TCS Daily


Save the Whales!... From Sonar?

By Harold Hutchison - July 26, 2006 12:00 AM

On July 7th -- four days after a preliminary injunction was granted halting the use of active sonar -- the US Navy settled a lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) seeking to halt sonar training in order to minimize disruption to the RIMPAC 2006 exercises currently going on around the Hawaiian Islands. This settlement prevented a permanent injunction, which could have been devastating for the U.S. Navy's anti-submarine warfare training, since the RIMPAC exercises are one of the rare opportunities the Navy has to practice against some of the latest well-manned diesel-electric submarines (Australia, South Korea, and Japan have sent such submarines to this year's exercises).

This suit is the latest in a long-running campaign of lawsuits filed by a coalition of environmental groups led by the NRDC against active sonar, which claim that the practice is connected with mass beachings of whales. This campaign has even featured a five-minute Web movie on the NRDC's website featuring actor Pierce Brosnan.

The latest NRDC ploy is an outgrowth of the success the group has had in tying up the SURTASS LFA sonar system in court for several years. In addition to delaying testing of that experimental system until a very restrictive settlement was reached (which only permitted testing of the sonar in limited areas), the battle provided a precedent for the present suits against the medium-frequency systems (the NRDC filed a suit in October, asking a judge to impose restrictions on training with active sonar during peacetime -- targeting the medium-frequency SQS-53 and SQS-56 sonars used by American surface vessels).

The NRDC and other environmental groups have claimed that some recent mass-stranding incidents involving marine mammals are attributable to navy sonar. This includes a 2000 incident off the Bahamas, a 2003 incident in Washington State, and a 2005 incident in Hawaii that involved over 150 whales. However, in a number of studies, no conclusive evidence has linked active sonar to these mass stranding incidents. Only in one case (the Bahamas incident) was sonar even considered a likely factor -- and even then, the evidence was not conclusive. In the 2003 incident in Washington, three of the whales were found to have had illnesses, and two others had suffered blunt-force trauma (others had been too decomposed to tell what caused their deaths). In 2005, the whales had gone into a bay before any active sonar was even used.

The use of active sonar during exercises like RIMPAC is necessary, not only to train American sonar operators, but also to train American submariners to deal with countries that use active sonar (many of which, ironically, don't have to face down environmental groups suing the government to ban the use of active sonar). The United States military lives by the axiom, "you fight like you train." Realistic training gives the United States military its biggest advantage over opponents, and is the case for all good militaries (the saying in Rome went, "Their drills are bloodless battles, their battles are bloody drills").

Of course, the United States Navy does not go out of its way to lash whales with active sonar during training. And in fact, there are procedures in place to minimize the chances of such incidents (including aerial surveys for whales in the area) and the Navy halts ASW exercises when necessary. Despite the Navy's efforts to protect marine mammals during peacetime training, the NRDC's law-fare has continued. As a result, there is a chance court rulings could have the effect of sending sailors underway with no training on how to use the active sonar on their vessels -- or how to deal with the use of active sonar by an enemy. This would be equivalent to sending Pierce Brosnan to film a movie without being able to rehearse the scenes. For Brosnan, it would result in a lot of wasted takes and an embarrassingly large blooper reel. For the U.S. Navy, a failure to rehearse could result in lost ships and dead sailors.

Harold Hutchison blogs for Strategypage.

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76 Comments

Ultraloud sound
What we are talking about is subjecting creatures with brains much like our own to extended series of pings in the 235-240 DB range. As you no doubt are aware, sound travels much better underwater, so distance from the source is much less of a factor than it is here in the thin air.

Have you ever experienced excruciating sound? It will certainly drive one insane. And the dolphins and whales they find stranded do display bleeding in the inner ear. The evidence should seem straightforward enough. Don't do it.

But if the evidence is still deemed insufficient I would propose the following experiment. Get a Navy Seal, immerse him with a snorkel, and subject him to a full series of sonar. Then fish him out and ask him what his experience was like.

If we're unwilling to do this, we're admitting that ultraloud sound is not a healthy environment for anyone.

Where's the naval superpower threatening us?
Do we really have to continue naval business as usual decades after the end of the Cold War?

Where's the naval superpower threatening us?
Do we really have to continue naval business as usual decades after the end of the Cold War?

Is there a national security exemption for this sort of garbage???
I was under the impression that the Armed Forces were exempt from things like the Endangered Species Act and other such environmentalist nonsense. Apparently this is not the case, or a judge would have thrown this out.

If anybody out there knows the details on the Armed Forces and environmental law, I would love to hear a little bit about it.

Also, forget the whales. If every whale ends up bloated and purple on a beach, I couldn't care less. Especially when it comes down to a choice between preparing our submariners to go in to potentially hostile territory like the waters off of Russia, China, India, Iran, etc. in time of war. Who cares about whales compared to nuclear war with any of these countries?

Whales belong in cans of tuna, not taking priority over training the people who deter our enemies from nuclear aggression.

