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Underwater Sonar Linked To Whale Deaths

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the killer-sound dept.

Earth 187

An anonymous reader writes "A group of scientists have confirmed a link between the sonar used by Exxon Mobil to map the ocean floor for oil and the death of melon-headed whales. From the article: 'A spokesman for ExxonMobil said the company disagrees with the findings. "ExxonMobil believes the panel's finding about the multi-beam echo sounder is unjustified due to the lack of certainty of information and observations recorded during the response efforts in 2008," spokesman Patrick McGinn told AFP in an email. He added that observers employed by the Madagascar government and the oil giant "were on board the vessel and did not observe any whales in the area."'"

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That's it (5, Funny)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 10 months ago | (#44986487)

We can only use overwater sonar from now on.

Exxon's Response (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986551)

"ExxonMobil believes the panel's finding about the multi-beam echo sounder is unjustified due to the lack of certainty of information and observations recorded during the response efforts in 2008"

This is a perfect example of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). Well done legal team!

Re:Exxon's Response (4, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 10 months ago | (#44986803)

Is this real or a joke? I'm looking forward to finding out how simple of a cause-effect relationship can be denied. This is basically the equivalent of finding that the neighbor's eardrums were blown out due to you setting off explosions in your back yard, so it's pretty straightforward.

Re:Exxon's Response (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 10 months ago | (#44987119)

Inb4 "correlation is not causation" asshats.

Re:Exxon's Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987151)

"Is this real or a joke? I'm looking forward to finding out how simple of a cause-effect relationship can be denied. This is basically the equivalent of finding that the neighbor's eardrums were blown out due to you setting off explosions in your back yard, so it's pretty straightforward."

The neighbors all moved out since a couple of them died or went deaf.
So you'd be right to say that no neighbor was inconvenienced by your explosions.

Re:Exxon's Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987399)

No, it isn't a simple cause and effect relationship. They said it is the most plausible explanation - that is far from being "cause and effect". This reminds me of the complaints that cell phones are killing bees because some luddites don't like cell phones.

Went something to the effect of:

Effect: Bees are dieing!
Cause: We don't know all of the effects of cell phone radiation, so clearly this is the most plausible explanation.

Blow out that torch and put that pitch fork back in your barn, for now.

Re:Exxon's Response (5, Insightful)

hazem (472289) | about 10 months ago | (#44987655)

Except there's a solid causal mechanism in play here. Whales are known to have particularly sensitive sound-receiving organs that also also known to be sensitive to extremely loud sounds like explosions and sonar. And it just so happens that someone was using a highly focused sonar in the time and space these whales turned up dead.

By your logic, a guy going into an auditorium and shooting a bunch of bullets isn't necessarily the cause of all the people found dead there with bullet-holes in them. There's just not a cause and effect relationship... sure, it's a plausible explanation, but that's far from being 'cause and effect'.

Re:Exxon's Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987861)

Yea, but...the ocean is a pretty noisy place. Underwater volcano's and earthquakes, mud slides and all sorts of other animals making noises. Sound propigates irregularly due to differences in density caused by temperature and salinity changes and often. So the assumption is, not that the whales could hear the sonar, but that the sonar somehow drove them to ground themselves.

And no, it is not a case of blowing up bombs in your backyard and causing your neighbors to go deaf, nor like shooting a gun at your neighbor causing bullet holes. More like shooting a gun off in your backyard, and your neighbor two blocks away jumps off a cliff. Oh, and I would be really surprised if there were not a lot of other neighbors (and marine mammals) in the general area that did not jump off the cliff.

Did the gunshot scare that neighbor enough to jump off the cliff? Maybe, but not nearly as clear causal relationship as you imply.

Re:Exxon's Response (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 10 months ago | (#44986985)

I see the uncertainty and doubt, but where's the fear? Have they suggested that the whale deaths may have been caused by murderous mutant whales who will soon turn to eating human babies?

Re:Exxon's Response (1)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | about 10 months ago | (#44987101)

The way I look at FUD is "Fear AND/OR uncertainty AND/OR doubt" rather than "Fear AND uncertainty AND doubt". All 3 are not required to nuke the chances of something happening (in this case, Exxonmobil being held to account for those melon headed whales).

On another note, I like melons as do many other people I'm sure. But why in the hell are those whales heading for melons?!

Re:Exxon's Response (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 10 months ago | (#44987487)

Because they canteloupe

Re:That's it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986589)

A group of scientists have confirmed a link between the sonar, used by Exxon Mobil to map the ocean floor for oil, and the death of melon-headed whales.

If it destroys all melonheaded creatures maybe we can take this sonar thru the nation's trailer parks and eliminate a future generation of white trash welfare recipients. Now that's crime prevention!

