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[P]
The Loneliest Mystery of the Deep

By circletimessquare in Science
Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 05:53:38 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

For the last 12 years, a single solitary whale whose vocalizations match no known living species has been tracked across the Northeast Pacific. Its wanderings match no known migratory patterns of any living whale species. Its vocalizations have also subtly deepened over the years, indicating that the whale is maturing and ageing. And, during the entire 12 year span that it has been tracked, it has been calling out for contact from others of its own kind.

It has received no answer. Nor will it ever.


You can listen to the lonely whale at the NOAA. Its call is at 52 hertz, which is roughly that of a low note on a Tuba.

The New Scientist informs us that blue whales call out at 15-20 hertz. Fin whales at 20 hertz. Humpbacks sing at much higher frequencies.

All of these whales are types of baleen whale. These large whales do not make noises to echo-locate, but instead for purposes of courtship and kinship, maintaining pod formation. The noises are also of very low frequency—infrasonic—which also means the vocalizations travel for very long distances on the order of hundred of kilometers. Here are some samples.

The strange 52 hertz deep sea noise is not only from a whale, but, based on the noise's characteristics, is most definitely from a kind of baleen whale, says Mary Ann Daher, who recently cowrote a research paper on the subject in the journal Deep Sea Research:

The calls were noticed first in 1989, and have been detected and tracked since 1992. No other calls with similar characteristics have been identified in the acoustic data from any hydrophone system in the North Pacific basin. Only one series of these 52-Hz calls has been recorded at a time, with no call overlap, suggesting that a single whale produced the calls. The calls were recorded from August to February with most in December and January. The species producing these calls is unknown. The tracks of the 52-Hz whale were different each year, and varied in length from 708 to 11,062 km with travel speeds ranging from 0.7 to 3.8 km/h. Tracks included (A) meandering over short ranges, (B) predominantly west-to-east movement, and (C) mostly north-to-south travel. These tracks consistently appeared to be unrelated to the presence or movement of other whale species (blue, fin and humpback) monitored year-round with the same hydrophones.
The research that discovered the strange whale is the brainchild of William Watkins of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a pioneer in studying marine mammals via acoustics. Unfortunately, he passed away recently in September 2004, but his work continues at the WHOI.

Enter the US Navy and their SOSUS program, whose purpose during the Cold War was the identification of submarines via deep sea microphones, or hydrophones, sunken to the ocean floor. Declassified recordings from the program have been a blessing for studying whales and other deep sea animals who make acoustic calls. At the same time, the US Navy recently got in trouble when its SURTASS LFA program to saturate the deep with infrasonic sound for active rather than passive detection of enemy subs threatened to deafen and kill marine animals, especially mammals.

The mystery of the solitary whale has captured the imagination. Hypotheses as to its identity include the possibility that the whale is deaf, that it is a hybrid of two species, or that it is sick or malformed (although unlikely, since it has survived for more than 12 years).

Or perhaps, if you want to get weird, you can note for fun that this story matches the plot of a Star Trek Movie. But Leonard Nimoy did not pen this story; it is for real.

Whatever the identity of this strange unidentified alien whale, it is, for now, the very definition of poetic, existential loneliness, in both time and space. The whale is somewhere wandering the Northeast Pacific, right now, in a rudderless, aimless track. And right now the lonely beast could be calling out for others of its kind, and finding none, for over 12 years and counting.

Weird and fascinating.

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Related Links
o at the NOAA
o a low note on a Tuba
o New Scientist informs us
o baleen whale
o Here are some samples
o Mary Ann Daher
o a research paper
o William Watkins
o Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
o SOSUS
o hydrophone s
o whales and other deep sea animals
o recently got in trouble
o SURTASS LFA
o deafen and kill
o Hypotheses
o Star Trek Movie
o Also by circletimessquare


Display: Sort:
The Loneliest Mystery of the Deep | 175 comments (167 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
THE WHITE WHALE! (2.61 / 18) (#1)
by LilDebbie on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:02:33 PM EST

TO THE LAST I GRAPPLE WITH THEE. FOR HATE'S SAKE, I SPIT MY LAST BREATH AT THEE.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

call me lildebbishmael (nt) (3.00 / 4) (#12)
by circletimessquare on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 08:38:49 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
lol what (1.00 / 17) (#14)
by Your Moms Cock on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:09:19 PM EST




--
Mountain Dew cans. Cat hair. Comic book posters. Living with the folks. Are these our future leaders, our intellectual supermen?

[ Parent ]
try reading a book sometime. (nt) (1.50 / 2) (#73)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:02:26 PM EST



It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
simplest explanation (2.83 / 12) (#2)
by adimovk5 on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:05:26 PM EST

I think the simplest explanation is the whale has damaged or congenital misformation of the vocal cords. Or whatever the whales use to make conversation. The call goes unanswered because no other whale recognizes this call.

That would be my thought, but... (2.83 / 6) (#4)
by F8alist on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:27:54 PM EST

... the migratory pattern still puzzles me.

And even if its vocal cords were malformed, wouldn't it at least recognize calls from others of its species and seek them out?

Libertarianism: The absurd notion that an individual is capable of running his own life, and that the government has anything but his best interests at heart
[ Parent ]

good counterpoint (none / 1) (#5)
by circletimessquare on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:32:33 PM EST

and that's what makes this weird whale so fascinating: it is one hell of a mystery

the more you think about it, and the more you disregard one hypothesis after another based on observations like yours, and the more the mystery of this whale's identity deepens

there is of course an explanation, but i can't think of it


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

It's Jonah (3.00 / 3) (#113)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 03:59:32 AM EST

screaming "Let me out of this damn thing!" He did have a deep commanding voice.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
YES! GET THE BIBLE THUMPERS INVOLVED! ;-) (none / 0) (#137)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 01:24:34 PM EST

we'll have churches running bake sales across the world raising enough money to go out and "free jonah"

fantastic idea!

with church money, we'll have this mystery solved in no time

your brilliant dude ;-)


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

miscommunication (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by adimovk5 on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:14:48 PM EST

Perhaps the whale hears the call of others but answers wrongly. From what I understand, whalesong is a language. He doesn't speak the language of his fellow creatures and won't be allowed to join. Also, he won't be allowed to mate. Females seek the fittest of the species and he has a defect.

The migratory pattern is a desperate search for his kind, of which there are none.

[ Parent ]

that makes him even more of a mystery (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by circletimessquare on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:24:07 PM EST

speaking another language?!

so instead of a "new species" of whale, as some might consider, you are saying he's an old species... speaking a "new language"

even weirder!


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Not really... (3.00 / 2) (#50)
by cburke on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 08:14:57 AM EST

Whale "language" is dependent both on the frequency and the patterns.  If he has a deformed vocal apparatus, then he would be unable to make the right tones and thus unable to speak the language of his fellows, like the aquatic mammalian equivalent of Mush Mouth.  There's also a learned component to it, which is why whales raised in captivity don't do well in the wild, as they can't join wild pods.  This is why all those people who saw Free Willy and started screaming for the real orcas to be released were big kind-hearted retards.

No idea if this is the case for this whale, I'm just pointing out "new whale language" would really be "very badly spoken old language" or "gibberish".

[ Parent ]

He sounds like me :( (3.00 / 4) (#24)
by trane on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 10:25:36 PM EST

He needs a realwhale.

[ Parent ]
Brain damage perhaps? (none / 1) (#68)
by jayhawk88 on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 11:01:28 AM EST

Could explain why the chords are off, and it doesn't recognize sounds of it's own kind.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
[ Parent ]
it's possible (none / 1) (#106)
by adimovk5 on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 07:04:58 PM EST

That's possible but the brain damage would have to be minimal enough that it allowed him to survive for many years and migrate great distances alone.

