With enormous sets of instruments and giga-amounts of data, it's easy to have too much information in science these days, requiring the careful sifting of signals to reach a target. But researchers can just as easily share their surpluses, and they probably should — time and again, one scientist's discarded data is another researcher's treasure.
Some unknown terrible person shot a defenseless pilot whale last month, leaving it to swim the Atlantic in agony for weeks before it finally beached itself on the New Jersey shore and died. Authorities are still looking for the shooter. The bullet wound caused a fulminant infection in the whale's jaw that prevented it from eating, so it basically starved to death. This was determined during a necropsy, an autopsy for animals.
Along with sympathy for the poor creature, this debacle aroused an interesting question: How does one autopsy a whale? With four-ton meat hooks, whaling knives and bone saws, actually. Michael Moore, a veterinarian and whale biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, does it all the time.
If you think that time you biked from Philly to New York was an epic journey, this humpback whale would like a word with you. She swam from Brazil all the way to Madagascar, probably by way of the Southern Ocean--a distance of about 6,200 miles, the longest documented journey ever made by a mammal.
By Bjorn CareyPosted 01.12.2010 at 11:14 am 10 Comments
“It’s not as silly a question as you might think,” says Michael Moore, a marine-mammal research specialist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. “It would take some extraordinary circumstances, but any mammal can get rabies.”
Willy Wonka would have liked this, but I can't imagine a whole lot of human cooks worth their -- ahem -- salt, will have much interest: a company is selling a book of spices made from edible paper. Want some chili flavoring in a dish? Just rip out the perforated page and put in the pan.
In today's links: forcing people to smoke fails, why it's sometimes better to eat bland food, and more.
Apparently, freeing Willy was not so good an idea. A new paper suggests that the killer whale who played the titular character in the 1993 movie did not really thrive after being returned to the wild. However, we're not really seeing a sequel, Keep Willy in Chains.
Also in today's links: a creepy child robot destined to star in a horror movie, breaking down a car factory and more.