The Ocean’s answer to Google Earth
08:02 am



If you ever get fed-up with everyday noise pollution from automobile traffic, construction work or that nauseatingly ubiquitous mall muzak then imagine how such unwanted (and often unnecessary) noise damages marine life.

Mammals, reptiles, fish and invertebrates are suffering from increasing levels of man-made noise pollution coming from ships, oil rigs, and sonar. Now a bio-acoustics laboratory at the Technical University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain has developed a kind of “audio Google Earth” for under the water, which allows people to access a where they can listen to the sounds of the deep blue seas. 

The project is called “LIDO” which stands for “Listen to the Deep Ocean Environment” has been developed by French scientist Michel André and his team of researchers. The program aims to monitor undersea sounds to assess the affect of artificial noise on marine wildlife.

A series of microphones have been placed across the world’s seabeds in order to identify which sounds are natural and which are man-made, as the director of the Bio-acoustics Applications Lab Michel André told Euro News:

“We use underwater microphones, that are called hydrophones, which allow us to capture sounds. Once we have captured these sounds, they are analysed in real time through a circuit which tells us whether they come from a cetacean, or whether they come from vessels, to help us understand the interaction between artificial sound and natural sound.”

The hydrophones can be placed on seabeds to a depth of around 1,000 feet. The sound is then transmitted via fibreoptic cables or by radio from moored transmitter stations. This information is available in realtime at the LIDO website.

The project started in 2002 and is now growing rapidly across the globe. LIDO’s aims did prompt concerns from the US and Canadian navies over possible security threats, however a deal was struck between LIDO and the military. Inevitably, even the armed services will have to accept they cannot lay claim to any ownership of the sea’s acoustic world.

Visit Listen to the Deep Ocean Environment LIDO here, read more on the story here, plus video.

Via Euro News

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Bad news: Kurt Vonnegut’s bleak advice to humankind in 2088
02:57 pm


Kurt Vonnegut

When Kurt Vonnegut died in 2007, I recall reading about his passing and being quite depressed at the thought of a world without him in it. I read all of his books when I was a kid—some of them several times over—and like many of my generation (and the one above it) I very much internalized Kurt Vonnegut’s notoriously pessimistic, but ultimately kind-hearted view of mankind. I can also say, without hesitation, that his way of looking at the absurdities of life made a lot more sense to me than the religion that my parents tried to stuff down my throat at that age.

His was one of the most important moral—and comic—voices of 20th century American literature. Who else besides Kurt Vonnegut could be considered in the same league as say, Mark Twain?

When he died a great voice was silenced, but from time to time, something unanthologized or a previously unseen letter will surface (Love as Always, Kurt: Vonnegut as I Knew Him by Loree Rackstraw, a woman he’d once had an affair with and stayed friends with, is a terrific, if little-known, intimate portrait of the man, including many of his letters). Recently Letters of Note uncovered Vonnegut’s contribution to a Volkswagen ad campaign that ran in TIME magazine in 1988. The campaign asked notable people to write letters to those living 100 years in the future:

Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088:

It has been suggested that you might welcome words of wisdom from the past, and that several of us in the twentieth century should send you some. Do you know this advice from Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: ‘This above all: to thine own self be true’? Or what about these instructions from St. John the Divine: ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment has come’? The best advice from my own era for you or for just about anybody anytime, I guess, is a prayer first used by alcoholics who hoped to never take a drink again: ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.’

Our century hasn’t been as free with words of wisdom as some others, I think, because we were the first to get reliable information about the human situation: how many of us there were, how much food we could raise or gather, how fast we were reproducing, what made us sick, what made us die, how much damage we were doing to the air and water and topsoil on which most life forms depended, how violent and heartless nature can be, and on and on. Who could wax wise with so much bad news pouring in?

