Sven..that is Venus traversing the sun as shot by me from an HD television camera in centerfield at Yankee Stadium. The clouds cleared for about a minute and I zoomed in to the sun and with the help of a great video technician we were able to get this shot. A tape technician in the truck snapped this picture of a monitor which had my shot in it…pretty cool!
The song below (a better cover of the original by Ben Novak) would’ve been nothing out of the ordinary if not the author of it – a software program that replaces, with a certain degree of success, a human composer/songwriter. In 2005 “Turn Your Car Around”, became a top-10 hit in Europe.
Kate Stafford, an oceanographer with UW’s Applied Physics Lab, set out to find if any endangered bowhead whales passed through the Fram Strait, an inhospitable, ice-covered stretch of sea between Greenland and the northern islands of Norway. Only around 40 sightings of bowhead whales, which were hunted almost to extinction, have been reported there since the 1970s.
Stafford and colleagues put two hydrophones, or underwater microphones, on moorings attached to the seafloor in Fram Strait, leaving them there for as long as the batteries would last: nearly a year. Since the population of bowhead whales likely to pass through was thought to number in the tens, they didn’t anticipate much interesting data.
“We hoped to record a few little grunts and moans,” Stafford said. “We were not expecting to get five months of straight singing.”
Not only did they record singing nearly every hour of the day and night, they picked up more than 60 unique songs. A paper detailing their discoveries appears July 31 as the feature article in Endangered Species Research and is openly accessible online.
The variety of tunes was so surprising that the researchers compared the whales’ song catalog to that of birds.
“Whether individual singers display one, multiple or even all call types, the size of the song repertoire for… bowheads in 2008-2009 is remarkable and more closely approaches that of songbirds than other… whales,” they wrote in the report.
They have yet to learn why the whales sang so consistently last year.
Scientists believe that bowhead whale song comes from males during mating season. In most other kinds of whales, individuals either sing the same song their whole lives or all members of a population sing the season’s same popular tune. If bowheads are like the former, that would mean more than 60 males were in the Fram Strait. If the population is evenly split between males and females, there could have been more than 100 whales — far more than anyone thought comprised this population.
With further study, the scientists instead could discover that individual bowhead whales have a repertoire of songs that they sing during a season. That would be equally interesting because it would make the bowheads the only known whales to sing a variety of songs in the same season.