Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

How Sperm Whales Offset Their Carbon Footprint

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the all-natural-solution dept.

Earth 150

Boy Wunda writes "Scientists at Flinders University in South Australia found that in an awesome example of design by Mother Nature, Southern Ocean sperm whales offset their carbon footprint by simply defecating – an action that releases tons of iron a year and stimulates the growth of phytoplankton which absorb and trap carbon dioxide. If only we humans could say the same for our poop, which really doesn't do much more than just sit there." I'm going to do my part by buying some iron supplements and a can of chili, and heading off toward the ocean.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

samzenpus: (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32605862)

How about you do your part by buying a cheap .22 caliber pistol and blowing your brains out?

Re: samzenpus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606050)

On the one hand, he would be stimulating the economy somewhat by buying something. But it would probably be more efficient to simply jump off a cliff.

Re: samzenpus: (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606562)

Brought to you by the slashdot staff. Don't think they'd get a raise, though.

I think... (1)

InvisibleSoul (882722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606682)

That's a load of crap!

Re: samzenpus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606154)

In other words, defecate? Get it? You know... Claudia Schiffer-Brains? Cmon! What the hell's the matter with you?

Re: samzenpus: (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606294)

How about you do your part by buying a cheap .22 caliber pistol and blowing your brains out?

.22's aren't really effective at "blowing your brains out". They often tend to penetrate one side of the skull but bounce off the other end. This results in effective brain scrambling but little to no "blowing out" as the term is classically understood. If you want him to blow his brains out you should suggest that he purchase a .357 or .45 ;)

And yes, I know, *whoosh*

Re: samzenpus: (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606360)

They often tend to penetrate one side of the skull but bounce off the other end.

Well there's your problem: You're supposed to stick the barrel in your mouth, not up against your head.

Pro-Tip for everyone: The above is the ONLY way to commit suicide. All other methods are useless and should not be classified as 'suicide attempts', but rather 'cries for help'.

HTH. HAND.

Re: samzenpus: (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606436)

.22 through the eye would do the job, works on fine pigs. Scrambled brains is a sure fire death.

Re: samzenpus: (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606944)

And what if you get the angle wrong and end up performing an emergency lobotomy instead?

Sorry dude: blow away your brainstem. It's the only way to be sure.

Re: samzenpus: (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606512)

I wouldn't trust a .22LR to get the job done if I was bent on ending my life. The only thing worse than deciding that suicide is the best option is undertaking a suicide attempt and winding up as a crippled vegetable that can't even wipe his own ass. Large calibers are the only way to go for a meaningful suicide attempt.

Re: samzenpus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606540)

Large calibers are a good start, but I think I'd go straight to large amps and large volts for the really effective, dramatic, and exciting exit. Nothing screams "HEY LOOK AT ME, I CAN'T HACK IT" quite like blacking out multiple city blocks while flash-frying yourself.

Pretty lights mommy!

Re: samzenpus: (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606598)

In the "morbid topic" department, I've contemplated how I would exit this world if I opted for suicide (and no, I'm not suicidal, it's just a great morbid topic) and I've concluded that firearms are the only real way to go.

Drowning? That won't do. Takes too long and involves too much panic.
Burning? Nope, same drawbacks as drowning.
Pills? Thanks but no thanks. Who the hell wants to commit suicide and then have time to think about the fact that they are going to die? This same drawback applies to leaving the car running in an enclosed space or slitting your wrists in the bathtub.
Hanging? I could see this one if you had the time and materials to build a real gallows that would snap your neck. But dying via strangulation? Yuck.

