+

What do you imagine an encounter with a giant squid to be like?

Thunder crashes! Lightning flashes! Brave sailors fight the elements, only to be plucked away, screaming into the darkness, by gigantic, pitch-black tentacles.


Image from "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"/YouTube.

That was my first impression of a giant squid: the unearthly monster that attacks Captain Nemo's ship in Jules Verne's classic "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

So what would make someone want to go swimming with one?!

GIF via fukusuke234/YouTube.

On Christmas Eve, a 12-foot-long giant squid was found swimming near some boats in Toyama Bay in Honshu, Japan. Akinobu Kimura, the owner of a local diving shop and a diver himself, grabbed a camera and jumped in alongside it.

"My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and [got] close to it," Kimura told CNN.

"This squid was not damaged and looked lively, spurting ink and trying to entangle his tentacles around me. I guided the squid toward the ocean, several hundred meters from the area it was found in, and it disappeared into the deep sea."

No thunder and lightning here — their encounter ended peacefully.

GIF via ANNnewsCH/YouTube.

In real life, giant squid are far from the horrible monster of Jules Verne's book.

We can learn a bit from the fact that Kimura survived unscathed, but we actually don't know that much about the animal.

Giant squid are incredibly rare. Though there are stories about similar creatures going back to Aristotle, it wasn't until 2006 that someone actually caught a live one on video. And someone finally filmed one in its natural habit in 2012.

The reason? They just don't live where we live.

Giant squid prefer to stay deep under the ocean, where they eat deep-sea fish and other squid species. Much of the evidence we have of them is little more than the scars on squid-eating sperm whales.

Image from NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

It seems impossible for such a big animal to remain hidden for so long, but it just goes to show how vast the ocean really is.

Kimura's squid was 12 feet long, which sounds quite large, but the biggest ever recorded measured well over 40 feet. They're not the only mega-sized mollusks down there, either. The colossal squid of Antarctica may get even more massive. It could weigh more than half a ton — that's about two giant squid put together!

Our oceans are incredible places, and we've barely begun to explore them. Even though ocean covers nearly three-quarters of the Earth's surface, 95% of it remains unexplored. Is it any surprise that it still holds such mystery?

“With its untold depths, couldn't the sea keep alive such huge specimens of life from another age, this sea that never changes while the land masses undergo almost continuous alteration? Couldn't the heart of the ocean hide the last–remaining varieties of these titanic species, for whom years are centuries and centuries millennia?”
— Jules Verne, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"

Perhaps Kimura's footage is reminder that it's not really our planet after all. It's theirs.

I mean, do you really want to argue with this:

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

Keep ReadingShow less

Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.22.19


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn't have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women's rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn't something we'd choose—and we'd hope others wouldn't choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep ReadingShow less