Re:That's it (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#44986681)

It didn't destroy anything. From what I understand of the article, it scared them into shallow waters where they beached themselves and died.

The reason for the doubt is that melon-headed whales beach themselves anyway with surprising frequency.

Re:That's it (5, Insightful)

geogob (569250) | about 10 months ago | (#44986713)

The reason for the doubt is that melon-headed whales beach themselves anyway with surprising frequency.

The interesting question is, how can you tell this surprisingly high frequency ist not due to sonars?

Re:That's it (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#44986797)

I don't know enough about whale beaching to answer that.

Re:That's it (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 10 months ago | (#44986817)

I don't know if you actually read TFA, I didn't, but from reading this news elsewhere they found that the creatures' hearing organs were damaged. They weren't just scared into beaching themselves.

Re:That's it (3, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#44986863)

There's no mention of damaged hearing organs in the article. The article is poorly written, but here is a relevant quote:

The five-member independent scientific review panel said the vessel's MBES was "the most plausible and likely behavioral trigger for the animals initially entering the lagoon system."

There have been reports of damaged hearing organs in other cases, so you are probably thinking about news that you read about Florida. In this case, the article has no mention of ear damage.

Re:That's it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986991)

A group of scientists have confirmed a link between the sonar, used by Exxon Mobil to map the ocean floor for oil, and the death of melon-headed whales.

If it destroys all melonheaded creatures maybe we can take this sonar thru the nation's trailer parks and eliminate a future generation of white trash welfare recipients. Now that's crime prevention!

If you were forced to live in a trailer because for whatever reason that's all you could afford you probably wouldn't make a joke of it. Some people choose to but that's not the point. Don't roll all of them up into your little criminally compartmentalized mind.

Re:That's it (1, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 10 months ago | (#44987121)

Not to mention replace trailer park with ghetto and white trash with black and you'll see its just good old fashioned racism, pure and simple.

Although I have noticed that some on the left refuse to acknowledge racism if it is directed at whites, i don't know if it is the so called "white guilt" or some sort of perverse "getting even" thinking but I have noticed that they refuse to acknowledge racism if it comes from blacks or if it is directed at whites, see huffPo as the most obvious example but there are plenty of others.

Re:That's it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987599)

+1!

Re:That's it (1)

cusco (717999) | about 10 months ago | (#44987657)

I make fun of rednecks because I grew up with them. My co-worker makes fun of 'ghetto niggers' because he grew up with them. Is either one of those 'racism'? I suppose it depends on what definition you use.

Re:That's it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987471)

Better yet, use it to get rid of all those melon headed republicans that are ruining this country.

Re:That's it (-1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 10 months ago | (#44986657)

We can only use overwater sonar from now on.

Okay, but there's only a very limited supply of CNN news anchors. How do you propose mass-production of these loud creatures? And how do we deal with the humanitarian problems created from widespread use?

Re:That's it (0)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 10 months ago | (#44986953)

You're thinking too narrow. There is a glut of news anchors when you expand your search to all news outlets. You even get premium, high-volume ones if you include Fox and MSNBC. Just remember not to use them together, because the opposing biases would cancel themselves out.

Re:That's it (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 10 months ago | (#44986999)

Not to mention NFL announcers and Jersey Shore alumni

Re:That's it (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | about 10 months ago | (#44987911)

You're thinking too narrow. There is a glut of news anchors when you expand your search to all news outlets. You even get premium, high-volume ones if you include Fox and MSNBC. Just remember not to use them together, because the opposing biases would cancel themselves out.

The bias of all network news (at the moment) is conflict and irresponsible speculation (first to report). Thus, Fox and MSNBC don't cancel each other out, but feed off each other.

Peek-a-boo? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986493)

If I can't see whales, then they aren't there. Lame.

Re:Peek-a-boo? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986639)

If I can't see whales, then they aren't there. Lame.

No your lame. At night you can't see the niggers but they're definitely there. Tell a joke and make one smile for a sec and you will see them by there teeth!

Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 10 months ago | (#44986515)

"ExxonMobil believes the panel's finding about the multi-beam echo sounder is unjustified due to the lack of certainty of information and observations recorded during the response efforts in 2008," spokesman Patrick McGinn told AFP in an email. He added that observers employed by the Madagascar government and the oil giant "were on board the vessel and did not observe any whales in the area."'"

Certainty of information: Nobody requires absolute certainty in science. In fact, even the court system, sad as it is, needs it -- it requires "beyond reasonable doubt", whereas science is similarily situated at "best model that fits the facts". Type of cognitive distortion ExxonMobile uses here: All-or-nothing thinking.