Nope, the firearm is really the only way to go. It requires true commitment (gotta squeeze that trigger) and doesn't provide much room for second guessing yourself. It should also be relatively painless unless you flinch at the last second. Added bonus: Nothing says "fuck you, cruel cruel world" quite like the mess that a headshot leaves behind ;)

Re: samzenpus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606716)

I disagree. Firearms are too personal and leaves an object to be mad at. I'd go to a large hotel and get a room on a very high floor. Of course, I wouldn't ask for it but would just go until they gave me one. Then I'd make it look like a struggle, and then throw myself backwards through a window. That way the world invests lots of time and energy into finding your killer, and maybe you even ruin the lives of someone that didn't like you. Bonus points if you take out a large life-insurance policy with an unusual beneficiary which becomes active just before it happens. Quick, relatively painless death with a sense of flying just seconds before? It's the way to go.

Re: samzenpus: (1)

Deffiz (1792614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606848)

What about trains?! Nobody even mentions the possibility of being the bug on the windscreen of the world? I'm not talking about jumping - you might time it wrong, or bounce/roll so that you survive, I'm talking about STANDING there. As fast and sure as a bullet and more easily available outside of the USA. :P

Re: samzenpus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606878)

Since you are not suicidal, your have the wrong mindset and tools that you come up with are not fit for when you are actually on the brink of doing it. I am also far from that, but here's my point of view:

Takes too long and involves too much panic.

If i were suicidal, I would want to prolong and enjoy the process. I probably have the will not to surface when out of air (tested this to extreme at some point).

think about the fact that they are going to die?

Why the hell not? If you actually are suicidal, and the sinful existence cannot resolve your problems, these will be the only moments when you are truly happy.

firearm ... requires true commitment (gotta squeeze that trigger) and doesn't provide much room for second guessing yourself.

Bad choice, for these exact reasons.
1. It does NOT require commitment. Anyone can pull the trigger. When you make an irreversible step like that, you better be willing to do more than that, like physical carnage with a blunt object.
2. Why would you want to make a step like that without the room for second guessing? How about being absolutely positively sure instead?

Re: samzenpus: (1)

boneclinkz (1284458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606950)

I've always thought that using firearms was a fairly inconsiderate way to kill yourself. It leaves a big mess behind for mourning family members.

I think a tank filled with nitrogen gas, a length of steel braided hose, and a DIY mask would probably be the best way to do it. Not terribly expensive, either.

Re: samzenpus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32607060)

What about high explosives? Nice blood smear after that...

Re: samzenpus: (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32607576)

modern vehicles terrible at carbon monoxide poisoning... it is to the point now, that the vehicle would have to consume all the oxygen in the room to kill you, rather than building up CO enough to do it.

Re: samzenpus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32607816)

An oldie but a goodie: put something sharp enough to cut your hear off on your neck at the top of a tall (but not splat tall) building, super glue your hands to your head, and lunge at the decapitator. When you land, it looks like you were trying to catch your head. Ok, probably wouldn't work, but along those lines, skydiving without a parachute might be a good way to go. Fun while it lasts, and no pain. Might want to take a shot of weed first so you don't do much 'Oh shit I'm really going to die!' type thought on the way down.

Re: samzenpus: (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606946)

I wouldn't trust a .22LR to get the job done if I was bent on ending my life.

Yes, because you insist on the more theatrical way of putting the gun to your temple. A fucking BB gun in your mouth would probably kill you, so your point about the 22 not being enough for braindeath is ridiculous.

The only thing worse than deciding that suicide is the best option is undertaking a suicide attempt and winding up as a crippled vegetable that can't even wipe his own ass.

My whole point. Thanks for, er, restating it.

Re: samzenpus: (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606528)

Pro-Tip for everyone: The above is the ONLY way to commit suicide.

That's not true. There are many other methods, it's just that most of them are not available for most people. Here's a list of other sure ways to commit suicide:

  • Blow up an atomic bomb above your head.
  • Let a 100 ton iron block fall on you.
  • Get into a space capsule and let it burn up in the atmosphere at reentry.
  • Sit under the main thruster during the start of a rocket.

Re: samzenpus: (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606890)

Yeah, those are under my definition of 'useless' used above. Buy a gun, stick it in your mouth, pull the trigger. All yours involve a call to ACME, and we all know how that turns out.

Re: samzenpus: (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32607146)

With roadrunner burgers? Mmmm.... roadrunner.

