Bush: Go ahead, Navy, burst the eardrums of all sea mammals

FUCKING MORON BUSH.

http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,53888,00.html

Cliff’s Notes version:

Whales are particularly susceptible to sonar interference because they rely on sound for communication, feeding, mating and migration.

According to the Navy, each of the sonar’s 18 speakers transmits signals as loud as 215 decibels, equivalent underwater to standing next to a twin-engine F-15 fighter jet at takeoff.

Environmentalists say, however, that with the convergence of sound waves from each of the speakers, the intense effects of the system would reach farther, as if the signals were 235 decibels.

[…]

The intense low-frequency sonar can travel several hundred miles, and the transmissions are on the same frequency used for communication by many large whales, including humpbacks.

Some biologists believe whales are irritated by sounds louder than 110 decibels and that a whale’s eardrums could explode at 180 decibels.

Environmentalists’ fears are partly based on the Navy’s deployment of a powerful mid-range sonar in March 2000 during a submarine detection exercise in the deep water canyons of the Bahamas.

At least 16 whales and two dolphins beached themselves on the islands of Abaco, Grand Bahama and North Eleuthera within hours. Eight whales died. Scientists found hemorrhaging around the brain and ear bones, injuries consistent with exposure to loud sounds.

Twelve Cuvier beaked whales beached themselves in Greece during NATO exercises in 1996 using the low-frequency sonar, but the whales decomposed before scientists could investigate.

Sounds like a cool new weapon to fight against the evil whale alliance. What’s the big deal?

Like I have any sympathy for whales after what they did on September 11th.

Hey, before the advent of the steam engine, whales could communicate with each other across hundreds and even thousands of miles. But then man had to come in with his noisy engines and started putting noisy ships everywhere, and the communiation range of whales dropped sharply. No longer was the ocean a quiet pond.

So if I’m an environmentalist, I’d say BAN ALL SHIPS!

But I’ve got a brain…

Come on… it’s not as if the sonar is turned on all the time. In fact, it’s dangerous to turn on active sonar at all. Passive sonar is good, because you don’t emit any noise, and you attempt to filter all the background noinse to detect targets. But turning on active sonar lights you up like a Christmas tree in the desert. It’s like turning on a flashlight outside. The guy with the flashlight can only see objects 10-20 feet in front of him. But anybody within miles of the guy can see the flashlight beam.

Navy’s only turn on active sonar to fine tune targeting when they have a potential target… or to let the other guy know that they’ve got them cold.

“But turning on active sonar lights you up like a Christmas tree in the desert. It’s like turning on a flashlight outside. The guy with the flashlight can only see objects 10-20 feet in front of him. But anybody within miles of the guy can see the flashlight beam.”

Did you read the article?

It says that this is a system that will cover 80% of the world’s oceans.

There is no flashlight that lights up 80% of the world.

“No longer was the ocean a quiet pond.”

There’s a wee difference between “a quiet pond” and a place where your brain starts bleeding and your ears burst. Or do you not see that?

Did you guys actually read this article?

This sonar is on two new warships. Just two. “The intense low-ferquency sonar can travel several hundred miles”…

How do two warships and a several hundred miles radius translate to “80-percent of the ocean”???

P.S. If you were really worried about dolphin and whale populations, I’d be complaining a helluva lot more about gill nets and overfishing. There are hundreds of trawlers lawying out thousands and thousands of miles gill nets each year that kill just about everything it encounters, including turtles and dolphins.

Not to mention that a lot of times the gill nets snap, so there are hundreds of miles of floating gillnets out there continuing to kill all sorts of sea life inadvertantly.

‘…intended to sweep 80 percent of the world’s oceans’

They say it does. Regardless, I’m not so sure why we need this; what, are China’s noisy diesel subs going to go undetectable otherwise? Will Russia’s fleet attack us by rusting?

Everyone makes the worst logic jump when it comes to the Pentagon’s capabilities and it’s intents. Case in point: part of the Pentagon’s job is to draw up contingency plans… so just because there’s a plan somewhere to deal with a war with Canada doesn’t mean we’re going to go to war with Canada.

So just because we’re building a sonar that could sweep 80-percent of the world’s oceans doesn’t mean we’re going to be sweeping 80-percent of hte worlds oceans all the time, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Hey, we’re not going to be actively sweeping in times of peace fellas. And if we are, we’re not going to actively sweep 80-percent of the oceans at a time.

Diesel subs can be very quiet, especially if they’re on batteries. And look who is snatching up diesel subs around the world. Generally countries that don’t have the best of intentions… North Korea, Iran, etc.

In war, we’d have to sweep the theater of conflict, which isn’t 80-percent of the world’s oceans. It’d be around the Korean peninsula, where the threat is, or the Persian Gulf, where the threat is. We wouldn’t be going around to Norway and blasting her waters.

Ugh, getting stuck on the terminology…

Basically, what this thing does is that it can work in 80-percent of the world’s oceans.

But it’s actualy range is a helluva lot smaller than that.

So when you turn it on, it doesn’t sweep 80-percent of the world’s oceans. That just means you could go to 80-percent of ocean water in this world and it would work effectively there.

The other 20-percent would have problems. I’m assuming we’re talking about water near the poles and such… water temperature and salinity affect sonar performance in very complex ways.

I don’t give a fuck.

It’s immoral to go around shooting off something that is going to take out the eardrums of animals for hundreds of miles in each direction every time you use it.

