Thursday, September 03, 2015

August 15 -- more fishes

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I have been talking about working hard to get clear pics.  This particular fish was spectacular.  I don't remember that it was moving especially fast, but maybe it was..........  In any case, the camera just could not focus on it.





The colors!  The way the ends of the fins all go purple..............



Here's a quieter fish.  So much going on, but not so much color.  Stiff body; transparent fins....  Spikes?  I wonder if this one puffs up when alarmed. I'm not aware of flat-ish fishes doing that, but what do I know?

So many improbable things in the sea!  My perspicacious better half notes that things in the sea have had a lot longer to evolve into ... whatever ... than we earth-walkers have had..........



The purple thing in this next image is a fish, I am pretty sure.  I'm also pretty sure that the bowl-shaped yellow things in front, and the ... tentacly-y ... yellowish thing in the middle/background are animals (but not fish).



You couldn't make this up.  This black blorp is a fish.  we are looking at its left side.  Its left eye is the bulge near the left side of the image.  This one was not active.  It just sat there.  It seemed to be using its bottom fins as though they were paws.  Resting on them. 



A close look at the lavender bottom of one of the paw/fins.  It is resting against the glass.  Doesn't it look like it has 8 or 9 toes?  This is a rear fin.  You can also see a front fin, with its white edge and proto-toe edge, in the bottom left corner.



I bet this is coral.  I think we are looking at the mineral part,not the lively-animal bits.  This color is just as the camera and I recall it.  !!!


In the "you couldn't make this up" department -- plaid fish.



It occurred to me when looking at this tank that we had seen hardly any plants at the Aquarium.  Lots and lots of strange animals of various kinds, but plants?  I believe the green "leafy" stuff in this tank is plants.  I wish I knew what the big creamy yellow thing in the middle is!



Mostly animals, of many kinds, with some plants.



This is another tank that I could sit in front of for hours and hours...........






See the little fish in the anemone?


Teeny weeny starfish on the glass.  It was about half an inch across.  I wish I'd paid more attention to that that great big thing is, behind it!  Its edges look a lot like the "tube feet" on the bottom of a grown-up starfish....  I was so focused on the teeny baby starfish that I never looked at that bigger thing.





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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

some of my favorite MOOCS start new sessions this week

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I just became aware that some of my favorite online classes start new sessions this week!

The Brain and Space -- "This course is about how the brain creates our sense of spatial location from a variety of sensory and motor sources, and how this spatial sense in turn shapes our cognitive abilities."

Dino 101 -- "Dinosaur Paleobiology is a 12-lesson course teaching a comprehensive overview of non-avian dinosaurs. Topics covered: anatomy, eating, locomotion, growth, environmental and behavioral adaptations, origins and extinction. Lessons are delivered from museums, fossil-preparation labs and dig sites."

The Science of Happiness --  "The first MOOC to teach positive psychology. Learn science-based principles and practices for a happy, meaningful life."

I can heartily recommend any or all of these classes.  All different, all interesting.  So glad they are still available for anyone who might like to participate.

(And all for free -- sit in and listen to as many, or as few, lectures as you like.  No risk, no obligation.  :-)  )

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August 15 -- fishy, fishy, fishy

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There is a really big tank at the center of the Aquarium.  It has a lot of fish.  A lot of different kinds of fish.  A sea turtle.  Sharks....

It's possible to walk all the way around the tank.  See the people outside the other side of the tank, in the upper left corner?  Right behind the ray that is swimming toward us?



A person could park in front of this tank for a very long time, and never tire of watching life unfold within.



Taking pics in aquariums is very frustrating.

Glass (glare, reflection, smudges, maybe algae or some other slime on the inside!), water, low light, moving subjects.  Argh!  I always expect to throw away a lot of pics, but at an aquarium, the percentage goes way up.

Here is a relatively clear fish.  This one was either not moving at all, or moving very slowly.....



Stepping back a few feet -- this is what the outside of the really big tank looks like.



