Monday, December 1, 2008

Why Do Whales Beach Themselves?

I have often wondered why whales beach themselves and so I decided that perhaps instead of wondering about it, I should look into finding out why they do it. Let me first and foremost mention that I am no Marine Biologist nor do I work for the military or some special interest group…I am just a curious person.

Let’s first briefly talk about how sound travels underwater. It is said that sound travels best in dense mediums because of the more closely packed molecules. Water, which is far denser than air, helps sound to better. As a result, the speed of sound increases by about four times underwater. Since sound travels at a much faster rate underwater, the direction from which a sound originally came, cannot be easily ascertained.

Types of underwater sounds:

Natural sounds
Natural sounds underwater can originate where the earth’s tectonic plates collide, or be caused by underwater landslides, icebergs breaking off, earthquakes, heavy rains on the water surface and animals
Ocean animals makes noises while swimming, searching for food, sending defense or attack warning signals, sending a mating call, when they are frightened and when they communicate with each other.

Man-Made sounds
Man-made sounds underwater can originate from large freighters in crowded shipping lanes, underwater drilling for oil and underwater explosions, crews laying communications cables and sonar devices used by the military.

How Humans process sounds

Humans perceive sound under water by bone conductivity, which is the vibration of the bones of the skull (Physics). Sound waves enter the ear and strike the tympanic membrane or eardrum, which vibrates the bones of the middle ear. The vibrations are transmitted to the fluid in the inner ear and then vibrate the hair cells that line it. The hair cells are connected by neurons to the auditory nerve, which transmits the signal to the brain. The number of hair cells stimulated determines the volume of the sound and the distribution pattern of stimulated cells determines the pitch of the sound.

Human ears are unable to pick up the frequencies of many of these underwater animal sounds because our hearing threshold is only between 20 and 20,000 Hz. Anthropogenic sounds, such as submarine sonar can be dangerous to divers’ hearing.
A whale’s ear and human ear are similar, save for the fact that a whale’s hearing is 50% more acute than a human’s.

As the picture above shows, the anatomies of both species ears are remarkably similar.
Since submarine sonar and other man-made noises can be dangerous to humans, what effect would you think that it would have on a species whose hearing is 50% more acute than human hearing?

Other points to consider:

It may also be prudent to consider since a whale has evolved to dive for long stretches of time, typically 1-2 hours at a time. In order to do this a whale prepares itself for the dive by spending 10 minutes or more clearing its lungs, blowing a breath in and out every 12 seconds. It’s getting rid of old carbon and loading up with fresh oxygen. Since the whale can and typically does dive deep and has evolved to be able to hold its breath for such prolonged periods of time, it’s safe to assume that it wouldn’t complete such a rigorous preparation for a 30 minute or less dive. Would you prepare for a week for a trip that is only going to take 1 day to make? It be prudent to do so. With that in mind imagine that you have completed your preparation and you make your long anticipated dive, you get 800 feet down in your dive and all of a sudden you are inundated with a wall of sound which appears to be coming from everywhere, so you swim away from the deafening sound.

Since whales navigate using sonar, if they are unable to hear, how are they able to determine the best escape route? They aren't able to do so, which most often results in them beaching themselves as a result. Another thing that one might want to make note of is that when human divers ascend too quickly from a dive, they get what is called the bends. Divers get the bends or decompression sickness when they have been on a deep dive and do not stop in their ascent at regular intervals to decompress.

Small holes are abnormal tissue damage from nitrogen bubbles that form when the animals rise to the surface too quickly.

It has been discovered that whales are experiencing the bends too as a result of ascending too rapidly after a deep ascent. As mentioned earlier, whales typically would be able to manage not getting the bends by avoiding quick ascents, but again, if they are “running” from something, they risk injury to get away from it.
The worlds waterways are becoming increasingly polluted with sound- man made sound and as a result, I fear that these beaching occurrences will increase.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Michael Jackson converts to Islam

Well it's official, Michael Jackson has converted to Islam. I suppose after living amoungst Muslims for such a long time, he became aware of the beauty that is Islam. In all sincerity, I am overjoyed that he has accepted Islam. Ma'shallah!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Behind every great man is a supporting and loving woman...

Everytime I see an image of President-elect Obama, I immediately think of his wife, Michelle Obama. This is in no way meant to take away from his accomplishments, but to acknowledge the fact that he has a powerhouse of support in his own household.

Michelle Obama is an accomplished individual in her own right- A cum laude Princetone Graduate, a Harvard Law School graduate, successful lawyer, a successful community organizer, an Assistant to the Mayor, an Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development; she was Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago as well as their Executive Director for Community Affairs and, Vice President for Community and External Affairs; and She served as a salaried board member of TreeHouse Foods.

Michelle has accomplished all of this, as well as, being a wife to Barack and a mother to their children. It has been said that she is his advisor and confident, and that he depends on her for loving and generous support. I think that when he picked her to be his partner, he could not have picked a better woman, as they truly compliment each other.

