h a l f b a k e r y
"Not baked goods, Professor; baked bads!" -- The Tick
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It seems that there are some parts of the world where there
known to be valuable, gold-carrying shipwrecks. Finding
however, is tricky, due to the fact that they are almost all
Submarines, even ROVs, are expensive, and the ocean floor
to be large,
making this sort of operation non-viable unless
a very good idea where to look.
MaxAqua, Inc. is shortly launching its first fleet of metal-
skates. The fish, that is, not the wheeled footwear.
We have already caught over 1000 live skates from a
of the ocean, and are in the process of fitting each one with
secure, lightweight harness. The harness incorporates a GPS
receiver, metal-detecting loop, battery pack, and a small
speed, high-power transmitter. A tiny turbine mounted on
of the skate trickle-charges the batteries as the fish swims.
When released, the skate will follow their normal behaviour
of slouching on the seabed for long periods of time,
with brief bouts of swimming. As soon as the GPS detects
fish is stationary, the metal detector is switched on for a
seconds, sufficient to determine the presence or absence of
the immediate vicinity (ie, beneath said fish). Because
metals corrode very quickly in seawater, most of the
is likely to represent a wreck (bronze cannon, gold bullion),
occassional piece of copper pipe or other non-corrodable
Every so often, the transmitter is activated and a short,
squawk is sent to a bouy tethered in the general vicinity. All
stored there, until one of the Buchanan yachts passes by and
downloads the harvest.
Over a period of several months, a detailed map is built up,
the density of metal objects over a wide area of seabed.
frequented by the skates are mapped in extreme detail
allowing the outlines of large metal objects to be seen),
visited areas are peppered with dots which, with luck, will
around significant wrecks.
The Buchanan dredger then moves in to explore these sites
detail and, after recovering our haul of bullion, we all
with a dinner of fresh skate.
||//The fish, that is, not the wheeled footwear.//
Oh no! I really like the idea of metal detecting skates, for rollerblading along the beach.
||Nevermind - back to the piscine idea...
||During WWII, British scientists actively investigated the possibility of breeding flat fish, skates, and small rays in large quantities in capitvity, attaching small but powerful bar magnets, and releasing them in estuaries at risk of attack by German magnetic mines, the plan being that during their normal feeding behaviour they would hopefully approach close enough to a submerged mine for the field from the bar magnet to trigger the mechanism.
||Yes, there's definitely something fishy about this idea; and skate don't have much of a sense of direction, they just spent their time swimming from plaice to plaice.
||//This underwater GPS receiver of yours wouldn't be bad
science would it ?// You wouldn't want to argue with our
investors, would you?
||As for detecting metal on the move, the problem is one of
distance - my understanding is that a skate-mountable
detector will have very limited range, and will therefore
be most effective when the skate has decided to have a
rest and maybe snuggled itself into the sand a little.
||And can we *please* stop the fish puns? It's making my
||A predatory seabird swallows two small flatfish, one male, one female, whole, undamaged and alive.
||In the bird's stomach, the male fish says to the female fish, "What's a nice Plaice like you doing in a Gull like this ?"
||<Effect of Borg Cube making hasty departure from Sol planetary system, while engaging cloaking device>
||We could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you.
Actually, that sounds like quite a promising approach ...
||//harness// On a skate? This requires more explanation.
||Finding gold this way wouldn't be a total fluke.
||"Come with us if you want to live ..."
||[ratpoise], It could be sturgically attached.
||Step 1: Feed rare-earth magnets to a school of small fish.
||Step 2: Release in the general area of the Titanic.
||// school of small fish. //
||This would be a training school, right ?
||Found while looking for a category in which to post a robot metal detector. (+)
||What if the metal detector triggers a small
explosive charge which inflates a small balloon?
When the skate encounters metal, it will be
wrenched to the surface by the power of
explosive floatyness. Then, your fish will be
vulnerable, Floundering at the surface. This will
attract sea birds which will take their Terns at
eating the fish. Now, perhaps one of these
seabirds will have a GPS transceiver attached (GPS
works on birds), because you've been steadily
releasing them on a massive Scale. Your automatic
tracking software will then Trawl through the data
looking for statistically
anomalous clusters of seabirds developing over
time (the explosive skates will encounter metal
in proportion to the amount of metal present).
You can subtract known positions of fishing boats
and bouys and things, leaving you with a map that
gets progressively more interesting.
||Then you just go cruising out to any statistical
clusters that arouse your sus-fish-ion, or seem a
||I don't think you're taking this seriously.