Monday, August 17, 2009

Dude... Sound waves create tidal waves???

First of all, you have to understand that for as cynical as I might come off at times, I truly am a believer in such things as the environment, the sanctity of our oceans and the marine life that inhabits it, to say nothing of it's importance vis-à-vis the air we get to breathe (it is after all, a huge oxygen-producing device).

I believe in the legitimacy of our existence as human beings on the planet. However, I also believe that we as a species, have lost touch with nature and with it, our understanding of our place in this world. We have forgotten how to interact constructively with that which surrounds us. How else can you explain the actions of a species which threatens the very existence of another (sharks, for example...), simply because a very small percentage of our population happens to enjoy a particular dish (shark fin soup)??? Does it even get any worse than this? Yes it does... Bottom trawling. Where the ocean floor is turned into a veritable moonscape, devoid not only of life, but of the habitat that would allow life to regain a foothold. And don't even get me started on long-lining...

You will find no greater opponent of shark-finning or long-lining, of bottom trawling or air pollution, or of the clear cutting of the rain forests in Amazona. I need no convincing whatsoever to accept and embrace the knowledge that each of these areas represent unique and irreplaceable ecosystems. I'm already totally onboard with that... Really!

I do have to state however that some people who also share these concerns, are the causes' worst enemies. If you are going to rail against a section of the government for doing something which you actually know to be injurious, unfair of unethical (or all three...), that is one thing. If you want to be taken seriously, make sure you have your facts straight and all your ducks in a row, before you blast away at them.

If your protest is based solely on conjecture and you back up your reasoning with absolute drivel and nonsense, you will be rightfully classified as a nutbar and your electronic missive will be the victim of the 'delete' button. Case in point, this literary masterpiece we received today:

Quote - I was mortified to read that Fisheries and Oceans Canada had agreed to allow seismic testing in Canadian waters by a U.S. Research Vessel. It is alleged that this so-called research is in reality sponsored by the U.S. military to test killing with sound. (WTF...???? - Crypt.) Sound waves create tidal waves create climactic changes. It is all connected! (Again...WTF...???? - Crypt.)

No wonder our weather patterns have gone awry. (Wha-aaaaaatttt...???? - Crypt.) No wonder our marine mammals are beaching themselves. This is criminal. I am hoping that this e-mail reaches someone who is intelligent and has a conscience. This testing must not be allowed in Canadian waters or any waters. Seismic testing affects the globe. I am pleased that environmental groups have filed a lawsuit concerning this (Although she clearly has no real idea why, other than it's "bad"... - Crypt.). And, I hope that Fisheries and Oceans Canada reconsider their initial allowance of such testing. - End quote.

Dude... Sound waves create tidal waves? Seriously?? I smell ganja here and lots of it. Tidal waves create climactic changes?? Ummm... No. Climactic changes and the resultant storms produced by these environmental changes, sometimes produce tidal waves, yes. In passing, the scientific community apparently doesn't like using the term 'tidal wave' nowadays. They prefer the term 'meteotsunami', as in a tsunami caused by weather. Tsunamis themselves, which are not tidal waves by any means, are created by either tectonic activity beneath the ocean surface, or can occasionally be caused by volcanic activity. But um-mmmmm... not by sound. 'Killer' or otherwise.

As an aside, anyone who was straight and wrote: "It is alleged that this so-called research is in reality sponsored by the US military to test killing with sound.", would have stopped, re-read it and said to themselves: "Whoa... did I just write that? Jesus, they're gonna think I'm on crack or something. I'd better change that or better yet, just delete it altogether. I can't possibly have been thinking that...".

The US Navy is trying to develop the technology to kill with sound??? Don't get me wrong here, you can do an awful lot with sound, and it is no secret that many high-power naval sonar units employed by the USN and other navies of the world, are capable of causing appreciable (read: fatal) damage to marine mammals. Not that it was ever intended for them to do so, mind you. (It will also do a very good job against enemy divers when the ship is tied up alongside or anchored out.) This is simply an unfortunate by-product. Mass beachings of whales, porpoises and dolphins are yet an unresolved enigma, although I for one could certainly see marine sonar use being at least a contributing factor, in some of these instances.

Sonar however, is essential. Certainly for vessels making up part of any naval Task Force. Sonars are there for one purpose. To find submarines. As long as Russia is committed to the resurgence of the Red Fleet and in deploying it around the globe in a show of naval might, the West will always require it's navies to be equipped with potent acoustic arrays and sensors. It's really quite that simple.

Seismic testing however, has nothing to do with any of this. Seismic testing is a process used by the oil and gas industry, in their unending quest for new reserves to meet the equally never-ending demand for fossil fuels. Seismic testing is done with an array of 15 to 45 air guns that send explosive shock waves every 10 to 25 seconds into the seabed that then echo back through the water. The sound is loud enough to disrupt, injure or possibly lead to the death of fish and marine mammals. Surveys can last several months. Seismic testing is the equivalent of acoustically raping the ocean and everything in it. Seismic testing conducted off the coast of Cape Breton, was recorded as far off as in the Bahamas. This stuff travels. So...

Picture this acoustic undersea world where marine mammals live in total darkness, relying on sound to navigate, communicate, find and capture their prey and avoid predators. Increased noise obviously affects their ability to survive. There has been research carried out which ties the use of these air guns to the beachings of marine mammals species.

Should Fisheries and Oceans Canada rethink it's position on allowing sesmic testing in Canadian waters? Absolutely. Should concerned Canadian residents make their opinions known? Again, absolutely! But it shouldn't be because: "The Blue Meanies are stealing my socks and I have aliens in the wood shed!" Do yourselves a favor and research the topic first. Learn about the issue and define why you are set against it. Get your facts straight and don't just yell out anything that comes to mind. Sometimes, things are not 'all connected', as this one person believes. Notably so, when one thing has bugger all to do with the other. Oil exploration by a bona fide research vessel, does not equate to death ray research by the American military, no matter what or how much you smoke.

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