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unknown lights in the Pacific

Unknown orange/red glow over Pacific Ocean "Then, very far in the distance ahead of us, just over the horizon an intense lightflash shot up from the ground. It looked like a lightning bolt, but way more intense and directed vertically up in the air. I have never seen anything like this, and there were no flashes before or after this single explosion of light." [more inside]
posted by gen on Aug 25, 2014 - 59 comments

If we're not in pain, we're not alive

You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 25, 2014 - 65 comments

You're gonna need a bigger haringbuis.

Selected pages from Adriaen Coenen's Visboek, an illustrated guide to the strange and wonderful world of fish. No sixteenth-century mariner should leave shore without it. The National Library of the Netherlands has the complete book, with commentary.
posted by prize bull octorok on Aug 13, 2014 - 8 comments

"We Get Through It Together"

Twenty-Eight Feet: Life On A Little Wooden Boat [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 30, 2014 - 16 comments

Slow Life

Slow Life: time-lapse, macro video of corals and sponges by Daniel Stoupin [previously]
posted by brundlefly on Mar 26, 2014 - 18 comments

Fished Out

The world's fish are in danger—as is everyone who depends on them (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 23, 2014 - 52 comments

Here Be Duck Trees

An interactive version of Olaus Magnus’ 1539 Carta Marina, a map of the sea filled with the usual ( and unusual) monsters and creatures. (Slate)
posted by The Whelk on Dec 29, 2013 - 3 comments

Keep Smiling!

Is there any reason to think dolphins and humans have a special relationship? Sure, but it might not be a friendly one
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 15, 2013 - 50 comments

In the blue

Huge reserves of freshwater lie beneath the ocean floor. There is mounting evidence. "The volume of this water resource is a hundred times greater than the amount we've extracted from the Earth's sub-surface in the past century since 1900".
posted by stbalbach on Dec 13, 2013 - 49 comments

Terror from the Deep

CreatureCast - Rhizocephala - a charmingly animated look at the lifecycle of rhizocephalan barnacles, one of the more horrifying (non-charming) parasitic crustaceans (likewise). NOT a practitioner of parasitic castration but still disturbing: The bobbit worm. Happy swimming!
posted by Artw on Oct 26, 2013 - 21 comments

Teahupo'o... ohhh... whooooah!

As Teahupo'o gains notoriety as one of the biggest monsters in the surfing world, the tiny area it covers gets more and more crowded. If you want to dig some fingernail-marks into the armrests of your chair, watch 2013's Inside the Monster (25:43, French with English Subtitles). Then, explore The Mechanics of Teahupo'o in this slideshow about what makes this slab tick. [previous, previous]
posted by not_on_display on Oct 1, 2013 - 12 comments

Garbage Patch kid

With the Great Pacific Garbage Patch increasing in size, coming up with a viable solution seems like a pretty important thing to do. Enter Boyan Slat, the 19-year-old with a plan that could clean up 7,250,000,000kg of plastic from the world's oceans - within about five years. [more inside]
posted by Athanassiel on Sep 12, 2013 - 39 comments

"The irresistible rise of an arguably unstoppable creature"

If I offered evidence that jellyfish are displacing penguins in Antarctica—not someday, but now, today—what would you think? If I suggested that jellyfish could crash the world’s fisheries, outcompete the tuna and swordfish, and starve the whales to extinction, would you believe me? The New York Review of Books reads Lisa-ann Gershwin's book about the rise of the jellyfish and the coming "jellification" of our oceans. (Previously but not as terrifyingly.) [more inside]
posted by RedOrGreen on Sep 9, 2013 - 92 comments

Deep Sea Mystery Circle – a love story

"Video footage of the little artist at work recently surfaced. It was uploaded to YouTube by MarineStation Amami, a hotel and dive center that assisted Yoji Okata and NHK in producing the video segment that aired last year. Of note, watch at around 1:20 when the fish takes a small shell in his mouth and plants it in the sculpture. Scientists believe that the shells are filled with vital nutrients and this is the soon-to-be-father’s way of preparing nourishment for the babies." UPDATE [Aug 26, 2013] [more inside]
posted by jammy on Aug 26, 2013 - 4 comments

*splash*

15 Really Strange Beaches
posted by Artw on Aug 17, 2013 - 20 comments

Abandoned Porn Under The Sea

Gil Koplovitz took pictures of a strip club called the Nymphas Show Bar. One small detail: he did it while he was scuba diving off the coast of Israel.
posted by reenum on Aug 5, 2013 - 35 comments

