Scientists are weighing in on why a whale is living in NYC's Hudson River.

Here's a question New Yorkers don't get to ask themselves a lot: "Was that a freaking whale I just saw?"  

Besides the big blue one at the Natural History Museum, New York City and its surrounding rivers are not exactly known for having a large population of whales. But things started to get interesting, when the U.S. Coast Guard was flooded with dozens of reports of whale sightings in the Hudson River.

Dr. Rachel Dubroff, who lives in a 63rd Street apartment overlooking the Hudson, told the New York Times that she's seen — or thinks she's seen — a humpback whale hanging out in the Hudson for two years.


Turns out, she wasn't mistaken.

It's now been confirmed that a humpback whale has taken up residence in New York's Hudson River.

“We received the first reports on Wednesday, Nov. 9,” Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jason Moritz said in a news release. “We’ve had multiple daily sightings since then throughout the harbor and up the Hudson River.”

The Coast Guard is urging all boats on the Hudson to slow down and keep an eye out for more.

You're probably thinking: What's a whale doing in the Hudson River? Well, that's even cooler.

In the 35 years since the Clean Water Act was passed, the Hudson has become a cleaner and healthier habitat for a variety of fish — fish that are super delicious if you're a whale.

When the weather gets cold, whales migrate and look for warm, safe waters with plentiful fish to eat.

A humpback whale in Sydney after migrating from southern waters. Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

"The whales found this spot as a feeding ground,” Paul Sieswerda, president of Gotham Whale, which tracks marine life around the city, told the New York Times. “Rather than go all the way up to Massachusetts and Maine, they’ve found a good feeding ground right here in New York.”

As conservation efforts continue, even more whale sightings are likely in the coming years.

"30 years ago you’d see maybe one whale off of Long Island a season," Chuck Bowman, of the Riverhead Foundation, told the New York Times. "Now you see them all the time. ... You get a bigger population and you get a greater chance of things like this happening."

This humpback in Ecuador migrated from the Antarctic. Photo by Rodrigo Buenida/AFP/Getty Images.

It's hard to say if the cleaner waters are directly responsible for the whale's appearance in the Hudson, however, as CBS reports: "Although most experts agree water conditions have improved in the river in the 35 years since the passage of the Clean Water Act, they weren’t willing to say that the visit from the humpback had a direct correlation."

The Hudson whale is a delight for New Yorkers and a significant win for conservationists.

Their hard work has made the waters around New York a vibrant and clean ecosystem for a huge variety of marine life. This year alone, there have been over 100 whale sightings in New York and New Jersey, and scientists are expecting more.

Let's just hope they don't start taking the subway.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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