# Ironically, the eel code was written in Python.December 6, 2019 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Miguel Wattson, an electric eel that lives at the Tennessee Aquarium, is a multitasker. He eats. He tweets. And for his most effortless trick this season, he lights up a Christmas tree.
posted by everybody had matching towels (14 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

HARK! the Herald Angels sing
Glory to the Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
posted by Fizz at 7:19 AM on December 6, 2019 [8 favorites]

“We’re feeding him frozen food, but he still does get really excited.”

Same, man. Same.
posted by jquinby at 7:26 AM on December 6, 2019 [15 favorites]

While resting or navigating casually, the Electrophorus electricus may only discharge about 10 volts, but can discharge more than 800 volts — greater than a household wall socket — if they get angry or excited enough
*grits teeth, prepares to sic the electrical engineers on the WaPo*
posted by Mayor West at 7:42 AM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Alright, after some more research, I've discovered that the 800-volt number is basically right, but it eludes the more important part, which is that they're outputting a full ampere of current with those big jolts. That's... actually pretty impressive, considering that that same wall socket is only putting out 20 amps. With a proper array of eels, and some way to convert DC into AC, you could charge your iPhone with those puppies.

For more reading on electric eel amperage, and the single best diagram I have ever seen posted on StackOverflow, please visit this detailed answer of why an electric eel doesn't accidentally shock itself whenever it discharges.
posted by Mayor West at 7:53 AM on December 6, 2019 [10 favorites]

Am I missing something on the "ironically..." quote?

Are pythons predators (or prey) of electric eels? Is there an eel coding language that was passed up in favor of Python?

Or is this just not really ironic at all?
posted by explosion at 7:56 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

I want to know why “Miguel“. The creature’s Latin American origin appears to be half the answer, but only half.
posted by hwestiii at 7:58 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Am I missing something on the "ironically..." quote?

Oh, come on. Long squiggly things with no feet? For the not herpartologically or ichtheologically sophisticated, I’m sure the irony is deafening.
posted by hwestiii at 8:10 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

There is a scripting language for real-time control systems - called EEL. That I'd never heard of until 5 minutes ago. So at least Alanis levels of irony.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 8:14 AM on December 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

Electric eels (which are actually knifefish, not eels)

(╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by MrBadExample at 8:21 AM on December 6, 2019 [10 favorites]

Electrician, eel thyself!
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:48 AM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

So at least Alanis levels of irony.

Is there a "damning with faint praise" award?
posted by solotoro at 8:48 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

“The problem with being an electric eel these days is the constant requests to recharge people’s phones,” (Miguel) Wattson’s account wrote on Oct. 20. “I have better things to do, people!”

So... if Santa gets an electric sleigh, is Rudolph getting a pink slip in favor of eel-ectricity? Progress, man, progress....
posted by TrishaU at 10:13 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

i expected a cute little story, but this was actually pretty interesting. SCIENCE!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:59 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Or is this just not really ironic at all?

Isn't it ionic, don't you think?
posted by Quackles at 6:53 PM on December 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

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