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Issue no. 104 | September 2021

Cover story

Red Tide Toxins
How waters become mortally troubled for marine life

In its restricted meaning, the problem of global warming is deemed to be a phenomenon of rising average temperature of our home planets. What is lost sight of is the multiple side effects that harm the biosphere and, more often than not, cause disasters such as cyclones or hurricanes, forest fires at times and incredibly severe heatwaves like the one that swept across Europe in 2003 and resulted in at least 30,000 deaths—more than 14,000 in France alone. In his headlong rush to absolutely control this environment, man, every now and then, is humbled by such forces of nature he cannot dominate and which frequently ends up dominating him.

The oceanic scourge called red tide is yet another force of nature, though altogether of a different kind. Unlike the 1970s, when the red tides were restricted to a few shores of India, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Italy, the USA, etc. We have been witnessing now their spread to many coastal areas. They have become unpredictable and implications in terms of fisheries, health and economy.

More interesting articles

The Curious Case of Bombardier Beetle

When confronted by an attacker, many animals and also insects react by spraying their assailant with a harmful substance. The bombardier beetle, true to its name, launches volleys of hot chemicals brewed in its own abdomen. As any environmentally conscious person will tell you, Nature is a source of infinite wonder and amazement. Hiding in its bosom, there are organisms that will leave you awestruck. Some of these creatures are so remarkable that they will leave you scratching your head as to how could such a marvel even be possible.

Air-breathing Fishes

The necessity of obtaining the oxygen which fishes must have like all other creatures presents them with special problems that they have solved in special ways. Their primary oxygen source, of course, is the surrounding water, and their primary breathing apparatus is their gills. But should the water be deficient in oxygen due to pollution or any other cause, some can come to the surface and, to a limited degree, gulp down air direct from the atmosphere. Goldfish can be observed doing this when their tank is too small or when their water is contaminated with decaying food.

Great Moon Hoax

Imagine that tomorrow morning some highly respected American newspaper such as the New York Times published an exclusive, front-page interview with a Russian scientist, a Dr I. Marchenko, who has managed to escape to the United States. He is being held in communicado at an Army camp in Alabama because the Department of Defense is afraid panic will sweep the country if his story gets out, but somehow a reporter has managed to find and interview him. And there’s a statement by ‘The Editors’ that they know the story to be true even though the Government will deny everything.


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