Yes. I can name at least three...
First, Russia. They may not be outwardly communist anymore, but they are definitely not our allies. They still have thousands of nuclear weapons, and the only thing keeping them from turning D.C. in to crater glass just to be rid of us is our missiles. There is a lot of water surrounding Russia, and submarines are an excellent way to get those missiles close enough to strike their targets.

Second, China. Wal-Mart may do billions in business with the Chinese but so do others. For example, nations like Iran buy the missiles they gave to Hezbollah from them. A large number of Chinese computer hackers have been detected probing major defense and commercial ntworks. Furthermore, there are the issues of oil, Taiwan and North Korea to consider. Their coastal defense submarines are old, but they can still detect people who are not being careful enough.

Third, Iran. We all know that the current regime in Iran will end with either war with the United States or a revolution from within. In the event of a war, Iranian subs are expected to make the Straight of Hormuz in to a very unpleasent place to be, effectively shutting off much of the oil being shipped out of the Middle East.

We still need subs, and we still need their crews and commanders trained to deal with sonar. Whales do not have nearly the same deterrent power as Trident missiles.

(If you question any of the facts in here, almost all of this information can be found on DefenseTech.org.)

Source?
If you would please point to the information about the inner ear bleeding and the connection to sonar. I would be interested in reading it.

subs
many nations have older diesel subs. They don't carry the punch that a nuclear sub carries, but they still are dangerous (just ask any WWII sailor) and since they can travel underwater, sonar is the only way to find them.

The world didn't stop just because the Soviet Union stopped calling itself the Soviet Union.

Sonar and inner ear bleeding
Living near the NC coast, where beached whale reports have been made for as long as Navy sonar tests have been conducted, I note that a common autopsy finding here is bleeding inner ears. The same has been reported worldwide, in New Zealand, in the Canaries, everywhere sonar tests have been conducted.

I anticipate that you will discount this frequently encountered link as being less than proof. So be it. I expect you will prefer any result that absolves the Navy from all harm. All I'm asking is that you volunteer for testing, get into the water and let them blast you with sonar. Then you can write your definitive master report on the subject.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=2&ObjectID=10356968

http://www.eurocbc.org/deadly_nature_lfas_evidence_23july2003page1280.html

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4544741

http://www.deafwhale.com/stranding/index.html

"More than a dozen beaked whales beached themselves in the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa in September 2002 following a NATO exercise that involved a cluster of warships and submarines. The Spanish Government cut the navy trials short at the request of the Canary Islands government after the whales were stranded. It raised fresh concerns that long-range "active sonar" systems, used to detect undersea objects at huge distances, destroyed whales' delicate natural navigation systems. The beaked whales, all from three separate species, were stranded along the coasts of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. Acoustic exercises were carried out at the time of the strandings; these occurred in the early morning hours and by dawn most of the animals were already beached. Eight cuvier's beaked whales were necropsied along with a Blainville's beaked whale and a Gervais' beaked whale. These animals showed signs that the sonar had indeed affected them and they are not the only stranded cetaceans to provide evidence of this. In early 2002, an extensive study by the US National Marine Fisheries Service determined that sonar was to blame for another mass stranding of whales during US navy exercises off the Bahamas in 2000. The study indicated that the navy's mid-frequency sonar system caused inner ear bleeding, disorientation and other injuries that drove the whales to beach themselves. Similar strandings occurred in the Canary Islands in 1991, and every year from 1985 to 1989. In all instances except 1986 and 1987, naval exercises were taking place at the same time as the strandings. Strandings that occurred in Britain also showed similar signs of sonar trauma and, therefore, further investigation is needed into the physical and behavioural effects on cetaceans exposed to sonar."

http://www.peacenews.info/issues/2455/245518.html

Not all strandings are linked with sonar activity. See

http://www.deafwhale.com/stranding/index.html

Addendum
Excuse me. I cited one article twice, instead of including this very full and informative one:

http://www.ny4whales.org/sonar.html

Google will provide you with many more, on request.

Utraloud? or Ultra-clue-less
Do you have a clue as to what you're talking about? Do you even know what "a" dB is? Do you have any clue as to what frequency range the sonar signals are in? While you're digging for clues, perhaps you can get one regarding how the "creatures" you say have bleeding ears actually detect "SONAR".

Thanks... with some backlash of course!
>"I anticipate that you will discount this frequently encountered link as being less than proof. So be it. I expect you will prefer any result that absolves the Navy from all harm. All I'm asking is that you volunteer for testing, get into the water and let them blast you with sonar. Then you can write your definitive master report on the subject."

Look ****... I mean Roy, you have already proven that you have no ability to predict my opinion much less understand my motives.

If the science is behind it and actual harm is proven then I would most likely side with you on this one. I am an environmentalist although I am quite different from 99% of those who claim to be as I actually base my environmental views on actual facts.

My opinion does not revolve around yours, or anyone elses, in the least nor is it based on mere infantile opposition.

And your anthropomorphism aside, a human getting blasted by sonar is not the definitive test on the effects of sonar on whales. I hope your sources are a less emotional and more scientific than you obviously are.