For me, the most paralyzing news was that Nature was no conservationist. It needed no help from us in taking the planet apart and putting it back together some different way, not necessarily improving it from the viewpoint of living things. It set fire to forests with lightning bolts. It paved vast tracts of arable land with lava, which could no more support life than big-city parking lots. It had in the past sent glaciers down from the North Pole to grind up major portions of Asia, Europe, and North America. Nor was there any reason to think that it wouldn’t do that again someday. At this very moment it is turning African farms to deserts, and can be expected to heave up tidal waves or shower down white-hot boulders from outer space at any time. It has not only exterminated exquisitely evolved species in a twinkling, but drained oceans and drowned continents as well. If people think Nature is their friend, then they sure don’t need an enemy.

Yes, and as you people a hundred years from now must know full well, and as your grandchildren will know even better: Nature is ruthless when it comes to matching the quantity of life in any given place at any given time to the quantity of nourishment available. So what have you and Nature done about overpopulation? Back here in 1988, we were seeing ourselves as a new sort of glacier, warm-blooded and clever, unstoppable, about to gobble up everything and then make love—and then double in size again.

On second thought, I am not sure I could bear to hear what you and Nature may have done about too many people for too small a food supply.

And here is a crazy idea I would like to try on you: Is it possible that we aimed rockets with hydrogen bomb warheads at each other, all set to go, in order to take our minds off the deeper problem—how cruelly Nature can be expected to treat us, Nature being Nature, in the by-and-by?

Now that we can discuss the mess we are in with some precision, I hope you have stopped choosing abysmally ignorant optimists for positions of leadership. They were useful only so long as nobody had a clue as to what was really going on—during the past seven million years or so. In my time they have been catastrophic as heads of sophisticated institutions with real work to do.

The sort of leaders we need now are not those who promise ultimate victory over Nature through perseverance in living as we do right now, but those with the courage and intelligence to present to the world what appears to be Nature’s stern but reasonable surrender terms:

Reduce and stabilize your population.

Stop poisoning the air, the water, and the topsoil.

Stop preparing for war and start dealing with your real problems.

Teach your kids, and yourselves, too, while you’re at it, how to inhabit a small planet without helping to kill it.

Stop thinking science can fix anything if you give it a trillion dollars.

Stop thinking your grandchildren will be OK no matter how wasteful or destructive you may be, since they can go to a nice new planet on a spaceship. That is really mean, and stupid.

And so on. Or else.

Am I too pessimistic about life a hundred years from now? Maybe I have spent too much time with scientists and not enough time with speechwriters for politicians. For all I know, even bag ladies and bag gentlemen will have their own personal helicopters or rocket belts in A.D. 2088. Nobody will have to leave home to go to work or school, or even stop watching television. Everybody will sit around all day punching the keys of computer terminals connected to everything there is, and sip orange drink through straws like the astronauts.


Kurt Vonnegut

A perfect prose diamond, right?

I can think of no better coda to this bleak epistle than this clip of Alan Weissman, author of Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?, a new book about the disturbing mathematical trajectory of the overpopulation problem on Real Time with Bill Maher earlier this month… Have a nice day!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
When tumbleweeds attack: Woman has nervous breakdown driving through sagebrush armageddon
09:11 am



Steve Cash filmed his girlfriend having a nervous breakdown (or perhaps it’s an anxiety attack?) while driving through tumbleweeds at night.

According to Cash in the YouTube comments:

For what it’s worth she thinks its funny now. She was genuinely horrified at the time, but I guess she had never driven through tumbleweeds before, which made this a one of a kind video.

I’ve never experienced driving through tumbleweeds before, either. Who knows, I might have the exact same reaction.

Via Arbroath

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
David Lynch’s scary public service announcement about NYC’s rat infestation
07:34 am


David Lynch

I’m not really afraid of rats. But while I personally tend to abide by a pretty “live and let live” code where vermin are concerned (as long as the creature in question keeps out of my apartment), New York City has an absolutely insane density of rats. It’s not as bad as in years past, but it’s a rare subway ride when I don’t see at least one varmint happily waddling over the tracks, and I cede to that. We’re in actual underground tunnels—rats are simply the wildlife with whom we must share that subterranean space.

Above ground however, they begin to become a health hazard, and while the city tends to favor the idiotic approach of lacing every garbage-filled and/or overgrown area with poison (poison that presents its own health hazards), the best way to deal with rats is to create an inhospitable environment. Mowing empty lots and removing debris would certainly fix a lot of the problem, but all of that is futile if you’re just going to throw your delicious edible garbage in the street. And that’s where David Lynch comes in.