[ Parent ]
It's deaf. (3.00 / 2) (#82)
by DavidTC on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 01:11:02 PM EST

I mean, it's obvious. It failed to learn how to sing correctly, and it can't find anyone else.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
but (3.00 / 4) (#86)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 02:22:39 PM EST

in 12 years it never made visual contact with anyone?

following the same food, genetically predisposed to the same seasonal urges?

and yet it was able to reach maturity, nursing off its mother for years without getting lost too?

plus, deaf humans make weird unintelligible noises due to lack of auditory feedback, but they don't screech in ultrasound!

i mean, this whale is vocalizing in a region 2.5x the normal vocalizations of large baleens, and 2.5x less than humpbacks

so, if you think about it, it's vocalizations really are dictated by the size of its voicebox, because the size of the other baleens and their vocalizations correllate to that

so are you telling me this whale is deaf AND dwarf? and that it somehow made it through the years with its mother to maturity, THEN got hopelessly lost without rejoining any others for OVER 12 YEARS?

so the deaf hypothesis is interesting, but again, the more you think about it, the more interesting this weird whale becomes!


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Maybe not deaf (none / 0) (#96)
by Sgt York on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 04:03:16 PM EST

But it could be an injury. I don't know enough about whale anatomy to do anything other than speculate, but imagine an animal that grew to adulthood or subadulthood and was then injured in some specfic way that altered the pitch of its song. He doesn't change it to normal because he is unable to.

He would probably still encounter other whales, but wouldn't be able to mate because of his inability to do the right call.

Or, even if it he was able to mate, there would still be no observable difference from out standpoint. He'd still go back to the same place and call again in exactly the same way the next year. And, because the altered song is due to a freak injury, the it wouldn't be passed along.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

yeah but (none / 0) (#99)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 04:33:17 PM EST

if he isn't deaf, he can hear other whales, and he would be attracted to them

not this whale, for 12 years


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I must have missed that (none / 0) (#101)
by Sgt York on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 05:17:23 PM EST

Do they know for certain he never approaches or swims with other whales?

Even if he doesn't, it could be that other whales don't let him, because he doesn't know the right way to talk his way into the group. I would imagine that there are fairly complex rituals involved in joining a pod that involve two-way communication. This guy would be unable to respond correctly, and would therefore not be allowed to join the group.

Another scenario would be that he has learned not to "talk" around other whales, because they will kick him out of the group. So, although he swims with pods, he just doesn't sing when with them.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

then he would follow them, skulkingly, no? (none / 0) (#104)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 06:07:06 PM EST

his tracks pass that of other whales all the time

in 12 years, he is clearly hearing other whales, and if he is drawn to them, he would go to them... we're talking about creatures whose vocalizations travel hundreds of kilometers

and he is clearly calling out for th ecompany of others

it's like he is in a parallel universe where other whales just don't exist to him

it's so weird isn't it?!


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

not ultrasound -- infrasound (none / 0) (#97)
by geoswan on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 04:19:20 PM EST

ultrasound are very high frequency sounds.

These are deep baritone sounds -- which, by analogy, I guess, would be called infrasound.

The sounds made by dolphins edge into sounds too high to hear.

Interesting factoid. Dolphins utter in stereo. They make their sounds through their blowhole, not their mouth. So, like a nose has two nostrils, their blowhole has the equivalent of two voice-boxes. And they can use them to make different sounds at the same time.

[ Parent ]

good lord (none / 1) (#98)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 04:32:14 PM EST

if a blue whale which normally calls at 20 hz started calling at 50 hz, it would be like a human suddenly screeching in ultrasound

get it now?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Uh, no. (none / 1) (#109)
by Canar on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 08:47:34 PM EST

It'd be like listening to people singing in harmony. Someone's singing an octave or two lower than another.

This is hardly comparable to ultrasound.

[ Parent ]

Sort of (none / 0) (#149)
by grahamsz on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 05:52:16 PM EST

The highest sounds we can hear are around 20kHz, so if you double that you will certainly be in the ultrasound range.

On the other hand normal speech is typically 100-300Hz iirc, so doubling that would create a harmony.

If this whale is indeed outwith the hearing range of other whales, then it would indeed by like us talking in ultrasound.
--
Sell your digital photos - I've made enough to buy a taco today
[ Parent ]

Maybe the US Navy made it deaf (none / 0) (#168)
by peace on Thu Jan 06, 2005 at 02:37:39 PM EST

As has been mentioned the US Navy was experimenting with blanketing the ocean with active sonar around the time the whale was first discovered. Or maybe a submarine did an active ping to close to it when it was young.

Speculation can be fun!

But if it was a congenital defect you might think we would have heard something like this before as it would have surfaced as a genetic trait. Alas, it does seem like such a trait would be very hard to find in a whale population as manifesting such a trait would take a whale right out of the gene pool.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Whales don't have vocal cords... (none / 1) (#164)
by kc7gr 15 on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 02:28:06 AM EST

Your theory is an interesting one, but I would point out that cetaceans, as a group, don't have vocal cords. They produce their various sounds by passing air through a series of nasal cavities and such in their heads. The sounds are emitted through the critter's forehead.

This is taken a step further when a whale or dolphin is using their echolocation. The sounds emitted from the melon area of the forehead are reflected back from the target object, received through the lower jaw and passed straight into the inner ear.

Neat little bits of trivia I've picked up from working with dolphins in a couple of different parks. There's lots more, but it's not really pertinent to the thread.

Keep the peace(es).
"Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati" (Red Green)
[ Parent ]

Fascinating (n/t) (1.10 / 10) (#3)
by Uber Banker on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:16:43 PM EST



Vous voudrais un peut de la tin-foil, monsieur? (2.44 / 9) (#6)
by toulouse on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:49:09 PM EST

Before breaking out the cryptozoology, I'd be curious to know whether the length of the whale-call is increasing in proportion to its drop in pitch.


--
'My god...it's full of blogs.' - ktakki
--


are you thinking doppler shift or something? (3.00 / 2) (#7)
by circletimessquare on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:52:52 PM EST

then your tin foil hat isn't working! lol ;-)

the vocalization has dropped just a little over the years, which is obviously simply a sign of it getting older, just like an adolescent male human.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Not doppler. (2.66 / 3) (#9)
by toulouse on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:57:47 PM EST

More a pitch transposition; analogous to the change in sound of a tape machine when played slower, or when a battery starts to decay, or when a MIDI sample is pitch-shifted, or numerous other audio-engineering effects.

More along the lines of 'one of our research submersibles is missing' rather than anything else.


--
'My god...it's full of blogs.' - ktakki
--


[ Parent ]
hmmm (none / 1) (#11)
by circletimessquare on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 08:34:57 PM EST

but over 12 years? one solitary animal? declassified data? and it's lots of hydrophones detecting this beast

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Hell; I don't know. (3.00 / 5) (#17)
by toulouse on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:30:21 PM EST

Whattaya askin' me for? :)

I was just trying consider hypotheses which fitted the facts and didn't require invoking a hitherto unobserved cetacean.

Firstly, I'm not talking about a manned submersible. The last figures I saw on the subject indicated there were over 10,000 unmanned, automated submarine research platforms scouring the oceans for various purposes. Most of these are geological surveys - government, natural resource companies and the like - but many are for marine research. These things can go for years without maintenance and are only made contact with to replace power cells and perform general maintenance. I have friends who are marine biologists, and the platform with which they are familiar is on its own for periods of up to 2 years at a time.

Secondly, as I understand it, this data has come almost entirely from the SOSUS nets. These are essentially just arrays of submarine microphones strung along the sea bed. It's doubtful (probably impossible, given the multitude of involved interested parties) that the researchers have cross-checked this data against every automated submersible out there.

