Orbital Habitat concept had supercomputer, dolphins

"Michel's ultimate plan was a dolphin habitat IN SPACE. The dream was called Bluestar and it is about the most awesomely crazy idea I've ever heard. A ring of laboratories and places to think would surround a sphere of water that contained a population of dolphins who programmed a supercomputer with "their sophisticated sonar systems." — Alexis Madrigal

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17 Responses to “Orbital Habitat concept had supercomputer, dolphins”

  1. OtherMichael says:

    Aaaargh, I missed that he died in 2003.

    (update: ah, it’s in the video around 11:00)

  2. ffabian says:

    Is this some sort of clever artsy prank I don’t get?

  3. Preston Sturges says:

    Oh wow the Ant Farm! Hadn’t thought of those guys in a while.

  4. bcsizemo says:

    I’ve always wondered how one gets a job like that….

    -wait..so we are going to suspend a giant ball of water inside a habitat ring using ultrasonic “guns”, and then place dolphins inside said ball of water that rely on ultrasonic sounds to communicate.

  5. lavardera says:

    Without an air bubble in there you are going to have a lot of dead dolphins.

    • soylent_plaid says:

       But but… dolphins are fish!  Magical supercomputer programming fish.

    • bcsizemo says:

      Looking at a lot of the drawings it appears that the sphere itself “floats” inside a larger dome.  (There is a small part in the video about ultrasonic technology that NASA currently uses to manipulate liquids in zero G.)  There are several drawings of the dolphins jumping out of the surface of the water…of course what causes them to fall back into the water is beyond me.

  6. nixiebunny says:

    All you folks questioning the technical feasibility of this idea, please observe the “MEDIA LABORATORY” label in the lower right corner of the illustration. These were not technical guys, they were culture-benders.

  7. Paul Renault says:

    ..dolphins who programmed a supercomputer with “their sophisticated sonar systems.”

    That’d be like trying to program in a roomful of other programmers, all of who use wireless keyboards and mouses that all use the same frequency, encryption, and userid settings.

  8. robcat2075 says:

    And the dolphins would love to do this, instead of live in a regular ocean.

  9. Preston Sturges says:

    And the dolphins would be all like “If we want to code we’ll evolve hands OK?  And we’re not going to become cheerleaders or football stars so you can live vicariously through us either. We’re just here to screw and chase herring.”

  10. brainflakes says:

    What is this? A blitzball stadium for dolphins?

  11. Mark Dow says:

    CD-ROM? Tiny mirrored donuts containing computer code and 3D animations? Ridiculous.

  12. jparkuntz says:

    Startide Rising by David Brin, 1983. http://amzn.com/055327418X

    Uplifted intelligent dolphin crew

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