Smells like wet bear

Boring day job? Watch a grizzly bear hunt for salmon at Brooks Falls or the Lower Brooks River in Katmai National Park, Alaska. [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie on Jul 15, 2013 - 131 comments

Practically Incomprehensible

How big is the ocean? [slyt | TED | via]
posted by quin on Jul 2, 2013 - 26 comments

Deep Sixed

In the deep sea, low oxygen levels, scarce sunlight, and freezing water limit the rate at which items decompose: Something that might survive a few years on land could exist for decades underwater. - ROVs photograph trash on the ocean floor.
posted by Artw on Jun 8, 2013 - 37 comments

He's Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Hawaiian kayak fisherman almost catches a little more than he bargained for. SL more or less YT.
posted by mygothlaundry on Apr 11, 2013 - 26 comments

sea & sky

seaQuest: what if we could learn to live on/underneath the oceans (or in orbit)? [previously(er)] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 18, 2013 - 14 comments

“who’s managing our fisheries?”

Blood and Brains - can vampires survive a zombie apocalypse? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 9, 2013 - 7 comments

Water for Elefonts

A baby elephant goes for a swim. Pretty much what it says on the tin. Happy Sunday.
posted by MarvinTheCat on Feb 17, 2013 - 33 comments

A brief history of saturation diving

Today it is an economic and even geopolitical necessity for oil companies, in order to maintain pipelines and offshore rigs, to send divers routinely to depths of a thousand feet, and keep them at that level of compression for as long as a month at a time. The divers who do this work are almost entirely male, and tend to be between the ages of twenty-five and forty. Were they any younger, they would not have enough experience or seniority to perform such demanding tasks. Any older, and their bodies could not be trusted to withstand the trauma. The term for these extended-length descents is “saturation diving,” which refers to the fact that the diver’s tissues have absorbed the maximum amount of inert gas possible.
posted by jason's_planet on Jan 19, 2013 - 19 comments

The Ocean: world's biggest filter.

How can we get CO2 out of the atmosphere? Get it out of the sea first. Making jet fuel from seawater is a pretty cool -- albeit energy intensive -- trick. But applying the same science to scrub CO2 out of seawater, where it is more densely concentrated than in the atmosphere -- and, by doing so, to reduce atmospheric levels of CO2 back to acceptable levels -- that's a game saver. "what would it take to draw atmospheric carbon down to 350 ppm with just this technology? . . . we would require the power of about 700 AP-1000 nuclear reactors. At the Chinese cost of $1.3b apiece and an 80 year lifetime this would cost a bit over $1 trillion dollars. That sounds like a lot of money. But its only about the cost of America’s 2003 Iraq War spread over the century, so I guess it’s a question of priorities."
posted by markkraft on Jan 19, 2013 - 68 comments

“The human mind delights in grand conceptions of supernatural beings.”

"Release the Kraken!" [Discovery] "Scientists and broadcasters have captured footage of an elusive giant squid, up to eight meters (26 feet) long that roams the depths of the Pacific Ocean." [Video] [Image 1] [Image 2] [Previously] [Previously]
posted by Fizz on Jan 9, 2013 - 26 comments

This place is such a dive.

What's life like aboard a nuclear submarine? For starters, here's over eight hours of C-SPAN 2, as they took their cameras aboard the USS Wyoming SSBN back in 2000, co-hosted by Rear Admiral Malcolm Fages and writer Robert Holzer. [more inside]
posted by cthuljew on Dec 7, 2012 - 23 comments

Cthulhu awaits for another day...

The Bloop is a mysterious recurring sound in the world's oceans that has puzzled many over the years (previously). Now scientists think they know the answer: icequakes.
posted by zardoz on Dec 5, 2012 - 30 comments

All day I hear the noise of waters

Some random, wet images: A seahorse on a diver’s watch.
A diver hitting an Olympic pool
Mass stingray migration off Baja
Two streams of water colliding
A photographer in the rain
Waiting for the bubble to burst
Close up of a wave
Bathtime at a refugee camp Kutupalong, Bangladesh
Water being released from a dam to prevent flooding in Jiyuan, China
Transparent Montana lake, (and more) [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Nov 19, 2012 - 26 comments