Thirdly, liquid does strange things to audio, and when you combine this with the fact that deepening pitch is often a sign of equipment fatigue, power-loss etc. it makes for a possible correlation.

It may well be a whale of some kind. I'm just suggesting that the probability of it being a human-originated mechanical source is non-zero - I just wouldn't be entirely surprised if some research group came out and said "Oh, that was us".


--
'My god...it's full of blogs.' - ktakki
--


[ Parent ]
actually, to get really radical (2.75 / 4) (#19)
by circletimessquare on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:39:13 PM EST

you could also suggest the the navy has some radical sub down there that sounds like a whale ON PURPOSE for reasons of camoflauge: "sergei, ignore that noise, it's just a lost whale"... talk about a wolf in sheeps clothing!

but then again, if the navy could actually make such a sneaky sub, then doing something as boneheaded as screwing up the frequency, thereby drawing MORE attention to the radical sub, would not be prudent ;-P

plus, the noise HAS organically aged over the years, just like an ageing organism, so that clinches it for me that it is a real whale


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Ha! They have you fooled! (3.00 / 3) (#52)
by cburke on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 08:19:38 AM EST

but then again, if the navy could actually make such a sneaky sub, then doing something as boneheaded as screwing up the frequency, thereby drawing MORE attention to the radical sub, would not be prudent ;-P

That's just what they want you to think!  Now the truth will be dismissed as conspiracy!  Ooh, they're clever!


plus, the noise HAS organically aged over the years, just like an ageing organism, so that clinches it for me that it is a real whale

Oh my God!  The Navy has turned a real whale into a nuclear submarine!


[ Parent ]

I think it's aliens (1.77 / 9) (#10)
by NotSoEvilGwyn on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 08:13:31 PM EST



Needs more X-Files: (none / 1) (#25)
by losthalo on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 10:28:54 PM EST

The whale are members of an ancient, long-lived alien race, sent here to warn us about the invading alien race and their plans to wipe out mankind with a non-terrestrial virus.

[ Parent ]
No (none / 1) (#30)
by NotSoEvilGwyn on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:26:50 PM EST

The whales are an alien race, sent here to perform experiments on us and probe us and stuff like that.

[ Parent ]
No (none / 1) (#35)
by killmepleez on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:52:56 PM EST

The whales are members of a telepathic alien confederation and they have been sent here to monitor us for signs that we are ready to enter the Galactic Mind.

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
No (3.00 / 7) (#71)
by ghjm on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 11:41:23 AM EST

We are members of a telepathic alien confederation and were sent here to monitor the whales for signs that they are ready to enter the Galactic Mind. But the whales, who want to be left alone, used intense subsonic sound to destroy our link to galactic civilization, and now we've forgotten who we are. The whales continue to monitor us and subtly destroy any attempt to communicate, which is why SETI has never found anything in all these years. If we could only muster the collective will to exterminate the whales. Damn those environmentalists!

[ Parent ]
Depressing... (2.41 / 12) (#26)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 10:34:56 PM EST

and unpleasantly familiar.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
Pathetic. (none / 1) (#77)
by Harvey Anderson on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:09:14 PM EST

.

[ Parent ]
i wrote that whole damn story (2.71 / 7) (#27)
by circletimessquare on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:00:01 PM EST

and i never actually listened to the noise on the noaa link

sounds like a goddamned sound effect from a 1950s b-level sci fi movie, or almost like the background noise of the bridge they used on the original star trek... and, at the same time, it's sad, like someone is crying, wailing, forcing it out

it is downright SPOOKY

so whatever you do, listen to the wav file i linked to above

because it is frickin' weird


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

I don't get it. (none / 0) (#36)
by killmepleez on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:57:26 PM EST

from the link: 52 Hz sound - blue whale call?
Description: 52 Hz "whale-like" signals were first reported by Watkins et al.(2000). On average these tones had a center frequency of 51.75 Hz and lasted 5-7 sec. These tones are usually produced in groups of 2-6 and were recorded in the NE Pacific.
241K wav file (The recorded signal has been sped up 10 times)


Why did they speed up the recording? It pretty much sounds like wind noise in an old Chevy S-10 pickup to me. I couldn't pick out any distinct phonemes.

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
Probably (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by kitten on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:27:30 AM EST

Probably because 52hz is close to the lower limit for human hearing, and that's if your ears are perfect -- even then you wouldn't be able to tell much from it. 520hz is still plenty low, but lets you hear a meaningful sound.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Hmm (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by imrdkl on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 04:19:58 AM EST

Is this correct? Will the time compression necessarily multiply the frequency? I guess it makes sense (and it answers my question elsewhere) but I've listened to plenty of "whale talk" before, without the frequency multiplier, and it seemed meaningful enough.

[ Parent ]
Quick question... (none / 1) (#49)
by Protagonist on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 07:23:42 AM EST

Is imrdkl's question as stupid as it sounds?

I mean, I'm not much into whale talk, and I don't spend much time thinking about sounds and frequencies, but Hz still means "per second", does it not? Speed it up ten times, and it's pretty much going to happen ten times as often per second...

----
Hahah! Your ferris-wheel attack is as pathetic and ineffective as your system of government!
[ Parent ]

Yes it is. (nt) (none / 0) (#51)
by cburke on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 08:16:57 AM EST



[ Parent ]
no it isn't (none / 1) (#55)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 08:51:19 AM EST

he was listening to humpbacks, the most often recorded whalesingers, and they sing at a much higher frequency, well within human range of appreciation, so there is no need to speed them up

but blues and fins and this weird whale- yes, you need to speed them up to hear them

that's the missing information in his post


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Not necessarily (3.00 / 3) (#60)
by imrdkl on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 09:11:15 AM EST

A time-compression doesn't have to increase frequency, the wave can simply be resampled on a 1/10 basis, for example. It wasn't clear to me, in any case, why the article stated that the sounds were in the "low tuba" range, while the wave file from NOAA is clearly "mid trumpet".

I have no problem with hearing low tuba, but the sound is perhaps more "informative" when it's compressed and rescaled to the 500hz range. Elsewhere in this thread I've posted a link to a stretch/squash of the wav file which I did, which approaches the original frequency, for those who dig the bass beat.

[ Parent ]

the low tuba (2.33 / 6) (#61)
by skelter on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 09:59:41 AM EST

You probably have no trouble hearing the full range of a classical tuba. The low tuba is another story. It was developed in 1938 by Ernst Guthmuencer in Germany as a musical continuation of the dada art movement, which had dealt mostly with the visual to that point. He wanted an instrument that no one could hear but everyone could feel. He debuted it at a concert the same year to little recognition. Except of course that of the Nazi party who classified his work as degenerate and later threw him into a death camp where he died in 1943.

[ Parent ]
Fascinating (3.00 / 3) (#63)
by imrdkl on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 10:12:36 AM EST

I believe a classical tuba can blow a 50hz note, though.

[ Parent ]
On that note... (none / 1) (#156)
by Entendre Entendre on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 01:44:33 AM EST

(Oh, I kill me.)

50hz is roughly the frequency of an open "A" string on a bass guitar. The E string goes down to 40hz, and 5-string basses can play a B, around 30hz.

Yeah I'm a week late, but in case anyone cares...

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

Can it play the shit note? (3.00 / 3) (#66)
by zrail on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 10:47:01 AM EST

Supposedly, there's a note down in that range that will automatically make someone shit their pants. I'm curious, mayhaps thats why the nazi's classified it. Maybe they wanted to use it as a Weapon of Mass Shitting.

