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Shark Television Science

Kevlar Protects Cables From Sharks, Experts Look For Protection From Shark Week 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-when-you-thought-it-was-safe-to-turn-on-the-TV dept.
Brandon Butler writes As an ode to Shark Week: Sharks have been known to show an appetite for fiber cables underwater, and last week a Google official said to prevent sharks from wreaking havoc on the company's trans-Pacific fiber lines, it wraps them in Kevlar. It's believed that the emission of electrical currents from the fiber piping is mistaken by sharks occasionally as prey. In related news, a growing number of scientists are becoming disgruntled with the Discovery network's sensationalist programs. Many shark experts are refusing to work with the channel after such programs as their Megalodon "documentary" and their latest Shark of Darkness (not to mention the mermaid special, which was sadly missing a singing crab.)

Sockatume writes The Verge has an article on Discovery's hugely successful Shark Week, discussing how the increasing sensationalist special event misrepresents science and exploits nature and local history for shock value. Scientists who appeared in and were misrepresented by the channel's programming are beginning to encourage their peers to stay away from the Discovery network, which stands by the programming 's viewing figures.
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Kevlar Protects Cables From Sharks, Experts Look For Protection From Shark Week

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  • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:20PM (#47674661)

    Is this just static building up along the lining, or is there actual photonic/electrical conversion going on?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's actual photonic capacitance causing the induced charge within the lining. Some recent research has been done into reducing the self-capacitance of synthetic cable sheathing, and counterpolarization of the cable's dielectric field has proven to be one of the more effective methods. The main problem is that it increases the impedance to an unacceptable level, causing ghosting. But using systemic impedance matching has been found to mitigate this effect.

      • by mythosaz (572040) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:33PM (#47674739)

        ...or it's the thousands of volts pumped into the cables to power the repeaters required every couple hundred kilometers.

        • by iggymanz (596061)

          it's not the volts that get them, it's the amps -- obligatory "running scared" misquote

          in an 11,000 volt cable (yup they go that high now), it's about 0.4 A

          • by Rei (128717)

            in an 11,000 volt cable

            Actually, since it's for optical data transfer, not power transmission, it's a 11,000 volt line. When it's for power transmission, it's called magma.

      • It's actual photonic capacitance causing the induced charge within the lining. Some recent research has been done into reducing the self-capacitance of synthetic cable sheathing, and counterpolarization of the cable's dielectric field has proven to be one of the more effective methods. The main problem is that it increases the impedance to an unacceptable level, causing ghosting. But using systemic impedance matching has been found to mitigate this effect.

        Like putting too much air in a balloon!

      • It's actual photonic capacitance causing the induced charge within the lining

        I doubt this is anywhere near as significant as the 3000-4000VDC electricity for the repeater modules along the cable.

      • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Friday August 15, 2014 @03:17AM (#47675911)

        You have found a field so obscure that I am unable to tell if that is nonsense technobabble, or just science beyond my level of understanding.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Mr. LaForge, is that you?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the article it mentions that power is run on the lines to power repeaters to keep the signal going. This is what causes the electrical current.

    • by mythosaz (572040) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:30PM (#47674719)

      Repeaters are powered by a constant direct current passed down a conductor near the center of the cable. All repeaters in a cable are powered in series. Power feed equipment (PFE) is installed at the terminal stations on the land. These PFEs inject huge voltage into the line - 3,000, 4,000, and up to 10,000 volts - to power each repeater on the cable (now you can understand why Jaws went to shark heaven after his mid-morning snack).

      http://www.networkworld.com/ar... [networkworld.com]

    • Transatlantic fiber optic cables have repeater modules spaced along the cable to re-boost/time optical signals. They're powered off several thousand volts DC; 3k-4k.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_landing_point

      (for example. There are also some cool youtube videos on this subject, I believe.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fiber carries light from fricken' lasers

  • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:31PM (#47674721)
    Discovery Channel is the biggest joke going on TV now. Seems like career suicide for any rreputble scientist.
    • by anarcobra (1551067) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:35PM (#47674753)
      I don't know, I think the History channel (aka Conspiracy channel) might beat them for number 1.
      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @09:14PM (#47674891)

        I don't know, I think the History channel (aka Conspiracy channel) might beat them for number 1.

