November 12, 2012

"Finnish Underwater Ice Fishing Mystery Finally Solved."

NPR science writer finds something amazing and mystifying, but it's completely obvious!

Watch the video before you scroll down to the part where Robert Krulwich elaborates on how clever it all is. I think by halfway through (at least) you'll find it obvious.

69 comments:

Bryan C said...

That seemed obvious from the start. I kept expecting something mysterious to happen.

leslyn said...

Not surprised at all. We Finn are survivors, workers, innovators, and wonderful designers. A commonly-used Finnish word is SISU; which has no English equivalent, but is roughly translatable to a combination of guts, grit and perseverance.

We also have a wicked sense of humor.

(Given last name: Yllinen.)

ooonaughtykitty said...

It's the equivalent of clearing your mask.

Maguro said...

Yeah, it was obvious the whole time to me. The bright light filtering through the "bottom of the lake" was kind of a giveaway...

Patrick said...

Still, nicely done. What compelled them to do this remains the biggest mystery.

Unknown said...

I loved Krulwich's comment:

"plain old air, which has a liquid quality."

Last time I looked, air is a FLUID, maybe that's why it has that mysterious "liquid quality"?

LMAO.

rhhardin said...

Ernie Kovacs

EDH said...

Using buoyancy to simulate downward gravity on the divers' bodies was the only thing that kept it from being obvious.

And how did they manage to "step" solidly onto the icy undersurface? The smartypants on Reddit believe the divers in buoyant water weren't as challenged by gravity as upside-down people on land. And the divers wore dry suits insulated with air, and that air, pressing skyward, held them in place.

AJ Lynch said...

I heard a story that Dean Martin's friends nailed all the furniture in a room to the ceiling to freak out Dean when he finally woke up after he passed out in a drunken stupor the night before and was sleeping on the floor.

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kcom said...

The very first time the exhaled air went down instead of up, the jig was up. It meant they were upside down. That was right near the beginning. Without a workaround for that, the video will never be convincing.

Paco Wové said...

Jeez, it was obvious without even running the video. Their air bubbles gave it away.

Levi Starks said...

i always thought Krulwich was smarter than that,
i mean he is NPR and all...

bagoh20 said...

If they did in the southern hemisphere they wouldn't have to turn the camera upside down.

Lem said...

The very first time the exhaled air went down instead of up, the jig was up.

After watching my fare share of underwater nature shows over the years... the air pockets movement on their 'walking surface' was a dead give away.

tim maguire said...

This is the anti-Shamaylan. The big surprise is that there is no surprise. It would have been better to just show the video without the false build up.

Sorun said...

Maybe this science writer thought Finland was in the Southern Hemisphere, where bubbles go down instead of up.

Astro said...

Yeah, the bubbles were an instant give-away.
I thought maybe the mystery was: where are the fish?
Looks like they'd have a better chance of catching a cold.

Ann Althouse said...

"Dancing On The Ceiling."


Fred Astaire, dancing on the ceiling.

TWM said...

Tiny bubbles gave it away from the beginning . . .

Lem said...

The air pockets and the brightness of the 'bottom'... like maguro says.

I seem to remember a tag called things are not what the seem.

leslyn said...

Repeat: "We Finns have a wicked sense of humor"....oh never mind.

I'm going to save this for Thanksgiving, where my relatives will probably already know it, but we'll laugh again anyway.

SteveR said...

I was looking for the fish

Unknown said...

Seems the only surprising thing about this video is that so many people were 'fooled.'

It's a clever trick, but it's incredibly easy to see where the 'trick' lies.

Astro said...

Seems to me the real mystery is: Who invented Lutefisk? And why?

(I guess that's actually 2 mysteries. No - make it three: Why would anyone want to eat it?)

leslyn said...

Lutefisk is Norwegian, not Finnish. Fish in lye? No thanks.

No pickled herring, on the other hand....

Astro said...

It's commonly know in the US as lutefisk, but the Finns eat it too. Their term is: lipeäkala.

MadisonMan said...

"Dancing On The Ceiling."

Very unfortunate hair choices.

