The Late Movies: 11 Close Encounters with Sharks

Last night marked the start of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. The annual summer event is celebrating its 25th anniversary and is broadcast in more than 72 countries. To celebrate everyone's favorite shark extravaganza, we've rounded up 11 videos of close encounters with sharks. Enjoy!

Warning: These videos often include yells of profanity. If you're in an office or around children, you may want to mute your speakers first.

1. The One That Got Away

When this group headed out for an overcast day of fishing at Cherry Grove in Myrtle Beach, SC, they weren't expecting to reel in a bull shark.

2. Best Shark Attack Video

This "media demo edit" is a condensed version of this longer video, which the uploader dubbed "best shark attack video." The group was tarpon fishing on a boat under Long Key Bridge, near Duck Key, FL. A hammerhead shark attacked a tarpon, which the fishing group tried to protect by circling around the fish, creating noise and bubbles to confuse the shark and conceal the tarpon. The shark was victorious, though, and when one of the fishers picked up part of the tarpon carcass to show on the video, the shark emerged to snatch up the remains of its meal. (You can read even more details on the YouTube page for either edit of the video.)

3. Mako Shark Surprises Diver and Blue Marlin

Diver and shark expert Jim Abernethy was actually underwater off Cat Island in the Bahamas to film a blue marlin for a Guy Harvey expedition when a mako shark took him by surprise.

4. Scientists Free a Whale Shark from a Fishing Net

Whale sharks, which are slow-moving filter-feeding sharks, often gather around lift net fishing platforms to eat the small silverside baitfish being caught. Unfortunately, the sharks sometimes swim into the nets and become entangled, as is the case with this whale shark in Indonesia's Cendrawasih Bay, which was freed by scientists from Conservation International.

5. Whale Shark Sucks Fish from Fishing Net

This is what the whale shark in video #4 had been trying to do -- suck little fish straight from the fishermen's lift net. This video was also filmed by Conservation International in Indonesia's Cendrawasih Bay.

6. Shark Steals Camera

As you're probably beginning to notice, sharks are intelligent and curious animals. In this clip filmed at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas, a shark steals a camera from photographer Jim Abernethy (the same Jim from video #3). Luckily, Jim was able to get his camera back eventually!

7. Tiger Shark Near Miss

This video is presumably from one of those "swim with the sharks" excursions. When a tiger shark begins to nose his way through a diver's legs, the diver doesn't get out of the way quickly enough for the shark, who nearly bites the diver's leg.

8. Shark Stalks Boat

These guys were fishing from their boat off the coast of North Carolina when a large shark began following them, circling their boat for about 20 minutes. (As the guys muse at one point, "Maybe it knows something we don't.") In the videos, they debate whether it's a great white shark or a bull shark, but either way, it's a pretty impressive creature filmed in high definition.

9. Close Call with Great White Shark

Two divers were stranded off the coast of Western Australia when a great white shark (referred to as a white pointer in the video) came between them and their boat. Luckily, they were able to scare it away with no injury to themselves. The Australian newscaster narrating the clip enhances the drama.

10. Sharks Feed on Whale

Approximately 100 sharks--mostly blacktip reef sharks, tiger sharks and a few great white sharks--were feeding on a beached whale at Warroora Station in Australia; surfer Rachel Campbell caught the action on film.

11. 5-Year-Old Girl Swims with Sharks

We saved the most controversial for last (of course). This video is of an excursion with Power Boat Adventures off of Nassau in the Bahamas; the staff feed the group of reef sharks, lemon sharks, and nurse sharks to ensure they're not hungry, and then the tourists swim amongst the sharks. But this video stirred up an internet brouhaha over parenting, safety, and sharks, as it features a 5-year-old named Anaia with the sharks. Comments on the video have since been disabled due to the nasty comments Anaia's parents were receiving.

Zach Hyman, HBO
10 Bizarre Sesame Street Fan Theories
Zach Hyman, HBO
Zach Hyman, HBO

Sesame Street has been on the air for almost 50 years, but there’s still so much we don’t know about this beloved children’s show. What kind of bird is Big Bird? What’s the deal with Mr. Noodle? And how do you actually get to Sesame Street? Fans have filled in these gaps with frequently amusing—and sometimes bizarre—theories about how the cheerful neighborhood ticks. Read them at your own risk, because they’ll probably ruin the Count for you.


According to a Reddit theory, the Sesame Street theme song isn’t just catchy—it’s code. The lyrics spell out how to get to Sesame Street quite literally, giving listeners clues on how to access this fantasy land. It must be a sunny day (as the repeated line goes), you must bring a broom (“sweeping the clouds away”), and you have to give Oscar the Grouch the password (“everything’s a-ok”) to gain entrance. Make sure to memorize all the steps before you attempt.


