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  • I have a confession to make.

  • I am addicted to adventure,

  • and as a young boy,

  • I would rather look outside the window

  • at the birds in the trees and the sky

  • than looking at that two-dimensional

  • chalky blackboard where time stands still

  • and even sometimes dies.

  • My teachers thought there was something wrong

  • with me because I wasn't paying attention in class.

  • They didn't find anything specifically wrong with me,

  • other than being slightly dyslexic because I'm a lefty.

  • But they didn't test for curiosity.

  • Curiosity, to me,

  • is about our connection

  • with the world, with the universe.

  • It's about seeing what's around that next coral head

  • or what's around that next tree,

  • and learning more not only about our environment

  • but about ourselves.

  • Now, my dream of dreams,

  • I want to go explore the oceans of Mars,

  • but until we can go there,

  • I think the oceans still hold

  • quite a few secrets.

  • As a matter of fact,

  • if you take our planet as the oasis in space that it is

  • and dissect it into a living space,

  • the ocean represents over 3.4 billion

  • cubic kilometers of volume, within which

  • we've explored less than five percent.

  • And I look at this, and I go, well,

  • there are tools to go deeper, longer and further:

  • submarines, ROVs, even Scuba diving.

  • But if we're going to explore the final frontier

  • on this planet, we need to live there.

  • We need to build a log cabin, if you will,

  • at the bottom of the sea.

  • And so there was a great curiosity in my soul

  • when I went to go visit a TED [Prize winner]

  • by the name of Dr. Sylvia Earle.

  • Maybe you've heard of her.

  • Two years ago, she was staked out

  • at the last undersea marine laboratory

  • to try and save it,

  • to try and petition

  • for us not to scrap it

  • and bring it back on land.

  • We've only had about a dozen or so

  • scientific labs at the bottom of the sea.

  • There's only one left in the world:

  • it's nine miles offshore

  • and 65 feet down.

  • It's called Aquarius.

  • Aquarius, in some fashion,

  • is a dinosaur,

  • an ancient robot chained to the bottom,

  • this Leviathan.

  • In other ways, it's a legacy.

  • And so with that visit, I realized that my time is short

  • if I wanted to experience

  • what it was like to become an aquanaut.

  • When we swam towards this after many

  • moons of torture and two years of preparation,

  • this habitat waiting to invite us

  • was like a new home.

  • And the point of going down to

  • and living at this habitat was not to stay inside.

  • It wasn't about living at something the size of a school bus.

  • It was about giving us the luxury of time

  • outside to wander, to explore,

  • to understand more about this oceanic final frontier.

  • We had megafauna come and visit us.

  • This spotted eagle ray is a fairly common sight in the oceans.

  • But why this is so important,

  • why this picture is up,

  • is because this particular animal brought his friends around,

  • and instead of being the pelagic animals that they were,

  • they started getting curious about us,

  • these new strangers that were moving into the neighborhood,

  • doing things with plankton.

  • We were studying all sorts of animals and critters,

  • and they got closer and closer to us,

  • and because of the luxury of time,

  • these animals, these residents of the coral reef,

  • were starting to get used to us,

  • and these pelagics that normal travel through stopped.

  • This particular animal actually circled

  • for 31 full days during our mission.

  • So mission 31 wasn't so much

  • about breaking records.

  • It was about that human-ocean connection.

  • Because of the luxury of time, we were able

  • to study animals such as sharks and grouper

  • in aggregations that we've never seen before.

  • It's like seeing dogs and cats behaving well together.

  • Even being able to commune with animals

  • that are much larger than us,

  • such as this endangered goliath grouper

  • who only still resides in the Florida Keys.

  • Of course, just like any neighbor,

  • after a while, if they get tired,

  • the goliath grouper barks at us,

  • and this bark is so powerful

  • that it actually stuns its prey before it aspirates it all

  • within a split second.

  • For us, it's just telling us to go back

  • into the habitat and leave them alone.

  • Now, this wasn't just about adventure.

  • There was actually a serious note to it.

  • We did a lot of science, and again, because of the luxury of time,

  • we were able to do over three years of science

  • in 31 days.

  • In this particular case, we were using a PAM,

  • or, let me just see if I can get this straight,

  • a Pulse Amplitude Modulated Fluorometer.

  • And our scientists from FIU, MIT,

  • and from Northeastern

  • were able to get a gauge for what coral reefs do

  • when we're not around.

