Discovery Channel Magazine India - June 2014 - PDF Free Download (2024)

SINGING WHALES 46 LISTENING TO GIANTS

TO THE RESCUE 62 HOW TO SAVE LIVES

GADGET TRASH 76

OBSOLETE-PROOF TECH?

HAPPY-NOMICS 88 MOODS MADE EASY

JUNE 2014 I `150 Invitation price `100

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INSIDE THE SPECIAL FORCES GETTING UP CLOSE WITH THE WORLD’S ELITE SOLDIERS

PG 32

EDITOR'S LETTER

C H A N N E L M AG A Z I N E I N D I A Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie Group Chief Executive Officer Ashish Bagga Group Synergy and Creative Officer Kalli Purie

VIOLENCE, BEAUTY AND EPIC RESCUES

Editorial Director Jamal Shaikh Art Director Piyush Garg Asst Art Director Rahul Sharma Designer Kishore Rawat

Impact (Advertising)

Group Business Head Manoj Sharma Associate Publisher (Impact) Anil Fernandes Senior General Managers Kaustav Chatterjee (East), Jitendra Lad (West), Head (North) Subhashis Roy General Manager Shailender Nehru (Bangalore), General Manager Velu Balasubramaniam (Chennai)

Business

Head, CRM/CMS & Senior GM Vikas Malhotra Chief Manager, Operations GL Ravik Kumar Marketing Managers Kunal Bag, Anuradha Rana Production Anuj Jamdegni

News stand Sales

Chief General Manager DVS Rama Rao General Manager - National Deepak Bhatt Sr Manager - North Manish Shrivastava Sr Manager - East Joydeep Roy General Manager - West Rajesh Menon General Manager - Operations Rakesh Sharma

DISCOVERY NETWORKS ASIA-PACIFIC Editorial Board

President and Managing Director Arjan Hoekstra SVP Content Group Kevin Dickie SVP and GM, South Asia Rahul Johri VP, Marketing, South Asia Rajiv Bakshi VP, Communications Charles Yap VP, Programming Charmaine Kwan VP, Marketing Magdalene Ng

Editorial (Novus Media Solutions) Editor Luke Clark Design Director Richard MacLean Chief Subeditor Josephine Pang Staff Writer Daniel Seifert Photo Editor Haryati Mahmood Senior Designer Bessy Kim

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Email: [emailprotected] Phone: +91 120 246 9900 Mail: Discovery Channel Magazine India, A 61, Sector 57, Noida 201 301 VOLUME 1 NUMBER 5

Discovery Channel Magazine reserves all rights throughout the world. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part, in English or other languages, is prohibited. Discovery Channel Magazine does not take responsibility for returning unsolicited publication material. • Published and distributed monthly by Living Media India Ltd. (Regd. Office: K-9, Connaught Circus, New Delhi – 110001) under license granted by Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd., 21 Media Circle #8-01, Singapore 138562. • All Discovery Channel logos © 2014 Discovery Communications, LLC. Discovery Channel and the Discovery Channel logo are trademarks of Discovery Communications, LLC, used under licence. All rights reserved. • The views and opinions expressed or implied in Discovery Channel Magazine do not necessarily reflect those of Living Media India Ltd., MediaCorp Pte Ltd or Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, including their directors and editorial staff. • All information is correct at the time of going to print. • All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent courts and forums in Delhi / New Delhi only. • Published & printed by Ashish Bagga on behalf of Living Media India Limited. Printed at Thomson Press India Limited 18 - 35, Milestone, Delhi Mathura Road, Faridabad - 121 007, (Haryana). Published at K - 9, Connaught Circus, New Delhi - 110 001. • Editor: Jamal Shaikh

06 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

A tweet of mine from a couple of years ago generated more excitement than I had bargained for. “Why is it that all addictive games that help us bust stress are so violent in nature? Think Brick Breaker, Angry Birds, GTA and more…” I received 239 responses to this conversation starter, but got no clear answer. Are human beings meant to revel in violence? Do our senses peak with our instinct for survival? And does urban, cultured living in times of peace suppress animal instincts that may be intrinsic? Last month, while Netizens celebrated a prank video made by an Indian teenage boy telling his father his girlfriend was pregnant, I watched the clip in horror. The son’s mistake was pardonable, but the father’s violent reaction (he kicked and punched his grown-up son, then threatened to smash a bottle on him) was certainly not. The Dad in the video may be a sore exception, but haven’t you ever watched an edge-of-the-seat action thriller and thought of yourself as the superhero? You have, and that leaves us with one conclusion: That human beings, especially men, are intrigued by the rewards of strength. So what if it’s exaggerated with missiles, guns and, well, angry birds. To destroy is to conquer, and to win means to defeat. It is in this light that I present to you our cover story this month, arguably one

of the most in-depth ones we’ve ever done. Call of Duty goes inside the lives of the world’s most elite Special Forces, studying their physical training, mental strength and emotional conditioning. Who’s better: The Israelis, Brits or the Russians? Are their GI Joes superhuman? Turn to page 32 to learn how their minds are always stronger than their bodies. Also in this issue, you’ll find pathbreaking insight into conversations between whales, a beautiful new discovery that’s leaving scientists speechless. And, as if to counter the violence in the start, we have documented Ten Epic Rescues, from a fighter jet to a plummeting bride… Unlike my tweet, the excitement these stories will elicit won’t fit in 140 characters. We promise.

