SANTIAGO: Heaps of dead whales, salmon and sardines blamed on the El Nino freak weather phenomenon have clogged Chile’s Pacific beaches in recent months.
Last year, scientists were shocked when more than 300 whales turned up dead on remote bays of the southern coast. It was the first in a series of grim finds.
At the start of this year, a surge in algae in the water choked to death an estimated 40,000 tons of salmon in the Los Lagos region, where the Andes tower over lakes and green farming valleys down to the coast.
That is about 12 percent of annual salmon production in Chile, the world’s second-biggest producer of the fish after Norway.
Authorities blamed a “red tide” of algae.
They banned fishing in the affected region, putting thousands of fishermen out of work.
“We have red tides every year in southern Chile, but this time it reached further north,” said Jorge Navarro, a researcher at the marine institute IDEAL.
“It affected bivalve populations (such as clams) that had never before been exposed like this” to the algae, he said.
On the shores of Santa Maria Island off the center off Chile’s long coast, cuttlefish have been washed up dead in the thousands.
Various beaches in the center of the country were closed meanwhile as the specimens of the dreaded Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish, normally foreign to the area, floated nearby.
Scientists largely blame the anomalies on El Nino, a disruptive weather phenomenon that comes with warming sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific.
With its 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) of Pacific coastline, Chile is particularly exposed to the effects of El Nino, which strikes every few years.
“We think that a common factor in the deaths of creatures in southern Chile, in the salmon farms and in fish off the coast is the El Nino phenomenon,” said experts at the Chilean fisheries institute IFOP.
The current El Nino “has been classed as one of the most intense in the past 65 years,” they told AFP in a statement.
Warmer sea water can lead to greater quantities of algae. They kill others species by consuming oxygen in the water or filling it with toxins.
“The Chilean ocean is shifting and changing,” said Sergio Palma, an oceanographer at Valparaiso Catholic University.
“There has been a series of events that indicate an El Nino which is making its presence felt in many ways.”
Fish farming impact
But scientists also suspect other causes for the mass destruction of the sea creatures.
The huge toll of whales last year “could be caused by a natural ecological process” that may be nothing to do with what killed the sardines and clams, said Laura Farias, an oceanographer at Concepcion University.
“There is no ecological, oceanographic or climatic explanation” linking the whales to the other incidents, she said.
She suspects the growth of fish farming in Chile’s southern Patagonia region is to blame for killing the salmon and clams.
“There are studies indicating that in Patagonia the greater occurrence of toxic blooms could be a consequence of aquaculture.”
Various scientists have said the current El Nino seems to be subsiding, causing the surface of the sea to cool slowly.
The mass destruction of sea life has been a wake-up call, however.
“Chile still lacks information about the sea,” said Valesca Montes, a fisheries specialist at the Chilean branch of the World Wildlife Fund.
“It has to invest in oceanographic studies, so that we can predict certain events” and be better prepared for climate change. -AFP
Renters in Los Angeles and San Francisco are Paying $1200 a Month for a Bunk Bed in a Shared Space
Would you pay $1200 a month for a bunk bed in a shared space? Renters in Los Angeles and San Francisco are opting for pods in communal home with a desk, locker and personal TV
With the cost of rent continuing to rise, some Americans are taking unusual measures to find a place to sleep.
PodShare, which provides 10 to 15 co-ed bunkbeds in six locations across California, is hoping to help solve the affordable housing crisis.
The beds can be rented from $35 to $50 a night, which amounts to between $1,050 and $1500 for one month.
It’s no secret that housing prices have rapidly spiked over the last decade and incomes have not kept up
One 2018 study published found that only about one-third of millennials currently own homes.
This is fewer than the number of Generation Xers and baby boomers who owned homes when they were the same age.
And a study conducted by Harvard University this year found that one-in-three Americans can’t afford to pay rent.
It’s unsurprising considering that, in cities such as San Francisco, the average rent for an apartment is about $3,900.
But for $1,200, if you rent with PodShare everyone gets a bed that turns into a desk, individual power outlets, a locker, a shelf and a personal TV.
Each location also provides a communal living room, food such as cereal, toiletries such as toilet paper, laundry machines and WiFi access, reported CNN.
Tenants are known as ‘pod-estrians’.
Although the set-up may seem like an adult dormitory or a hostel, the company uses the term ‘co-living’.
‘PodShare makes life more affordable because there is no security deposit or cost of furnishings and we provide flexible living,’ co-founder Elvina Beck told Vice in 2016.
‘Pod life is the future for singles which are not looking to settle down, but focus on their startups and experience something new.’
There are no curtains to close off the beds, and the only doors are to the bathroom, reported Time Out Los Angeles.
Although there’s no privacy, pod-residents are willing to exchange that for affordability or a reduced travel time to work.
Beck, 34, told CNN that she founded the company in 2012 because she wanted to meet new people and provide housing security to others.
‘Maybe they don’t have two months’ rent to put down or they don’t have proof of income,’ she said.
‘Whether it’s from a divorce or their family kicked them out for being gay or because they’re in a different country or a different city.’
She told CNN that, when she began PodShare, most residents were between ages 24 and 30. Today, however, most ‘tenants’ are in their late 20s or early 30s.
Additionally, many of the early residents were young adults who had just moved to a new city. But many new residents are older adults and even those traveling on business.
However, there some rules that people are required to follow. Lights have to be off by 10pm, no guests are allowed and tenants can’t have sex.
‘You can’t invite any friends over,’ Beck told CNN. ‘Sorry. Just make new ones here.’
Caretaker Ties a Wheelchair-Bound Pensioner to a Tree by The Neck
Shocking footage of a wheelchair-bound pensioner being tied to a tree by the neck by a caretaker has sparked controversy in China.
The caretaker claimed to have no other way but to bind her frail client with a rope because she had to rush back home to deal with family emergency.
Furious onlookers demanded the caretaker free the pensioner immediately. The domestic worker defended her act by calling the incident ‘no big deal’.
The pensioner appeared extremely distressed throughout the video and could not speak clearly.
One angry male passer-by accused the caretaker: ‘How would you feel if your daughter treated you like this?’
He criticised the caretaker and said she should bring the pensioner with her.
The caretaker replied: ‘[If I had] pushed her back, she would tell [on me].’
Another female bystander pointed out that the pensioner neck had turned red because of the rough treatment.
After being lambasted by eyewitnesses, the caretaker untied the pensioner and pushed her away.
Authority said the clip had been uploaded onto the social media by residents in a neighbourhood called Nanyuan on the outskirts of southern Beijing.
But they had not been able to identify the exact location of the incident or track down the individuals involved.
Police have been alerted of the video and launched an investigation, according to Beijing Evening News.
Comforting Shelter Dogs During Fireworks Is The New Independence Day Tradition
“Calming the Canines,” at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC), is a new Independence Day tradition.
Last year, over 300 people from the community showed up at the shelter’s two locations around Phoenix, Arizona.
It was overwhelming to see how the community responded. It really helped spread our message that MCACC is here to help.
Amy Engel, who attended Calming the Canines last year said that she definitely plans on attending this year, too.
Engel wrote about her experience last year
Some people sang to them, some people read to them, some people just sat there and gave treats! It was so, so awesome because the dogs absolutely love the attention and were focused on the people and not the fireworks going on outside.
Many participants developed lasting relationships with the shelter, returning to provide foster care, adopt a pet or volunteer.
The shelter suggests people to bring blankets to sit on, or folding chairs, and to let the dog or cat approach them to sit calmly and quietly.
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