Transformers…Ocean Science Style

FLIP is towed to its operating area in the horizontal position and through ballast changes is "flipped" to the vertical position to become a stable spar buoy with a draft of 300 feet. Photo from MPL.

I waited patiently for Transformers the movie to release.  Luckily the dialogue, plot, and having to suffer through what Megan Fox tries to pass as acting were balanced by big ass robots transforming into cars.  And with even lower expectations based on some of the worst movie reviews to grace the English language, I like a mindless cow watched Transformers 2. Unfortunately the dialogue, plot, and having to suffer through what Megan Fox tries to pass as acting were not balanced by big ass robots transforming into cars.

Thankfully, I still have real life.  FLIP, the Floating Instrument Platform, is towed to an area in a horizontal position and through changing the ballast flipped into a vertical position.  In the flip postion, most of its 355 foot length resides underwater providing a stable observational even in the roughest seas.  Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL) at Scripps and owned by the US Navy, FLIP set to sea in 1962.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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