Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Sinister Icy White Hand of Death

When it comes to blogged content, Boing Boing is the end in that once an item makes it onto this particular blog, it’s everywhere, it’s dunzo, it’s beyond the relaying in any formal way. Boing Boing has that much push. Or pull. Or whatever motion information moves in nowadays. Furthermore, most of Boing Boing’s grabby content gets picked up and reposted that same day by major blogs anyway, so the idea of repackaging it for a dinky personal blog is especially silly. And yet I’m writing this post anyway, simply because I haven’t learned anything else in recent memory that so deserved to be called awesome, in all senses of the term.

Also, it allows me to toss off a reference to Calvin & Hobbes, and I don’t get to do that often enough.

Also, it’s also my word of the week.
brinicle (BRAI-nih-kel) — an undersea ice formation similar in form to a stalactite.
I could go one about it, but few words could convey as much as could the BBC documentary footage that Boing Boing featured last week. And here is that footage once more, simply because watching again and again does little to diminish the beauty of its destructive power.

It might remind me of that movie The Abyss, if I had ever seen it, but for now let’s just say it reminds me of what I think The Abyss should be about. It’s tough to make starfish seem relatable, I say, but I have a hard time not projecting my own fear onto them as I watch them skitter aimlessly and blindly while this ice-cold death ray makes contact. I’d compare it to a game of Hot Lava if the comparison weren’t so wrong, temperature-wise. And yet none of this surprises me so much as the fact that the above video, filmed in 2011 for the BBC’s Frozen Planet series, marks the first time the phenomenon had ever been captured on film and, thus, been made available to be seen by non-undersea explorer-types like myself. And you, for all I know. (Do tell.)

Since this is a word-of-the-week post, I’ll at least point out that the term’s etymology and a portmanteau of brine and icicle does little to convey its awesomeness.

A technical note: I usually try to write out the pronunciation in my words of the week phonetically, except when I forget to. I tried this week, too, but I couldn’t figure out the clearest way to represent the long “i” in brine. Anyone?

Previous words of the week after the jump.
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