Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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What Is A Hertz Anyway?

A Little Science: If you’re like me, you might not know what a hertz is. Now, I know what a jackalope is, and how to raise a dragon, but when it comes to numbers, I admit I didn’t pay much attention in school. I was always too busy looking out the window waiting for recess.

Since I didn’t know what a hertz was, I looked it up. And now I’m going to tell you!

A hertz is a measurement of the number of cycles per second produced by anything traveling in waves, like sound, electricity, or energy. The 52-hertz whale is producing sound-waves at the rate of 52 cycles per second. If we could see sound-waves, it might look like ripples on a pond (see photo).

Something I never knew before is that musical notes on a scale have specific hertz numbers. For example, the A above middle C is 440 hertz. I also learned that humans can hear in a range from as low as 20 hertz to as high as 16,000-20,000 hertz. That means that the songs of whales, at the lowest end of this range, are more often felt than heard, especially underwater, where humans can’t hear as well because our eardrums are built to vibrate in air, not fluid.

Sound can travel more than four times faster underwater than in air, and sonar tests have shown that the sound can travel underwater to points as far as 2,000 miles away. Whales broadcasting their position through song can reach enormous audiences, so that they can stay in touch with each other even when the distances are huge.

The problem that the 52-hertz whale has is that he’s sending his messages out to a non-existent audience. This is a condition that some Imaginaries – those that are the last of their kind – encounter.

I think it’s only human of us to imagine that they must feel very isolated without others of their kind. But we don’t really know how Imaginaries think or feel, only that they may not experience the world the same way that humans do. So whether the 52-hertz whale and other Imaginaries that are the last of their kind are happy or sad, or lonely or content, we will never know. - NONNY, Keeper of the Preserve and Iranigami sympathizer


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.