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How the NEPTUNE Project Wired the Ocean

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the In-his-house-at-R'lyeh-dead-Cthulhu-waits-for-his-email dept.

The Internet 46

An anonymous reader writes with a story about a unique 500-mile-long high-speed optical cable project that runs along the Pacific seafloor. "The Juan de Fuca tectonic plate is by far one of the Earth's smallest. It spans just a few hundred kilometers of the Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia coast. But what the Juan de Fuca lacks in size it makes up for in connectivity. It's home to a unique, high-speed optical cabling that has snaked its way across the depths of the Pacific seafloor plate since late 2009. This link is called NEPTUNE—the North-East Pacific Time-Series Underwater Networked Experiment—and, at more than 800 kilometers (about 500 miles), it's about the same length as 40,000 subway cars connected in a single, long train. A team of scientists, researchers, and engineers from the not-for-profit group Oceans Network Canada maintains the network, which cost CAD $111 million to install and $17 million each year to maintain. But know that this isn't your typical undersea cable. For one, NEPTUNE doesn't traverse the ocean's expanse, but instead loops back to its starting point at shore. And though NEPTUNE is designed to facilitate the flow of information through the ocean, it also collects information about the ocean, ocean life, and the ocean floor."

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/.'d too quickly (1)

Rick in China (2934527) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398045)

I think. I can't load the vids. Let me see the stream! Very cool initiative indeed! Great job on the innovation.

Re:/.'d too quickly (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398063)

Ah, just go to the source [oceannetworks.ca] ...

Re:/.'d too quickly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47401001)

$111M and $17M/year operating budget? It's obviously a cover story for an undersea cable tapping espionage operation. You don't have to go to the site to figure that out.

Healthy dose of butthurt (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398061)

Google has fiber, Kellogs has fiber, now the ocean has fiber, when do I get fiber?

Woo! (5, Funny)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398073)

about the same length as 40,000 subway cars connected in a single, long train

Crazy Unit of the Year award!

Re:Woo! (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398163)

How long is a subway car? Most of the world doesn't have subways. Just shows the writer's unconscious bias when she fails to consider this because she and everyone she knows uses the subway every day. It's pernicious and it's inexcusable for educated people.

Re:Woo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398203)

How long is a subway car?

I don't know, but I take one every day. But even before I ever set foot on a subway car, I could imagine how big it must be. Never been to a city with a metro? Or seen one in a movie? Or imagined "hey, a subway probably carries O(100 people), not O(1 person) or O(1 million people), so it should be about so big"?

Re:Woo! (2)

exploder (196936) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398253)

It's still a shitty comparison. The whole point is to give the reader an intuitive sense of an otherwise unimaginable quantity. It should be a red flag when you've replaced the number 500 with 40,000.

Re:Woo! (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a month and a half ago | (#47399675)

A small price to pay for the knowledge that Sydney is 40,000 subway cars from Melbourne.

Re:Woo! (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about a month and a half ago | (#47399291)

That's the problem. You take one every day, yet you can't say how long a subway car is. It's not something that a normal person ever thinks about or notices, so it's a useless comparison that is lost on virtually everyone.

Re:Woo! (4, Funny)

exploder (196936) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398245)

I was unsure about this, too, but now I know it's about 1/40,000 of a 500 mile road trip. Thanks, Slashdot!

Re:Woo! (4, Funny)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398291)

How long is a subway car?

It's about 1/40 thousandth the length of this cabling.

Sheesh, do we have to explain everything to you guys?

Re:Woo! (0)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a month and a half ago | (#47400617)

The standard anonymous sex is male. Using "she" when the subject is not known to be female is confusing and is not proper English. It exposes your conscious bias.

Furthermore, the author of TFA is Matthew Braga, a male name.

Fuck off Sweetie. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47401205)

Fuck off Sweetie.

The standard assumption behind a male name is a female hiding her sex.

Nice touch with the reverse feminism, er misogyny.

But we all know you're a chick. Or at least wish you were.

A NYC subway car 0.08 furlong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47403119)

NYC subway platforms span two 'grid plan' street blocks, and the usualy train is 10 cars long, and grid plan streets are 20 streets/mile. So, approx 528 feet/train which makes the car length obviously about 0.08 furlong.

Re:Woo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47410455)

The subway car used on the comparison is 20 meters long.

Re: Woo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398297)

They should have used a more common (and standard unit). Something like: 800km, or 7.3 million playing cards, diagonally.

Re:Woo! (-1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398423)

Needless to say that's a lot of dicks long.

Re:Woo! (0)

iggymanz (596061) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398851)

it's even more short dicks long

Re:Woo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47399163)

Yes, but what Juan de Fuca lacks in size he makes up for in connectivity, that's why they call him De Fuca!

Re:Woo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398949)

Everyone was expecting football fields.

Re:Woo! (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47399621)

about the same length as 40,000 subway cars connected in a single, long train

Crazy Unit of the Year award!

Given the location a better unit would have been: ...about the same length as 8 million slices of Canadian bacon on the longest hoagy ever!

Re:Woo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47399775)

I think the number of blue whales that fit inside the Suez canal is a better unit.

An that makes how many football fields? (3, Funny)

Gunstick (312804) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398077)

subway cars? come on!

And how many libraries of congress?

Re:An that makes how many football fields? (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398343)

I don't know, but the cable lies underneath about 9.62*10^12 Olympic swimming pools worth of ocean.

Ahh! No more contrived acronyms, please! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398085)

North-East Pacific Time-Series Underwater Networked Experiment

So, is that supposed to be NPTUNE, or NEPTSUNE? Surely we don't want to be inconsistent.

