recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : whales   30

Sri Lankan Whale Researcher Calls for an End to ‘Parachute — Oceans Deeply
[via: https://twitter.com/ashadevos/status/1121574154367422464 ]

"Most of the planet’s coastlines are in the developing world. Western marine scientists and institutions could do better work by developing the scientific talents of the people who live there, says Asha de Vos, founder of Oceanswell."



"THERE’S NO HOPE to conserve the ocean’s biodiversity unless scientists look inward and improve diversity in their own ranks. That’s the message that Asha de Vos, a Sri Lankan marine biologist, delivered to an international meeting of marine mammalogists in Halifax, Canada, in October.

De Vos is founder of Oceanswell, an organization she launched this year to help students from underrepresented nations conduct and communicate marine science. She argues that the health of coastlines depends on local people, yet too often they are ignored or dismissed. The practice of “parachute science,” in which Western researchers drop into developing countries to collect data and leave without training or investing in the region, not only harms communities, it cripples conservation efforts, according to De Vos.

She has first-hand experience. From Sri Lanka, she made her research career by studying blue whales in the Indian Ocean, which she discovered to be the only population that stays in tropical waters year round. Few scientists had paid attention to the whales before.

Oceans Deeply spoke with De Vos about how marine research and conservation could be more effective by investing in scientists and communities around the world.

Oceans Deeply: You recently called on marine researchers to be better at sharing skills, knowledge and funding with people in developing countries. Can you describe what you meant by that?

Asha de Vos: Seventy percent of our planet is oceans. Seventy percent of our coastlines are in the developing world. But we have no representation at the global stage. I actually asked the audience to look at each other and look around the room, because there was hardly anybody from outside North America, some of the bigger European countries and Australia. We want to save the oceans. If that is what our drive is, then we need to have custodians on every coastline. We can’t save the oceans if all of the funds are being pumped into specific nations.

If you want to protect that coastline, you can’t have 10 people from one country going into different countries and trying to save entire coastlines. It doesn’t make any sense. Local people, they live on those coastlines. They speak the languages, and they see the problems every day. They may be part of the problem.

There is a community aspect to it – where they can communicate to the people who live next door to them better than people coming from outside and telling people what to do. That is really patronizing. As soon as you get people who come from within the system, who speak the same language and who are relatable, you will suddenly start to see change.

If we want to protect what is on all of these coastlines, we can’t have parachute science happening. We can’t have people from outside coming into our countries, doing work and leaving, because there is no sustainability in that model.

Oceans Deeply: In many Western countries, limited scientific funding often goes to a small number of people, largely based on experience and prestige. Are you also calling for a general reform of how science is done?

De Vos: Overall, I think that we do need general reform. Business as usual hasn’t worked, right? The oceans are not in a better state. They’re getting worse. We need to start thinking, “OK, how can we change what is happening? How can we invest in human capital in places that need it?”

Funding bodies should be more conscious about how they administer their funding. It is not just about having a local counterpart – you need to make that local counterpart a lead. You need to mentor them to write the grant. It is the big institutions and funding bodies that really control what happens in these fields. The reason people want to publish and publish is because their tenure track job depends on it. If institutions instead started saying, “Look, what is your actual impact? What are you actually doing on the ground? How does what you do translate?” Then people have an obligation to go beyond [publishing].

I can understand the plight of the scientist as well. I broke out of that system. I never believed in the system, so I couldn’t stay in academia because that just doesn’t work for me. I want to have impact.

Oceans Deeply: How did you end up in your career, and what challenges did you face because you’re from Sri Lanka?

De Vos: I was inspired by National Geographic as a kid. At 18, I told people that I wanted to be a marine biologist. I come from South Asia where the culture is: either you’re a doctor, lawyer, engineer, a business person or you’re wasting your time. Lucky for me I had parents who said, “Do what you love, you’ll do it well.”