        I just knew someone would bring them up. You are definitely correct. The H2 Channel is right up there too. They were showing Mayan apocalypse shows months after we were all destroyed.

        And to think, once upon a time they were actual decent networks. Now it's ancient alien swamp logging pawn shop owners.

        • i tripped over a crack in the sidewalk on my way to work this morning and dropped my mod points, but you deserve one :(

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Aliens are responsible for that.

            • by JustOK (667959)
              Aliens are NOT responsible for the post deserving mod points.
              • by jythie (914043)
                How do you know? Maybe the poster is an alien attempting to discredit these truthful and insightful networks who are just trying to educate us sheep. Think about the risks they are taking just to get this programming to our eyeballs, they are under constant threat of shadowy government figures kidnapping them in the middle of the night and making it look like a simple normal moose stampede. Heros I tell you!
              • Discovery channel's rebroadcast of JustOK's post: "Aliens are responsible for the post deserving mod points."

                (In tiny print displayed for 1/10th of a second at the end of the rebroadcast: "Some statements may have altered to fit the content of our program.")

        • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Friday August 15, 2014 @12:32AM (#47675521) Journal

          They were showing Mayan apocalypse shows months after we were all destroyed.

          What, everybody's still here?! Oh man! I am so late for work...

        • by Rei (128717) on Friday August 15, 2014 @04:59AM (#47676113) Homepage

          Both are terrible, and started going downhill around the same time, racing each other to the bottom - beginning in 2005 (when you started getting shows like Deadliest Catch and Decoding the Past, which became the prototype for many future series of increasingly less "reality"), and then full force by 2007 where you start getting too many shows to name.

          One thing that drives me crazy almost as much as the blatant pseudoscience presented as fact is the extensive acting presented as reality. I mean, okay, I get it, a purely "reality" program is pretty much impossible, the very requirements of filming it make it so. Even in stuff like Les Stroud's "solo" work he always had a base camp just a couple kilometers away from him and stayed in communication with them by radio. But now the stage guidance, product promotion, and "weekly scripted adventures" have gotten so absurd and obvious, they don't even try to hide it any more. I thought that they couldn't get any lower than the bogus survival show Man vs. Wild (where the host pretended to be living in homemade shelters and surviving off wild food, when he was actually staying in luxury hotels and show consultants prepped everything from making "rafts" for him to releasing "wild" animals for him to catch). But now almost all of their shows are like that or even worse. And the product promotion, my god - have you seen the Pawn Stars plugging for Skype? If you're going to have your "reality show" stars plug a product in your show, at least get people who can act.

          The changes are so visible with time, too. Take Mythbusters for example - watch some of the early eps and compare with the modern eps and look at how much more is obviously staged acting with everyone reciting a script (not to the extent of Smash Labs, but still). Apparently Discovery Communications has decided that this is what people want to see - bad actors going on "daily adventures" and having "witty banter".

          • by StikyPad (445176)

            I don't/didn't have a problem with Deadliest Catch. It's definitely jumped the shark (to stick with the theme of this "article"), having long outlived the point where one can get a better appreciation for the industry, but I still enjoy it enough to watch if it's on. I could do without the explosion of reality shows that followed in it's wake though.

            Shark Week definitely jumped itself last year with Megalodon, and that seems to be the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately. I will admit that I'm glad to see l

          • by jythie (914043)
            I have a feeling they are doing their market research by looking at youtube popularity....
          • I thought that they couldn't get any lower than the bogus survival show Man vs. Wild

            I forget what channel it is on (perhaps Discovery but maybe not), but there's a show that tops that (by going lower, that is) called "Naked and Afraid." They take a man and a woman, strip them naked and toss them somewhere to survive. Of course, they blur out certain things, but you still know that there's a guy and girl there in the jungle without clothes on. Why? Because, of course, some people will tune in for the ad

            • by xclr8r (658786)
              Yes there are some corny aspects to the show but you should watch a different episode. I recommend the Amazon episode where people are just breaking down and throwing in the towel (if they had one). There are some interesting things to learn by observation. Some of the things I've learned are:

              How much I take the following for granted.