Oh, and thanks for the sources.

Not definative evidence
The problem is range, frequency, sound level. At close range (less than a mile) I will agree that sonar, especially long range sonar, can be problematic. Given that Whales have a much more sensitive hearing than humans, I would say you wouldn't want whales within 10 miles.

I will gladly volunteer to be put in the water 10 miles from an active sonar. I will also stay there as long as you like, provided the water is warm enough and I have air for my SCUBA tanks.

Over the past 25 years or so whales haven't been very close to sonar exercises. Every exercise in that time, using active sonar, has been suspended if whales or dolphins are found too close to the exercise area.

But, your point is certainly true. Just ride in a submarine that gets pinged at less than 3,000 meters, it sounds kind of like something hit the hull. A whale, at that range, is probably concussed. (Note the appearance of blunt force trauma noted by the author of the article.)

While I disagree with trying to use the courts to stop these exercises, I do agree with a policy that takes every possible precaution.

No there isn't-but what's more important?
When a nation starts using the standard that its national
security is second to the endangered species act you can preduct the outcome of that nation rather easily. When you can't have live fire exercises because of the spotted owl; when you can't have maneuvers because of a slug; when you can't use an island for bombing practise because of some seagulls you are in real trouble.

But no more so when the government steals people's property rights because of these same endangered animals.

Its just another example of what the tree huggers have caused. If you what to see hysteria and utter delusion read some of the comments here.

Real nice Publius, talk about garbage
You touched on it PJ:

"Apparently this is not the case, or a judge would have thrown this out."

Exactly. Yet we still have this ridiculous article by Hutchison, who apparently thinks he knows more than the courts. If the Navy isn't going to take the larger perspective into account, someone has to force them to.

Whats your deal Publius. What do you have against whales? Oh right, you hate environmentalists, environmentalists like whales, therefore you hate whales. Very impressive.

Are you really that scared? Thats why we have all these nuclear missiles, so everyone else knows they'll be obliterated if they try it on America. Don't let fear control you. What will be will be, regardless of who you hate next. I'll qualify my comments though, if you gave me a static choice between killing all the whales and having a nuclear war, I would probably vote to kill the whales to avoid the nuclear war. But reality is not that static. Restricting how much submarines train with sonar is not the harbinger of whether we'll have a nuclear war or not. At least I sure hope it isn't, we're screwed regardless if it comes down to something like that. You need to get over yourself. Go live in a bunker or something.

Speaking from ignorance
Maybe you should do some more reading yourself. You appear not to know that "passive" sonar involves sending out pings of 235-240 dB, to see what they bounce off. In other words, emitting a very loud sound,. Many researchers have observed that such sounds are damaging to the hearing, indeed the orientation, of cetaceans.

Sounds in excess of 110dB are painful to the human ear. And that is on land, where sounds get dampened with distance. Water is a much better medium for sound, and these creatures communicate with sounds they can distinguish over hundreds of miles. They rely on their hearing, which is incredibly sensitive.

If you've ever been in a CAT scan you can imagine what the sound would be like if you didn't have the dampening earphones on. Very loud sounds can drive you insane.

It's easy to tell you haven't read one single reference of the ones I've provided. They're in my followup comment "Sonar and inner ear bleeding". Please don't accuse me of not having a clue when you haven't done any homework on the issue.

Ridiculous?
Tell that to the families of sailors who might have to go up against Chinese, Iranian, or some other country's submarines. When the commander of the Third Fleet, and the Commander of the Pacific Fleet say they need that training, it's pretty safe to assume they know what they are talking about.

Conclusions
Let's go down Roy's list shall we?

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=2&ObjectID=10356968

In this one they cite a report from the UN but give no specifics or links to the report. I am also quite sure that the UN report is lacking in science since these are the ones who brought us Kyoto. They do have various Australian researchers talking about a 10-year cycle of strandings, the Earth's changing magnetic field, difficult and changing underwater topology, pursuit by Killer Whales, and distressed whales calling the others to their demise.

The incident cited in the article speaks of the inner ear bleeding of whales stranded in 2002 but no factual connection between sonar and the whales. Not much science to be found here.

http://www.eurocbc.org/deadly_nature_lfas_evidence_23july2003page1280.html

This one has some meat although a few of the statements were heresay and alarmist. On the whole this one gives links to sources and provides a huge amount of facts that one can check on and confirm.

It also suggests that much of the inner ear bleeding is connected to brain and eye bleeding that occurs when one dives very deep and rises very fast. It would seem that the flight response makes the whales and dolphins dive deep to get away from the sonar.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4544741

This is a sound file and I am at work so I can't judge this one.

http://www.deafwhale.com/stranding/index.html

At least you don't say all whale strandings are caused by sonar. I see you have learned your lesson. This one is quite interesting and also provides a cause for inner ear bleeding not associated with sonar. Underwater seismic activity. Interesting overall.

http://www.peacenews.info/issues/2455/245518.html

This one is just stupid and has just a little blurb in it that was covered in other articles. Nothing new except for a tearful diatribe about the "unethical" use of dolphins to save human lives by finding bombs and mines underwater. I suppose police dogs are unethical too.