Reminds me of the current US policy in Afghanistan. It’s “regrettable” that we’re accidentally taking out wedding parties full of civilians with careless machine gun fire when we go after a couple of ex-Taliban hiding in the underbrush, but we’re going to keep going right ahead and doing that, because the lives of Afghans and animals don’t mean that much to us. Anyone who ain’t wearing an American flag on his arm better watch the fuck out, 'cause the American military is coming through and all losses not wearing a US uniform are acceptable.

Arrogant idiocy.

Like the guy says in the movie Reign of Fire, “great… the only thing worse than dragons… Americans.”

–Dave

True, but every time they test it in operations? Dead whales.

The really wierd thing is if you go through the Navy website they compare the very short range today’s passive sonars can detect stuff at to, for some reason, the very long range the new active sonar will have. Perhaps they’ll start throwing radar into the mix while they’re at it.

It comes down to the Golden Rule.

“According to the Navy, each of the sonar’s 18 speakers transmits signals as loud as 215 decibels, equivalent underwater to standing next to a twin-engine F-15 fighter jet at takeoff.”

If George W. Bush would be unwilling to have sound at this level broadcasting in his living room, he shouldn’t subject others to the same treatment.

Simple as that.

For a supposedly devout Christian, the guy seems to not give a crap about “doing unto others as he would have done unto him.”

‘For a supposedly devout Christian, the guy seems to not give a crap about “doing unto others as he would have done unto him.”’

LOL! That is unless you’re following the current debacle where all the CEOs are showing such poor judgement.

Trans Am,

Frankly, I think that attributing accidental civilian deaths during wartime to some sort of uniquely American arrogance is disingenuous at best. I agree that American unilateralism is very real and, in some cases, disturbingly more prominent in recent times. However, to blindly cry “Arrogant Americans” every time something happens that you don’t like is just lazy thinking. Even if you disregard moral implications and take a purely pragmatic view of the situation in Afghanistan, I think it’s pretty obvious that civilian casualties are counterproductive to our goals and I believe that our policymakers grasp that concept.

“I think that attributing accidental civilian deaths during wartime to some sort of uniquely American arrogance is disingenuous at best.”

I think there is a uniquely American arrogance (witness the necessity for all Presidential candidates to repeatedly stress how America is “the greatest country on Earth”), but I don’t think that all Americans subscribe to it. The current administration does.

I dislike the current administration and its actions, not America as a whole.

Jason,

Is that true? The article in the LA Time this morning only pointed to two incidences of whales beaching themselves. One in 1996 in Greece and another in 2000 in the Bahamas, neither of which was clearly demonstrated to have resulted from the sonar tests. Besides, don’t whales beach themselves all the time? As far as I know, this is one of those things we just can’t figure out about whales.

In the Bahamas in 2000, 16 whales beached themselves. A single severed whale’s head, which had been preserved in a restaurant refrigerator before it was eventually flown to the states for testing, showed inner ear damage. I don’t believe a link was demonstrated between the medium frequency sonar being tested and the whale’s deaths in either case.

At any rate, the current brouhaha is over testing of low-frequency sonar, which wasn’t used in either of the two incidences where whales beached themselves.

This strikes me as the same sort of thing as the people in Puerto Rico trying to shut down the Navy’s Vicques (?) bombing range. People are quick to point to uncertain cause/effect relationships when the military is concerned. After all, this is everyone’s favorite Goliath.

 -Tom

Jason,

Is that true? The article in the LA Time this morning only pointed to two incidences of whales beaching themselves. One in 1996 in Greece and another in 2000 in the Bahamas, neither of which was clearly demonstrated to have resulted from the sonar tests. Besides, don’t whales beach themselves all the time? As far as I know, this is one of those things we just can’t figure out about whales.

In the Bahamas in 2000, 16 whales beached themselves. A single severed whale’s head, which had been preserved in a restaurant refrigerator before it was eventually flown to the states for testing, showed inner ear damage. I don’t believe a link was demonstrated between the medium frequency sonar being tested and the whale’s deaths in either case.

At any rate, the current brouhaha is over testing of low-frequency sonar, which wasn’t used in either of the two incidences where whales beached themselves.

This strikes me as the same sort of thing as the people in Puerto Rico trying to shut down the Navy’s Vicques (?) bombing range. People are quick to point to uncertain cause/effect relationships when the military is concerned. After all, this is everyone’s favorite Goliath.

 -Tom[/quote]

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/news/nation-world/html98/whal15_20000615.html

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/prot_res/PR2/Health_and_Stranding_Response_Program/mmhsrp.html

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/bahamasbeakedwhales.htm

In the third url the NOAA says the sonar did it, along with “unusual bathemetry,” whatever the hell that means.
Well, it is louder than hell, and sound travels absurd distances with little or no attenuation underwater.

I’m in favor of arming ourselves with all the weaponery we can stand, but this is yet another case where the anti-environmentalists are trying to stick it to the enviros out of sheer spite.

Good god, Jason, this is exactly what I mean. What I got from the NOAA interim findings you posted is that they just don’t know what caused the whales to beach themselves. They suggest it was a combination of many factors, one of which might have been the sonar.

Note this conclusion:

“The actual mechanisms by which these sonar sounds could have caused animals to strand, or their tissues to be damaged, have not yet been determined, but research is under way.”

This is, in no way, a demonstrable cause/effect relationship. Do we shut down sonar testing because of this? According to the government, there isn’t enough evidence to demonstrate a connection, so it’ll come down to environmentalists filing lawsuits.

 -Tom