15 January 2008

I found the Exploding Whale online!!!

About seven months before I was born, the the staff of the Oregon State Highway Division found themselves with a problem on on their hands. What do you do with a 45 foot 8 ton dead sperm whale that has washed up on the beach near Florence (Lane County) Oregon and started to stink? Wait you say, why is the "Highway Division" concerned with what is on the beach? Because in Oregon, ocean beaches are considered part of the public right-of-way thanks to Gov. Oswald West (1873-1960, served 1910-1914).

After thinking through the options, the Oregon Highway Division decided to take 20 cases, that's half a ton, of dynamite and put it on the leeward side of the whale, with the idea that the whale would blow to pieces, with most of it going toward the Pacific and then seagulls and other carnivorous animals would take care of the clean up. That was the plan. That isn't what actually happened on 12 November 1970! And KATU Channel 2 (ABC) reporter Paul Linnman and photographer Doug Brazil caught it on film in living color.

Don't believe me? Check out what Snopes.com has to say about this whale of a tale. And KATU TV has a page about it too along with a pop up window with the original video.

To see what happened visit the video page of TheExplodingWhale.com.

[And if exploding whales aren't your thing - check out JibJab.com's review of 2007.]

And in other Whale-related news:
BBC News:  NZ Dolphin Rescues Beached Whales

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