Oh well. This definitely looks like Roy's kind of site though.

http://www.ny4whales.org/sonar.html

This one is good with many links to actual research and scientific studies. Probably the best one out of the bunch. It even talks about technological alternatives to the types of sonars that are causing the problems.

I also looked rather intensively for the other side of this argument and found that those I did find where of poor construction and based more on bashing environmentalists than on science. Don't get me wrong, the Greens are some of the most unscientific idiots on the planet who hide behind Mother Earth to push a Marxist agenda but that is no reason to write off actual environmental issues.

Conclusion: After a brief overview of the evidence I will say that the evidence is strong that says that sonar has detrimental effects on marine life. While more studies are needed to solidify the level of detriment, it is safe to say that harm is being done when marine life is exposed to the levels being discussed.

So now the problem is what should be done. Funding for technological solutions is a must but it is also imperative that the military powers of the world do their utmost to create safeguards for marine life while also being able to train, use, and develop the technology needed to stay on top of the newest breeds of silent subs. While our Navy needs to be able to detect our enemies we should protect the environment whenever possible.

It should be noted that many of the sources cited were Navy studies and it seems that many in the Navy are in agreement with my stance.

I do not believe this belongs in the courtroom but rather in the court of science, logic, and our defense needs. Although I would rather not see whales and other marine life harmed I believe it would also be bad for them, and more importantly for us, to be caught unaware by a nuclear sub.

I await the protests from either side.

Loud noise
You see? How easy it was for me to leap to the assumption, having read innumerable posts from you, that you would want to read only far enough that you could dismiss the thought. How wrong we can be some times!

But I'm glad you take it seriously. My thinking is that the only way we can imagine that there is no absolute proof of this is that we can't interview the cetaceans to get their opinions. Thus those people I so unjustly accused you of being one of can write it all off as forever "unproven".

But when we test medical procedures we first try them on animals somewhat like us. And both we and cetaceans are higher social animals with sensitive hearing, great similarities in our brain structure and a great dependence on sound as communication. One can easily say we both depend on sound for our intelligence. So what better test animal than a human, who can undergo the procedure and then give the researcher his impressions?

What I'm saying, in so many words, is that it's just common sense. Anyone familiar with very loud noise can tell you that a noise that's loud enough can destroy not just your hearing but your brain. It's the most stress-inducing thing imaginable, which is why they use it in the worst prisons.

So I withdraw my accusation that you base your stand on infantile opposition. Sort it out with your own criteria, and give it your best shot.

Mixed up references
"Passive" sonar is the use of listening devices, some extremely sensitive, to listen for screw noises and other mechanical noises that would indicate a mechanical deivce in the water. Computer assistance can pick out anomolities that are given off even by some of the quietest submarines, and those noises can be matches to a recorded list than will even give type of vessel. In the case of known Russian "Boomers" during the cold war, the computer could sometimes tell you exactly which sub it was.

"Active" sonar is the use of sound waves sent out and the reflected off objects to get a "view" of what is around or find, exactly, where an enemy is.

Other than that, you have a point. I would also add that sound in water also deminishes, just not as quickly or in the same way it does in air. Even in water, a 250db sound wave is significantly less than that even as little as 100 yards away. At 5 miles, even in water, the sound is down to less than half. At 10 miles it is less than 50 db. the only way a return can be heard from over 100 miles is the unique frequency and sensitive gear.

Cetaceans hearing is their sensitive gear. But, they are also able to tune in on a specific set of frequencies to hear over that distance. It is a different frequency range than most sonar use.

That is why there is doubt that sonar has caused most of the recent beachings. If the Whales are more than 10 miles away it shouldn't be more than a annoyance, just like shrimp crackling and serf breaking against the shore.

But, you are right, several beachings have occurred in areas where sonar exercises were being done. So, we need to study the phenomen and learn more about cetaceans hearing and their sonar. If this is due to sonar, perhaps the answer is as simple as changing frequency.

Marxist agendas and devious plots!
Now this post gives much more credence to my first impression-- that you only want to look at the material long enough to find a quick way of dismissing it. I hope I'm wrong here. But you provide such ample evidence it's hard to mistake your own preconceptions.

BTW which of our enemies have nuclear subs again?

"At least you don't say all whale strandings are caused by sonar. I see you have learned your lesson."

Talk about a snub! "Learned my lesson" indeed. You should know me by now. I'm not about the spin but the straight story. And it is the case that whales have been stranding as long as there have been whales. The theory being promoted here is entirely consistent with the idea that very loud sounds will disorient whales to the point where they must leave the water to escape the pain.

Finally, the PeaceNews site is not especially my kind of site. I was looking for relevant material to your inquiry, via Google. The only part of the page I thought was relevant was the one I excerpted. But now that you have read the rest, which is off-topic, you may dismiss the content of the paragraph I brought to your attention.

