It’s impossible to guess what will go viral these days. Take the sudden fascination with a “fish tube” that captured the world’s imagination in Twitter recently. Biologists know these mechanisms, sometimes called “salmon cannons,” as a way to help migrating salmon avoid the perils of dams by shooting them past the disruption in the river. A 2014 video of one such tube, on the Columbia River in Washington — produced by its manufacturer, the Seattle-based company Whooshh — recently found a whole new audience when the news-streaming platform Cheddar picked it up and, well, whooshed it out to the virtual world.
Whooshh representative Mike Messina describes it as a gentler alternative to fish ladders used at many dams. “Female salmon, with all those precious eggs—put them on a gentle glide and they have the energy to keep going,” he told The New Yorker.