There are panels above the glass, helping us to figure out what we're looking at.  I know I got some pics of that little guy in the upper right corner, with his dots and stripes, but those pics were too blurry and dark to keep.........



We wandered on.  We saw two tanks with jellyfish.  They are hypnotic to watch.....




The colors of light on the jellyfish changed over time.

The images above were taken with the camera.  The next one was taken with the phone.  I've lightened it a bit, after the fact.

These jellyfish had long skinny red appendages, in addition to the fluffy ruffly white ones.  I wondered how it was that they didn't get tangled.  Apparently they do, sometimes.  They were able to disentangle relatively easily.  It took them less than a minute, I'd guess, to separate and go their own ways.

I did take some video, but the reflections of legs of passers-by are so irritating that I don't want to put them up.  I'm sure you can find much better video online of swimming jellyfish............



Hey!  Look!  A tank with way more light!  That makes the camera's focusing job a lot easier for it.

I think the big pink thing, more or less in the middle, is a giant clam.  We can sort of see its shell on the right....



This is a closer crop of the above.  I think there are at least eight different kinds of fish in this image.



Taken moments after the previous -- there are at least three kinds that weren't in the previous image -- the orange one, the black one, and the yellow one with the blue patch over its eye.  Another tank one could park by for a long time, and just watch and watch...........



Back to lower light, alas.  At least this guy held still for me.



A deflated puffer fish.  It was interesting to learn about their toxins, in Intro to Neuroscience.





Ahh.  These little ones were well lit AND pretty still.  I think they were some kind of eel.  They went up and down (into the sand) like fishy jack-in-the-boxes.  Two kinds -- spotted and striped (see the yellowish one sort of behind the plants, in the upper left corner).  They were less than half an inch in diameter and the part above the sand was 4-5" long.  I don't know how much was below the sand; we never saw one come right out.

I did an abysmal job of capturing descriptive info.  I worked so hard to get reasonably clear images, and so often failed, that figuring out what that blurry mess in my pic was supposed to be was the least of my concerns....

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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

August 15 -- headed for the Aquarium

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8:40 am.  Morning sun on the flowers in the middle of Michigan Ave.



Sparkly lake.



Because I can, let's see what it looks like with the saturation pushed.  I kind of like the "olde fashioned postcard" look........



Another look at the same thing, with statue.



9:20 am.  High water.



I like the way the increased saturation shows the yellow of the sunlight on the water.



10:55.  On our way to the Aquarium.

In front of our hotel, looking south.  With helicopter.



Looking back at our hotel.  All of the "excellent view from our hotel room" pics were taken from this window.



I left the Cheerios in the window, as a sanity check as to which window was ours.



Looking down Michigan Ave at the bridge hotel.  Bridge was still happening, but not for us on the 15th.



There are lots of dogs in Chicago.  Lots and lots of dogs.

Not one of them wanted to talk to me.  Not one, including this corgi boy.  It was sad.  I like to talk to dogs.....



We have walked east through the park, and are walking along the lake to the Aquarium, which you see at right.  The planetarium is the littler (farther) dark building closer to the left, with dome.



I've talked about the "no swimming" signs along the walkway.  This one is "no diving," but there was a "no swimming" one right next to it.



Lots of boats on the lake.



Bigger and smaller.



Oops.  I need to get into the habit of buying tix ahead of time, whenever possible!  We had already been in line for at least 15 minutes at this point.  Sigh.  And out in the sun, too............

Luckily a nice young man (who worked for the Aquarium) walked down the line, telling people that we could expect to be in line for at least 45 minutes longer, but if we wanted to pay an extra $15 (on top of the regular $40 entry), we could by-pass the line.  We said "That's us!" and he walked us around the side to the double-secret probation entrance, where we paid our money and got in then, rather than most of an hour later.

Really must check on getting tix ahead of time, every time.  !!!

On the other hand -- I really want the Field Museum and the Aquarium and the Planetarium to be there, the next time I visit Chicago, so I can regard the extra as a donation to the venue with that in mind.  No problem.  Not as fun as buying constellation socks, but a lot more fun than standing in line, in the sun!, for an hour......

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