Yherefore feel free to dismiss the Canary Islands incident and the NATO exercises, on the grounds that you disapprove of the site it appeared on. Above all, do not google this up to see what actually happened.

The crazy thing is, I'm absolutely sure you think of yourself as being impartial. Maybe I should have instead written disparagingly of the link between noise and beachings, so you could jump on me with the evidence I've provided, to prove the strength of the correlation.

I'm guessing that roy only read enough of Tlaloc's post to form a quick opinion
Tlaloc for the most part agrees with roy, but roy still feels the need to attack him.

I also wonder why roy thinks that only nuclear subs can be found using sonar?
Or is it that he believes that only nuclear subs are dangerous?
Or is that once again he sets up an irrational standard designed only to discard everything that doesn't fit his agenda?

Don't make me slap you!
>"BTW which of our enemies have nuclear subs again?"

Just China and Russia. Even conventional subs can carry a nuclear weapon. Although not our enemy right now they are also not our friend.

>"Talk about a snub! "Learned my lesson" indeed. You should know me by now. I'm not about the spin but the straight story. And it is the case that whales have been stranding as long as there have been whales. The theory being promoted here is entirely consistent with the idea that very loud sounds will disorient whales to the point where they must leave the water to escape the pain."

I don't know if they are attempting to "leave the water" rather than being so disorientated and fearful that they beach themselves.

>"Finally, the PeaceNews site is not especially my kind of site. I was looking for relevant material to your inquiry, via Google. The only part of the page I thought was relevant was the one I excerpted. But now that you have read the rest, which is off-topic, you may dismiss the content of the paragraph I brought to your attention."

Hey. Like calls to like as they say. I did read the quoted part and agreed. The rest is crap.

>"Yherefore feel free to dismiss the Canary Islands incident and the NATO exercises, on the grounds that you disapprove of the site it appeared on. Above all, do not google this up to see what actually happened."

I did Google that incident and did find more reputable information on it. Just as you could have done if you wish to be taken more seriously. Remember, I agree with the overall issue but I don't have to bite on every hook that is dangled.

>"The crazy thing is, I'm absolutely sure you think of yourself as being impartial. Maybe I should have instead written disparagingly of the link between noise and beachings, so you could jump on me with the evidence I've provided, to prove the strength of the correlation."

I am impartial and I actually agree with you that this is a problem for marine life. Loosen the tie old man, and re-read what I wrote. Just because I happen to agree with you and disagree with the author doesn't mean I have to agree with every single source you provide and it certainly doesn't mean I can't take a poke at you either. You're the one who freaked just because I asked for sources. I am one of the few here that actually checks out sources.

Truth is truth. The harm done to marine life by sonar is real but still needs to be fully investigated to find safety limits, ranges, etc. It is also true that Greens are mostly Marxists and anti-science. Oh well.

So calm down, drink your drink, and bask in the knowledge that you are actually correct for a change.

Take a look at your mirror, you see yourself standing there with big floppy ears
1. "Pinging: involves 'active' SONAR, not passive. Surface ships and helicopters use active SONAR to look for stuff that is submerged, like submarines for instance.
2. PASSIVE SONAR is what submarine's use, at least the ones that don't want anyone knowing they are around (the purpose of submarines). Passive makes use of the noise that is generated by ships, aircraft, ocean 'background' and etc. to track,catalog and indentify the locations of the same.
3. Active SONAR (man made) operates in the lower ranges of what the toothy versions whales (includes dolphins) 'hear' in. Dolphins themselves 'click' (not ping) at frequencies between 75Hz and 150 KHz (though apparently mostly between 26 Khz and 70 Khz) at pressure levels of 202 dB to 210 dB.
4. Dolpins, Killer Whales hear through their jaw bones since they don't have any vacant areas between their 'ears' like you. They produce (likey) their 'SONAR'via specialized area of their head.
5.If dolphins 'click' (ping) at a pressure level of (amplitude) of 202 - 210 dB, do you think their buddies get sore 'ears'that bleed?

Inverse square
Sound wave amplitude decreases by the inverse square of the distance. Perhaps those that weren't asleep in high school physics remember that.

What is it you have against sailors?
Talk about chutzpah, yet another mindless comment from the purveyor of psychosis.

So you threw Roy's sites in the lake and they sank?
What do you expect from sites Roy would select or cite? You can bet that every submariner wavs his posterior in Roy's general direction.

Ignorance demonstrated
Boy if you ever need an example of ignorance just quote this one from the mastyer of chutzpah.

You're right he is crazed
I missed his remark implying on nuclear subs use sonar. So I guess any navy that uses sonar, by the way why does he single out subs all vessals use sonar, gets a pass so long as they don't employ nuclear subs.

The more I read these comments the more one wonders why only nuclear sub sonar has some awful effect.

Preferential Activism
Do you suppose that the Russians, Chinese, et al, will also cease using active sonar? If not, what do you suppose the NRDC is doing to stop them, assuming of course that the NRDC is willing to take on organizations that most likely would simply ignore them?

Sorry, didn't remember that one
But I took my last (college level) physics course 28 years ago. Time does weaken memory.

