ZPi Logo "Serving the Paranoid
since 1997"
Lyle Zapato

Osaru no Kantai (The Monkey Fleet)

Lyle Zapato | 2011-08-01.7800 LMT | Cephalopods | Entertainment

Continuous army of octopuses marches into the forest (looping animated GIF)

It has been theorized that species of tree octopuses around the world originally took to the land, and eventually the trees, in search of tasty vegetation, such as ara flowers, tree pitch, and olives. The Japanese have a similar theory: octopuses came into the forests in search of monkey melons. Unfortunately for these would-be tree-octopuses, the monkeys fought back.

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Goldman Sachs Hoarding Aluminum

Lyle Zapato | 2011-07-29.0018 LMT | Aluminum | Mind Control

Reuters is reporting that the Goldman Sachs Group, the government-welfare-supported investment bank often unfairly likened to a vampire squid (unfairly to the innocent squid), has been stockpiling a million tonnes of industrial aluminum, equal to a quarter of the global reported inventories, in a string of warehouses in Detroit that they control. By slowing the release of aluminum supplies to manufacturers to a trickle, they're able to artificially increase prices while at the same time trading aluminum on commodity markets. They're also profiting on warehouse rent.

At least that's the official outrage that we're supposed to fume against. But could Goldman Sachs' moustache-twirling greed and the media-prompted hisses sure to follow be merely theatrics produced by the Forces of Mind Control to lay the groundwork for government regulation of aluminum supplies as a way to keep paranoids from being able to make AFDBs and aluminized bunkers?

Perhaps.

But it might also be that Goldman Sachs has decided to become a serious player in the international mind-control club, operating at a level heretofore reserved for governments, secret societies, and paraterrestrial agencies.

By amassing a quarter of the world's supply of industrial aluminum -- a primary component in the construction of psychotron cores, casings, and control nubbins -- they can interfere with the global mind-control-device market, choking the supply of psychotronic arms to any mind-control competitors, while building their own arsenal at a greatly reduced cost.

But even more worrisome is the very real possibility that they could melt all the aluminum down to construct the world's largest psychotron core, one capable of bouncing examesmers of psychotronic radiation off the ionosphere, blanketing the Earth exclusively in Goldman Sachs' own mind-control signals and even drowning out signals from HAARP. Detroit would be the place to do this, what with all the available space and abandoned manufacturing facilities.

In either case, paranoids should continue to be bullish on aluminum foil and discarded aluminum cookware as a hedge against whatever Goldman Sachs is up to.

Lyle Zapato

Bell's Thought Transference Helmet

Lyle Zapato | 2011-07-19.5395 LMT | Technology | Mind Control

Alexander Graham Bell is well-known as the inventor of the telephone (more or less); but did you know he also invented a thought transference helmet?

In an interview with Cleveland Moffett printed in the June, 1893 issue of McClure's Magazine (available as scanned images from Google Books and in plain text from Project Gutenberg), Bell starts by discussing air-ships of the near future (airplanes) and seeing at a distance via electricity (television) before revealing his intent to go beyond mere telephony or television with his experiments into electric telepathy:

THOUGHT TRANSFERENCE BY ELECTRICITY.

After he had spoken of this idea [television] for some time, Professor Bell stopped suddenly, and, with an amused twinkle in his eyes, exclaimed: "But while we are talking of all this, what is to prevent some one from discovering a way of thinking at a distance by electricity?"

Having said this, the genial professor threw himself back and laughed heartily at the amazement his words awakened. Was he joking? Apparently not, for he proceeded seriously to discuss one of the most astounding conceptions that ever entered an inventor's mind. Thinking by electricity! Imagine two persons, one thousand or ten thousand miles apart, placed in communication electrically, in such a way that, without any spoken word, without sounding-board, key, or any bodily movement, the one receives instantly the thoughts of the other, and instantly sends back his own thoughts. The wife in New York knows what is passing in the brain of her husband in Paris. The husband has the same knowledge. What boundless possibilities, to be sure, this arrangement offers for business men, lovers, humorous writers, and the police authorities!

Preposterous as such an idea appears in its first conception, it certainly assumes an increasing plausibility when one listens to Professor Bell's reasoning.

"After all," he says, "what would there be in such a system more mysterious than in the processes of the mind reader? You substitute a wire and batteries for a strange-eyed man in a dress suit, that is all."

