You know whales, don't you?

by Grenzfurthner

Those giants of the ocean, to use a metaphor, that nobody likes. But did you see them recently, when they were lying around back along the coast of North Germany!? It doesn't matter, anyway:

The sea is all cloudy, they can't see or smell anything there. So over the course of evolution another method was perfected which works very well: the hearing. A 'whale song', as some of their cries are called but the true significance of which we still don't know, covers a broad range of frequencies. A typical whale song only lasts quarter of an hour; the longest, an hour. Often it's repeated note for note, oscillation for oscillation. Sometimes a group of whales suddenly stops singing to leave their winter grounds, but when they come back half a year later they continue exactly where they had stopped, on exactly the same note – as if there had never been an interruption. If only Deleuze could have seen that! Whales have good memories. For over 99.99% of their history there were no people around in either the deep oceans nor the high seas. In all that time whales developed an extraordinary acoustic system of communication. A blue whale, for instance, can produce exceptionally loud noises with a frequency of 20 Hertz. Such low-frequency tones are hardly absorbed in the ocean. According to findings by Roger Payne, an American biologist, at 20 Hertz two whales can contact one another practically anywhere in the world via deep-sea channels, for example from the Ross Ice Shelf in the Antarctic to the Aleutian Islands. The whales have had a world-wide communications network for a long time, and can sing to one another in the ocean depths over distances of 15,000 kilometres. With the increasing number of merchant vessels and warships this wall of sound, primarily in the area of 20 Hertz, was audible in the foreground. Which made communication between whales far more difficult. Two hundred years ago blue whales could communicate with one another over distances of 10,000 kilometres. Today it's only a couple of hundred. We may not know whether they give one another 'names' or recognise one another by their voices, but there is no doubt that we have cut them off from one another. We've shut them up.

Now imagine that San-José scale suddenly developed intelligence or something like that, and then builds something that is somehow characteristic of its culture or somehow durable, and suddenly I can’t hear my girlfriend talking to me from the next room and my internet connection is only five baud, ... bugger!

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