Ominous music in shark videos makes people more negative about the fish

A new study suggests that the ominous background music often heard in shark documentaries correlates with viewers' fearful and negative opinions of sharks. (For the source of this musical cliche, see the 1975 trailer for Jaws above.) From the Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers paper in the scientific journal PLOS One:

Using three experiments, we show that participants rated sharks more negatively and less positively after viewing a 60-second video clip of swimming sharks set to ominous background music, compared to participants who watched the same video clip set to uplifting background music, or silence. This finding was not an artifact of soundtrack alone because attitudes toward sharks did not differ among participants assigned to audio-only control treatments. This is the first study to demonstrate empirically that the connotative attributes of background music accompanying shark footage affect viewers’ attitudes toward sharks. Given that nature documentaries are often regarded as objective and authoritative sources of information, it is critical that documentary filmmakers and viewers are aware of how the soundtrack can affect the interpretation of the educational content.

"The Effect of Background Music in Shark Documentaries on Viewers' Perceptions of Sharks" (PLOS One via Dangerous Minds)

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Smart About Sharks – Filled with fascinating bite-sized shark facts

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Smart About Sharks by Owen Davey Flying Eye Books 2016, 40 pages, 9.2 x 11.5 x 0.5 inches $17 Buy a copy on Amazon

I love children’s books that are as delicious for kids as they are for adults, and Smart About Sharks is exactly that. With a sumptuous textured cloth cover, an appealing gray-tinted palette of earth tones playfully punctuated by pink, and a retro encyclopedic design, Smart is filled with fascinating bite-sized shark facts that were completely new to me. Examples: sharks were here on earth 200-million years before dinosaurs; there’s a shark called a megamouth that has a glow-in-the-dark mouth; some sharks grow only to the size of a pencil.

Smart About Sharks, just released today, is similar to illustrator Owen Davey’s other info-packed animal book, Mad About Monkeys, which came out almost exactly a year ago (363 days to be exact), and which I reviewed here on Wink. Everything from what sharks eat to their social life to their various shapes, sizes, and many different types (over 500 unique species in our oceans today!) is covered in this high-quality picture book. Rumor has it that this is the start of a series with Flying Eye Books. I hope the rumors are true! Read the rest

Fishing trip surprise: Tiger Shark vs. Hammerhead!

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College student Ryan Willsea captured this video a few weeks ago while on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tiger sharks are "expert at taking advantage of situations when a potential prey item is compromised," Florida Museum of Natural History shark researcher George Burgess told National Geographic. "And nothing makes an animal more compromised than having a hook in its mouth and being pulled to a boat."

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See the first footage of a Great White Shark taking a nap

"She appears to be in an almost catatonic state," says the narrator. I wonder what she's dreaming about.

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Sharks – Taschen's huge, stunning new book about our ocean's majestic, endangered predators

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Sharks. Face-to-Face With the Ocean's Endangered Predator by Michael Muller Taschen 2016, 334 pages, 11.5 x 15 x 1.5 inches $45 Buy a copy on Amazon

Sharks. The word alone conjures images of grey and white shadows, dorsal fins slicing through the water, row after row of fierce, terrifying, teeth. And we love them for it. Since Jaws first made us all afraid to go into the water, sharks have become our favorite bad guys. We paint them as the apex predators, devouring everything that dares enter their territory, including we frail, defenseless humans. And then we anthropomorphize them into relentless, driven killers, intent on feasting upon every last one of us. While this characterization makes for great entertainment, it has also lead to the idea that shark attacks are the result of killing machines stalking easy prey instead of the mistaken identity accidents that they are. This, combined with a pronounced market for shark fins, liver, and other body parts has lead to a severe decline in several shark species across the globe.

