4 Compelling Stories From Home, Away & Far Far Away
By Robert Foran III
ALASKA — From ktuu.com
A juvenile humpback whale’s two-day fight for survival in Turnagain Arm ended tragically when its lifeless body washed up on shore Tuesday morning (April 31st).
A Seward Highway commuter called in the beached carcass around 10 a.m., located near milepost 86 south of Girdwood. Shortly thereafter, researchers began the necropsy of the whale.
A team of around ten scientists and volunteers worked quickly, removing the blubber in order to take tissue samples. Veterinary Emeritus with Alaska Sealife Center Dr. Pam Tuomi put her blubber-removing knife down to tell Channel 2 what she knew about the whale.
“There was no obvious evidence of injury to this animal, no broken bones, no bleeding wounds,” Tuomi said, emphasizing that it was too early to tell for certain how the whale died.
The team did not finish removing the blubber layer before afternoon high tide submerged the animal’s body. Tuomi also acknowledged a whale necropsy is not a speedy process, and could take a few days to complete. The research crew did remove enough blubber to ensure the animal’s internal organs remained cool over night. Once extracted, they will prove invaluable in determining cause of death, according to Tuomi.
NATIONAL — From npr.org
After two days of impassioned debate, Florida’s House of Representatives passed a controversial bill on Wednesday that would permit classroom teachers to carry guns in schools. The bill was already approved by the Senate. It now goes before Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, who is expected to sign it.
Last year, the legislature created a “guardian” program that allows districts to arm school staff, with the exception of teachers who “exclusively perform classroom duties,” according to the Miami Herald. The new bill would remove that exception.
Once the bill is enacted, it will be up to districts to decide whether they want to allow teachers to be armed. Many do not. As NPR member station WLRN reports, most of Florida’s school districts have declined to create guardian programs, opting instead to put law enforcement officers in each school. Just 25 of the state’s 67 school districts have approved the guardian programs. Many of them are in rural areas.
Debate over the bill was highly charged and often emotional, as lawmakers discussed what could happen when teachers have guns in the classroom.
INTERNATIONAL — From bbc.com
Japan officially began a new era on May 1 when Crown Prince Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne as the new emperor.
The day before, his father Emperor Akihito became the first Japanese emperor in more than 200 years to abdicate, bringing the Heisei imperial era to an end.
Naruhito, 59, differs in many ways from his more tradition-bound predecessors, and has consistently challenged expectations by prioritizing his family and academic life.
In his first speech as emperor, he said he felt the solemn weight of his position, but vowed to be a symbol of unity for the nation.
OUT OF THIS WORLD — From msn.com
Pluto, the once-planet and now-dwarf-planet, is an incredibly hostile world as far as life is concerned. Pluto, which sits near the edges of the solar system, far from the Sun, is incredibly frigid. Its thin atmosphere, which consists mostly of nitrogen, has persisted despite the rock-bottom temperatures, but new research suggests that trend may changing, and Pluto’s atmosphere could completely collapse within years.
A massive research effort to study climate patterns on Pluto has yielded the shocking prediction in a new paper published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. The team suggests that Pluto’s entire atmosphere could vanish by 2030.
“The atmospheric pressure has tripled over the past three decades, but as the dwarf planet orbits, our modeling showed that most of the atmosphere would condense out to almost nothing left,” Andrew Cole, co-author of the research, said in a statement. “What our predictions show is that by 2030 the atmosphere is going to frost out and vanish around the whole planet.”