              Tools

              Clothes

              Shoes

              water

              hygiene

              shelter from elements and more importantly bugs/animals/wildlife.

              how hard it is to hunt with sticks, spears, traps (if you have the knowl

            • I did a quick Google search and it turns out it IS on the Discovery Channel. So score one more for Discovery going downhill. It's not enough to show someone trying to survive in a hard environment on a "reality" show. Now you need to toss a naked man and woman into the mix. For reasons. (aka Ratings.)

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Both are terrible, and started going downhill around the same time, racing each other to the bottom - beginning in 2005 (when you started getting shows like Deadliest Catch and Decoding the Past, which became the prototype for many future series of increasingly less "reality"), and then full force by 2007 where you start getting too many shows to name.

            Thank the threat of the ill-thought-out "a la carte" plans where instead of channels having to fight for subscribers as a group, they have to fight for subscr

        • by rahvin112 (446269)

          The reality TV executives showed up and everyone went "wow look at how cheap that content is". Although they failed to really grasp that whole cheap thing in the proper context.

          TV is 99% junk (repeats, realityTV, etc) now because it was more profitable. All the specialty channels are now just repeating junk rather than trying to be channels serving that actual niche. Hell the weather channel didn't show weather, SciFi shows wrestling, etc. Those channels long ago lost their real audiences.

        • by RockDoctor (15477)

          Now it's ancient alien swamp logging transgender pawn shop owners.

          FTFY

      • It's nicknamed the Conspiracy Channel now? Before I quit cable, it was the War Channel.

    • by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Thursday August 14, 2014 @09:30PM (#47674945) Homepage Journal

      Dunno, it seems to be part of a larger trend:
      Discovery Channel -- full of fiction and unscientific crap
      History Channel -- full of fiction and unscientific crap
      Science Fiction Channel -- full of fiction about unscientific crap (its supposed to be fiction about scientifically plausible stuff -- if they want magic even that would be acceptable if only they would invent a name for it instead of pretending electromagnetism is magical)
      Politicians -- full of fiction and unscientific crap

      • by TheLink (130905)

        Look at the amount of ignorance and stupidity around? See the number of university graduates thinking hoax mails/posts are true and spreading them...

        So what would any sociopathic channel boss prefer to run? Stuff that most people would watch and talk about, or stuff that only a minority would enjoy?

        It's about making money not educating people. That's why actually "public TV" can be a good thing. It's not like the private sector would care or even if they did at first, the $$$ pressures would change them.

        Com

        • The narration in the 2007 version sounds like Tosh.0 or something equally as vapid and shit.

        • by StikyPad (445176)

          A sociopathic boss would look for the best way to alienate his viewers and murder his employees. You're probably thinking of psychopaths.

        • by jythie (914043)
          One of the problems is that as a network gets moderately successful catering to a niche, new management comes in and sees niche markets as a resume stain and thus try to go after the same 'mainstream' demographics as all the other networks. Niches are reasonably profitable, but they will not get you laid at parties. So I would say it is not even about money, it is about status and transient executives wanting a shot at being known for taking a niche channel and making it a respectable success at great ri
      • by Brainguy (12519) on Friday August 15, 2014 @03:36AM (#47675957)

        Hey at least the Sci-Fi channel had the courtesy to change its name to "Syfy" when they realized they had strayed far from their roots, kind of like how food products that don't really contain the ingredient they purport to be based on will change that ingredient's name slightly in their name(Cheez, etc.).

        At the very least the History Channel should put ironic quotes around the word "History."

        • by tepples (727027)

          At the very least the History Channel should put ironic quotes around the word "History."

          It did change the name of History Channel International to H2; I have to give them that.

      • by tomhath (637240)

        You forgot to mention:

        News outlets - full of fiction and unscientific crap

    • If it wasn't for Mythbusters, there wouldn't be anything worth watching on Discovery Channel. It's a shame since, at one point, it was one of the bright spots in the cable lineup. Back in the day when "The Sci-Fi Channel" - not "SyFy" - meant good science fiction shows and The History Channel actually dealt with real historical events.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

        If it wasn't for Mythbusters, there wouldn't be anything worth watching on Discovery Channel. It's a shame since, at one point, it was one of the bright spots in the cable lineup. Back in the day when "The Sci-Fi Channel" - not "SyFy" - meant good science fiction shows and The History Channel actually dealt with real historical events.