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Dixon's Tree Ammonite

Lyle Zapato | 2011-07-17.7070 LMT | Cephalopods | Art | Nature

Dougal Dixon's book The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution (1988) imagines what life would look like if the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event had not happened and non-avian dinosaurs had continued evolving over the last 65 million years.

Besides the eponymous new dinosaurs, one of his hypothetical creatures inhabiting the Austral­asian Realm is the coconut grab (Nuctoceras litureperus), a type of tree-climbing ammonite:

The coconut grab is an unusual ammonite in that it can spend much of its time out of the water crawling about on land. On many of the tropical islands of the ocean it can crawl up the beach and eat coconuts, and even climb trees to find the nuts when there are none available lying in the sand or washed up on the shore.

It's preyed upon by a flightless, tree-climbing pterosaur called a shorerunner.

In Dixon's hypothetical present, tropical tree octopuses apparently never had a chance to evolve, which is probably just as well for the dinosaurs.

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Review: The Lost Cavern

Lyle Zapato | 2011-06-06.0875 LMT | Entertainment | Cephalopods
cover

The Lost Cavern and Other Stories of the Fantastic (Vanguard Press, 1948) by H.F. Heard (a.k.a. Gerald Heard) is a collection of four short stories: "The Lost Cavern", "The Cup", "The Thaw Plan", and "The Chapel of Ease". (Synopses with spoilers follow...)

My initial interest was in "The Thaw Plan" because it briefly mentions a tree octopus, but the story's setting and nascent-Cold-War perspective are interesting in their own right: induced global warming is used by both super powers as a strategic weapon, resulting in a future Earth where humanity has split into two separate species living at either pole, separated from any interaction by an impenetrable, primeval, equatorial jungle -- home to tree octopuses, naturally.

The first part of the story sets the world-building in motion. The year is 1975, 30 years into W.W.2.A. (World War Second Armistice). The world is divided into two super powers, the US and the USSR. The seat of power in the Soviet Union has moved East, to the city of Karakorum. The Chinese have taken control, turning Moscow into a Holy City and elevating the Russian people to the highest (and most powerless) level of "Ritual Rank".

Many in the West see this as a good thing since "a Chinaman never likes war". But the new leader of the USSR, Supreme Commissar Yang, has a devious plot to diminish -- figuratively and literally -- the West (including the Russians): they will use atomic power to melt the tundra, causing sea levels to rise 100 feet, flooding most of the world but leaving the tablelands of Tibet and China uninundated, from which the USSR will rule as the lone superpower.

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Oscar III, Mountain-Climbing Octopus

Lyle Zapato | 2011-05-28.8810 LMT | Cephalopods | Cascadia | Field Trips

Cascadia's beloved musician, businessman, and punny raconteur, Ivar Haglund, was well-known, both locally and internationally, for his publicity stunts promoting his aquarium and seafood restaurant. Here's a stunt I had not heard of before:

In 1947, Ivar organized an expedition to scale the newly discovered Mount Miller -- starting from the top! Mount Miller, you see, is underwater, part of the Gulf of Alaska Seamount Province. His expedition team consisted of one brave octopus, Oscar III, who was to be dropped from a boat over the seamount, attached to a two-mile line. Oscar's mission: bring back deep-sea edelweiss to prove he had scaled to the base.

From an April 4th United Press story (reprinted in The Portsmouth Times, p. 6):

OSCAR OCTOPUS TO TRY 'MOUNT'

Underwater 'Mountain' Subject Of Novel Trip

SEATTLE, April 4—A mountain-climbing octopus, Oscar III, and his trainer, Ivar Haglund, were en route today to "climb" the mountain-infested waters of the Alaskan gulf.

The 11,350-foot underwater "Mt." Miller was their destination.

Discovery of giant submarine peaks 900 miles northwest of Seattle by the U. S. coast and geodetic survey, is responsible for Mr. Haglund's latest stunt.

"Man still has not invented a diving suit to withstand the terrific pressures involved," said Mr. Haglund. So the actual climbing will be done by a "scientifically trained octopus".

According to the balding aquarium-owner, Oscar's greatest hazard in scaling Mt. Miller is that he must start from the top and "climb" down.

The incentive for Oscar—and proof that he reaches the base of Mt. Miller—will be his favorite dish, sea-edelweiss, which grows at great depths.

When the expedition glides over the peak of Mt. Miller Oscar will be dropped overboard leashed to a two-mile wire.

If he comes back with a sprig of sea-edelweiss clutched in any one of his arms—it's likely even Mr. Haglund will eat it.