Sharks are magnificent animals. They are the undisputed kings of the sea, at home and graceful in the ocean, beautiful and awe inspiring to watch. This beautiful animal, while dangerous, is something to be respected rather than feared; they are animals that offer far more in their exotic beauty than ever they could cut up in rare dishes and cuisine. Which is exactly what underwater photographer Michael Muller shows us in Sharks. Read the rest

Watch sharks in a frenzied whale feast

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Impressive drone footage of more than 70 tiger sharks chowing on a whale near Shark Bay in Gascoyne, Western Australia. Eco Abrolhos Cruises posted the video to the company's Facebook page:

Passengers on our 14-day Geraldton to Broome and everywhere in between were treated to an unexpected phenomena while cruising inside Dirk Hartog Island. Something to show and tell the grandchildren.

(The Australian)

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Sharks and Dinosaurs – Pop-up books on steroids

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

There are only five “pages” in each of these books despite their 3-inch thickness. That is because each page is stuffed with layers and layers of ingenious interacting bits of printed paper, which magically assemble themselves into an alternate reality when each page is opened. Yes, it is a pop-up book, but a pop-up raised to an exponential level. A pop-up on steroids, or acid. Pop-up as extreme sport. The engineering is astounding. As a page is opened a 3D apparition appears, often with its own narrative, first one part and then another. The resulting paper sculpture is the story made real. The textual story is minimal; all the action is in the structures. Kids love to see how they work. The only downside to these books that belong on paper is not letting children paws tear the mechanics. These two books feature all kinds of pre-historic dinosaurs, and sharks of all types. But the artist behind them, Robert Sabuda, has half a dozen other books with the same kind of extreme pop-up-ness.

Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart Candlewick 2006, 12 pages, 7.8 x 9.9 x 2.1 inches $1 - $50 Buy a copy on Amazon

Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart Candlewick 2005, 12 pages, 8 x 10 x 2.5 inches $24 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest

Divers hunt for fossil teeth from the ancient world's largest shark—and find plenty

A Megalodon shark tooth fossil. Photo: Johnny Cercopely.
The teeth of a giant shark known as Megalodon, the ancestor of sharks still found off the South Carolina coast, can be found throughout the Lowcountry.

Great white shark bit this California surfer's board, but fortunately not the surfer

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On Saturday, Elinor Dempsey, 54, was surfing Morro Strand State Beach near San Luis Obispo, California when she noticed a great white shark approaching her. Read the rest

Watch a seal narrowly escape a great white shark's jaws of death

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...for the moment anyway.

Failed predation attempt off Monomoy, Cape Cod (8/17/15)- filmed by Dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries working with Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

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Two Florida bros rescue a stranded hammerhead shark

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Warning: Not recommended. If you see stranded marine life, call your local fish and wildlife authority, or ask a marine biologist. Read the rest

Archie vs Sharknado worth a giggle

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The kids of Riverdale have to take on a Sharknado: a storm that unites Betty and Veronica like never before and leaves Moose realizing that Reggie isn't that bad of guy.

The comic's special effects are more convincing than the movie's, I'll give it that.

Archie vs. Sharknado [Archie Comics] Read the rest

How to make a watermelon fruit bowl that looks like a voracious shark

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Mike Warren carved a watermelon into this delightful shark fruit bowl! Read the rest

WATCH: Sharks found living inside underwater volcano

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Sharkcano! National Geographic ocean engineer Brennan Phillips sent a camera into Kavachi, an active underwater volcano in the Solomon Islands. He was surprised to find species of sharks living in the volcanic plume. Read the rest

Shark repellants don't work

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Julia Child, before she was a celebrity chef, was a US intelligence officer who during World War II tried to develop a shark repellant for the Navy. It didn't work at all, and the search for an effective shark repellant continues to this day. Read the rest

Watch great white shark photobombed by another great white shark

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A great white shark photobombs another great white shark near Seal Island in Mossel Bay, South Africa. Read the rest

Great white shark tries to chew its way into diver's cage to eat screaming flesh treat

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Oh, how the flesh treat screams. Read the rest

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