Jamal Shaikh Editorial Director

twitter.com/JamalShaikh instagram.com/JamalShaikh

ISSUE 06/14

CONTENTS DEPARTMENTS

26

FRONTIERS

FREEDOM FROM JELLY FISH?

14

JERO robots to herd jellyfish into nets where they will be shredded NEWS

PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS

16

Fast forwarding experience of time with a pill to ease prison crowding SCIENCE

UNWITTING POISON

24

We list some unsuspecting sources of toxicity in seemingly safe products

28

TECHNOLOGY

CHEESY COOL

26

Bear Grylls may survive without a laser-guided pizza cutter, but at DCM we can't wait for payday

22

BUTTONS

ADVENTURE

FAMOUS FIRSTS

28

20

We compare some adventurous firsts, from the budget to the bizarre, including the first robot to get itself arrested

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE WOW 12 THE PLANET'S LARGEST SPIRITUAL GATHERING CAPTURED IN AN AWARDWINNING IMAGE

FOOD PIC TRICKS 20 THINK THAT RECIPE IMAGE LOOKS GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT? HERE'S THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE DELICIOUS SHOTS

NOT A HAPPY ENDING 22 HOW A PET CAT BROUGHT AN ENTIRE SPECIES TO EXTINCTION — AND SOME OTHER PLANET'S MOST UNIQUE ANIMALS

THE GRID 15 LEAD UNDERWEAR AND BRITNEY SPEARS' MUSIC WILL KEEP YOU SAFE FROM RADIOACTIVE PIRATES (MAYBE)

UP IN SMOKE 20 SOME FACTS BEHIND ADVERTISING, INCLUDING THE ORIGIN OF THE NICKNAME "COWBOY KILLER"

FACE OFF 22 HOW DID DISNEY'S ILLUSTRATORS MAKE CLASSIC CHARACTERS LOOK LIKE BADDIES? SEE THE TOP VILLAINOUS TRAITS

08 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

WHAT'S ON 102 JOIN THE RENOWNED ZOOLOGIST DAVE SALMONI IN FINDING THE LOST ISLANDS, TRACE THE FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL IN THE KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH WHICH ATTRACTED PEOPLE OF THE AGE AND BE AMAZED AT THE MAGIC OF SCIENCE. ALL THIS ON DISCOVERY CHANNEL THIS JUNE

76

46

88

biofuels aside, algae can also be used to produce hydrogen gas, which can then be used as fuel. some researchers have even designed bioreactors specially for this purpose

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FEATURES ISSUE 06/14 ADVENTURE

SWIMMING WITH NAVY SEALS

32

Super tough, and trained to within an inch of their lives, find out why thousands of crack commandos around the world are now on the front lines of global conflict ENVIRONMENT

WORLD OF WHALES

46

Dive in to the amazing universe of the colossus of the deep. From the history of the species to the science of their survival, DCM investigates the life of the oceanic behemoth ADVENTURE

SAVE OUR SOULS

62

62

32

From the immense international effort to free trapped Chilean miners, to one man's ability to attract plummeting babies, we look at some of history's greatest rescues ENVIRONMENT

REAL-LIFE SPAM

76

Once a piece of technology is yesterday's news, it often ends up on a developing nation's dump. The results are toxic PSYCHOLOGY

REASONS TO FEEL BETTER

88

News reports may paint a dire picture of the world, but there are still plenty of reasons to be happy. DCM looks at the upsides of the world that make us smile

89 JUNE 2014

11 APRIL JUNE 2014

THE CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH By Wolfgang Weinhardt

The festival revolves around Allahabad, where the confluence of rivers is considered especially holy, and some sources estimate that there were a total of 120 million visitors during the 55 days of the festival last year. One of the main rituals is a holy dip in the river and on the most auspicious day, around 35 million people gathered to do just that. Hindus believe that submerging themselves in the waters of the river on this day absolves them and their ancestors of sin, ending the cycle of rebirth known as samsara. Samsara is also the name Weinhardt gave this image. The photograph won third place in the Germany National Awards segment of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards. It was entered in the "open" category — for nonprofessional photographers — and was picked from over 65,000 entries. 12 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

PHOTO: WOLFGANG WEINHARDT, GERMANY 3RD PLACE, NATIONAL AWARD 2014 SONY WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2014

In early 2013, German photographer Wolfgang Weinhardt came on a journey to India. As he put it, "I had the pleasure of joining the pilgrims and devotees of the Maha Kumbh Mela — the largest spiritual gathering on the planet, held every 12 years."