[ Parent ]
i have heard of that... (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by skelter on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 10:54:18 AM EST

the low tuba can get in that range, certainly, but can't play loud enough. And the exact frequency to hit depends on the person. For the same reason that when troops march over a bridge they have to stop marching in time so they don't collapse it, a really strong pulse of just the right frequency will loosen your bowels to a degree that everything comes out at once and you have very little chance of containing it even for a few seconds.

[ Parent ]
It seems the Nazis did *something* right! [nt] (none / 1) (#74)
by Patrick Bateman on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:03:56 PM EST


---
I have to return some videotapes.
[ Parent ]

Observation and deduction (2.25 / 4) (#90)
by kitten on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:29:21 PM EST

A time-compression doesn't have to increase frequency, the wave can simply be resampled on a 1/10 basis, for example.

It can be, but it wasn't. If you listen, it's clearly closer to 520hz (no, I don't know what 520hz sounds like offhand, but I know this sure as hell isn't 52hz). This observation, coupled with the commentary that the sample was "sped up ten times", gives us enough to draw the conclusion that they basically did just what it sounds like -- sped the sample up by a factor of ten.


mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
520hz is mid-trumpet (3.00 / 2) (#92)
by imrdkl on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:40:40 PM EST

At least, according to the author's graphic. After some initial confusion, I came to this conclusion myself. Eventually I also munged the wav file a bit to produce something closer to the actual sound. See the mp3 link elsewhere in the thread, but be careful, it may stir your bowels.

[ Parent ]
Resampling (none / 1) (#120)
by celeriac on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 03:01:02 PM EST

>>A time-compression doesn't have to increase frequency, the wave can simply be resampled on a 1/10 basis, for example.

Let's say this string of characters is a wave.

_________---------_________---------_________---------_________---------_________---------_________---------

Now "resample it on a 1/5 basis," i.e. take every 5th character:

_--__--__-__--__--_--

Result: the wave is 1/5 as long and its frequency is 5 times as fast.

There are vocoder algorithms that attempt to manipulate pitch and timescale separately, but with a factor as large as 1/10 they would end up mutilating the sound beyond usefulness. Any algorithm that tries to scale pitch without affecting timescale, or vice versa, is inherently lossy and dependent on human perception, for reasons that become clear when you study Fourier transforms.

[ Parent ]

Almost all whales sound (none / 1) (#41)
by warrax on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:55:58 AM EST

like that (when properly sped up, of course). Attaching any emotional meaning to it is stupid.

-- "Guns don't kill people. I kill people."
[ Parent ]
attaching any emotional meaning (3.00 / 2) (#56)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 08:55:34 AM EST

is what human beings do best

you can call us stupid, but you are clearly in a tiny minority of the kind of human reactions there are to things like whalesong

so enjoy your ivory tower, and go ahead and hurl epithets like "stupid" at us

it doesn't impress, you are all alone

like this whale

how emotional sniff

LOL

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

ror (none / 1) (#64)
by warrax on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 10:30:29 AM EST

i didn't say anything about how you "should" react to it -- it may certainly "sound sad" and put you in a certain state of mind -- which is fine.

i only said that attaching significance to it (ie. "the whale must be sad") until there is actual evidence that whales experience such emotions and vocalize them, is stupid.

so there.

-- "Guns don't kill people. I kill people."
[ Parent ]

i can prove you are wrong (1.50 / 2) (#65)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 10:41:47 AM EST

human beings have a number of cognitive strengths

but our greatest cognitive strengths are in our interpersonal skills.. and this makes sense evolutionarily, because the biggest threat to our continued survival, and the biggest help to our continued survival, is other human beings, so your intelligence in reading the emotions and thoughts of other human beings around you is not only an extremely important cognitive skill, it is the most important cognitive skill... more important than spatial/ visual abilities, mathematical/ abstraction abilities, pattern detecting abilities, all of it

thus, we have a phenomenon: anthropomorphism, the imprinting of nonhuman, possibly nonliving things, with human characteristics

why do we do this?

because if we attach the significance of a human relationship to a nonhuman thing, then we can draw upon all of our intellectual strengths when it comes to interpersonal cognition

in other words: when people say it is stupid to feel emotional about nonhuman or undead things, like you do, i in fact say you are completely and utterly wrong, it is in fact the smartest thing

because if the goal is to understand the world around us, then anthropomorphism allows us to draw upon our greatest cognitive strengths

why do we call ships "she"? why do we give names to hurricanes and constellations? why do we feel strongly about animals?

not because we are being silly, but because we are instinctually drawing upon our greatest intelligence by orders of magnitude, that is, our emotional intelligence, in thinking about nonhuman issues


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Anthropomorphism linked to consciousness? (3.00 / 2) (#118)
by spurious on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 01:17:04 PM EST

Your comments about anthropomorphism echo the hypothesis made by Professor Vilayanur Ramachandran in the 2003 Reith Lectures.

He speculates that the capacity to form mental models of human behaviour in others, anthropomorphism as you appropriately call it, may have led to the emergence of consciousness when that capacity is recursively self-applied.

[ Parent ]

fascinating, like a bootstrap process (nt) (none / 0) (#121)
by circletimessquare on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 03:36:58 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Dude, all mammals experience such emotions (none / 1) (#69)
by cburke on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 11:08:03 AM EST

Emotions like sadness, loneliness, affection are all parts of the mammilian brain.  They weren't invented in primates, much less homo sapiens.

Are you seriously so isolated that you've never seen a dog whine when his master leaves?  Never met cat depressed because her litter mate died?  Even watched a nature show on mammal behavior, on goats or bears?  Sounds like the Ivory Tower comment was dead on.

It might be a leap to say that the whale is sad, but it is not a leap at all to speculate that a social animal isolated from others of its kind could be sad.

[ Parent ]

However. (none / 1) (#83)
by DavidTC on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 01:18:10 PM EST

It is stupid to read emotions from the pitch of a whalesong. (It makes even less sense when the pitch has been altered to bring it up to where we can hear.)

Now, whales might be enough like humans that their pitches changes like ours when they are depressed or whatever, (Like you say, dogs whine, too.) but that won't even work here, because we have no control undepressed whale! We have no idea what's normal.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

It is possible (none / 1) (#88)
by Spendocrat on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 02:57:47 PM EST

That with all the noise in the ocean, all the whales are depressed.

[ Parent ]
Even (3.00 / 3) (#95)
by Sgt York on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:51:37 PM EST

Even if they do change pitch with mood, it doesn't mean that the type of change will mean the same thing.

Think about your dog example...A dog uses a low-pitch, slow sound when agitated (growling) but a high-pitch sound when sad (whining).

Furthermore, what makes us depressed may not make a while depressed. Heck, not even all people get depressed about being alone. Some people thrive on it. For all we know, this whale could be saying "Thank God, the bitch is finally dead! Alone at LAST!"

Personally, I think that it's just a bored juvenile blue that decided to fuck with us. In a few weeks, we're going to hear the whale equivilent of "YHBT! YHL! HAND! ROR!"

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

All it needs is the "ping-ing" (none / 1) (#70)
by cburke on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 11:31:17 AM EST

Yeah, I immediately thought of Star Trek as well.

BTW, those spooky sound effects from the 50s were made by a theramine. .  I recently got to hear one, and when played by someone who knows what they're doing and who isn't trying to make them sound creepy for a movie, they're pretty awesome instruments.

[ Parent ]

If you want to buy one: (none / 0) (#76)
by Harvey Anderson on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:08:13 PM EST

I know this guy who makes them and sells them on eBay.  Just go there and search for 'theremin'.  I am told they are of high quality.

