The Friday Fillip

Did you know that if you attach a rock to a lightbulb and drop it into the ocean, the bulb will implode at about 100 metres with a peculiar “bang”?

I didn’t either. (If you’d like to hear that “bang,” click on this.)

More interesting, I suppose, is the fact that the undersea is a “blooming, buzzing confusion” of sounds, most of which are made by living beings. We, unfortunately, are responsible for noise pollution, causing distress to some ocean creatures, among them whales. These great beasts moan and whoop and click and pop, typically beneath the range of our hearing. Luckily for us, scientists have recorded these sounds and speeded them up to raise the pitch to bring it within our range. I say luckily, because I certainly can use a regular reminder that there’s a whole lot more in the world than I encounter on my high street, particularly in mid-February, when the world (near me, at least) can be deprived of colour, smells and the ear-candy of bird song.

So I thought that, whether confined by February or just by routine, you, too, might like to break out of your sensory straits. I can’t do anything about the scents around you. But I can point you to some sounds and sights that might make you smile. And because I’m aiming for the unordinary, we’ll continue under water.

Sounds first. And it would be hard to improve on whale sounds, perhaps. You can hear some pretty decent recordings of whale vocalization on Mark McDonald’s Whale Acoustics site. Then while you listen to these, you might like to watch a slideshow put together by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that gives us a glimpse of deep-water, fantastical and beautiful life forms, such as the one shown below.

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