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Pontosaurus minnesotae

Lyle Zapato | 2011-05-27.6100 LMT | Nature | Art

Ponto Lake, Minnesota, Home of the endangered Pontosaurus

Ponto Lake in Minnesota is home to possibly the last remaining pontosaur (specifically Pontosaurus minnesotae) in all of Cass County. This mosasauroid's ancestors presumably arrived in Minnesota in the late Cretaceous when the area was reachable by the Western Interior Sea (for more on this mosasaur-dominated environment, see The Oceans of Kansas).

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Spammers Messing With My Site

Lyle Zapato | 2011-05-17.8650 LMT | Site

Somehow, someone is appending spam to Google Blog Search results from my site. To see what I mean, do a blog search for "blogurl:http://zapatopi.net/".

[2011-08-16: Found the problem, maybe, but not a complete solution. See update to update below.]

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Self-Protection On A Cycle

Lyle Zapato | 2011-05-17.1350 LMT | Defensive Techniques

Here's a selection of useful defensive techniques for the cyclist from "Self-Protection on a Cycle" by Marcus Tindal (published in the April, 1901 issue of Pearson's Magazine; see link for full article):

Self-Protection on a Cycle

How you may Best Defend Yourself when Attacked by Modern Highwaymen, Showing how you should Act when Menaced by Footpads, when Chased by another Cyclist, and when Attacked under various other Circumstances; showing, also, how the Cycle may be used as a Weapon.

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Why There Are No Tree Octopuses On Okinawa

Lyle Zapato | 2011-05-15.6920 LMT | Cephalopods | Sasquatch Issues | Art | Nature

Unlike here in Cascadia where octopuses live in the trees and are preyed upon by Sasquatch, on Okinawa, hominoids are arboreal and fear octopuses.

Three scared Kijimuna in banyan trees, menacing octopus in water below.

The above painting by Matthew Meyer -- part of his A-Yokai-A-Day series that you can buy as a print -- depicts Kijimuna in trees fearful of an octopus threatening to climb up after them.

Kijimuna (キジムナー) are a species of arboreal island hominoids native to Okinawa. Their diminutive size compared to Sasquatch, Yeti, etc. is probably a result of insular dwarfism and their partial baldness a likely adaptation to the subtropical climate. They live mostly in banyan trees, but will venture onto the ground to go fishing or interact with Humans. Human-Kijimuna relations have been strained in the past due to arson and flatulence. Human Okinawans often accuse Kijimuna of mischievousness, but this is probably Human chauvinism; we rarely get to hear the Kijimuna viewpoint in Okinawan media. (For more on Kijimuna, see Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai's Kijimuna page or the Japanese Wikipedia.)

But what's the deal with the octopus? In his blog post about his painting, Meyer partially explains:

One final fact of note about kijimuna — they loathe octopuses! I am so far unable to discover why they hate them so much, but the lowly octopus is the one thing they cannot stand. Kijimuna will avoid them at all costs, so keeping octopuses around is a fairly foolproof way for humans to avoid potential kijimuna-related troubles.

I think Meyer has inadvertently shown in his painting the reason for octopusophobia among Kijimuna: a dispute over territory and resources.

As I have noted before (see: "The Ara-Eaters: Tree Octopuses Of Polynesia" and "Nicharongorong: Tree Octopuses of Micronesia"), octopuses in the South Pacific are drawn to trees, and many have adopted arboreal or semi-arboreal lifestyles. On Okinawa, this arboreal niche has already been occupied by the Kijimuna, denying octopuses there the "green embrace" they so desire.

Octopuses are persistent and determined creatures. They would simply not abide not being able to tentaculate through the banyans, nibbling on the figs. (Athenæus in his Deipnosophistae relates that besides olive trees Mediterranean octopuses [polypus] "have also been discovered clinging to such fig-trees as grow near the seashore, and eating the figs, as Clearchus tells us, in his treatise on those Animals which live in the Water." [Source.] Presumably Pacific octopuses would likewise be fond of banyan figs.) Octopuses are also greedy (a trait noted in Japanese culture -- see: Kure Kure Takora), so sharing the trees is not an option.

Kijimuna, hanging as they are in the way of the octopuses' sense of Arboreal Manifest Destiny, would surely attract octopodous belligerence. It's not unreasonable to assume that centuries, perhaps millennia, of stealthy attacks and attempted incursions into their trees would have instilled in the Kijimuna a healthy, and justified, paranoia about octopuses.