The point still stands, at the distance U.S. naval ships attempt to stay from Whales, it shouldn't cause the damage being reported. More information is needed.

Titbits Jackass Cliche Meter...
4. A full third of your sentence. Impressive work Jackass. Give us a call when you think of something original.

Never heard of a troll whose head was so fat that its gravitational field warped the horizon
Still can't say anything. But that demonstrates the validity of your thesis. Well I am still waiting for your KKK site there ace. When are you going to tell us about it? And how about the joys of inbreeding? That might explain your IQ, but one can only describe it as such because one has to locate it somewhere on the left hand side of an IQ curve.

Heybird show us all you know
Here it is:

An explanation for everything
Thanks for the correction re passive sonar.

If you google the issue you'll find numerous links around the world between the use of sonar and whale stranding, accompanied by inner ear damage. Even the Navy does not deny this. They claim they try to avoid injuring cetaceans by making sure the area is "clean" before they test. And when under a court order they actually do try their best to avoid this damage.

The link is undeniable. Of course, this is TCS. Undeniable links mean nothing here.

I think few people appreciate the effects of very loud sound. There is nothing quite so distressing, unless it is the mangling of the physical body. A gunshot is about 140 dB, and is deafening momentarily. It is one hundred million times louder than ordinary conversation, as can be seen by this chart:

http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/GBSSCI/PHYS/CLASS/sound/u11l2b.html

240 decibels is, of course, way way off this chart, which stops at 160 decibels-- the intensity at which the eardrum perforates. It is beside the point to say that Navy sonar is at a different frequency than the range normally used by whales-- a fact I know not whether it is true-- exposure to sound at such horrible intensities is a killer for cetaceans and for any other creature in the ocean with the power to hear.

The picture that emerges is that they'll go anywhere to escape the sound, which I understand. I've been in a CAT scanner and have a slight feel for the effects of sound. Beached cetaceans display evidence of having suffered the bends, from trying to dive deeper than the noise. Their screams have been heard by investigators. You might read this account:

http://www.eurocbc.org/deadly_nature_lfas_evidence_23july2003page1280.html

The pattern is clear. But as always, when denial is in order some people put all their energies into it. The Navy's best case is that many of the whales were found miles away from where the sonar was used. Well, duh. Whales are mobile. Whales can cover miles very quickly, and would be motivated to do so if there were such loud sounds in their vicinity. On the one hand, the Navy's self serving accounts. On the other-- dead whales with ear and brain injuries.

Obsessed with Trolls
Do you like molesting small people or something. Come up with something original. Something perhaps germaine to an argument. As I've mentioned before your obsession with IQ tells me a whole lot more about your limitations than your capabilities.

Grasping at straws
"I also wonder why roy thinks that only nuclear subs can be found using sonar?
Or is it that he believes that only nuclear subs are dangerous?"

As you know, roy never offered an opinion on nuclear subs. Many classes of ship use on-board sonar, from destroyers on up. I don't recall that the subject was ever mentioned on this thread until Mark manufactured it.

Roy is also aware that Tlaloc has a very sophisticated awareness of the sonar-ear damage issue. However roy can't resist the opportunity to roast Tlaloc for gratuitous knocks against his pet peeve, the evil greenies. His principal criticism of one finding was that it appeared on a green web site. Thus even though the information was readily verifiable elsewhere, he felt safe in dismissing it. This isn't the way clear thinking proceeds.

Roy is sure Tlaloc has had a moment to sit down by now and reflect upon the error of his ways.

Thanks for the info
I stand corrected on the active vs passive. But I think the mass of information we have to date is enough to make the case that great damage is done to dolphins and whales re the use of sonar.

Certainly the courts agree. They have blocked the Navy's use of sonar in sensitive areas off Hawaii:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/07/060706-navy-sonar.html

It was news to me that dolphin sonar can be emitted at a 210 dB intensity. Of course that is a short click, and 210 dB does happen to be 1/1,000th the level of 240 dB. Still, it's interesting. If we didn't have such an abundance of evidence of damage, we'd probably say there was no chance of a problem.

http://www.oceanmammalinst.org/mgpaper.html

So goes the purveyor of psychosis
Your limitations are obvious. If you had any capacities beyond venom has yet to be demonstrated.

And a very unimpressive case it was too Roy
You are almost adept at making an argument as a LA criminal prosecutor.

Poor Roy read your comments
Did you mention anything other than US submarines, all of which are nuclear? Why did you ask questions about only other nations nuclear submarines? Where was your concern for the poor fishies with regard to aircraft, surface vessels, and conventional subs, all of which you were careful not to mention.


Since it is evident from your comments as noted by the other readers here that you don't even grasp the concept of active vs passive sonar are you trying to be unintentionally comic?

Completely True
roy_bean,
Let me commend your thoroughness in explaining to these fans of "Left Behind" novels the dangers associated with use of this kind of sonar.

