Japan's Whalers Bring Home First Commercial Catch in 31 Years

Posted: 02 Jul 2019 12:15 PM PDT

Japanese fishermen have brought back their first whale in 31 years after commercial whaling was reintroduced following a decades-long hiatus. Five vessels from whaling communities left port in northern Japan's Kushiro with their horns blaring and grey tarps thrown over their harpoons. By Monday afternoon, a first whale had been caught and was being transported back to shore.

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The hunts come after Japan decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission, a move slammed by activists and anti-whaling countries but welcomed by Japanese whaling communities. Shocking photos taken in Kushiro this morning show fishermen unloading the bloodied corpse of a Minke whale.

"Today is the best day," Yoshifumi Kai, head of the Japan Small-Type Whaling Association, said as he watched the whalers quietly bring the 8.3-metre (27-feet) long giant ashore. "We were able to catch a good whale. It's going to be delicious. My heart is overflowing with happiness, and I'm deeply moved,' said Yoshifumi Kai, head of the Japan Small-Type Whaling Association, addressing a crowd of several dozen politicians, local officials and whalers in Kushiro before the boats left. This is a small industry, but I am proud of hunting whales. People have hunted whales for more than 400 years in my home town."

Workers measure a slaughtered Minke whale in Kushiro, Hokkaido after whaling operation started up for the first time in 31 years on Monday morning

Whaling vessels were also leaving Monday morning from other ports including in Shimonoseki in western Japan.  The country's Fisheries Agency said Monday it had set a cap for a total catch of 227 whales through the season until late December - 52 minke, 150 Bryde's and 25 sei whales.

"I'm a bit nervous but happy that we can start whaling," 23-year-old Hideki Abe, a whaler from the Miyagi region in northern Japan, said before leaving. "I don't think young people know how to cook and eat whale meat any more. I want more people try to taste it at least once."

Whaling has long proved a rare diplomatic flashpoint for Tokyo, which says the practice is a Japanese tradition that should not be subject to international interference. As an IWC member, Japan was banned from commercial hunts of large whales, though it could catch small varieties in waters near its coastline.

But it also exploited a loophole in the body's rules to carry out highly controversial hunts of whales in protected Antarctic waters under the banner of 'scientific research'. Activists said the hunts had no scientific value, and Japan made no secret of the fact that meat from whales caught on those hunts ended up sold for consumption. Humane Society International slammed the resumption of commercial hunts.

"This is a sad day for whale protection globally," said the group's head of campaigns Nicola Beynon, accusing Japan of beginning a 'new and shocking era of pirate whaling'. 

With its withdrawal from the IWC, Tokyo will carry out whale hunting off Japan, but will end the most controversial hunts in the Antarctic.

"The resumption of commercial whaling has been an ardent wish for whalers across the country," Shigeto Hase, the head of Japan's fisheries agency, said at the departure ceremony in Kushiro.

He said the resumption of commercial whaling would ensure 'the culture and way of life will be passed on to the next generation'.

Whale meat was a key source of protein in the immediate post-World War II years in Japan, when the country was desperately poor. Most reports suggest consumption has declined significantly in recent decades - with much of the population saying they rarely or never eat whale meat - and activists have pressed Japan to ditch the practice. But a Japanese government official said 'demand has been stable'.

"It is totally false that commercial whaling will not be viable as demand is declining," he said.

Some believe that Japan's return to commercial whale hunting will effectively sound the death knell for the industry.

"Japan is quitting high-seas whaling... that is a huge step towards the end of killing whales for their meat and other products," said Patrick Ramage, director of marine conservation at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

He said commercial whaling in Japanese waters was unlikely to have much of a future given dwindling subsidies and the shrinking market for whale meat.

"What we are seeing is the beginning of the end of Japanese whaling."


Posted: 02 Jul 2019 11:06 AM PDT

There are problems that we have to which we do not see a very clear solution, but they are almost always there, evident before our eyes. After years, centuries in which different researchers worldwide could not find the solution to an optical problem, a Mexican managed to solve it in the best way. Today we will tell you the story of Rafael González and the spherical aberration in optical lenses. 

Rafael González Acuña, 28 years old, is a graduate of Tec de Monterrey, from the Industrial Physics Engineering career He is currently studying a doctorate in nanotechnology within the same institution. One day he had his moment of lucidity and realized that he was facing the solution of a lifetime. "I remember that one morning I was preparing a bread with Nutella, and suddenly I said: mothers! is there! Gonzalez told Conecta . 

One of the most important physicists in history, Isaac Newton, throughout his life I try to find the solution to this problem problem but could never solve it. Although approximations had already been found, no one had found the complete answer, until now. Rafael joined with Alejandro Chaparro, a graduate of the UNAM so that together they could finish it. 
One of the solutions for the problem was to use two lenses that were not spherical but aspherical, whose characteristic is that they only have spherical details in the part of the surface However, until now, the calibration of these lenses depended on a calculation that was not entirely accurate, that Rafael managed to land in the best way. 
Photo: Special

Through a fairly elaborate equation they managed to get to the root of the problem. According to González: "During our study,  we calculated the efficiency of 500 rays, and the average satisfaction  of all the examples was 99.9999999999%.". Thanks to this discovery, many industries such as telescopes, cameras and other items that use lenses can reduce costs. 
Rafael and Alejandro published their solution in an article called General formula for bi-aspheric lens design free of spherical aberration, which appeared in the specialized magazine  Applied Optics . Something curious about all this is that the discovery of our countrymen received the distinction of the editor of the magazine, something that happens less than 1 percent of the 35 thousand articles published there. 

Without a doubt Rafael is the perfect example to realize that, although we see something difficult, sometimes the solution is in us, in our mind . A round of applause for this great Mexican.

