Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

Video Game Review: “Spore”

Sep25

Spore Screenshot
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— by Eric Schwartz

The meteor hurtled through space, warming and breaking apart as it approached the yellow star.  One small piece, compelled by gravity, landed in the warm, shallow waters of a planet orbiting the star.  The tiny bacterium, frozen into a cryogenic stasis during the long journey through the void, woke up and found itself in an environment well-suited to growth, after some changes…

Spore is a video game that chronicles the journey of life from a single-celled organism, to a land dweller, and on to various stages of intelligent civilization.  This summary does not do justice to what it is, however, the most complex and complete simulation game ever made.  After swimming about in the ocean as an omnivore and growing steadily, I made my way onto the land looking something like this:

Failed Spore Creature

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This was ill-suited for life on land so I decided to change things up a bit, ending up more like this:

Young Brotox

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As this creature, rather randomly called a “Brotox,” for no reason other than I liked the sound, I wandered about the continent, running into other creatures I either befriended with my persuasive songs and dances, or hunted to extinction.  By doing so, and by finding convenient bone piles scattered about, I was able to discover new kinds of body parts and evolve into a much more fearsome creature, at least to the planet’s other inhabitants.  To my own eyes, I looked a bit silly, but evolution does sometimes lead down unlikely paths.  By the time I reached sentience, I looked like this:

Brotox Adult

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My species began building huts, going to war with other tribes and forming alliances, very quickly building a technological civilization focused on trade.  Through judicious alliances and the occasional war, the Brotox empire set for space to terraform planets, making friends (and enemies) with other space-faring empires.  

Now, Science Metropolis is a web site for science and science-related material, which begs the question of why a brief review of a video game, no matter how fun and (very) addictive it is?  Well, a game like Spore does do good for the cause of science education, with one unfortunate side effect.  Most importanty, Spore makes evolutionary biology understandable and interesting to the player. When a creature gains an “adaptaption,” it makes sense why it is beneficial.  The only flaw is that it also makes evolution appear to be a simple progression.  Evolutionary reality is intrincically subtle and lacks any sort of intelligent intervention, which is after all, exactly what a player is. 

Still, Spore is a lot of fun, and that is what matters in a video game.  Just take any “science” in it with a grain of salt.  It bodes well for the future of this type of game as makes an effort to go according to actual biology.  Who knows how the genre will continue to evolve….

For up-to-date information on Spore, visit Space Oddity’s Spore Blog.

Posted by Joseph, under reviews  |  Date: September 25, 2008
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Anish Kapoor: Past, Present, Future

Sep18

Installation View for Anish Kapoors Past, Present Future

Installation view of “Anish Kapoor: Past, Present, Future.” (Credit: John Kennard/ICABoston)

— by Natalia Mackenzie

The giant elevator in Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art opened and I faced the 16-inch long, S-shaped wall mirror that introduced me to the Anish Kapoor experience. The image of myself that Kapoor offered as I  entered the exhibition struck me: Short legs, short torso and one big head. I found my body’s boundaries and shapes now unfamiliar, and I guess, neither were those of the other visitors, who stared at their deformed images next to me. Without realizing it, Kapoor was slowly immersing us into his ludic environment of unfamiliar spaces.

Born in 1954 to an Iraqi-Jewish mother and a Hindu father, Kapoor is a mixture of both Western and Eastern cultures. He explores what he believes is the seduction of distorting familiar spaces and invites the viewer to be part of the art scene. With a total of 14 sculptures, the exhibition “Anish Kapoor: Past, Present, Future” gave me a perfect glimpse of the twisted world Kapoor builds over his art pieces.

As I walked through the room, passing in front of thousands of tiny, hexagonal mirrors resembling a fly eye, a huge, red, waxed planet caught my attention. It was smashed against the wall as if the artist felt that there was not enough space in the room to fit it all. More that just playing with speculations about where the space begins and where it ends, Kapoor believes space can be an object by itself.

Looking from a distance, his piece My Body, Your Body, a dark blue rectangle of 6-feet tall and 3-feet long, appeared as a simple flat piece hanging on the wall. But as one gets closer, the blue plane becomes a hollowed, deep structure. The effect is so unbelievable that the guards had a hard time keeping everybody away from sticking their hands into the piece. But that was not all. Once my perception was stable enough, an inner cavity in the center of the rectangle became evident. Suddenly, I felt like I was diving into a blue body through an endoscope, and had made it halfway down to some kind of cave. My feeling made total sense when considering that Kapoor is obsessed with cavities and protrusions that evoke our own mysterious body parts.

And when I was dizzy enough and thought that I had seen it all, I came across one of that exhibit’s most disturbing illusions. As if showing off Kapoor’s need of understanding creation, When I Am Pregnant, made in 1992 with fiberglass and paint, emerged from the white flat wall. Easily unnoticed when standing in front of it, the round, pregnant, belly-like structure that protrudes from the wall, strikes you with its perfect silhouette.

Kapoor’s simple, hidden shapes easily provoked and unleashed my curiosity. I hoped one day I could come across one of those giant reflecting structures that distorted the image of the Rockefeller center or the Chicago Skyline. I left the museum thinking it is no wonder that Kapoor won the prestigious Turner Prize and is considered one of the world’s most influential sculptors. I think Nicholas Baume, chief curator of the ICA summarizes best my opinion of the exhibition in his quote: “Kapoor’s work demands to be experienced.”

Posted by Joseph, under reviews  |  Date: September 18, 2008
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Film Review: “Encounters at the End of the World”

Sep16

Encounters at the End of the World

A scene from “Encounters at the End of the World.” Diving beneath the Antarctic ice, a  scientist-diver searches for new species of microbes. (Credit: Werner Herzog)

by Nuño Dominguez

Places with extraordinary climates attract people with extraordinary lives. Such is the case of the scientist who claims she traveled from London to Africa in a garbage truck. She is just one of the improbable characters in Werner Herzog’s latest documentary film, “Encounters at the End of the World,” an unconventional and truth-seeking exploration of Antarctica.

Herzog, 66, is a veteran German filmmaker with a passion for unique and extreme people. He finds inspiration in men who choose to endure nature, like the visionary tycoon who tried to build an opera house in the heart of the Peruvian jungle, (“Fitzcarraldo“), or the environmental activist who lived among wild animals in Alaska until he was killed by a grizzly bear, (“Grizzly Man“). This time, the National Science Foundation invited Herzog to write and direct a factual film at McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica. The goal was not to produce another movie about penguins, making “Encounters…” not your average wildlife movie.

Nevertheless, the film is like many others in that it gets a great part of its magic through cute nature shots. Beautifully crafted images and a solemn but sometimes annoying choral music brings the viewer under the crust of frozen seas, to the top of an active volcano and into ice tunnels that lead to the boiling center of the Earth. However, this journey is just the prologue to Herzog’s real interests: The vulcanologist and the welder, the biologist and the truck driver who live in Antarctica throughout the Southern Hemisphere summer.

Herzog makes the point that no matter how excessive his characters are and no matter what remote land they live in, we all are a little bit like them. It is a difficult point to make and the director knows our first reaction is denial. His only chance to succeed is to let us think his characters are just a bunch of weirdos. He even supports our skepticism and mockery as we follow him on his exploration of the Antarctic base and its surroundings. We meet a scientist-performer who fits herself into a sports bag and crawls across the stage at one of McMurdo’s bars, and a Bulgarian philosopher who works as a bulldozer operator and says he is in love with the world. We also meet a bus driver who was once the prisoner of a dangerous tribe in South America and a glaciologist who dreams he travels north on one of the icebergs he studies.

Soon enough, the Antarctic safari moves to deeper grounds as Herzog captures the outsiders’ essences. His mastery as an interviewer helps viewers go through the exterior eccentricity of the subjects to reach an inner realm of personal stories full of wanderlust and curiosity for life. An intelligent use of the barren landscape of the base, the silent depths of the sea and the immense loneliness of Antarctica emphasize the universal resonance of those testimonies. Suddenly, we share the passion of the scientist who searches for the elusive neutrino particle or the sadness of the marine biologist about to take his final dip into the Antarctic waters. Only then, Herzog is able to make his recurrent point that the dreams of outsiders are no different from our own.

Posted by Joseph, under reviews  |  Date: September 16, 2008
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On Screen: Robot Meets Robot

Jul01

Wall-E dreams of holding hands. Credit: Pixar

Wall-E, the new Pixar/Disney film by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo), was not the action-packed fanfare of robotic mayhem I expected. I saw instead a touching and budding story of unrequited (robot) love backlit by an eerie vision of humanity.