DADvocate said...

I soon as I saw the guy exhale, I could see he was upside down. Air rises in water. Duh.

Gahrie said...

The next time they should use rebreathers, which would eliminate the exhalation.

Rustling Leaves said...

Very cool. The most obvious clue, there would be no ice under the water. That was a giveaway even before the air bubbles and buoyancy.

leslyn said...

@Astro:

"In Finland, the traditional reagent used is birch ash. It contains high amounts of potassium carbonate and bicarbonate, giving the fish a more mellow treatment than would lye." WPedia.

Anyway, never heard of it before. Not known in Nordern Wisconsin, news in MN, and no Yoopers I know make it.

leslyn said...

Astro: But now you have me curious. Gotta ask the relatives.at Thanksgiving. After we tell our Finland jokes, of course.

I swear, cons don't see the point of this was to have fun.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Science and journalism don't mix well. The questions at the end--"why didn't their blood rush to their heads being upside down so long"--just infuriating level of ignorance.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@leslynn: swear, cons don't see the point of this was to have fun.

The cons here do see that. What they are indignant about is the ignorance of the journalist.

Methadras said...

I didn't even have to see the video. The still frame from the youtube panel gave it away. The air bubbles are going 'down' and they are sticking to the 'floor'. Upside down. Neato. eye r teh smartz.

Gabriel Hanna said...

But hey, what can you expect. Tripling of per-student education funds in the last forty years has left the students in my university physics class barely able to read their textbooks.

Another of the faculty here was frustrated because her students wouldn't read the book. She made them read aloud in class. She had to stop because it was humiliating them.

Rustling Leaves said...

Yes Leslyn, the video was fun. However the NPR "science" writer does not even have an elementary school level of scientific intelligence.

Rustling Leaves said...

But who am I to judge, I am just an anti-science neanderthal because I believe in miracles.

Skyler said...

Pretty obvious within the first 30 seconds or so. The guy writing about it really isn't too smart.

leslyn said...

I leave you to your fun.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@leslynn: I leave you to your fun.

Flounce: Whereas normal people who are fed up with a discussion or debate simply leave, flouncers need eternal validation. Instead of simply logging off, they must announce that they are leaving. Flouncing usually occurs when a wanker realizes that other people on the planet hold differing views.

MB said...

It is painfully obvious as soon as the diver exhales that is is filmed upside-down. While I thought it was cleverly done, my reaction to it not being obvious is "REALLY!?"

Synova said...

I figured it out about 5 seconds in. I thought... the bottom of a body of water doesn't look like that... how did they get a layer of ice on the bottom? Oh. That's how.

And *then* I noticed the bubbles going down.

chickelit said...

My father used to enjoy ice diving in the Madison lakes and I'm sure he would have enjoyed this film clip.

Yes, the bubbles were the give away for me. But how many of you who are not SCUBA divers appreciate how metallic the exhaled bubbles look? The sight of air trapped up against ice--the way it moves almost like quicksilver--is pretty neat. It's certainly not something one sees everyday unless you enjoy ice diving.

Don't flounce away, leslyn. Cool that you're Finno-Ugric.

Rusty said...

leslyn said...
Not surprised at all. We Finn are survivors, workers, innovators, and wonderful designers. A commonly-used Finnish word is SISU; which has no English equivalent, but is roughly translatable to a combination of guts, grit and perseverance.

We also have a wicked sense of humor.

(Given last name: Yllinen.)

You should study the Winter War of 1939-1940.

Christy said...

Thank you, Althouse. That was a lot of fun to watch. The Lionel Ritchie video you linked made me happy and nostalgic. Dancing with friends and acting silly is the best.

MadisonMan said...

You should study the Winter War of 1939-1940.

If she is a Finn, there is no need to tell her to study it.

It would be like telling a southerner in the 1890s to study the War of Northern Aggression.

Henry said...

The big hole of light in the lake "floor" was a dead giveaway.

leslyn said...

@ Rusty. I have studied the Winter War. ??

chickelit: no flouncing. Had to get me some of that coffee before it's extinct. Just for you:

"If ever I would leave you
It wouldn't be in autumn...."

