© 2011 *PlanetPuna*
Sirius Institute FAQ
1. Who are we?
We are dolphin researchers based in Hawaii working under the name The Sirius Institute. Our founding partner is Paradise (Star) Newland and our research director is Michael T. Hyson, Ph.D., a neurobiologist.
Star was a close friend and colleague of the late Dr. John C. Lilly, M.D., and Toni Lilly, who pioneered communication with the dolphins. She has met and interviewed many eminent dolphin/birth researchers like Dr. Estelle Myers, Dr. Michel Odent, Elena Tonetti, Horace Dobbs.
Michael was a close friend and colleague of the late Dr. Hank Truby, a linguist and acoustic phonetician who helped invent the sonogram or "voice printing". He worked closely with Lilly and his dolphin projects for 17 years, including attempts to teach dolphins Elvar and Tolva English. We are inheritors of this tradition and have built on this legacy.
We have many partners and associates, biologists, MD's, musicians, engineers, midwives, doulas, architects and others that help us in this work.
2. How did you get interested in the dolphins?
Star: I met a man named Josef Princiotta in Las Vegas, circa 1982 who spoke of his involvement with a group who wanted to create a dolphin attended birthing center on Fiji. That was the first time I’d ever heard those two words together, dolphins and birth. It made a profound impact on me as I knew instinctively that a birth like that would be a way of healing birth trauma and the ‘Myth of separation’. From that time on my path has taken me to explore these beings and how we can learn from them as well as teach them things of our ways that may help them.
I became interested when I was 12-13 after reading John Lilly's books Man & Dolphin and Mind of the Dolphin. Then I got a chance to be with them at a facility in Texas the next summer. So dolphins have been in my life since then. I even got to swim with the original Flipper, a dolphin named Mitzi.
Later, I met Dr. Hank Truby at the University of Miami and worked with him on dolphin and other projects for about 12 years, including a project of the World Dolphin Foundation with the dolphins Florida and Liberty.
I met Star Newland at Dr. Lilly's 75th birthday in 1990 and we have been running her Sirius Institute together ever since. This brought us to Hawaii to study the free dolphins and whales here and establish Human-Dolphin Habitats and dolphin attended underwater birthing centers.
3. What is the Sirius Institute?
Sirius Institute is a research consortium with the purpose of "dolphinizing" the planet. This means the integration of the Cetacea (dolphins and whales) into our culture as we raise the level of consciousness to more like theirs. A second goal is the "humanization of space" which involves the settlement of the solar system and beyond.
We can integrate the Cetacea with us through direct interactions, by communication through interfaces and translators, using dolphin attended underwater childbirth, raising our children together with the Cetacea, developing dolphin assisted therapy, and by legal recognition of their rights under human law through the Cetacean Commonwealth. The dolphins and whales are co-species with us on our planet and we can all benefit from this recognition.
Our website is at: www.planetpuna.com
Just follow the links to the Sirius Institute and we have pretty extensive documentation.
Those interested can email us at email@example.com or write us at
Box 1645 Pahoa, Hawaii 96778
Call us at 808 896 8658/896 8518
We would also like people to sign up for our Cetacean Commonwealth. Please contact us and give us your input in all this. There are people, I m sure, with expertise in many areas, that could help in this work. If they are interested in helping there is much to do. We especially want a legal team to make their case for recognition before the United Nations.
4. Why did you choose the name Sirius?
Star reply -
This is the name that came to me soon after my swim with dolphins Joe and Rosie and Roberta Goodman, through the Human/Dolphin Foundation, in March 1985. It was incorporated in Vancouver, B.C. as the Sirius Connection (now Sirius Connection 420). It was a vehicle for my projects and works regarding these amazing beings that had come to my life. I wanted to share so much with the world as I found out more and more about them.
The name Sirius was inspired by Robert Temple’s book, The Sirius Mystery which I had just read shortly before I swam with the dolphins. In it he reports that there are several ancient cultures that say they learned the arts of civilization from amphibious beings from the star system Sirius. Sirius Institute is named in honor of these legends. The dolphins and the whales have indeed been a civilizing influence on humans for ages. It is also named and modeled for the Vienna Institute in Leo Szilard’s book, The Voice of the Dolphins.
5. Why do you feel "dolphinizing" the planet is important?
The Cetacea, the dolphins and whales, are highly intelligent, self aware beings that use sonic "tools" and transmit information through their cultures. They are mammals who birth and raise their young as we do, suckling them with milk.
Most Cetacea have brains larger than ours (up to 6 times larger for the Sperm Whale). They have had brains equal to or larger than ours for at least 15-30 million years (at least 2 times longer than our entire accepted evolutionary history as the genus Homo).