I went to the University of St. Andrews, where I did my undergraduate. I needed field experience, but I couldn’t get it in Sri Lanka, so I saved a bunch of money – I dug potatoes in potato fields in Scotland. I managed to get myself to New Zealand, and while I was there I heard of a research vessel that was stopping in the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

I wrote to them every single day for three months – and this was back in the day of internet cafes. I was living in a tent, but I was using the little bit of money that I had to convince people to let me get on board. Eventually, I think that they got so tired of me that they said I could come on board for two weeks in the Maldives. They loved me, so they kept me on for six months in Sri Lanka as well.

I got this experience, and then I went off to do my master’s at Oxford. When I was working on the research vessel, the Odyssey, I had my eureka moment because I encountered an aggregation of blue whales. I realized that these whales were not like normal blue whales, as my textbooks and professors had [told me]. Blue whales usually go to cold waters to feed and warm waters to breed. The poo was evidence that they were actually feeding in these warm, tropical waters 5 degrees above the equator. I thought that was fascinating.

Oceans Deeply: How did these experiences help form your understanding of the need for diversity in marine science?

De Vos: It is a result of me being Sri Lankan and local that I have been able to pioneer blue whale research in the northern Indian Ocean. I launched the first long-term study of this population. Over 10 years we have unraveled all of these mysteries, because I am local and I am interested in engagement.

The more people that I can touch with the stories of these whales, the bigger the army [of conservationists] and that is what is going to make the difference. When I started working with these blue whales, People didn’t know that we had whales in our waters. Now, there are more [Sri Lankan] students than ever before wanting to become marine biologists. I just established Sri Lanka’s first marine conservation research and education organization, called Oceanswell.

Oceans Deeply: Have you seen progress in training and investing in local communities?

De Vos: Yes. After the Society of Marine Mammalogy talk, I had people lining up to give their cards. There are people who invest, and not just in the developing world. There are now Inuit communities who are able to run their own PCR machines because someone went in there and helped set up a lab, even if you don’t have all the right conditions.

There are people out there who are doing incredible work and that don’t get highlighted, which is unfortunate. Transfer of knowledge is not valued in our scientific system in the same way as research.

I have had people approach me and say, “Can you get me a research permit so that I can do research in your country?” and I say no. We have talent, so provide opportunity. You come and train our people and then have the confidence to leave and watch this project grow, and then this becomes your legacy because it continues to grow for generations. You are creating something that is sustainable rather than coming in and trying to drive your own agenda"
ashadevos  science  decolonization  parachutescience  academia  local  srilanka  2017  oceanswell  whales  bluewhales  research  marinebiology  maldives  oceans  indianocean  inclusivity  diversity  marineconservation  conservation  impact  training  access  accessibility  mentoring  mentorships 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Society for Marine Mammalogy plenary talk: Asha de Vos - YouTube
[via: https://twitter.com/ashadevos/status/1121574652801773569 ]

"Listen as Dr. Asha de Vos talks about the current marine conservation climate and the need for changing it to change the trajectory of marine conservation. She speaks from her experiences as a researcher from a developing country accessing a field that is largely developed country focused."
ashadevos  science  srilanka  whales  bluewhales  marinebiology  conservation  decolonization  srg  research  climate  paywalls  open  openaccess  journals  accessibility  access  inclusivity  inclusion  diversity  marineconservation  indianocean  impact  training  local  mentoring  mentorships 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Studying Humpback Whales to Better Communicate with Aliens
"In this video, a pair of scientists talk about their work in studying the communication patterns of humpback whales to learn more about how we might someday communicate with a possible extraterrestrial intelligence. No, this isn’t Star Trek IV. For one thing, whales have tailored their communication style to long distances, when it may take hours to received a reply, an analog of the length of possible interplanetary & interstellar communications. The scientists are also using Claude Shannon’s information theory to study the complexity of the whales’ language and eventually hope to use their findings to better detect the level of intelligence in alien messages and perhaps even the social structure of the alien civilization itself."

