10 Reasons Why Cuttlefish are Amazing

Number 1: their ink is actually ink. Sepia, in fact. Yep, all those drawings by Leonardo da Vinci started life in a cuttlefish ink sac.

Number 2: They have greeny-blue blood. This is because where we have iron in our blood, creating that lovely rust colour, they have copper, creating that lovely old-copper-roof colour.

Number 3: They have three hearts (eat your paltry two hearts out, Doctor). This is because green blood isn’t as efficient with the whole oxygen-moving thing as red blood is.

Number 4: They have pupils like inverted monobrows. I mean, look at this:
Cuttlefish eyeNumber 5: On the subject of eyes, they apparently get their eyes all up and running before they hatch from their eggs. So if you happen to swim past a batch of cuttlefish eggs, beware – they’re watching you. And it has been suggested that they gravitate toward the sort of food they saw pre-hatch. (Death by oodles of baby cuttlefish: cutest creepy death ever.)

Number 6: Continuing on the subject of eyes, the cuttlefish has no blind spot. So don’t think you can escape…

Number 7: They are masters (and mistresses) of disguise. They can change colour like sea-chameleons (despite being unable to see colour); they can change their skin texture to more closely resemble their background. And they can do all this accurately, even in near total darkness. How, no one knows. They can even present different appearances on different sides of their body.

See the seafloor, cuddle the seafloor, be the seafloor…

Number 8: One of their colour patterns, used by males when in an aggro situation, is called “Intense Zebra”. (Out of such little joys is a life made…) Not to mention that there’s a species of cuttlefish called the “Flamboyant Cuttlefish”. And here’s why:
Metasepia pfefferi 1Number 9: They have an internal shell, called the cuttlebone, which they use for going up and down like a submarine. More liquid in the shell: down. Less liquid: up. The cuttlebone has also been used for centuries by metalworkers for making moulds for little fiddly things; and more recently by owners of caged birds for keeping up their calcium intake. (The birds’ calcium intake, that is. Not their owners. As far as I know.)

Number 10: They can be terribly grand and impressive:
Giant Cuttlefish-sepia apama (8643345101)
or completely gosh-darnit cute:
Sepia latimanus (Reef cuttlefish) all whiteAmazing critters, aren’t they? Which is why I decided to knit a cuttlefish cover for my cellphone. It’s not entirely like a cuttlefish, but it has points of resemblance. I started out intending to use this pattern but in the end it was more ‘inspired by’ than actually ‘based on’.


Fits smartphone measuring 63 x 120 x 10mm. Howdunnit available on request.

The Wheels Have Eyes

Today’s post was going to be an end-of-year blog round-up, but I have decided to delay until early January, which will be a year since the blog began.

Instead, to end the calendar year on a note of Really Rather Weird, I give you The Wheels Have Eyes.
No, not a Google spy-car, but the earliest piece of Steampunky writing I have yet come across, in the Bible.

Yep, Steampunk in the Bible. The Book of Ezekiel, to be precise, written in the late 500s BC. Or possibly the early 500s BC, depending on how you look at it. 593 BC et seq. anyway.

Ezekiel sees an approaching storm in which are four winged creatures with lightning darting between them. Corresponding to each creature is a wheel – or rather a wheel intersecting a wheel, with eyes around the rim. (Try describing that to a police artist.)

“When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.” (Ezekiel 1:21)

The spirit is in the wheels? Sounds steampunky to me. Not to mention the diamond light around the throne above said creatures, on which is seated a figure like molten metal rising out of fire.

In fact, a Baptist minister once designed an aircraft inspired by this very vision – a little more Da Vinci than Verne, perhaps, but fascinating nonetheless. These Magnificent Ministers and their Flying Machines…

So there you have it. Your scriptural steampunkiness for the day, brought to you by the letter E.

Enjoy your New Year celebrations (“general rejoicings, and in the evening – fireworks!”) and look forward with me to 2014.

Sinistra Inksteyne hand250