It is known that the dolphins (and presumably the other Cetacea) have a complex language - with up to a trillion "words" possible using at least 4 simultaneous sound sources.
Therefore, we conclude that they are more intelligent than we are and have all the characteristics we generally use to define our status as human, i.e. self-awareness, intelligence, language, tool use, culture etc.
This suggests that the Cetacea have knowledge and experience that can be important to our understanding of our planet, its history, and who we are on it. We feel it is important to communicate with them and learn from them.
The realization that the Cetacea are the oldest and most intelligent cultures on Earth leads to the conclusion that we must respect them, and insure their wellbeing. This implies changes in current policy at all levels.
What we will learn in this process is an exciting, open question- who ARE these beings who share our planet? How can we cooperate with them? What are their goals, needs, wants?
The message from the Dolphins on the eve of the birth of our latest Dolphin baby, August 7, 2011 says it best, ‘The more we are like dolphins, living together in harmony, the closer we will be able to be with them’. This is dolphinizing the planet, by helping us to reconnect with this part of our being.
6. OK, so we know they have big brains, so what? They have big bodies, so maybe they need these brains just to run their large bodies?
Studies by John Lilly, Peter Morgane and others have shown that the brains of the Cetacea are comparable in complexity and quality to our own. The parts of the brain that run the body are actually about the same size as ours. Lilly found that the major expansion in the size of the brain is in the neo-cortex (the "new" brain). This is the part of the brain that handles consciousness, personality and thinking in humans.
Therefore, the expansion of the Cetacean brain is in those areas that are concerned with high level thinking, the so-called "association" areas. Bottlenose dolphins have 40% more association cortex than a human. The Orca (so-called "killer" whale) has three times our brain size and others have even larger brains.
Since we know that larger brains have more cells, and more connections, they can also be more intelligent.
7. Why do the whales need such large brains?
We can turn this question around and say, "Why do they need large bodies?"
It turns out that the larger the brain, the easier it is damaged, especially by accelerations. To have a large brain, you MUST have a large body to protect it. John Lilly calculated the body size needed to protect a given brain size and found out that humans, elephants, dolphins, whales - all have the LARGEST brains they CAN have for their body size.
This suggests that maximization of the neocortex has been a major evolutionary driver in humans, elephants and marine mammals.
It also means that since the elephant has a body that is near maximum size for a land creature made of bone and muscle, that if you want to have a brain much larger than an elephant, then you MUST move to the water or somehow reduce gravity.
And this appears to be what the Cetacea did - they evolved on land and eventually adapted to the water. Once there, the limits to their brain size were removed, and over time, their brains increased in size to what we see now - which is that they have the largest brains on the planet.
8. You say the Cetacea are self-aware. How do we know this?
We know that the dolphins, for sure, are self aware through the studies of Dr. Ken Marten of Earth Trust working at Sea Life Park in Hawaii. Basically, they put dye splotches on the dolphins and then provided a mirror. They observed that the dolphins recognized themselves in the mirror and used it to look at the dye splotches.
Therefore, they understand mirror images and that they were looking at their own image. This is only seen in humans and other great apes. Since the other Cetacea have even larger brains, we conclude that they are self-aware as well.
9. You say the dolphins and other Cetacea have language. How do we know this?
Dolphins and whales make complex sounds like the songs of the humpback whale. Dolphins have at least 4 and possibly 5 separate sound sources, the 4 nasopharynges in the passages of their blowholes, and perhaps one source in the throat similar to our vocal cords. With these they make sounds from about 1000 cycles/second out to at least 280,000 cycles/second. The sounds range from whistles and clicks, rasping sounds, creaking sounds and all combinations of these. Dolphins can make at least 4 simultaneous sounds all different, such as 4 click trains, 4 whistles, or combinations of these.
Russian researchers Markov and Ostrakaya analyzed some 300,000 dolphin sounds and concluded that they form a language with some 10^12 or 1 trillion syntactic units (roughly "words") in contrast to the largest human vocabularies of about 50,000 words.
While we have yet to learn what the sounds mean beyond simple "signature whistles" or distress calls, the Russian work found the vocalizations follow Ziff’s laws. For example, in all languages and computer codes analyzed, short "words" are more common than long words in the ratio of 1/f. The Russians showed that the dolphin sounds followed this pattern, and concluded it IS a language.
In addition, work by Lilly's team showed that the dolphins imitated English using their blowholes in air and were able to accurately repeat phrases of syllables and were conversational - waiting for the human to speak, and then speaking back.