WOW

13 JUNE 2014

ISSUE 06/14

ILLUSTRATION: CARLO GIAMBARRESI AT ILLUSTRATIONROOM.COM.AU

FRONTIERS

ROBOTS VERSUS SEA MONSTERS RELIEF FROM JELLY FISH MENACE IN SIGHT It has all the elements of an epic monster movie. There's the armada of faceless, stinging beasts — followed by the desperate plan to fight them with a breed of violent robots. Yet this scene is in the real-life waters of South Korea, where scientists recently developed machines to combat a persistent plague of jellyfish. Known as the Jellyfish Elimination Robotic Swarm (JEROS), each robot is designed to herd jellyfish into nets, where they are mercilessly shredded. This might seem extreme, but apart from being a danger to swimmers, jellyfish recently shut down a

14 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

nuclear reactor in Sweden, after they clogged the facility’s pipes. The problem, says biologist Rebecca Helm of Brown University, is that JEROS could in fact worsen the situation. “Assuming you rip through 6,000 jellies per hour for 12 hours, you’ve now released 720,000 jellies worth of eggs and sperm into the water all at once,” she wrote on website Deep Sea News. The jellies might then multiply at a far greater rate. And, she adds, this releases all the still-deadly tentacles “to float independent of their bodies”. Oops. We anticipate a sequel ahead.

NEWS

THE GRID A S I A- PAC I F I C

SURVIVAL

NUTS TO RADIATION!

If the world were to go to pot, nuclear power plant meltdowns or nuclear war are two possible contributors. But a Japanese swimwear company has a plan for that. So far, they have unveiled a wetsuit that claims to block nearly 100 percent of radioactive beta rays, while a lead-based underwear is being developed. At US$825 for the latter, this is likely to be the most expensive underwear you’ll ever buy. And the heaviest, weighing 3.4 kilograms.

TRUCKS

FOUR WHEELS AND FIRE Much of Australia needs

to battle wild bushfires. But in December 2013 The Sunday Times reported that most of the 667 vehicles that tackled blazes in Western Australia were not properly equipped. Specifically, they lacked in-cab breathing gear, water spray protection and advanced GPS systems. What’s more, only 11 percent of the fire trucks were fitted with heat shields. Upgrades are now being called for.

EXPLOSIONS

THE MINEFIELDS OF SOLOMON World War II

might have ended decades ago, but its remnants are still a bane of residents of the Solomon Islands, in the Pacific Ocean. So says the Australian Defence Force commander, which was involved in an operation to clear the island of unexploded bombs from the conflict. Commander Doug Griffiths told Radio Australia that explosives “constantly turn up when [locals are] clearing land, when they’re building”.

Saying No to the Noose

AMERICAS TOUGH GUY If a 72-year-

old can survive for 19 days in the snowy wilds of a California forest, in the US, then so can you. The hunter, named Gene Penaflor, had become separated from his buddy when they were flanking a deer, hit his head and became disorientated. Although he had a rifle, say news sources, Penaflor was too tired to hunt big game, so he foraged for algae, and caught lizards, frogs and squirrels to eat. He was later rescued when other hunters heard his cries.

STRANGE AND SERIOUS EVENTS FROM ACROSS THE WORLD EUROPE BEEP BEEP, SNORE SNORE When you picture

virtual reality headsets, you imagine using them to recreate insane scenarios: gritty battles, car chases and the like. But now, you can play Euro Truck Simulator 2 with the Oculus Rift headset (pictured), allowing you to drive around Europe, making deliveries in a truck. The game is from a UK maker Excalibur, who also created titles ranging from Chemical Spillage Simulation, to Camping Manager 2012 (no, we aren’t kidding).

DRIVING HIGH Research-

ANNON OUCHIE

PIRATES AND POP Want

to prevent a Somali pirate attack by scaring them away? You’ll need a mighty, terrifying weapon. You’ll need… Britney Spears songs! Supertankers recently started blasting the pop diva’s tunes at full volume. Crazy, but it seems to be working. An official at the Security Association for the Maritime Industry cautioned TIME magazine against playing just any artist, though. “I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention.”

