Wildlife officials in southwest Florida who are struggling to save dozens of beached pilot whales say there's hope that at least some of the animals might escape after they spotted at least 20 of them swimming in deeper water.
The Associated Press reports:
"Blair Mase, a fisheries stranding coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said a Coast Guard helicopter found two pods of whales in about 12 feet of water, 'significantly north' of their previous location in Everglades National Park. The short-finned pilot whale is a deep-water species that cannot survive long in the shallows."
As we reported earlier, the stranding of about 45 pilot whales was first noticed on Tuesday in a remote area of Florida's Everglades.
NPR's Greg Allen reports from Miami that more than 30 people and about 15 boats are involved Thursday in an ongoing operation to redirect the whales.
Another NOAA stranding coordinator, Liz Stratton, says rescuers are working on trying to lead the animals into deeper water.
"We're going to do some herding and maybe a little bit of hazing, where we are trying to coax them out of the situation we're in now," she told reporters.
Allen says those tactics include revving boat engines and banging on metal pipes to herd the pilot whales out to the open ocean.
The AP says:
"The short-finned pilot whales typically live in very deep water. Even if rescuers were able to begin nudging the 41 remaining whales out to sea, they would encounter a series of sandbars and patches of shallow water along the way."
"The species also is known for its close-knit social groups: If one whale gets stuck or stays behind, the others are likely to stay or even beach themselves as well."
Stratton says because of the shallow water, and the difficulty of working with such large animals, capturing and rehabilitating them is not an option.
Shell has just floated the hull of the world's largest vessel out of its dry dock in South Korea. It's so massive, that if you stood it up, it would be 1,601 feet tall, reaching higher into the sky than the Empire State Building.
The vessel, called the Prelude, will actually be used more as a floating island than a ship. It won't be able to travel under its own power. Shell plans to tow it and anchor it about 300 miles off the coast of western Australia for 25 years.
There, the 600,000-ton Prelude will serve as a liquefied natural gas, or LNG, facility, which lets the company tap into the natural gas deep at sea. The gas will then be chilled into a liquid, which makes the gas easier to store and ship.
Smaller ships will come and pick up the natural gas and transport it to customers. Shell's Prelude is so huge it can store enough liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fill 175 Olympic swimming pools. It will stay in place during stormy weather and is built to withstand a category five cyclone, according to the company.
The Prelude will allow Shell to tap into natural gas reserves that have previously been too expensive to extract, according to Kayla Macke, a U.S. spokeswoman for the company.
She declined to comment on the cost of the drilling project, but noted that Samsung, the South Korea company that built the Prelude, put the cost of the vessel at $3 billion back in 2011.
Previously, the world's largest vessel was the Jahre Viking, an oil tanker that's 1,504 feet long, according to Guinness World Records.
Macke says the Prelude will be similar to the offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, adding there will likely to be around 100 workers who will perform two-week shifts at sea before heading back to shore.
Energy companies are increasingly going far offshore for oil and natural gas.
The U.S. Geological Survey, in a report last year, estimated that there are large potential reserves of oil and gas in the oceans of southeast Asia, off the coast of Australia and around Cuba.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that deep-water drilling is the "next big frontier for oil and natural gas production."
Australia could be a big winner. By 2020, the country is projected to more than double its gas production of 49 billion cubic meters (1730 billion cubic feet) in 2010, according to this year's gas market report from the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics in Australia.
Earlier this year, the Economist noted that by "eliminating pipelines and other onshore costs, floating LNG production may prove the blessing Australia needs to stay in the gas game."
If you love cats and adore Christmas, do we ever have the website for you. In a project that takes the concept of "reality TV" in new directions, eight solid hours a day of streaming video.
The scene you'll find at Christmas Cats TV is a unique one. A woman sits in a den that includes a Christmas tree, a hearth, and some presents — and a whole lot of cats, some of which have been cajoled into wearing Christmas sweaters.
Streaming from Wednesday to Friday this week, the reality show's goal isn't just to provide us with Internet cuteness.
"For three days, eight hours a day, people at home can watch a LIVE stream of a wacky grandma 'cat lady' in her home, rocking, knitting, and hanging out with room full of adoptable cats available for adoption," according to a news release about Christmas Cats TV.
