Tuesday, April 30, 2013

News Shell 15

Photo by Patrick H. Murray
A young girl is diving with her boyfriend, a new location for them to explore. Off to the left she sees something move, but when she turns to look it has gone. A large fish, perhaps. Moving slowly in the direction of the 'fish' she spies a large shell. She picks it up and swims over to her boyfriend to show him her treasure.

Looks like a certain mermaid isn't going to be able to read the news today. For the rest of us, the News Shell has arrived.


Recently, we have found that robots love the water. This is not how it used to be. As a recent CNET article explains, underwater Coral-bots are being used to repair some of the world's dying reefs.

"Coral-bots are a team of robots that intelligently navigate across a damaged coral reef, transplanting pieces of healthy corals along the way."

Check out the whole story in this article by Michelle Starr on Crave, the gadget blog from CNET Australia.

Dolphin Lifeguards

Once again, our dolphin friends have come to the aid of land creatures that have found themselves in rough waters. Take a look at this article by Salvatore Cardoni about a dolphin pod that saves a policewoman and her dog from drowning.

This article on TakePart also contains a video in which Lynn Gitsham explains how she and her pet were saved by the dolphins.

Unnatural Creatures

Looking for some new creatures to invite into your nightmares? Tired of vampires and werewolves? Neil Gaiman and Maria Dahvana Headley are ready to help, with a collection of tales entitled Unnatural Creatures.

In an article on tor.com, Karin L. Kross explains that vampires, werewolves, and mermaids have "obscured the stranger and subtler pleasures of griffins, unicorns, and even weirder chimerae and unspeakable things with no names." Ms. Kross calls Unnatural Creatures, "an excellent anthology."

We have solved your summer poolside reading list! Unnatural Creatures is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The subsequent nightmares are free.

Shaking for Science

If you were to shake a soda can, you would expect a mess when you opened it. What if you were to do the same underwater, and by underwater I mean in a pressurized habitat under the sea?

Find the answer in an article by Chris Higgins at Mental Floss. The article contains a video of undersea dweller Chris Hadfield shaking up a Coke can in the name of science.

Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at) goldmermaid.com

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mermaid Raina

Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Mermaid Raina, environmentalist and educator. Raina is a professional mermaid from eastern Canada that loves working with children and teens. Join me in welcoming Raina to the blog!

Cynthia: Welcome, Raina! Tell us a little about yourself.
Raina: I'm Raina the Halifax Mermaid, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I'm 27 and hold a degree in child and youth development, and elementary education.

Cynthia: How did you first get into mermaiding?
Raina: It's a bit of a long story. In brief I spent some months in bed with illness, and the future was looking fairly bleak. I discovered Hannah Fraser and Annette Kellerman, and like many before me, I was hooked! I ordered a fabric tail to get started... and then it escalated from there.

Cynthia: Tell us about your work as an Environmental Educator.
Raina: I've created a curriculum based on local resources around various points of environmental education. I focus on several topics such as the water cycle, pollution, the food chain (as it relates to the environment), sustainability, and the ocean. I deliver this to children and teens of all ages as a mermaid through public outreach opportunities. Sometimes I am talking to children and doing a workshop during World Ocean's Day, or the Multicultural Festival. Other times I'm sitting in my tail in an auditorium in front of hundreds of students at one of the local universities. My goal is to use play and imagination as a way of teaching these sensitive topics, and to instill a sense of accountability in kids and teens.

Cynthia: What could one expect at one of your events for children?
Raina: It depends on the event. At a birthday party we typically swim for an hour and play with the kids. I give mermaid rides, we take underwater photos, teach them flips and bubble tricks, and pose with them for photos. Then we generally head to a party room where we hand out mermaid treasures to each child (environmentally themed) and pose for photos and play with them during their special day.

A workshop at a school or museum would be different. I'm typically dry in my tail and I lead a circle activity around my environmental curriculum, along with promoting literacy (shark books!) and having a hands on activity. I also send the kids away with a special mermaid treasure in exchange for their promise to look after the ocean.

