Saturday, April 22, 2006

Moose, Communication, and Technology

Sterling Safety: Group Studies High-Tech Ways to Prevent Road Collisions: I read a lot of articles about moose in Alaska. One does when one is working on a novel that is about a moose artist who lives in Alaska. But it is not often that I find an article so well suited to my media researcher side as well. So I'm quite excited.

The scoop as to why I’m excited (besides the fact that weird stories about moose fascinate me) goes back to last summer when my friend Brenda and I were driving to Alaska. We made lots of jokes about moose not being able to read moose crossing signs on the highway. (I admit it’s entirely possible that these jokes were only funny to us because we'd been in the car for about 200 hours during the course of the trip.)

At any rate, this article sort of sidesteps the humor in those jokes. Because apparently there may soon be ways for moose to communicate with us whether they’ve read the signs or not.

It isn’t all that weird in one way—at least it’s no weirder than those annoying highway signs that tell you how fast you’re going in an effort to slow you down. It’s actually very practical as well. And it’s a good thing—hopefully this new “communication device” will save both some lives: both moose and human ones. Roadkill moose, from what I’ve heard, is good eating once you remove the mushy parts, but its production process, from what I’ve heard, is a rather unpleasant and costly one.

But it is also quirky that moose (other than Bullwinkle) can “tell” us when they’re crossing the road. That’s sort of odd to think about. So I thought I’d link to the article. Because it’s not the sort of example of technology’s connection to communication that we usually think about. And it’s always good for your mind to be stretched.

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