Out of date observations: It's 2013 now. By carefully hand picking your data set to be only, say, 2008, or pre-2008, you are discounting everything that came after. One supposes that an extra five years' worth of observations, we'd be able to narrow in on a cause. But let's humor them and take just 2008. In February of that year, before the incident in question, the US courts found there was enough evidence that high energy sonar was killing whales to ask the military to reduce its use in naval operations [enn.com] .

Impartial observers: Let me sum this one up real easy -- "Managment finds no problem with the management." The government was paid a lot of money to go along with Exxon, and employees of Exxon I think we can safely say aren't impartial observers. So one of the most basic things required for proper fact gathering went right out the window. This is, in effect, an admission that ExxonMobile has no valid data points from which to draw any conclusions whatsoever. It is, from a scientific perspective, pure speculation. "We're not wrong because, er, we saw ourselves doing nothing wrong." Okay... what about everyone else? "We didn't ask them."

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 10 months ago | (#44986547)

P.S. The lack of whales being observed in the area might be attributable to all the observers being in a boat, above the ocean, rather than in the ocean, where the whales live. And regardless, the piles of dead whales that started washing up on shore is a good indication that whatever methodology used was deeply flawed... Perhaps they were simply listening for the whales in between their exceptionally high power sonar tests... that may have already killed or incapacitated them.

So again, this is "cover my ass" commentary, not proper science. Proper science would note that corpses washed ashore in great number after, and conclude using indirect evidence, that observational methodology was flawed, then try to figure out why... not keep doing it for the next six years while continually saying ghosts and boogymen killed and then dragged the dead whales onto shore in the night, because otherwise wouldn't we have noticed them prior to us corpsifying them?

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986715)

Look, as somebody who actually works in this industry and sometimes on this shit, multibeam sounders operate on very high frequencies, way over what whales can perceive. It's like blowing a dog whistle, the vibrations are there but you can't perceive it. What's hilarious here is that the Slashdot circle-jerkers are already screaming EXXON...BAAAAD! Nobody likes big oil, everytime you go to the pump you are fellating some rich, filthy Arab.

But do you know what kind of sonar does make whales' ears bleed? The big fucking' spherical and cylindrical arrays you find in the tips of the bulbous dicks of ships and submarines. Assuming sonar is causing whales to beach, it's probably due to naval maneuvers or shipping routes of larger cargo ships rather than a multibeam echosounder. Have you even seen a fucking multibeam? The transducer array is roughly the size of a shoebox.

Idiots. I'm surrounded by goddamn idiots!

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re: Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986823)

Yeah, but those ships bring smartphones and computers to us so they are ok

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987055)

Just to be clear, you are saying this entire section is wrong?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_sounding#Hydrography [wikipedia.org]

Although I couldn't find anything definitive on the hearing ranges for this type of whale, it is reasonable that that can hear up to 50 or 60 kHx:

http://www.hmmc.org/MarMammSpp/Peponcephala/Peponcephala.html [hmmc.org]

Beluga whales can hear double that at the high end, and both are well within the range for some of the lower frequencies used for multibeam sounders.

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (3, Informative)

pupsocket (2853647) | about 10 months ago | (#44987163)

From the article: "The culprit was named as a high-power 12 kilohertz multibeam echosounder system, or MBES, operated by an ExxonMobil vessel on May 29 about 65 kilometers offshore from the first known stranding......The sounds would have been 'clearly audible over many hundreds of square kilometers of melon headed whale deep water habitat areas.'"

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (4, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 10 months ago | (#44987247)

Look, as somebody who actually works in this industry

... And whose identity is "Anonymous"

, multibeam sounders operate on very high frequencies, way over what whales can perceive.

And yet, I can take away your hearing by emitting ultrasound if it's powerful enough. You won't hear yourself going deaf, you'll just go deaf. Actually, I can even kill you [wikipedia.org] with exposure of 180dB of ultrasound. But, working (anonymously) in the industry, you'd know that frequency is only part of the equation.

What's hilarious here is that the Slashdot circle-jerkers are already screaming EXXON...BAAAAD!

Statements like these definately add to your credibility. By making juvenile sexual jokes, it's immediately obvious to everyone that this is a man who makes six figures in the field of Oceanography.

But do you know what kind of sonar does make whales' ears bleed?

Yes: The very loud kind. Just like any other animal's ears. In fact, whale's ears are more suseptible to damage due to high decibel emissions than humans because in the human ear, air waves hit a membrane behind which there is a liquid-filled area, thus the energy of the wave can be dissipated; Pressure waves travelling through air are much less powerful than underwater, because of the density of the medium. Whales, unfortunately, have inner ears filled with the same liquid is its surrounding environment, and at the same pressure... meaning there is no transitive barrier to protect them.

