Beyond Whale Wars

Poet P.K. Page once said “all matter blurs, unsteady, seen through water.” So, in that vein—or stream, rather—this week we’re going blue.

As much as I love space—not a hard stretch based on my blog choices—the world’s oceans shouldn’t be ignored in the process.

We all remember James Cameron and his humans on Pandora, but did you know he dove by himself to the lowest point of the ocean floor this summer? Note: that second thing is in real life, not filmed in 3D.

This video is only two dimensions, but it was filmed at night off the coast of Egypt using a specific wavelength of light; oscillating at frequencies between 450 and 470 nanometers, the bluish electromagnetic radiation is the only thing effective at penetrating the blackness of the sea’s upper waters.

The result is that other hues are saturated and made incredibly vibrant. Considering their imminent demise, there’s no better way to remember the world’s shrinking coral reefs.

Harbingers of life, coral reefs are home to nursing grounds and are, in the grand scheme of things, the major fertile grounds for a plethora of species that inhabit our planet.

Beyond that, the world’s oceans are facing countless problems—some of which are as surmountable as a rogue tidal wave. We have elevated pollutant levels, giving rise to higher temperatures and sea levels.We’re also building larger and larger floating factories and trawlers to kill, gut, freeze and package all of our seafood while still out at sea.

Needless to say, the situation is one giant, barbarous, cyclonic clusterfuck.

On a purely scientific level, we know less about the ocean floor than the dark side of the moon. According to Amitai Etzioni of George Washington University we haven’t even charted 90 per cent of it.

He says “Mars can wait”, but the oceans can’t. Considering that in my last feature I was talking with the Mars Rover I was intrigued by the charge, needless to say.

Though I agree with what Etzioni is saying on face value, I think he’s forgetting plenty of the innovation for both earth and space sciences comes from the same place: NASA.

According to the director of communications for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, around a third of all research at JPL is on the Earth, and that definitely includes the ocean.

We have to remember that we’ve only recently been able to send humans down to depths even near the ocean floor. There’s a lot being done, and the only reason the ocean is harder to understand is it’s filled with living creatures —that tends to complicate things.

And just in case you think I’ve lost my love for space, here’s a little gem:

Last week, a petition was uncovered where signers demanded that the US government fund and develop the building of a real-life Death Star. I’ve yet to decide whether to laugh or feel disappointed that the petition is only at 10% of its goal of 25,000 signatures.

In closing, this week we leave you with the evocative words of John F. Kennedy—not my favourite president, but definitely my favourite accent to mimic.

We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch—we are going back from whence we came.
-John F. Kennedy

Bitted and spaced,

Andrew Brennan
Assistant News Editor

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