A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘humpback whales

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the dusty spiral of galaxy M81, here.
  • Crooked Timber reacts positively to the Astra Taylor short film What Is Democracy?
  • D-Brief notes that, in the South Atlantic, one humpback whale population has grown from 440 individuals to 25 thousand, nearly completing its recovery from whaling-era lows.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at The Iguanas, first band of Iggy Pop.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at consideration in South Korea at building an aircraft carrier.
  • Todd Schoepflin at the Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the division of labour within his family.
  • Far Outliers looks at 17th century clashes between England and Barbary Pirates.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how antibiotics are getting everywhere, contaminating food chains worldwide.
  • Victor Mair at Language Log looks at the evidence not only for an ancient Greek presence in Central Asia, but for these Greeks’ contact with China.
  • Dan Nexon at Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the attempt by Trump to get Ukraine to spy on his enemies was driven by what Russia and Hungary alleged about corruption in Ukraine.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the transnational criminal network of the Hernandez brothers in Honduras, a source of a refugee diaspora.
  • Marginal Revolution shares an argument suggesting that marriage is useful for, among other things, encouraging integration between genders.
  • Sean Marshall looks at how the death of the Shoppers World in Brampton heralds a new urbanist push in that city.
  • At the NYR Daily, Helen Joyce talks of her therapeutic experiences with psychedelic drugs.
  • Drew Rowsome reviews the Toronto play The Particulars.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers if inflation came before, or after, the Big Bang.
  • John Scalzi at Whatever has a short discussion about Marvel films that concludes they are perfectly valid.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that central Ukraine has emerged as a political force in post-1914 Ukraine.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers the Indian pickle.

[NEWS] Seven links about animal intelligence: orangutans, chimpanzees, humpback whales, fish, bees

  • Orangutans are smart enough to talk about things not immediately present, D-Brief notes.
  • The Crux notes that chimpanzees apparently have not developed small talk.
  • The remarkable evolution of the songs of humpback whales over time looks a lot like the evolution of pop culture among humans, I think. D-Brief reports.
  • Vox notes how, in many ways, trying to understand and communicate with humpback whales is so close to SETI.
  • This article at The Conversation looks at a recent adoption of a narwhal into a group of belugas. What does it mean about these species’ social relationships?
  • Gizmodo notes that, recently, the species of fish known as the cleaner wrasse passed the mirror test for self-awareness. What does this mean about fish intelligence? What does this mean about the test?
  • Honeybees, it turns out, can add and subtract. Motherboard reports.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

Many things accumulated after a pause of a couple of months. Here are some of the best links to come about in this time.

  • Anthrodendum considers the issue of the security, or not, of cloud data storage used by anthropologists.
  • Architectuul takes a look at the very complex history of urban planning and architecture in the city of Skopje, linked to issues of disaster and identity.
  • Centauri Dreams features an essay by Ioannis Kokkidinis, examining the nature of the lunar settlement of Artemis in Andy Weir’s novel of the same. What is it?
  • Crux notes the possibility that human organs for transplant might one day soon be grown to order.
  • D-Brief notes evidence that extrasolar visitor ‘Oumuamua is actually more like a comet than an asteroid.
  • Bruce Dorminey makes the sensible argument that plans for colonizing Mars have to wait until we save Earth. (I myself have always thought the sort of environmental engineering necessary for Mars would be developed from techniques used on Earth.)
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog took an interesting look at the relationship between hobbies and work.
  • Far Outliers looks at how, in the belle époque, different European empires took different attitudes towards the emigration of their subjects depending on their ethnicity. (Russia was happy to be rid of Jews, while Hungary encouraged non-Magyars to leave.)
  • The Finger Post shares some photos taken by the author on a trip to the city of Granada, in Nicaragua.
  • The Frailest Thing’s L.M. Sacasas makes an interesting argument as to the extent to which modern technology creates a new sense of self-consciousness in individuals.
  • Inkfish suggests that the bowhead whale has a more impressive repertoire of music–of song, at least–than the fabled humpback.
  • Information is Beautiful has a wonderful illustration of the Drake Equation.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at the American women who tried to prevent the Trail of Tears.
  • Language Hat takes a look at the diversity of Slovene dialects, this diversity perhaps reflecting the stability of the Slovene-inhabited territories over centuries.
  • Language Log considers the future of the Cantonese language in Hong Kong, faced with pressure from China.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how negatively disruptive a withdrawal of American forces from Germany would be for the United States and its position in the world.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle, notes the usefulness of the term “Latinx”.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the restoration of a late 19th century Japanese-style garden in Britain.
  • The New APPS Blog considers the ways in which Facebook, through the power of big data, can help commodify personal likes.
  • Neuroskeptic reports on the use of ayahusasca as an anti-depressant. Can it work?
  • Justin Petrone, attending a Nordic scientific conference in Iceland to which Estonia was invited, talks about the frontiers of Nordic identity.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw writes about what it is to be a literary historian.
  • Drew Rowsome praises Dylan Jones’ new biographical collection of interviews with the intimates of David Bowie.
  • Peter Rukavina shares an old Guardian article from 1993, describing and showing the first webserver on Prince Edward Island.
  • Seriously Science notes the potential contagiousness of parrot laughter.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little t.com/2018/06/shakespeare-on-tyranny.htmltakes a look at the new Stephen Greenblatt book, Shakespeare on Power, about Shakespeare’s perspectives on tyranny.
  • Window on Eurasia shares speculation as to what might happen if relations between Russia and Kazakhstan broke down.
  • Worthwhile Canadian Initiative noticed, before the election, the serious fiscal challenges facing Ontario.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell points out that creating a national ID database in the UK without issuing actual cards would be a nightmare.
  • Arnold Zwicky reports on a strand of his Swiss family’s history found in a Paris building.

