Better hat than mine
Here I was, content with Reynolds Wrap. and a seal has a genuine NASA head piece. I'm just going to have to get something better for Christmas, like a satellite dish!
NASA’s science team has a new female recruit and she's probing the watery depths of the Antarctic in a quest to help climate eggheads understand our climate. Armed with no prior research or any academic qualifications, just a metallic antenna strapped to its head, a southern elephant seal has been quietly helping scientists …
After reading this, I am wondering what information is gathered from the tracking of other animals by scientists that may be useful for environmental studies.
I assume the trackers that are fitted to birds have only location so environment would only be guessed at according to the usual behaviour of a species.
If more sensors could be fitted into bird tracking, they could provide a wealth of info for the environment.
Except as the Russian raptor tracking episode shows the scientists need deep pockets for the roaming charges. Though doing it in the Southern Ocean where there’s no coverage is probably sensible. I’m pretty sure albatross have been fitted with tracking sensors at the very least. Being big birds they could carry the early generation of tech.
I used to live in Dunedin, NZ which has the only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross within city limits (out at the end of the Peninsula, you can view them and the Victorian disappearing gun with one ticket). My BiL opined that they were just ‘big seagulls’, we drove out there and got out of the car when an albatross soared 20ft up right over our heads. His jaw dropped open. Albatross are BIG birds.
Utter rubbish. This was an analysis of data already gathered as part of a long-running project to understand the ecology of elephant seals, all conducted subject to internationally-agreed ethical standards. To quote:
"As the permanent ice shelves of Antarctica shrink, a firm understanding of the environmental requirements of these and other animals is imperative. The further development of this technology may provide an unprecedented ability to explain and predict the response of animals to climate change and environmental variability and aid future conservation and management efforts."
OK, well, think of the big picture:
If the humans cannot sleep on Earth anymore because we shit in our bed where will we sleep? Do we know for a fact the shit cannot washed from our bedding before it's bed time? How do you prove it either way? Is anyone even bothering to work on washing the bedding? Just when is bed time anyway?
Everyone has an opinion as to the answers of these questions, but none of those opinions can be proven to five sigmas. If you happen lead one of world's greatest science organizations then answering these questions has two short term and possibly one long term benefits. In the short term you will get more private grants and Federal funding. In the long term if we have to move Humanity into orbit for the 25000 next years NASA becomes the most trusted player in the newest utility industry: Air Pressure.
[EDIT: whoops, forgot I was reading an old linked post...]
All I can think of is that there are various large pools of research money under the US Govt tucked under umbrellas you wouldn't consider obvious, and this might be an instance of that.
Eg, this here internet thingy we're on --> DARPA.
Interestingly, a HUGE amount of high quality speculative/high-risk research is undertaken under the budget/auspices of the US Navy's research arm. Eg, trying to pin down exactly what conditions are necessary to reliably achieve the observed but intermittent cold fusion instances (run the same experiment 10 times, see fusion products say 3 times, but conditions apparently identical for all 10. "Apparently" is a key word: a stray cynicism by a colleague in a tea room led to a medical researcher clearing up a similar intermittency and flipping upside-down the medical profession's understanding of how arteries work (the BMA were NOT happy) -- 2 or 3 Nobel prizes eventuated).
...very bad. The worst Climate. Horrible Change. Bad.
But now I can't decide which is worse: Climate Change or being asked to discard of loyalty to Sharks with Fricken LASERS!
As my Gran said to me when I was small, "If ya go to dance, ya dance with the one that brung ya." I know in my head that the Buddhists are right, "Change Is." However I see no need to exchange the upfront and unabashed honesty of a LASER fueled feeding frenzy for the Cloak and Dagger tactics of Telepathic-Cyborg-Spy-Seals. Brutal honestly has been a hallmark of El Reg since I started reading way too many years ago. It has also been a charming personality trait (or rage inducing personality flaw, depending on who you ask) of Yours Truly for much longer.
Change just for the sake of change makes my inner BOFH speak up and say "Sure, we could do that, but..." and that is never a good sign.
Actually - 'dove' *is* the correct English past tense of 'to dive' Just like 'shone' is the correct past-tense of 'to shine' rather than the dreadful 'shined' that most young authors seem to use nowadays..
(I would quibble about the "dove up to" - surely is should be "dove down to"?)
So, this seal is currently waddling around telling the other seals that "they are watching us... our every move... they're watching..".
Which is, naturally, met with much eye rolling and murmurs of "oh great, here comes Gloria with her tin-foil cap and conspiracy theories. Just ignore her"
Meanwhile, a neighbor apparently has access to a good supply of seal meat. I have never cooked seal before, but my aunt's hubby will hopefully divulge his secrets. The meat is remarkably tender, but it has to be properly prepared.
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