Friday, April 20, 2018

Adorable Leftovers: Bobtail Squid Buries Itself

One of the great lessons of reporting, which I'm still learning, is that you should always do far too much of it. Take photos of everything and everyone, to use as references in writing descriptions. Take notes on irrelevant tangents as well as direct answers to questions. To quote my favorite security blanket, The Science Writers' Handbook, "Ask about the chain saw on the source's bookshelf or the scar on her hand."

For one thing, all this over-reporting is necessary in order to find the story. You can't know ahead of time exactly what characters and details you'll need, and often you don't even know the general structure of the piece. For another, extensive notes can provide a wealth of material to be mined and built upon for later stories.

And sometimes, in the course of reporting, you'll end up with a video that's just so cute it will afford you and your family and friends endless entertainment, even if you never publish it anywhere but your own blog.

Now, dear reader, you too can enjoy this bobtail squid burying itself in sand in Robyn Crook's lab at San Francisco State University:

Video taken while reporting "Humane studies of octopuses get a boost" for Science magazine. Unfortunately not recorded in audio but only jotted down in my notebook was Crook's comment from the point of view of the pre-burial squid: "Oh, my bum is showing!"

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