A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘cetaceans

[NEWS] Seven links, from drugs in Germany to dolphin cuisine to dual nations in Australia

  • Johann Hari writes for Open Democracy about what may be the beginning of the end of the drug war in Germany.
  • I am not in agreement with Joseph Couture’s argument in NOW Toronto that the Internet has ended gay communities. (Convince me.)
  • Samantha Edwards reports in NOW Toronto controversy regarding the Parkdale feminist street art event. Was it really intersectional?
  • James Cooray Smith wonders–or “wonders”–why some Doctor Who fans are so upset with a woman portraying the Doctor.
  • In MacLean’s, chief Perry Bellegarde argues that more Canadians should be concerned with the too-many deaths of young First Nations people in Thunder Bay.
  • The National Post tells the story of how Australian senator Larissa Walters had to unexpectedly resign her position on account of her Canadian birth.
  • Via James Nicoll, a paper claiming evidence of human presence in northern Australia, in Madjedbebe, 65k years ago.
  • National Geographic tells of the peculiar way some Gulf of Mexico dolphins prepare their catfish. Is it cultural, culinary even?

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • D-Brief shares rare video of beaked whales on the move.
  • Dangerous Minds notes that someone has actually begun selling unauthorized action figures of Trump Administration figures like Bannon and Spencer.
  • Language Log looks at a linguistic feature of Emma Watson’s quote, her ending it with a preposition.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen considers, originally for Bloomberg View, if Trump could be seen as a placebo for what ails America.
  • The New APPS Blog takes a Marxist angle on the issue of big data, from the perspective of (among other things) primitive accumulation.
  • The Search reports on the phenomenon of the Women’s History Month Wikipedia edit-a-thon, aiming to literally increase the representation of notable women on Wikipedia.
  • Towleroad notes the six men who will be stars of a new Fire Island reality television show.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy finds some merit in Ben Carson’s description of American slaves as immigrants. (Some.)
  • Window on Eurasia argues that Belarusians are beginning to mobilize against their government and suggests they are already making headway.

[LINK] “Killer whales eating their way farther into Manitoba”

CBC News reports on changing mammal populations in Hudson’s Bay, with killer whales potentially displacing not just polar bears but belugas, too.

The food chain in Hudson Bay is drastically changing as killer whales take advantage of less sea ice and eat their way into Manitoba, a researcher in Arctic mammal populations says.

Steven Ferguson, a researcher with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the University of Manitoba, will be presenting his findings in Winnipeg this week at ArcticNet 2016, the largest single gathering of scientists focused on the rapidly changing Arctic.

“We are seeing a lot more killer whale activity in Hudson Bay and they are a top predator. They are really a magnificent, interesting predator — highly efficient,” Ferguson said.

Killer whales are not a fan of sea ice because it bothers their dorsal fins. However, sea ice is melting earlier and forming later each year.

Ferguson said that means killer whales are spending more time farther into Hudson Bay and “they are there to eat.”

Written by Randy McDonald

December 5, 2016 at 9:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO notes Niagara Falls’ new light show.
  • Body Horrors reports on a 1980 epidemic of MRSA among Detroit drug users.
  • Centauri Dreams describes the final orbits of Cassini around Saturn.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting Tabby’s Star is being star-mined.
  • Language Log looks at an element of Chinese slang regarding telecommunications.
  • The LRB Blog argues against blaming migrants for problems on the left.
  • The Planetary Society Blog discusses the continued Dawn mission around Ceres.
  • Savage Minds talks about the need to slow down in a time of crisis.
  • Seriously Science notes research suggesting whales jump out of the water for purposes of communication.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that, in the United States, flag burners cannot be stripped of their citizenship.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russians would like the West to make up on Russia’s terms and looks at the embassies and delegations of Russia’s component regions.

[LINK] “Sperm Whales Bring New Lingo to New Neighborhoods”

National Geographic‘s Ed Yong reports on some amazing research findings from the Galapagos, examining the culture of the sperm whales of the area. This knowledge carries with it some notable implications: Is what happened to the Galapagos’ prior population of sperm whales a form of genocide?

Since 1985, Hal Whitehead had been leading a team to the Galápagos Islands to search for sperm whales, which gather there in the thousands. The researchers tracked the animals with underwater microphones, day and night, for two to four weeks.

Their recordings revealed that the whales belonged to two distinct vocal clans—large groups that each call using their own dialect. The Regular clan makes a train of regularly spaced clicks, while the Plus-One clan leaves a short pause before their last click. The two clans share both genes and oceans—they are distinct only in their vocal culture.

In the 1990s, for some reason, the whales started to vanish. By 2000, the whales had completely gone, and Whitehead ceased his annual expeditions.

Then, in 2011, a colleague in the Galápagos told the team that the sperm whales had apparently returned. Whitehead’s team, including Mauricio Cantor, Shane Gero, and Luke Rendell, went back in 2013 to listen for themselves.

They did, indeed, find sperm whales, sighting more than 4,400 individuals across two years. But none of these were from either the Regular or Plus-One clan, which were around in the 1980s. Instead, they belonged to two different groups that were heard elsewhere in the Pacific but were previously rare or absent around the Galápagos: the Short clan, which makes a brief train of clicks, and the Four-Plus clan, whose calls have a base of four regular clicks.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm

[ISL] “Whale watchers spot battle between orcas, humpbacks near Vancouver Island”

The Globe and Mail carried this intriguing Canadian Press article.

A whale watching association says a battle between some of the largest creatures in the seas off the coast of British Columbia appeared to end with the human equivalent of fist waving and name-calling, although they can’t be sure of the outcome.

Several whale-watching boats at the western edge of the Salish Sea, off Jordan River on Vancouver Island, spotted a group of transient orcas surrounding two adult humpback whales and a calf on Sunday.

Mark Malleson, a whale-watching captain and marine researcher, witnessed the fight.

He says in a news release issued by the Pacific Whale Watch Association that encounters between humpbacks and transient orcas, also known as Bigg’s killer whales, rarely result in a kill.

Transient orcas eat marine mammals but Mr. Malleson says it seems as if the species “just likes bugging” the much bigger humpbacks.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 22, 2016 at 8:09 pm

[NEWS] Some Saturday links

  • Bloomberg notes Venezuela’s hopes for an oil price at $US 50, looks at Labour keeping the current London mayor’s seat, observes the vulnerability of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and warns of a possible drought in the US Corn Belt.
  • Bloomberg View notes the continuing fragmentation of the Orthodox Church, and suggests Putin might accept a partial ban on Russian athletes at the Olympics.
  • CBC looks at Russia’s state-supported soccer hooliganism.
  • MacLean’s notes Florida theme parks’ concerns re: alligator attacks, and notes how homophobia complicates the grieving process for survivors of the Orlando shooting victims.
  • National Geographic looks at the logic chopping behind South Korea’s whale hunt, and observes that some coral reefs have coped.
  • The National Post notes Russia’s professed interest in improved relations with Canada.
  • Open Democracy frames the Orlando shooting in the context of an international campaign by ISIS.
  • The Toronto Star suggests Portugal’s decriminalization of drugs is a model for Canada.