Tagging the Oceans

As a young boy I was fascinated by wildlife and had piles of videos that I would watch over and over. I always believed I would end up as a wildlife researcher tracking cheaters across the plains with a faithful rescued tiger as my companion. Well it did not turn out quite that way, but I am still in love with wildlife. You may believe in a creator or you may believe in science. But what we must all see is the wonder and complexity of nature and our existence.

One of humans worst qualities is that the further removed we are from something the less we seem to care. Weather this is removed in the sense of distance or time. And with technology of the 20st century putting more and more distance between us and nature, it is unsurprising that we take it for granted and don’t always treat it with the respect it deserves.

But what is great to see is how technology in the 21st century is starting to bring us back in touch with nature, to allow us to see the complex interactions and how us as humans fit in to the picture. People talk about the need to go back to simpler times to “save” the planet.. But it is not back we need to go but forward, to use technology and develop it so we understand and have the tools to make the changes we need, so we can both live as 21st century humans, while looking after the planet that sustained us, including the other living organisms that share it with us.

today I came across a video that shows how we are developing these technologies and how they can be used to reach out and make people interested. Because once people are interested the “distance” decreases, and as that goes down the more we will care.

Barbara Block: Tagging tuna in the deep ocean


A step up from Minority Report interface.

OK so the real life Minority Report interface did not do it for you?

Well lets try a bit of Brain control!

OK so its not perfect yet, but I have been following these over the years and they are getting better and faster to respond year by year. I remember when the most they could flip the colour of the screen by thinking about a CAT?! To think it can learn an action in 8 seconds, and if its any think like Voice recognition software, I know from experience practice really does make perfect.

I still think there’s a long way to go yet, but we are getting close to being able to sit at our desk and control objects on the screen with our mind.

However I think the use I would most like to see the research go to first if for helping disabled. Controlling wheel chairs is only the beginning, Imagen those people with diseases like Stephen Hawkins, who currently can only communicate by moving his eye lids. Returning some ones ability to move is a great thing to be able to do, but returning some ones ability to communicate would be something truly amazing.

Plus I want one cause they look cool!!! 😉


Now that’s Old

Today I have not really done interesting IT stuff, but I did happen to see a artical on long lived organism.

To put this in to prespective the oldest person on recourd is a lady by the name of Jeanne Calement who passed away aged 122 in 1997. However compared to other things this is hardly being born..

Animals don’t do so well in terms of long lives, the oldest recorded tortoise is in the region of 175 years and the oldest clam was though to be around 400 at the time if its death (in a lab as it was being measured). For the real old stuff you need to look at plants and bacteria.

I am sure you have heard of the Bristlecone pines, some of which are known to be over 5000 year in age.

Clonal plants, where a single plant self clones to produce a never ending and unbroken chain of life, have been found that a several tens of thousands of years old. In these cases the original plant growth will be long dead, but they still form some impressive stats.

One in particular is an underground forest in Africa, these trees are completely buried with only the tips of there branches above the soil. Some of these clonal species are over 13,000 years.

A Honey Mushroom in eastern Oragon US is not only 2,500 years old, but is also over 8 square kilometres making it one of the largest organism alive at 605 tons.

But this pales next to Pando (meaning I spread), this is a single Quaking Aspen in Utah USA. with 47,000 stems (each looks like a single tree) connected via one gigantic root system, this single organism is thought to weight in at over 6000 tons. Estimate of age put it at between 80,000 and 1million years old. There is debate over if it is still truly one organism but what ever it is one mammoth tree..

But for the oldest single organism that is no a clone of an original and has been living continuously for its life, Bacterium are where you need to look. You will find some claims of 250 million year old bacteria, but what they mean is spores that have been in a dormant state for 99.99999% of that time, which it really cheating a bit.

But the siberian actinobacteria, that live in permafrost have been shown not only to be 500,000 years old, but also activate in DNA repair, there is even some evidence of them metobilising nutrients from there surroundings.

To think of it another way, these individual bacteria have lived in the ice covering the permafrost of Siberia, when humans first started to venture out of Africa and move across Europe to eventually spread ourselves all over the world. These permafrosts are now melting and as they do these bacteria will die…

View The Oldest Living Things in the World in a larger map

The natural world is a crazy place, maybe next time I will tell you about how it is possible for a bumble bee to fly, it puzzled scientists for years!

Enjoy the weekend