A few great Nooze stories to send you into your weekend: First, we bring you one more love-related story, because who says Valentine's Day is the only time people (or seals) think about love? From Lauren Sommer reporting for NPR:
On this Valentine's Day, we bring you a story from the California coast, where love is in the air. It sounds something like this.
That's a male northern elephant seal. It's the peak of their mating season right now. Elephant seals spend of the most of the year alone, out in the Pacific Ocean. So you can probably guess what happens when they get together every winter.
Naturalist Lisa Wolfklain is leading a public tour at Ano Nuevo State Reserve, two hours south of San Francisco, where hundreds of elephant seals are packed together on a narrow strip of beach... Read and hear more.
During the summer in Qaanaaq, Greenland, an Inuit hunter paddling next to a resting narwhal observed a thin gauzelike layer coming off the narwhal's body and dissipating into the water. The event lasted only a few seconds, but Connecticut-based dentist Martin Nweeia, a Harvard University and Smithsonian Institution researcher who studies narwhal tusks as his passion, immediately saw the scientific significance of the hunter's observation.
Whereas the beluga, the narwhal's nearest relative, is known to enter warmer estuarine waters in the summer to molt, this skin-renewal process had never been scientifically documented for narwhal, in part because no scientist has ever spent sufficient time in remote Arctic locations to record such an event. "One voice from an Inuit hunter can be more significant than 100 scientists," says Nweeia, who presented his findings at the 18th Inuit Studies Conference in Washington, D.C... Read and see more.
When New Jersey yacht captain Jon Eisberg heard weather reports of a tropical storm named Sandy hurtling north on an ominous path along the Eastern seaboard, he swiftly shifted course and soon headed back home to the Jersey Shore, where this tropical cyclone — now upgraded to a superstorm — was predicted to take an unexpected perpendicular left turn west, and hit within 36 to 48 hours.
Back “down the shore,” in an inlet off Barnegat Bay, a mile west of the Atlantic Ocean, the captain rode out a rattling night of high winds and pelting rain as the upper, water-whipping edge of the counterclockwise-spiraling hurricane passed over his home in coastal Brick Township. But the seasoned skipper, who’d weathered plenty of storms, Nor’easters and blizzards in his years as a charter yacht-delivery captain, was unprepared for what happened next... Read more.