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A Whale's Virtual Reality

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the sounds-like-a-good-video-game dept.

Science 21

sciencehabit writes "A surfacing whale is a sight to see, but it would be even more dramatic to watch one ply the ocean depths. Researchers have taken a step closer to doing just that with sophisticated radio-tagging technology and a new computer program that uses the data to recreate a whale's path underwater. The results, which look a bit like a whale riding a roller coaster (see video), are helping scientists understand how the school bus-sized beasts are able to take in enough food to sustain their great girth, and how underwater noises, such as sonar, might affect their well-being."

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21 comments

FRIST (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38616260)

FRIST PSOT, NIGGERS!

Re:FRIST (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38616592)

And here's the representative from Texas.

Re:FRIST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38621192)

For fucks sake, this is a tech site made by techies.

What kind of incompetents are there who can't add some spam detection algorithm to filter out the nigger frist psot crap from ACs???

What? (2, Funny)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 2 years ago | (#38616634)

Virtual reality was way cooler in 90s. That wasn't even first-person.

Re:What? (1)

quickgold192 (1014925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38617238)

Yeah, that was the Roller Coaster Tycoon of whale simulations.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38619450)

Yeah, that was the Roller Coaster Tycoon of whale simulations.

Since my ex-wife likes roller coasters, I guess that makes it a whale simulation, then.

Re:What? (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38624200)

Some roller coaster... a 15 meter dive in 2.5 minutes, then a 180 meter dive in 12 minutes. Then five lunges "in quick succession" (again minutes for a coupe of dozen meters, I would estimate). I think the author of that article has never been on a roller coaster. Also, even if a whale goes straight down, it will still be pretty close to 1g. Boooooring...

how nice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38616680)

It's nice to see researchers taking an interest in Snooki's travel habits.

captcha: planets

Too much time online (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38616812)

I read that last bit as "school-bus sized breasts" and thought "So that's what whales would do with virtual reality?".

Oblig. hhgg reference... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38616828)

I wonder what it would be like if, against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet... I wonder if it will be friends with me... thud.

Not VR. Interesting enough to watch, though. (3, Informative)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38617572)

Kind of interesting, but not at all virtual reality. It's a simple data visualization.

Re:Not VR. Interesting enough to watch, though. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38619762)

This is Slashdot. The FOX NEWS of tech.

Japanese whale hunters will LOVE the "harpoon" pin (2)

ivi (126837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38618294)

My first impression: Lousy whale icon. :-(

My 2nd: Gosh, that location-pin looks like a bloody harpoon! :-(

Waaaaahhh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38618660)

LEAVE the WHALES alone!

"Captain, there be whales!" /spock sucking on a salty sucker

So it thinks "not again" as it falls. This we know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38618812)

Interestingly killer whales don't actually kill humans (unless they're really pissed off) but they do exhibihit intelligence, so much so that fishermen that have been competing with whales for the catch have said the whales were suprised and elated to see humans displaying intelligence in competing with them as the whales had until that point considered they were the only intelligent life on earth. In the same way that us humans get excited when we see a chimp sign something and stuff.

[FX: Spock] Fascinating. (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38620030)

Watching the initial lunge, then looping back through the (I assume) cloud of food reminds me of excessive hours playing Elite [wikipedia.org] in the 1980s (and Oolite [oolite.org] these days) : hit ^H^H^H come across the recently blown-apart carcass of a pirate victim and try to gather as many cargo canisters from the rapidly expanding and dispersing cloud BEFORE they disperse to the solar wind, while trying to play off acceleration time (your fuel scoops only operate at maximum speed) against distance and time used in decelerating and turning to make another pass through the "cloud".

It's a ha-ha-but serious, but several SF authors have speculated about a future where cetaceans are carried on space combat ships because of their instinctive understanding of such zero-G tactics. It took me months of real-time game play to try to get these tactics efficient ; and the whales have developed very similar tactics too. I think that's cool.

In fact, I think that's so cool that I'm going to pass the link (and this comment) to an evolutionary science blogger I subscribe to.

In other news, the energetics of rorqual whales have been under study for a time, with several results being published in the last year or so. Imagine how you'd feel if you fed by running forward at full speed, opening your mouth, and having around your body weight of water slammed into your lower jaw. Sounds like fun? Next time I'm in company with a whale skeleton (hopefully cleaned!), I'm going to be looking at that mandible joint with a new appreciation for what they actually do. Verily, blind chance and disinterested elimination of the comparatively inefficient from the population can perform wonders of pseudo-design!

Why does this remind me of... (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38620214)

Noah: Not that it’s any of your business, but I plan to teach.
Archer: Anthropology.
Noah: What? Yes!
Rip: To, uh, anthropology majors?
Archer: Thus continuing the circle of “Why bother?”

other parameters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38620426)

The tags record depth, sound, and other parameters as the whales swim. [...] The work showed that in one giant gulp, a blue whale—the biggest creature on Earth—takes in 125% of its body weight in water and krill.

How do they measure the weight of the swallowed water from a suction cup on the whale's back?

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