GK: That theme means it's once again it's time for Science Corner, where we answer important questions from you, our listening audience. Today's question comes to us from Calvin Mettelthorpe in East Haven, Connecticut, and he writes, "What are tides and why do they happen?"

GK: What are tides and why do they happen. That is an excellent question, Mr. Mettelthorpe. You see at the bottom of the sea there are giant tectonic plates that are moving all the time (GRINDING), grinding up against each other (DEEP RUMBLING), which irritates dolphins (DOLPHIN DISPLEASURE), and also the humpback whale (WHALE) and sometimes one of these giant tectonic plates slides up over another one (GRINDING), which causes an underwater thermal vent (WHOOSH), which releases hot water, which the whales enjoy (WHALE PLEASURE), it's like a hot tub to them, and so giant blue whales eating plankton through their teeth (SHHHHHH) will find these hot spots (WHALE PLEASURE), and they'll float along in them until there are five or six giant blue whales riding along together in one spot, which creates-- PHONE RINGS)--hang on just a second-(PICKUP) Science Corner.

FN (ON PHONE): Yeah hi this is Calvin Mettelthorpe--I wrote in with the question about the tides?

GK: Yes?

FN (ON PHONE): I still don't get what causes them.

GK: I was getting to that.

FN (ON PHONE): Oh okay. I'll hang up and take my answer off the air.

GK: You do that. (HANGUP, A BEAT)

GK: So the whales are swimming along in a pod and that leads to mating and aggressive behavior (WHALE FIGHT) and and as a result one of them is killed and sinks to the bottom (BLUB BLUB BLUB, THUMP), and sharks come by and take a bite (SFX). An passing octopus eats some. (EIGHT SUCKERS). They like the blubber (BLUBBERY WUBBLE)--and leave the skeleton which a submarine can detect with sonar (PING, PING) and they send divers down to investigate (SCUBA) and discover a nearby shipwreck, (PHONE RINGS) the SS Dominion, where many species of fish, including the giant puffer snake (PHOOMP), the Cougar Shark (SFX) and the dagger-nosed dolphin (SFX) swim in the bowels of the stern deckhang of this Spanish galleon loaded with up to 4.5 billon dollars worth of gold coins-(PHONE RING) just a second (PICKUP) Science Corner.
FN (ON PHONE): Yeah, this is is Calvin Mettelthorpe again? I'm the caller? I just wondered if I should clarify my question.

GK: What do you mean?

FN (ON PHONE): I mean I was calling about tides. You know, high tide low tide-that stuff.

GK: Uh huh.

FN (ON PHONE): I wasn't asking about buried treasure and stuff.

GK: Well, that's what was aboard the ship.

FN (ON PHONE): What kind of a show is this?

GK: It's a science show.

FN (ON PHONE): I just asked a simple question: what are tides, and why do they happen?

GK: Oh. Well that's easy. Tides are a periodic fluctuation in the volume of water at a given location dependent on the gravitational pull between the earth and the moon, and also the sun, in relation to the centrifugal force exerted by the rotation of the earth on its axis.

FN (ON PHONE): Oh. Okay.

GK: That answer your question?

FN (ON PHONE): I don't know. What happens if you stop the rotation of the world-would all the water slide right off and go into space?

GK: No.

FN (ON PHONE: Why not?

GK: Unfortunately we're out of time, but don't forget to write down your pressing questions about science and send them here, to us, at Science Corner, where we'll answer them in the order in which they were received, on the air, to better serve you, our listening audience. Til then, goodbye and good ideas.