The big fucking' spherical and cylindrical arrays you find in the tips of the bulbous dicks of ships and submarines.

Well, without knowing which ship was involved in a 6 year old incident, it's impossible to know whether any phallic-shaped devices were mounted to the ship. However, while lacking your literary ability in the many uses of the word 'fuck', an independent science team, perhaps with less impressive credentials than yours, found the ships' activities were the likely cause [huffingtonpost.com] of the sudden displacement and eventual death of the whales. Oh, and the names of the members of that scientific team were the International Whaling Commission, the US Marine Mammal Commission, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, ExxonMobil Exploration and Production (Northern Madagascar) Ltd, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Government of Madagascar. They all think you're full of crap, but what would over a hundred scientists know compared to someone who swears like a sailor anonymously on slashdot?

Have you even seen a fucking multibeam? The transducer array is roughly the size of a shoebox.

You must have very big feet then [noaa.gov] . That's a picture of the NOAA's multibeam echosounder, an ER60 [kongsberg.com] . It is a low-power model, and in this case is being used to track the migratory movements of fish, and is of limited range. The kind that several sources have indicated were used by ExxonMobile inject high pressure air into the water; These are considerably larger, and more powerful, than these systems, which modulate a diaphram. It's the difference between your laptop's speakers, and a pneumatically-driven organ like those seen at older churches. Needless to say, the organ is much louder.

Idiots. I'm surrounded by goddamn idiots!

Yeah... I know this feeling well. Look at how often I get downmodded for providing factual and relevant commentary, instead of simply screaming a string of expletives and making juvenile references to penises. If only I did that more, I too could get upmodded as you have been. Alas, my stubborn devotion to remaining unbiased and doing my best to find relevant supporting facts... well... it fucks me every time.

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987405)

I have read and understood your post and finally decided upon a worthy and appropriate response: NIGGERS!

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (1)

d18c7db (1031260) | about 10 months ago | (#44987359)

Wow, interesting choice of words, "some rich, filthy Arab" has an entirely different meaning from "some filthy rich Arab" yet is close enough to slip under the radar. I bet when you talk you're actually calling them "those filthy A - rabs".

We saw none, therefore we did not drive them away. (2)

pupsocket (2853647) | about 10 months ago | (#44987155)

Exxon-Mobil's argument that saw no whales only fortifies the suspicion that they were driving the whales away.

Re:We saw none, therefore we did not drive them aw (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 10 months ago | (#44987331)

Exxon-Mobil's argument that saw no whales only fortifies the suspicion that they were driving the whales away.

Dude, stop using basic deductive reasoning. It'll get you into trouble on this website. Judging by the moderation on this thread, you need to swear more, use exclaimation points, and call everyone a moron -- this is apparently how you win arguments now.

Re:We saw none, therefore we did not drive them aw (1)

Xeno man (1614779) | about 10 months ago | (#44987421)

Exxon-Mobil's argument that saw no whales only fortifies the suspicion that they were driving the whales away.

I have this rock that keeps bears away that I'm willing to sell you. It works because I don't see any bears around here.

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986641)

Don't like it? Don't use their fucking product. Sell your car, sell your computers, get the fuck off of Slashdot or you're in it too.

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 10 months ago | (#44986673)

Don't like it? Don't use their fucking product. Sell your car, sell your computers, get the fuck off of Slashdot or you're in it too.

I swear, there's one guy out here and all he does is prepare bland one-liners like this and copy-paste them after every post and then wait out the timer to do it again.

When you can be replaced by a 7 line perl script, what does that say about your contributions and general intelligence?

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986769)

I'm not him, but why did you attack him in your response instead of addressing his points. I believe he made a valid point and you should follow his suggestion if you really believe this is a problem. Instead we end up getting people like Al Gore saying its the end of the world unless you buy carbon offset cards from him making him millions of dollars while he flys private jets and lives in houses the size of neighbourhoods.

Do you REALLY care? Or is this just another way you can "stick it to corporations"? I've talked extensively with many liberals and it always comes down to 2 issues no matter what they are talking about and getting rid of corporations is one of them. The only conclusion I can make from your response is you don't really care and are only posting to use whale deaths to promote your own political view. At least he isn't trying to benefit from whale deaths and I would vote him more ethical and honest than you.

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986811)

Haha, right, the one demanding people suck it up or hit the bricks is the one who isn't politically motivated. Makes sense. What color was Ron Paul's unicorn today, Mr. Crazy-pants?

