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How dangerous is it to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective shark cage?

At Slate, shark scientist and blogger David Shiffman breaks down the risks that swimmer Diana Nyad was really taking this week when she swam from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. The mere phrase "without a shark cage" makes this sound like a huge risk, Shiffman writes. But the historic swim, itself, is the real achievement. The sharks weren't actually that big of a danger. (BONUS: An explanation of how, exactly, one is supposed to swim long distances inside a shark cage, to begin with.) Maggie 11

Blue Lagoon dyed black

NewImage

NewImageThis stunning lake at Harpur Hill in the East Midlands of England is just begging you to dive in, no? Problem is, the quarry pool, known as the Blue Lagoon, has a pH level comparable to bleach and is teeming with garbage and dead animals. The bright blue hue (and the high pH) comes from the quarry stone. Signs warning visitors not to take a dip didn't work, so now the High Peak Borough Council recently dyed the water black. "It's not pretty any more," local business owner Rachel Thomas told the BBC. "They don't think they're on holiday in the Bahamas any more, they know they're in Harpur Hill."

Appropriate attire for a New Year's Day swim in Vancouver

REUTERS/Ben Nelms

A man, wearing a "goat mask", runs into the English Bay during the annual New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Lost fur seal makes it to Hawaii

Audrey McAvoy writes: A seal that would normally live in waters around the Aleutian Islands and California has shown up thousands of miles away on a beach in Hawaii, officials said Wednesday. Little fella needs a theme song, if you ask me. [AP] Rob

Swim goggles made from fish scales

Neat post about an experimental plastic substitute made from fish scales over at Brian Lam's ocean-themed blog Scuttlefish. So far art student Erik de Laurens "has made not only goggles, but eye-glass frames, drinking cups, and a wooden table with a fish scale inlay" from fish scales.