It's easy to forget that Shark Week is just programming for the Discovery Channel. In the 20 or so years since the specials have aired, its become sort of a midsummer institution. It also serves as an excuse to pass around clips of sharks lunging into the air to snag their prey. Since Shark Week began last Sunday, there's been plenty of coverage of early August shark-fever. Here are a few of the reading and watching items we've noted so far:

Read:

  • The Inteview: Shark Week Filmmaker Jeff Kurr - The Huffington Post caught up with Kurr, who's spent two decades filming the creatures for The Discovery Channel. Here's his response to their enduring appeal: "I think people like them because the whole world has been so sanitized for our protection. All the great predators have been stripped from the main, put behind fences...You really need to go out of your way to get attacked by a lion."
  • The Personal Story: Shark Attack Survivors Who Now Help Sharks - In an article on Dicovery's website, guest commentator Debbie Salamone explains how she became an advocate after enduring an attack: "People often ask why we are fighting so hard to save sharks, especially after what we endured. We recognize that these top predators are key to healthy oceans and play a vital role in the food chain. And we respect them"
  • The Contrarian's Column:  'I Hate Everything About Shark Week' - After many years of coverage, The Baltimore Sun's media critic is tired as hell of Shark Week and can't really take it anymore, issuing this challenge: "I say you have an empty media life if you are excited about Shark Week. Tell me why I am wrong." We look forward to the response.
  • The Top Ten Listicle: A History of Unforgettable Shark Moments - A primer on the more notable shark moments: think the Jersey Shore Shark attacks of 1916 or the plight of the U.S.S. Indianapolis in 1945, courtesy of Time magazine.
  • The Long Read: Why Are Shark Attacks on the Rise? - Foreign Policy's explainer writes: "the two species are coming into contact more frequently than ever because of a variety of factors, including demographics (more people can afford beach vacations and growing urbanization means more people are living closer to the ocean), as well as environmental ones (such as climate change). That's bad news for sharks, whose populations -- despite the increased sightings -- are in decline."

Watch (other than regularly scheduled Discovery programming):

  • Changing the Channel: CNN's Got Shark Coverage Too - For those with insatiable shark-like appetites for shark videos and have exhausted Discovery Channel possibilities, CNN's This Just In blog outlines the network's archived shark coverage from kayakers getting to close to the creatures to a shark attacking a boat. Our favorite of the bunch, below, is a clip about a California surfer who videotaped his close encounter with a Great White from his surfboard:

  • The Live Feed: Discovery's Shark Cam - Watching four whale sharks swim in real-time makes glancing at the "Ocean Voyager" exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium worth your time. A comforting thought: it might be the closest you ever get to the live version: