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Old 09-21-2018, 10:27 PM   #1
xoxoxoBruce
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Sept 22nd, 2018: Fish Bunker

A little south of New Orleans there are concrete bunkers built during WW II for Navy artillery storage.
Now two of them hold 7 million dead preserved fish, the Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection.
This largest collection in the world, is under the care of Tulane Biodiversity Research Institute.



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It is a small room, maybe the size of a car, but it is the most important room of the institution because it’s where the holotypes and paratypes are kept. “These are the most important specimens because they bear the names, so if there’s any doubt about what a species is, these are what you consult,” Bart says. Here is the famous pocket shark, a small deep-water marine shark found just a few years ago in the Gulf of Mexico—only the second one known to exist in the world. Here is a harelip sucker collected in 1893. It’s been extinct since that year. The tail fins have eroded off, and I can see its brain. Here is the oldest fish in the collection—a shiny minnow collected in Italy in 1838.


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The Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection was founded in 1950 when the legendary ichthyologist Royal D. Suttkus, who had a hand in collecting over five million of the collection’s fish, joined the faculty at Tulane. The collection was originally housed on the university’s main campus, but by 1968, it had outgrown its space and was moved to its current bunker-home in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.


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In the ichthyology world, the Suttkus Collection is a vital resource. Each year, Bart and his team mail hundreds of preserved fish to ichthyologists around the world, and scientists travel to New Orleans to research the larger fish in person. These researchers are examining relationships between species and discovering new ones, learning new information about the deepest parts of the ocean, and studying the effects of global warming. “Essentially, we are the holders of history,” explains Justin Mann, the collections manager.


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In the bunker that holds the large fish, Mann warns me to stand back before opening a tank the size of a truck bed. The evaporated alcohol from the isopropyl that preserves the fish collects at the top of the tank, and the smell is nearly suffocating at first. Creatures far larger than human bodies lie on top of one another inside.
Kind of like the front door of a frat house on Sunday morning.

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Old 09-22-2018, 08:48 AM   #2
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maybe the size of a car
I.e., 1/4,000,000th the size of Wales.
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:53 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Clodfobble View Post
I.e., 1/4,000,000th the size of Wales.
You beat me on speed and precision.
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Old 09-22-2018, 09:33 AM   #4
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How big is a car? Unanswerable question.
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:01 PM   #5
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I averaged it at 100 square feet. Longer than ten feet, but not as wide as ten feet, so... My physics professor always included at least one Fermi Problem on every test.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_problem
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:15 PM   #6
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What's 100 sq feet? Not a car for sure.
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Old 09-22-2018, 11:53 PM   #7
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On average, it totally is!

"Full-size" cars must be under 80 inches wide, or else the law says they have to have clearance lights.

Average "family cars" are now 4.8 meters in length (up from 4.5 meters in the 1990s.)

80 inches = 6.67 feet wide
4.8 meters = 15.75 feet long

6.67 x 15.75 = 105 square feet (or 98.45 square feet in the 90s.)



I told you, I love Fermi problems.
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:11 AM   #8
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My 2015 Buick Encore: 168″ L x 70″ W x 65″ H, or 14' L x 5.8' W x 5.4' H.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:31 AM   #9
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Well, height doesn't matter, unless you want to put a roof over Wales and fill it to a certain depth like a ball pit. Which you could totally do.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:34 AM   #10
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it being so small and plastic being so plentiful.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:45 AM   #11
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Sounds like we've found a place to put all the plastic that's going to be removed from the oceans.
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:15 AM   #12
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What the fuck does Wales have to do with the size of a car?
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:54 AM   #13
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Everyone knows that while driving, you're supposed to allow 1/4,000,000th the size of Wales distance between your car and the car in front of you for every 10 mph of speed that you're going. That's the international standard. How it translates into practical application measures such as car lengths depends entirely on the relationship between the fixed size of Wales and the variable size of cars. A typical car length, taking into account length and width restrictions, must be deduced or else the rule of thumb for intervehicle separation (on which your life may depend) becomes less effective.

Sounds like someone needs remedial Driver's Ed.
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Old 09-23-2018, 11:14 AM   #14
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I think you wanted to express that in astronomical units? I'm pretty sure the French successfully petitioned for that change.
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Old 09-23-2018, 12:05 PM   #15
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I wonder if the Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection, c/o Tulane Biodiversity Research Institute, has King Oscar in a can.
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