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Fish Work as Anti-terror Agents

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the mr-limpet dept.

227

sdriver writes "San Francisco's bluegills went to work about a month ago, guarding the drinking water of more than 1 million people from substances such as cyanide, diesel fuel, mercury and pesticides. "There's no known manmade sensor that can do the same job as the bluegill." The New York City Department of Environmental Protection reported at least one instance in which the system caught a toxin before it made it into the water supply."

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227 comments

I don't feel safe! (4, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151492)

*mumbles something about preferring sharks with frikkin' laser beams*

This is hardly guarding (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151503)

The bluegills are just sensors not guards. It's as dumb as saying one of those stupid "dogs" that bimbos like Paris Hiton carry around are guard dogs.

Re:This is hardly guarding (5, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151509)

It's as dumb as saying one of those stupid "dogs" that bimbos like Paris Hiton carry around are guard dogs.
They could be if you put frikkin' laser beams on their heads!

Re:This is hardly guarding (1)

tomatensaft (661701) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151954)

Then they would be much more dangerous to their owners, not thugs or smth. :)

Re:This is hardly guarding (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151582)

It's as dumb as saying one of those stupid "dogs" that bimbos like Paris Hiton carry around are guard dogs.

Its actually way less dumb than that metaphor. I agree with your first sentence, but the second is a perfect example of quitting while you're ahead.

Re:This is hardly guarding (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151684)

In Australia, we have stingrays guarding us from pests.

Re:This is hardly guarding (1)

bluekanoodle (672900) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151885)

OK, that was really low. :0

Re:This is hardly guarding (1)

Brickwall (985910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152070)

In Australia, we have stingrays guarding us from pests.

In Korea, only old people use stingrays as guards.

Re:This is hardly guarding (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151826)

That wasn't fair.

It's an insult to bimbos.

The question is (4, Funny)

Monkeys!!! (831558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151498)

How do we know this isn't a red herring by some terroist group?

*ducks and runs*

Could you speak up please? (4, Funny)

hullabalucination (886901) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151530)

I'm hard of herring.

Re:Could you speak up please? (5, Funny)

AGMW (594303) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151932)

I'm hard of herring.

You appear to be a dab [first-nature.com] hand at these fish jokes, and I don't want to carp [wikipedia.org] and knock you off your perch [anglerstimes.co.uk] , but maybe you didn't do it on porpoise [theporpoisepage.com] ?

Re:Could you speak up please? (3, Funny)

MisterSquiddy (905066) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152121)

Keep the noise down please. I have a terrible haddock.

Re:Could you speak up please? (5, Funny)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152122)

Oh my Cod [wikipedia.org] that was awful. I would never bream [wikipedia.org] of lowering myself to punning, but it's about what I'd expect in this plaice [wikipedia.org]

Re:The question is (1, Funny)

bobscealy (830639) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151531)

Only 7 posts old and someone has already made a carp joke.

Re:The question is (1, Offtopic)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151672)

Because when we tried to cut down the tallest tree in the forest with it and simply couldn't.

Re:The question is (5, Funny)

telchine (719345) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151934)

I've haddock up to here with terrorists and their shellfish behaviour.

Re:The question is (1)

morie (227571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151953)

Blue herring?

Fishing? (2, Funny)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151500)

Does this mean that if you go fishing you're aiding terrorism?

Re:Fishing? (5, Funny)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151809)

Does this mean that if you go fishing you're aiding terrorism?

Yes. You should get your fish from a market. Preferably fish imported from Japan. If you are self-sufficient in some respect, you are destroying the pillars of mutual dependence on which current capitalism and world economy are built.

Besides, the fish are not privately owned. You are benefiting from public property. Which means that:

When you're fishing, you're catching communism !

Re:Fishing? (4, Funny)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151819)

Communism and Terrorism? All we need now is a flimsy excuse for protecting our fish from the horrors of child pornography and we'll be set!

good idea! (4, Funny)

Wizzerd911 (1003980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151502)

Well when you think about it, they're really just super complex biological machines that built themselves so they're the perfect solution...except in my area that is. We may have the 2nd most terror targets in the US but the only thing the fish are telling us so far is that you "should not exceed eating two in one year." Looooots of PCB's in there. Terrorists could dump all sorts of stuff in there and we could be pulling up two headed fish without thinking anything was out of the ordinary :P

Re:good idea! (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151518)

Printed Circuit Boards? Wow you guys not only have robotic fish, but you catch and eat them too?

