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Science

The oldest whales on the planet are more ancient than 'Moby-Dick' and have the harpoons to prove it

Wow... just wow.

environment, commercial farming, commercial hunting
Image from Pixabay.

Under the sea...

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The Wilderness Society


You're probably familiar with the literary classic "Moby-Dick."

But in case you're not, here's the gist: Moby Dick is the name of a huge albino sperm whale.

(Get your mind outta the gutter.)


There's this dude named Captain Ahab who really really hates the whale, and he goes absolutely bonkers in his quest to hunt and kill it, and then everything is awful and we all die unsatisfied with our shared sad existence and — oops, spoilers!


OK, technically, the narrator Ishmael survives. So it's actually a happy ending (kind of)!

whales, Moby Dick, poaching endangered species

Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Basically, it's a famous book about revenge and obsession that was published back in 1851, and it's really, really long.

It's chock-full of beautiful passages and dense symbolism and deep thematic resonance and all those good things that earned it a top spot in the musty canon of important literature.

There's also a lot of mundane descriptions about the whaling trade as well (like, a lot). That's because it came out back when commercial whaling was still a thing we did.

conservation, ocean water conservation

A non-albino mother and baby sperm whale.

Photo by Gabriel Barathieu/Wikipedia.

In fact, humans used to hunt more than 50,000 whales each year to use for oil, meat, baleen, and oil. (Yes, I wrote oil twice.) Then, in 1946, the International Whaling Commission stepped in and said "Hey, wait a minute, guys. There's only a few handful of these majestic creatures left in the entire world, so maybe we should try to not kill them anymore?"

And even then, commercial whaling was still legal in some parts of the world until as recently as 1986.

International Whaling Commission, harpoons

Tail in the water.

Whale's tail pale ale GIF via GoPro/YouTube

And yet by some miracle, there are whales who were born before "Moby-Dick" was published that are still alive today.

What are the odds of that? Honestly it's hard to calculate since we can't exactly swim up to a bowhead and say, "Hey, how old are you?" and expect a response. (Also that's a rude question — jeez.)

Thanks to some thoughtful collaboration between researchers and traditional Inupiat whalers (who are still allowed to hunt for survival), scientists have used amino acids in the eyes of whales and harpoon fragments lodged in their carcasses to determine the age of these enormous animals — and they found at least three bowhead whales who were living prior to 1850.

Granted those are bowheads, not sperm whales like the fictional Moby Dick, (and none of them are albino, I think), but still. Pretty amazing, huh?

whale blubber, blue whales, extinction

This bowhead is presumably in adolescence, given its apparent underwater moping.

GIF via National Geographic.

This is a particularly remarkable feat considering that the entire species was dwindling near extinction.

Barring these few centenarian leviathans, most of the whales still kickin' it today are between 20 and 70 years old. That's because most whale populations were reduced to 10% or less of their numbers between the 18th and 20th centuries, thanks to a few over-eager hunters (and by a few, I mean all of them).

Today, sperm whales are considered one of the most populous species of massive marine mammals; bowheads, on the other hand, are still in trouble, despite a 20% increase in population since the mid-1980s. Makes those few elderly bowheads that much more impressive, huh?

population, Arctic, Great Australian Blight

Southern Right Whales hangin' with a paddleboarder in the Great Australian Bight.

GIF via Jaimen Hudson.

Unfortunately, just as things are looking up, these wonderful whales are in trouble once again.

We might not need to worry our real-life Captain Ahabs anymore, but our big aquatic buddies are still being threatened by industrialization — namely, from oil drilling in the Arctic and the Great Australian Bight.

In the off-chance that companies like Shell and BP manage not to spill millions of gallons of harmful crude oil into the water, the act of drilling alone is likely to maim or kill millions of animals, and the supposedly-safer sonic blasting will blow out their eardrums or worse.

This influx of industrialization also affects their migratory patterns — threatening not only the humans who depend on them, but also the entire marine ecosystem.

And I mean, c'mon — who would want to hurt this adorable face?

social responsibility, nature, extinction

BOOP.

Image from Pixabay.

Whales might be large and long-living. But they still need our help to survive.

If you want another whale to make it to his two-hundred-and-eleventy-first birthday (which you should because I hear they throw great parties), then sign this petition to protect the waters from Big Oil and other industrial threats.

I guarantee Moby Dick will appreciate it.


This article originally appeared on 11.04.15

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Representative image from Canva

Because who can keep up with which laundry settings is for which item, anyway?

Once upon a time, our only option for getting clothes clean was to get out a bucket of soapy water and start scrubbing. Nowadays, we use fancy machines that not only do the labor for us, but give us free reign to choose between endless water temperature, wash duration, and spin speed combinations.

