If you want a good party, you need the right soundtrack: researchers set up underwater loudspeakers in dead sections of the Great Barrier Reef, and playing sounds of healthy reefs attracted twice as many fish as areas where there was no sound. Plus: Pocatello, Idaho will give you something to smile about today. It’s the law there.

Underwater Loudspeakers Make Fish Flock to Dead Coral in Radical Experiment (Washington Post)

U.S. Smile Capital (Pocatello, ID)

Cool Weird Awesome’s backers on Patreon make everybody smile

Finally I can bust out my three-record set of coral reef sound effects and put it to good use!

Researchers from the US and UK went to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef and one that’s been extremely challenged in recent years.

Their idea: set up underwater loudspeakers near dead sections of reef and play sound recordings of healthy coral reefs.

And yes, when there are lots of creatures around a healthy reef, there’s lots of sound around. The lead author of the research, Stephen D. Simpson of the University of Exeter, said the sounds are part of how younger fish decide where they’re going to settle.

The study found that playing the reef sounds attracted twice as many fish as areas where there was no sound.

There was a wide variety of species, which is good for the food web, and they appeared to stick around.

Now, the research isn’t suggesting these sounds can save the coral reefs on their own. There’s a lot more that would need to change to do that.

But I guess coral reefs are like dinner parties. If you want a good turnout, you need the right soundtrack.

Today would be a good day to visit Pocatello, Idaho – it was on this day in 1987 that the community declared itself the U.S. Smile Capital. Years before, in 1948, the area had been hit hard by winter weather and the mayor, to boost everyone’s spirits, approved a tongue in cheek ordinance declaring it illegal not to smile.

So when you’re smiling the whole world smiles with you, or at least one town in Idaho.