Re:good idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151823)

polychlorinated biphenyl.
In case you weren't joking.

Re:good idea! (1)

ArwynH (883499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151956)

They're a tad bit expensive for my taste though, those frikkin' laser beams on their heads make them a hard catch... :)

Re:good idea! (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151520)

We may have the 2nd most terror targets in the US

According to the DHS system of accounting for targets, that means you have the world's largest fair along side the world's largest petting zoo?

Re:good idea! (1)

Wizzerd911 (1003980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151738)

the funny thing is we actually might...but anyway, I think the definition is more like "any place where people are" and we have a lot of places where people are...I've seen them!

Offtopic, name (1)

morie (227571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151972)

What an extremely stereotypical name you have to have been on /. for so long!

for those who don't speak dutch [lookwayup.com]

Re:good idea! (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151558)

I think there may be a little extra Mercury in the fish supply. All the fish have grown little moustaches and started singing about champions and radios.

007 (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151511)

The name is Pond. James Pond [imdb.com] .

Fish caught a turd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151516)

So the fish caught someone pooping in the resovoir. that's awesome.

1. Catch jihadist pooping in drinking water
2. ???
3. Profit!

Imagine a beowulf cluster of bluegills! That would be amazing! Goatse man and Cowboyneal will quiver with anticipation! Meatspin will go back to 5rpm due to the awesomeness of this post!

nerdy enough? (2, Funny)

Mydron (456525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151524)

[Blugills] are no use against other sorts of attacks -- say [...] an attack by computer hackers on the systems that control the flow of water.
So, is this news for nerds or not?

Re:nerdy enough? (4, Funny)

mcc (14761) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151614)

Clearly what we need to do is just release fish into the computer systems as well.

Re:nerdy enough? (2, Funny)

Wizzerd911 (1003980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151749)

*turns off his firewall and on the fish screensaver* well, I'm set now :) No talliban viruses are coming in this baby :D

Re:nerdy enough? (2, Interesting)

Deathbane27 (884594) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151816)

That should unclog the tubes too!

Re:nerdy enough? (2, Interesting)

unboring (697886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151946)

Clearly what we need to do is just release fish into the computer systems as well. You mean send them through the tubes?

Re:nerdy enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151989)


Clearly what we need to do is just release fish into the computer systems as well.


I'd prefer bugs.

Definate improvement (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151526)

Gotta be better than the sheep dealing with it now.

Re:Definate improvement (1)

Pfhorrest (545131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151938)

Gotta be better than the sheep dealing with it now.

It's worse than that... we've got wolves guarding this henhouse...

And what about the fish themselves? (1)

VorpalEdge (967279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151537)

I'm sure the amounts that get through are tiny, but I bet people are glad to know that each glass of tap water they drink has more fish feces in it than before.

Re:And what about the fish themselves? (2, Insightful)

saxoholic (992773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151580)

It sounds like they're in a seperate tank that is being filled with water from the reservoir prior to purification, since the chlorine and other chemicals used to purify the water would kill the fish pretty quickly. so, 1) It doesn't sound like they're physically in the water source and 2) Even if they were, there's naturally going to be fish in a reservoir anyway, and any of their feces are going to be taken care of during the purification process. So, don't worry about fish poop in your ice water.

Re:And what about the fish themselves? (1)

monsted (6709) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151955)

Don't drink the water! Fish are having sex in it.

Re:And what about the fish themselves? (1)

Brickwall (985910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152093)

Don't drink the water! Fish are having sex in it.

OMFG! My daughters are drinking fish sex water? Won't someone please think of the children!

Not likely method (4, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151541)

Using cyanide to poison drinking water for a major city? It would be easy to catch the guys, they'd be the ones dumping the tanker truck full of cyanide.

Plutonium would work much better.

Re:Not likely method (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151562)

If they had plutonium, would they use it to poison a water supply?

Re:Not likely method (2, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151763)

Using it as a poison does not require any technical knowledge and is quite effective. While not as poisonous as some mercury compounds or pesticides, it is still poisonous enough to have effect. In addition to that, the howling of the media about Pu discovered in drinking water will provide the terrorists with what they want even if nobody dies. Go and try to explain Joe Average that the concentration is so low that it will not do a thing. As far as he is concerned it is plutonium. Scary stuff.

