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WebGL: Up and Running by Tony Parisi

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Colophon

The animal on the cover of WebGL: Up and Running is a chrysaora. A genus of marine jellyfish from the Scyphozoa class, chrysaora are found all over the world in both tropical and temperate inshore waters. There are several species of chrysaora, and a common one is known as the Pacific sea nettle. This variety of jellyfish are typically found along the coasts of Oregon and California. The word “chrysaora” stems from Greek mythology; Chrysaor was the son of Poseidon and Medusa, and brother of Pegasus. When translated, it means “he who has a golden armament.”

Chrysaora are elegant creatures, and are noted for their long, thin tentacles—about 24 in total—attached to an opaque bell. The bell carries pulsations that help chrysaora, using a form of jet propulsion, travel through water. Their tentacles can grow more than three feet in length, depending on the species, and are used to catch the planktonic animals they eat. While humans fear a chrysaora’s sting, it is only deadly to small prey. Chrysaora are also hermaphrodites, reproducing asexually, and the average lifespan for a chrysaora is about one year. Additionally, species vary greatly in color and size, which makes them popular for aquarium exhibits.

There is in fact a direct association between WebGL development and the chrysaora. Chrysaora.com features a demo of WebGL, simulating jellyfish pulsating underwater—in real-time—rendered in 3D. The demo was created by Aleksandar Rodic, and utilizes numerous programming languages, ...

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