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July 24, 2009

Revenge of the Sea Creatures

JoeJr
Mmmm... We think ice cream
when we see this, too

Photo: mrpattersonsir on Flickr
using Creative Commons

by Sara Tucker

This week's news is studded with giants, from a 55-pound MoonPie that was sliced up and served in Wapakoneta, Ohio, to an invasion of giant squid off the coast of San Diego. Let's start with the MoonPie. Wapakoneta is, of course, the birthplace of Neil Armstrong, who executed his "giant leap for mankind" forty years ago. Because Armstrong himself was unable to attend the anniversary celebration in Wapakoneta on Monday, visitors to the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum had been promised instead a life-size replica of the astronaut carved out of cheese. The sculpture was delivered on time and without incident (the maneuvers required a forklift, explains TimesOnline), but on Monday it was nowhere in sight. That's because on Sunday, according to a local news source, "the air conditioning in the museum automatically turned off overnight, causing the cheese to start melting. Part of the sculpture slid off the base. As of early afternoon, only the base remained on display inside the museum. Guests who were lined up, slowly making their way through the exhibits, were audibly and visibly disappointed when they saw what was left."

Meanwhile, weather systems in Asia were preparing their own version of the cheese debacle:

"Eager solar eclipse gazers beware," warned China Daily as millions gathered on roof- and mountaintops to view what had promised to be a spectacular event: "Dense clouds may spoil your pent-up excitement by obscuring the view."

"Tourists who've traveled from around the world to see this are scrambling to change their plans," reported another news agency, "consulting satellite maps, cloud counts, and good old-fashioned instinct in hopes of finding a hole in the clouds anywhere. (Some are re-booking plane tickets last minute, others are staying put. It's a tough call."

As pregnant Indian women "gripped by fearful myths" locked themselves indoors and chanted prayers until the eclipse was over, scuba divers and bathers were having a similar reaction to the coastal waters off San Diego. "The so-called Humboldt squid, which can grow up to 100 pounds, are native to the deep waters off Mexico, where they have been known to attack humans, the New York Times reported. "Scientists are not sure why the squid are swarming off the Southern California coast, but they are concerned."

Not the sort of supernatural event welcomed by beach hotels, but there may be a bright side. Japan, now battling its own invasion of sea creatures in the form of a 500-pound jellyfish (the Telegraph has details), is "making the most of the maritime catastrophe" by turning the monsters into cosmetic collagen and vanilla ice cream. So the planet's gone haywire and we may be going down, but at least we'll go down beautiful. The ice cream, by the way, is described as "slightly chewy."

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