Support pours in to cut back on water bottles
My recent column
about plastic water bottle pollution struck a nerve. Several readers e-mailed that they think it's ridiculous that people buy water in Hawaii when our tap water is some of the best in the world. Others wrote that the state should levy a large tax on these bothersome bottles.
A college professor wondered why students felt they had to bring water to a 50-minute indoor class and sit there "sucking on bottles."
On the same topic, a reader sent a medical note that made my day. Last week researchers published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology the results of a study about the link between water consumption and health. Their conclusion: There is no link. More water does not mean better health.
These doctors' advice for healthy people: When you're thirsty, drink something.
My next column was about frogfish, a subject I wrote about because my friends saw two of these hard-to-find fish while diving off Waikiki. When I looked into that fish family, I found some good stories. Now I have one more.
A Seattle reader sent me an article about resident divers in Indonesia discovering a new species of frogfish. Maybe. This pink-and-tan striped fish has a pancake-flat face, pectoral fins that resemble arms with elbows and lacks a fishing pole and lure. A University of Washington expert in frogfish thinks it might be a frogfish, but it could represent a new fish family.
The people who found the fish run a commercial dive operation, and have now found other individuals of the new species. One is guarding its eggs.
And the divers are guarding the fish. In a discouraging comment on the aquarium trade, the discovering divers and researchers fear collectors will kidnap these few special fish and sell them.
From the other side of the world, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, a diver sent me a picture of a glob of green seaweed. No, wait. It's a glob of green seaweed stuck to a tiny crab. "Is this a dresser crab or a decorator crab?" she asked.
The two names are synonyms. Several decorator species exist, all belonging to the spider crab family, which is characterized by triangular shells and long, thin legs. Many species also have tiny hooks on their shells and limbs that hold seaweed, sponges and other reef inhabitants.
I don't know how many kinds of spider crabs live in Caribbean waters, but Hawaii hosts 20. These crabs are common here, but good luck finding any. Their shells are only one-half to 1 inch wide, and they wear their disguises well.
One e-mail last week came from Austria. A journalist there asked about the pigeons the U.S. Coast Guard once used in search and rescue missions. I sent her a link and she wrote back, "Thank you! I'm really greatful (sic)! Nice greetings from Austria!"
Closer to home, a Kaneohe reader sent me a study that answered a question I didn't know anyone asked. Researchers wondered how a squid's hard, sharp beak allows it to catch prey without harming its soft body.
The answer is the beak has a gradient of stiffness. The tip is hard, but the base is 100 times more compliant, allowing it to blend with surrounding soft tissue. This is important news to engineers of human prosthetics.
Thanks, everyone, for sending links, offering support and making this column so much fun.