Louis Herman and co-workers have shown that the dolphins can understand a synthetic signaling system of hand signs. They learned to understand some 300 signs in some 2000 combinations.
Dr. Wayne Batteau taught dolphins some 40 words in Hawaiian some 50 years ago. Regretfully, Dr. Batteau died during the study, which was then transferred to the Navy.
All in all, the dolphins have done better in language tests than primates like chimps and gorillas. In particular, they understand "word order grammars" in which meaning is contained in the word order. For example: "Go get the green ball with the red stripe" in contrast to "Get the red ball with the green stripe". These distinctions are apparently beyond the capability of primates other than humans.
Dolphins communicate extensively given the opportunity. Lilly observed that dolphins isolated in separate tanks and with an audio link between them would communicate for 23 hours out of 24 for days.
We conclude that they have a language and use it. Lilly said in personal communication with Star said that all Cetacea could communicate with each other.
10. It seems that with all this capability and larger brains, perhaps the dolphins might do some things better than humans. Is this the case?
Yes. Their hearing range is greater than ours - some 280KHz vs 20KHz. They are supremely adapted to the water, can dive to 1000 feet, leap 20 feet into the air, swim up to 35 knots. Compared to a human who is almost blind and deaf in the water and can hardly swim, the dolphins have larger brains, and a longer evolutionary history.
In addition, the short term memory in humans is 5 (plus or minus 2) items, so that we can hold, say, a 7 digit telephone number in memory long enough to dial it. Dolphins have a short term memory of 12 items, more than twice the humans. As we described earlier, their language is more complex than ours with a possible trillion words.
They also use their sonar in marvelous ways, sometimes to heal us. This shows remarkable insight into our structures and the intelligence and capability to heal even members of other species.
11. You mention dolphin healing. Tell us more about that.
For years now, there have been studies and stories showing that dolphins can improve or sometimes heal humans with their sounds and other means, like electrical fields (which we will discuss in a bit).
My mentor Dr. Hank Truby started this effort by taking two autistic children to see the dolphins in Miami Seaquarium about 1973. Even on this first trial, the attention span of the children went from about 5 minutes to about an hour and a half, and the children, normally withdrawn and solitary, were cooperating in games, and feeding the dolphins. Some of the improvement persisted and lead to studies by Betsy Smith, David Nathanson and others.
Now there are several dolphin assisted therapy projects that are showing improvements in a wide range of conditions like autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, microcephaly, angina, and perhaps healing tumors.
Much of this still needs more study and medical follow-up. This is often difficult to obtain, especially when free dolphins do this. One example is a fellow that had a head injury that eliminated his peripheral vision. While in the water with the dolphins off Kauai, they sonared him and his vision came back while he was in the water. It sure would be nice to record and document what they do in more controlled and complete ways. I know that they are able to heal through personal experience, when a dolphin called Dreamer fixed my neck.
12. What happened with your neck?
When I was 12, I compressed the 6th and 7th cervical vertebrae hitting a swimming pool wall in a dive. I was mostly OK afterward, but my neck would sometimes lock up and I could always hear a grinding sound when I turned by neck.
When I was 40 and swimming with the Dolphin Dreamer at Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, Florida, I heard and felt some 20 loud and tightly focused sonar pulses all over my head and neck in about a second.
An hour later, the muscles on the left side of my neck relaxed, several places along my back got hot as the blood circulation changed and then I felt and heard 3 vertebrae click and move into new positions. When I moved my neck, it was looser and the grinding sound that had been there since I was 12 was gone.
13. How do you think Dreamer did that?
After thinking and studying this for years, I think we now have at least some idea how she could do this. First, her sonar could put out a peak power near a kilowatt, or about a horsepower. Because of the high frequencies and the 4 sound sources, this could be focused to under a millimeter. This is enough energy to polish bone.
Since this happened, I learned that the melon, a lens of oil just under the dolphin's forehead, is piezo-electric, like a quartz crystal. This means that when it is vibrated with sound, it will generate electromagnetic fields. These were measured by Dr. Eldon Byrd and Dean Rawlings.
The dolphins can produce powerful sound AND electric fields. There is data on the many effects high intensity sound and electricity have on our bodies. I think that is basically how she healed my neck. These mechanisms can account for many of the healings that are reported.
14. So the dolphins apparently use sound and electrical effects to heal us? How does that work, do you think?
There are lots of things that could be going on. Dr. Steven Birch showed that dolphin sounds could change the frequency and power of the brain waves and by a process called entrainment, could release endorphins. Basically, parts of our bodies are piezo-electric. Vibrations of bone and collagen, for example, generate electric currents. The dolphin sounds vibrating the body can cause this. In addition, the sounds can resonate body structures and affect them directly.