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986807)

Nobody requires absolute certainty in science. In fact, even the court system, sad as it is, needs it -- it requires "beyond reasonable doubt", whereas science is similarily situated at "best model that fits the facts".

That is not a sad thing at all. The number of wrongful convictions that happen in spite of this high standard is the truly sad thing. We should not lock people away and destroy their lives on anything less than the best possible evidence that they deserve it.

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (1)

westlake (615356) | about 10 months ago | (#44987007)

Nobody requires absolute certainty in science. In fact, even the court system, sad as it is, needs it -- it requires "beyond reasonable doubt", whereas science is similarily situated at "best model that fits the facts".

"Proven beyond any reasonable doubt" is the standard for conviction in a US criminal court, where the jury is expected to come to a decision based on the weight of the evidence, not their opinion of the defendant. You can never be certain, you can only go with what you have.

The charge did at one point instruct that to convict, guilt must be found beyond a reasonable doubt; but it then equated a reasonable doubt with a ''grave uncertainty'' and an ''actual substantial doubt,'' and stated that what was required was a ''moral certainty' 'that the defendant was guilty. It is plain to us that the words ''substantial'' and ''grave,'' as they are commonly understood, suggest a higher degree of doubt than is required for acquittal under the reasonable doubt standard. When those statements are then considered with the reference to ''moral certainty,'' rather than evidentiary certainty, it becomes clear that a reasonable juror could have interpreted the instruction to allow a finding of guilt based on a degree of proof below that required by the Due Process Clause.

Tommy CAGE v. LOUISIANA. [cornell.edu]

Re:Cognitive Errors, Courtesy Exxon (1)

fred911 (83970) | about 10 months ago | (#44987265)

In a civil matters the burden is weighed by the preponderance of the evidence.

Anti-oil propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986521)

I'm not a fan of oil companies but this is just environmental whackjob propaganda. We know that Wind Energy is responsible for the deaths of lots of protected birds. I think they kill a few dozen bald eagles every year in the U.S. with windmills.

But the 'green' movement is working on getting legal protection for windmills killing flying animals. Even if they are endangered species. Got to protect your 'green' energy companies and stock value and profits. But big oil is the 'true evil' (because they compete with other energy companies).

If underwater sonar killed whales then WWII would have depopulated the entire ocean area where combat took place. Subs would ping anything and everything. Radar, sonar, passive sonar, anything you can do to either detect the enemy, an allied vessel, or just practice for the real thing.

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 10 months ago | (#44986577)

Even if wind turbines do kill birds, they are still far less damaging than coal or gas.

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (1)

fafaforza (248976) | about 10 months ago | (#44986753)

My liberal educators taught me that the ends don't justify the means. You can't be for killing one species of animal, and against killing another.

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 10 months ago | (#44987029)

You can't be for killing one species of animal, and against killing another.

Whales don't poop on my car! And... and... STAR TREK IV!!!

More seriously, I agree with your educators... but then, I love education so...

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (3, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 10 months ago | (#44987325)

The issue is not whether an individual member of the species is harmed, but instead whether the species as a whole is driven to extinction. Killing Deer? Fine by me. Killing Rhinos? Serious problem.

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 10 months ago | (#44987387)

You make a good argument that wind generators are a serious problem.

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 10 months ago | (#44987633)

Wind generators kill rhinos?

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 10 months ago | (#44987723)

A wind farm, improvidently sited, could theoretically interfere with the migration of a threatened, or endangered species. That's no reason to ban wind farms, but scientists have an obligation to see if those theoretical concerns will amount to a serious threat to the survival of a particular species.

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 10 months ago | (#44987337)

In the real world we make trade offs. Cars result in thousands of deaths a year, but are too useful to give up on.

If we gave up on electricity far more people would die.

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 10 months ago | (#44987397)

And those ships utilizing sonar carry medical supplies. Like you said, it's a tradeoff.

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 10 months ago | (#44987533)

My liberal educators taught me that the ends don't justify the means.

Did your liberal educators give you no insight into situations where all decisions have what would normally be unacceptable consequences, or did they just suggest you stick your head between your legs and hope it goes away?

Many absolutely can be in favour of a decision that leads to deaths if it avoids something worse, if that is something you are unwilling or unable to do then let us hope that you are never put in a situation where it matters.

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 10 months ago | (#44987375)

But equally as damaging as sonar is to whales, which was the point.

Re:Anti-oil propaganda (3, Informative)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 10 months ago | (#44986587)

We know that Wind Energy is responsible for the deaths of lots of protected birds.

