Chris Corwin is a UX engineer at @salesforce who digs bourbon, beer, bikes, and beef. And pork. Aaand chicken. And asparagus. Food, really.

orcas are smart

the fourteen of you who regularly read my blog (hi alison! hi michelle! hi mom! hi andy!) may remember that my dream job is to be an orca trainer, and the following excerpt from an article is just one reason why.

another reason, you may be interested, is that i am trying my darndest to emulate some of the orca traits in my life — traits that i myself have shown to not exhibit that i desire, and i have taken the animal on as a totem of sorts.

i don’t want to over-think it, but by being concious of that which we admire, we can improve ourselves, and i admire the cunning, smarts, grace, beauty and go-the-hell-get-what-we-want-em of the orca:

In the early 1970s, an orca was seen in Argentina beaching itself next to seals. At first it seemed to be in distress, but then it lunged at seals nearby, grabbed one by the neck, and dragged it back into the water. This beaching hunting technique has since been observed hundreds of times in Argentina among a small group of orcas. Studies have shown that the orcas can time their forays onto land to coincide with the tides, so they run less risk of becoming permanently beached.

Unique orca hunting technique documented : Nature News

Chapter 18

Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet.

And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more.

This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it.

Ah … ! What’s happening? it thought. Er, excuse me, who am I?


Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life?

What do I mean by who am I?

Calm down, get a grip now … oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It’s a sort of … yawning, tingling sensation in my … my … well I suppose I’d better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach.

Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what’s about this whistling roaring sound going past what I’m suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that … wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do … perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I’ve found out what it’s for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What’s this thing? This … let’s call it a tail – yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can’t I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn’t seem to achieve very much but I’ll probably find out what it’s for later on. Now – have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?


Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I’m quite dizzy with anticipation …

Or is it the wind?

There really is a lot of that now isn’t it?

And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!

I wonder if it will be friends with me?

And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.

Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.

Chapter 18

humans finally off 115 year old whale

The bomb lance fragment, lodged a bone between the whale’s neck and shoulder blade, was likely manufactured in New Bedford, on the southeast coast of Massachusetts, a major whaling center at that time, Bockstoce said.

It was probably shot at the whale from a heavy shoulder gun around 1890. The small metal cylinder was filled with explosives fitted with a time-delay fuse so it would explode seconds after it was shot into the whale. The bomb lance was meant to kill the whale immediately and prevent it from escaping.

The device exploded and probably injured the whale, Bockstoce said.

“It probably hurt the whale, or annoyed him, but it hit him in a non-lethal place,” he said. “He couldn’t have been that bothered if he lived for another 100 years.”

The whale harkens back to far different era. If 130 years old, it would have been born in 1877, the year Rutherford B. Hayes was sworn in as president, when federal Reconstruction troops withdrew from the South and when Thomas Edison unveiled his newest invention, the phonograph.

The 49-foot male whale died when it was shot with a similar projectile last month, and the older device was found buried beneath its blubber as hunters carved it with a chain saw for harvesting.

19th-century weapon found in whale – Yahoo! News

humans: 2,406,302,123
whales: 1

no whales


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