am the walrus. You are the coral. They are the egg men. Photo by Reinhard Dirscherl/Corbis

Stories from the Seven Seas

A weekly roundup of coastal news.

Authored by

by Colin Schultz

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Hakai Magazine is all about the coast, but other outlets sometimes share our fascination. Every week on Strand we collect our favorite coastal stories from around the web.

“Look down at your body. You have become a coral.”

by Ben Goldfarb for Motherboard

“The cool voice of a female narrator filled my headphones. ‘Look down at your body,’ she commanded. ‘You have become a coral, an important part of this underwater ecosystem.’ Sure enough, my legs had been transformed into a lumpy pink pillar, my arms into branching prongs.

‘One of the unique affordances of virtual reality is that you can go places you couldn’t logistically or safely go otherwise,’ Perone, an earnest, clean-cut PhD student at Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, said over the narration. ‘And you can become things you couldn’t become in the real world.’”

Don’t waste seafood waste

by Ning Yan & Xi Chen for Nature

“[S]hells harbour useful chemicals—protein, calcium carbonate and chitin, a polymer similar to cellulose, but which contains nitrogen (see ‘Shell biorefinery’). The potential value of such shells for the chemical industry is being ignored. Scientists should work out sustainable ways to refine crustacean shells, and governments and industry should invest in using this abundant and cheap renewable resource.”

Why did L.A. drop 96 million ‘shade balls’ into its water?

by Brian Clark Howard for National Geographic

“The city says the balls will shade and cool the water, reducing evaporation from the reservoir and making it less susceptible to algae, bacterial growth, and chemical reactions that can produce harmful substances.”

Don’t count on geoengineering the oceans

by Mike Orcutt for MIT Technology Review

“[P]ast emissions ‘leave a substantial legacy in the marine environment,’ especially in the deep ocean. These effects last for centuries. In other words, as far as the oceans are concerned, carbon dioxide removal should not be considered a viable alternative to rapidly switching to a low-carbon energy system.”

Réunion, once a surfer’s paradise, finds only sharks in its waters

by Marc Santora for The New York Times

“The problem is sharks. The island has been besieged by them, and at least 18 people have been attacked and seven have been killed since 2011. The government responded in 2013 with a controversial ban on nearly all surfing and swimming, making Réunion perhaps the world’s only island destination to order residents and tourists to stay out of the water.”

Shores are ‘final frontier’ for archaeology project

by Mark Kinver for BBC

“‘Our coastal and intertidal zone is our new frontier,’ explained project leader Gustav Milne from Mola.

‘We have more or less sorted out things on land. We’ve sorted out the green frontier, now it is time to tackle the blue frontier—the final frontier.’”

Not just dolphins: where to swim with pigs, penguins and the gentlest of sharks

by Michele Lent Hirsch for Smithsonian Magazine

“There is an animal called a sea pig, which crawls along the ocean floor and is related to the sea cucumber (actually an animal, not a plant). But you can also swim with real pigs: ‘pig pigs,’ the mammals with the snout.”

Watch the coast guard make the biggest narco submarine coke bust ever

by Tyler Rogoway for Foxtrot Alpha

“On July 18th, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton intercepted a narco sub about 200 miles south of Mexico. On board the homemade semi-submersible were 16,000 pounds of cocaine worth almost a quarter of a billion dollars. Yes, billion, with a B. The Coast Guard pulled 12,000 pounds out of the turquoise-colored sub before it sank to the seafloor.”