The fine art of whale disposal

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In many respects, we the people of Earth are pretty savvy, technologically and otherwise. We can read genetic code, interpret the faintest glimmers of light from the night sky to learn about the makeup of unimaginably distant worlds ... and that iPhone is pretty cool, too! But we still, after all this time, haven't found the perfect way to dispose of a dead whale. The most infamous example of this is the legendary Exploding Whale incident which happened on the Oregon coast in 1970. (I was truly surprised to discover, after a quick search of the _floss archives, that we have never posted this video. Let me rectify that right now.)

So if you can't cut them up (too gross), bury them (tough to dig them deep enough) or blow them up (as established above), what can you do? Actually, explosives are still a common tool for whale deconstructors, but typically the carcass is hauled out to sea first, where the flying bits won't muck up the shore (or crush any parked cars ... see video). But even this doesn't always work, as evidenced by a failed attempt in Iceland in 2005, when after a controlled explosion split an out-to-sea whale carcass in two, the halves drifted right back to land. Worse still was an organic explosion, which occurred while whale necrologists were transporting a carcass through the Chinese city of Tainan, Taiwan in 2004.

Residents of Tainan learned a lesson in whale biology after the decomposing remains of a 60-ton sperm whale exploded on a busy street, showering nearby cars and shops with blood and organs and stopping traffic for hours. The 56-foot-long whale had been on a truck headed for a necropsy by researchers, when gases from internal decay caused its entrails to explode in the southern city of Tainan.

Obviously, we need some _floss-quality thought put into this. Anyone got any brilliant ideas?

July 20, 2007 - 5:51am
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