Cynthia: Your sister is also a mermaid?
Raina: Yes, she is! I got my baby sister into mermaiding last December. She did a few trial gigs with me to see if she liked it, and she took to it instantly. She is incredibly talented with children who are shy, scared, or anti-social. We balance each other out. I'm loud and boisterous, she's quiet and gentle. It's been so wonderful working with her and has brought us closer as sisters. She's actually 12 years younger than I am!

Cynthia: Who has been a major inspiration to you?
Raina: Hannah Fraser has certainly been a huge influence and inspiration- as I'm sure she is for many. I'm also very inspired by Annette Kellerman, as she dealt with similar health problems as I have, and she really broke down some boundaries for women! My friend Mermaid Iona also really inspires me, and of course my tail maker Mermaid Raven. Our whole community is so inspiring- when I read your blog I am more and more inspired.

Cynthia: Thank you so much! You are involved with the online magazine, Tail Flip?
Raina: Yes! I am co-founder of Tail Flip Magazine with Mermaid Sirena. We wanted another outlet to feature people and topics in the community. It's sure been a learning experience, and it takes a huge amount of effort and time. But we both love it and are proud of the results, despite the bumps along the way. I have a great drive to share information with people- it's the teacher in me! This is just another way I get to do that!

Cynthia: Do you have any special stories from your mermaid adventures?
Raina: Too many to count! Recently I did a party for one of my previous classmate's son. He turned 4, and he refers to me as "Mommy's mermaid". He spent the majority of the party playing a mermaid game he made up, and was quite verbally advanced, taking me by the hand to swim to "mermaid city." There is so much joy in this little boy, that it's infectious. His smile lights up the room.

Similarly I recently did a party for a 6 year old boy who was non-verbal and non-mobile. His dad held him in his arms in the water, and the look on his face when I dove under and slapped my tail was priceless! When I swam over he was able to splash the water very lightly with his fingers. His eyes were alight and it made my week!

Cynthia: What else you would like to share with us?
Raina: In May I am publishing a book! "Fishy Business: How to Be a Mermaid" The book came about as a result of so many people emailing me for information on how I got my mermaid business off the ground! The book is part autobiography, and part "how to", filled with images, tutorials, resources, never before heard stories, and never before seen tips. I'm really excited to publish it, and learning how to self publish has been a very rewarding experience. I hope it helps all the mermaids at heart crack out of their clam shell!

Cynthia: Thank you very much, Raina. Do let us know when the book is available! Readers, you can find out more about Mermaid Raina at her web site, and you can connect with her on Facebook.

Best wishes and starfishes,
Gold Mermaid Cynthia

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Space Kraken

Merfolk and fans of the LEGO building system will enjoy seeing photos of the KR-KN Space Kraken by LEGO enthusiast, Iain Heath.

Also known as Ochre Jelly, Iain Heath has a larger photo of the KR-KN at his Flickr site. The Flickr site also has a link to the story behind the build.

"The LEGO Super Star Destroyer set has a bad rap as a big dull gray set. I decided to change that."

Swim on over to Geeks Are Sexy for the photos and links to more info.

Finding Dory

As many of you have probably heard, Disney Pixar will be releasing the sequel to Finding Nemo on November 25, 2015. Finding Dory will focus on the adventures of the 'friendly but forgetful blue tang fish' which will be voiced by Ellen DeGeneres.

In 2003, Finding Nemo won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The story line of Finding Dory will take place about a year from the story line of Finding Nemo.

Ellen is excited about the script for Finding Dory. "It's got a lot more Dory", she says.

Snail Invasion

Merfolk as well as humans in southern Florida should already be aware of the Giant African Land Snail invasion that is hitting the area. These snails are huge (as snails go), eat just about anything green, and breed like crazy.

These are not the kind of snails you would want to keep as pets. In addition to green plants, the snails are quite fond of stucco and plaster. They can literally eat you out of house and home.

