Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of my favorite places.
Back in the 90s one of the USENIX conference receptions was at the aquarium and we had several hours to explore the place without any kids underfoot. I found a chair and put it right in front of the jellyfish tank, and just watched the jellyfish for about an hour.
I wonder how they figured out the ideal lighting combination for emphasizing jellyfish. It’s amazing: a deep blue background with slightly orange light coming in from the sides.
I keep trying to estimate the weight of the lucite panels and the weight of the water that some of the tanks contain. The deep sea tank looks like it’s almost three storeys tall and about 40 feet by 50 feet. It would be really fun to have a couple of jazz musicians improvising sounds for the fish.
When I think about the mackerels in their endless whirling swim that goes nowhere, I sometimes verge on an existential crisis. It could be metaphorical for computer security, too: I am about to go to a conference where apparently the hot thing is a “data lake” (which is some marketing genius’ term for “put all your data in a big cloud storage array and you don’t have to understand it, AIs will understand it for you” – completely absurd) we are all going to swim around in a big school like that, getting nowhere, while Amazon web services pitches useless technology at us and tells us it will solve the problems in the last generation of technology that didn’t work, either.
After a while, we headed down to Point Lobos, where it was foggy and drizzling, and visited the otters and sea lions. I love how you can watch a little bobbing patch of water and sometimes it’ll sit up and wave a paw at you!
Now that is what I call a “data lake”!
The captive otters at the aquarium seem to be quite happy at their job, which is: being cute.
Much to my amusement, the male waited until he was right up against the glass in front of a bunch of schoolkids and turned himself inside out and started giving himself a great big otter-hummer. The sure are flexible and agile in the water, those otters!