When they're not making webcasts, the cats live at North Shore Animal League America, in Port Washington, N.Y., which calls itself "the world's largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization."
The show, which is being streamed from Brooklyn, is also active on Twitter. One recent post included one of the cat's photo and the question, "Can I haz a family?"
And there's another motivation at work: Viewers also hear Christmas music (identified by a "Meow playing" tag) that's for sale by Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music.
Our thanks go to NPR's Nicole Beemsterboer for finding this unique show.
For a half-century, JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, adorned its cover with works of fine art. You could have easily mistaken an issue of the august medical journal on your doctor's desk for a stray copy of ARTnews.
But a JAMA redesign this summer put the table of contents on the front cover and moved the art inside.
Why? "Many readers let us know that while they appreciated [the art], there was no indication on the cover of what was in the journal, the content of the journal," says Dr. Phil Fontanarosa, JAMA's executive editor.
Sometimes for a theme issue, though, the editors will push the article listings down a bit to make room for a picture.
And this week for an issue devoted to medical education, JAMA created what may be a new kitsch masterpiece. A group of seven canine healers, some apparently in training, hover around a sick mutt sucking on a thermometer in a hospital bed.
If you've spent any time in knotty-pine-paneled rec rooms or playing pool in dive bars, you'll recognize the style instantly.
Just in case you don't, the JAMA editors write that the cover is "an homage to the early 20th-century artist Cassius Marcellus Coolidge." His body of work includes paintings such as A Friend in Need and A Bold Bluff. The JAMA editors point out that Coolidge's "oeuvre is most commonly referred to as Dogs Playing Poker."
The JAMA editors say they were unaware of any Coolidge paintings that depicted medical education and decided to commission a cover to fill the gap. The Dogs Playing Doctor cover was a collaboration between editor Dr. Robert Golub and JAMA medical illustrator Cassio Lynm.
"While the cover is certainly whimsical, we think it's an homage of sorts to medicine," Fontanarosa tells Shots. "We fully expect that our readers are going to react to the cover." In fact, he says, one doctor who admired it has asked about getting a poster-size print suitable for framing. That's not something JAMA is able to do just yet.
But don't get fixated on the doctor dogs. Fontanarosa says the issue has lots of excellent research on hot topics in medical education, ranging from substance abuse by anesthesiology residents to reduction of errors when residents hand off patients at the end of shifts.
So just like another magazine that used to be headquartered in Chicago, you might pick up JAMA to look at the eye-popping cover and stick around for the thought-provoking articles.
Florida State University Quarterback Jameis Winston, considered a Heisman Trophy frontrunner, will not be charged with rape, the state attorney Willie Meggs announced on Thursday after an investigation into the allegations.
Freshman Winston, who led his team to the national polls, has been facing allegations that he assaulted a female FSU student in December 2012, prior to his college career.
Winston's attorney, Tim Jansen of Tallahassee, has contended that his client had consensual sex with the woman.
On Thursday, Meggs, who is the state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit said prosecutors did not feel they had enough to make a case against Winston.
"We've carefully examined all the evidence in this case and have concluded that no charges will be brought against anyone in this case," he said.
The Associated Press writes:
"The alleged assault occurred nearly a year ago, but it wasn't until last month that Tallahassee police turned over information about the case to prosecutors."
"Meggs said Wednesday his office had 'exhausted all investigative tools' since the case was handed over in mid-November."
After Meggs' office took over the case, investigators took DNA from Winston, interviewed the victim and looked at other evidence, the AP says.
"Search warrants in the case were released before Meggs' announcement and indicate the woman told police she was raped at an apartment after a night of drinking at a bar. In the warrant, the accuser says she and friends had shots at Potbellys and her 'memory is very broken from that point forward.'"
"Meggs said that toxicology reports show the accuser had a blood alcohol level of .04 and that there was no evidence of drugs, including what are commonly referred to as date rape drugs."
"According to the warrants, the accuser says she remembers being in a cab with a man and going into an apartment before she was raped."
"After that, she remembers the suspect dressing her, putting her on a scooter and dropping her off at an intersection, but she had no idea where the alleged rape occurred."