News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Slimy Fish On Cd-Rom

Why does a fish feel slimy?

New Zealand Coastal Creatures, a CD-Rom developed by a small Palmerston North software company, will have the answer, and in words that a child might understand.

The CD takes computer users into the intertidal zone on New Zealand's beaches where animals vomit their stomach over their victims to dissolve them while they are still alive, where leathery plants can grow more than 50cm a day, and where slimy monsters with long tentacles and a poisonous bite lurk.

"We tried to write it for children in their language," Unlimited Realities director David Brebner says. "It's got plenty of information about marine life found on New Zealand's coast and shore. It has 120 pages on creatures and the shore, and 30 full-screen video clips and animated movies in stereo with a TV-like clarity."

The CD has been "in gestation" for six years, but started to come together only in the past 18 months with the support of Technology New Zealand. Technology New Zealand helps businesses develop new products, processes and services.
Mr Brebner says Unlimited Realities has ensured the software is easy for children to use.

"For example, as well as using the usual ways of searching – key words, family tree, or alphabetical list and so on – they can use the SuperSearch engine. In most search engines you look for a word. In this one we've built up multiple indexes so they can find animals just by describing what they look like – size, colour, texture, or other physical attributes."

The marine biology information was provided by the Island Bay Marine Education Centre, a subsidiary of Victoria University, in Wellington. The centre, which is visited by thousands of people a year, let Unlimited Realities have full use of its facilities so the animals there could be filmed.

Gareth Gibson, a product technology graduate, was lead author and artist for all the CD content. Professional children's writers were also involved.

Mr Brebner says the CD has potential for overseas sales, particularly in the United States, where the California coastline is much like that at Island Bay. Judy Hutt, a marine conservation educator at the Island Bay centre, says San Francisco's rocky shore is similar, and the marine life almost identical.
"Many of the animals are of the same family," she says. "For example, paua and abalone share the same scientific first name, haliotis."

Unlimited Realities hopes to have the CD on the market in time for Christmas and the educational version – including a resource booklet for teachers and students – ready for the 2000 school year.

So why does a fish feel slimy?

"Well," Mr Brebner says, "inside the layer of skin surrounding the scales is a mucous gland that leaves a layer of smelly, slimy goo all over the fish's body. This layer is like a water-tight seal to stop bacteria and fungus in the sea from getting under the scales and feeding on the fish's flesh. And some fish produce extra amounts of very smelly and foul-tasting mucous so other fish don't want to eat them."

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>


New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news