Unlike other Disney films, there is no grand heroic motivation for Wall-E, our romantic lead. He doesn’t strive to be a fancier ‘bot, nor does he dream of exploring the cosmos. Rather he is timid, afraid of loud noises and large spaceships

When we meet Wall-E, he is the sole occupant on the remains of Earth, a place overcome by towers of trash, a fecund atmosphere, encased in satellite trash and utterly abandoned. (Hints to this decay are revealed in the flickering advertisements and billboards for the super-conglomerate “Big ‘n Large.”)

Every day Wall-E heads out alone to do his garbage compacting with his cockroach sidekick, collecting discarded items he finds interesting in his cooler, before heading back to his trinket-filled home. There he watches the love duet from “Hello Dolly!,” revealing his sole dream and endearing motivation-to hold hands with someone.

The story progresses when a spaceship descends to Earth to drop off Eve, a capsule-shaped, advanced female robot intent on a mysterious mission. Wall-E falls hard despite Eve’s immediate rejection (in the form of attempted vaporization). Wall-E, however, is utterly, completely entranced. Despite space mishaps, confrontations with other bots and personal danger, Wall-E is as single-minded in his affection as perhaps only a robot or someone in love can be. Throughout the rest of the movie he has no other wish, no greater desire, than to win over – and hold hands with – his dear Eve.

It’s impressive that the movie works entirely well with nearly no vocals from the two main characters, except for “Wallll-eeee” and “Eeeev-aaa” in varying tones of distress, vexation (on Eve’s part) and, eventually, adoration.

The background on which the love story plays out is as interesting as the robots themselves. Stanton’s vision for humanity in 700-plus years is not pretty. In his future, robots operate ubiquitously in the background, helping humans to such an extent they don’t really have to do anything except reach for the next processed meal

The film’s environments ebb and flow gracefully from the lone, sad Earth to a waltz over the empty, yet lovely dance floor of space. Juxtaposing robots with the human need to connect, touches on the notion that, all things aside, the simple act of holding a beloved’s hand can be worth jumping galaxies.

Story by Technology Review staff writer and Boston-based science journalist Kristina Grifantini.

Posted by Joseph, under reviews  |  Date: July 1, 2008
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Sneak Preview: Abandoned in the Arctic

Jun12

A lookout climbs high up on a ridge to search for a passageway through the ice choked waters during the reenactment of the 1881 Greely expedition to the Arctic for the film, Abandoned in the Arctic which will premiere at the Harvard Science Center on Thursday June 19, sponsored by the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Credit: James Shedd

In 1881, U.S. Army Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely lead an expedition that traveled farther north than anyone in history–to within just a few hundred miles of the North Pole. This achievement was the high point in the worst arctic disaster in American history.

Greely and his men were ordered to travel far into the Canadian Arctic, set up a research base there and return after two years of data gathering. But it took three years and a 250-mile journey through the treacherous ice before the men could be rescued. Only six of the original 25 survived.

“This is an amazing story that almost nobody has heard of,” says documentary director Gino Del Guercio. In “Abandoned in the Arctic,” his first feature documentary, Del Guercio follows an expedition in which Greely’s great-great-grandson seeks to trace his ancestor’s incredible journey. The film will be screened in a free sneak preview at the Harvard Science Center, One Oxford St., Cambridge, on June 19th, 7 p.m.

Greely’s expedition was part of an international effort that set the baseline for modern Arctic research. As part of the First International Polar Year, Greely was appointed by the U.S. government to establish a research station in Ellesmere Island, the tenth largest island in the world. Greely and his men not only did so, they also beat the world record for reaching furthest north, which the British had held for 300 years. Two years later, an American ship was scheduled to arrive at the research station and take the men home. The ship never came.

Greely ordered his men to head south towards Cape Sabine, where a rescue ship was supposed to wait in case the first ship could not make it up to their base. Carrying a few months’ food, the men sailed through icebergs in small boats. When sailing was not possible they dragged their boats across the rough ice with temperatures of 50 below zero.

“At one point they were stranded on a piece of ice and about to die in a terrible storm,” says Del Guercio. When the men finally arrived at the rescue point there was no ship there. They spent eight months in an area with almost no food and shelter before they were rescued. The last six men were found lying together in a tent waiting to die. Greely’s first words to his rescuers were: “Did what I came to do. Beat the best record,” referring to the farthest north record.

