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Impressive fish: 'Big Fish and Begonia'

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The Chinese aren’t finished with releasing animated anthropomorphic features almost on top of us – in China, anyway. Big Fish and Begonia (Da Hai), 100 minutes, directed by Liang Xuan and Zhang Chun, produced at Studio Mir (maker of The Legend of Korra) in Seoul, South Korea in traditional cartoon animation, and distributed by Enlight Media, is scheduled to be released in China on July 8.

The story is from a traditional Taoist legend, taken from Zhuangzi. The gods – or celestial beings, anyway – control time, tides, and the changing of the seasons of the Middle Kingdom (a.k.a. our Earth). When the young Chun is 16 years old, she is turned into a dolphin to experience our world at first hand. She is engulfed by a storm and gets caught in a fishing net, from which she is rescued by a human boy at the cost of his life. Chun is moved by his sacrifice and determines to restore him to life. To do this she must give his soul rebirth as a tiny fish, and protect him as he grows. Over time Chun grows to love the fish, but when he is grown, she must release him to become human once more.

The synopsis does not say where the story is set, but the boy is noticeably blond, implying that the feature is intended for international audiences.

Findra, SpinDizzy admin and FC organizer, reported dead

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Findra, photo by Akeakami

Chris Sturtivant, better known among furs as Findra, reportedly died this week at the age of 44. Close friends reported his passing as "sudden and unexpected".

Update (21 Oct): A gathering is to be held in Memorial Park (luge n1 w1) on SpinDizzy MUCK from 12-3PM PDT on Sunday 23 October. A memorial meeting will also take place on the afternoon of November 5, at Las Palmas Park.

August 2011 Newsbytes archive

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For historical purposes, a collection of links and other tidbits posted to Newsbytes in August.

Dolphins show both tool use and culture

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Dolphin tool use
A: Basket sponge
B: Dolphin wearing sponge
C: Debris on the sea bed
D: Hidden fish

Researchers in Shark Bay, Australia have identified tool use and cultural transmission of the tool use in dolphins.

The scientists observed some dolphins occasionally pulling basket sponges from the sea bed and using them to cover their snouts as they foraged for food on the sea bed. The sponges presumably provided them protection from the rocks and shells on the sea bed. However, it wasn't known why the dolphins bothered to forage there.

The research team now report that dolphins perform this activity to catch fish living under the sand's surface.

Researchers argue for dolphin personhood

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Should dolphins be treated as 'non-human people'? That's the argument of some scientists and ethical researchers, who claim their sense of self, social talents, relative brain size, and ability to perform complex tasks put them second only to humans. [Soulskill/Slashdot]

The point was also made last year at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – publishers of the well-known journal Science.

Research uncovers new depths to dolphin sociology

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Recent research on how dolphins interact with one another has shown surprising levels of complexity. Groups of dolphins have been observed working together and dolphins of different species may even be able to communicate – or at least attempt to.

Science NOW reported on two dolphin papers showing social co-operation, while the BBC covered preliminary research on dolphin communication.

Woman Weds Dolphin

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Till depth do us part?

"An unusual wedding ceremony was held in the southern resort town of Eilat on Wednesday, as Sharon Tendler, a 41-years-old Jewish millionaire from London married her beloved Cindy, a 35-years-old dolphin, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday."

Free at Last: Born Captive Dolphins to be Released

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Exposing the lies that $leazy World has been telling for decades, Dolphin Reef Eilat, of Israel, is planning another release of captive-born dolphins.

The dolphin population there has dwindled and is on the verge of extinction. The efforts of all the countries surrounding the Black Sea (ACCOBAMS Organization), as well as the recognition of the dolphins living in it (TURSIOPS TRUNCATUS PONTICUS) as an endangered species (according to the international CITES treaty), has contributed to significant improvement and rejuvenation of the Black Sea. The transfer of the dolphins from the Reef to the Black Sea is one of the rehabilitation measures, carried out in cooperation between the Severtsov Russian Academy of Science and Dolphin Reef. Two dolphins, Shandy (10 year old male) and Pashosh (12 year old female), born at Dolphin Reef to parents originally from the Black Sea, are being transferred back to the Black Sea. Shandy and Pashosh will fly on Monday, July 26th, from Eilat to the Utrish Biological Research Station at the Black Sea, where they will meet a pair of local dolphins. After a stay of about one month at the Research Station, the four dolphins will be released into the Black Sea. This release project is backed and accompanied by local and international environmental groups, such as the Nature Reserves Authority in Israel and in Russia, and ACCOBAMS organization.

Dolphin Reef Eilat

Mine clearing dolphins see first in battle use

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Dolphins and sea lion are part of the US troops deployed in the Gulf. Tacoma and Makai, part of the US Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Three, are the two dolphins charged with helping clear Iraqi ports of misplaced mines. Using echolocation, the mines are found in the silt of the ocean floor. Floats are put in place by the dolphins, marking the locations. The Navy says they face no "significant" risk.

Dolphins in danger

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Fishing is still killing dolphins, and conservationists worry that the damage could soon lead to extinction. Plans have been brought up to try high tech sound deterrants or net holes to keep dolphins out of fishing nets. But the best way to keep dolphins out of nets is to keep nets out of the sea.

Day of the Dolphin?

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A recent article in the Times of India tells of how dolphins are being trained to plant limpet mines on enemy ships. Similar articles appeared today in the Economic Times of India and The South China Post, focused on the outcry from animal activists. While I could not find any links to these articles I have included relevant portions.

The articles claim this to be the first use of dolphins to plant mines, but the U.S. has employed them to clear mines before and one wonders what else...

Parrots, apes, and elephants are people, too.

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Steven M. Wise, J.D., is the president of Center for the Expansion of Fundamental Rights, and teaches Animal Rights Law at Harvard, Vermont, and John Marshall Law Schools. He has written a new book: Drawing the Line, which goes beyond his previous book Rattling the Cage in that he advocates legal rights even beyond the great apes to elephants, parrots, and dolphins. (But not dogs.)

Amorous dolphin targeting swimmers

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A sexually aggresive dolphin is causing some problems in the resort town of Weymouth, England. Georges, a male bottlenose dolphin, may be moved to French waters, where it is illegal to swim with dolphins. Story from CNN.

Morse code for dolphins...

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According to a Wired Article, scientists are attempting to develope a common language for humans to use in communicating with dolphins. This sound-based language will likely be examined as closely as the sign-language that are used with our simian cousins... although, from the statements in the article researches don't expect it to ever reach that level of sophistication.