Dolphins Learning to Walk

If you have seen a Dolphin show at SeaWorld or similar venues, you would recognize that Dolphins have tremendous acrobatic skills.  Apparently, some of these acrobatic skills are not enhanced version of the natural behaviors exhibited by Dolphins in the wild.  I recently read in the news (Australia’s Daily Telegraph, BBC Science/Nature) that tail-walking is one such skill that is learned (from human trainers?) by Dolphins in captivity.

Why am I surprised, and why am I blogging about this topic you ask?  Well, I recently wrote a blog about my encounter with Dolphins in the Monterey Bay.  In the pictures that I shared in my previous blog, you will see that Dolphins are playful and acrobatic animals.  Their natural showmanship skills is especially elevated by their curiosity around humans.  In one the pictures (on this blog), I believe I happen to captured a wild Dolphin doing the tail-walking.  Perhaps this isn’t a coincidence.

Due to more human and Dolphin interactions in the wild, I believe Dolphin’s behaviors are evolving.  Dolphins are intelligent animals.  I believe they are trying to learn from us, just as we try to learn more about them.  If we humans (e.g. Michael Phelps) can learn and use the Dolphin kick to our advantage, why can’t Dolphins learn to walk?  I agree it’s not obvious (the benefits) what they gain by tail-walking, except more fanfare.  Nonetheless, we will soon see more Dolphins tail-walking in their natural habitat, one that they are having to share more and more with their two legged friends.

If you have observed similar behaviors, please feel free to share your experience in the comments field below.

Not Just Another 888 Blog

For some reason, I felt compelled to write a Blog today.  Perhaps it’s because the number 8 is the most auspicious number in the Chinese culture, and I didn’t want
to miss the chance for good fortune by not acknowledging today’s date:
08.08.08.  Or it’s because today is grand opening for the 2008 Olympics
in Beijing, and I wanted to publicly express my excitement for the
event.  My family and I are looking forward to the opening ceremony
tonight (delayed broadcast on NBC) which starts officially at 08:08pm CST.  Of course, my wife also reminded me that our baby girl turned 8 month old today.  She now
weighs in at 20 lbs, measures 27 inches in height, and has grown out 8
front teeth.  She also recently started crawling and that’s a
significant milestone that I want to share with the world.  Finally,
08.08 is Father’s Day in Taiwan (my birthplace).  Although we now
observe the US holidays, I still want to wish a Happy Father’s Day to my dad.

And in keeping with the theme of the day, I should mention that this my 8th
Blog, since I started sharing my thoughts with the world.  What a
coincidence!

Below are a couple other Sun Blogger’s perspective on today:

The Internet and the Freedom Movement

With nearly one quarter of the world population connected to the Internet, the Web has become a global forum for sharing information, conducting commerce, and advancing the human race.  Recently, in delivering the news that we are so accustom to, the Internet has also been making a lot of important news.

One week before the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the media covering the event shifted the focus onto the vast Internet censorship that exists within China.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) came under fire for supposedly softening its stance toward China at the last minute, on the commitment to provide the media with the fullest access possible (especially Internet access) to report on the Olympics.  Whether true or not, the international attention and scrutiny has helped to clear the censorship within the Olympic village.  But it will be interesting to see whether the Olympic spotlight will lead to positive lasting changes.  While the Great Wall remains an enduring symbol for the people of China, for now the path to individual freedom is still through the gateways of China’s Great Firewall.

Here in the US, there is no censorship on the Internet.  Everyone has a voice!  It is a right back by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  However, some people fear the equality on the Internet is being threatened by the commercialization of the Internet and the control dominated by residential broadband providers.  Just this past week, the FCC ruled against Comcast‘s throttling of BitTorrent traffic, requesting for the immediate end to the “discriminatory network management practices”.  The advocates for network neutrality declared the FCC action a small victory for the Internet and the people.  The ISPs and Telcos cited the ruling as argument against the need for network neutrality legislation.  However, Tim Berners Lee has long shared his belief that the fundamental values of the Internet must be protected by the government:

Control of information is hugely powerful. In the US, the threat is that companies control what I can access for commercial reasons. (In China, control is by the government for political reasons.)”  Tim Beners Lee.

Having been an end user of the Internet since the early 1990s, I appreciate the freedom on the Internet and the uncensored nature of the Web.  I also firmly believe that the Internet has grown largely due to the innovation of the private sector, and more recently because of the Open Source community.  While there have been abuses of the Internet by both the consumers and providers alike, I believe (just my personal opinion) that the Internet and the online community would best be served if allowed to evolve with minimal government oversight and intervention.  Just as I hope the Olympic spotlight in Beijing will prove to be the turning point for the Internet censorship policy in China, I believe the FCC action against Comcast will compel the residential broadband providers to work toward more transparency and self regulation.