Dead Whale Shows Highest Pollutant Level Ever Seen by Scientists in an Animal

An orca whale swims with other whales in the Pacific Ocean near the mouth of the Columbia River near Ilwaco, Washington

© AP Photo/ NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center

A dead orca whale that washed up on the shore of a Scottish isle has been revealed to have the highest concentration of dangerous pollutants ever recorded.

Following the dead whale’s discovery in January on a small island, researchers with the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS), a group that according to their website, “collates all data from stranded marine animals around Scotland,” conducted an autopsy that revealed astonishingly high levels of dangerous pollutants, including highly toxic manmade polychlorinated biphenyls (PBCs).

Scientists conducting the autopsy said the PCB levels are the highest ever recorded in an animal, according to Ibtimes.

The 20-year-old orca, nicknamed Lulu by the team of scientists, was revealed to have PCB levels at concentrations 100 times above the toxicity threshold for sea-going mammals. A study of Lulu’s ovaries revealed that the cetacean had never reproduced, likely a result of the pollutants riddling her tissues, according to the SMASS report.

According to SMASS head Andrew Brownlow, “Previous studies have shown that killer whale populations can have very high PCB burdens, but the levels in this case are some of the highest we’ve ever seen.”

“We know Lulu died from becoming entangled,” Brownlow added, “but given what is known about the toxic effects of PCBs, we have to consider that such a high pollutant burden could have been affecting her health and reproductive fitness.”

Between 1920 and 1977, when their use was eliminated, PCBs were ubiquitous in electrical distribution and power-generation equipment. According to data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), some 1.5 billion pounds of the deadly compound was manufactured for use in a wide spectrum of applications in the industrialized world.

Banned in 1979 by the US after it was revealed that PCBs were harmful to the environment and caused cancer in humans, the compounds continue to leach into the oceans and many other habitats. PCBs have been identified in almost every biome of the planet, including 36,000 feet below the surface of the sea, according to a February NOAA study.

“Once PCBs get into the marine environment, they are difficult if not impossible to remove,” said Brownlow.



Rules of ascent

Resultado de imagem para Rules of ascentPhoto by Gordon Wiltsie/National Geographic

image edited by Web Investigator

For mountaineers, it’s not enough to get to the top – it must be done a certain way. But why is the harder way better?

Paul Sagar is a junior research fellow in politics and international relations at King’s College at the University of Cambridge.

When asked in the 1920s why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, George Mallory notoriously quipped: ‘Because it’s there.’ It was a flippant remark, of course, but also an instance of what Friedrich Nietzsche had called ‘superficiality out of profundity’. For Mallory’s retort conveyed the deep human impulse to attempt challenging, dangerous and potentially even deadly endeavours, for no better reason than that one might succeed. Getting to the top of Everest – which has now claimed around 280 lives – is not something that mountaineers do for the fame, fortune or bragging rights. They do it because inside of them there is an impulse that demands that they try. If your response to the idea of standing on the highest point on earth is: ‘Yeah, that would be pretty cool,’ then you have something of that impulse too.

Mallory never summited Everest, dying during the attempt in 1924. In 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to pull off the feat. It is now repeated, albeit in far less challenging conditions, by around 500 people each year. Yet despite improved technologies and expert help, it is still an unpleasant, painful and dangerous activity. In 2015 alone, 22 people lost their lives on the mountain, while 1977 was the last year to see no fatalities. In April this year, Ueli Steck – one of the greatest mountaineers of all time – died on Everest, the first casualty of the season.

But what kind of activity is climbing Everest, or indeed mountaineering in general? According to the philosopher Bernard Suits, it is a kind of game. In his book The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia (1978), Suits defined a game as ‘a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles’. As he points out, if someone had offered Hillary a trip to the top via a free helicopter ride, he would certainly have declined and stuck to his goal of climbing Everest. For mountaineers, simply getting to the top can’t be the goal, in and of itself. Getting to the top via particular means – and thereby overcoming ‘unnecessary obstacles’ – is what counts. Hence, mountaineering is a game.

Such a conclusion might sit a little uneasily, with the label ‘game’ risking the trivialisation of the endeavour. This is because the stakes involved are so high and the obstacles faced so serious. For, in the mountains, humans are faced with a vast array of mortal threats. There are the risks posed by sudden avalanches, or of being crushed by car-sized blocks of ice and rock, or of tumbling fatally into deep icy crevasses. Then there are the potentially lethal effects of altitude sickness, which can cause deadly swelling of the brain, or the filling of the lungs with fluid until you drown in your own body. Plus frostbite, which can claim fingers, toes, noses and ears, before hypothermia sets in and you freeze to death. All of which is compounded by the fact that mountains attract storms: sudden, violent, pounding winds that can dump many feet of snow with little warning, trapping a climber for days. And if that happens, starvation and fatal dehydration threaten. (In the high mountains, you need to be able to melt ice to have enough water to drink; if you run out of stove gas, you die.)

Perhaps for these reasons mountaineering was described by John Menlove Edwards as ‘a psychoneurotic tendency’ rather than a sport. He probably knew what he was talking about: a psychiatrist as well as one of Britain’s premier early rock climbers, Edwards suffered from what was likely bipolar disorder, and tragically committed suicide in 1958, aged just 48. But putting aside the sanity of the average mountaineer, given the enormous risks associated with the pursuit, to call it a game risks unduly trivialising it. After what Hillary and Norgay put themselves through, if somebody back at base camp jauntily congratulated them on ‘winning the game’, they’d run the risk not just of missing the point, but of being outright offensive – even grotesque.

Yet there is nonetheless something right in Suits’s description of mountaineering as a game. This is due to the way that climbers continuously impose ‘unnecessary obstacles’ upon themselves: the invention and refinement of rules regarding how one is supposed to make it to the top...



France Est Fini

By Jim Kirwan

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ (in French ‘Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité’) is a tripartite motto in the form of a hendiatris, i.e. a phrase used for emphasis, in which three words are used to express one idea. The motto finds its origins in the French Revolution when it was first used in a speech from Robespierre on 5 December 1790 when dealing with the organisation of the National Guard.”

All of that is Dead & Gone now…

France has chosen to go quietly into the cold, dark night. Instead of rising up against the jihad and islamization of France, they have chosen to submit to the most brutal ideology on the face of the earth.

They voted for submission over freedom. France is finished.”

FRANCE SURRENDERS: Macron Pummels Le Pen

Ironically the candidate chose the Louvre to make his acceptance speech ­ a global landmark that he will end up closing down ­ because he has no plans at all for anything, no experience whatsoever: And he will be the one that will bear the shabby coffin for the failed Republic of France…. And that funeral will also mark the end of any remaining Civilization in Europe.

Is this what will be in store for every other nation in the world today?

It will be if we don’t even start to defend ourselves!

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