More Kiwis that are perfectly capable of flight, and not just in flight sim.
Unless you’ve lived under a rock the size of the country itself, New Zealand provides the backdrop for all of Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth stories.
A fact that the national airline has been eager to display in order to promote the country (and company) world wide.
The most recent is Boeing 777-300ER ZK-OKO, the Smaug Jet that may just be worthy of bloodydragon117
It made it’s first flight in the livery on the 2nd of December, 2013 when it flew crew members to the Los Angeles premiere of the movie.
There have been more ANZ jets wearing LotR themed liveries, an Airbus A320 and a Boeing 767-300ER, but I couldn’t find any repaints of those for the Project Airbus A320 or SkySpirit 2010 767.
As a side note, Air New Zealands final long-haul Boeing 747 flight will take place on the 10th of September this year (2014), between San Francisco and Auckland.
The 747s have been replaced by the 777-300ER over the past few years with only one still in service and soon to be retired, at which point the entire Air New Zealand fleet will be twin jets.
Searching for a Basking Shark in Endless Ocean 2.
Second largest fish currently alive and one of the species found around the coast of Britain (where the media likes to mistake it for a Great White every couple of years).
First and foremost, the video above is fake. Very fake.
But it’s not a hoax by some random youtuber.
It’s a hoax by the Discovery Channel.
Or rather, this is part of Discovery Channel taking advantage of social media in order to legitimise a ‘fake-u-mentary’.
Let’s have a brief recap.
The premiere event of Shark Week 2014 was a ‘documentary’ called
"Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine".
Essentially, Submarine is reputed to be an exceptionally large Great White Shark that has been an urban legend around South Africa since the 70’s when a bunch of reporters got together and wondered if they could trick the public (sensing some irony here).
In approaching this subject, Discovery Channel decided to create a fictional story.
Shark of Darkness is a ‘documentary’ that features fictional characters played by actors, talking about completely fictional events, but as if it was all real.
It’s not a mockumentary. Those are self-aware.
There is no cast list.
Just a tiny disclaimer that was briefly flashed at the start and a couple of times at ad breaks.
This is all well covered on other sites, such as
What I’m going to talk about is my own digging into the social media stuff which doesn’t seem to have been talked about much, starting with this video which is from the show, but was uploaded over 2 weeks before Shark Week itself began.
The Paula 84 Youtube account was shown in the show, and quite naturally people have spotted it and decided to type it into Youtube.
This actually convinces at least some people that the whole thing is real, since it pre-dates the show and is surely outside of its control.
You’ll also see a comment by one Mel Thurmond.
Melvin Thurmond is another fictional character and the host of the show.
He claims to be a Senior Fellow at the ‘South African Institute for Marine Research’ which, by the way, doesn’t exist.
In his youtube comment, he says:
Paula - I’d like to know more about the details of this video. I’ve been studying sharks in that area for quite some time and this could be helpful in a study I’m conducting. Please contact me at your earliest convenience. Thank you.
After all, if you were to type “Joy Ride Sinking” into your search engine of choice to try and find information about this event that the show states happened this year (2014 for people in the future), all you will find is references to the Discovery Channel show, despite the number of people said to have been killed, witness footage of shark attacks, and the massive daring rescue ‘documented’ in the show etc.
Of course the international media would have had no interest at all in any of these events…
Saying as its the event that forms the bulk of the show, that means that we are supposed to believe the entire thing was put together and broadcast within weeks.
Because it’s not like a TV show full of CGI takes months to make and edit.
Or that TV schedules are planned out months in advance.
Did I mention that the Youtube accounts for both of these ‘characters’ make absolutely no reference to any affiliation with Discovery Channel or any kind of disclaimers?
Because they don’t.
Finally there is Mel Thurmond’s very own blog here
Going by the archives, you would be led to believe this has been active since the start of the year.