On the subject of the article - many phosphorganic, pyrethroids and other insecticides are temperature specific. Many will kill fish and insects only under specific temperature. They are harmless to warm blooded animals for this exact reason - the target is outside the optimal thermal range. Now, I have not followed advanced in this area, but what exactly will these fish do if someone pours a tanker of something that is the opposite in thermal specificity. Something harmless for coldblooded animals which kills warm blooded only?

Re:Not likely method (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151780)

Now, I have not followed advanced in this area, but what exactly will these fish do if someone pours a tanker of something that is the opposite in thermal specificity. Something harmless for coldblooded animals which kills warm blooded only?

Keep the water temperature in the test tank around 37 degrees Celsius ?

Re:Not likely method (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151970)

The bluegills from the setup in the article will not survive it. In fact very few species of fish will. Even tropical swamp species like Gurami prefer to have the temperature under 32 for most of the time.

Re:Not likely method (1)

morie (227571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151982)

Also, the water supply would probably spread low level radioactivity over a lager area than any bomb could. And the radiation effects are far worse if the radioactive compound is ingested. It will be impossibly hard to clean the area. I should stop before anyone actually thinks this is attractive.

very difficult to make that effective (4, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151935)

Plutonium is toxic, that's true.

But the descriptions you hear all the time about how one gram can kill a bazillion people assumes that each person gets exactly a lethal dose and no more.

In reality, this is difficult to do. Plutonium, for example, is not soluble in water and is very heavy. So distributing it through the water supply would be very difficult.

If you drop a bit in the water supply, it'll just sink to the bottom in the first eddy it reaches and sit there, killing only things that come near it instead of the intended targets. It might kill nothing except a few rats.

http://www.llnl.gov/csts/publications/sutcliffe/ [llnl.gov]

Re:Not likely method (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16152023)

Plutonium isn't particularly toxic. It also doesn't radiate. It has a half life of 25000 years. So eating plutonium is about as bad as chewing on a nail - you'll chip your teeth, that's all. Anyhoo, if you dump plutonium in water, it'll just fall to the bottom into the mud...

OH MY GAWD! (5, Funny)

BLAG-blast (302533) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151545)

Fish are peeing in our water supply!!!!

Re:OH MY GAWD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151630)

Yeah, so much worse than you and your kid.

Re:OH MY GAWD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151764)

Obligatory W.C Fields quote: "I don't drink water, because fish f*sk in it!",

and "There be worse things than poison in tha water, yanno", leered Drippy Dick the Pirate, backing away from the ship's water barrel and closing his fly.

Re:OH MY GAWD! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151792)

I don't go to the jaccuzzy because gay Linux geeks fuck in it.

E-Mail, eh? (5, Funny)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151546)

The computerized system in use in San Francisco and elsewhere is designed to detect even slight changes in the bluegills' vital signs and send an e-mail alert when something is wrong.
From: The Bluegills <bluegills@tank1.resevoir2.dopw.sf.ca.us>
To: Bob Thompson <bthompson@dopw.sf.ca.us>
Subject: Our Contract

Dear Bob,

We don't want to seem ungrateful and we appreciate all you've done. However, it has just come to our attention, and our solicitor's attention, that our job is to test the water for poison. In light of this we'd like to renegotiate. We're looking forward to hearing back from you ASAP concerning this issue.

Sincerely,
Tim, Ed, and Bill
The Bluegills

Oblig. Penny Arcade... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151636)

We don't want to seem ungrateful and we appreciate all you've done. However, it has just come to our attention, and our solicitor's attention, that our job is to test the water for poison. In light of this we'd like to renegotiate. We're looking forward to hearing back from you ASAP concerning this issue.
"A bee stung my mouth"?

Yeah, because you took a job eating bees!

Love,
Bob

DHS screws up again (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151833)

Apparently the Department of Homeland Security failed to realized that they just put British bluegills in charge of our national security. (No red-blooded American bluegill would refer to their personal pondscum as a "solicitor" -- sharks are "lawyers" here, except when they're sharks) Ahh well, could have been worse... at least when the going gets tough I'd trust the British with my back. But if DHS' next bright idea is poison-sensing frogs, well, I'm marching on Washington.

Animals as agents of terror. (3, Informative)

hullabalucination (886901) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151571)

At the other end of the issue, we've used animals as agents of destruction in some pretty weird ways. Probably everybody here has heard of the U.S. Navy's experiments using dolphins or porpoises as a delivery system for below-the-water-line bombs targeting ships. The weirdest I've ever heard of was the Army's Bat Bomb project during WWII:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat_bomb [wikipedia.org]

Does anyone here watch the History Channel (North America)? Didn't they run a documentary on this project a couple of years ago?