[ Parent ]
theremin (none / 0) (#162)
by ethereal on Thu Dec 30, 2004 at 05:03:32 PM EST

The theremin in this tune always makes me wonder why it wasn't in there to begin with.

http://www.thislife.org/ftp-root/mp3/rocketman.mp3

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

surround (none / 0) (#172)
by Boldra on Thu Jan 13, 2005 at 03:35:50 AM EST

My computer automatically converts mono to stereo, and my amp then automatically converts stereo to surround. That effect was creepy!


- Boldra
[ Parent ]
OMG finally (2.80 / 20) (#28)
by Dr Gonzo on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:17:29 PM EST

A story that speaks to K5ians' deep feelings of alienation from society. I predict a quick posting to the front page.

"I felt the warmth spread across my lap as her bladder let loose." - MichaelCrawford

jesus christ i was RIGHT! (2.66 / 3) (#29)
by Dr Gonzo on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:19:57 PM EST

Nobody without deep feelings of alienation would rate my comment so quickly after I posted it.

"I felt the warmth spread across my lap as her bladder let loose." - MichaelCrawford
[ Parent ]

Too bad the whale can't type (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by trane on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:29:27 PM EST

We could all commiserate together.

As soon as we get that brain-computer interface perfected...

[ Parent ]

Cyberthalamus! (3.00 / 3) (#32)
by Dr Gonzo on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:34:43 PM EST

Singularity!

Self-castration!

Fuck, where's Sen??

"I felt the warmth spread across my lap as her bladder let loose." - MichaelCrawford
[ Parent ]

Yeah (3.00 / 3) (#33)
by trane on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:37:57 PM EST

that whale needs to castrate himself and work on spreading memes instead of genes.

Come to think of it, maybe he has.

Why do we always interpret everything animals do as being tied to sexual reproduction? It wouldn't work with Sen for example. Or Gandhi, Jesus, Kant, Newton...

[ Parent ]

Thats why I voted it up <nt> (none / 0) (#105)
by GenerationY on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 06:32:37 PM EST



[ Parent ]
-1 cts (1.00 / 17) (#34)
by Jason the Mathematical Solo Guitarist on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:42:03 PM EST


In a math sense this sig is just applied group theory: what we are talking about is the decomposition of the direct product of 2 irreducible representations of the rotation group into a direct sum of irreducible representations

All I saw was ... not my thoughts. (2.85 / 20) (#38)
by Peahippo on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:53:36 AM EST

Didn't anyone have the same first thought I had?:

ANSWER THE WHALE.

If it truly is the only whale on that frequency, it's not like you're going to confuse an entire whale civilization. Answer him. I'm sure the whale-sound scientists could come up with something that would be a basic set of sounds, akin to simply "yelling out loud" in whalespeak.

The bonus for this kind of thing is that, if truly a whale, it may attract him and confirm what is still only a suspicion.

"ANSWER THE WHALE." Let's put it on bumper stickers and write letters to the Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute. Surely some university out there can spare some kilobux to build a 52Hz device to answer the poor guy.

P.S. We may also find out how whales masturbate. I mean, c'mon, he's the ONLY ONE. How do you think he's passed the time, in all these years without mating?


Poor whale... (3.00 / 17) (#54)
by cburke on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 08:36:18 AM EST

"Hey... anybody out there?"

"Hey... anybody out there?"

"Hey...  I'm lonely here..."

"Anybody..."

...

"Oh my gosh, an answer!  I'm not alone!  HEY!  HEY!  I'm here!  I'll be there soon!"

"I'm almost there, just wait!  We can be friends!  The best of friends!"

"Wait...  where are you, best friend?  All I see is this big floating rock thing...  Are you on it?  Wait, there's some weird mammals... AHHH! They're grabbing me and poking me and sticking something through my fin!  And..."

"And now I'm alone again..."

...

"Hey... Anybody out there..."

[ Parent ]

Dude (3.00 / 6) (#84)
by CodeWright on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 01:19:58 PM EST

That is an exceedingly depressing post.

Well done.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
Did anybody else think (3.00 / 3) (#93)
by Sgt York on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:41:13 PM EST

And wow! Hey! What's this thing coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding word like... ow... ound... round... ground! That's it! That's a good name - ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me?

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Isn't it better ... (none / 1) (#125)
by Peahippo on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 01:19:25 AM EST

... to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all?


[ Parent ]
Should humans intervene? (none / 0) (#145)
by sphealey on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 04:45:34 PM EST

Point taken, but let's say we could find this guy and attach a transponder to him that would listen to his vocalization, transpose it to the correct frequency range, and re-broadcast it.

If we could do that, should we?  Conservationists are now opposed to "rescuing" injured animals in the wild, but would helping a whale be the same?  Would the answer depend on how intelligent they are?

sPh

[ Parent ]

or even better (3.00 / 4) (#57)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 08:59:37 AM EST

next time we hear him, just take a damn boat out there and look at the motherfucker to figure out what he is... i mean he has to BREATHE so he will breach and we can see him

bu since he calls mostly in december, in the north pacific, in the middle of nowhere, that actually is a tall order after all

so get the military involved somehow: "hey man, you've caused more whale bleeding ear drums during the cold war than a case of ear mites with razor blades, so make amends and advance some science here my floating buddies and get out to that damn whale and take a damn picture double time"


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

The Military Motivation (1.50 / 2) (#124)
by Peahippo on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 01:16:17 AM EST

You'd have to sink a Kennedy boat out thataway before you'll get the military involved in a search like that. I mean, they DO have their priorities after all: self-defense, catastrophe cleanups, and Kennedy searches ... sometimes even in that order.


[ Parent ]
i know (none / 0) (#136)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 01:19:37 PM EST

think of all of these comments as stream of consciousness, mine and other people's

someone will take a boat out to investigate, trust me, this sotry captures the imagination, and if there isn't a bigger force driving some people, i don't know what would be

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Its me (2.18 / 11) (#39)
by zrail on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 02:54:39 AM EST

I'm sorry. I thought it would be funny to spook the navy with fake sonor soundings. Never thought it would get this far though. Live and learn, I guess.

fuck whales (1.14 / 14) (#40)
by Dr Funkenstein on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:01:41 AM EST

the only thing they're good for is eatin'

i've had whale in japan (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 09:00:48 AM EST

it's not that good

dog in the philippines was better

xoxoxoxoxoxoxox


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

ROR I can imagine (3.00 / 4) (#62)
by Dr Gonzo on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 10:12:22 AM EST

Next time you're in Japan, I recommend the furry sushi.

"I felt the warmth spread across my lap as her bladder let loose." - MichaelCrawford
[ Parent ]

Seconded, had whale in Norway /nt (none / 1) (#87)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 02:44:25 PM EST


--
"What's next, sigging a k5er quote about sigging someone on k5?"


[ Parent ]
What kind of moron (1.75 / 4) (#146)
by Stinky Bottoms on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 05:21:03 PM EST

'o's a comment for saying you should eat whale?

There are just too many full-on idiots on this site.

[ Parent ]

Huh? (none / 0) (#154)
by mrt on Sat Dec 25, 2004 at 05:09:33 AM EST

If the only thing whales are good for is eating, then why should I fuck them?
-

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous
[ Parent ]
There are some components of the wave form (3.00 / 3) (#42)
by imrdkl on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:57:50 AM EST

which are in the stated (52hz) range, but my own spectral analysis shows that the average lies in the 500hz range. It's much higher than a low note on a tuba, in any case. This may be due to the fact that they present the wave in a time-compressed (10x) form, but ideally a time-compression shouldn't change the amplitude or average frequency of the sound... should it?

Very interesting article, in any case.

Re: Spectral analysis (none / 1) (#44)
by imrdkl on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 04:08:12 AM EST

Here's a picture of my spectral analysis. I time-stretched the wave back to its original size before analyzing it, but the result is the same (500hz) when analyzing the compressed form. Confusing...