Read all about the slimy mess in an article by Barbara Liston at The Christian Science Monitor.

Mer-Palooza 2013 News

As promised, I have updated my March 26th blog post with further information on Mer-Palooza 2013.

Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at) goldmermaid.com

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Beautiful Whale

Whale fans, and I know quite a few, will enjoy the whale portraits by photographer and conservationist Bryant Austin. Samples of his work can be found in a recent io9 article by Annalee Newitz.

"Bryant Austin is the only photographer in the world producing high-resolution, life-size photography of whales."

The entire collection can be found in Mr. Austin's recent art book, Beautiful Whale.

Robotic Jellyfish

In past blog posts, we have seen robotic fish and robotic sea snakes. We can now add robotic jellyfish to the list.

Most folks feel a little uncomfortable around jellyfish. Would a robotic jellyfish that is over five feet in length fare any better?

In an article by Matthew Shaer for the Christian Science Monitor, we meet Cyro the robotic jellyfish. The article also contains a video, so you can see Cyro in action.

Liquid Robotics

Back in December of 2012, I shared an article on Liquid Robotics' Wave Glider autonomous robot known as Papa Mau. Liquid Robotics is back in the news with the Wave Glider SV3, their latest autonomous sea-faring data center.

"At its heart, the SV3 is meant to carry a heavy duty load of sensors designed to serve everything from the oil and gas industry to fisheries to coast guards and the military."

Read all about the new Wave Glider SV3 in this article by Daniel Terdiman for C|Net.

Washed Ashore

The coworker that sent me the mermaid drawing that I posted in last week's article had a story for me this week. He was walking his dog one morning when he came across a lost mermaid that appears to have washed ashore in the recent storms.

Hopefully she will find her way back home.

Seems that once you make contact with merfolk, we are suddenly everywhere!

Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at) goldmermaid.com

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

News Shell 14

Once again, we gather around the News Shell for a look at what's going on in the world of merfolk and other aquatics.

Linden Wolbert

Shine, the healthy living section of Yahoo, has a great article on Mermaid Linden Wolbert of California. Did you know that Mermaid Linden left her day job in 2005 to become a professional mermaid? She has never looked back! The article has a number of interesting tidbits.

As we talked about before, Mermaid Linden produces short videos for children to teach them about the ocean and sea life. Look for the Mermaid Minute videos on YouTube.

The current article also contains a link to a previous Shine article entitled, "The Mermaid Trend - Shine Tries It", which links back to this blog. You can swim in circles all day!

Underwater Egg Hunt

Friday's edition of the Dallas Morning News reported that the city of Allen, Texas would be holding an Under the Sea Easter Egg Hunt the following day. The hunt was held at the city's natatorium (swimming facility), and there were weighted eggs and floating eggs.

In my opinion, the best line of this article by Holly Warren Rusak was, "The hunt will occur in waves, with each group broken up by age".

In waves?  But of course!

Mermaid Artwork

A coworker recently found a drawing of a mermaid that he did back in the 1986-7 time frame. Mermaids live a long time, and mermaid artwork lives even longer.

Do your random drawings end up being mermaids on a regular basis?  Send me a copy!

Click on the photo for a larger view.

James Cameron

Last year, James Cameron paid an historic solo visit to the Mariana Trench, the Earth's deepest point. A recent io9 article reports that Mr. Cameron has donated the Deepsea Challender, the submersible used in the undersea voyage, to science. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is the recipient of the donation.

Take a look at the complete article by Robert T. Gonzalez at io9.

Snow Mermaid Revisited

Last week's blog article, Spiritual Messengers, was quite popular. No doubt our Snow Mermaid, Marla, played a part in this popularity.

Mermaid Marla fans, here is another photo for you to enjoy as we start to see more and more signs of spring in the US.

Thank you, Marla, for braving the cold, and for sharing your photos with us!

Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at) goldmermaid.com

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