As was detailed in chapter 12 of Dr. Len Horowitz’s book called "Pirates of the Sacred Spiral" it is possible that dolphin sounds can cause micro-bubble formation in the tissues. This has been shown to speed bone healing.
In addition, it is known that medical ultrasound can also change the DNA by activating or turning off different genes. It appears the dolphins could do the same sort of things with their sounds.
Dr. Ross Adey showed that pulsed electrical fields could activate or "turn on" specific genes. The dolphin electrical fields could do similar things to our DNA.
We now know that both electrical currents and sound can change DNA expression and that the dolphins could do this.
To know how this all works will require more research with the dolphins.
15. What other areas have the dolphins proved helpful?
Dolphins are playful, happy creatures. Just being around them can be a transforming experience. We have talked to many people whose lives have been changed by their presence. One example is Dr. Horace Dobbs who took a manic depressive patient that had been on medication for 14 years to see the free dolphin Donald in Britain. The man felt he had been given a new lease on life and stopped his medication and was much more joyful after seeing the dolphins. He has since gone on to share his stories with other depressives and made a difference through his experience.
We have reports of a young girl aged 8 with cerebral palsy whose mental age of performance went from 3-6 months to 3-4 years after being with the dolphins.
Another report is that a child with Down syndrome was performing normally after a few weeks of swimming with the dolphins.
One of the most dramatic reports is that a child with microcephaly (where the skull plates in a way that will make too small a skull) was improved by being with the dolphins for about a week. It was reported that after being with 4 dolphins who "ensonified" the child with sounds for 20 minutes a day, the skull plates developing normally after about a week. There are similar stories for many different conditions where the dolphins appear able to help.
These reports inspire us that there should be a concerted, well funded effort to explore the dolphins and their healing abilities. As Scott Taylor, who reported the microcephaly story to me said: "This will change the face of medicine."
16. What has been our association with dolphins in the past?
Many ancient cultures had close association with the Cetacea. For example, there were river dolphins in the Nile, the Ganges, the Indus and the Yangtze rivers. These are where all the early "hydraulic" cultures developed. So it is possible that dolphins influenced our cultures. In several cases it is reported that the dolphins helped guide ships, and helped people fish. Polynesian stories report that the dolphins and the whales helped guide the canoes from island to island.
In ancient Greece, dolphins were said to be the highest form of life. The oracle at Delphi (which means "dolphin") was a guiding influence for at least 2000 years. There are stories of the dolphins rescuing the harpist Arion, taking children to school and playing with children and people on the shore, as has happened in modern times.
One of the most instructive stories is by Pliny the Elder, who wrote that dolphins helped some Greek fishermen by chasing fish into their nets. At the end of the day, the dolphins hung by the docks and the fishermen gave them "bread soaked in wine" as a reward. Greek wine was used as a carrier for drugs and psychedelics. The fishermen were sharing their sacramental potions with the dolphins. This suggests that human-dolphin relations in the past were sacred and intimate.
Going into the past further, Dr. Solly Zuckerman and Elaine Morgan have explored what is called the Aquatic Ape Theory. They point out that we have marine characteristics like the shape of the nose (adapted for diving), subcutaneous fat (for insulation), a loss of hair, the position of the breasts (that is ideal for suckling in the water) and even our tear glands (which are like nidmental glands in sea creatures that excrete salt). Our ability to swim and dive is rare in primates. They suggest that our ancestors evolved on rivers and beaches where we learned to swim and learned to walk while wading.
The usual story is that we learned to run and hunt on the savannahs of Africa during a long drought. This theory has now been questioned in part because the plant fossil records show that our early evolution happened in moist, forested areas, by beaches and rivers.
It now appears likely that we evolved from swamp and beach living Bonobo chimp-like ancestors. Recently we have learned that proper brain development requires eicosanoic acid which is present in fish and sea food. If we only evolved from fruit eating, tree living ancestors, this is quite difficult to explain.
Another puzzle of our evolution is our large brain. How did it happen? Current models suggest that having a well fed existence near the shore with an abundance of seafood could be a factor. Being on the beaches forms a better context for this development. My view is that all the large brained creatures are aquatic or semi-aquatic. Even the elephants (that have brains larger than ours) have been seen 25 miles at sea swimming between islands.
We would suggest, that like the modern people in Mauritania, Australia, the Amazon and elsewhere who still fish with the dolphins, our ancient ancestors did the same. It is easy to see that being with the dolphins like this for years could have stimulated our intelligence.
