Technocracy and the Sea

On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.

“The sea is big. The sea is cruel. She takes more than she gives. That’s how it’s always been.”

This line from my long forgotten first science fiction novel still resonates with me. The ocean is a tough place. No matter how good we get at working at sea, the sea always finds new and creative ways to totally undermine our endeavors.

The last quarter century has seen a tremendous rise in our collective faith in technology’s power to save us. When hundreds of thousands were dying on the roads, we made car that drove themselves, reducing traffic fatalities by several orders of magnitude. After the last great recession, we created new digital currencies to protect our savings from market forces. When we could no longer afford to burn coal and oil, we finally built an alternative energy infrastructure.

When firearm deaths and mass shootings were out of control, we built “safe” guns with sophisticated biometric locks, and developed clothing and shields to reduce fatalities. These measures had almost no effect, but we continue to throw technology at the problem.

That is the problem with technocracy.  Read More

Fun Science FRIEDay – The Moby Dick of Sperm Whale Encounters

Happy FSF Folks!

So this news has been making the rounds, and it is too amazing not to include for FSF. So if you missed it, you are in luck because we highlight it again here. A giant sperm whale was captured by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) piloted as part of Bob Ballard and the Corps of Exploration’s Nautilus cruise. The whale was captured by the ROV Hercules at 598 meter (1,962 ft) below the sea surface in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.

Sperm whale captured at 598 meter (1,962 ft) depth by the ROV Hercules. (Photo Credit: Ocean Exploration Trust)

Sperm whale captured at 598 meter (1,962 ft) depth by the ROV Hercules. (Photo Credit: Ocean Exploration Trust)

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The last climate change refugees fight for survival in this grim view of our future ocean – Fleet: The Complete Collection

Fleet: The Complete Collection

 completesmall“The sea is big. The sea is cruel. She takes more than she gives. That’s how it’s always been.”

The world has changed. Coastal cities lie abandoned as the encroaching sea rises, drowning and reshaping the land. Violent plagues, impervious to antibiotics, sweep across the planet, erasing entire communities in a single outbreak. The last refugees take to the sea, fleeing from the chaos in increasingly decrepit ships.

To the people of the Fleet, this is ancient history. There is no room for nostalgia when every day is a fight for survival.

Finally, after five months, the Fleet saga is complete. Sail with the crews of Miss Amy, Melville, Gallant, Salty Dog, Knot Work, Pair-a-dice, Satyr, Crystal Coast Lady III, Seahorse, Eastward, Rosscarrie, Shellfish Lover, and NC-3502-WM as they fight for survival in a new and unyielding ocean. Currently available as an Amazon Kindle eBook, a paperback edition will be available shortly.

Fleet: The Complete Collection


World Oceans Day #OceanFacts

On World Oceans Day, I asked the online marine science and conservation community to tweet their favorite facts about the ocean using the hashtag #OceanFacts . Dozens of people joined the discussion, and more than 300 #OceanFacts were contributed. These tweets cover a variety of topics, from marine invertebrates, fish, sharks, and marine mammals to facts about the ocean itself and conservation policy. The discussion also inspired a great deal of humorous posts, including an entire spinoff #OceanFibs hashtag. Some of my favorite #OceanFacts tweets are saved in the Storify below.

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Core Themes for 2012: A renewed sense of wonder

In the past four years, we took our readers from the remote shoals of the Skeleton Coast to the unfathomable depths of the western Pacific. We touched the coasts of every continent, plumbed the depth of every ocean. Throughout this shared journey, the unspoken, implicit rationale, the very heart of our passion, the reason that any of this is worth doing, is that the ocean is awesome. When I say awesome, I don’t mean awesome in some mundane, biblical sense of fear and wonder when staring into the face of god; I’m talking about something much greater than our fragile brains can comprehend.

We have sailed so far, in these four years, and in this voyage I fear that we have found ourselves, like Ishmael, in “the damp, drizzly November of [our] souls.” The conversation at Southern Fried Science has changed, become more cynical, fatalistic, and driven by threats facing the ocean, rather than reasons why we value it. What once was a sea of boundless potential is now cast in bondage to statistics, benefit analyses, weights and measures, action items. In a way, this shift was inevitable. The ocean is in trouble, the world is changing, and the less we understand it, the more we will lose. Without someone to mark the ledger, to take the bearing, the ship is lost.

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