Handy Shark Tracker for Vacation Planning

Pick a shark and follow his/her course through the oceans of the world.
posted by mygothlaundry on Nov 6, 2012 - 39 comments

Microbial Bebop

When looking for inspiration, most songwriters to go well-used emotional wells – triumph or loss, love or heartbreak. But Peter Larsen, a biologist at Argonne National Laboratory, looked to the microbes of the English Channel. He used seven years’ worth of genetic and environmental data, converting geochemical and microbial abundance measurements into notes, beats, and chords.
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 8, 2012 - 13 comments

Crop circles in the sand

The puffer fish mating dance.
posted by rhapsodie on Sep 30, 2012 - 14 comments

She has no strings, Apollo...

Scuba diving... with wheelchair. slyt
posted by You Should See the Other Guy on Sep 17, 2012 - 10 comments

Marinexplore

Have you ever wondered what the water temperature off the Kamchatka Peninsula is? What about the wind speed in the Andaman Sea? Or maybe you’re losing sleep over the chlorophyll levels in the South Pacific. Fortunately, all of that information –- and 450 million other data points collected from oceanographic instruments around the world –- is freely and easily accessible thanks to the Marinexplore project. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 28, 2012 - 3 comments

I Am Science…and a Nerd

"I fear my story of a bullied nerd is not unique. This is the reason why I felt compelled to contribute my personal I Am Science. In the vein of an initiative I very much admire, It Gets Better, I hope this post lends itself to a struggling youth grappling with their own nerdom." Marine biologist Dr.Craig McClain, Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and Chief Editor of Deep Sea News, opens up about growing up as an isolated science nerd in rural America.
posted by Laminda on Aug 25, 2012 - 64 comments

Plankton Chronicles

Plankton Chronicles
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 4, 2012 - 10 comments

First there was Flash Friday, and now . . .

Maritime Monday. (No NSFW images in this link, but some weeks there will be a random picture or two of a topless mer-person or sailor.)
posted by resurrexit on Jul 30, 2012 - 11 comments

Stop trying to save the Earth, it's too late

"...by persisting in the false belief that coral reefs have a future, we grossly misallocate the funds needed to cope with the fallout from their collapse." In the New York Times, ecologist Roger Bradbury argues that it's too late to save a big chunk of the Earth's environment, and that we should instead spend our resources getting ready for the challenges we'll face once that part of the world is destroyed. Marine scientists offer varying opinions on how doomed the reefs are, ranging from "Yep, they're doomed" to "If we stopped increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere today, they would probably stick around in some more or less degraded form" to "it’s clear to me that corals as a group of living things will almost assuredly* construct glorious reefs in millenniums to come of unimaginable richness."
posted by escabeche on Jul 15, 2012 - 78 comments

Oh the huge manatees...

Manatees visit the beach in South Florida. Social visit or Family Guy Writer's Meeting? You decide.
posted by zachlipton on May 9, 2012 - 33 comments

"Knew this would be a one-way ticket"

A Watermelon for the Aquanauts [9:45] - a trip down to the "wet porch" and exterior of NOAA's Aquarius Reef Base.
posted by Burhanistan on Apr 23, 2012 - 15 comments

3DEverywhere

WebGL, the 3D technology that's associated with HTML5, continues to make giant strides in diverse areas:

  • Exploration of human anatomy: Zygote Body, released yesterday, and BioDigital Human, the successors to Google Body (previously)
  • World Visualisation: WebGL Earth, Nokia's 3D Map of the entire earth (previously). WorldWeather and The WebGL Globe, a Google project that displays all kinds of data. Also: Where Does My Tweet Go?
  • Games: browser ports of Team Fortess 2, Quake 3 and Rage (a developer’s diary). SkidRacer, an entire game in WebGL. Mini Mass Effect (not yet playable, sadly).
  • Musicals: Lights.
  • Tools: 3Notes.js, a visual scene editor. Developer documentation. More resources.

  • [more inside]
    posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Mar 28, 2012 - 27 comments

    Perpetual ocean

    Beautiful HD video of whirlpools flowing around rocks, courtesy of NASA and neatorama.
    posted by mediareport on Mar 25, 2012 - 10 comments

    Not quite 20,000 leagues under the sea. Our apologies.

