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Twitter is now literally a life-saving technology

January 3rd, 2014 at 11:45 PM
Twitter Shark Tracking Australia

If Twitter had been around in the 1970s, would Jaws have even been a threat? NPR reports that government researchers in Australia have started equipping sharks with electronic transmitters that post updates on their locations to Twitter whenever they get close to a public beach. Chris Peck, operations manager of Surf Life Saving Western Australia, explains that the goal of the project is to give beach goers real-time information so they can alert others to flee the waters before any sharks even get close to them.

“Now it’s instant information and really people don’t have an excuse to say we’re not getting the information,” he says. “It’s about whether you are searching for it and finding it.”

So far the researchers have tagged 338 sharks with transmitters, although some caution that this shouldn’t give swimmers a false sense of security.

“It can, in fact, provide a false sense of security — that is, if there is no tweet, then there is no danger — and that simply is not a reasonable interpretation,” Kim Holland, a marine biologist at the University of Hawaii, tells NPR. “Just because there’s a shark nearby doesn’t mean to say that there’s any danger. In Hawaii, tiger sharks are all around our coastlines all the time, and yet we have very, very few attacks.”

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