Re: samzenpus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606784)

As someone whose brother committed suicide with a .22, I'd say that sadly they work just fine for that purpose.

Re: samzenpus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606844)

You and 48 others liked this.

Re: samzenpus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606982)

That's not funny, my brother died that way.

Re: samzenpus: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32607390)

To minimize the carbon footprint of the suicide, he should borrow the gun.

Re: samzenpus: (1)

MobileC (83699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32607498)

Do you know how much carbon was released into the atmosphere in the making of that .22?

"Just sits there" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32605864)

Excuse me... Mine floats (or sinks) there in my frosty piss.

Iron = carbon (0, Troll)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32605866)

Who knew?

Re:Iron = carbon (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32605888)

...releases tons of iron a year and stimulates the growth of phytoplankton which absorb and trap carbon dioxide

Note to self: read the summary.

Re:Iron = carbon (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606342)

You must be new here...

Re:Iron = carbon (1)

deuterium (96874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32607386)

So? Iron as a source of phytoplankton blooms, and phytoplankton as a carbon sink isn't news. The "news" is that whales are doing this, and in uselessly small numbers. Tell me what I missed.

Re:Iron = carbon (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32607484)

What makes me laugh is this quote by someone who derides Intelligent Design: design by Mother Nature

Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32605900)

Iron = -Carbon

Re:Correction (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606172)

Except it really doesn't work. We've tried.
http://green.autoblog.com/2009/05/08/newsflash-dumping-iron-filings-into-ocean-wont-reduce-co-sub-2/ [autoblog.com]

It had been proposed sometime ago that geoengineering might help fight global warming. One plan in particular that drew a lot of attention was the dumping of hundreds of tons of iron filings into the ocean. Through wave action, the seas absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and the theory went that iron dumping would encourage phytoplankton population growth which would, in combination with zooplankton, take in CO2 and deposit it on the bottom of the briny deep. ... ...
While it seems that impressive bio-blooms could be created, much of the zooplankton poop and other carbons bits didn't create the strong sedimentation effect expected on the briny bottom.

Other stories here: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16390-climate-fix-ship-sets-sail-with-plan-to-dump-iron.html [newscientist.com]

You're doing it wrong (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32605930)

If your poop "just sits there" try going *in* the toilet next time, not beside it. If you can make that work, your poop will magically be whisked away and probably end up in a digester somewhere making methane, or possibly being reprocessed into fertilizer. Behold, the secret life of poop!

Re:You're doing it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606214)

Not everybody has the option to flush. Fortunately, many folks in developing countries have another solution [wikipedia.org] . How do these articles make it on slashdot?

Re:You're doing it wrong (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606648)

People without the option to flush --->Oo<--- People with the ability to read slashdot.

Note the size of the intersection.

I wonder ... (5, Insightful)

electricprof (1410233) | more than 4 years ago | (#32605934)

I wonder how long it will take for someone to suggest dumping raw sewage into the oceans in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint ...

Re:I wonder ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606018)

I suggest dumping raw sewage into the oceans in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint.

('bout 6 minutes.)

Re:I wonder ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32607202)

I'm sure that plenty of fecal material is already being dumped in the oceans. The Mediterranean is already a big cesspool.

Re:I wonder ... (3, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606028)

Or just lots of iron! What could possibly go wrong? [discovery.com]

Re:I wonder ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606706)

They say nothing about this plankton having an especially affinity for iron. The article is like saying "We should not grow plants, because certain plants that grow are poisonous and omgwtf if we happen to grow those!"

Re:I wonder ... (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606180)

Well... It would a bit However there are other disasters to consider from doing such activity that would make carbon footprint seem like a moot point.

That and the most of the Carbon problem we have isn't from our biology but from our use of fuels. Which is in essence the Carbon Collected by these lifeforms after they died. Basicly we are using the stuff that was collected years ago.
 

