Six whales have washed ashore in northern California in the past two months, prompting headlines around the world and attracting droves of tourists, curious about the massive mammals so suddenly out of their natural element.
According to a California Academy of Sciences (CAS) necropsy one of those whales, a 32ft female humpback that washed ashore in Pacifica, a 20-minute drive from San Francisco, had “signs of trauma consistent with blunt force”.
Suggested causes of death have included being hit by a ship and an attack by an orca. But while those might have been the final blows for the whales, other issues are being raised by environmental groups…These issues include the US navy’s use of sonar.
Moe Flannery, a stranded marine mammal responder and manager of the CAS Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy, declined to give a cause of death shortly after conducting the necropsy on the first Pacifica whale. But she did say the whale showed signs of muscle hemorrhaging, an injury which research has shown to be consistent with sonar-related deaths.
Other researchers who participated in the necropsy, including those from the Marine Mammal Center, corroborated such findings and pointed out that hemorrhaging does not necessarily mean blunt force trauma from a ship…
In March, a US district court in Hawaii found that the National Marine Fisheries Services improperly gave approval to the navy’s use of sonar in the Pacific, an issue long-contested by environmental groups that allege sonar is causing damage to marine animals’ migration patterns, feeding locations, breeding and ability to hear and communicate. The navy uses sonar for training, to simulate real-life situations in the ocean. Thousands of sonar devices remain in the coastal waters of the Pacific as Earthjustice and other environmental organizations negotiate with the navy on how and where it should use sonar for drills…
The navy is not being forced to stop using sonar, says Earthjustice attorney David Henkin – it is only a matter of where and how. The navy requires authorization from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The navy’s current five-year permit expires this year…
In a May 2012 report on sonar use, the navy said acoustic sources and sonar more than 2.5 million times annually exposed marine animals to sounds considered “disturbing”, while around 500 times a year marine animals were exposed to sound levels that were considered to result in injury…
“Even when stranding does not result, military sonar can cause hearing loss and internal injuries to marine mammals that results in death, even if the animal does not end up on shore,” Henkin said.
Our military, like most commercial users of global waters, considers the death of countless denizens inconsequential. Just as they feel above the law when it comes to pollution, they are equally unconcerned over turning this planet’s oceans into a charnel reservoir strewn with the unburied dead.
Marc and Eddy Verbessem
Identical Belgian twin brothers, born deaf, becoming blind and unable to bear not being able to see and hear each other, had their wish to die granted in a case testing the boundaries of legal euthanasia.
Doctors gave the 45-year-old twins lethal injections after they had had a cup of coffee together and said goodbye to each other, a spokesman at the UZ Brussel hospital said on Monday.
“It’s not simply that they were deaf and blind that they were granted the right to euthanasia. It is that they could no longer bear being unable to hear or see the other,” he said.
Belgium is one of few countries where euthanasia is legal.
A patient must be an adult, capable of making a judgment, and the wish to die must be voluntary, overwhelming and repeated. The patient must also be suffering persistent and unbearable mental or physical pain beyond medical help.
In addition, the condition must be serious and incurable, and have been brought on by illness or injury.
“Unbearable suffering can be mental as well as physical,” the hospital spokesman said. “The brothers were inseparable. They lived together and had the same job.”
Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 and the number of cases has risen every year since…The Netherlands and Luxembourg have both decriminalized euthanasia. Switzerland allows assisted suicide if the person concerned takes an active role.
Sensible, compassionate system of law, allowing individuals an informed choice of life or death. Light-years ahead of nations still relying on papier mache morality writ into a book in the 14th Century.
Uploaded by sloanchurman on Sep 26, 2011
I was born deaf and 8 weeks ago I received a hearing implant. This is the video of them turning it on and me hearing myself for the first time :)
Her notes on the experience are here at her blog.
Overwhelmed by joy.
Research by a University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) professor shows an association between hearing loss and the use of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.
Findings…indicate a potential for long-term hearing loss following use of Viagra, and possibly following use of other phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE-5i) drugs such as Cialis and Levitra, although results on those drugs are inconclusive.
“It appears from these findings that the current government warning regarding hearing loss and the use of PDE-5i medications is warranted,” said study author Gerald McGwin, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology in the UAB School of Public Health. “Though there are limitations to this study, it is prudent that patients using these medications be warned about the signs and symptoms of hearing impairment and be encouraged to seek immediate medical attention to potentially forestall permanent damage…”
What did he say?