The Octopus News Magazine Online
I’m really just a frustrated science geek.
If I hadn’t been so abysmal at math, I’d probably have a degree in marine biology now, teaching bored, angry teens about the wonders of underwater environs and their inhabitants. Alas, my math gland was removed at birth, I never really “got” chemistry, and my life took a different path. But that hasn’t stopped me from getting all geeked up about The Discovery Channel’s Blue Planet or staying up late just to watch Chasing Giants: On the Trail of the Giant Squid on the same channel.
Some of my favorite undersea critters are cephalopods; which includes octopuses (yes, it’s octopuses, not octopi,) squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus. I admire these creatures for their intelligence (with the largest brains and eyes of any invertebrate), their amazing ability to camouflage themselves by mimicking their surroundings (you should see the mimic octopus!), and the fact that they have beaks just like parrots! Oh yeah, and all those tentacles and arms are pretty neat, too.
The Octopus News Magazine Online (“Tonmo,” for short) is equal parts serious bespectacled scientist and amateur enthusiast, deftly balancing the line between solid scientific facts and the simple joie de poulpe. Updated weekly, the site features current news items about cephalopods, message boards, weekly polls, mpeg videos of octopuses in action, film and book reviews. There are even sections featuring information on cephalopod care. There are links to eBay auctions for cephalopod-themed items and an Amazon bookstore featuring fiction and nonfiction books about octopuses for both adults and children. My favorite part is the links to 8legged Entertainment’s “Deep Fried Live With Tako the Octopus,” a Shockwave-animated cooking show (with real cooking tips and recipes!) hosted by Tako, an accident-prone octopus. While it’s a known fact that octopus arms will grow back if severed, poor Tako is subject to a number of abuses that take advantage of this fact. Sensitive viewers and children under 13 may want to skip Tako’s culinary misadventures.
Overall, Tonmo is a fabulous site. I love the combination of straight up science geekitude and awe-struck kid. If I were to launch a site about cephalopods, I would want it to be just like The Octopus News Magazine Online.