This Is Jonathan, The 187-Year-Old Tortoise Photographed In 1886 And Today

Posted: 02 Jul 2019 11:01 AM PDT

It's a known fact that humans outlive most animals. But tortoises are definitely an exception, and one of them was actually able to reach the ripe age of 187. Jonathan, a giant tortoise, is currently the oldest living terrestrial animal in the entire world, having hatched back in 1832. The tortoise currently lives in the island of Saint Helena, Seychelles, and resides with the governor at the Plantation House.
It's interesting that there's a photo of Jonathan taken way back in 1886, and it can be compared to his present photo, just like a modern #187yearschallenge. It's noteworthy that the tortoise was already around 54 years old when that photo was taken.
Although Jonathan is still lively and full of energy, signs of aging have been observed by doctors, and his sense of sight and smell are slowly getting weaker. Dr. Hollins feeds Jonathan with special food with higher calories on a weekly basis, since he doesn't eat enough grass anymore.

Humans usually outlive animals.

However, he now shows signs of aging like slowly losing his sense of sight and smell.

Jonathan is fed a special meal with high calories every week, since he can't eat enough grass anymore.

But tortoises are definitely an exception.

Rachel Maddow Exposes Trump’s Massive Cover-Up Of Climate Change Research

Posted: 02 Jul 2019 10:54 AM PDT

Rachel Maddow shined a light on how Donald Trump and his anti-science administration are trying to cover up scientific research about climate change.

The MSNBC host said it's just the latest example of how the contrast between the Trump administration and the 20+ Democrats running for office couldn't be clearer.
"Here's the Democrats right now in a 20-way, no holds barred, full-scale wrestling match trying to appear to be … the most committed to taking climate change seriously and to doing something about it," she said. "While the Republican administration … is actively shutting it down, refusing to release [climate change] research."

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Rachel Maddow explains why electing a Democratic president in 2020 is a crucial step in combatting climate change.

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Maddow said:

There is only one Earth and here on Earth one, the partisan divide on this subject in particular and the different partisan experience right now of this subject in Washington is just nuts. I mean, here's the Democrats right now in a 20-way, no holds barred, full-scale wrestling match trying to appear to be the most aggressive and the most invested and the most knowledgeable and the most committed to taking climate change seriously and to doing something about it. While the Republican administration in Washington oversees a world-renowned incredibly capable, incredibly advanced coterie of scientists who really are already working on the most practical stuff possible when it comes to dealing with climate change. Peer-reviewed world-class science, which is already happening, which U.S. taxpayers have already paid for and is ready to be published and the Trump administration is taking that stuff and actively shutting it down, refusing to release that research. And as we have talked about a couple of times here on the show in the last couple of weeks, the Trump administration is also right now trying to dismantle a big chunk of the whole scientific capacity at that pioneering agency, at USDA.

Climate change is not another both-sides debate

So often, political pundits and reporters present each side of a political argument as if there are always two valid perspectives – one from the right and another from the left.
In the Trump era of American politics, however, the both-sides argument is almost becoming extinct. This is a president who spews verifiable lies – not valid, reality-based arguments – on a daily basis.

As a result, one political party – the GOP – is defending and creating policy based on Trump's falsehoods, and the Democrats are left as the only political entity that lives in a fact-based world, even if you don't always agree with their policy proposals.
On the issue of climate change, in particular, this dynamic is even clearer. The global scientific community is sounding the alarm about climate change. Other nations are taking steps to combat it.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is covering up research being conducted by its own government. They've pulled America out of the Paris climate accord. They continue to unravel former president Barack Obama's environmental protections and promise gullible folks in red states that somehow coal is the energy of the future.
In the reality-based world, climate change is real.  It poses major national security, economic and humanitarian threats to all of us. Tackling it should be a bipartisan effort driven by the scientific community, not by a president trying to keep his base happy.
That's why a key step in taking on this crisis is replacing Donald Trump with any one of the 20+ Democratic candidates running for president.

Firefighters Roll Dying Forest Ranger Through the Woods One Last Time

Posted: 02 Jul 2019 10:45 AM PDT

When hospice workers asked firefighters to help fulfill the dying wish of a former forest ranger with multiple sclerosis, they took him on a 3-hour tour of the woods on his gurney

Former forest ranger Edward Reis, 62, had been in hospice care for multiple sclerosis for years, unable to get outdoors, much less in the woods.
Just a couple of weeks before his death, he confessed his dying wish to the chaplain — to get back out into nature, into the forest.
The chaplain got together with Reis' nurse, at Evergreen Health Hospice in Washington state, and devised a plan to take him on a "walk" in the woods near the ocean.

But they knew they couldn't get the bed-ridden man there on their own. So they called the Snohomish County Fire Department and asked for help. The firemen didn't hesitate.
The department sent a medical unit to pick Reis up in a firetruck and took him on a 3-hour tour of Meadowdale Beach Park on the Puget Sound.
Seven firemen, along with the nurse and chaplain, wheeled him down trail after trail on his gurney, "stopping so he could listen to a running brook or gaze at a verdant vista," ABC News reported.
The firefighters would occasionally pick a flower of a piece of bark from a cedar tree and hold it near his face so he could breathe in the fragrance of the forest.

"He was just smiling the whole time … saying he was so happy," his nurse Leigh Gardner said.
Chaplain Curt Huber said he believed the journey into nature was a "spiritual need" for Reis.
When Huber asked Reis where he'd most felt the presence of God, he "lit up" and immediately started talking about the forest.
Firefighter Shane Cooper called the trek "the highlight of his 25-year career."
The fire department offered the service at no charge and had volunteer firefighters from other stations fill in at their post.