17. Our association with the dolphins and whales goes back a long way. What has happened since the ancient Greeks?
Somewhere along the way, we seem to have mostly forgotten our ancient relationship and we have been hunting the whales and the dolphins for food for at least the last 18,000 years. With the development of modern sailing and powered ships and inventions like the exploding harpoon, we have killed so many whales that they are now reduced to something like 1% of their former populations. Some 2 million dolphins a year are now killed by humans and their pollution and sonars.
We want to change this by helping us remember the relationships we once had. In the modern era, John Lilly taught us the truth about the dolphins, starting with examining their large brains and discovering the fact that they are conscious breathers, and ending with teaching them English with some success, and then developing the Janus Project, a computer communication interface that would allow them to speak English through what is called a vocoder and speech synthesizer. This work has to be completed and extended.
The Russians, for example, were so impressed by Lilly’s data on the dolphins that they stopped all killing of dolphins based on their consciousness and intelligence. It is important to remember what we already know and apply it to our behaviour and policy.
We now have mostly a moratorium on killing the large whales, although Japan, Norway and Iceland want to resume whaling, despite the International Whaling Commission ban. And mostly the protections of the IWC have yet to be extended to the smaller whales and dolphins. They are still being killed in fishing or being herded and killed in Japan and elsewhere.
So we still have a lot of education to do and changes to be made. We hope our work and the work of many people around the planet will awaken us all to the reality of the Cetacea and who they are.
18. Dolphins always seem friendly. Do they ever hurt people?
For thousands of years the historic record includes their aid to us, fishing, for us, rescuing people, and playing with us. There are perhaps 4 instances on record where a Cetacean may have contributed to a human death, so rare as to be almost in the noise. And, from what we know, dolphins treat people with kindness except under extreme provocation. They are harmonious in their pods and treat us similarly. Certainly there have been a few situations where people have been bitten, or ribs broken, etc. yet this is extremely rare.
Lilly said that the most important thing he learned about the dolphins was they were ethical in their behavior and treated people as a special class, being very nice to us.
19. Tell us more about your goals. How can dolphinizing the planet, as you call it, benefit us?
We have a comprehensive approach to improved ways of being on this planet.
We are developing ways to create more harmonious communities by improving birth and child rearing practices.
Much of the work is inspired by what we have learned investigating the Cetacea. The dolphins are directly involved and we seek to integrate them into our lives through communication, birth, therapy and other means.
Dolphinization has many aspects including establishing communication, sharing life experiences as well as creating means to allow them to assist in birth and therapy with us. Our main projects are:
POD Homes and the Pod Project
Human-Dolphin Habitats & DAWN Birth Center
The Songswimmer Communication interfaces &
The Cetacean Commonwealth & Embassies
For a more complete description of these projects, please see:
20. What are POD Homes?
Cetacean societies are cooperative and fun-loving. We want to emulate that in human society. Closeness and support of a Pod is essential in the sea, where predators or dangers can come from many directions. Everyone has to watch out for the others. Cetacea are close, social creatures, like humans, and thrive best when they share life, love, food, child rearing, hunting, socialization skills and their culture with each other.
We can emulate the cooperation and closeness that dolphins have in their pods and adapt this to our life on land. We call it "living en Pod" and it occurs in Pod Homes. The Pod model can help us to restore our currently fragmented society. To live 'en pod' means that you know you are part of something good and bigger than yourself that is there for you always. Being part of a pod means you are valued and accepted for being you and bringing your own special self to the pod, making it richer and more interesting.
Pod children are raised or spend time in 'pod' homes, centered around the well being of the children, just like the dolphins. The people who live here are called a podlet. There are aunties and uncles, grandma's and granddads, sisters, brothers and good friends too. Even if your own mom or dad is away, there can be a mom or dad person there for you.
Pod homes are islands of stability where people gather to help each other, care for the children, give hugs and other kinds of 'yummy touch' like touching hands, feet, shoulders, ears, giving back rubs. This is the kind of touch that everyone can enjoy and helps us stay well.
When we are part of podlife, things are lots of fun and we feel closer and at ease with many people, creating organization and activities so that all of us prosper in harmony and abundance.
21. What are Human-Dolphin Habitats?
We intend to set up areas we call Human-Dolphin Habitats where we can learn to attract the free dolphins to come play and interact with us. Then we can learn together. This will be a place where we can learn to communicate better. We intend to birth our children underwater with the dolphins in attendance.
Dolphins may choose to heal people. At first we will observe what the dolphins do, and measure the sounds, electric fields and other parameters until we understand what they are doing. Then we can duplicate their methods and improve the state of healing.