* * * * *

My goal is to someday be the person my dog thinks I am.
--Unknown

Re:Animals as agents of terror. (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151695)

During the American Revolutionary War, enemy spy would head toward a powder house with a squirrel in hand-- tie a piece of paper to a squirrel's tail, set the paper on fire and release the squirrel near the powder house. At this point the squirrel would go running for cover into one of the powder house air vents, and ignite the gun powder in the powder house.

(Or so I recall from history class)

Probably urban legend (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151786)

Have you ever tried to hold a conscious squirrel even using two hands?

If we're talking about a fully grown gray squirrel, this looks to me to be wayyyy into urban legend territory.

Tell the guy who thought this up to change it to "lighting the tail of a flying squirrel and then launching it by catapult". Seems more reasonable to me.

[[Yes, I know the details can be changed to make the story more reasonable, but then this post would be boring, no?]]

I can't believe this... (1)

s-twig (775100) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151576)

"And they are no use against other sorts of attacks -- say, the bombing of a water main, or an attack by computer hackers on the systems that control the flow of water."

Really? Stupid fish

Cheap Labor! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151592)

Just wait until the U.S. Department of Labor hears of this!

Well, Bushie predicted this one (3, Funny)

Durandal64 (658649) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151608)

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."
-George W. Bush, Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

Give credit where credit's due.

Geeks at work as counterterrorists, too (5, Funny)

!splut (512711) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151638)

That reminds me of a similar article:

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- A type of person so common that practically every American who ever attended grade school has probably harassed one is being enlisted in the fight against terrorism.

San Francisco, New York, Washington and other big cities are using computer geeks -- also known as computer nerds or slashdotters -- as a sort of canary in a coal mine to safeguard the internet.

Small numbers of the geeks are kept in cubicles supplied with Mountain Dew and a broadband internet connection from local internet service providers (ISPs), and sensors in each cubicle work around the clock to register changes in the breathing, heartbeat and browsing patterns of the geeks that occur in the presence of internet attacks.

"Nature's given us pretty much the most powerful and reliable early warning center out there," said Bill Lawler, co-founder of Intelligent Automation Corporation, a Southern California company that makes and sells the geek monitoring system. "There's no known manmade sensor that can do the same job as the computer nerd."

Since September 11, the government has taken very seriously the threat of attacks on the U.S. internet. Federal law requires nearly all internet service providers to assess their vulnerability to terrorism.

Big cities employ a range of safeguards against chemical and biological agents, constantly monitoring, testing and treating the water. But protection systems for electronic networks can trace only the hacks they are programmed to detect, Lawler said.

Computer geeks -- a hardy species about the size of a normal human being, but thinner and paler -- are considered more versatile. They are highly attuned to internet integrity, and when exposed to even brief internet outages, they experience the geek version of coughing, compulsively reloading browser windows and pinging gateways to determine the source of the congestion.

The computerized system in use in San Francisco and elsewhere is designed to detect even slight changes in the geek's vital signs and send an e-mail alert when something is wrong.

Re:Geeks at work as counterterrorists, too (1)

fxxkin$ (973323) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151830)

The computerized system in use in San Francisco and elsewhere is designed to detect even slight changes in the geek's vital signs and send an e-mail alert when something is wrong.

I wonder what will happen to these "geeks" vital signs when they find some particular good pron on the internet?

PETA & SPCA (3, Funny)

aalu.paneer (872021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151643)

Won't PETA & SPCA complain?

Probably (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151655)

Just let them volunteer to replace the bluegills. Then we can let the bluegills go.

Re:PETA & SPCA (2, Insightful)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151706)

No.. eco extremists only care about "cute" animals....

FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151648)

First Post Bitches!

The idea's not exactly new. (4, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151653)

Using animals as sensors to detect contaminants isn't exactly a new idea. Coal miners have been using canaries to detect coal damp and other noxious gases for at least a century. The only new thing is using fish instead of birds. Nice idea, though, and a lot more cost effective than trying to design something sensative enough to be useful.

Re:The idea's not exactly new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151743)

You're kidding, right? Canaries! That's amazing!

