"Earlier this year a conservator at the Hamilton Kerr Institute made a surprising discovery while working on a 17th-century painting owned by the Fitzwilliam Museum. As Shan Kuang cleaned the surface, she revealed the beached whale
that had been the intended focus of the composition."
posted by brundlefly
on Jun 5, 2014 -
The whale that inspired Greenpeace
The organization that would become Greenpeace
started off as an advocate for peace and as an anti-nuclear group. It expanded its activities into fighting whaling and had a major influence on the virtual cessation of the commercial fishing of whales which made Greenpeace a household name. That change in direction can be traced to a single whale. Allow me to introduce to you, Skana.
posted by 2manyusernames
on Sep 22, 2013 -
[Roy Chapman] Andrews is best remembered for the series of dramatic expeditions
he led to the Gobi of Mongolia
(shorter films: 1
) from 1922 to 1930. Andrews took a team of scientists into previously unexplored parts of the desert using some of the region’s first automobiles with extra supplies transported by camel caravan.
Andrews – for whom adventure
and narrow escapes from death were a staple of exploring – is said to have served as inspiration for the Hollywood character “Indiana Jones
Andrews’s expeditions to the Gobi remain significant for, among other discoveries, their finds of the first nests of dinosaur eggs, new species of dinosaurs, and the fossils of early mammals that co-existed with dinosaurs. [more inside]
posted by ersatz
on Feb 17, 2013 -
Researchers sneak up on sleeping sperm whales
(.mpg video, hosted by Current Biology.
Matt Kaplan, writing in Nature
a 2008 article in Current Biology
"An accidental encounter with a pod of sleeping sperm whales has opened researchers’ eyes to some unknown sleep behaviours of these giant sea creatures . . . A team led by Luke Rendell at the University of St Andrew’s, UK, were monitoring calls and behaviour in sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) off the northern Chile coast when they accidentally drifted into the middle of a pod of whales hanging vertically in the water, their noses poking out of the surface. At least two of the whales were facing the boat, but not a single animal responded." [more inside]
posted by spitbull
on Aug 12, 2012 -
"A pod of orcas, or killer whales, cooperate to wash a Weddell seal off an ice floe. This sequence
, filmed for Frozen Planet, marks the first complete filming of killer whale "wave washing" behavior." [more inside]
posted by vidur
on Jun 26, 2012 -
In 1984, The Voyage of the Mimi
set sail on PBS, exploring the ocean off the coast of Massachusetts to study humpback whales. The educational series was made up of thirteen episodes intended to teach middle schoolers about science and math. The first fifteen minutes of each episode were a fictional adventure starring a young Ben Affleck. The second 15 minutes were an "expedition documentary" that would explore the scientific concepts behind the show's plot points. A sequel with the same format, The Second Voyage of the Mimi
aired in 1988, and featured the crew of the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 9, 2012 -
A group of five friends out boating on the Sea of Cortez discovered a young humpback whale
entangled in fishing net and possibly near death. After about an hour of hard work they were able to free the whale, who proceeded to put on an amazing show for her rescuers. [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Jul 14, 2011 -
"I don't see any future for whale species except extinction."
(pdf) released Thursday by Ocean Alliance
noted high levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium in tissue samples taken by dart gun from nearly 1,000 whales over five years. Concentrations of chromium found in some whales was several times higher than the level required to kill healthy cells in a Petri dish. Mercury in some whales was 16 times higher than a typical shark or swordfish, both known for their high mercury levels. Beyond whales
, "You could make a fairly tight argument to say that it is the single greatest health threat that has ever faced the human species."
posted by stbalbach
on Jun 24, 2010 -
Visualizing Whale Songs
, an expert in marine acoustics, has come up with another way to illustrate whale song
. He uses a more obscure method, known as the wavelet transform, which represents the sound in terms of components known as wavelets: short, discrete waves that are better at capturing cetacean song."
posted by dhruva
on Jan 29, 2010 -
When whales die:
Yesterday, a 20-30 foot whale washed up a shore in New Jersey
. Officials are going to deal with it by cutting it up into small parts and burying it. In previous incidents, officials tried to explode it into bits that were meant to fall in the ocean and get eaten by seagulls, but that didn't work out [YT]
so well, especially for nearby spectators. Even if you want to let it decompose naturally, you have to be careful for spontaneous explosions
due to gassy buildup. Especially when transporting it in busy city streets. Oops. When whales die in the ocean, on the other hand, their bodies eventually fall to the sea floor and can start mini ecosystems, where female pink glowstick-like sea worms
that harbor the male pink glowstick sea worms inside their bodies live, eat whale bones, and propagate. (Previously on Metafilter: Taiwan explosion
posted by Salamandrous
on Jul 28, 2009 -
A new whale anti-collision system
"A remarkable feature of Andre's system is its ability to single out and track an individual whale among all its “family” members in the same area – a breakthrough made with the help of a West African musician. In attempting to unravel the chaotic rhythms of the sperm whale clicks, he was struck by the similarity between his underwater recordings and African tribal music. A Senegalese griot (drummer) confirmed the likeness and – amazingly – was able to pick individual whales from André’s recordings through their distinctive rhythmic structures."[via]
posted by dhruva
on Sep 12, 2008 -
A photographic catalog of a traditional whale hunt. (Flash, photos include whale hunting in all its bloody detail)
In order to develop an experimental interface for storytelling, photographer Jonathan Harris accompanied a family of Inupiat Eskimos on a subsistence whale hunt. During his week long journey, he took 3,214 photographs, including pictures taken every 5 minutes while he was sleeping. The navigation allows for for very quick navigation through the series, using a heartbeat metaphor and a number of filtering constraints so that you can narrow your search to cast members, locations on the journey, and even something as loose as a photo's "concept".
posted by mkb
on Dec 10, 2007 -
All you "Talk like a pirate day"
keyboard swashbucklers take heed: The Sea Shepherd Society's
flagship Farley Mowat is now officialy a pirate vessel
after Canada, Britain, and Belize revoked their registration. As the Japanese winter Antarctic whale hunting season begins (previously)
, the M/V Farley Mowat is setting sail to meet them, armed with a hydraulic "can opener" battering ram
, a pie cannon
, and moral conviction
. With the Japanese whaling fleet now majority owned by the Japanese government
, a subject of international diplomatic intrigue
, and after last year's confrontations
, this could get ugly!
posted by anthill
on Jan 14, 2007 -