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Oregon’s exploding whale, 50 years later: 10 ways to celebrate the big blast of blubber

On Nov. 12, 1970, a sperm whale carcass was blown to pieces on the Oregon coast, sending huge chunks of blubber falling not just onto innocent bystanders, but into the history books.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years. This is the same exploded whale carcass that earned national attention in the 1990s, regained fame in the early days of YouTube, and continues to captivate us to this day.

The legend of the exploding whale has been kept alive by a rotating cast of reporters, writers and at least one musician. Untold millions have watched the footage online. The r/Portland community on Reddit has paid homage with exploding-whale-themed upvote and downvote buttons.

That makes it easy to celebrate the exploding whale’s big anniversary this year.

Whether you’re watching the video for the hundredth time, reading Dave Barry’s column or listening to former KATU reporter Paul Linnman recount the tale,

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  • November 12, 2020
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At least 135 killed and 300,000 homeless overnight after Lebanon port blast

A Lebanese couple inspect the damage to their house in an area overlooking the destroyed Beirut port on 5 August 2020: Joseph Eid/AFP via Getty Images
A Lebanese couple inspect the damage to their house in an area overlooking the destroyed Beirut port on 5 August 2020: Joseph Eid/AFP via Getty Images

A two-week state of emergency has been declared in the still smouldering city of Beirut as officials admitted that a massive explosion that killed at least 135 people and injured as many as 5,000, could have been avoided.

More than 300,000 people are homeless in the Lebanese capital, where the blast – estimated to be about a tenth of the intensity of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb – sent shock waves through the city, destroying hundreds of buildings.

Investigators are trying to determine how 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical used in fertilisers, came to be stored in a warehouse for six years, and ended up detonating after a fire is believed to have started in an adjacent building.

A similar amount

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