It turns out that the widely-reported news story about those three missing Ukrainian military dolphins (you know, the ones “trained to attack enemy combat swimmers using special knives or pistols fixed to their heads“) was actually a hoax. I had my doubts about this story from the start — for one thing, why would enemy combat swimmers have special dolphin-friendly weapons attached to their heads? And wouldn’t a dolphin’s lack of hands make it difficult to fire a gun?
Unfortunately, the only part of the story that was a hoax was the part about the dolphins escaping — there actually is a Ukrainian program to arm dolphins and train them to attack. This is terrible. Have these people never seen a 1970s-era science fiction movie? Even if you ignore all the ethical considerations, teaching other species to kill us is not a good idea.
Speaking of other species trying to kill us, there’s been another armed-dog attack in Florida. I know, I know — this hardly seems newsworthy; dogs shoot people in Florida all the time. But these incidents seem to be escalating. In 2004, a puppy shot a man in Pensacola — but the man was shooting puppies at the time, so it was self-defense. Then in 2011, a 78-year-old Tampa hunter was shot by his dog in what appears to have been an impulsive, spur-of-the-moment attack (witnesses said that the dog was “overly excited”). This latest case, however, must have been premeditated. A dog in central Florida shot his owner with a gun that the man thought was unloaded. This can only mean one thing: the dog planned the attack in advance and loaded the gun when the man wasn’t looking.
One thing I really like about my cats is that they’ve never tried to kill me. This week, they participated in a science experiment — someone on YouTube noticed that his cat reacted to an optical illusion and wondered whether other people’s cats did as well. Here’s that original video:
If you click through to YouTube, there’s also a questionnaire to fill out if you try it with your own cat.
I made two videos in response: this one shows that Seffie probably doesn’t see the illusion, since she ignores it in favor of another picture:
This one proves conclusively that my cats are adorable:
I’ve decided to move this blog back to wordpress.com. That means that the blog will be down briefly this weekend, and if you’re getting blog posts by email, you may get an email invitation that you’ll need to click on in order to resubscribe (or you can just go to unlikelyexplanations.com after the move and subscribe there). Sorry for the inconvenience, but moving back will mean I can spend more time writing posts and less time managing the blog.
23 thoughts on “Good News! Heavily Armed Killer Dolphins Are Not Out To Get You. Yet.”
Cats have always had the reputation for silent killers, it’s completely unfounded. She may be guilty of GBH but never premeditated murder.
Glad you’re coming back to WordPress, I like everyone in one place!
My cats aren’t exactly silent. They have this tendency to purr while they stalk their toys; if they ever had to hunt for food, I think this would put them at a serious disadvantage.
Ovens don’t kill people. Trained Ukrainian dolphins and Floridian dogs kill people.
That’s a pretty catchy bumper sticker.
Meanwhile, your cats really are adorable. Good luck with the move!
Everyone survived the dog shootings. Dogs don’t kill people; roosters kill people.
Oh Lord. My dog is sitting right here next to me. I thought he was begging. Could he be plotting instead?
I wouldn’t put it past him. Try to lock up all your assault weapons.
Not sure if this counts as the same sort of illusion, but about 20 years ago my then-cat Harry and I were watching a how-to video on birthing llamas. Mama Llama was standing in a field, and a drop of her afterbirth plopped onto the grass beneath her. Harry raced over and searched for the drop underneath the TV cabinet.
I remember hearing about that! That’s hilarious. But now I just want to say “mama llama” over and over.
You can see the illusion for yourself here (this is the kind of thing that makes some people sick or dizzy, though): http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/~akitaoka/index-e.html
Oh, I get it now! That’s great.
I didn’t see it until I read the caption, “Rotating Snakes.” Then I immediately saw them rotating.
(Since presumably cats don’t read captions, does that make them better at seeing illusions than I am?)
i have to agree, they ARE adorable! but I wonder why they’re so enchanted with the round image? is there a mouse hidden in that one? maybe they’re just intimidated by snakes. Aww, Seffie is like a ginger version of our cat.
Seffie’s favorite thing in the world is the laser pointer, so I think that maybe what she’s interested in is the white spot in the middle. But there’s a flaw in that theory: she seems like she’s a little afraid of the picture, but she’s not at all afraid of the laser dot. So I don’t know.
Why dolphins? I mean, are divers really that big of a threat as opposed to say, subs and ships and things? Unless they are suicide missions. Oh.
Now I feel sad.
If you click through to the Atlantic article, there’s an embedded video documentary about the use of dolphins in war that’s pretty disturbing.
I learned my lesson about this sort of thing years ago…
an ugly, ugly incident involving sharks with laser beams attached to their heads…
My cat would love that! Well, the laser part, not the being eaten by sharks part. Never mind.
The things I learn from your blog never cease to amaze me. What kind of sad, sheltered world am I living in otherwise– one without dolphins trained to kill? For shame!
When the story first came out about dolphins escaping, I decided I’d like to think of them as conscientious objectors.
Oh my god, super cute… I wish my cats would get along like that.
The crazy thing is, they’ve known each other for less than three months (I adopted Seffie on December 21). I really lucked out.
I’ve never really trusted these dolphins. Even when I read about a case when a dolphin saved someone’s life by pushed that person to the shore, I’ve always wondered if that was really the dolphin’s intention. After all, they mostly deal with fish, and surely they are aware that pushing a fish out onto the land is a slow but sure way to kill it…
I want to try this illusion with my cat, but I think she’ll probably just fall asleep on the page with the illusion.
Maybe it’s just the dolphin’s way of saying “get off my lawn”.
And you’re probably right about your cat. Cats are experts at falling asleep on things.
I am so glad you came back to WordPress.com too – at least now when I click on the headline, your blog opens up properly, instead of an email version or something.
I shall never cease to be astounded at the kinds of things I learn when reading your blog, Laura. I am quite speechless.