The modern expedition also experienced the hardships in one of the world’s most dangerous areas. For six weeks in the summer of 2004, James Shedd and five other men rowed in their Kayaks or dragged them through the ice on their way to Cape Sabine. One of them was nearly killed when an ice floe crashed his boat against the frozen coastline. “This area has been called the horizontal Everest,” says Del Guercio, who will be at the preview with Shedd and other members of the expedition. “We discovered for ourselves how truly dangerous it can be.”

Story by Nuño Dominguez.

Posted by Joseph, under reviews  |  Date: June 12, 2008
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On Screen: “The Truth About Cancer”

Apr11

Scene from \

WGBH filmmakers, Harvard doctors, and people affected by cancer gathered last Thursday night at the Coolidge Corner Theater for what eventually became the equivalent of a scientific town meeting. It began as a free sneak preview of “The Truth About Cancer,” a 90-minute documentary to premier on PBS this Wednesday, April 16, but the film’s intensity, combined with primarily Boston-based interview subjects, (most of whom were in the audience), fueled a post-screening Q & A with writer/director/producer Linda Garmon that allowed a serious discussion on the state of cancer research to transpire between Ph.Ds and non-scientists.

Due to the amount of discussion dedicated to illness and death, a grief counselor was available at the screening for audience members, and rightly so. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year, a puny number compared to how many more are touched by the disease. It doesn’t just take lives; it rattles patients and their families about until they are good and bloodied. The power of “The Truth About Cancer” is that it doesn’t focus on the science or statistics, it’s about the people. Garmon, who lost her husband Larry in 2001 to mesothelioma, a rare cancer linked to asbestos exposure, uses the film to weave his story into interviews with experts and current patients to find out where cancer treatment is today.

There is no mysticism in Garmon’s documentary, and she stated quite clearly at the Q & A that she believes in science. Unfortunately, science can be cold. A truth that emerges in the film is the failure of Nixon’s war on cancer. The next federal goal is to end death and suffering by cancer by 2015. Another insight is that clinical trials may not always benefit current patients because they require many mistakes before they are effective. Even more shocking, nine out of ten of these trials will fail. We also don’t know enough about cancer prevention. At the moment, even the most healthy individual can succumb to the disease. “The truth about cancer,” says Garmon in arguably the film’s most memorable line, “is you can follow all the rules and just have damned bad luck.”

The doctors featured in the film, all who saw it for the first time on Thursday, shared similar sentiments. “Modern cancer care never discusses that you don’t win very often,” says Dr. George Demetri of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the film. “It’s very American to think you can control your destiny, but when it comes to cancer, it’s all biology.” When asked about his response to the documentary during the Q & A, Dr. Gregory Ryan, a GI specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital replied, “This is torture to go through it a second time. To watch a person dying is not my thing, but there is nothing better than helping someone who needs help.”

The Truth About Cancer” can be viewed on the PBS Website for the next 7 years. In addition to being a well-crafted documentary, the film is an effective tool to learn about the science of cancer. Not only is the information easy to understand, it is kept relevant to the stories. (Part of this research was done by Karen Rowan, an intern on the film and a Boston University science journalism alumna. Nice Job.)

Posted by Joseph, under health, reviews  |  Date: April 11, 2008
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On Screen: Animals Behaving Worse

Mar23

NATRbear

Yep, animals are up to no good: They’re eating our garbage to nourish their young, stealing our newspapers to build their nests, and disturbing our sleep to call mates. Just when we think we’ve cut down enough trees or poured enough pesticides, nature’s nuisances keep coming back. What’s a human to do?

NATURE’s “Animals Behaving Worse,” which premiered this evening on WGBH, is an insult to viewers’ intelligence. Sure, we’ve all heard stories of the menacing gang of Brookline turkeys or a seagull who ran away with lunch, but it’s difficult to believe that anyone would categorize these behaviors as malicious. The documentary, however, calls these animal invasions into human territory an “all-out turf war,” which is humorous, because look around and you’ll see, if there was any battle – we won.

The film’s weakness wasn’t its footage, although some of the shots were a bit awkward and the editors went B-roll crazy from time to time, the problem was the concept. This was a human-centric film. The anecdotes, ranging from a man whose yellow support-our-troops ribbons were stolen by a squirrel and a woman who scares black bears away from human-populated zones, were meant to highlight the way animals disrupt our day to day lives.

