Author: Selby

Make Mine Music

Beluga Whale makes Human-like Sounds

Researchers in the US have been shocked to discover a beluga whale whose vocalisations were remarkably close to human speech. While dolphins have been taught to mimic the pattern and durations of sounds in human speech, no animal has spontaneously tried such mimicry.

But researchers heard a nine-year-old whale named NOC make sounds octaves below normal, in clipped bursts. They then rewarded NOC for the speech-like sounds to teach him to make them on command and fitted him with a pressure transducer within his nasal cavity, where sounds are produced, to monitor just what was going on.

Source BBC, via Zack Denfeld


Babel Fish

Researchers are working on a language and a device that will help humans and dolphins talk with each other.

Denise Herzing, a researcher and founder of the Wild Dolphin Project in Jupiter, Florida aims to meet the mammals in the middle, creating a new language that both humans and dolphins can understand.

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White Blood Cell War/Game

Blood Wars is an art-science installation that will pit white blood cells from two different people against each other in a “tournament” that aims to see which person has the strongest immune system.

The piece — by artist Kathy High — forms part of a new experimental exhibition between research laboratory SymbioticA and Dublin’s Science Gallery, called Visceral. Visceral explores the boundaries between art and living systems, bringing together more than a decade of work developed through SymbioticA’s art-science residency programme at The University of Western Australia. The aim is to show the tension between art and science and the cultural, economic and ethical implications of biosciences today.

via Thnx Zack Denfeld

Food Technology

Scientists ‘grow’ pork

Petri Pig
Scientists at the Eindhoven University of Technology are creating artificial pork. Prof. Dr Mark Post and his colleagues of the department of Biomedical Engineering have extracted cells from the muscle of a living pig and then put them in a sticky broth of blood from other animal fetuses. The cells then multiplied and created muscle tissue. They believe that it can be turned into something like steak if they can find a way to artificially “exercise” the muscle.

According to this cultured meat is not only animal friendly, it could reduce the billions of tons of greenhouse gases emitted each year by farm animals. However The Vegetarian Society said: “The big question is how could you guarantee you were eating artificial flesh rather than flesh from an animal that had been slaughtered. It would be very difficult to label and identify in a way that people would trust.”

The project is funded by the Dutch government and the sausage maker Stegeman.

Via, BBC and Food&Drink Digital. Related: Designing the meat of the future, Get vegetarian teeth and eat less meat, Meat Pork, Million Dollar Burger.


Dolphin fitted with prosthetic fin

Tyre manufacturing company has come to the rescue of Fuji the dolphin who was stricken by a mysterious life threatening illness and lost her fin. She caught a disease that begun gradually rotting her tail and her tail had to be amputated to save her life.

For awhile the now 37-year old Fuji survived without a fin, but her lack of exercise and weight gain proved problematic. A friend of the handler’s working at one of Japan’s leading tyre makers, Bridgestone Corp, offered to make them an artificial tail fin for Fuji, the first of its kind in the world. The result was a tail fin 30 centimetres in length and 70 centimetres wide, a bit smaller than the tail of a healthy dolphin of Fuji’s size.