Re:I wonder ... (2, Funny)

Rato Ruter (1008363) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606344)

2 minutes [slashdot.org]

Re:I wonder ... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606410)


I wonder how long it will take for someone to suggest dumping raw sewage into the oceans in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint ...

They already dump it on farm fields. Heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and all. And call it 'organic'.

Corporations already shit on you and the enviro (0)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606840)

You know that junk mail. The half a ton of crap you never read that comes through the letterbox from the same companies that push "green" "enviro" bags so they could stop giving you free plastic bags, and won't sell you incandescent bulbs any more even though the "green" ones contain mercury and there's better technology available (LED)? Those companies are already defecating on you and the environment.

Worthless turd! (4, Funny)

mgierhart (1823976) | more than 4 years ago | (#32605940)

So basically, according to Mother Nature, we aren't worth our weight in shit?

Re:Worthless turd! (1)

nj_peeps (1780942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32605968)

damn, beat me too it!

Re:Worthless turd! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606440)

I think it's the whole "Garbage in Garbage Out" theory. I don't get is they eat food rich in iron then crap it out and some scientist get so happy over whale poo.

design by Mother Nature (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32605956)

This sounds almost religiously stupid. I doubt mother nature cares about us or the level of CO2.

Should we take mother nature at her word and send our untreated sewage into the ocean so we can be like the whales?

Re:design by Mother Nature (3, Insightful)

Rato Ruter (1008363) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606278)

This sounds almost religiously stupid. I doubt mother nature cares about us or the level of CO2.

Should we take mother nature at her word and send our untreated sewage into the ocean so we can be like the whales?

2 minutes [slashdot.org]

Re:design by Mother Nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606690)

Indeed it is. I wonder, where else should they defecate? Land? Jesus Christ.

Fossil fuels return nature's balance (1)

invid (163714) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606714)

Humans are Mother Nature's way of bringing nature back into balance by returning carbon to the biosphere that has been remove by millions of years of sedimentation. Isn't in incredible how ingenious Mother Nature is? After all, back when nature was REALLY in balance (back when there were only one-celled organisms) there was much more carbon in the atmosphere. Things didn't change much for millions of years at a time because all of that great natural balance.

Carbon Footprint? (4, Insightful)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32605994)

Anything that doesn't use fossil fuel (directly or indirectly) is already pretty much carbon neutral over its lifespan. .The O2/CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been more or less in balance for millions of years,

Re:Carbon Footprint? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606048)

Anything that doesn't use fossil fuel (directly or indirectly) is already pretty much carbon neutral over its lifespan. .The O2/CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been more or less in balance for millions of years,

That means the whole ecosystem is carbon neutral, not individual taxa.

For instance, cattle make lots of methane. Plants absorb CO2. Whale shit stimulates other organisms to absorb CO2.

Re:Carbon Footprint? (3, Insightful)

OldOOCoboler (1340497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606296)

Lobiusmoop said "directly or indirectly". Cattle in feedlots eat corn grown with fertilizers made from previously sequestered oil. If you use oil or coal that took millions of years to sequester then you're not neutral. Whale's don't add any previously sequestered carbon to the biosphere (unless they drink straight from the BP wellhead).

Re:Carbon Footprint? (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606358)

Whale's don't add any previously sequestered carbon to the biosphere (unless they drink straight from the BP wellhead).

I now imagine barfly cetaceans lining up for the 'kegger.'

Re:Carbon Footprint? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606868)

but you + the previous sequencers become neutral together.

Re:Carbon Footprint? (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606208)

That's exactly my point. The whales in the article are not themselves carbon-neutral, it's just that the ecosystem around them has evolved to keep balance. If it hadn't, the whales (and a lot of other things) would no longer be around.

Re:Carbon Footprint? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32607072)

Then how do you explain Volcanoes. The spew so much toxic gases. The need to get their act together and become carbon neutral.

You gotta be kidding me (2, Insightful)

boneclinkz (1284458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606016)

"...in an awesome example of design by Mother Nature..." Please tell me this was artistic license on the part of the author, and not the actual words of a researcher on the project.