        My kid used to call the History channel "The Hitler Channel", because of all the WW2 documentaries like "World at War" and the "Wings" airplane show. Now those were some good if sometimes disturbing Television shows.

  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Arker (91948) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:39PM (#47674775) Homepage
    They wrap the sharks in kevlar? Now there is an exciting job. How much does it pay?
  • "You could just whoop one of those Sharks ass in front of the others."

    -Random Jet

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:50PM (#47674813)

    For the past 15 years, nearly all the channels such as history channel, discovery, etc have been nearly wothless, waste your time with ratings tactics, etc. Some physics series (NDT, Brian Cox) and maybe animal planet being an exception?

    It's easier just to read up on the rest without the bullshit, the commercials, and the ratings grab tactics. Even on netflix, it's rare that a documentary is worth watching, because of the editing geared towards TV.

    It's telling when the most worthwhile educational show the last years came out on Fox.

    • On Amazon Prime the 'Documentary' category is all brainless reality shows, much worse than Netflix for finding a good one.

    • generally it has been my impression that most of the original bbc documentary work has been quite reasonable...

      to the contrary, although it's subtle, the same documentaries as reworked by discovery (tm), history (tm), etc, on this side of the "pond" are somehow not quite as satisfying..

      anyone else have a similar impression?

      i admit i've not wasted much time on the american feeds, am really only commenting based on the bits i've had to watch on other people's screens.

    • by antdude (79039)

      What about PBS, BBC, etc.? So, what documentaries are still good these days?

      • by StikyPad (445176)

        NOVA is okay, but they don't seem to produce new episodes frequently, or even on any sort of regular schedule. And since the topics run the gamut from history to current events, and biology to technology, it's hit or miss whether any one particular episode will be of interest to the viewer. With some exceptions, it's usually one episode per topic, so there's limited information presented on any one subject. According to Wikipedia, many of the episodes are rebranded as BBC Horizons (or vice versa), so fli

    • by evilviper (135110) on Friday August 15, 2014 @02:10AM (#47675771) Journal

      It's telling when the most worthwhile educational show the last years came out on Fox.

      No. PBS is still huffing along, churning out Nova, Frontline, Nature, American Experience, Wild!, Secrets of the Dead, History Detectives, Charlie Rose, This Old House, and more, like they have for decades.

    • by Shatrat (855151)

      It's telling when the most worthwhile educational show the last years came out on Fox.

      Maybe what it tells you is that the world isn't as simple as your biases lead you to believe? Hitler loved dogs, Ford hated jews. People are capable of good things and bad things.

    • by netsavior (627338)
      you have to follow director/producers like you do with Hollywood movies. You can be reasonably sure a movie that contains "Spielberg" in the credits will be watchable... Watch Anything by Ken Burns [imdb.com] and you won't be sorry. Almost all are available on Amazon Prime Instant video too.
      • by evilviper (135110)

        I'm "sorry" about EVERYTHING I've ever watched by Ken Burns.

        Paced slow as hell, with fleetingly little information that you could assimilate in a fraction the time, with a heavy focus on personal letters and vignettes, to the exclusion of all else.

    • There is little in media that has integrity. The Discovery Channel used to seem like educational programing. It is now as mentioned just alien, monster shark, swamp logger, pawn shop, gas monkey reality TV BS. Watch Gasland and then FrackNation (documentaries). Everything is presented in ways that the average person cannot tell journalism from opinion and science fact from sensational conjecture.
  • by trims (10010) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:53PM (#47674821) Homepage

    Discovery Channel has long since gone the way of the History Channel, and now bears only coincidental moments of truth.

    All they care about are ratings, and if lying to the public means ratings, well, obviously, Discovery is all over that.

    As a scientist quoted in any of the current Shark Week "dramas" (they don't even rate the "docudrama" label), I'd sue Discovery for misrepresentation and libel. They quoted out of context and stitched together several scientist's different takes (not to mention failing to inform them about the subject being talked about, rather lying to them about the nature of the interview). As a consequence, the "scientist" never said any of the things they were purported to say.

    Don't watch Shark Week. Don't watch Discovery/History/TLC or anything like that any more. heck, even NatGeo is bad. It's a shame.