[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CIcIZzz8B4 ]
animals  biology  communication  whales  2018  multispecies  morethanhuman  sound  audio  via:lukeneff  intelligence  informationtheory  seti  complexity  language  languages  structure  anthropology  social 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Whale Fossils Reveal Bizarre Evolution, Amazing Adaptations
"Pakicetus fits into the bestiary of these early whales that are experimenting with various ecological modes. It may have looked more like a dog or a wolf—others looked more like otters or sea lions—but all these variations ended extinct. Those branches begat nothing, but there was one that did beget the whales we have today, and those were the ones that went fully aquatic, divorcing themselves from the land. That one branch then radiated into the 80-odd species of cetaceans we see today. Not just the big ones. Dolphins and porpoises all descend from that ancestral whale that went back to the water full time."
whales  animals  multispecies  evolution  dolphins  porpoises  via:lukeneff  foreden 
august 2018 by robertogreco
52-hertz whale - Wikipedia
"The 52-hertz whale is an individual whale of unidentified species, which calls at the very unusual frequency of 52 Hz. This pitch is a much higher frequency than that of the other whale species with migration patterns most closely resembling this whale's[1] – the blue whale (10–39 Hz)[2] or fin whale (20 Hz).[1] It has been detected regularly in many locations since the late 1980s and appears to be the only individual emitting a whale call at this frequency. It has been described as the "world's loneliest whale".[3]"

[See also:

"The Loneliest Whale in the World?
An obscure scientific brief and a mass audience wanting to believe"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/style/2017/01/26/the-loneliest-whale-in-the-world/?noredirect=on

"The world's loneliest whale may not be alone after all"
http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150415-the-loneliest-whale-in-the-world

"52 Blue" by Leslie Jamison
https://magazine.atavist.com/52-blue

"A new hybrid between a Blue Whale, Balaenoptera musculus, and a Fin Whale, B. physalus: frequency and implications of hybridization"
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1748-7692.1998.tb00692.x
https://www.academia.edu/8638859/A_NEW_HYBRID_BETWEEN_A_BLUE_WHALE_BALAENOPTERA_MUSCULUS_AND_A_FIN_WHALE_B._PHYSALUS_FREQUENCY_AND_IMPLICATIONS_OF_HYBRIDIZATION
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227938068_A_new_hybrid_between_a_Blue_Whale_Balaenoptera_musculus_and_a_Fin_Whale_B_physalus_frequency_and_implications_of_hybridization

"Search for the world's 'loneliest whale' who has been singing to himself for 20 years"
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2366727/Scientists-set-worlds-loneliest-whale--admit-idea-looks-like.html

"Blue whales, fin whale, and a hybrid in between"
https://www.gentlegiants.is/news/2014/06/09/blue-whales-fin-whale-and-hybrid-in-between

Documentary and trailer
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2401814/
https://vimeo.com/119997508
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFFgoFSOG1Y
https://vimeo.com/146300750
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lonelywhale/help-us-find-lonely-whale/

"52 Hertz Whale Sound"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dHZqdi828E ]

[Here because:

"Icelandic Whalers Kill Protected Whale"
https://grapevine.is/news/2018/07/11/icelandic-whalers-kill-protected-whale/

"Icelandic whalers breach international law and kill iconic, protected whale by mistake"
http://us.whales.org/news/2018/07/icelandic-whalers-breach-international-law-and-kill-iconic-protected-whale-by-mistake ]
whales  animals  hybrids  nature  finwhales  bluewhales  whaling  iceland  foreden 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Opinion | Wrap Your Mind Around a Whale - The New York Times
"The facts of a blue whale seem improbable; it is hard to wrap your mind around an animal with jaws the height of a football goal post. Those jaws are not just the ocean’s utmost bones (to borrow from Melville) but the utmost bones in the history of life on Earth.

And yet these superlative whales haven’t been huge that long. In fact, they emerged just about 4.5 million years ago, coinciding almost perfectly with the human era.