Don't be too hard on yourselves (1, Funny)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606030)

If only we humans could say the same for our poop, which really doesn't do much more than just sit there.

As humans, aren't we a little too hard on ourselves? First, we criticize ourselves for cutting down trees. Then, we criticize ourselves for global warming. Now, we criticize ourselves because our poops suck? Sheesh. When will it end?

Re:Don't be too hard on yourselves (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606094)

Seriously, does anyone really know whether it makes good fertilizer?

Re:Don't be too hard on yourselves (2, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606158)

Define 'good'. It will grow plants. It will smell very, very bad.

Carbon Footprint? (4, Insightful)

lax-goalie (730970) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606036)

Sperm whales have a carbon footprint? What? From the Hummers they're driving, or all the coal-burning power plants they've built?

I know this is Idle on Slashdot, but man, that is the dumbest headline I've seen in a while.

Re:Carbon Footprint? (5, Funny)

lupinstel (792700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606062)

Yeah... They don't even have feet!

Re:Carbon Footprint? (1)

nephilimsd (936642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606960)

Is telling us that whales don't have feet REALLY informative? Come on, mods!

Re:Carbon Footprint? (1)

Speedcraver (868818) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606102)

So do sperm whales have their own giant version of Mr. Hankey, and is his wife a giant lush?

Re:Carbon Footprint? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606250)

Sperm whales have a carbon footprint? What? From the Hummers they're driving, or all the coal-burning power plants they've built?

Dude, you're getting riled up about the wrong error in that sentence. Whales don't even have feet! How the fuck are they supposed to have footprints?

At the very least, we could say something about them offsetting their carbon tailsplash, or their carbon wake. Let's first be sensitive to the feelings of our podiacally challenged friends in the sea, before we challenge them on their wasteful use of fossil fuels.

Oh, and by the way, we don't really know what goes on at deep diving depths for sperm whales. For all we know, they could be driving massive submarines that consume ridiculous amounts of oil.

Your articles are enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606100)

Your articles are enough. Just seed them to the ocean.

&This FP for GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606124)

compreHensive to work I'm doing, Niiger Association

What does a Sperm Whale poop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606150)

Volkswagon Beetles?

It's called Iron Seeding, people. (1, Interesting)

JoshDM (741866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606188)

There is nothing new about Iron Seeding, except the people who decry it as something that will destroy our oceans and strip it of oxygen.

This is simply Iron Seeding from a biological standpoint.

In fact, Iron Seeding is something we probably should be doing to help sequester carbon.

Recent url of interest here [planetsave.com] .

Re:It's called Iron Seeding, people. (1)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606276)

The new part is that it comes out of a whale's butt.

Re:It's called Iron Seeding, people. (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606474)

Actually I think it's been happening that way for a while now, it's just the first we've realized it.

Re:It's called Iron Seeding, people. (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606888)

comes out of a whale's butt

Although IANAWA (I am not a whale anatomist), I am reasonably certain that while they have a rectum, they do not have glutei, maximus or minimus.

Re:It's called Iron Seeding, people. (1)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32607222)

From what I can figure you might be right about the glutei. Also male whales have two openings and females have one opening, or as the Spanish would call it, the San Diego.

Re:It's called Iron Seeding, people. (1)

lazn (202878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606466)

Each ton of Iron dumped into the ocean pulls about 1000 tons of carbon out of the air.

http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=34167 [whoi.edu]

Of that a tiny percentage reaches the floor, 20-50% stays in the middle ocean for a few decades, and the rest stays on the top and dies re-releasing the CO2 back into the air.

Each ton of iron smelted from ore creates 2.5 tons of CO2 (not counting transportation), about equal to that tiny percentage that actually gets sequestered, so if you have to move the iron at all (which you do if you want it out of the ground) then your net result in a few decades is adding CO2 to the air.

Not that I am actually all that worried about C02.. I think Methane is a bigger problem and easier target.

DNA (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606226)

How long before someone decides that we need to do a DNA makeover so that we humans will produce whale shit?

