The reason why these pods of whales stranded themselves is unknown…

Stating the Obvious

It’s not like they’re going to tell us anything while their dying in the sand.  But that doesn’t mean that we cannot surmise causes. It also doesn’t mean we can’t seek to remedy the reason whales get too close and get trapped. To ensure in the future we can help them stay in the water.  I thought of a simple idea, with the help of my toaster.  

My toaster, the overachiever 

The dial goes from ‘1’ to ‘Carbon’.  Scorched is somewhere around the middle.  It’s right around ‘scorched’ that it smokes but doesn’t set off the fire alarm until it’s reached ideal incineration temperatures.

I had sort of an epiphany when I was airing out my entire apartment from making my toast into Han Solo.  We haven’t done anything to deter marine mammals from beaching themselves.  We’ve been tracking whales and marine mammals for years through passive acoustics.  We even have gotten high tech about it. We use acoustics to listen for them.  Whales and other mammals speak at certain frequencies, just like we do.  Using passive acoustics, we listen for their speech at their frequency ranges. Pretty neat, right?

The Acoustic Siren

Well, using this, we can go from tracking them, to deterring them.  Bear with me, but if I clap loud, I’ll scare Motley into a giant puffball and run.  She’ll also do the same when the toast is reduced to elemental form triggering the alarm.

And that’s where I had my Eureka moment.

Using acoustic to track animals also means we can use acoustics to deter them.  How or why they approach the beach isn’t important if we’re looking for a method to keep them off the sand.  Especially along beaches that have historic stranding events.  Using acoustics underwater isn’t some farfetched idea.  My fire alarm is testament to that.  It’s time we look to using acoustics to warn animals away from danger.


Anna Pilette is a geophysicist and technologist turned digital consultant.  Anna is a Cofounder of Atomic Dumpling.  You can contact her at anna@atomicdumpling.com.