The producer, James Donald, could have gone so much deeper. The anecdotes in the film would have fit fine in a documentary exploring how animals have and have not adapted to human expansion. Instead, the viewer was bombarded with complaints by hotel guests of of crowing roosters or margarita-stealing monkeys. Only one expert was asked for any insight into these behaviors, but rather than asking why animals do this, the interview was about how.

By calling these animals “bad”, the film avoids some heavy moral questions. If creatures are going hungry because humans have taken up all the land and food, why not let them rummage through our garbage? If an introduced species is destroying an ecosystem, is it our responsibility to get it out? Instead, we are told how invasive species like killer bees and Asian cod will affect human economics.

Human elements are necessary to make a documentary relevant and keep viewers watching, but a film with a title reminiscent of a FOX special and so little substance shouldn’t carry the NATURE brand.

Posted by Joseph, under nature, reviews  |  Date: March 23, 2008
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One Blogger Responds to Climate Change Art

Mar15

BCA Climate Art Ad

The problem with climate change is that it’s abstract. We’ve all heard that carbon dioxide levels are rising, along with the average global temperature, but we can’t feel these changes like we can the effect of a space heater on a chilly room. Add a bitterly cold Boston winter, and the threat of global warming doesn’t seem so urgent. Magazines and newspapers try to move us with photographs of polar bears, pollution, and the carbon cycle, but this is an issue that needs more than a thousand words.

Greed, Guilt & Grappling: Six Artists Respond to Climate Change” at the Boston Center for the ArtsMills Gallery does a satisfactory job of making global warming relevant and visible, but sometimes at the expense of making visitors feel guilty about their lack of eco-awareness. The exhibit, co-organized by visual artists Mags Harries of Cambridge and Clara Wainwright of Brookline, will run through March 30 and is free to the public, although a donation of $5 is suggested.

The most interesting works allow visitors to see the impact an individual can have on environment. Instant Noodles by Michael Sheridan uses 400 empty noodle packages tossed into a corner to symbolize the mass of waste even a simple meal can accumulate over time. (He also asks visitors to factor in the use of palm oil to make the product, another serious environmental issue). On the ceiling above the main gallery is Carbon Footprints by Lajos Heder, drawings of shoe imprints created from a mix of acrylic paint and the carbon released from the 2007 California wildfires. The piece is powerful because it turns the invisible – our carbon dioxide emissions – into a black substance we can see, taste and touch.

Visitors are asked to write their own reactions to climate change on the wall where the foot path begins, part of the exhibit’s goal to encourage dialogue on the topic. While some of the messages seemed right out of the Greenpeace handbook, such as “Luxury living perpetuates global warming” and “I want my kids to build a fort in the woods one day,” others were permeated by eco-guilt. Phrases like “I hate relying on public transportation” and “I feel guilty for enjoying my cab ride,” even caught the attention of Boston Globe reporter Amy Farnsworth.

The exhibit goes quickly from depicting abstract environmental concepts to climate change activism. This was most evident in The Eco-Shaman Robes by Clara Wainwright. Visitors are meant to put on one these well-crafted and colorful garments, each portraying some kind of endangered critter, walk outside and engage strangers in conversation about climate change. While audience participation does bring an issue like global warming to life, because of the politics and the obvious bias, the robes come off as oddly cultish. (Greg Cook at the Boston Phoenix offers another perspective on this example in his review of the exhibit).

Most frustrating of all was Global Yawning for a Small Planet by Jay Critchley, a video exhibit in which two side by side projectors screened footage of people yawning. His argument is because yawning is a social act that can be shared, so should the act of fighting global warming. The problem with this logic is that yawning is instinctual while changing one’s behavior requires thought, consideration and a plan.

Overall, the exhibit is an interesting fusion of art and science, admirable for engaging the public in a dialogue about global warming. Creating work that maintains a balance between reflective and didactic without making exaggerated scientific claims is an effective way to leave visitors beaming with eco-excitement.

Posted by Joseph, under arts, climate change, reviews  |  Date: March 15, 2008
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Flowers, Kissing and Ferret Attraction

Feb11

Valentine’s Day 2008 is almost here and once again we await the exchange of chocolates, cards, and for the lucky ones, flowers. Actually, make that eco-friendly flowers, organic chocolates and electronic cards.As environmentally sound products creep into the market, this year’s holiday is offering new alternatives to traditional gifts. Recent articles in the New York Times and Boston Globe can tell you where to buy flowers especially for a canvas-bag toting partner or even heart-shaped candies with green sayings such as “Nature Lover” or “Wild Life.”