Oh, but that much forethought is beyond Discovery Channel
Instead, if you were to go to the activity log in the profile page where users can’t edit entry information, you will instead find the entries for January, February, March and July 12th were all posted on the 17th of July.
But nonetheless, there are no disclaimers or any hint that the blog is affiliated with Discovery Channel.
If you were to Google this guy, the blog would turn up.
So why wouldn’t you think it was a real person?
It purely exists to try and convince people that Mel Thurmond is a real person, thus the contents of the show are also given some measure of legitimacy.
A new low in my opinion, since this kind of exploitation of social media doesn’t come with any oversight or enforced responsibility.
And the final leg of the trip back to my hometown of Jarrow.
Less shakey this time.
Then there was something completely different.
Very much a spur of the moment thing using my iPhone earlier in the week as I returned home (well, hometown) on a double decker bus.
If you live outside the UK and are curious about our roads, etc, this is one way to have a look.
Glad I found this on Tumblr since it was probably the most fascinating and genuinely scientific stuff to come out of shark week (though I’d say this straight forward selection of clips is much better presented than it was in the show).
It does however bring forward a few questions which may not be very popular.
My interest in sharks began in 1990 and was followed closely throughout the next decade. A time frame that, I feel, was when the concept of mistaken identity in shark attacks gained solid traction and was acknowledged by the majority of the general public (at least in the UK).
That now long standing theory being that a shark like the Great White will take a bite, realise we don’t ‘taste good’ and subsequently just swim off.
I certainly believed it. Though over the past few years, the more I thought about it, the more I have questioned just how realistic this is.
Firstly, some of this footage would seem to question this concept. Shark cam doesn’t exactly resemble an elephant seal all that much, nor did it sound or behave like one.
Never the less, it was the target of some pretty strong attacks. Enough in one case to cause a number of failures that could have led to it sinking.
The other thing, and this has been bothering me more and more, is the idea that sharks completely abandon a human after an attack.
In the past decade and a half, we’ve learnt a lot more about Great White hunting techniques, including that they are fond of inflicting a powerful initial bite, and then retreating and waiting for their prey to bleed out.
How are we so sure that the same isn’t true for shark attack victims?
Those that survive are able to make it to shore (or are rescued) before bleeding out.
We know that seals can also survive shark attacks, but we can’t really claim a shark decided a seal didn’t taste very good and so it was left alone.
There is a difference between being left alone and escaping.
Amongst ship wreck victims in open water, where there is no escape and rescue, instances of sharks actually consuming people tend to be quite higher. Perhaps it is a bit dangerous to assume this is only because open ocean sharks such as Oceanic White Tips are more opportunistic and less fussy than other species.
It might not be popular and would be very counter productive to causes to conserve sharks, but from a purely scientific point of view, how are we so sure that if a person did bleed out from an attack before reaching shore that the shark would not return to consume the victim?
There isn’t really much debate that if a tiger, lion or bear killed a human, they would eat it (Remember Timothy “Grizzly Man”Treadwll? That the bear in question may have been old or ailing and so limited in its hunting options, as is often the case with historical ‘man-eaters’ is irrelevant. The result is the same).
How solid is our basis for saying a Great White wouldn’t?
"Oh, Sempai… Not in front of the camera…!"
I love shark eyes - you can totally tell they’re looking RIGHT AT YOU…
Also, on the shark week, they didn’t explain the difference between flipping tonic and rubbing tonic. From what I can gather, when you flip a shark they stop breathing and totally go into shock - they can suffocate and die this way. When you put a shark into nosey rubbing tonic, they keep breathing through buccal pumping, using their mouths to suck in water, simulating ram ventilation without moving.
If i’ve got this wrong - let me know! OoO
I imagine you might have gotten a bit confused by the incident where an Orca induced tonic immobility via inversion of a Great White that led to the shark drowning.
But that reportedly still took some time to kill the shark.
It’s not that they can’t breath, per se, but certain species are much less adept than others at pumping water over their own gills.
Mackerel sharks are likely to die via either method if it is sustained for too long.
It’s worth remembering that tonic immobility when inverted has been hypothesised to have some possible connections to mating, as female sharks are more sensitive to it, yet also recover more quickly.
Rubbing a sharks nose with gloves made of steel rings on the other hand is not natural at all and induces paralysis by completely overloading their senses. That is not a good thing.
It looks great in photos and videos, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s actually better for the sharks.
Ultimately, tonic immobility is not something sharks enjoy. That’s one of the worst misconceptions going around at the moment amongst people who actually do care about sharks.
Researchers use it in order to handle larger sharks in order to perform important research, but that’s a matter of safety and kept to a minimum.
It took me a while.
To the point where I missed the boat when it came to Shark Week.
That’d be a bad thing in terms of getting some easy views, but on the other hand I’m not a fan of what Shark Week has become, as I talk about in the video.
Anyway, it’s done.
From majestic Whale Sharks in Endless Ocean 2 to the extremist eco-warrior Great White of Jaws: Unleashed.
With a bunch of the water-denial animals in-between.
Sharks haven’t really been portrayed that much better in video games than they have in other media, but it’s a subject that doesn’t come up so much.
Perhaps because whenever sharks do appear in games, they are just one threat or obstacle amongst many rather than an actual antagonist or by any means the main focus.
That does give me a bit of a problem though.
While this video most certainly does include virtual baby Horn and Swell sharks, and a variety of other sharks that are happy to be hand-fed by our player character in Endless Ocean 2, showing the way sharks have been portrayed in the likes of Assassin’s Creed IV probably isn’t going to get this video endorsed by the likes of thesharkives sharkhugger fuckyeahsharks
Personally I think there are ways sharks could be integrated into games in a more realistic and immersive way. Like, perhaps, visible threat displays that would allow a player to avoid an attack by backing away.
But I do not thing we have to go so far as to make them nothing but decorations.
I’ve been fascinated by Sharks for over 23 years, a time frame which has allowed my to grow up seeing some rather dramatic shifts in the public perception of these animals.
But I do have a certain concern that some people might take their love and enthusiasm a little too far.
And in doing so, it seems as if they might forget these animals still deserve our utmost respect.
40 years ago to this day, the Panavia Tornado took to the skies for the very first time.
A multinational project between Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, it remains the backbone of all three nations strike capabilities, having served with distinction over Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and Libya.
When it comes to ultra low-level flight in any weather, nothing else in service comes close.
I have some archive footage of that very first flight uploaded to my youtube, which can be viewed here.
— Upwell (@upwell)July 22, 2014
I actually refuse to watch Shark Week. Haven’t done so for… well… over a decade actually.
When I was growing up, Shark Week was about proper documentaries from the likes of Ron and Valerie Taylor or actual Marine Biologists before the likes of Steve Irwin or Nigel Marven popularised the excitable gung-ho cowboy approach to animals where people spend more time whooping and shouting than they do research.
Discovery Channel and many of its Shark ‘documentaries’ now actually embrace the sensationalism that made Jaws such a success story.
Shark Week is not about education. It hasn’t been for a very very long time.
It’s about ratings.
It is the summer blockbuster for Discovery Channel that Jaws was for Universal nearly 40 years ago.
Shark Week 2014 starts today.
Whilst recording some footage last night from Jaws Unleashed for some related Youtube projects (Sharks in Gaming & a Jaws Unleashed playthrough) things got just a little bit strange.
Ah, Digital Distribution of video games… even Steam is far from the best value when it comes to new(ish) games.
Though what makes PC games stand out compared to consoles is that the activation codes also give you a digital copy.
So you get packaging and a physical copy, yet never have to put that disc in the drive and it’s half the price of buying directly on Steam.
There’s my top-tip then.
Can be worth a browse around, especially if its a game you’re not desperate to play.