I can only add that there have been cases where human SCUBA divers have been seriously injured from these "practice sessions" of the U.S. Navy. So your request for those questioning the validity of findings which show there is a danger to cetaceans is... appropriate to the level of the life forms you're dealing with. ;-)

As for author Harold Hutchison, I can only surmise he's among the "pay me for vilifying the environmentalists" type of "journalists" which prowl the halls of TCS. Fortunately, this type of venom peddling is going out of vogue with the mainstream public. So, he and the likes of Twiggy Ann Coulter will only be able to find writing assignments with Cranks & Crackpots Daily News.
Cheers.

It's a non-issue twisted for a "unique" audience
This whole article is nothing but another rabble rouser job for the Believers.
The US Navy has consistently cooperated in matters which affect marine life, the environment and the safety of non-combatant humans. All the NRDC did was to "enable" the Navy to carry out improved methods for carrying out it's combat simulation exercises as
follows:

"Under legal pressure from NRDC, the U.S. Navy agreed in early July to put safeguards in place to reduce the threat of deadly mid-frequency sonar to marine mammals during an eight-nation military training exercise underway in waters off Hawaii. The settlement, reached after intense litigation and days of tough negotiation, requires the Navy to create a sonar-free buffer zone around the newly established Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, as well as to significantly improve its monitoring of marine mammals during sonar drills."
----------

In other words - the US Navy has ackknowledged that it can and will deploy this anti-submarine technology more safely. There is NO threat to the Navy's capabilities in this area, let alone any threat to our national security now or in the future. So - the NRDC is only doing what it's been doing for a couple decades - limiting government actions which might be harmful.


Funny isn't it - that the same bunch who're always rattling on about government being a threat to our safety and freedom is the very same group which now loudly contradicts it's usual crank-off "principle." Their reaction in support of Hutchinson's "Save the Whales!... From Sonar?" only proves how easily their button is pushed by even mediocre propaganda of this caliber.

Courts without sanity produce garbage, not me.
Whales are more important than training a vital componenet of both our nuclear deterrrent and Navy as a whole.

When I hear a judge say that, I say to myself: Yes, I know more than this judge. Yes, Hutchison and ThomasJackson pretty clearly know more than this judge.

For example, we seem to be able to place human priorities (like survival) before the needs of animals. Sometimes protecting animals will be in our interest, but is that the case here? Is it more important that we prevent a global nuclear exchange, or stop hurting the poor whales?

Does this imply a hatred of whales? No, it simply implies that they have their place. Their place is below human beings on the food chain, so forgive my callous disregard of their welfare, but I care as little about the hearing of whales as I do about the comfort of chickens, cattle and veal. They are food, they are not beings who deserve equal consideration with the dominant species on the block. I will be nice to whales and chickens when they build spaceships and nuclear weapons. Run, bobjones, run! Teach the whales fission!

You have also suggested that fear must control and motivate any action taken in self-defense. I acknowledge that it is a motivator. I am worried about the welfare of myself and my family, and I know that if our nation fails to deter our enemies with nuclear weapons, that they will probably kill me and my family, along with our neighbors. (Cats and dogs too, our fellow sentient beings!) Does that make me a yellow-bellied, living-in-a-bunker nut like you seem to suggest? No, that makes me a rational human being. Ignoring the fact that our enemies would kill us if they could is willful stupidity.

At least my bunker will be nice and cozy during the nuclear winter.

Your limitations.
Your limitations are apparent to anyone with more than a third grade reading level. You are utterly incapable of composing a complete sentence free of misspellings or a grammatical faux pas.

Let's not even get into your limited vocabulary.

Help combat mold and mildew
NoIsms,

Thanks for the endorsement. Please feel free to jump in at any time that you want to correct the stream of disinformation emanating from the e-pages of TCS. Factual information has a salutory effect, although I'll admit it's one lost on most of the respondents here.

And who knows? You may find the barrage of bricks and horse turds coming back your way to be exhiliarating. In grammar school I majored in dodge ball, and keep myself in shape today on these pages.

I have reflected on the error of Roy's ways...
>"Roy is sure Tlaloc has had a moment to sit down by now and reflect upon the error of his ways."

Indeed. The first error was asking an irrational windbag for sources. The second was... well there actually was no other errors.

But as I said. The truth is truth.

And yes, I can discount anything on that site due to the nature of the site. That is why I confirmed it elsewhere when I doubted you had. Such is the nature of research that one does not believe a truth surrounded by a sea of lies until one finds confirmation. But this begs the question: why use such a source in the first place when one can find much more reputable sources just as easy?

Roy prefers to let Google do all the work for him, a la Rhampton, but that just leaves the heavy mental lifting to those of us who are capable of it.

BTW: I am sure that if I posted a factual source from frontpagemag.com or humanevents.com that Roy would have no trouble with it. Right?

I also don't believe the Greens are evil. They are just scientifically and morally challenged, not to mention intellectually dishonest, which is, perhaps, why Roy connects with them so well.

Methinks you've missed it ....
So do these toothy whales hear some pinging going and out of curiousity go place their noggin's in close proximity to the SONAR transducers then? All the stuff I've read, regarding this particular subject that seems to legit, typically said that the exact cause of the beaching couldn't be determined.