Of course, here’s where the paradox of choice comes in. Suddenly you’re second guessing whether that lace item needs to use the “delicates” cycle, or the “hand wash” one, or what exactly merits a “permanent press” cycle. And now, you’re wishing for that bygone bucket just to take away the mental rigamarole.

Well, you’re in luck. Turns out there’s only one setting you actually need. At least according to one laundry expert.

While appearing on HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast, Patric Richardson, aka The Laundry Evangelist, said he swears by the “express” cycle, as “it’s long enough to get your clothes clean but it’s short enough not to cause any damage.”

Richardson’s reasoning is founded in research done while writing his book, “Laundry Love,” which showed that even the dirtiest items would be cleaned in the “express” cycle, aka the “quick wash” or “30 minute setting.”


Furthermore the laundry expert, who’s also the host of HGTV’s “Laundry Guy,” warned that longer wash settings only cause more wear and tear, plus use up more water and power, making express wash a much more sustainable choice.

Really, the multiple settings washing machines have more to do with people being creatures of habit, and less to do with efficiency, Richardson explained.

“All of those cycles [on the washing machine] exist because they used to exist,” he told co-hosts Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson. “We didn’t have the technology in the fabric, in the machine, in the detergent [that we do now], and we needed those cycles. In the ’70s, you needed the ‘bulky bedding’ cycle and the ‘sanitary’ cycle ... it was a legit thing. You don’t need them anymore, but too many people want to buy a machine and they’re like, ‘My mom’s machine has “whitest whites.”’ If I could build a washing machine, it would just have one button — you’d just push it, and it’d be warm water and ‘express’ cycle and that’s it.”
washing machine

When was the last time you washed you washing machine? "Never" is a valid answer.

Canva

According to Good Housekeeping, there are some things to keep in mind if you plan to go strictly express from now on.

For one thing, the outlet recommends only filling the machine halfway and using a half dose of liquid, not powder detergent, since express cycles use less water. Second, using the setting regularly can develop a “musty” smell, due to the constant low-temperature water causing a buildup of mold or bacteria. To prevent this, running an empty wash on a hot setting, sans the detergent, is recommended every few weeks, along with regularly scrubbing the detergent drawer and door seal.

Still, even with those additional caveats, it might be worth it just to knock out multiple washes in one day. Cause let’s be honest—a day of laundry and television binging sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

To catch even more of Richardson’s tips, find the full podcast episode here.


This article originally appeared on 2.4.24

Joy

A homeless man asked a college student for some tea, and a deluge of kindness followed

The unlikely pair spent the day getting to know each other, and now thousands of strangers are invested in Unc's well-being.

Neither Sanai Graden nor her "Unc" knew what their meeting in a parking lot would lead to.

Every once in a while, a story of two strangers turns into a shared connection that touches millions. This is one of them.

Sanai Graden is a 21-year-old college student living in Washington, D.C., who likes to vlog on TikTok while she does everyday things. As she was heading to the grocery store on a random day at the end of January 2024, she turned on her camera, and soon after, a man approached and asked her if she could help him get some hot tea.

Not money. Not even food. Just some simple, hot tea.

Graden told the man she was going to Trader Joe's and he could go along with her and they could stop at Starbucks. As they walked and chatted, Graden learned the man was homeless, had no family and was suffering from prostate cancer. He has just gotten insurance, but it wouldn't kick in for 45 days and he needed a prescription filled.


Over the next four to five hours, Graden got him some tea, helped him get his prescription filled so he could get some relief from his pain and put him up in a hotel room for the night. By the end of the day, she was calling him "Unc," and he was calling her his "angel."

She left him with some cash and her phone number and then posted this video:

@hustlanani

Please help me help him !

At the end, she said she wanted to start a GoFundMe for Unc (whose real name is Alonzo), and she did just that.

"I'm just a college student, there's only so much I can do," she shared in another TIkTok. "I did the best I could. But that man, he was literally suffering, and it broke my heart…He was so kind…I just wanted to help him."

Her initial video started going viral—it currently has over 20 million views—and people started donated to the GoFundMe. When it reached $12,000 in a matter of hours, she called her parents to tell them about it. They told her she was exactly the right person to be helping this man because she will make sure the money is used to get him what he needs.

@hustlanani

Replying to @The JasmynYvette Thank you so much eve

Little did she know that that $12,000 would soon rise to $20,000, and then to $50,000, then $100,000 and more. As of the writing of this article, two days after the GoFundMe went up, it has jumped the $300,000 mark.

At this point, so many people are invested in Unc's well-being. Upwards of 20,000 people have donated, and the number just keeps rising. As one commenter put it, "He's everyone's Unc now."