The Human-Dolphin Habitat can be a coastal area where the dolphins come to meet and interact with us. We have located several places suitable to this effort. We can also interact with the dolphins at local beaches, in Puna, Hilo, and West Hawai’I, both from the shore and by boat.
A prototype of the Human-Dolphin Habitat was created during the Lilly projects where they flooded a house and Margaret Howe and Peter dolphin lived together for months. We also envision and are planning to have boats and floating facilities as habitats.
In our studies we have found ways to approach our optimal state through the human-dolphin habitats. We can improve birth practices, have more play and fun included in our lives, have our sovereignty and liberty respected, and we will learn to communicate clearly, both with each other and the dolphins. The dolphins can assist us in all these areas.
We show a potential area that is close to what we envision. See: www.planetpuna.com/hdh
22. Your research suggests that we can improve how we birth babies. What effects could be expected from this?
Many years of work in the Black Sea and elsewhere, including early Hawaii, have shown that water birth is beneficial. With their therapeutic capability the dolphins can help insure an optimal birth.
The birth experience is fundamental to the quality of our children's future lives. It is now known that underwater birth is often better for the mother and the baby.
This is established by some 30 years of work starting with Igor Charkofsky, Dr. Michel Odent, M.D., Dr.Estelle Meyers, Dr. Gowri Motha, M.D. and others. In fact, birthing with the dolphins has been an ancient native practice in Hawai’I and in other cultures. It is therefore evident that underwater birth with the dolphins is an obvious and important area of research and development. Since the outcomes in adulthood are so closely linked to the birth experience, we know that improvement at this stage of a child's life is most important.
We can easily reduce the future consequences and costs of health care and reduce needs for police and the like just by insuring proper birth and rearing especially of those considered high risk. Compared to the alternative of leaving the situation alone, it is more socially beneficial and cost effective.
There has yet to be a facility anywhere on Earth that easily allows such births.
Therefore, we are developing the Dolphin Attended, Water, Natural (DAWN) and Gentle Birth Centers in Hawai'i. This is where underwater birth with the free dolphins can be done. The mild climate, the year-round availability of free dolphins, as well as the Hawaiian cultural milieu are supportive of this effort. We have been here for some 20 years renewing the groundwork for all this. The Sirius Institute is in a wonderful position to accomplish this.
We are now receiving up to 3-4 requests per week through the Internet from people searching for a place to birth with dolphins. People who are deeply called to be with the dolphins search widely and find us.
This indicates there is a larger population who want dolphin-attended births that are off the net or otherwise missing us. This demonstrates there is a need for such a facility. It is time to provide one.
23. What is the Wellness Begets Wellness Program?
The DAWN Birth Centers are part of our "Wellness begets Wellness" program which is about systematically, intentionally, intelligently and consciously setting about to create and provide what it takes to assure that every child that we can reach, everyone about to be a mom is hanaied (Hawaiian for adopted), and is included as a member of the 'pod', a dolphin/whale term that relates to how they live together and raise their children, from which we are learning a great deal.
We know much about pregnancy and birth, infancy and early childhood development, that we could apply to every child born here from this day on so they would have an optimal start in life and thereby a much better likelihood for a better life in general. This in turn would result in more benefit to themselves, to their relationships, to their ability to be productive, balanced members of society and also pass these qualities to their children.
Our birthing project addresses these kinds of births for the well being of our children and our future. See: www.planetpuna.com/ gentlebirth/
24. What is the Cetacean Commonwealth?
The Cetacean Commonwealth is a commonwealth of the Cetacea Nations comprising all species of Cetacea, the mammalian order of whales and dolphins and the Humans who support them in being recognized as a People. The Cetacean Commonwealth was established March 7, 2002, at 1:34 AM Pacific time and publicly introduced at Earth Day Los Angeles on 4-20-02.
The Cetacean Commonwealth is a way for the people of the sea and the people of the land that support them to have a voice and gain rights for the Cetacea under human laws so they are recognized as the sentient intelligent beings they are.
It is now scientifically proven that the dolphins are self-aware, a trait shared with humans. Since other Cetacea have even larger brains, we conclude that the other Cetacea are self-aware as well. They transmit information culturally across generations and are the longest lived of all species. They have the largest brains, include the largest creatures on Earth and have a long history of friendship, cooperation and partnership with humans which makes us co-species, sharing the planet.
They therefore qualify as a people and with their intelligence, culture, and sentience, are entitled to full recognition under human laws.
It is a major intention of the Sirius Institute to have the Cetacean Commonwealth recognized so that the Cetacea have standing under human law
A milestone for the project will be a presentation by the Cetacea before the UN with live communications from them where they speak for themselves.
