Friday, April 22, 2005

They call him Flipper

Earth Day is today and as the sap rises in the trees so do the more goofy ones among us rise to the occasion. This note from informs us that whale songs are going to be broadcast into space by the Deep Space Communications Network, a private organization located near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at the request of the Sirius Institute of Hawaii.

Why is this silly? Well, for one thing, there is nobody out there to hear them. You see, the whale songs will go out to some 3.5 light years into deep space before they are likely to be too faint to detect and the nearest star is 4.3 light years away (18.6% short of the distance needed).

Michael Hyson is the research director for the Sirius Institute. He says that dolphins and whales are the oldest sentient race on the planet, and itÂ’s about time they shared their songs with the universe.

Leaving aside all the mawkish sentimentality of that statement, I ask a critical question: Isn't it an invasion of the whales' privacy to broadcast their "songs" all over local space? Mr. Hyson better be prepared for a lawsuit even if the whales haven't yet made a fuss over the surreptitious recordings made of their conversations. Enough is enough already. If they wanted to blab to everybody, surely they would have built the technology needed to do so considering how much time they've had as a "sentient race".

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