Graden went to tell him the good news the next morning when the GoFundMe was around $150,000, but when she arrived at the hotel, he had already checked out. She searched everywhere she thought he might be, even renting a car to cover more ground more quickly, but she wasn't able to find him.

Finally, she shared a brief voice message he left for her that started, "Hey, Niece! It's your uncle," and ended with "I love you!" but he neglected to tell her where he was. After she looked around some more, he called again and and told her he was at church. She told him to wait right there.

She found him in front of a church and invited him to go get something to eat. She said she wanted to talk to him in private, but he was waiting with his aunt and couldn't leave just yet. Finally, she was able to sit with him in her car and tell him about what thousands of people were doing to help him live comfortably and more easily manage his cancer.

She had to convince him the money was his, not theirs together. He also said he hadn't finished writing her a letter he'd started.

@hustlanani

I know you’ve all been waiting on his reaction. I just made it home. Please enjoy it. Thank you everyone for coming together. This would not have been possible without the endless support. This is just the beginning of something great. I’m enternally grateful. God did that !!!

The first thing Graden did was take Alonzo to Target to get him his own phone and some new clothes of his choosing. He even had a little laugh with Graden when she asked him if he wanted to get some floss, forgetting that he doesn't have any teeth.

This story is still developing and there are obviously a lot of complex details to work out as they get Alonzo settled with however much money the GoFundMe ultimately raises. No one wants Alonzo to lose his health benefits, and there are various financial as well as mental and emotional elements to consider as they move forward. But the power of the kindness of strangers to change someone's circumstances, starting with just one caring soul, is certainly worth celebrating.

Follow @hustlanani on TikTok for updates on Unc.


This article originally appeared on 2.13.24

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.


Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?


If all of earth's land ice melted, it would be nothing short of disastrous.

And that's putting it lightly.

This video by Business Insider Science (seen below) depicts exactly what our coastlines would look like if all the land ice melted. And spoiler alert: It isn't great.

Lots of European cities like, Brussels and Venice, would be basically underwater.

In Africa and the Middle East? Dakar, Accra, Jeddah — gone.

Millions of people in Asia, in cities like Mumbai, Beijing, and Tokyo, would be uprooted and have to move inland.

South America would say goodbye to cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

And in the U.S., we'd watch places like Houston, San Francisco, and New York City — not to mention the entire state of Florida — slowly disappear into the sea.

All GIFs via Business Insider Science/YouTube.

Business Insider based these visuals off National Geographic's estimation that sea levels will rise 216 feet (!) if all of earth's land ice melted into our oceans.

There's even a tool where you can take a detailed look at how your community could be affected by rising seas, for better or worse.

Although ... looking at these maps, it's hard to imagine "for better" is a likely outcome for many of us.

Much of America's most populated regions would be severely affected by rising sea levels, as you'll notice exploring the map, created by Alex Tingle using data provided by NASA.

Take, for instance, the West Coast. (Goodbye, San Fran!)

Or the East Coast. (See ya, Philly!)

And the Gulf Coast. (RIP, Bourbon Street!)

I bring up the topic not just for funsies, of course, but because the maps above are real possibilities.

How? Climate change.

As we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy and emit carbon into our atmosphere, the planet gets warmer and warmer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means melted ice.

A study published this past September by researchers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany found that if we don't change our ways, there's definitely enough fossil fuel resources available for us to completely melt the Antarctic ice sheet.

Basically, the self-inflicted disaster you see above is certainly within the realm of possibility.

"This would not happen overnight, but the mind-boggling point is that our actions today are changing the face of planet Earth as we know it and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come," said lead author of the study Ricarda Winkelmann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

If we want to stop this from happening," she says, "we need to keep coal, gas, and oil in the ground."

The good news? Most of our coastlines are still intact! And they can stay that way, too — if we act now.

World leaders are finallystarting to treat climate change like the global crisis that it is — and you can help get the point across to them, too.

Check out Business Insider's video below:

This article originally appeared on 12.08.15

Health

Expert says this one odd laundry habit could indicate ADHD

Plus, how to make the habit more manageable.

Representative image from Canva

ADHD Coach Jeff Rice says this habit is a near "universal sign" of ADHD

If you were to walk into your bedroom right now, what are the odds that you’d see clothes that never quite made themselves into actual outfits piling up on the floor? Perhaps they are sitting next to—or are even mixed in with—clothes that you did wear once throughout the week that aren't quite dirty, but for some reason can’t make their way back into your closet.

If this sounds familiar, then you have what’s known on social media as a “floordrobe.” And sure, the phenomenon is common enough to warrant a slang term, but according to experts it could indicate neurodivergence—ADHD, specifically.