25. What is the SongSwimmer Communication Interface?
The SongSwimmer is a whale & dolphin communication Interface based on music.
The Cetacea have a complex language that has proven opaque to analysis so far. Therefore, to communicate it is best to establish an intermediate code that will allow us to start communicating with each other.
We have learned that part of their communication is musical. They use chords and musical phrases. Humpback groups, for example, sing in different keys, and respond to musicians that are playing in their key.
So, the communication interface that we are developing is based on a device that tracks the pitch of their whistles and converts them to MIDI form (Musical Industry Digital Interface) which is used in keyboards and synthesizers.
Now, Hawaiian language is composed from only 14 basic sounds, the lowest number of sounds in human languages. We can create an interface that assigns one of 14 tones to each language sound, or "phoneme".
Then, when the dolphins whistle one of these tones, its pitch will be recognized by the computer which then outputs the appropriate sound, both in the air to the humans, and through underwater speakers. It will also display the appropriate letters on a computer screen, both for the humans and the Cetacea.
Thus, by whistling sequences of these 14 tones, the dolphins can "speak" Hawaiian, for example. English, by the way, would require about 48 tones, and it is possible for the dolphins could learn this more complex coding too.
This is one way the dolphins and the whales can learn to speak with us. When we do this, the dolphins will have an objective and recordable way to speak with us.
We envision a sound operated computer for the dolphins which will be a teaching machine so that the dolphins can teach US what THEY want us to know.
To accomplish goals like the Cetacean Commonwealth, we need this kind of two-way communication with the Cetacea. This was a major goal of Lilly's Janus Project through the Human/Dolphin Foundation. This will complete John Lilly's work.
The SongSwimmer will allow us to communicate and begin learning from each other. Demonstration of this ability will support their recognition as sentient beings under the Cetacean Commonwealth and educate many people about their intelligence.
We have tested underwater speakers of our own design, have hydrophones, and "pitch to MIDI" converters. A binaural hydrophone is designed and ready to be built and tested. The pitch to MIDI conversion has been tested on taped dolphin & Orca sounds and live with humpbacks, and the whales were playing with the interface. We have a CD called Cetacea - the Whales and Dolphins Sing demonstrating this.
(We could play part of our CD here, showing the conversion of the dolphin sounds to MIDI music and the Humpbacks interacting with the interface at sea)
Our current device is low-cost, works in our audio range, and uses off-the-shelf components. It is adequate for one or two cooperative Cetacea willing to put up with its limitations.
So far, pitch trackers track only one frequency and can be easily confused with many parts at once. It is now possible to do the signal processing in software and improve the frequency response, better source localization.
Since one dolphin can create at least 4 sounds, all different, at the same time, out to perhaps 1 Million Hz frequencies, we will need better processing to fully match their capability.
26. What are Interspecies Concerts?
Interspecies concerts are joint Human & Cetacean musical compositions & recordings. Part of Cetacean communication is musical and we have determined that the Harrison/Lucy scale is a good descriptor of their sounds. Humpbacks sing in and recognize different keys. Orca pods use musical phrasing unique to their pod etc. This brings us to the Interspecies Concert.
Using our SongSwimmer interface we will arrange that the Cetacea can sing for us. We will convert their vocalizations to instrumental sounds and broadcast them into the water through underwater speakers.
Human musicians will play along with this, and will also be heard by the Cetacea. This will be a joint artistic creation of the Cetacea and Humans, showing their creativity and ability as musicians. Our friend Kendall performed a version of this idea and some 10 humpbacks and 20 dolphins came near the shore and listened. One possible result of this activity is a hit recording.
27. What are WiFi Whale & Dolphin Communication Stations?
A first step to our communication and concert goals is the establishment of two-way communications stations. Basically, one puts hydrophones and underwater speakers on a buoy offshore to pick up and transmit whale sounds by wireless means to the Internet.
An example is the Whalesong Project at: www.whalesong.net. We are in contact with them and they are willing to help us as they did on Earth Day a few years ago. We played humpback whale songs live through them for the first time ever at an Earth Day celebration. Then we shared their live songs to the Stars for the first time ever from Earth. Our vision is to have whales/dolphins sing live for many Earth Day events next year and beyond.
We would like to place such buoys at Kehena Beach and near Richardson's Beach in Hilo. Our vision is to have many stations. They open up several possibilities, among them the chance for the whales to use them to communicate with each other. We can then listen in and learn.
28. The Navy has been using new kinds of sonar that some say are hurting the whales and dolphins. What do you think about that?