Sesame Street is populated with the stuff of nightmares. There’s a gigantic bird, a mean green guy who hides in the trash, and an actual vampire. These things should be scary, and some fans contend that they used to be. But then the creatures moved to Sesame Street, a rehabilitation area for formerly frightening monsters. In this community, monsters can’t roam outside the perimeters (“neighborhood”) as they recover. They must learn to educate children instead of eating them—and find a more harmless snack to fuel their hunger. Hence Cookie Monster’s fixation with baked goods.


Big Bird is a rare breed. He’s eight feet tall and while he can’t really fly, he can rollerskate. So what kind of bird is he? Big Bird’s species has been a matter of contention since Sesame Street began: Big Bird insists he’s a lark, while Oscar thinks he’s more of a homing pigeon. But there’s convincing evidence that Big Bird is an extinct moa. The moa were 10 species of flightless birds who lived in New Zealand. They had long necks and stout torsos, and reached up to 12 feet in height. Scientists claim they died off hundreds of years ago, but could one be living on Sesame Street? It makes sense, especially considering his best friend looks a lot like a woolly mammoth.


Oscar’s home doesn’t seem very big. But as The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland revealed, his trash can holds much more than moldy banana peels. The Grouch has chandeliers and even an interdimensional portal down there! There’s only one logical explanation for this outrageously spacious trash can: It’s a Doctor Who-style TARDIS.


Dust off your copy of The Republic, because this is about to get philosophical. Plato has a famous allegory about a cave, one that explains enlightenment through actual sunlight. He describes a prisoner who steps out of the cave and into the sun, realizing his entire understanding of the world is wrong. When he returns to the cave to educate his fellow prisoners, they don’t believe him, because the information is too overwhelming and contradictory to what they know. The lesson is that education is a gradual learning process, one where pupils must move through the cave themselves, putting pieces together along the way. And what better guide is there than a merry kids’ show?

According to one Reddit theory, Sesame Street builds on Plato’s teachings by presenting a utopia where all kinds of creatures live together in harmony. There’s no racism or suffocating gender roles, just another sunny (see what they did there?) day in the neighborhood. Sesame Street shows the audience what an enlightened society looks like through simple songs and silly jokes, spoon-feeding Plato’s “cave dwellers” knowledge at an early age.


Can a grown man really enjoy taking orders from a squeaky red puppet? And why does Mr. Noodle live outside a window in Elmo’s house anyway? According to this hilariously bleak theory, no, Mr. Noodle does not like dancing for Elmo, but he has to, because he’s in hell. Think about it: He’s seemingly trapped in a surreal place where he can’t talk, but he has to do whatever a fuzzy monster named Elmo says. Definitely sounds like hell.


Okay, so remember when Animal chases a shrieking woman out of the college auditorium in The Muppets Take Manhattan? (If you don't, see above.) One fan thinks Animal had a fling with this lady, which produced Elmo. While the two might have similar coloring, this theory completely ignores Elmo’s dad Louie, who appears in many Sesame Street episodes. But maybe Animal is a distant cousin.


Cookie Monster loves to cram chocolate chip treats into his mouth. But as eagle-eyed viewers have observed, he doesn’t really eat the cookies so much as chew them into messy crumbs that fly in every direction. This could indicate Cookie Monster has a chewing and spitting eating disorder, meaning he doesn’t actually consume food—he just chews and spits it out. There’s a more detailed (and dark) diagnosis of Cookie Monster’s symptoms here.


Can a vampire really get his kicks from counting to five? One of the craziest Sesame Street fan theories posits that the Count lures kids to their death with his number games. That’s why the cast of children on Sesame Street changes so frequently—the Count eats them all after teaching them to add. The adult cast, meanwhile, stays pretty much the same, implying the grown-ups are either under a vampiric spell or looking the other way as the Count does his thing.


Alright, this is just a Dave Chappelle joke. But the Count does have a cape.

A New App Interprets Sign Language for the Amazon Echo

The convenience of the Amazon Echo smart speaker only goes so far. Without any sort of visual interface, the voice-activated home assistant isn't very useful for deaf people—Alexa only understands three languages, none of which are American Sign Language. But Fast Company reports that one programmer has invented an ingenious system that allows the Echo to communicate visually.

Abhishek Singh's new artificial intelligence app acts as an interpreter between deaf people and Alexa. For it to work, users must sign at a web cam that's connected to a computer. The app translates the ASL signs from the webcam into text and reads it aloud for Alexa to hear. When Alexa talks back, the app generates a text version of the response for the user to read.

Singh had to teach his system ASL himself by signing various words at his web cam repeatedly. Working within the machine-learning platform Tensorflow, the AI program eventually collected enough data to recognize the meaning of certain gestures automatically.

While Amazon does have two smart home devices with screens—the Echo Show and Echo Spot—for now, Singh's app is one of the best options out there for signers using voice assistants that don't have visual components. He plans to make the code open-source and share his full methodology in order to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

Watch his demo in the video below.

[h/t Fast Company]


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