We are living right now in the age of giants. Blue whales, fin whales, right whales and bowhead whales are the largest animals, by weight, ever to have evolved. How did this happen? And what does this tell us about how evolution works?

Fossils show that the earliest whales were more obviously mammalian — they had four legs, a nose, maybe even fur. They had bladelike teeth and lived in habitats that ranged from woodlands with streams to river deltas, occasionally feeding in the brackish waters of shallow equatorial coasts. And they were the size of a large dog."
whales  nature  multispecies  history  naturalhistory  evolution  scale  size  oceans  mammals  via:lukeneff  foreden 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Humpback whales around the globe are mysteriously rescuing animals from orcas | MNN - Mother Nature Network
"Scientists are baffled at this seemingly altruistic behavior, which seems to be a concerted global effort to foil killer whale hunts."
animals  biology  whales  multispecies  altruism  behavior  2016  orcas  humpbackwhales  foreden 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Why Whale Songs Are Still One Of Science's Greatest Mysteries
"Whale songs are constantly evolving within a population. Males tend to stick to the current arrangement of a given song — a conformity that arises from the vocal learning of surrounding males. It's considered an excellent example of horizontal cultural transmission in a nonhuman animal.

What's more, elements of songs can be learned by separate populations of whales, which is referred to as cultural transmission. The degree of learning, however, is dependent upon geographic distance between populations. Fascinatingly, the acquisition of new songs or themes may be advantageous for groups of males who want to attract females.

These songs could be exchanged from one breeding population to another in one of three possible ways: between breeding seasons, within-season movement of individuals (which would be rare), or shared migration routes and/or on summer feeding grounds in high latitudes.

For the most part, however, populations of whales tend to have distinct songs, even when swimming in the same ocean basins."
whales  animals  nature  whalesongs  2015  communication  sound  audio  foreden 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Watch the Trailer for Motherboard's Documentary 'The Grind' | Motherboard
"The Faroe Islands are a tiny archipelago in the North Atlantic, and those who live there have always relied on the sea to survive. This includes seabirds, fish, and pilot whales, which the Faroese hunt for food in a slaughter they call "the grind." 

In recent years, activists from the conservation organization Sea Shepherd have conducted extensive campaigns in the islands to attempt to stop the grind. 

In the summer of 2014, we went to the Faroes to see for ourselves how the rural realities of Faroese life conflict with environmentalist idealism, and how the ancient hunting tradition continues to play out in an increasingly modernizing world."
faroeislands  environment  environmentalism  whales  wildlife  nature  2015  via:anne 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Robert Sapolsky discusses physiological effects of stress
"In addition to numerous scientific papers about stress, Sapolsky has written four popular books on the subject—Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, The Trouble with Testosterone, A Primate's Memoir and Monkeyluv. Many of his insights are based on his 30-year field study of wild African baboons, highly social primates that are close relatives of Homo sapiens. Each year, he and his assistants follow troops of baboons in Kenya to gather behavioral and physiological data on individual members, including blood samples, tissue biopsies and electrocardiograms.

"We've found that baboons have diseases that other social mammals generally don't have," Sapolsky said. "If you're a gazelle, you don't have a very complex emotional life, despite being a social species. But primates are just smart enough that they can think their bodies into working differently. It's not until you get to primates that you get things that look like depression."

The same may be true for elephants, whales and other highly intelligent mammals that have complex emotional lives, he added.

"The reason baboons are such good models is, like us, they don't have real stressors," he said. "If you live in a baboon troop in the Serengeti, you only have to work three hours a day for your calories, and predators don't mess with you much. What that means is you've got nine hours of free time every day to devote to generating psychological stress toward other animals in your troop. So the baboon is a wonderful model for living well enough and long enough to pay the price for all the social-stressor nonsense that they create for each other. They're just like us: They're not getting done in by predators and famines, they're getting done in by each other."

