I Stumbled upon the Bloop
I have an iphone now. There are over 140,000 apps at my disposal. I read an article recently that said, contrary to this enormous amount of apps that are available, the average iphone user will see only a few hundred. A guy that was interviewed for the article who said he would type in random words to the search engine to try to find interesting apps. He found an app that helped people find apps.
Do you know Stumbleupon? I’ve got it as a bookmark across the top of my Firefox browser. Now, that’s a pretty amazing way to approach an impossibly large body of knowledge: namely, the internet itself. It works like this: it gives you a thumbs-up and a thumbs-down logo. You click on the “Stumble!” button and you land on a random website. If you like it, you click thumbs-up. If you don’t, you click thumbs-down. Pretty soon, every time you click “Stumble!” you land on a website that fits your tastes and interests, and I can guarantee you that you would never have found it in a million years of just surfing around. When you’re done with that one, click — and you’re on to another one. And another one. I’ve actually spent a couple of hours at a time with my laptop in bed, stumbling from web site to web site like a drunk going from bar to bar.
Stumbleupon calls it “People Driven Technology.” Here’s their blurb:
Using a combination of human opinions and machine learning to immediately deliver relevant content, StumbleUpon presents only web sites that have been suggested by other like-minded Stumblers.
This is a pretty good use of technology, in my opinion. How do I know? What’s my proof?
Stumbleupon led me to The Bloop. Not only the Bloop, mind you, but Julia, Train, Slowdown, Whistle, and Upsweep.
Man, I’ve already got goosebumps. People who think there are no more mysteries on planet Earth need to start Stumbling. Rather than just link you to The Bloop, I’m going to paste in the description here:
The Bloop is the name given to an ultra-low frequency and extremely powerful underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) several times during the summer of 1997. The sound was traced to a remote point in the South Pacific Ocean west of the southern tip of South America. According to the NOAA description, the sound came rapidly in frequency over about one minute and was of sufficient amplitude to be heard on multiple sensors, at a range of over 5,000 km.
The NOAA’s system ruled out any known man-made sound, such as a submarine or bomb, or familiar geological sounds such as volcanoes or earthquakes. The audio profile of the Bloop resembles that of a living creature. The system identified it as unknown because it was several times louder than the loudest known biological sound.
Cryptozoologists have speculated that the Bloop could have been the sound of a giant sea monster, several times bigger than the largest known living creature. Others have suggested that it could have been bubbles from some kind of huge chemical reaction in the seabed or have something to do with the interaction of powerful ocean currents. The Bloop remains a mystery of the deep ocean.
Did you read that last bit? “The Bloop remains a mystery of the deep ocean.” That just makes me happy. And here’s the best part: you can hear The Bloop. Ready? click here. The reason it goes so fast is that the sound file has been sped up 16 times so that we can actually hear it. In actuality, The Bloop takes over one minute.
And one more sentence gets my heart racing from a page about The Bloop:
If I have five children, I think those will be their names. These sounds give me the heebie jeebies in the best possible way. The sound that freaks me out most is Slowdown, but the description of Upsweep blows my mind: “The source level is high enough to be recorded throughout the Pacific.” How could a sound be loud enough to be heard across the entire Pacific Ocean?
I’m trying to figure out why these types of things get me so excited. I believe it’s because we are bombarded with media imploring us to be scared of the unknown: it seems that the Science Channel, Discovery, even NOVA seem to build their shows now around threats, mysteries, and unexplained phenomena. They’re practically breathless as they implore us to be amazed and astounded. But these sounds all come courtesy of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It really makes my skin tingle to hear a scientific Federal Agency say “we have no idea what this is.”
It’s so nice to know that there are crazy things around us we have no explanation for.
And that they have such great names.
I gave those sites a big Stumble thumbs-up.