Wrong.

http://www.sibleyguides.com/conservation/causes-of-bird-mortality/ [sibleyguides.com]
http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/wind-turbine-kill-birds.htm [howstuffworks.com]

Sorry, but you are wrong... (1, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 10 months ago | (#44986867)

As much as you like to pretend wind energy has no cost, it very much in fact does kill birds, including eagles [huffingtonpost.com] .

The problem for you and your fellow revisionists is that people can actually see wind farms killing birds. So you can bring up all the studies you like but it doesn't change what actually happens in real life.

Re:Sorry, but you are wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987625)

Skin the Birds, thats for dinner!

Exxon Mobile's new mission statement (5, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | about 10 months ago | (#44986527)

"We're no worse than anyone else and you can't prove otherwise"

Re:Exxon Mobile's new mission statement (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 10 months ago | (#44986561)

"We're no worse than anyone else and you can't prove otherwise"

It is perhaps fortunate then that we use different standards of evidence in the courts and in science than self-rating one's behavior. Because if we did that, we'd all be above average drivers. It's always the other guy's fault.

Re:Exxon Mobile's new mission statement (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 10 months ago | (#44987159)

More like "We can get away with it - we're not limeys!".

Why don't we shape our sounds to be like whales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986533)

All in the subject.

Why don't we use sounds that are very similar to the sounds whales make?

Whale sounds seem to be used for echo location and travel far underwater.

Re:Why don't we shape our sounds to be like whales (1)

pipatron (966506) | about 10 months ago | (#44986711)

Maybe they already sound very similar to the sounds whales make, and maybe that's why the whales get disoriented and stranded.

Re:Why don't we shape our sounds to be like whales (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 10 months ago | (#44986841)

1. They wouldn't be loud enough, they need very powerful sound for this mapping, that's what damaged the whales' hearing.

2. Don't you think mimicking whale calls might confuse the whales?

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986555)

Are dead whales less useful than live whales? For what?

Disgusted at humans :-( (2, Insightful)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 10 months ago | (#44986557)

If some enlightened alien race came to earth and wiped us out after having looked at the atrocious way we treat other humans and all life on this planet, I'd understand. We don't deserve to live here.

Re:Disgusted at humans :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986599)

Speak for yourself.

I will gladly slaughter every animal, plant, insect, single celled organism if that means I get another day of life.

Go slit your own wrists if you feel so strongly about it, you crazy hippie.

Re:Disgusted at humans :-( (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#44986609)

What about your fellow humans, and their kids, you psychopathic nut?

Re:Disgusted at humans :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986891)

I will slaughter them too, liberal. I will kill kill kill anything and everything I don't like. GLORY HALLELUJAH!

Re:Disgusted at humans :-( (4, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | about 10 months ago | (#44986629)

Why are these hypothetical aliens always so judgmental and intolerant? What did they ever do for anyone? They have the energy to get here from other planets, but they've left us here, alone, digging in the sand for something to burn to keep from freezing in the winter. And now they want to sit on their thrones and second-guess our choices? Fuck them.

Re:Disgusted at humans :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986739)

Why are these hypothetical aliens always so judgmental and intolerant?

Because it's a way to compare ourselves to a higher standard without acknowledging that maybe there's a God. Sadly most people got their God-concept from someone else and not from the beauty within themselves, so that too includes all the judgmental intolerance you noticed. Nothing has done so much to ruin genuine spirituality and personal growth quite like organized religions which are normally fear-based and used to placate the masses.

It's currently fashionable to smugly shit on people of faith to get a feeling of superiority. It's done to escape the quiet desperation and dissatisfaction with life so many live with today. When that becomes less fashionable you will hear less about these kinds of aliens. Sadly, it will probably be the same process applied to a different subject because people who get their jollies this way are doing it to avoid change and personal growth. See the first step to personal growth is to take an honest look at the ugliness within yourself and take responsibility for it instead of making excuses. People who need to feel superior are trying to compensate for the feeling of powerlessness, emptiness, and inferiority they won't admit to themselves.

So yes, it's the same thing people have done with "God" over the years, using "God" as a bludgeon to demand that others conform to how they think one should live. Aliens is just another value for the variable in the same tired old equation. You really did ask a good question there if I may say so.

Re:Disgusted at humans :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986775)

They have the energy to get here from other planets

And most likely would have had to go through their own period of pillaging their planet to move up the technology totem pole to get to where they are now. You'd think that the OP-specified enlightened race would remember that and sympathise rather than be violent.

Re:Disgusted at humans :-( (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 10 months ago | (#44986905)

Please learn the meaning of tolerance in the political context, it's not the same as in the mechanical context.