It turns out that unhealthy baboons, like unhealthy people, often have elevated resting levels of stress hormones. "Their reproductive system doesn't work as well, their wounds heal more slowly, they have elevated blood pressure and the anti-anxiety chemicals in their brain, which have a structural similarity to Valium, work differently," Sapolsky said. "So they're not in great shape."

Among the most susceptible to stress are low-ranking baboons and type A individuals. "Type A baboons are the ones who see stressors that other animals don't," Sapolsky said. "For example, having your worst rival taking a nap 100 yards away gets you agitated."

But when it comes to stress-related diseases, social isolation may play an even more significant role than social rank or personality. "Up until 15 years ago, the most striking thing we found was that, if you're a baboon, you don't want to be low ranking, because your health is going to be lousy," he explained. "But what has become far clearer, and probably took a decade's worth of data, is the recognition that protection from stress-related disease is most powerfully grounded in social connectedness, and that's far more important than rank.""

[via: “The last 150 years has seen a profound increase in human free time. Baboon studies give us clues to what that means pic.twitter.com/VXS5zfuPFX” https://twitter.com/aza/status/578464289834434560

“Links for the last tweet
Free-time increase http://bit.ly/1C8DS9b via @MaxCRoser
Baboons http://news.stanford.edu/news/2007/march7/sapolskysr-030707.html … via The Primate's Memoir”
https://twitter.com/aza/status/578469675308216321 ]
2007  robertsapolsky  stress  physiology  work  mammals  intelligence  elephants  whales  animals  emotions  depression  health 
march 2015 by robertogreco
jomc.links (Types of art)
"Time based media work to examine the stages and transformations of a single loaf #staleart

An inquiry into the everyday realities of large marine cetaceans, including mimicking surface behavior #whaleart

Performances consider the use and distance of unpaved lanes. Often received in the form of a mixture of dried fruits and nuts #trailart

Practice is concerned with colors of low saturation and associated paraphernalia #paleart

Art inspired by a creature entering new homes as territories of resistance. Slime residue traces the pattern of a psychogeographic inquiry #snailart

Gestures involving sedimentary rock as accelerationism of rare systems. Steam injection as provocative enterprise and critique of unsustainable practices. #oilshaleart

Explores coverings of many forms and textures. #veilart

Appropriating tactical reconnaissance substrates. Making underlying power structures hitherto visible. #maleart

(some rando text file I wrote about a year ago. no idea where to put it so i’m putting it here….i also have no idea what the thing was that annoyed me but it apparently was a long complicated joke about surveillance art being a boys club)"

[via: http://notes.caseyagollan.com/post/109923232318/types-of-art ]
joannemcneil  2015  art  psychogeography  gender  whales  textures  texture  coverings  veils  oilshale  systems  systemsthinking  color  humor  power  patriarchy  resistance 
february 2015 by robertogreco
The American Scholar: Joyas Volardores - Brian Doyle
"Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird’s heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird’s heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird’s heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas volardores, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests.

Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour. They can fly backwards. They can fly more than five hundred miles without pausing to rest. But when they rest they come close to death: on frigid nights, or when they are starving, they retreat into torpor, their metabolic rate slowing to a fifteenth of their normal sleep rate, their hearts sludging nearly to a halt, barely beating, and if they are not soon warmed, if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be. Consider for a moment those hummingbirds who did not open their eyes again today, this very day, in the Americas: bearded helmet-crests and booted racket-tails, violet-tailed sylphs and violet-capped woodnymphs, crimson topazes and purple-crowned fairies, red-tailed comets and amethyst woodstars, rainbow-bearded thornbills and glittering-bellied emeralds, velvet-purple coronets and golden-bellied star-frontlets, fiery-tailed awlbills and Andean hillstars, spatuletails and pufflegs, each the most amazing thing you have never seen, each thunderous wild heart the size of an infant’s fingernail, each mad heart silent, a brilliant music stilled.

Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous immense ferocious metabolisms. To drive those metabolisms they have race-car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and more taut. They have more mitochondria in their heart muscles—anything to gulp more oxygen. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer more heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures than any other living creature. It’s expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine. Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old.

The biggest heart in the world is inside the blue whale. It weighs more than seven tons. It’s as big as a room. It is a room, with four chambers. A child could walk around it, head high, bending only to step through the valves. The valves are as big as the swinging doors in a saloon. This house of a heart drives a creature a hundred feet long. When this creature is born it is twenty feet long and weighs four tons. It is waaaaay bigger than your car. It drinks a hundred gallons of milk from its mama every day and gains two hundred pounds a day, and when it is seven or eight years old it endures an unimaginable puberty and then it essentially disappears from human ken, for next to nothing is known of the the mating habits, travel patterns, diet, social life, language, social structure, diseases, spirituality, wars, stories, despairs and arts of the blue whale. There are perhaps ten thousand blue whales in the world, living in every ocean on earth, and of the largest animal who ever lived we know nearly nothing. But we know this: the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs, and their penetrating moaning cries, their piercing yearning tongue, can be heard underwater for miles and miles.

Mammals and birds have hearts with four chambers. Reptiles and turtles have hearts with three chambers. Fish have hearts with two chambers. Insects and mollusks have hearts with one chamber. Worms have hearts with one chamber, although they may have as many as eleven single-chambered hearts. Unicellular bacteria have no hearts at all; but even they have fluid eternally in motion, washing from one side of the cell to the other, swirling and whirling. No living being is without interior liquid motion. We all churn inside.

So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one in the end—not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend. We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart. Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart. When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall. You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children."
2012  briandoyle  via:jenlowe  animals  nature  birds  hummingbirds  numbers  time  repetition  metabolism  biology  hearts  whales  bluewhales  mammals  anatomy  lifetimes  scale  size  life  speed  velocity 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Matthew Battles – What is a specimen
"The little ivory characters are examples of tupilaq, a genre of carved critter widespread among the Inuit and other peoples of the far north. The tupilaq that live outside of museum time, outside of gallery time, are evil spirits called into being by a shaman for the purpose of making mischief. They carry curses to rivals and enemies. Made from bone and fur and other materials, the tupilaq are powerful magic — and dangerous for those who wield them, for if discovered, their powers turn back on their users unless an immediate public confession is made. Secrecy and darkness are the native habitat of the tupilaq; they lose their power when exposed to the sociable light."



"Objects arrive webbed in connections, and hoard their most intimate gestures and relations in unreachable treasure-houses. A collected object is a kind of vessel, freighted with an irredeemable record of acts and things, inaccessible worlds of sense and event, a tissue of phenomenal dark matter caught up in time’s obliterative machinery."



"Forged in an organismic manufactory, tooled by genes (it’s symbols all the way down), a tooth takes its place for a time in a network of perception and action: catching the piercing resonance of whale song bounding in the deep canyons — testing and metering the shifting temperatures of Arctic air — tearing and gripping the trauma-tautened flesh of smolt salmon."



"I want a museum with the modesty to realise that the objects of its interest do not take their sole, true, or final form beneath its gaze. As seen by science, objects withdraw their auras — burning coronas that connect sense and experience to the deep past — and when the galleries and museums are in ruins, they will expose new banners to time’s unfolding."



"Upon leaving the dermestid room, you had to stand in the airlock and brush down your clothes. There was an aroma of putrefaction in the room, but it was faint — you got used to it. The sound, however, was oppressive. The place hummed with a static song of tens of thousands of beetle grubs, hairy and grey, all chewing at sinew and dried muscle."



"Although to call the specimens dead does not sound quite right. For the specimens had transcended or exceeded death, had passed beyond its dominion by means of a process that arrested, ostensibly in perpetuity, their participation in the carbon cycle, the wheel of disarticulation and recombination, that is life on earth."



"An act of predation subsumes and reincorporates phenomenal animal affordances; the scientific sacraments of collecting and accessioning, by contrast, call forth abstract and motive truths, just as the expertise of the shaman reveals and directs the powers of the tupilaq spirits."



