Mariner's legend confirmed: The Milky Sea

  1. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,519
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    http://www.livescience.com/othernews/051004_sea_glow.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. I don't under stand why it should be a mystery. Why didn't they just pay someone{even local fishermen} to jump in or scoop the water and take a sample?
     
  4. Right on, Hypatia.

    Ivan: Red Tide? I assume something similar.

    Don't underestime Protista. It is a crazy diverse kingdom.

    Actually, my next thought was bioluminescence. The article says:

    Well, for one thing we can only culture about 1% of the bacteria that we suspect are in the environment (based on PCR and other non-culture assays.)

    So it is entirely plausible that although the cultured luminescent bacteria would need to be present in large numbers to create a strong effect, that non-culturable bacteria may have a much stronger luminescense and can get the same bang for a smaller buck.

    Some of these non-culturable bacteria appear to be symbiotic on other species. This is why we can't purify them in culture. Perhaps (one idea off the top of my head) there is a small bloom of the host organism, and the un-culturable (and therefore unstudyable) bacteria (or archaea or other) has a burst of growth and luminescense.

    Cool story, though.

    90% of deep sea life is estimated capable of bioluminescence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioluminescence
     
  5. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,519
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    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4990705
    Audio report

    To me this phenomenon demonstrates a few recurring themes noted while exploring fringe subjects and based on my own observations. First, reasonably consistent reports of an unusual phenomena as viewed by some significant number of observers, usually from many events and over a period of many years, tend to be essentially correct. The interpretations of that seen are almost always wrong but the perceived facts were reported honestly. In this case we have an unusual extreme in that we find only 235 or so reports throughout history - a very small number of reports by most standards - but the reports were essentially true nonetheless.

    Next, until the satellite image was seen, the skeptic was described as a “die hard” skeptic, and then, like magic, in a matter of moments we find that we already have a reasonable explanation for what was reported. I have seen this time and time again. One moment something can seem highly unlikely, absurd or even impossible, and the next moment one can imagine a very reasonable explanation that puts the wild descriptions given by observers into a context that then makes sense. Obviously one can’t accept anecdotal evidence as scientific evidence, but it can serve as a guide to potential mysteries to be solved. Very real phenomenon can sound tremendously silly when described in the absence of the proper perspective.
     
  6. So true

    Yes. The history of science is filled with such events. In fact, it is so common, there should be a word for it.

    There is a list online of the many many scientific events, discoveries, and observations, that were denied at the time, not believed, and even attacked, that turned out to be true later. Of course there is a longer list of hoaxes, frauds, and simply absurd things as well.
     
  7. As it should be. There are often good reasons why the establishment believes what it does and in many cases you never hear about, the established view turns out to be correct. Nothing is perfect.
     
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