Another trend for Valentine’s 2008 are articles removing the romance from kissing. In “The Differences of Gender–Sealed with a Kiss,” Rob Stein of the Washington Post reports the results of research examining what men and women expect from a kiss. (Apparently men prefer more saliva.) “Affairs of the Lips: Why we Kiss,” this month’s Scientific American Mind cover story, explores the evolutionary benefits of kissing, from mate selection to feeding.

Scientists have been trying to understand human attraction for years, but since many of the most revealing studies would be invasive and thus unethical, a lot of what we do know comes, surprisingly, from ferrets. This evening, Coolidge Corner Theater, a not-for-profit independent theater in Brookline,
Body Heat
Mass., brought Michael Baum, a Boston University biologist, to explain some of these experiments as part of its Science On Screen series. Coolidge Corner Theater, New Scientist Magazine and the Museum of Science sponsor the screenings, which occur nine times throughout the academic year.

To go with the Valentine’s theme, Dr. Baum gave his presentation to coincide with the showing of the 1981 suspense/romance flick “Body Heat.” While the movie choice was a little less than scientific, his talk illuminated the importance of odor in mate choice. By blocking receptors that detect odor molecules a.k.a. pheromones ferrets no longer have a preference for the opposite sex, he explained.

Does smell apply to humans? Many researchers believe so, although the existence of human pheromones is controversial. Imaging studies looking at the brain’s reaction to androstadienone, a molecule found in male sweat, revealed certain areas of the female and gay male brain are activated that aren’t in straight men.

What is known about human attraction is that it activates the same pathway in the brain as the high from cocaine use and winning a lot of money. So whether your eyes, nose or brain stimulate the attraction, it is scientifically proven that it feels good.

Posted by Joseph, under reviews, specials  |  Date: February 11, 2008
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On Camera: A Tale of Two Species

Feb10

babyhscrab.jpgThat’s right folks, to your right is a baby horseshoe crab. The photo, meant to be wallpaper for your computer screen, is one of the educational and fun extras offered on the NATURE program’s website. After being thrown into the Internet age, science shows like NATURE and NOVA stepped up their image by adding video, downloads, links and audience participation to their homepages. You can even be their friend on Facebook.

Accompanying tonight’s premier on WGBH of “Crash: A Tale of Two Species” for instance is a map for visitors to report horseshoe crab sightings and an article explaining why the crabs are collected for their blue blood. (More on that below).

In her documentary, writer, director, producer Allison Argo, was able to tell a compelling narrative about the relationship between horseshoe crabs, humans and a little shorebird called the red knot. For centuries the red knot has relied on the egg laying of horseshoe crabs in the U.S. to fuel its journey to the Arctic breeding grounds. However as millions of the crabs have been harvested over the past few decades, the number of eggs have dropped as so has the number of birds, by about 70% of their known population.

One question that quickly comes to mind is why would we hunt horseshoe crabs? The 35-million-year old creatures are not that pretty or tasty for most of us, but apparently they are a hit with biomedical research companies and eels.

Horseshoe crabs have, according to Argo, an evolutionary pot of gold. Their blue blood transports oxygen throughout their bodies with copper, rather with the familiar hemoglobin. It also is a natural antibiotic. The moment blood cells meet an invader they clot and eliminate the threat. The crabs are collected by fishermen and sold to companies like Endosafe, part of Charles River Laboratories, who bleed 1/3 of the crabs’ blood supply and sell it at $15,000 per quart. Most of the crabs are returned to the ocean, but about 15% do not survive this process. The blood is then used to test potential treatments for toxins and Argo stresses we have all benefited from this technology.

The other connoisseurs of crab are eels and snails. Some Atlantic fishermen depend on the crabs to use as bait. However, because horseshoe crab populations are dropping, there is a moratorium on catching them in their major breeding ground. Scientists at DuPont, a research and development company, are in the process of developing artificial bait. One that has been successful is a gel flavored with horseshoe crab.

If this information doesn’t get your interest, at least watch the documentary to see a fisherman demonstrate how harmless the horseshoe crab’s pincers are by holding one up to his face. Now that should be a challenge on fear factor.

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Posted by Joseph, under reviews  |  Date: February 10, 2008
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