[ Parent ]
Normallized wave (3.00 / 3) (#46)
by imrdkl on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 04:51:49 AM EST

I normalized the wave, now with average 75-100hz (more or less - taking it all the way down to 52 makes it somewhat uninteresting, as kitten points out below) so now you can hear just how lonely this guy really feels...

mp3 here.

[ Parent ]

sounds manmade (none / 0) (#111)
by molo on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 09:33:35 PM EST

It sounds manmade.  Secret Russian sub, perhaps.  Maybe the captain will defect.

-molo

--
Whenever you walk by a computer and see someone using pico, be kind. Pause for a second and remind yourself that: "There, but for the grace of God, go I." -- Harley Hahn
[ Parent ]

It will change (none / 0) (#79)
by jwdb on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:33:32 PM EST

If you speed up the soundclip, a 50Hz soundclip will jump to 500Hz. Think about it: The frequency is the same as the number of peaks of a particular tone divided by the length of the tone. Compress the length without clipping and you get the same number of peaks in a shorter period -> a higher frequency.

Time compression always changes the frequency. Cutting a piece off never does.
You are correct in that neither will change the amplitude, though...

Jw

[ Parent ]
Compression (none / 0) (#85)
by imrdkl on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 01:39:33 PM EST

Will "speed up" the clip and result in higher frequencies, but there are other ways to speed up the clip alone, like resampling.

[ Parent ]
Sound Techniques (none / 0) (#94)
by jwdb on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:44:16 PM EST

Simply resampling will not speed up a clip.
Resampling basically means generating the ac waveform and then reconverting it back to digital at a different sample rate than the original file. As long as it is played back at that sample rate and not the original, there will be absolutely no change (except for some ADC-DAC-induced distortion).

The only way to change the speed of a clip is to change the playback rate by a different ammount from the samping rate. For example, take a 44kHz clip and instruct the computer to play it back as if it was sampled at 22kHz - it will be slowed down by a factor two. Resample it to 22kHz and play at 22kHz and, barring distortion, it will sound like the original. Play the resampled as if it was an 11kHz and again it will be slowed down by a factor 2.
There are other problems associated with resampling down, but not relevant to this issue, as they mainly have to do with distortion and loss of high-frequency.

By the way, compression is not the corect term for what happened here, as it implies something along the lines of zip or mp3. The clip was merely sped up, most likely by resampling to 4.4kHz and then simply modifying the header of the wave file so that it's played back as a 44kHz clip. I haven't checked the file itself, so I don't know its actual sample frequency, but 44kHz is most common for decent quality.
Of course, to record a tone of 50Hz you theoretically do not need to sample faster than 100Hz (110Hz in practice using the standard error margin), but that's beside the point...

Jw

[ Parent ]
Thanks for that clarification (none / 0) (#100)
by imrdkl on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 05:01:28 PM EST

And I'm no expert, but the file is an 8000hz, 16bit mono Windows PCM file which is exactly 15.367 seconds long, and contains exactly 122,936 samples. The file contains exactly 245,872 bytes. It has 22 beats with a tempo of 85.9 beats/minute. Its length is fixed, with no stretching, and it plays at exactly the stated rate.

Now, given that your technique for speeding up the clip do not appear to be in use - there are no header modifications, and the bytes/samples/seconds ratio all line up perfectly, I wonder if you'd consider the possibility that the original recording was simply resampled on a 1/10 basis and recorded at the original frequency?

Or perhaps that's what you were trying to say all along, as I was. I dunno now, and frankly, I've kind of lost interest.

[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 0) (#112)
by jwdb on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 03:41:08 AM EST

It's not possible to see header modifications, nor is it possible to see the rate at which it was actually sampled. You can only see at what rate they want you to play it back.

I doubt they did any resampling at all, but it's impossible for us to tell and thus, as you say, uninteresting.

Jw

[ Parent ]

audio techniques (none / 1) (#116)
by caca phony on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 08:27:56 AM EST

if you want to make a clip shorter, and keep it's original spectral characteristics, your two main options are a fft followed by a reverse fft with the time domain compressed, or some careful tweaking of granular sythesis. Given that the file is 10x shorter, and the peaks are at a 10x higher predomenant frequency, it is doubtful they did either of these. Regarding the modified header data etc. playing back at the wrong speed is just the easiest way to do this, generally you would actually go into an editor and manipulate the sample, or run your command line sound editing program, then save a new soundfile.

[ Parent ]
Re: There are some components of the wave form (none / 0) (#122)
by R Joseph Wright on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 06:12:54 PM EST

...but my own spectral analysis shows...

That's funny. Clint Howard should play you in a movie.

Those are my principles, if you don't like them I have others. --Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
Wasn't he the Professor (none / 0) (#127)
by imrdkl on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 01:45:47 AM EST

On Gilligans Island?

[ Parent ]
No (none / 1) (#133)
by R Joseph Wright on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 01:03:44 PM EST

He's Ron Howard's younger brother. He does a good job of playing jargon spouting science nerds. Here's his website.

Those are my principles, if you don't like them I have others. --Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
Speedup (none / 0) (#150)
by Lagged2Death on Fri Dec 24, 2004 at 11:21:08 AM EST

Virtually all of the NOAA recordings are deliberately presented at 10x pitch (or even higher, in some cases) to move near-infrasonic sounds into a more human-hearable range. I think that's all there is to it.

Starfish automatically creates colorful abstract art for your PC desktop!
[ Parent ]
Anybody remember who wrote "Moby, Too"? (2.00 / 2) (#43)
by mjfgates on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:59:45 AM EST

I read that story when I was a kid.. I don't know, six or seven, maybe, probably every few years 'til I was eighteen and left home. Great story, or so I thought at the time. I can't for the life of me remember who wrote it, or what anthology it was in.

Are you sure that's the correct title? (none / 0) (#72)
by black orchidness on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 11:57:43 AM EST

I checked Library of Congress and came up with no results, punctuation included or removed. If you happen to remember the title is something different, go to http://catalog.loc.gov/

You can also find which libraries have the book and possibly interlibrary loan it for your local public library.

[ Parent ]

You probably mean (none / 0) (#128)
by thepunekar on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 04:32:19 AM EST

"Moby Dick" by Herman Melville. That's the first thing I thought of after reading this story about the solitary whale.

[ Parent ]
Moby, Too (none / 1) (#155)
by Chasuk on Sun Dec 26, 2004 at 01:05:07 AM EST

Gordon Eklund wrote Moby, Too, and it originally appeared in the Decemeber 1973 edition of Amazing Science Fiction (a now-defunct periodical).

It also appeared in The 1974 Annual World's Best SF, an anthology edited by Donald A. Wollheim.


Neopets - the best free game on the Internet.
[ Parent ]

The whale sleeps in r'lyeh /nt (2.50 / 8) (#47)
by Sarojin on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 05:32:54 AM EST



the coordinates of r'lyeh (3.00 / 4) (#59)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 09:03:08 AM EST

are somewhere between the philippines and palau

but the whale is in the northeast pacific

/nit picking sci fi dork

;-)


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

not just a sci fi dork (none / 1) (#102)
by Sarojin on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 05:53:06 PM EST

an article reading dork

[ Parent ]
And you base this location estimate on...? (none / 0) (#131)
by sudog on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 11:52:03 AM EST

Just out of curiosity.


[ Parent ]
it's in the book (none / 1) (#135)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 01:13:32 PM EST

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%27lyeh

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
That is a reference to The Call of Cthulhu (3.00 / 2) (#138)
by sudog on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 01:43:54 PM EST

... which in fact states that it was there that a small portion of the City of R'lyeh broke the surface of the water and was encountered by a ship; however, the rest of the context of that reference is that it rose from the sea when it was encountered, and that it composed "surfaces too great to belong to anything right or proper for this earth[.]"