AJ Lynch said...

I did not figure it out- you guys are way smarter than me. I kept seeing them walking on an ice surface and thought maybe there was a lower or 2nd layer of ice in the lake.

greenlantern said...

I think this is like one of those paradigm pictures. It's how Krugman and Keynesians see the world. Without the part about understanding what is actually happening.

AJ Lynch said...

Althouse- is that Astaire video the one where they actually made the walls and floors of the room go around in a circle?

miss j said...

30 seconds in you can see air moving upward in the water but towards the bottom of the frame. Done.

Rusty said...

MadisonMan said...
You should study the Winter War of 1939-1940.

If she is a Finn, there is no need to tell her to study it.

It would be like telling a southerner in the 1890s to study the War of Northern Aggression.

Not if she was born here and her parents were born here.
She's ignorant of her country of origin. A lot of Americans are.

Rick Lee said...

As soon as I saw their breathing bubbles going going DOWN I knew what was happaning. It's hard to believe Krulwich is that dense.

Dante said...

The interesting thing is a simple change, upside down, leaves our intuitive sense messed up. Sure, we all know right away what's going on, but the intuitive part is completely confused.

leslyn said...

Rusty said,

"Not if she was born here and her parents were born here. She's ignorant of her country of origin. A lot of Americans are."

Now that pisses me off, you patronizing ****.

Take your assumptions elsewhere. The Winter War was about as fine an example of SISU that one could find. It awed the world.

Your attitude reminds me of how Charles Krauthammer's face looks.

Michael K said...

The bubbles are going "down."

Rusty said...

leslyn said...
Rusty said,

"Not if she was born here and her parents were born here. She's ignorant of her country of origin. A lot of Americans are."

Now that pisses me off, you patronizing ****.

Take your assumptions elsewhere. The Winter War was about as fine an example of SISU that one could find. It awed the world.

Your attitude reminds me of how Charles Krauthammer's face looks

Why so defensive?
You had to google it didn't you?
Admit it.

I have a great attitude. Yours leaves a lot to be desired.

For the record. I'm far, far uglier than Krauthammer, but I have a much finer personality.

leslyn said...

No Rusty. I blow my nose at you.

I have my own set of books. The narratives and pictures are moving , amazing, and horrific.

leslyn said...

And Rusty, I'm not done with you yet.

I'm not defensive, I'm ANGRY. You will not accept that I could know squat about my ancestral history. Do not patronize me, you supercilious pimple on Dick Cheney's butt.

Synova said...

Oh fer pity's sake. I'm NORWEGIAN born here and I didn't have to be born there to know what the winter war in Finland was about.

(If you can't be lucky enough to be Norse, the next best is Finland, right? Less said of the Swedes the better.)

leslyn said...

I'm afraid I can't agree with you there Norm (Fargo)--er, Synova, about the Norse thing. But Sweden, OK, they conquered Finland, the dirty rats.

leslyn said...

I should say OCCUPIED, not conquered.

Peter Hoh said...

This video appeared earlier this year.

Internet years are like dog years. I saw this when it first came out, but I would have guessed that it was 2 or 3 years ago.

Rusty said...

leslyn said...
And Rusty, I'm not done with you yet.

I'm not defensive, I'm ANGRY. You will not accept that I could know squat about my ancestral history. Do not patronize me, you supercilious pimple on Dick Cheney's butt.

Most people don't. And what they do know isn't accurate.
Go ahead. Get pissed off. Call me names.

Rusty said...

Synova said...
Oh fer pity's sake. I'm NORWEGIAN born here and I didn't have to be born there to know what the winter war in Finland was about


Then you know Norway left Finland twisting in the wind. Everybody including the United States promised Finland aide and then reneged.
Finland faced the Soviet Union alone.

Rusty said...

leslyn said...
I'm afraid I can't agree with you there Norm (Fargo)--er, Synova, about the Norse thing. But Sweden, OK, they conquered Finland, the dirty rats.

And in 1939-1940 Norway made an agreement with the Soviet Union not to interfere in Finland.