  • The Pulse Amplitude Modulated Fluorometer, or PAM,

  • gauges the fluorescence of corals

  • as it pertains to pollutants in the water

  • as well as climate change-related issues.

  • We used all sorts of other cutting-edge tools,

  • such as this sonde, or what I like to call

  • the sponge proctologist, whereby the sonde

  • itself tests for metabolism rates

  • in what in this particular case is a barrel sponge,

  • or the redwoods of the [ocean].

  • And this gives us a much better gauge

  • of what's happening underwater

  • with regard to climate change-related issues,

  • and how the dynamics of that

  • affect us here on land.

  • And finally, we looked at predator-prey behavior.

  • And predator-prey behavior is an interesting thing,

  • because as we take away some of the predators

  • on these coral reefs around the world,

  • the prey, or the forage fish, act very differently.

  • What we realized is

  • not only do they stop taking care of the reef,

  • darting in, grabbing a little bit of algae

  • and going back into their homes,

  • they start spreading out and disappearing

  • from those particular coral reefs.

  • Well, within that 31 days,

  • we were able to generate over 10 scientific papers

  • on each one of these topics.

  • But the point of adventure is not only to learn,

  • it's to be able to share that knowledge with the world,

  • and with that, thanks to a couple of engineers at MIT,

  • we were able to use a prototype camera called the Edgertronic

  • to capture slow-motion video,

  • up to 20,000 frames per second

  • in a little box

  • that's worth 3,000 dollars.

  • It's available to every one of us.

  • And that particular camera gives us an insight

  • into what fairly common animals do

  • but we can't even see it in the blink of an eye.

  • Let me show you a quick video

  • of what this camera does.

  • You can see the silky bubble come out

  • of our hard hats.

  • It gives us an insight

  • into some of the animals that we were sitting

  • right next to for 31 days

  • and never normally would have paid attention to,

  • such as hermit crabs.

  • Now, using a cutting-edge piece of technology

  • that's not really meant for the oceans

  • is not always easy.

  • We sometimes had to put the camera upside down,

  • cordon it back to the lab,

  • and actually man the trigger

  • from the lab itself.

  • But what this gives us

  • is the foresight to look at and analyze

  • in scientific and engineering terms

  • some of the most amazing behavior

  • that the human eye just can't pick up,

  • such as this manta shrimp

  • trying to catch its prey,

  • within about .3 seconds.

  • That punch is as strong as a .22 caliber bullet,

  • and if you ever try to catch a bullet

  • in mid-flight with your eye, impossible.

  • But now we can see things

  • such as these Christmas tree worms

  • pulling in and fanning out

  • in a way that the eye just can't capture,

  • or in this case,

  • a fish throwing up grains of sand.

  • This is an actual sailfin goby,

  • and if you look at it in real time,

  • it actually doesn't even show its fanning motion

  • because it's so quick.

  • One of the most precious gifts that we had underwater

  • is that we had WiFi,

  • and for 31 days straight we were able to connect

  • with the world in real time from the bottom of the sea

  • and share all of these experiences.

  • Quite literally right there

  • I am Skyping in the classroom

  • with one of the six continents

  • and some of the 70,000 students that we connected

  • every single day to some of these experiences.

  • As a matter of fact, I'm showing a picture that I took

  • with my smartphone from underwater

  • of a goliath grouper laying on the bottom.

  • We had never seen that before.

  • And I dream of the day

  • that we have underwater cities,

  • and maybe, just maybe, if we push the boundaries

  • of adventure and knowledge,

  • and we share that knowledge with others out there,

  • we can solve all sorts of problems.

  • My grandfather used to say,

  • "People protect what they love."

  • My father, "How can people protect

  • what they don't understand?"

  • And I've thought about this my whole life.

  • Nothing is impossible.

  • We need to dream, we need to be creative,

  • and we all need to have an adventure

  • in order to create miracles in the darkest of times.

  • And whether it's about climate change

  • or eradicating poverty

  • or giving back to future generations

  • what we've taken for granted,

  • it's about adventure.

  • And who knows, maybe there will be underwater cities,

  • and maybe some of you

  • will become the future aquanauts.

  • Thank you very much.

  • (Applause)

I have a confession to make.

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B1 TED underwater coral grouper prey adventure

【TED】Fabien Cousteau: What I learned from spending 31 days underwater (Fabien Cousteau: What I learned from spending 31 days underwater)

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    Max Lin posted on 2016/02/01
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