The navies of the world are in the midst of an arms race under the sea. They are developing dangerous new weapons based on what is called super-cavitation which allows rocket torpedoes to travel 200 miles/hour plus under the sea. There are now quieter submarines, e.g. hydrogen peroxide powered that have 4000 mile ranges and so on. This has everyone nervous.
They are developing all this and now want better sonar to find each other’s forces at long range. From this the Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) has been developed to detect quiet subs at about 100 miles range.
To do this, it is immensely loud ... about 240 decibels or dB, roughly 3 megawatts of acoustic energy. (Each 3dB increase is 10 times louder, something like the Richter scale for earthquakes). For example, 130 dB in air is painful, and at about the same level, whales and dolphins show responses that suggest it is painful for them as well.
Several strandings in the Mediterranean Sea, the Bahamas, Hawaii, and elsewhere show us, at least, that this is a dangerous system. Whales and dolphins seem to be harmed and killed at sound levels of 150-155 dB. Yet the US Navy has insisted that 180 dB is a safe level, despite reports of their own divers being harmed by these levels.
The existing sonars, the so-called mid-range sonars, also seem to be harming the whales and dolphins, for example, there was a stranding of Melon Headed whales in Kauai recently associated with naval maneuvers that included mid-range sonar. The Navy originally denied the connection, yet there is growing data that these sonar hurt things.
Many of the strandings over the last decades that were thought mysterious link to naval testing, or geological and oil exploration with explosives, gas guns and the like.
Some of the autopsies of the whales involved in these deaths show bleeding behind the brain in an area called the ret'e, bleeding in the ears, the cochlea, in the brain and around the eyes. This is consistent with shock wave damage.
Simply put, we are producing loud and increasingly lethal sound levels in the oceans. We have to stop.
Admirals have testified that there are benign, quiet alternatives to all this involving so-called passive sonar which basically uses signal processing to detect targets without the need of making loud sounds. This would be a lot safer than what we are doing now.
Still, Britain, the Netherlands, NATO countries, Russia ... at least 12 nations are developing similar systems. This has to stop very soon if we are to have oceans with whales dolphins and fish reasonably intact.
For a more complete report on these matters, please see: Our letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service at: www.planetpuna.com/MayLetter
29. What changes in society and the planet would you like to see when all this happens?
For the longest time, we have thought in Western culture that we were the pinnacle of evolution. Now we know differently. There are other conscious beings here that are more intelligent and have been here longer than we have as a species. These beings have always and continue to offer their cooperation and to show us about themselves and in some cases offer full friendship and partnership.
It is time for humanity to embrace this offer and meet the Cetacea with the finest we have. We will learn about how to make ourselves better through better birth practices. We will learn a lot by communicating with other intelligent species as we partner with them in birth, play, music and other forms of creative interaction.
We will recognize them as conscious and give them rights and protection under our laws. We will clean up the planet and the oceans to make them safe for the Cetacea. And then the Cetacea can return, with their populations growing to former levels as we treat them properly.
We will find new inspiration and insight into who we are, how we evolved, and learn more of the history of our planet. It will be the continuation of a grand adventure and now we will have other species like ourselves to share it with.
It will transform our thinking and our societies when we take into consideration the needs and wants of other species. We hope that we will develop a love and concern for the entire planet and all the species on it. This could lead to what we like to call the re-enchantment of the Earth.
30. If someone wants to have a dolphin attended birth, what should they do?
At the moment, the DAWN Birth Center is a virtual project, taking place when moms to be come to us. It is a "work in progress". It will take significant support to make it a full reality. Any assistance anyone might like to offer toward this goal is appreciated. There are so many factors involved in a dolphin attended birth that we would like to talk to those interested one-on-one.
So please contact us, we can likely assist in their quest. Again, our website is:
Our address is:
Phone us at: 808 896 8658 or 808 896 8518
31. Please summarize for us what you have told us, what would you tell us in a short "sound bite" that we should all remember?
Cetacea are the most intelligent creatures on Earth and have been for millions of years. They been our friends and helped us in many ways for millennia. They are offering their friendship and cooperation. Many ancient cultures knew this and now Western culture is waking up to this.
We have a wonderful opportunity to partner with our compatriots in the sea, communicate and play with them, birth and raise babies together, and in the process we will learn a great deal. We can then resume our status with them as co-species, where there is mutual respect and companionship.
In the process, we humans will learn and evolve, our babies will be more sound, and our oceans will be protected and restored, as will the populations of the whales and dolphins. We will end whaling of all sorts, and honor them instead as the companions and teachers they have always been.
Instead of feeling isolated on the planet, we have a wonderful group of beings to share it with, who are offering their friendship and love.
Star calls this "Beginning the great oneness".