From Shark Misrepresentation

Another hoax shark attack hits YouTube

The video above recently founds its way on YouTube via SOSShark. The description claims that an underwater video camera housing was found at the bottom of the sea by divers near Malta. The footage shown in the video was supposedly recovered from the camera. Oddly enough, the recovered footage has been edited with multiple quick cuts that make a Michael Bay action sequence seem smooth.

A frame-by-frame analysis reveals some shots of a shark seemingly biting a wetsuit-clad diver with plenty of “blood” in the water. Oddly enough, in some of the frames of the “attack” in which the diver can be seen, the blood is originating from off-camera. One must also give credit to the cameraman for being a true professional and continuing to film the attack, rather than to help the diver out.

The concerned individual(s) who posted the video concluded it with a message seeking information about the diver and the cameraman. While the thought of acquiring a free underwater video rig by claiming to be the cameraman might seem tempting, I’m guessing that the creators of this video might be wise to such attempts, so I’m going to go ahead and advise against it.

While I’m not sure what the motivation is behind these types of videos, they seem to pop up from time to time. I guess the hope is that the video will go viral and generate some ad. revenue. I’ve yet to see that really happen with one of these types of videos, but I have a feeling that if it does, it’s going take a better attempt than the video shown above.

Chuck Patterson great white shark video misrepresented on pet-related blog

Chuck Patterson’s great white shark video (seen above), which made the rounds in the media about two months ago, recently showed up on TeddyHilton.com, which appears to be a pet-related blog inspired by Perez Hilton. Unfortunately, the description of Patterson’s video on the site is a misrepresentation of Patterson own account of the scenario that he recorded using a pole-mounted GoPro camera.

The TeddyHilton.com post regarding Patterson’s video is titled “Surfer has NO idea great white is circling him.” The post, which includes the tags “scary” and “attack!” goes on to say that Patterson did not realize the sharks were around him until after getting back on shore and checking his video footage.

The actual story behind the video, straight from Chuck Patterson’s Blog is that he went out with the intention of filming the great white sharks on camera and knew full-well they were in the water.

Jaws video game hits iPad and iPhone – Is this bad for sharks?

A video game based on the popular Steven Spielberg horror film “Jaws” is now available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. While the trailer for the game might make some shark conservationists cringe with its “mindless eating machine” mentality, others might argue that it’s a harmless video game. “Jaws” the game certainly isn’t doing anything to dispel many of the largely unwarranted fears about sharks, but as a video game based on a fictitious horror movie, I have to wonder if anybody would really expect anything different.

If the game were billed as an educational app about sharks, I would certainly have no trouble crying foul. However, “Jaws” is a horror movie about a 25′ rogue great white shark who hunts down humans mercilessly. When you see the name “Jaws” attached to a video game, you pretty much know what you’re getting into.

“Jaws” (the film and its video game incarnations) catches a lot of flak for creating the mindset that sharks are mindless killers, but is the movie itself really the problem? For whatever reason, “Jaws” is simply very effective at scaring people, and the fear associated with the movie gets carried over into the real-world for many people. I would argue that the the inability to discern reality from fiction is far more to blame for misconceptions about sharks than a movie or a video game.

Rockaway Beach shark sightings spawn more media hype

MyFoxNY.com has reported that conflicting accounts of “small” or “baby” sharks seen around Rockaway Beach resulted in lifeguards clearing the water for about an hour on Saturday. Accounts of the shark sightings ranged from one to three sharks being spotted. One witness told NY1 that a shark was tugging on the leg strap of a female surfer and that two more sharks were “circling her.” The scare resulted in swimmers and surfers evacuating the water, but they were allowed to return after an hour. No other subsequent incidents were reported after beach goers were allowed to return to the water.

New York Aquarium‘s Jon Dohlin was quick to point out to the news anchor in the clip above that the sharks are always out there, and the ones that are being reportedly sighted do not pose a real threat to swimmers and surfers. Despite the fact that the sharks being reported are considered to be generally harmless, it hasn’t slowed other media outlets from over-hyping the animals. The New York Post referred to the sharks as “finned fiends” and “toothy terrors,” while the New York Daily News ran with a headline referring to the sharks as “deadly fish.”

NatGeo Wild throws in unnecessary shark attack footage

I really like the second half of the video clip above from NatGeo Wild. It’s actually rich with information about how sharks locate meals. It also educates the audience about ampullae of Lorenzini, and the hammerhead shark’s unique head shape.

Unfortunately, the first half of the video contains ominous warnings about humans and hammerheads being on a “collision course,” because they happen to occupy the same body of water. This is followed by some relatively graphic “attack” footage that seems to be forced into the segment, as it really has nothing to do with the narrator’s discussion of the hammerhead shark. In fact, not long after the second instance of faux shark attack footage, the narrator asserts that the scalloped hammerhead sharks in question “don’t appear to look upon humans as a potential meal.”

The video does go on to redeem itself after the unnecessary “attack” footage, but it makes me wonder why the clip has scenes of panicking victims and bloody water, in the first place. I also question why the information describing the video refers to the hammerhead as a “vicious shark” who “never lets a human get between it and a tasty meal,” when the main theme of the video speaks to the contrary.

I’ve enjoyed National Geographic’s offerings ever since I can remember, and it was a National Geographic feature on white sharks that first piqued my interest in sharks when I was barely old enough to read. It makes me wonder if a young child were watching this clip whether they would be more likely to remember the worthwhile information in the second half of the clip or the scenes of an implied shark attack.