The missed part (inverse square rule):

I = P/4*pi*r^2

Run the calculation and see how a 220dB (P) sound wave becomes really, really small quickly as the distance (r)increases.

Dscounting sources by reputation
"And yes, I can discount anything on that site due to the nature of the site. That is why I confirmed it elsewhere when I doubted you had. Such is the nature of research that one does not believe a truth surrounded by a sea of lies until one finds confirmation. But this begs the question: why use such a source in the first place when one can find much more reputable sources just as easy?"

This is something we all do. We have a tendency to swallow interpretations that agree with our own prejudices, while discounting others that emanate from craven liars like the folks over at FrontPageMag. It's human nature.

But one thing roy always stresses. Know what is fact, what is opinion and how one can tell the difference.

The source you found so much fault with was merely high on the list at Google, so roy scanned and included it. He clipped the relevant part as he found what you had found: that the rest of the article was chaff. The information on the naval maneuvers in the Canaries was verifiable. Roy did not stop to verify it before posting his comment for two reasons.

One, roy doesn't know of anyone who would fabricate anything out of the whole cloth on the scale of a naval maneuver. It's pretty safe to assume that any data like this wouldn't come from a staff liar. Not many outfits stoop to propaganda so blatant, and so easily checked. So roy took the short cut of accepting the statement as "provable".

Two, roy doesn't have the time. You may imagine him as just being a paraplegic with only two working fingers, who sits all day at the screen inventing calumnies out of the whole cloth. But not so, roy actually spends the majority of his life in outside activities. Nonetheless, he does find the time to respond to several dozen comments daily-- the average number that have been addressed to him recently. He finds educating the ineducable at times to be tiresome, but he toils in the fields of ignorance anyway, out of a sensed duty to illuminate the dark spaces.

But try roy out. Roy may turn out to be as fallible as are all mortals save the Pope. Give roy a story you think will arouse his scoffs of disbelief, from the accursed pages of FrontPageMag. He'll tell you what he thinks of it.

Right
So, did you hear a judge say that? -
"Whales are more important than training a vital componenet of both our nuclear deterrrent and Navy as a whole."
Yeah, didn't think so.
I thought they had a negotiation and came to a settlement to set some ground rules for the sonar training. I'm content with that.

Come on Publius, ThomasJackson only knows fantasy more than anyone else. Don't hurt your own credibility by espousing the knowledge of ThomasJackson.

"Is it more important that we prevent a global nuclear exchange, or stop hurting the poor whales?"

Its more important to prevent a global nuclear exchange. But thats not what this discussion is about. Like I already said, the question here is not that static. Its a huge leap to say sonar training will prevent a nuclear war. And if it really does come to that, there are already so many factors lined up against us (and our enemies) we'd all be screwed anyway. Thats the problem with your perspective here, you see it in black and white and make huge leaps with the realities to see it that way. Its just not so, there is a large gray area.

No, I will not forgive your callous disregard for the welfare of animals. Your elitist disregard disgusts me frankly. How small are you that you have to bully whales, chicken and cattle, because they're lower on the food chain, to make yourself seem strong?

Its not self-defense you're talking about. Your attitude is indicative of a bully, a person picking on something weaker because of fear of something else. Yellow-bellied? - Yes. Living-in-a-bunker nut? - maybe not, you don't seem that far gone yet.

You're making a direct connection between a failure to deter our enemies with nuclear weapons and the killing of you and your family. That only comes from fear. Its not rational. Getting over the fear doesn't mean you ignore the fact our enemies would kill us if they could. But there are other important things to consider than just military capability and showing a tough facade.

Just look where such a posture by the US has gotten us in foreign policy. We're impotent on the world stage right now.

The pattern is not as clear as you try and make it out to be
I've agreed that sound, especially in water, is a powerful thing. I agree that there is evidence that sea-life, whales and dolphins in particular, are highly sensitive to this. But the beached whales often seem to have several maladies that aren't consistant with sound related injury or exposure. That is what is muddying the water on this issue.

Still, I spend 6-years in the Navy in the 80s and we were avoiding whales during sonar exercises even back then. While the sound produced is in the 200-250 db range, sound, even in water, weakens fairly quickly. From several miles away the noise is certainly well within the "livable" level even for whales.

Another curious fact in recent years is the large number who beach. Sonar exposure just doesn't seem a plausable explaination. Sure, Individual whales may have wander into an engagement area, but even a small pod would be detectable and would have been, harassed out of the area.

Don't believe it? I was with a battle group that left an area of the Indian Ocean so as not to disrupt sea-snake breeding for crap sakes. The military tries to be a aware as possible of potential environmental impact while still trying to conduct the proper training and practice, and has for more than a quarter-century.

Your dislike for the military is unbelieveable!! The Navy would be much better served by studying the phenomen as it could be used to help them with sea warfare in a number of ways. Isn't it a fact that much of the information comes from governmet and military sources?

But you can believe what you want. A court order is also not the way to deal with this; research is.

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