Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Anderson Cooper dives with the Great White Shark


Last night (July 28) CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” provided a quick preview of footage that Anderson is accumulating for his second “Planet in Peril” documentary film, with a video of his going down in a diving cage to encounter a great white shark. The link is here. It’s true, he is in a steel cage, so this is not a scene from Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” (or Peter Benchley's novel, with its all too vulnerable characters). Sharks, from a biological point of view, are very curious (and ecologically important) animals, having only cartilage (not true bone), but bearing their young live. Sharks liver oil is supposed to boost the production of blood platelets in humans. There's something else that's sinister: with some shark species, the stronger unborn sharks eat the weaker ones before delivery; it's not known if that happens with the Great White, but the "Darwinian" idea, from the animal world, would disgust human culture.

Cooper started his journalistic career by “paying his dues” living and reporting from southeast Asia as a young man. Sebastian Junger has done pretty much the same, even working by trimming trees and then writing a book about dangerous occupations ("Fire").

I happened to locate an April 20, 2006 blog entry by Cooper that starts by discussing the effect of global warming in Alaska and concludes with a discussion of the docudrama based on Sebastian’s book “A Death in Belmont,” about an incident in Junger’s own life, that was broadcast as an hour long show on 360 then.

I’ve always thought that Anderson Cooper 360 is one of the most comprehensive news review programs on the air, although at 11 PM it often repeats what it covered in the hour starting at 10 PM (EDT).

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