19 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Oil threatens sperm whales in Gulf

Sperm Whale

Sperm Whale

Sperm whales were hunted in the Gulf of Mexico in the 18th and 19th centuries for their oil, but were somewhat spared when petroleum replaced whale oil as an energy source. Now, instead of hunters, the same oil that helped to save the sperm whales from extinction threatens their survival in the Gulf.

Sperm whales, listed as endangered in 1970, are social animals. The young live with their mothers for years in stable groups, and the whales dive deep in search of food. Because they spend so much of their lives undersea, our knowledge of their behavior and community structure is limited. We have a lot to learn before we can say we truly know these animals. […]

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08 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Down to raisins: The greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history

Statue of Liberty - Oil Spill

Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Sparkly Kate, erix!

There is an old story about Abraham Lincoln spending vast amounts of time in the telegraph room of the War Department waiting for dispatches from his commanders in the field. One day, according to Lincoln biographer John C. Waugh, after a particularly long night, the president turned to the telegraph operators and said, “Well, boys, I am down to raisins.”

When asked to explain the phrase, Lincoln told the story of the little girl who celebrated her birthday by feasting on sweets, followed by raisins for dessert. Soon, she became violently sick and started throwing up everything she had eaten. Her concerned parents summoned a doctor, who upon investigating her issue, told the parents the danger was past and that she was “down to raisins.”

That’s us; that’s you and me, and certainly that’s the people in the Gulf region. We have all become so sickened by the events surrounding the collapse of the Deepwater Horizon and the broad-spectrum, oil-soaked destruction, which has not even begun to sink its teeth in, that we are all down to raisins. […]

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