Ancient brain, fractals are everywhere, the lost first underwater film || EXPERIMENTALS: Nautiluses


(Narrator) This is a nautilus story: A chambered
nautilus never forgets—Nature’s math equation— And finding Captain Nemo… (Dr. Jennifer Basil) I really wanted to work
on an animal that relied on a sensory system that I really wasn’t privy to. I mean, when you become a scientist it’s because
you are comfortable facing the great unknown, and trying to see what it means, and see what’s
out there. Nautiluses have survived five mass extinctions,
including the Permian Extinction, which killed off almost 90 percent of life on Earth, and
also, the Cretaceous Extinction that, wound up killing off the dinosaurs. You’re getting to peek into the world of an
ancient brain. A brain, that clearly is doing something right,
as the lineage has survived for hundreds of millions of years. I’ve run them in mazes with objects, and they
learn where the objects are, and they learn that the objects have moved. They’ve probably been doing highly complicated
things for a very long time, longer than we have that’s for sure. I think one of the reasons why people
didn’t attribute complex behavior to them is their world view is so different. “Umwelt,” means the internal worldview
of an animal. And that’s what people who study ethology,
or animal behavior, try to understand. And when animals are using senses completely
different from yours, that’s very hard. Nautiluses are not highly visual. They rely primarily on touch and on smell. You know, when you’re swimming and you feel
the water moving against you think if you had 90 tentacles, all of them detecting different wavelets of water Like right now, everything’s in bloom, and,
you know you can smell the azaleas. But can you imagine if you could also say,
‘That azalea bush has 3,002 blossoms on it’? Think of that amount of information that’s
kind of like, I think, what it would be like to be a nautilus living in the deep ocean. So it could very well be that the learning
and memory is linked to the sense of smell of the nautilus because that’s the primary
sense that it relies upon. After 15 years I can go into my apartment
and put my keys down, um, ’cause I know where the table is, but I still turn the light on. Nautiluses don’t need the lights… So they’re solving problems that are completely
alien to me, and that’s really changed the way I think about intelligence, and also how
I view the world. (Narrator) Consider the nautilus’ form. If you crack open the hard, outer casing,
that is. Depending on how you look at it, its shell
is either an ever increasing or decreasing chambered spiral, its shape unaltered with
each successive curve. The twisting walls along this spiral make
what’s known as a fractal pattern. And that pattern is a kind of equation occurring
all around us in nature: Romanesco broccoli, salt flats, lightning,
snowflakes, clouds, mountains, peacock feathers, ferns, waterfalls, and, of course, nautiluses… So what makes a pattern fractal? Imagine a tree in a park. The whole tree. Now, a branch. It’s like a smaller version of the tree,
right? Ok, what about a branch on the branch? It’s like an even smaller version of a tree. And on and on. A fractal pattern finds constancy in randomness… Therefore a tree can be divided into parts
and each successive part is a very similar — sometimes identical — reduced copy of
the whole. A fractal is potentially never-ending, created
by repeating a simple process over and over and over and over and over and over… That’s why you find fractals in movies,
so CGI of impossible things are easier to make For example, “The Genesis planet sequence”
in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The fractal technique here is a form of controlled
randomness, which adds a natural-like complexity to simulated scenes. Researchers, too, are now using fractal geometry
to build models to find microscopic patterns of diseases and abnormalities earlier than
ever before. Fractals can create and fractals can predict… There are fractals all over…. and over and
over and over and over… (Narrator) Let me tell you about the world’s
first underwater motion picture. That’s a dead horse. That’s the inventor of the filming technique. That’s a knife in his hand. And that’s a shark. But, that’s later. The story begins, as it must, with Jules Verne. (All good stories below the ocean’s surface
do…) The year is 1916. The silent film of his 20,000 Leagues Under
the Sea is “the only production of its kind in the world.. [with] sights that for thousands
of centuries have been denied to mankind.” In the picture, the first time you see out
Captain Nemo’s “magic window,” the fiction of Verne’s adventure stops… For almost nine minutes, a documentary of
sorts plays (like this). The magic window is, in reality, the porthole
of the photosphere… Verne’s Nautilus ship come to life. This is the photosphere. This is its inventor, J.E. Williamson. J.E.’s father, a sea captain and shipwreck
scavenger, had previously designed a deep-sea salvaging device: a tube affixed to a windowed
chamber capable of reaching great depths… Lightning, of course, struck. J.E. would add a lamp to illuminate the water
and design a viewing chamber with larger windows… (Also, he dropped a camera down the hatch.) In 1914, J.E. got backing for his first filming
experiment, christened a barge the Jules Verne, and set a course for the Bahamas… What you’re seeing right now is the first
motion picture recorded below the ocean’s surface—the result of J.E.’s experiment. How strange that the first moving images recorded
of this little-seen world were of a dead horse lowered upside down as bait for a shark. Not only to lure the shark to the camera,
but to lure it to its death… That violence was prefered over beauty… J.E. promised his financiers a fight between
man and shark. The first take was of a hired Bahamian diver,
but he killed a shark just out of the camera’s frame. The second take was of J.E himself… He remembered it like this: “I grasped the
monster’s fin, felt my hand close upon it. With a twist, I was under the livid white
belly at the spot I was trying to reach. With all my remaining strength I struck. A quivering thrill raced up my arm as I felt
the blade bury itself to the hilt in the flesh… Then a blur, confusion—chaos. J.E. Williamson (again): Somehow I had managed
to reach the deck… Still panting from exertion, my head in a
whirl, I slid down the tube in time to witness the end of the shark. With upturned belly gleaming in the wavering
sunlight filtering through the waters, the dead monster was drifting away.” Six thousand feet of celluloid ribbon later,
the Jules Verne set a course back to America. The resulting film was exhibited under the
title, “Thirty Leagues Under the Sea,” and later came to be known as “The Terrors of the Deep”…