Re:Ahh! No more contrived acronyms, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398365)

Northern East Pacific Time-series Underwater Networked Experiment?

FTFY... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398131)

it's about the same length as 40,000 subway cars

Or 470,000 Librarians of Congress, stretched out head-to-toe...

But how many olympic swimming pools is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398139)

I have absolutely no idea what length a subway car is? Which subway? Which model of subway car?

Can't we having something standard like an olympic swimming pool?

But really, how many idiots are there out there who don't understand how long a kilometer (or mile) really is?

BTW what if said subway cars were connected with a 1m coupling? That would make it an extra 40km long. And what if the subway cars were non-standard? Why can't we have some sort of universal measurement that is easy for people to understand?

Re:But how many olympic swimming pools is it? (1)

zedaroca (3630525) | about a month and a half ago | (#47410723)

We do, it's not universal but it's used worldwide, it's called international units system (also called metric system), the length unit is the meter. 800 kilometers are 800 thousand meters, no comparisons needed. It's really easy to learn how big a meter is.

I don't know how people under the British system convert from miles to an easy to understand unit. I guess they just have to know how long a mile is and that's why they are always coming with these weird/funny comparisons (because most people don't really know how long a mile is since it's too long to feel or see).

Next (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398161)

How project URANUS wired your dick in my ass

Google (1)

Stentoran (2785993) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398199)

Google put one of these on the floor of the East coast, rather they are currently engaged in placing one along the east coast for (as I remember) off-shore wind power bus connections. This was announced a couple of years ago. They were putting one in the mid-west as well to make available connections for wind farms in an area where none had previously been, encouraging their expansion. On the east coast they displayed plans for placement off the Carolinas while the gov was busy politicking around for placement of a similar bus off the New England coast. Each one cost a billion plus, but hey, they're Google, the company that will one day rule the world (no sarcasm here).

Re:Google (4, Informative)

necro81 (917438) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398377)

Google put one of these on the floor of the East coast, rather they are currently engaged in placing one along the east coast for (as I remember) off-shore wind power bus connections

Aside from both using the word "cable", there is nothing in common between these two projects. One is an undersea fiber optic cable whose primary purpose is scientific exploration, the other is a commercial venture for transporting bulk electrical power.

Unfortunately, it appears that there is another important difference: NEPTUNE is built and operating, whereas the Atlantic Wind Connection [wikipedia.org] appears to have not made much headway, let alone built anything, in the past couple of years. They haven't so much as done a press release [atlanticwi...ection.com] in the last eight months. The current goal is to build one section along the New Jersey shore [atlanticwi...ection.com] . Estimated completion date: 2021.

No one can imagine the size of 40k subway cars (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398229)

so way is it used as an analogy? It doesn't clear anything up, so it violates the "omit needless words" maxim.

Re:No one can imagine the size of 40k subway cars (2)

mtthwbrnd (1608651) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398255)

It is easy to imagine.

Start by imagining 1. Then add another 1. Then add another one. Then... when you get to 40,000 then you have successfully imagined 40,000 of them.

Re:No one can imagine the size of 40k subway cars (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398287)

That's sequentially imagining one subway car 40,000 times, but that's not what I wrote. It's the comparative size that's at stake. Imagining the size of a grapefruit is not the same thing as imagining a grapefruit.

Re:No one can imagine the size of 40k subway cars (1)

mtthwbrnd (1608651) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398667)

That's true. I should add that once you imagined the 40,000 subway cars then imagine that you have huge tape measure and you start at one end of the train and stretch it out to the other end of the train... imagine the number at the end of the tape measure. NOW YOU HAVE DEFINITELY IMAGINED THE SIZE OF 40,000 SUBWAY CARS.

Re:No one can imagine the size of 40k subway cars (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398915)

If only! Again, there is a small but important difference between imagining a size and imagining measuring a size. Size is a property, and measuring is an action. If there were no difference between properties and actions, everyone would be immortal, because instead of your heart beating it would have "beating" as a property, which it couldn't lose because "stop beating" would also be a property, and properties cannot causally interact with other properties.

Today's lesson (1)

paiute (550198) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398261)

Your homework for this week deals with unit conversions - subway cars, Volkswagens, Libraries of Congress, African swallows, European swallows, a coon's age, a pinch, a New York minute, and many other units you will have to deal with in your daily lives.

$17 million each year to maintain (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398311)

Sounds like extreme featherbedding there. Right wing conservative government will kill the budget for that pretty quickly to finance the next war or bail out the banks (yes Canada does both to help the Americans), turning into more plastic trash in the Pacific.

Non-standard unit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398315)

about the same length as 40,000 subway cars

How many double decker buses [wikipedia.org] is that?

In Soviet Russia, USSR.. (1)

davethomask (3685523) | about a month and a half ago | (#47398451)

In Soviet Russia, Lev Landau remembers you!

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398597)

" it's about the same length as 40,000 subway cars connected in a single, long train. "

What. The. Fuck...

No Mention of USA side of the project (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47398905)

The article didn't mention the final deploy of the USA side of Neptune is going in this summer. Don't think the Canadians get to have all the fun with Ocean science, but the NSF has funded a cabled observatory spanning the Juan de Fuca plate as part of an effort with Canada to get sensors covering nearly all the fault lines.

The project in the USA is no longer called Neptune, but more can be found about it here [washington.edu] .

And so it starts (1)

pmontra (738736) | about a month and a half ago | (#47399311)

Ah, the Juan De Fuca plate. You deploy a network cable, you analyze the surroundings, you discover you can extract geothermal energy and by 2050 you end up with the Rifters universe. P. Watts rejoice! :-)

lo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47414387)

110 million for a loopback device..

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