Re:Disgusted at humans :-( (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 10 months ago | (#44987437)

Webster's Unabridged

Tolerance:
a permissive or liberal attitude toward beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own : sympathy or indulgence for diversity in thought or conduct : breadth of spirit or of viewpoint

Please explain how he used the word incorrectly.

Re:Disgusted at humans :-( (4, Insightful)

niftydude (1745144) | about 10 months ago | (#44987293)

In the past the whales had been able to sing to each other across whole oceans, even from one ocean to another because sound travels such huge distances underwater. But now, again because of the way in which sound travels, there is no part of the ocean that is not constantly jangling with the hubbub of ships’ motors, through which it is now virtually impossible for the whales to hear each other’s songs or messages.

So fucking what, is pretty much the way that people tend to view this problem, and understandably so, thought Dirk. After all, who wants to hear a bunch of fat fish, oh all right, mammals, burping at each other?

But for a moment Dirk had a sense of infinite loss and sadness that somewhere amongst the frenzy of information noise that daily rattled the lives of men he thought he might have heard a few notes that denoted the movements of gods.

Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, 1988

Of course there were no whales nearby (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986573)

When your stunningly sensitive hearing detects a large metal plate gong "BONG-BONG-BONG" at 120 decibels, not only does it hurt and you get away, but it ruins your navigation anywhere near the sonar vessel like staring at an oncoming row of trucks with all their high beams turned on will encourage you to get the heck out of the road.

Also, dead whales usually sink, not float, at least when they actually die.

Re:Of course there were no whales nearby (2)

Solandri (704621) | about 10 months ago | (#44987161)

1. "120 decibels" is meaningless. Sound waves vary with the type of medium, and attenuates with distance. dB are always measured with respect to a certain pressure and distance, usually 1 uPa and 1 meter from the sound source. Further than that, the dB will be lower (-40 dB at 100 meters).

2. A typical sonar will be about 180-200 dB re 1 uPa 1 m, with the powerful one the US Navy was using being about 226 dB. That isn't because the sound is louder (measured as how much your eardrum moves). It's because water is a denser medium than air, and thus requires more energy to create a wave of the same pressure as in air. The sonar the whales themselves emit is about 170-190 dB re 1 uPa 1 m, with peaks exceeding 220 dB [google.com] .

3. Dead whales float. The same bacteria which decompose human bodies and make them float do the same in whales. In a body as large as a whale, the buildup of these gases can be so great it causes the corpse to explode [bbc.co.uk] . It will eventually sink, but usually only after scavengers like sharks have stripped away most of the low-density tissue, leaving mostly high-density bones.

No! Not At All. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986605)

If you read the actual report [iwc.int] , you'll see these statements:

"There is no uneqiovocal and easily identifiable single cause of this event,"

"This is the first known such marine mammal mass stranding event closely associated with relatively high-frequency mapping sonar systems,"

"MBES systems (similar) to the 12 kHz source used in this case are in fact commonly used in hydrographic surveys around the world over large areas without such events being previously documented."

"There may well be a very low probability that the operation of such sources will induce marine mammal strandings,"

Right (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 10 months ago | (#44986697)

Right. How did the report ignore the 240 decibel [oceanmammalinst.org] pings used to find stealth submarines?

Regardless of the case... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986643)

who in their right mind would believe an oil company? Out of all the sociopathic entities known as corporations, oil companies are the lying, destructive ringleaders.

From the same scientist (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 10 months ago | (#44986669)

That more than likely also believe in man made global warming. Sorry...not buying it.

Re:From the same scientist (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 10 months ago | (#44986889)

Pretty much all of them do...looks like you'll have to become a voodoo witch-doctor. And avoid any of the natural cures they used that modern scientists have found to actually work.

Already knew this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986691)

This isn't really news. Or at least when I read it, I was not at all surprised. We've known for a long time that military sonar is very disruptive to whales and that the noise from boats in general is also disruptive. The sound carries so amazingly far in the ocean. And some of the sonar that the military uses is extremely loud when you compare it to the decibels of, say, being right next to a jet engine, gunshot, etc.

They use "air guns" or something to map underwater oil deposits. Basically make an extremely loud noise and listen for it to bounce back from *beneath* the bottom of the ocean. That's got to deafen the shit out of whales and all the other creatures in the ocean.

Sorry, whales. Really, really sorry. You're probably far more intelligent than we are, but we got thumbs and boats and appetites for meat and oil, so just die already.

Re:Already knew this. (3, Interesting)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 10 months ago | (#44986883)

They use "air guns" or something to map underwater oil deposits. Basically make an extremely loud noise and listen for it to bounce back from *beneath* the bottom of the ocean. That's got to deafen the shit out of whales and all the other creatures in the ocean.

