Friday Classic | Missing Strikes? It’s not your fault


The mantis shrimp sees a world that we cannot imagine. It’s a foot long crustacean with 16 different kinds of color sensing cones in its retinae. We have three. Every color ever experienced by mankind is fabricated by our brains from radiation stimulating red, blue and green cones. The hues of our world are neural cocktails stirred together with three ingredients alone. X parts red + Y parts blue + Z parts green = magenta. With sixteen different elements on its palette, the humble mantis shrimp by contrast, perceives not only deep into the ultraviolet and infrared spectrums, but also layers and gradients and Heaven knows what else with-in our “visual range” that simply do not exist for humans. The world as the mantis shrimp sees it is not just unknown to us, it is unknowable.

“Dude, you’re under.”

Sharks and other fishes famously sense electromagnetic fields. Where our world is constructed moment by moment by five senses, theirs is (at least) six-dimensional. Let that sink in for a second. A whole ‘nother dimension. And that’s before we even touch on their near mystical chemo reception and sensitivity to atmospheric pressure.


What I’m trying to say is… it’s not always my fault when I miss a strike. I can’t explain how — call it fishy ESP — but clearly fish can sense when one’s focus is trained, heart and soul, on a drift, and as importantly when it’s not. Something about our attention, or maybe our intention, is tipping them off. Consider your own collection of anecdotal evidence and you’ll see it’s true. How often does the take come the instant you turn your gaze to a kiting osprey or your energy to the conversation in the boat? Coincidence? I think not.

There’s a PhD in there for somebody smarter than me. Have at it. All I ask is a brief citation in the write-up, perhaps a modest cut of the Nobel Prize money and a maybe a few more set hooks.

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