Whenever I'm near an ocean, sharks are mentioned. I literally cannot enter a large salty body of water without someone mentioning sharks. Its an irrational fear until you actually see one, at which point, yeah, I'd be scared. I always point out that over the years people have claimed that many more people die each year from falling coconuts than from shark attacks. Someone claimed that each year 150 people are killed by coconuts and this statistic, true or not, has been widely used to assuage fear. Instead, it made me nervous around palm trees. I watch them sway in the breeze and flinch when people walk under them. While snorkeling this past weekend, though, I suddenly panicked as I remembered a story from several years ago that makes fear of coconuts seem rational. From the Guardian (UK):
"It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico."