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April 2002 Vol. 17, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the April, 2002 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

New Destination: The sharkey waters of Tahiti in September will get the newest addtion to the Aggressor Fleet, the Tahiti Aggressor, a 106 ft. catamaran that will carry 16 divers. It will sport a hot tub, offer Nitrox, and all the amenities usually associated with Aggressors. www.aggressor.com or call 800-348-2628 or 985-385-2628, Fax: 985-384-0817,

This Device Is Capable of Killing You Without Warning: That pronouncement accompanies every KISS rebreather produced by the Canadian-based Jestsam Tech. In a letter to New Scientist magazine, they say, There are three major hazards regarding rebreathers. Hypoxia, caused by lack of oxygen, gives no warning whatsoever. It may be preceded by a slight feeling of well-being, followed by unconsciousness. Oxygen toxicity, which may or may not give warnings of its onset, results in convulsions that in themselves are not fatal, although their occurrence underw ater is not conducive to survival . Carbon dioxide build-up (hypercapnia) tends to manifest as air hunger before it reaches serious levels. Although the warning may seem brutal, it is, in fact, the absolute truth. Adding warning bells or alarms will not lessen the danger and may even increase the risk through complacenc y. Rebreathers, by their very nature, will never be completely safe. The only way to enhance their safety is with a high degree of awareness, even paranoia, in the diver.

What About Snoop Doggy Dog? Fish can tell the difference between classical music and the blues. Av a Chase of the Rowland Institute for Science in Cambridge, Massachusetts, discovered this when she placed loudspeakers in a fish tank to play music to carp. Using food rewards, she trained three fish to tell the difference between a John Lee Hooker track and a Bach oboe concerto. The fish could then categorize pieces they hadnt heard before (such as Muddy Waters songs or Beethoven sonatas) as classical or blues. They also distinguished between simple melodies played backward and forward. Chase thinks their musical ear reflects the importance to wild fish of understanding the meanings of different groups of sounds. (New Scientist, 01/19/2002)

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