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A Whale’s Tale

June 26, 2011

Breathtaking pictures, controversial project! A Russian scientist strips naked to swim with beluga whales in the Arctic Ocean. Gender, animality, northernness, global trade, oh my! I am absolutely fascinated by her “yoga practice” that makes it possible for her to swim in almost freezing water while holding her breath for over ten minutes. I also admire the intimacy of thinking-like-beluga that propelled the researchers to diagnose synthetic fabric as an off-putting barrier between species. However, the goal of the project (to habituate the whales to humans so as to send them to theme parks) is disappointing. It’s depressingly common for amazing interspecies moments to both be funded by and intended for utilitarian capitalistic ends (cf. the domestication of foxes that ran in the National Geographic–another controversial Russian project involving a nonhuman species).

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One Comment
  1. In related news, Beethoven the Beluga doesn’t seem to mind the synthetic fabric of Betty White’s dry suit!

    http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/entertainment/video-betty-white-swims-whale-aquarium-20110720-es

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