In what is quite possibly the coolest anti-littering public service announcement ever, Lynch gives viewers a phantasmagoria of rat horror. Frederick Elmes (the cinematographer for both Wild at Heart and Night on Earth) was director of photography on this 1991 anti-rat opus, and it’s a pretty masterful little bit of messaging—the rats are mere beasts, but littering assholes, THEY are the true monsters!

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Psychedelic blizzard (Too much of that snow white?)
10:30 am



Bmaffitt on Imgur posted these triptastic images of falling snow in NYC. Bmaffitt says he/she “pointed a video projector out the window” onto falling snow then snapped some gorgeous pictures.





More images after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
The Future of Life on Earth and Capitalism: Are they compatible?
10:09 am

Current Events


Scientist and Canadian broadcaster David Suzuki’s environmental non-profit foundation works to “design a vision of Earth in which humans live within the planet’s productive capacity.” He’s got a very direct and simple way of explaining what that means, particularly in relation to exponential population growth in a 2010 video that’s only just started to be discovered and passed around.

If you understand the concept of how “compound interest” works, and have even slightly more than half a brain in your head, be prepared to have a deflating “Oh shit…” moment when he gets to the not so amusing punchline.

No matter what your political persuasion might be, there is nothing to gloat over here, I can assure you. Nothing at all!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Shell Oil gets more than they bargained for when slick pranksters invade their ‘Science Slam’
07:26 pm


Peng Collective

The Burson-Marsteller public relations firm held a “Science Slam” event in Berlin yesterday to try to burnish the reputation of their client—I believe the industry term is “greenwash”—the Shell oil company. A “Science Slam” is like a rap battle or poetry slam meets a TED talk. Presenters make—or try to make—entertaining oral presentations of their scientific concepts, inventions or advocacy, and then the audience chooses the winner. Shell can do things like this or sponsor an “Eco Race” with all electric cars or some bullshit like that and then pretend like they give a fuck about the environment.

Several of the presenters directly challenged Shell’s ethics in their presentations and a freestyle rapper offered up a spontaneous rhyming diss of the Dutch oil giant. Environmental disasters and climate change were apparently the main topics, but at the end, two “young scientists” brought out a machine they informed the audience was a CO2 recovery experiment. Once fired up, the machine sprayed black oil sludge all over the stage.

No word what the half trillion dollar oil company made of this debacle, but the audience members voted these oily pranksters—two members of the subversive activist group the Peng! Collective—as the winners. Then the contest was promplty cancelled!

Via Nerdcore

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Ephemeral art: Extreme close-ups of individual snowflakes
09:52 am



Man, I just can’t get over these close-up shots of individual snowflakes by Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov. Each one is a work of art by Mother Earth herself. Simply stunning.

Apparently no two snowflakes are alike—with the exception of nano-snowflakes—which makes every one of these photos ever more special.

Macro photography at its finest, IMO. 



More snowflake goodness after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Hypnotic video of molten lava cooking and then consuming a can of ravioli
12:58 pm



There’s something oddly soothing about this can of Chef Boyardee ravioli being swallowed up by lava still I can’t help wonder how dangerous getting this footage must’ve been?

And why Chef Boyardee ravioli anyway? SpaghettiOs are funnier!

Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Assholes destroy 200-million-year-old rock formation
01:00 pm

Stupid or Evil?


This video of three smug dickheads destroying a 200 million-year-old rock formation in Goblin Valley, Utah is everywhere on the Internets today. The only reason I’m posting it to Dangerous Minds is so that their stupid faces can be seen by everyone who visits our site, too. These boys need to be shamed real bad.

According to Boing Boing:

Geologists estimate the rock formation was approximately 200 million years old, formed during the Triassic Period (Mesozoic Era).

This reminds me of the time when I was in the Bahamas and I witnessed two drunk frat-type idiots playing “baseball” with live starfish. I tried to stop them, but they just laughed me off as some type of hippie tree hugger. It was a very sad and ugly thing to watch.

Via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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