"Only later, upon its post-mortem discovery, was this dead creature turned into data. Now roughly preserved and enshrined in the Smithsonian, the dead insect serves as holotype for the computer bug. Like the tupilaq, computer bugs are ungovernable spirits evoked by a kind of transubstantiation. As the uncanny architecture of the computer unfolded itself in Harvard’s labs, the bug found its way not only into the machine’s works but into a new role as an object in our midst — a role that took its place among the object’s other histories and meanings, its penumbra of qualities.

This patterned assemblage of purposes, roles, and given characteristics, this accidental and ephemeral fate, I want to call by the name habit. An effigy, an insect, an animal’s measured, pinned-out pelt — we have our ways of domesticating these objects, of bringing them to ground, fixing them in amber or in print. The precise practices vary with what habits we bring to bear (from science to shamanism) and the collections they inhabit. And here is a clue — for dwelling in the word ‘inhabit’ is ‘habit’ itself. What if the habits in question are not ours, but those of the objects themselves?

A habit is not only a way of acting, but also a costume of a kind. Some objects — books, dice, celery stalks, lens caps — have deeply ingrained habits, while others — seashells and stars, perhaps, but also bottlecaps, icicles, and plastic six-pack yokes twirling in the mid-ocean gyre — wear their habits more lightly. And some objects take on the habit of naphtha and indelible ink, of cotton wool and alum, of cabinet drawer and taxonomic order.

The word ‘habit’ catches for me a sense of the shoddy assortment of qualities that knits an object into the fabric of things, weaving into one whole its social roles, the cultural codes it keys, and its whence-and-whither entanglements with deep time."



"After a long moment, the bat fled in a blur, disappearing into Chicago’s booming late-autumn breeze. It disappeared into the invisible cabinet of its unmeasured curiosity, its habit secreted in the wind."

[Previously: http://hilobrow.com/2013/01/29/resistant-objects/ ]
matthewbattles  objects  collections  museums  nature  aura  2013  tupilaq  meaning  meaningmaking  taxonomy  whales  animlas  teeth  inuit  art  culture  srg  edg  glvo  specimens  life  death  memory  memories  storytelling  holotypes  preparators  procedures  metadata  autotelos  naturalhsitory  georgescuvier  secrecy  darkness  magic  eowilson  history  bugs  computerbugs  habits  time  qualities  shamanism  science  understanding  misunderstanding 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Whale Tracks - Success Stories in Scientific Visualization Wiki
[See also: http://vissuccesswiki.sci.utah.edu/vissuccess/index.php/Whale_Tracks ]

"This image shows a visualization revealing the path of a humpback whale over the course of several hours. The data were acquired from a tag attached to the whale via suction cups that recorded depth, angular acceleration and magnetic north. These data were used to construct the pseudo-track ribbon. The saw tooth patterns represent angular accelerations due to fluke strokes. Twists in the ribbon reveal rolling behavior. The ribbon plot makes patterns of behavior much more clearly evident. For example it shows that this particular whale always swam up and glided down. Also, a particular foraging behavior, side-rolls, believe to be in pursuit of a small fish species called sand lance, was revealed to be ubiquitous and highly stereotyped. The ribbon plot is a key feature of an interactive 3D application TrackPlot that was developed to allow ethologists to better interpret the underwater behavior of individual whales…"
movement  visualization  via:tealtan  mapping  maps  nature  animals  whales 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Whaling Songs | HiLobrow
"Imagine, if you will, a Venn Diagram composed of the following sets: Coders. Musicians. Marine Biologists. Paul Winter. Leonard Nimoy. Your high school English teacher. And Ishmael.

The sole resident of the intersecting set would be, of course, a whale.

