Tuesday, April 13, 2010

grade "A" octopus



NPR assigned grades to different animals.


Great White Shark: A+


"The great whites, they're the largest predatory fish," Lentz says. "They sometimes jump out of the water. They're one of two shark species that will get airborne, which, I'm pretty sure, is because they're trying to attack airplanes. But that's awesome."

Octopus: A

"We gave the octopus an A because it would make a great superhero. They're supersmart, they can solve puzzles, they can remember things.
"They can change their bodies, so they can slip through tiny crevices," Lentz adds, "and they shoot ink. There's all sorts of cool stuff with the octopus that doesn't get talked about enough — because we're spending all our time talking about pandas."

Clam: C

The clam doesn't get a great grade, Lentz says, "but given it's a clam, that's pretty good. The more we learned about how clams exist and stuff, the more you had to hand it to them, because they just kind of sit on the bottom of the ocean, they filter plankton, they live forever — I mean, the oldest clam was over 400 years old.
"We should all calm down about complaining about our lives," he concludes. "The clam's OK with it. I mean, you wouldn't want to filter plankton for 400 years. And the clam does it."

Jellyfish: C-


The jellyfish is one of the latest entries on the blog. "You gotta give it some credit, because it's kind of gotten a lot done — without a brain," Lentz says. "It literally does not have a brain. And yet they're still chugging along. Hanging in there and killing a lot of fish. And terrorizing bathers."

Alpaca: F

"Some people really like alpacas, but they're dopey, dumb animals," Lentz says. "The reason they fail is because I blame them for the conquest of South America."
To explain, "The conquistadors show up with less than 200 men, and they have horses. And somehow they overthrow tens of thousands of Incan warriors in, like, two hours. Because the Incans, you know what animal they had? The alpaca. Not much help in a battle with conquistadors."
Lentz notes a particularly negative reaction when he failed the alpaca on the blog. "We got a lot of angry, angry, angry comments from people," he says. "Including a few threats, which I found delightful — which I don't think is the right reaction to something like that."
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125773728

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