Offshore buoy detects its first whale in waters along New York City

Earlier this year, a team of scientists from the New York Aquarium and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution deployed an acoustic buoy to record the sound of whales off the coast of New York City. The buoy is listening 24/7 and conducting the largest ever survey of the whales that visit the Big Apple. Within two weeks, the listening post recorded its first visitor, and it was a big one — a fin whale.

In what’s likely a surprising revelation to many people, New York is home to a diverse population of whales, with seven different species having been sighted offshore by both scientists and whale-watching vessels. Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the New York Aquarium, wanted to learn more about this population and deployed a sophisticated acoustic listening buoy that’ll float off the shore. The bright orange buoy will bob at the surface of the ocean in a location known as the New York Bight, a wedge-shaped section of the continental shelf that extends from the eastern tip of Long Island to the Cape May area of New Jersey.

Designed by Woods Hole scientists and manufactured by EOM Offshore, the buoy is comprised of three essential parts — an orange surface portion with a satellite antenna, an anchored bottom node with a digital acoustic monitoring device, and a stretch hose that transmits sounds from the monitoring to the surface. Themonitoring device hovers a few feet above the ocean floor, capturing and recording the vocalizations of the offshore whales. It can distinguish whale sounds from background noises and identifies which whales are making that sound. These signals are sent through the stretch hoses to the buoy, where a satellite antenna is used to send the information to a land-based computer. The recorded data is then shared on a public website in nearly real time.

After deploying the device on June 23, the team recorded its first whale vocalization a mere 12 days later on July 4. The first whale to visit the buoy was a fin whale, the world’s second-largest species of whale. Known for its streamlined shape and dorsal fin, the fin whale is commonly spotted in the Bight by whale watchers. Since its first vocalization, the fin whale has been detected several times, with the most recent visit  recorded on July 30. Only the fin whale has been identified to date, but the researchers expect to hear other whales, such as the commonly spotted humpback whale and the endangered North Atlantic right whale, in the future.

Besides its obvious scientific utility, the acoustical whale survey also is an integral part of BlueYork, a larger educational campaign to inform New Yorkers of the diverse aquatic ecosystem sitting on their doorstep. “We’re excited to share this discovery with the residents of New York City and to help promote a better awareness of these marine mammals in the region,” said New York Aquarium Vice President Jon Forrest in a statement. “The acoustic buoy will help us monitor the whales and learn more about their needs. New Yorkers can now share in that process of discovery and conservation.”

Computing

Decades-old Apple IIe computer found in dad’s attic, and it still works

A New York law professor went viral last weekend after he discovered an old Apple IIe computer sitting in his dad's attic. In a series of tweets, he showed that the vintage machine still works perfectly fine after 30 years.
Smart Home

Miele stuns KBIS 2019 with wireless probe, self-descaling java pot, and more

Miele rocked KBIS 2019 with waves of new appliances and features. The annual Kitchen and Bathroom Industry Show is all about product launches and Miele's appliance reveal was like New York Fashion Week with a single designer.
Smart Home

Frigidaire goes for ‘wow’ factor with new Gallery ranges, fridges, and more

Electrolux's Frigidaire brand is going all out at KBIS 2019. The appliance manufacturer's introductions this year include new ranges with gas, electric, or induction heating; a new refrigerator; and a new dishwasher in its Gallery line.
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will take your skills to a new level

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience and save more time!
Emerging Tech

Hong Kong’s vision for a smart prison is a full-blown Orwellian nightmare

Hong Kong wants to bring prisons up to date by introducing new location-tracking wristbands for inmates, and a robot arm whose job is to comb through poop on the lookout for contraband.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Here’s where to watch this week’s SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral

If you've been following the SpaceX launch calendar, you know this week marks the first launch from Cape Canaveral in two months. We have the details on where you can watch the launch live.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.