    The BBC has produced a fabulous infographic showing the ocean zones: Sunlight, Twilight, Midnight, Lower Midnight, and The Trenches. The page also includes videos showing: what happens to material at 100, 1000, and 10,000 meters down; the animals living in the Abyssal Plains (described in a lovely Scottish accent); and the story of Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh going down to the Mariana Trench in 1960. No one has been back there since, but director James Cameron and Richard Branson are among the contenders who are going to make a go of it. (Rumour has it that Cameron intends to be the sole person in the sub, while Branson is just financing a team.) Meanwhile, the Doer team (backed by Eric Schmidt of Google), says it's all about the science and not just being first in this century's race. And there's even a yellow submarine for the rest of us, if by "rest of us" one means "has $250,000 to spare for a single trip". Don't forget to click the links at the top of the infographic page to see everything.
    posted by maudlin on Feb 24, 2012 - 17 comments

    Underwater Experiments

    Underwater Experiments. Beautiful underwater photography by Alexander Semenov. [Via]
    posted by homunculus on Jan 20, 2012 - 5 comments

    "Perfect Storm" Lobster Tags found 20 years later

    Perfect Storm lobster tags wash up 3000 miles and 20 years later. Here's the US version of the story. Ocean currents hero Curt Ebbesmeyer (previously), "studier of flotsam," believes the tags were likely stuck in mud, then meandered around the Atlantic until arriving last year in Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland. There is a monument to the lives of fisherman lost in Gloucester and includes over 10,000 names dating back to 1716, including those from the Andrea Gail.
    posted by eggman on Dec 2, 2011 - 31 comments

    'Brinicle' ice finger of death

    "In winter, the air temperature above the sea ice can be below -20C, whereas the sea water is only about -1.9C. Heat flows from the warmer sea up to the very cold air, forming new ice from the bottom. The salt in this newly formed ice is concentrated and pushed into the brine channels. And because it is very cold and salty, it is denser than the water beneath. The result is the brine sinks in a descending plume. But as this extremely cold brine leaves the sea ice, it freezes the relatively fresh seawater it comes in contact with. This forms a fragile tube of ice around the descending plume, which grows into what has been called a brinicle." A BBC film crew has recorded one of these freezing life on the sea floor.
    posted by cosmac on Nov 23, 2011 - 47 comments

    Whale Fall

    Whale Fall (after life of a whale). A video compliment to Radiolab's 'Loops' episode. [Via]
    posted by homunculus on Oct 15, 2011 - 18 comments

    "You hold your breath, it's absolutely perfect."

    Like a "modern-day pirate," 75-year-old Ray Ives has been diving for sunken treasure for decades. Wearing an ancient, bronze-helmeted diving suit, he searches the ocean floor and keeps a huge collection of marine salvage (including antique cannon balls, 'bottles, bells, swords, portholes and diving gear') in a shipping container "museum" at a British marina.

    Ray: A Life Underwater: Vimeo / YouTube. (A short film documentary.) [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Sep 23, 2011 - 5 comments

    Pretty Trash

    "No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that a rubbish dump being created would, in the space of a century, become a protected area. Yet that is exactly what happened to what has come to be known as Glass Beach, just outside Fort Bragg in California." [more inside]
    posted by codacorolla on Sep 1, 2011 - 20 comments

    I got the whole world in my hands...

    The official Google Earth plugin is one free download that makes all sorts of cool stuff possible in your browser. There's a full screen version of the program (complete with underwater views and 3D buildings) which can be searched by entering queries at the end of the URL. There's a framed version with support for layers, historical imagery, day/night cycles, and the Google Sky starmap. Less useful but more fun are Google's collection of "experiments" demonstrating the possibilities of the Earth API, including a "Geo Whiz" geography quiz, an antipode locater, a 3D first-person view of San Francisco, a virtual route-follower, and MONSTER MILKTRUCK!, a crazy fun driving simulator that lets you careen a virtual milk truck through the Googleplex campus, ricochet off the Himalayas, or explore any other place you care to name. Lots more can be found in the Google Earth Gallery -- highlights include a look at mountaintop removal mining, a real-time flight tracker, a guide to trails and outdoor recreation, a 360 panorama catalog, geotagged Panoramio photos, and the comprehensive crowdsourced Google Earth Community Layer. And while it's too large to view online, don't miss loading the Metafilter user location map into a desktop version of Google Earth! [more inside]
    posted by Rhaomi on Jun 9, 2011 - 15 comments

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