Another quote which illustrates my point (shortly before I get to it):

"The very sun of heaven seemed distorted when viewed through the polarising miasma welling out from this sea-soaked perversion, and twisted menace and suspense lurked leeringly in those crazily elusive angles of carven rock where a second glance shewed concavity after the first shewed convexity."

In other words, it was at those lat/lon coordinates that a ship encountered a city which was protruding through to our reality, but which in fact existed entirely outside it.

Derleth was more precise, but I don't view his Cthulhu Mythos stories with much more than disdain because he turned what was properly outside the realm of heaven and hell into a Christian bastardization that likened Cthulhu to a demon from the abyss rather than the cosmic entity beyond our pathetic concepts of good and evil that "he" actually was.

One of the psychologically thrilling aspects of Cthulhu was that he was outside and beyond even our own worshipped God, somehow alien and inconceivable; with unfathomable purposes so vast that we are nothing more than motes of dust drifting aimlessly by comparison, and when Derleth tried to fit Cthulhu neatly into our own human notions he did damage to the concept.


[ Parent ]

ok (3.00 / 2) (#140)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 02:39:18 PM EST

i outdorked the original post

but you definitely outdorked me! lol ;-)

i agree with everything you said, i'd like to see a cthulhu movie, wouldn't you? and not a hellboy bastardization of the legend, or other attempts at lovecraftian mythos in movies we've seen over the years (although alien did a good job with hr giger's stuff)

happy holidays sudog!

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Dorkiness? About Cthulhu? Impossible..! (3.00 / 2) (#141)
by sudog on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 03:41:39 PM EST

In a selfish way, I'd prefer to see Lovecraft's works left alone, instead of gaining in popularity as they are. It was so much cooler to be a Cthulhu afficionado *before* everyone else found out about it.

I'm not so sure the creeping moodiness of Lovecraft's stories would make for a good movie, since it would be very difficult to convey the sense of cosmic insignificance Lovecraft tried to, in movie form.

Still, if they could do it, I agree, it'd be cool to see.

I actually enjoyed Hellboy although it was easy to scoff at their pathetic attempts to convey horror, and I was annoyed they took the Derleth path and tried to mix in black magic and hell. That was lame. :)

I don't know if you've seen them, but two movies that come close are "Dagon" and "In the Mouth of Madness" with Sam Neil. Dagon is more closely entwined with Lovecraft's ideas than any other movie I've seen so far, even that "Necronomicon" movie, although that was far more disturbing in a purely horrific-gore sense. "Event Horizon" was also very Lovecraftian (again with Sam Neil.)

Happy holidays to you too, CTS. I hope you have a good year.


[ Parent ]

Also, thanks for the story, very interesting![n/t] (none / 1) (#142)
by sudog on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 03:43:23 PM EST



[ Parent ]
CoC Movie (none / 1) (#143)
by apalwe on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 03:57:13 PM EST

This looks interesting:

http://www.cthulhulives.org/CoC/trailer.html

[ Parent ]

wow thanks! (nt) (none / 0) (#144)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 03:59:12 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
better link (none / 1) (#147)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 05:25:26 PM EST

http://www.cthulhulives.org/CoC/coctrailer-lg.mov

download it, it's very slow

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Bleh. (none / 1) (#148)
by sudog on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 05:44:13 PM EST

I can understand that they'd like to recreate some old-school style, but there's no excuse for making people read the dialogue the actors just mouthed. I saw the trailer in October and was disappointed after seeing it get talked up so much.


[ Parent ]
Maybe it's a whale with a tuba (2.83 / 42) (#48)
by noogie on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 05:57:19 AM EST




*** ANONYMIZED BY THE EVIL KUROFIVEHIN MILITARY JUNTA ***
golf clap (nt) (none / 0) (#115)
by Rafterman on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 07:56:11 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Im here all week (none / 0) (#129)
by noogie on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 06:26:20 AM EST




*** ANONYMIZED BY THE EVIL KUROFIVEHIN MILITARY JUNTA ***
[ Parent ]
You know (2.00 / 4) (#53)
by sllort on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 08:29:45 AM EST

When this happens to humans they get 15 minutes of fame.

Looks like it works for whales now too.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.

One (1.14 / 7) (#75)
by Patrick Bateman on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:07:35 PM EST

One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
Two can be as bad as one, it's the loneliest number since the number one
No is the saddest experience you'll ever know
Yes is the saddest experience you'll ever know
Cause one is the loneliest number that you'll ever know
One is the loneliest number even worst then two
Yeah
Its just no good anymore since you went away
Now I spend my time just making up rhymes of yesterday
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
Since you went away
Since you went away
(one is the loneliest number since you've gone away)
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
Since you've gone away
Its just no good anymore since you went away
Now I spend my time just making up rhymes of yesterday
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
Since you went away
Since you went away
---
You know what's funny?  The above lyrics are by Filter, and this story is about a Baleen whale.  Whoa, Keanu!

---
I have to return some videotapes.

Wasn't that (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 01:10:33 PM EST

a Three Dog Night song?

[ Parent ]
Indeed it was. Kids these days. (none / 0) (#89)
by HyperMediocrity on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:07:35 PM EST

Oh wait.. Forget I said that.

[ Parent ]
Well, I had to (none / 0) (#119)
by davidduncanscott on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 02:29:40 PM EST

look it up to be sure. I was thinking more like Bread, maybe a follow-up to that diary song.

[ Parent ]
Harry Nilsson (none / 0) (#159)
by bjimba on Tue Dec 28, 2004 at 08:31:35 PM EST

"One" is a Harry Nilsson song. He wrote it, and recorded it in 1968. The Three Dog Night, Filter, and Aimee Mann versions are all covers.

www.harrynilsson.com

---


question = '\xFF'; // optimized Hamlet
[ Parent ]
By God, (none / 0) (#161)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Dec 30, 2004 at 04:35:45 PM EST

you're right. I'd like to hear his version sometime. The Point remains one of my favourite albums.

[ Parent ]
Sad. (2.44 / 9) (#78)
by lcsaph on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:32:13 PM EST

Good story. Well written. Poor whale.

Translation (2.25 / 12) (#80)
by cactus on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 01:08:58 PM EST

Actually, when it's translated years from now it'll read:
This is a test of the emergency broadcasting system. If this had been an actual emergency, the Attention Signal you just heard would have been followed by official information, news or instructions.

Please keep this frequency clear for emergency use. This concludes this test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

--
"Politics are the entertainment branch of Industry"
-- Frank Zappa
They say it was hauled from the Challenger Deep (1.75 / 8) (#91)
by kitten on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:39:41 PM EST

But I'm positive this creature never swam in terrestrial waters until a week ago..
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
An interesting puzzle. (2.33 / 3) (#103)
by jd on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 05:58:38 PM EST

Whilst I can't be accused of being on circletimessquare's Christmas list, I am very glad someone wrote this story up. It is fascinating and unbelievably eerie. It deserves attention.

Can we find out what type of whale it is? Sure. Whales breathe air, same as other mammals, and have to come to the surface. Whales also tend to move fairly slowly. Pinpoint the whale, using its calls, and then stay reasonably close. The longest you should have to wait is 2-3 days.

Once the whale surfaces, you should be able to identify the general family from the shape. DNA would be ideal, but extracting DNA from something that massive, without hurting it (and without getting hurt!) would be a tough challange. Doable, but tough.