It's also mentioned in the second paragraph of the article. Reading the material before commenting on it is fun! :D

Re:The idea's not exactly new. (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151793)

Reading the material before commenting on it is fun! :D


You must be really new here!

Re:The idea's not exactly new. (1)

ComaVN (325750) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151788)

What's more, this technique has been in use in the Netherlands for decades.

Re:The idea's not exactly new. (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152126)

It's also not exactly new when it comes to water processing plants.

The city of Zurich [zuerich.com] . uses trouts to check for problems with the processed water for (literally) decades. A few hours before the processed water hits the distribution system and the pipes it is piped through a fish tank with said trout. The fish tank is under constant stream and the trout swims against the stream.

If something , er! fishy occurs the dead or knocked out trout passes a sensor and raises alarm.

This of course is not the only means to test water quality, but it's a time tested, reliable alarm system to warn hours in advance if something goes awfully wrong.

As a side remark: Tap water here has Evian quality.

test (1)

iecompat (948526) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151673)

test comment

Still Don't Trust The Fish (5, Funny)

ArizonaKid (893047) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151682)

As someone who grew up in New Jersey, there were many lakes that had those little guys swimming all over the place...

And there isn't a change in hell that I would drink any of the water in those lakes. Those fish are survivors, and although I am not a scientist, I could only conclude that the fish in the lakes nearby had to have gone through some type of resistant mutation... That really doesn't help my confidence in the safety of the water.

I say use goldfish. Those little bastards take one day of me forgetting to feed them to go belly up.

Yay for biodiversity! (1)

Truth_Quark (219407) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151687)

This is another example of a solution to a real problem best solved with a biological system.

These are the reasons that you can argue to the most right-wing of dextrophiles of at least the economic value in preserving biodiversity.

But still we lose 50 species per day, forever. If you don't have the technology to fix it, you should be trying not to break it.

"Fishkill" test (4, Informative)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151691)

This is also pretty standard for treated industrial wastewater--take a sample from the outflow on a regular basis, send it to a lab, and they stick fish in it and see how many die within 24 hours. Some setups even have a small side stream so that you can get results in real time.

I wonder ... (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151696)

whether the municipal water people can tell if a bluegill is tripping on LSD?

Or, for that matter, viagra. [angelfire.com]

(If anyone feels like responding "your can't trip on viagra" - that depends on how big the pill is, and whether you're looking where you're walking.)

Not the first (4, Interesting)

ross.w (87751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151716)

This was done in Sydney 15 years ago, when they still drew their water supply via an open canal. The Water Board had identified a risk fronm the canal that wound its way through teh suburbs and was very easy to get access to, so they put in a fish tank connected to the canal to pick up anything toxic that might have found its way into the water. In this cas the fish were Macquarie perch (I think).

There was a video camera trained on the tank and the operators in the control room could cut off the canal if they noticed the fish were dead.

There was a guy whose job it was to feed the fish and run the dechlorination system that removed the chlorine from the water going into the tank, since that's also toxic to fish.

One weekend , he forgot to top up the sodium thiosulphate solution that was used for this purpose, and all the fish died from chlorine poisoning some time on Sunday night when it ran out.

That was bad enough, but it was Monday morning before the operators noticed.

They don't use that system anymore. The canal has been filled in and there is a pipeline and a fully filtered treatment plant.

Re:Not the first (2, Informative)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152083)

Slightly off topic, but a related story.

I took an environmental law class once, and the guy who taught it used to work county health or something.

In California, there are a few ways of determining if somethning is toxic, and one of the ways is to put the suspected agent into a fish tank with an "indicator species" of fish and wait a few days to see if the fish live or die. If the fish die, then the suspected agent is thus toxic.

Well, one time he was infront of a judge explaining the test, and presenting that the fish died.
The judge then asked if the were any of these fish wild in the county.
No, there are none of these fish wild in the county.
Then why do we care about this test then?

Well, some people just don't understand the importance of indicator species.

Grump

bluegills? (2, Funny)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151739)

I would have picked piranas and crocodiles. The bluegills just let you know the water is poisend after which you have the large expence of finding and trialing the terrorist. My system makes it very easy: The terrorist are the little pieces of pirana feces floating in the water. Or the guy stuck in the tree above the crocodiles. Either way we save at lot of money.

Animals against terror? (2, Funny)

SendBot (29932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151774)

This thing with the fish sounds great and all, but I'm worry about my 4th amendment rights being eroded by little birds telling my government things.