  • there's always a bigger fish.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    With regards to Discovery, I too have noticed a degrading of quality from them over the years. To be honest the only real show I ever watched from them in recent times was MythBusters, but I don't even watch that anymore because of how far it's fallen. Very little science to speak of, an apparent focus more on explosions and poor attempts at (scripted) humor than actually investigating a myth to its fullest, not to mention of course the lack of any real proper myths these days that aren't from movies or TV

    • by dnavid (2842431)

      if taking their shows down this party is hugely successful for Discovery, then people have themselves to blame.

      We don't judge the morality of serial killers by how successful they are.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I don't see how that's a valid comparison (or maybe I'm too thick to see it).

        Discovery makes the quality of their shows steadily drop further and further because they can - because they still make popular shows that makes the moneys because they still appeal to people despite the fact they used to be better. In fact, it's quite likely that the more stupid the shows become, the more popular they become since it increases the audience (and presumably the people who leave because the show is no longer of the q

      • by Megol (3135005)

        Sure we do, just look at a history book. Who are listed? How many of those directly or indirectly killed a lot of people?

        • by dnavid (2842431)

          Sure we do, just look at a history book. Who are listed? How many of those directly or indirectly killed a lot of people?

          None of my history books rank serial killers by their success rate. Perhaps you can recommend one.

  • by manu0601 (2221348) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @09:18PM (#47674915)
    Kevlar does not protect from wireshark! [wikipedia.org]
  • So, are we supposed to discuss the coolness of using Kevlar to combat shark attacks, or the outrage of the Discovery network's sensationalist programming?
  • looks like shark week has jumped the shark
  • Every month, when "Shark Week" arrives, I'll start wearing kevlar. My connection might be wireless, but my head isn't.

  • Stop using insulation that tastes like chicken. Or the shark equivalent of chicken...
  • Instead of polluting the oceans with these huge cables, we should attach fricken lasers to sharks.

    At this point you might think I am going to do another tired re run of the Dr Evil comment, but if you had the imagination that he did you would realise that by also fitting optical detectors on sharks you could have a point to point internet mesh across all sharks in the ocean. SharkNet would not have a single point of failure as like the internet is supposed to do it could find another route in the event of t

  • Ever since 2007 where they announced that hey decided to focus on "the people behind the technology, than the technology", they have been working hard to become nothing more than yet another "reality" show channel.
    When I dropped cable tv 2 years ago, their transformation seemed to be complete and they had nothng but camera whores in their shows.

  • When the The Learning Channel was purchased by Discovery that was the end. Series such as Connections were no more while almost anti-scientific crap became the norm. It seems to be about the same timeline as The History Channel moving from History to Aliens.
  • It's been found that rare earth metals like neodymium are highly effective as shark deterrents. No other fish are effected except skates, and the reaction of sharks to the metal is dramatic and instantaneous. The effect has something to do with a unique quality of shark skin, which when brought into the vicinity of neodymium produces an electric charge that sharks don't like at all.

    For more information see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    The only liability to this approach is that the metals are gradually

    • by koan (80826)

      If fiber some how is capable of "leaking electrical" emissions what would a bunch of rare earth magnets do?

  • emission of electrical currents from the fiber piping

    How do you get electrical emissions from fiber optic cabling?

  • I used to think of the Discovery Channel as being good - I've bought a lot of their DVDs for our kids over the years. But the distortion is a real problem.

    These are presented as factual, scientific documentaries but they're filled with sensational half-truths and outright lies. I have had seven different documentary companies approach me about documenting our family farm in made for TV specials or even a 13 week series. But because of the distortions I've read about (e.g., Mermaid incident and others) I don

  • Next on Discovery, discover how this once-obscure hobbyist "computer program" now runs key parts of the Internet and even the core of that computer-in-your-pocket that you call a telephone. See the dangers as the Discovery Channel uncovers 10 year old bugs in "embedded systems" are ticking time bombs that could destroy the Internet as we know it if they go off. ....

  • Not to be confused with "Shart Week" that was recently on some cable televsion network...I forgot which.
  • How much do we spend on armouring cables, and is this the right solution to the problem?

    For the short term, we might need to armour the cables, but it seems like a better long term approach would have to follow from research that lets us better understand the electrosensory mechanisms that sharks (like skates and rays) use to sense prey.

    This could help us understand why the sharks mistake cables for prey, with the goal of possibly being able to change the design of the cables and/or the signalling to reduce

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