Undeniable Friday: Flipping Fish

Friday, October 20, 2006

It's Undeniable Friday! Every Friday, in addition to an odd little factoid, UndeniableFacts.com gives you a fun puzzle, illusion, or activity to enjoy and share.

Today: The Amazing Flipping Fish Trick

Here is yet another good one for parties! In fact this particular trick is easier to do if you have more people. Why? Because it exploits an odd idiosyncrasy that goldfish display regarding ringing cellphones, and you need ten of them - cellphones that is.



Flash version

The setup:
All this trick requires is a standard goldfish and ten cellphones. Arrange the cell phones as you see in the video. The next part is a little tricky because you have to act fast: you need to call all of the cellphones within a three second period. In general, you need to have them all ringing simultaneously, although it is possible to achieve the effect by calling them separately (more on the reason for this in "How it works", below). If done correctly, the goldfish will do a flip. (Depending on your timing and the body temperature of the fish, you may get a barrel roll or tight spin instead)

How it works:
When a cellphone receives a call, it communicates with the service provider using an analog encoding scheme known as "Mod-R". Unlike the digital signals which carry sound information to and from cellphones, Mod-R must be a very strong signal which broadcasts on seventeen wide-band radio frequencies. The reason for this is obvious: if you are in an area where you can't get cellphone service due to interference or a bad signal (for example when you are in a tunnel), the cell phone has to let the mobile service provider know that it is currently unavailable. In order to achieve this even in bad signal conditions, Mod-R uses a signal much broader and stronger than the FCC generally allows. An allowance is made however, because the signal is only sent for exactly three seconds (this is why you can call the cellphones separately if you are fast enough). After completing a successful "handshake" with the provider, the cellphone will switch to the low-power digital mode for communication.
Goldfish are rarely exposed to high-power microwave radiation in the wild, and they are ill-adapted to cope with it. When present from many directions, the radiation confuses their sense of ballast and causes them to go into a state known by ichthyologists as "rotation shock". When in this state, the goldfish attempts to correct its orientation by flipping itself over until all of its nerves have been exposed to the radiation. At this point, the goldfish receives consistent information from all of its senses, and can once again discern which way is up.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Rainman DX said...

I was really hoping to see it flip out of the water....

12:32 PM  
Blogger Sly Hoax said...

lol, rainman, me too . ..

Did you know that this effect works on Whales as well ? That's why we don't have cell phone transmission devices underwater- whales would be constantly turning and flipping- causing massive tidal waves!

1:45 PM  
Blogger CH!LLY said...

hahaha i just realized how ignorant i am for believing this stuff

10:43 PM  
Blogger Anders Borg said...

Sounds factual (kind of), but wouldn't a lot of sounds and vibrations from different directions (which is the case here) be able to do the same thing?

Admitted, my PC speakers go crazy when I receive calls and the phone is nearby. Badly shielded I guess, but indicates there's more power in the transmission from the phone then.

7:40 AM  
Blogger XCondE said...

When I saw the first frame of the video I thought it was a blender. I don't have to say the rest was kind of disappointing :-)

3:35 PM  
Blogger duffytoler said...

Absolutely brilliant. The effects of Mod-R on piscine physiology is a poorly understood phenomena at best. This video demonstrates what is known in a very concise and visceral format. Bravo!

6:51 PM  
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1:35 PM  
Blogger Sciencebzzt said...

OMG WTF I DID THIS AND MY GOLDFISH DIED

10:56 PM  
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