At least I can count on moles to uphold le resistance.

My Dear American Friends (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151801)

I'd like to humbly bring to your attention the little known fact that the threat to your water supply hardly comes from terrorism, but rather from industrial toxic spills. The fish are not fighting terrorism but protecting environment (please read the cited case for a good example). I am very sorry, I'm not trying to diminish the heroic efforts of your patriotic fish in anyway, they are still doing an important job. But dear allies, please try to remember that not all the bad things come from abroad in a form of bearded fundamentalist menace.

Wonderful news (1)

Frantactical Fruke (226841) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151805)

Polluters are equated to terrorists now? Brilliant! So we won't need any Erin Brockovitches to get some justice to these bastards - we can just ship them off to Guantanamo when a bluegill dies. About time, too.

so polluters are terrorists now? (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151843)

OK, I'm fine with the idea of protecting people's water supply. But to say this is part of the fight against terrorism frankly, is ridiculous.

ISTM that each time "terrorism" is included as a reason to improve public safety, it's just assisting the terrorist agenda by keeping them inthe news and instilling fear where it didn't previously exist.

Better to celebrate the improvements that progress brings, rather than trying to keep everyone cowering in fear with cheap, sensationalist news copy.

Re:so polluters are terrorists now? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151894)

Amen!
Every time someone mentions the word "terrorist" these days I have an urge to either laugh, cry, or subject said person to violence. Generally the latter, which for me is rather unusual. *sigh* The world is going to hell faster than expected...

Clams deserve credit too (3, Funny)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151864)

I've read an article about clams used for the same purpose - they might be even better than fish, because they speak binary (clam open/clam clammed up) and don't move so much, so it's easier to monitor them automatically. The system in question raised alarm if more than a preset percentage of the clams clammed up. I cannot find the original article, but here's a short press note [sgnis.org] about a similar system that I found:
Delta Consult, a Dutch company, markets a water pollution monitor that uses live zebra mussels as sensors.

The product uses changes in mussels behavior - as determined by monitoring shell movement through electromagnetic induction - to detect water quality changes. The mussels are glued to the device.

Delta Consult reports that the system can detect low concentrations of tributyl-tin oxide, chlorine, crude oil and such heavy metals as copper, cadmium, selenium, zinc and lead.

The best part of the system is that the mussels are replaceable - but you must supply your own.

Has to be said (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152035)

"I cannot find the original article"

- because, they, um, have, er, clammed up? :-)

Fitted with Laser on Head? (2, Funny)

mahesh_gharat (633793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151867)

Are these fitted with Laser on their heads? :-)
By the way this news is too old. I read it in print media couple of daze ago.

Just a new application (3, Informative)

tomatoguy (545272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151870)

of a technique used by water-testing labs. Trout and Daphnia are used in the lab I consulted to once. For things with a higher ppm range trout were used, and for lower ppm concentrations Daphia (which are barely naked-eye visible) are used. The waterborne equivalent of canaries in coal mines.

Flaw in the plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151883)

The plan to use fish to detect poisons is all well and good, but ignores the very possible possibility that The Terrorists will just infiltrate fish hatcheries, use off-the-shelf DNA splicing machines to create a breed of fish which are extra-fertile and do not show signs of poisoning, and populate the waterways and resevoirs with their nefarious aquatic fish of evil. Clearly, the government must immediately initiate a program of DNA testing of all fish in all waterways to counter this threat!

Animal cruelty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16151962)

Thats what this is, animal cruelty, putting them in harms way, using them as a shield.

How different is this from Human Shields that the government cried about with Saddam in the first Iraq war? No different.

Terrorism? Factories and stupid neighbours first (1)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151985)

The entire terror angle is complete crap. Chances of terrorism causing problems in the water supply are infinitely smaller than those that happen through other conscious and unconscious human action and the so-called Acts of God/Nature. Diesel spills are an environmental problem. Raw sewage in the water intake because of excessive rain are Acts of God/Nature etc etc. These things will be the majority of your problems. The great thing is that if you can detect these, you can detect terrorism.

Not new (1)

oglueck (235089) | more than 7 years ago | (#16151999)

The city of Zurich (Switzerland) has been guarding its drinking water for the last 30 years with trouts.

Why the terror link? (2, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152105)

Is this some lame attempt to link terorism to the problems cause by the farming and other industry? "Anti-terror" It soubds as if somebody is crying "Wolf" all the time.
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