Sharks In Australia Tweet From @SLSWA When They're Close To Shore
Good news for everybody terrified by Sharknado and Jaws: You can go back in the water. At least if you're in Australia: Researchers in Oz have hooked up sharks with transmitters that send out tweets of their locations. Whenever one of the 338 tagged sharks is a half-mile or less away from the coast, a tweet of their whereabouts, size, and breed is broadcast by the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter feed, @SLSWA.
The organization is trying to stymie the number of fatal shark attacks in Australia, which has the most shark-related deaths in the world. In the last two years, sharks have killed six people off the country's coasts.
SLSWA hopes that the Tweeting can reach surfers, fishermen, and divers faster and warn them about potential danger. Plus, researchers will be able to study the sharks — great whites, whaler sharks and tiger sharks — at the same time. However, it's still up to humans to remain alert and vigilant whenever they are in the water, because tagging 300 sharks is just a drop in the bucket.
Though local government in Western Australian recently tried to implement legislation to target and kill sharks, scientists argue that because of the huge distances sharks travel, it wouldn't do any good.
But not everybody agrees that sharks Tweeting is the future. Kim Holland, a University of Hawaii marine biologist, believes the SLSWA's tweeting system to be a bad idea:
It can, in fact, provide a false sense of security — that is, if there is no tweet, then there is no danger — and that simply is not a reasonable interpretation. Just because there's a shark nearby doesn't mean to say that there's any danger. In Hawaii, tiger sharks are all around our coastlines all the time, and yet we have very, very few attacks.
Besides, as anyone who's seen Sharknado knows, the only way to protect yourself against sharks is with a machine gun, helicopter, chainsaws, homemade bombs, and Tara Reid.
As it turns out, putting real animals on Twitter isn't actually a new thing. This summer, South Africa's Johannesburg Zoo introduced us to the world's first animal Tweeter, a honey badger named BG. By using wireless sensors, BG's fans are able to keep track of his daily comings-and-goings. If he's near his water bowl, it'll send out a food-related tweet, for example. BG's racked up about 10,000 followers since July. Plus he's completely adorable — just check out his selfie.
And here's how the whole process works:
Back in 2010, researchers hooked up 12 Ontario cows to Twitter for one year by using radio-frequency tags attached to their ears. The experiment, conducted by the University of Waterloo's Critical Media Lab and a high-tech farmer who uses robotic milking, tracked the cows after they were milked and fed.
Besides Tweeting out repeated pleas to "eat more chicken," the sassy cows bragged about their milk amounts.
In man's futile ongoing attempts to become Dr. Doolittle, people have also developed dog and cat collars capable of Tweeting. (Yeah, right, like any cat would let you put this huge collar on them.) It seems like they've still got a few bugs to work out, according to this epic Amazon review of Puppy Tweets:
It's just a stupid dog... at least, that's what I thought.As soon as I hooked it up, the tweets started rolling in. "I feel like a steak," one read. "How bout a walk," another asked. Then, "tonight." Why would my dog tweet "tonight?" Must have been a mistake right? Maybe, but what I awoke to the next day chilled my spine. In the backyard I discovered half of my neighbor's cat. HALF!
Regardless, none of these tech-savvy animals hold a candle to the pure brilliance of Common Squirrel.
Image via Gifulmination