Monday, July 25, 2011

Sick, Weird Science (From The Telegraph -- Not A Murdoch Newspaper -- 4-21-09)


How about that?

Fish get seasick, scientist 'proves'

It has long been wondered whether fish get seasick but now a German scientist has claimed he has proved that in fact they do.



The eight seasick fish were later culled and their brains examined to try to determine the exact cause of their sickness Photo: PA


        Dr Reinhold Hilbig, a zoologist from Stutgart, studied the effects of weightlessness in water as part of research into how humans are affected in space.

        Forty-nine fish in a mini aquarium were sent up in a plane that went into a steep dive, simulating the loss of gravity astronauts encounter in space flight.

        He said eight of the fish began turning around and around in circles.

       "They completely lost their sense of balance, behaving like humans who get seasick," said Dr. Hilbig.

        "The fish lost their orientation, they became completely confused and looked as if they were about to vomit. In the wild such a "seasick" fish would become prey for others because they are incapable of fleeing from danger."

         The eight seasick fish were later culled and their brains examined to try to determine the exact cause of their sickness.

        "It would seem the loss of eye contact with water movement and vibrations plays a large part in their disorientation," Dr Hilbig said.


Note:  "Culled".  Close to "killed", but somehow acceptable.  Hideous.



  1. "Culled" is indeed a cowardly and weak-kneed euphemism.

    A scientist cull, now that might be interesting. Or a journalist cull.

  2. I try to tame the part of me that entertains culling scientists and journalists, but it's becoming increasingly difficult. This really made me angry at both the scientist and the journalist. Because of Caroline's career in public relations, I have a great many journalist friends, but I try to forget that as much as possible. I remember a Henry Green quote from a long time ago to the effect that he was about of proud of being an artist as he was of being able to grow fingernails. I believe he was saying this for effect to a large degree, but his modesty in a line of work that sometimes provokes immodesty was refreshing. Most of the journalists I know are as self-involved as academics (but lacking scholars' discipline), as self-righteous as new religious converts, and fairly heartless. They do remain, however, youthful in outlook. That being said, so do radio disc jockeys, who are a lot more fun to hang out with. Curtis

  3. Thats disgusting. Interesting post.

  4. Dear Anonymous, Thank you for writing. I was HORRIFIED by this, as a human being and as someone who lives with fish. I hate to generalize like this, but one gains a clear impression of what Dr. Hilbig's courses of study might have been in WW II -- unnecessary surgeries, weird human stamina/endurance tests, etc. I first encountered the word "cull" regularly when Caroline and I were involved in opposing "deer culls" in Tuxedo Park, NY. My bloodthirsty neighbors preferred the word to "murder." Fast forward to last year when we were living in Pennsylvania near our joint alma mater Swarthmore College and the students of today had adopted "cull" (rather than "murder") in the same context. It makes my otherwise tame-ish blood boil. Cooling rains have passed through the area. It's nice to have heard from you. Curtis