It is interesting that they cannot gather any data from the whale's "song". Depending on how much data they have, marine biologists can make pretty good guesses as to not only the species, but also the territory and even which pod. There is evidence that cetaceans can pick up each other's "accent", over time, but it's not clear whether this could be used in practice at all to study recurring pod interactions.

There is a staggering amount that we don't know about this - or any other - cetatian. The most staggering part is that at least some of the information (such as a photograph of this lonly whale) would be relatively easy to obtain.

The saddest part of all this, to me, is that a good mystery makes for better press than a neat discovery. Isn't the whale's lonliness a sad thing? That depends. Solitary cetaceans have adopted other species (usually solitary humans) as travelling companions, in the past. You won't know what'll happen if nobody goes to find out.

you're on my christmas list (none / 0) (#107)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 07:05:36 PM EST

what you meant to say was that i wasn't on your christmas list

here, have a candy cane

xoxoxoxoxox


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I see your candy cane... (none / 1) (#126)
by jd on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 01:35:52 AM EST

...and I raise you a christmas cookie and a christmas cracker. :)

[ Parent ]
DNA plugs = easy to sample (none / 1) (#130)
by sudog on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 11:49:19 AM EST

Especially from mammals that large. They don't even feel it.


[ Parent ]
Hybrid Humpback-Blue whale already spotted (2.80 / 5) (#108)
by cryon on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 08:15:15 PM EST

A hybrid humpback-blue whale would have a frequency range something like this anomaly, as it would "split the difference", so to speak. As it turns out, such a hybrid has already tentatively been identified: "Wild hybrid whales have been found several times. Whalers have described several blue/fin whale hybrids, and researchers working off of Fiji believe they photographed a hybrid humpback/blue whale!" from http://www.whalecenter.org/amazarch.htm
HTGS75OBEY21IRTYG54564ACCEPT64AUTHORITY41V KKJWQKHD23CONSUME78GJHGYTMNQYRTY74SLEEP38H TYTR32CONFORM12GNIYIPWG64VOTER4APATHY42JLQ TYFGB64MONEY3IS4YOUR7GOD62MGTSB21CONFORM34 SDF53MARRY6AND2REPRODUCE534TYWHJZKJ34OBEY6

i think you come closest to solving this puzzle nt (none / 0) (#110)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 09:03:04 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Evolution? (none / 0) (#139)
by 123456789 on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 01:58:58 PM EST

Isn't hybridization one of the forms of speciation? It could be that we're simply seeing a new step in whale evolution - unlike a lot of other evolutionary mechanisms, inter-species breeding can actually be witnessed in a life-time.

---
People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.
- Soren Kierkegaard
[ Parent ]
Sort of. (none / 0) (#158)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 12:18:54 PM EST

In some cases, yes. It depends on whether the hybrids form their own breeding population. In this case, it seems more like a one-off.

For an example of where hybrids do seem to form their own species, I've read that "red wolves" are really just what happens naturally in areas where coyotes and grey wolves share habitat. But they count as a distinct species because they form their own packs and can sustain their own populations.

RUN !! IT?S AN ATTACK OF THE ?WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS? NAZIS!!!! - Brian Crouch
[ Parent ]

Here's an idea.... (1.50 / 14) (#114)
by clawDATA on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:34:23 AM EST

My dad's boat has been sitting near Seattle since his whaling contract with UW expired.

I used to go out with him and his crew. Fun times.

Something like that whale would be quite a trophy -- I'm sure I'd get my fuel money back from the Japanese...

So, how much would you pay me to NOT kill it?

Gimme a few days to set up a PayPal account, or do you think auctioning "certificates" on Ebay would be better?

Buddha said (none / 1) (#153)
by mrt on Sat Dec 25, 2004 at 05:04:30 AM EST

Something like that whale would be quite a trophy -- I'm sure I'd get my fuel money back from the Japanese... Gautama Buddha said: Whatever you do, you do to yourself.
-

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous
[ Parent ]
Wow. (2.50 / 2) (#117)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 08:47:20 AM EST

Fantastic (and sad) story!

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
what if it's making funny noises (2.50 / 6) (#123)
by the ghost of rmg on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 09:56:07 PM EST

to keep people -- or other whales as it were -- away?


rmg: comments better than yours.
Much more interesting: "Bloop" (3.00 / 5) (#132)
by sudog on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 12:14:45 PM EST

Weird lonely whales are one thing, fragile and sad.

However, another sound was also detected by the Navy's spy sensors and is far more chilling: "Bloop".

Listen to "Bloop"

Interesting story in which it's explained that "Bloop" is a sound which is much more powerful than anything made by any animals currently known but is still most likely biological in origin:

CNN Has a cool story about Bloop here

Speaking about Cthulhu...

holy shiat (nt) (none / 1) (#134)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 01:09:19 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
The Scar (none / 1) (#151)
by SmileMeister on Fri Dec 24, 2004 at 07:23:07 PM EST

That reminds me of China Mieville's book, "The Scar" about an enormous sea creature...

Cheers,
Alex
[ Parent ]
Avanc (1.50 / 2) (#157)
by dyefade on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 09:23:05 AM EST

I think they were called "Avanc"'s.

[ Parent ]
Ah, you too are well-read! (n/t) (none / 0) (#167)
by Milo Minderbinder on Tue Jan 04, 2005 at 05:04:58 PM EST


--
M & M ENTERPRISES, FINE FRUITS AND PRODUCE.
[ Parent ]
not sure how (2.40 / 5) (#160)
by wampswillion on Thu Dec 30, 2004 at 04:30:06 PM EST

so i'm not sure how i got here to signing up for this. and why exactly i'm posting a comment about a story about a lonely whale. it started with a google search for something about mental illness then it led to me reading about somebody being hurt that eric clapton was put on a bad guitarist list. and then i tried to make a comment about something that someone had said that i thought was outrageous- comparing his child falling out of window with michael jackson holding his child out a window. and then i found out i could not until i registered. so i registered. then i went back and started looking for the eric clapton thread again and i got distracted by this whale story. and i'm really sad for this whale. sometimes i feel like this whale. can anybody hear me?

No. (n/t) (none / 0) (#166)
by Milo Minderbinder on Tue Jan 04, 2005 at 05:03:38 PM EST


--
M & M ENTERPRISES, FINE FRUITS AND PRODUCE.
[ Parent ]
well this just defies (none / 0) (#171)
by wampswillion on Sun Jan 09, 2005 at 02:53:15 PM EST

logic. if you can't hear me, then why did you answer?

[ Parent ]
he read it. (none / 1) (#173)
by noogie on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 07:25:35 AM EST




*** ANONYMIZED BY THE EVIL KUROFIVEHIN MILITARY JUNTA ***
[ Parent ]
are you THE (none / 0) (#174)
by wampswillion on Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 11:43:41 PM EST

milo?

[ Parent ]
..what? (none / 0) (#169)
by Ashur on Sat Jan 08, 2005 at 11:14:32 AM EST

..that is my favourite joke ever.

[ Parent ]
well, my favorite joke (none / 0) (#170)
by wampswillion on Sun Jan 09, 2005 at 02:52:12 PM EST

is something about snails racing. i'd tell it to ya but you but you wouldn't hear it and i don't want to waste the oxygen in my tank.

[ Parent ]
I think we should just tell Rusty's wife (1.00 / 6) (#163)
by Sesquipundalian on Sat Jan 01, 2005 at 01:23:20 AM EST

not to fart in the tub so much.


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
Watch out for Sean Connery! (none / 0) (#165)
by HoppQ on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 02:41:24 PM EST

I'm telling you, it's the Red October.

emmm,may be (none / 0) (#175)
by keleyu on Mon Mar 21, 2005 at 02:45:15 AM EST

lyrics lyrics

The Loneliest Mystery of the Deep | 175 comments (167 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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