As the next chapter in their life unfolds and the President-elect takes his place in office with is faithful partner by his side, I will continue to keep my eye on Mrs. Obama.... I suspect that her, correction, their best is yet to come. May God bless and protect them.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mental Barriers Block Obese Women From Exercise

THURSDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Obese women report that several mental barriers keep them from exercising to lose weight, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Center for Obesity Research and Education and the department of kinesiology at Temple University looked at data collected from 278 women who were enrolled in a year-long physical activity encouragement study.
The women completed a questionnaire when the study began and during three- and 12-month follow-up assessments. The questionnaire dealt with mental barriers to exercise, including:
Feeling self-conscious.
Not wanting to fail.
Fearing injury.
Perceived poor health.
Having minor aches and pains.
Feeling too overweight to exercise.
At every assessment, the obese women reported greater barriers to exercise than their normal weight counterparts. The barriers that the obese women identified at the beginning of the study predicted how much they would be exercising at the 12-month follow-up.
"This is the first time we've been able to systematically look at what stops obese women from getting the activity they need," Melissa Napolitano, an associate professor of kinesiology and clinical psychologist at the Center for Obesity Research and Education, said in a university news release.
Napolitano said that programs that are tailored to overcome these barriers can help obese women feel more comfortable exercising.
"There is an underlying attitude about weight loss, that it's easy if you eat less and exercise more," she said. "But if losing weight were easy, we wouldn't have the obesity epidemic we have today."
The findings were presented Oct. 5 at The Obesity Society's annual meeting, in Phoenix.
More information
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have more about physical activity and obesity.
Taken from:;_ylt=AgIDPSk_cAM2lRVEWSnpyoFa24cA

Undocumented Immigrants.........

Just thought I'd share this for those of you who've had to wait in long security lines at the airport lately......
Just how are they getting in?

Friday, July 11, 2008

La Caution's song, The a la Menthe

I love this song and I wanted to share it with you. It is the French Rap duo La Caution. If the song sounds somewhat familiar, its because it was the song that played while Louterc (sp) danced through the lasers to steal the diamond in Oceans 12. Enjoy!


Answer this for me- Can you actually become bored during the summer? As a kid I looked to summer breaks and fun activities, but I am no longer thrilled about summer. Is that really possible?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Invictus (Courage)

There is a poem that I have committed to memory that I love. When I have found myself facing difficult times, I have thought upon this poem and found the strength to perservere. The poem is Invictus (Courage) and it was written by William Earnst Henry, a Brit. The poem is inspiring and I want to share it with those who care to read on....

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of Circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of Chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Is this really true?

Are they made and not born? The old nature -vs- nuture argument......

Friday, March 21, 2008

Kiva...... Lending for the future

I recently ran across a website that completely took my breath away....

The site allows everyday people like me and you to loan money to people in economically depressed areas, which in term, allows them to open or expand their businesses. By lending them money, you don't give them a handout, but a leg up. I like this idea because although I don't make a lot of money, I am an avid giver to charity and I enjoy seeing what the charities can do with the money they are given, but sometimes too much overhead can cut into their effectiveness. With microlending, there is a direct(semi) connection between you and the person that you will be helping. According to the site, 99% of the borrowers repay the loan in it's entirety, which I am sure is better repayment than what most US banks have. Not only that but I would think that there is a closeness, a sense of intimacy giving this way because you are directly involved with someones prosperity, because you share their dream enough to help them achieve it (or at least a part of it). The word Kiva is Swahili and has several meanings, they are harmony unity, approval, and agreement. ( No, I don't speak Swahili, I looked it up on I recommend that if you are into giving to help others, you look into this, i am almost positive that you will be glad you did.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Am I .......

boring? I am looking for your opinion. I was recently out with friends and discovered that I was “boring.” A little background on me: You see, I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs, nor am I into men who do. In addition to that, I am not into the “bad boy“ type and rarely engage in risky behavior ( I do tend to do 70 mph when I drive to work though). I like to travel, read, visit museums and cultural events, and spend time with family and friends (in controlled doeses sometimes). Also, i must say that I do enjoy doing things alone sometimes. Does that make me uninteresting? Are we now what we do, and no longer who we are?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

There's Something About Miriam

Recently I came across this reality television show that featured six men from Australia and the UK competing for the affection of Miriam, a model from Mexico. Recruitment ads for contestants promised "the adventure of a lifetime" with a £10,000 prize to men aged 20 to 35 who "want it all" and are "fit and up for everything. This show has been called the cruelest experiment ever (see the video above) and the production was sued by the six contestants at it's conclusion for deception. The show is produced by Endemol who have produced the following shows throughout Europe:

Reality television
Big Brother
The Big Donor Show
Bigg Boss
OperaciĆ³n Triunfo / Star Academy / The One
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
The Games (British TV)
The Farm (TV series)
Only Fools on Horses
There's Something About Miriam (via Brighter Pictures subsidiary)
Gay, Straight or Taken?
Kid Nation
Game shows
1 vs. 100
Break The Bank (Philippines)
Deal or No Deal
Fear Factor
For the Rest of Your Life
Golden Balls
In The Grid
Judas Game (Germany, title was censored and changed to "JGame")
Midnight Money Madness
Participation TV
Set for Life
Show Me the Money
Take It or Leave It
Take the Cake
Late night/variety shows
Cronicas Marcianas
Games UpLate Live (Philippines)
Children's shows
The DJ Kat Show 1985 - 1993
Mighty Truck of Stuff
Bel's Boys
Totally Frank

Blogger Virgin

OK.... I am a virgin, to blogger that is. Now don't get me wrong, I am familiar with blogging, as I have a Yahoo 360 page, just not familiar with Blogger. So far everything was pretty simple to setup.... about 10 minutes of setup and here I am typing my first entry- Blogger gets a big thumbs up for ease of use. Also, I like the variety of templates available, some are pretty cool looking, and the font/color choices are plentiful as well. So far, so good.