In a TikTok video that has been watched almost 5 million times, ADHD coach Jeff Rice explained that this type of clutter, be it actual piles of clothes on the floor or a laundry basket “that just sits there for days and days or weeks,” happens to folks with ADHD for two reasons.

“The first has to do with the clothes which are not quite dirty. Usually we leave these things out because it’s going to act as a visual cue to remind us ;this is not quite dirty and I want to wear it again,” he said.

However the problem with visual cues is that “we become visually adapted to them,” Rice noted. And after we’ve adapted to seeing these cues, we no longer act on them.

The second common reason is that it’s neither interesting nor urgent, and so it gets put off until it does at least become urgent, like when there are no more clean socks.

While it might be hard for any of us to focus on boring tasks, it can be physiologically impossible for those with ADHD. We have enough research now to prove that it has nothing to do with laziness or unwillingness, and everything to do with different brain wiring that comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

And thankfully, Rice has a few ADHD-proof strategies that have helped him with the floordrobe issue, which can possibly help others.

@jeff_coachyouradhdbrain It seems like many people with ADHD have challenges dealing with laundry.  The clean laundry, and the “not quite dirty and I’ll probably wear it again” laundry tends to accumulate and create clutter.  This laundry clutter is often called our “floordrobe”.  Here are two thoughts on how to tackle this kind of clutter. #laundry #clutter #organizationhacks #adhd #adhdtiktok ♬ original sound - Jeff Rice - Author, ADHD Coach

First, he put “parameters'' on which of the not-quite-dirty clothes can stay out. “For example, if I’m leaving a sweatshirt sitting on the edge of the tub in the bathroom because I’m planning on wearing it tomorrow, great. If I don’t wear it tomorrow I either have to put it away or just put it in the dirty clothes,” he says.

As for putting away clean clothes, Rice decided to tackle his warped ability to gauge how long a task might take, commonly known in the ADHD community as time blindness.

“Whenever I look at a basket of laundry, I think, ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to take forever to put away,’” he said. “And objectively, it’s not true. One of the ways that I attacked this was, at one point, I had three baskets of laundry sitting in my closet and I didn’t want to put them away. So I decided to check to see how long does it really take for me to put away three baskets of laundry. The answer — 21 minutes. I set a timer, and I timed myself while I put them away ― seven minutes per basket.”

Rice shared how having the hard data help transform the emotionally overwhelming concept of “forever” into a very manageable “seven minutes” made all the difference.

“It actually makes it easier for me to look at it when I don’t want to do it, take a breath, and think intellectually ‘it’s only seven minutes.’”

And obviously, while Rice says that floordrobes are a “universal sign” of ADHD, there are plenty of other causes. Everything from depression to simply a lack of storage space could leave us making clothing piles from times to time. Still, having ways to declutter when life or our own brain chemistry seems to be working against us can help us better navigate the tough times.

American Idol/Youtube

Gotta love singers who make songs their own.

In a sea of extremely talented singers, it’s the vocalists who can take a song (even those performed by one-of-a-kind artists) and truly make it their own that, time after time, seem to really stand out on “American Idol.”

And Sam Kelly-Cohen, aka Kayko, is no exception. The 23-year old Florida singer-songwriter wowed judges and made it to the Top 10 round with his pop punk cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”…which is guaranteed to transport you right back to the days of emo bands and heavy eyeliner.

From beginning to end, Kayko gave rockstar energy—complete with mic swings, energetic kicks, and jumping up and down to hype up the audience. These bits of flair apparently came with risks, as he voiced concerns to celebrity guest mentor Meghan Trainor about pitch issues with live performances.

But clearly the effort paid off because for a moment, it felt like audiences were watching a “My Chemical Romance” Concert, rather than a singing competition show.

As one viewer on Youtube put it, “He’s extremely creative in his performance as well as is resourceful, utilizing the entire stage, lights, wardrobe, etc. His stage presence and ability to entertain his audience and keep them entertained through the entire song is also very strong.”

Watch:

Wow! Kayko Covers Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" - American Idol 2024

And to think , this guy never really intended to audition. Kayko originally arrived to Nashivlle for first-round auditions to play piano for his friend, who was auditioning for the show. But the judges asked him to audition as well. And, well, here we are, watching him rock out to Gotye.

Gotye’s smash hit seems to be having a bit of a resurgence. Only a few months ago, the song found viral fame again after international dance troupe CDK gave it a surreal, Wes Anderson-esque reimagining. Perhaps the song’s intentional simplicity, which helped make it so alluring in the first place, is also the key ingredient that makes it easy to interpret in countless different ways.

While Wouter "Wally" De Backer, aka Gotye himself, didn’t love the fame that came with the success of his song (read more on that here) hopefully seeing how it has inspired other artists is a good consolation.

And if the covers are anything like Kayko’s, keep ‘em comin’!