Or perhaps the whale’s trace, in the form of a song."
whales  whale.fm  animals  biology  nature  science  sound  marinebiology  whalesongs  leonardnimoy  paulwinter  mobydick  zooniverse  crowdsourcing  venndiagrams  moby-dick 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Whales [whale.fm]
"You can help marine researchers understand what whales are saying. Listen to the large sound and find the small one that matches it best. Click 'Help' below for an interactive guide."
whales  whalesongs  nature  sound  zooniverse  science  animals  whale.fm 
november 2011 by robertogreco
TACTILE SOUND & THE PURSUIT OF SILENCE IN A NOISY WORLD | The New York Public Library
"Through his book, In Pursuit of Silence : Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise, George Prochnik explores the benefits of decluttering our sonic world. Speaking with doctors, neuroscientists, acoustical engineers, monks, activists, educators, marketers, and citizens, Prochnik examines what gets lost when we can no longer find quiet. Some of the characters he's encountered on the road include:
architecture  biology  deaf  design  ecology  audio  sound  tactile  whales  listening  elephants  ocean  ambient 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Sruli Recht - HVALUR - "skins presented here are equally kosher...
"...meaning when each whale is hunted from waters of Iceland there are parts that are unfortunately ´thrown out´. In this case, only part of whale usable for tanning, & also thrown out, is foreskin. So I guess you could call them 'Organic'."
srulirecht  whales  materials  design  fashion  iceland 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Whale blades
"Turns out those little bumps on the edge of the whale's flippers, called tubercles, aren't just to make whales look purty; they "channel water flow across the flipper," resulting in 32% less drag than the smoother flippers found on other whales."
whales  biomimicry  nature  animals  biomimetics 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Cabinet Magazine Online - Cutting the World at Its Joints: An Interview with D. Graham Burnett
"Trying Leviathan centers on a trial that took place in 1818 in Manhattan, where a jury had to determine whether a whale was a fish for the purpose of New York State law. This question had come up under a statute requiring that all fish oil be inspected a
books  law  taxonomy  whales  animals  classification  history 
february 2008 by robertogreco
From Bambi to Moby-Dick: How a small deer evolved into the whale | Science | The Guardian
"Fossil hunters have discovered the remains of the earliest ancestor of the modern whale: a small deer-like animal that waded in lagoons and munched on vegetation."
evolution  whales  animals 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Wired News - Whales May Be Related to Deer-Like Beast
"The gigantic ocean-dwelling whale may have evolved from a land animal the size of a small raccoon, new research suggests. What might be the missing evolutionary link between whales and land animals is an odd animal that looks like a long-tailed deer with
whales  evolution  science  animals 
december 2007 by robertogreco
Whales - Feeding - Dive Deep, Stop Short, Open Wide - New York Times
"Mr. Pyenson and his colleagues may have solved some of the gastronomical mysteries of these leviathans by creating the first detailed biomechanical model of a feeding fin whale. In essence, they have created the world’s biggest gulp."
whales  behavior  feeding  animals  glvo  biology 
december 2007 by robertogreco
collision detection: Whale sleep (and dreams)
"So, having duly cited the literature, we are now free to engage in the deliriously unscientific pastime of wondering: What in god's name are whales dreaming about? The underwater scenery? Prime numbers? The telepathic messages they're receiving from Alph
brain  research  sleep  whales  animals  psychology 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Handhelds help turn kids into marine biologists | CNET News.com
"On a clear day in March, a group of 10-year-olds were playing marine scientists from a lookout point in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, at a spot known for its views of humpback whales."
technology  children  schools  learning  handhelds  1to1  laptops  education  science  biology  hawaii  whales  wireless  marine  oceans  teaching  students  1:1 
may 2007 by robertogreco
The Loom : The Origin of the Ridiculous
"Whales are ridiculous thanks to their history.They evolved from mammals on land. Their swimming, reproduction, breathing, and other adaptations to life in water are all the result of tinkering with a terrestrial animal's body. Fossil discoveries have doc
animals  biology  whales  evolution  nature  research  Science 
september 2006 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read