Friday News Bites: Frosty Weather, Stranded Whales, Nigella + More

Make yourself a mug of hot cocoa, or maybe a hot toddy, and let’s jump right into some of this week’s news stories.

Image of Ned Stark (Sean Bean) from Game of Thrones that reads, "Brace yourself. Status updates will now double as weather reports."
Winter has arrived.

As I’m writing this, it’s -1° F/-18° C outside. Montana and the rest of the Rocky Mountains have been absolutely hammered with cold temps this weeks, as an Arctic front moves through the area. Eastern Europe is having its own weather problems, with a Siberian cold front bringing temperatures as low as -27º C.

Meanwhile, in the Florida Everglades, wildlife officials are trying to rescue 40 pilot whales stranded in shallow water:

As a part of the new rescue efforts, teams from NOAA, the National Park Service and state wildlife organizations would be using sound techniques, including aluminum pipes and engines, in an attempt to steer the whales away from the shallows.
“This particular area is extremely unique, it’s not herding them out of a lagoon,” she [Blair Mase, the Fisheries Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator for the NOAA] said. “We’re herding them miles and miles. It’s very tricky.”

In other news, The Telegraph has a play-by-play account of Nigella Lawson’s court appearance this week. The TV chef/cookbook author provided evidence in the fraud trial of her former aides, who are accused of abusing credit cards loaned to them by Lawson and her ex-husband, Charles Saatchi.

If you hadn’t heard yet: On November 30, a helicopter crashed into a Glasgow pub, killing nine people and injuring more. Rescue services continued their search for other bodies on Monday, admitting that the structure of the building made the process difficult.

If you hadn’t heard yet #2:  Also last Saturday, actor Paul Walker died in a car crash, along with the driver of the car, while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was 40 years old and leaves behind a 15-year-old daughter. At Pajiba, Daniel Carlson offers a great tribute and thoughts on what it means to be a working actor.

The world mourned the loss of Nelson Mandela after his death on Thursday at the age of 95. South Africa’s first Black president, Mandela was an anti-apartheid icon and tireless champion of humanitarian causes. South African president Jacob Zuma says, “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost their father.”

Finally, Thursday marked the 80th anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal in the United States. In Colorado, the recent legalization of marijuana sales has sellers drawing parallels to the Prohibition-era, “particularly the fact that criminalization never really stopped the use of the product, instead forcing it underground, creating an unregulated black market.”

I’ll be interested to see how Washington and Colorado’s legalization laws affect the rest of the United States. Certainly one can make the argument on tax revenue alone. It’s something to think about.

I leave you with this: “If you love cats and adore Christmas, do we ever have the website for you. A project that takes the concept of ‘reality TV’ in new directions — eight solid hours a day of streaming video.”


Until next time, friends.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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