Indeed they do, but it's standard practice to "soft start", i.e. start with low intensity pulses and gradually increase in order to give marine mammals chance to keep enough distance. Also there are observers on the ships to look out for any creatures that might be affected and stop if necessary.

Re:Already knew this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987085)

Do you have any idea how well sound travels through water? Because of the much higher density it travels much further, much faster than it does through air. There is no way an observer on the ship could possible see whales, even if they were breaching the surface, at the 'still dangerous' range due to the curvature of the Earth. Do some research if you don't believe me.

Re:Already knew this. (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 10 months ago | (#44987441)

Do you have any idea how well sound travels through water? Because of the much higher density it travels much further, much faster than it does through air.

That is true, but doesn't change the inverse square law (or just inverse law if we're talking about amplitude). And the energy is mostly directed downwards due to interference with the reflection from the water surface and the design of the airgun array. It could travel a long way by repeatedly reflecting off the water bottom and the surface, but again this will weaken it considerably. The net result is that is only very loud close to the source.

HAARP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44986731)

/. forcing AC voice to be most robust with only one comment daily

Bouncing Highly active dipole extremely low radio frequencies off the ionosphere for communication with submarines around the world by several of the most aggressive governments are KILLING WHALES and WHY SHOULD THEY GIVE A SHIT

Exxon asked the whales... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987009)

Exxon asked a representative of the whales to come in for an interview and fill out a form detailing the effects --if any-- that the sonar had on their habitat and ecosystem. Exxon even sent out a 30 day compliance notice. Not one, --NOT ONE-- whale even bothered to show up for the information seminars. Clearly the whales are either not concerned, or are going about doing one of those 'Environmental Protests' that you hear about. Exxon gave the whales a chance, and they missed it, so now Exxon can do whatever they want. Oh, and science schmiance. Those whale scientists don't know anything about whales either, nor do they know anything about oil.

Pause Before Pitchforks and Torches (1)

Oysterville (2944937) | about 10 months ago | (#44987171)

Before anyone declares that we need to boycott the local Exxon / Mobil gas stations, let's remember that they usually are not owned by Exxon / Mobil and get their gasoline from the same source as the competition down the street.

Some reference (4, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | about 10 months ago | (#44987233)

Most people have no grounds of reference for sound underwater, which can mislead one to wayward conclusions. dB in water is not the same as dB in air. dB is always given relative to a reference pressure and distance, usually re 1 uPa 1 meter. The higher density of water means an equivalent sound volume (in terms of loudness, or amplitude) will have a much higher dB in water.

Typical sonars are about 160-200 dB re 1 uPa 1 m. The US Navy sonar which caused all the controversy years ago was 226 dB if I remember right. Yes these are loud, but remember it's measured at 1 meter. At 100 meters, it will have attenuated by -40 dB.

Yes those are loud, but I'm a little skeptical of all these claims of sonar harming whales because as most of you know, whales and dolphins use sonar themselves. It's typically 170-190 dB re 1 uPa 1m, with peaks over 220 dB [google.com] . They're at different frequencies though (100+ kHz for dolphins, 10-25 kHz for most depth finders, 3 kHz for the Navy sonar), and higher frequencies attenuate more quickly in the water.

Who are you going to believe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987311)

A bunch of "whale scientists" who's only interest is lining their own pockets via publishing "studies" that simply reinforce their own opinions in order to win yet more taxpayer funding or hard working people who are only trying to satisfy the worlds critical demand for oil? How many times do we have to be fooled by alarmist UNscientific acadmic pinheads before we stop listening to their idiocy?

time to move on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987353)

even if they don't believe their sonar affects the whales, is there a reason they continue to use sonar and not some kind of laser based system instead?

possibly deployed on some kind of shark array?

it's not like they can't afford it...

Choices (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44987435)

If the choice is cheaper gas or dead whales, I'll take dead whales. I'm pretty sure the navy isn't going to quit using sonar because it's essential to our submarines.

Seems pretty clear (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 10 months ago | (#44987457)

Whales weren't dying with hemorrages in their ears/heads before the new fangled sonar came out - and now they are.

Get in the water (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 10 months ago | (#44987477)

Exxon seem confident. Then they should go for a dive in the same water and be subject to Sonar. What's not harmful to whales and other sea life could hardly be bad for humans.

Melon-headed whales (3, Funny)

malacandrian (2145016) | about 10 months ago | (#44987647)

A group of scientists have confirmed a link between the sonar, used by Exxon Mobil to map the ocean floor for oil, and the death of melon-headed whales.

The whales are already having a tough time of it, what with the dying. There's no need to insult them as well.

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