Your children will sit down, and drop a half-ton of half digested krill. Combine this with those low-flush toilets mandated by law, and you just know that a disaster is just waiting to happen.

Al Gore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606274)

Could we pump him full of Iron Supplements and let him decay in the ocean? Would that sequester more carbon than he does every day?

Just an FYI (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606288)

>I'm going to do my part by buying some iron supplements and a can of chili, and heading off towards the ocean.

Men and children should not take iron supplements beyond what is found in food as it can be dangerous [ezinearticles.com] . Women, who lose some blood on a monthly basis, can take iron supplements. Consult with your physician.

Farming (2, Interesting)

lewiscr (3314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606334)

These whales aren't reducing their carbon footprint, they're farming. They're fertilizing the fields of phytoplankton, which works it way back up the food chain.

Re:Farming (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606624)

They're doing neither, as both farming and "carbon footprint reduction" require intent. Without intent, this is just another case of "shit happens."

Re:Farming (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32607392)

So tell me... How exactly did you prove there is no intent?
And as a bonus question: How exactly do you prove that you yourself are doing anything with intent?

Ah, interesting, I already had you on my freak list.

Footprint? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606346)

Whales don't have feet!

Newsflash! (4, Informative)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606356)

Wow. Organisms that are part of a balanced ecosystem are in fact in balance with their surrounding ecosystem. What's next? The revelation that planets in orbit around the sun do not in fact fly off into space because they follow a curved path centered around the parent body? Must be a slow news day.

Trees (1)

mldi (1598123) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606362)

Don't they do the same thing?

Yes! (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606386)

Whales are so cool. I bet they'd know how to fix the Louisiana BP/Deep Water Horizon fiasco too.

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32606444)

Top scat?

Slashdot's carbon footprint? (0)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606782)

Does this imply that the Idle section helps to offset Slashdot's carbon footprint?
Just asking...

Where does the iron come from? (1)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606818)

What I want to know is where the iron is supposed to have come from. Several sources I have read have neatly ignored this.

Sperm whales (or any other whales for that matter) do not manufacture iron. They must take it in in their diet. Surely this means that iron is just being circulated around? Perhaps the whale takes iron that would otherwise fall to the ocean floor and circulates it back to the surface?

Re:Where does the iron come from? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32607102)

Hey, you aren't supposed to look behind the curtain! The mighty Wizard of Algore sees all, and knows all! You aren't supposed to criticize his most wonderous pronouncements! And everyone who listens to the news knows, whales and dolphins are much smarter than humans. Just look at how much more advanced their technology is compared to ours!

In other news (0, Flamebait)

AnAdventurer (1548515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32606828)

The earth can take care of it's self in the absence of humans

super (1)

deuterium (96874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32607154)

"They've well and truly bypassed being carbon neutral. They've actually gone one step further,"

What? They did? Fuck me. What is the point of this article? The whales don't know anything about this, they're just taking a shit. Maybe this supports seeding the ocean with iron, but I bet the same authors would blanch at that idea. This is just useless, idealistic drivel. Jesus Christ, slashdot.

Beyond the nitrogen cycle (1)

base_chakra (230686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32607454)

...an action that releases tons of iron a year and stimulates the growth of phytoplankton which absorb and trap carbon dioxide. If only we humans could say the same for our poop, which really doesn't do much more than just sit there."

Of course human "poop" has a similar role; the waste of every single organism does. In fact, there is no such thing as "waste" per se, only input and output. Your poop is for some species food, for others a home, and for others a womb.

This is a crucial part of the cycle of life. Once organisms adapt into symbiosis, they eat and grow together without harming each other. The beneficial bacteria in your gut secrete enzymes that digest your food, as well as organic chemicals that allow your immune system to function healthily. Such a relationship can take a long time to form. Symbiosis is a primary goal of biological evolution. There is nothing bad or shameful or evil or naughty or worthless about what you urinate or defecate. In fact, it is exactly the opposite.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?