[NEWS] Four culture links: Tim Horton’s, Patuá in Macau, firebirds, humpback whales

  • Edward Keenan points out that the reluctance of Tim Horton’s franchises to accommodate the new Ontario minimum wage is really hurting their all-Canadian branding, writing at the Toronto Star.
  • Matthew Keegan at The Guardian examines the imminent demise of Patua, the Portuguese-based creole now spoken by only a very few people in Macau.
  • Of course multiple species of birds in Australia have developed the cultural trait of active helping wildfires expand in their own interest. It is Australia, right? The National Post reports.
  • Live Science suggests that the humpback whale that saved a diver from a shark attack may not have been planning to do just that. I wonder …

[LINK] “Humpback whales intervene in killer whale hunt”

Ella Davies’ BBC Nature report about humpback whale sociability makes me think.

A BBC/National Geographic film crew have recorded rare footage of humpback whales intervening in a killer whale hunt.

[. . .]

“To be honest we weren’t expecting to see anything – it was our very first day out on the boat,” said Victoria Bromley, a researcher with the crew that witnessed the scene.

Working from a whale-watching boat from Monterey Bay Whale Watch, the team set up to film in an area known for sightings of gray whales.

Every year female gray whales travel north from the birthing waters off the coast of Mexico to the nutrient rich waters of the Bering Sea with their calves.

Along the route, they are targeted by orcas, which co-ordinate their attacks – aiming to separate the defenceless young from their mothers.

To minimise their risk from the predators, gray whales swim in relatively shallow water but at Monterey Bay the whales must swim over the Monterey Canyon that in places can reach two miles deep.

The film crew arrived at the scene of the hunt following a tip off call from a sister boat.

Using a camera mounted on the boat, Ms Bromley told BBC Nature: “we saw a lot of grey shapes in the water and quickly realised they were humpbacks.”

According to the crew the additional whales were not just observers of the hunt but were actively involved.

The humpbacks at Monterey Bay were trumpeting, diving and slapping their pectoral fins against the water.

“It didn’t seem at all like they were confused… they were definitely there with a purpose,” said Ms Bromley.

Shortly after the crew arrived the orca successfully caught their prey. The mother whale fled the scene but the humpbacks remained.

“I have never seen anything like this before,” said marine biologist Alisa Schulman-Janiger who accompanied the filmmakers.

Mrs Schulman-Janiger has studied California killer whales since 1984 and is currently the director of the American Cetacean Society/Los Angeles Chapter’s Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project.

After the attack, two humpback whales moved into the area where the calf was last seen alive. They continued to make trumpeting calls, rolled in the water and slashed their tails aggressively at killer whales that came near.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 11, 2012 at 9:28 pm