HIGH-SECURITY VEHICLES In October last

ers in Brazil have led a review of alcohol and drug use in truckers worldwide, including several recent studies, and the results are wide-ranging but negative. Many of the studies focused on Brazil, the United States and Australia, but also other European and Asian nations. Strikingly high ratings included Brazil, in which 91 percent of truckers said they drank on the job, with 70 percent admitting to using amphetamines.

A daredevil known as “Annon” recently tried to mountain-bike off Bolivia’s “Death Road” and parachute down the mountain. Annon was well-prepared with a support team and ambulance, both of which he needed. His ‘chute opened too slow and he suffered mild injuries: in his own words, “a broken arse, fractures in the forearm and cut tendons in the knee”. He got off lightly, considering this is thought to be the most dangerous road in the world.

MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

year, three men executed a daring daylight robbery of an armoured delivery truck in Dubai. Attacking the security guards of the truck, which was restocking cash in ATMs, the masked men made off with nearly US$550,000. Now, local security services are looking to upgrade the safety features of their trucks. For example, a proposed upgrade may restrict access to the vehicle by electronic fingerprints.

STAND AND DELIVER A device known as STANDEX, developed by several European firms, aims to find bombs placed in large crowds. The Stand-Off Detection of Explosives and Suicide Bombers system, NATO claims, “can detect explosives remotely, in real time and without disrupting the flow of passengers,” using microwave scanning technology. The system has already been tested in the underground station of an unnamed European city. New use of microwave technology!

FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE A US drone attack in

Somalia recently killed Ibrahim Ali, who is thought to have been the explosives expert of Islamist militant group al-Shabaab. US military officials have been quoted in the press describing how Ibrahim Ali was known for his skill at building and using home-made bombs and suicide vests. Not long before the drone attack, al-Shabaab had claimed responsibility for the attack of a Kenya mall that killed 70 people last year.

NEWS THAT IRANIAN AUTHORITIES WON’T BE RE-EXECUTING THE DRUG SMUGGLER WHO SURVIVED A HANGING WAS GREETED POSITIVELY BY AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. THE CONVICT WAS NOTED TO BE ALIVE, WHEN MORTUARY STAFF SAW CONDENSATION BUILDING UP IN HIS BODY BAG. ALTHOUGH RARE, MANY HAVE SURVIVED THE NOOSE, INCLUDING AN AUSTRALIAN CONVICT WHO SURVIVED THREE HANGINGS IN 1803. THE ROPE BROKE OR UNRAVELLED EACH TIME (DESPITE BEING MADE TO HOLD 450 KILOGRAMS), CAUSING THE GOVERNOR TO CITE DIVINE INTERVENTION AND LET HIM OFF

15 JUNE 2014

NEWS NEWS NOGGINS OF THE NETHERLANDS

1ST

THE FIRST OPERATION TO OUTFIT A HUMAN WITH A 3D PRINTED PLASTIC SKULL OCCURRED RECENTLY IN THE NETHERLANDS

23 HOURS

TIME IT TOOK TO REPLACE THE PATIENT’S SKULL, WHICH HAD ABNORMALLY THICKENED FROM 1.5 CENTIMETRES TO A HAZARDOUS FIVE CENTIMETRES

1M 24S

YOU CAN WATCH A SHORT HIGHLIGHT CLIP OF THE OPERATION ON YOUTUBE (GOOGLE “VOLLEDIGE KUNSTSTOF 3D-GEPRINTE SCHEDEL GEÏMPLANTEERD”)

PRISONED FOR 1,000 YEARS IN A FRACTION Research is on to expand perception of time with a simple pill that fast-forwards sensory experience in penal institutions. Moreover, prison populations are growing in all five continents. In the 15 years since the publication of the World Prison Population List, the estimated world prison population has increased by 25 to 30 percent. At the same time the world population has risen by just over 20 percent.” And unfortunately, he says, “There is little evidence to suggest that conditions are improving, or that high rates of imprisonment have a positive impact on reducing levels of crime.” Something needs to be done, he asserts — but in his opinion, mind control drugs are not it. Let’s not forget, he says, that prison time is meant “to provide a period for fostering reform and rehabilitation so that the prisoner returns to society less likely to reoffend”. Time distortion drugs, meanwhile, “appear to be all about punishment, retribution and deterrence, and nothing whatsoever to do with reform, resettlement or reintegration”. For

16 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

one thing, he says, it would inhumanely create a sort of Danteesque purgatory for the prisoner. Where, he asks emphatically, would be the hope in a 1,000-year sentence? “I suspect serious dysfunctional damage to relationships here,” he says, “the released prisoner in particular having learned over many years not to depend on the love of a close family. How could we expect the easy cementation of family ties?” There are other ways to free up beleaguered prisons, Bennett argues. Many prisoners have not even been sentenced, and are kept in prison pending trial. “I have only just returned from Panama where up to 70 percent of prisoners are pre-trial detainees — they have not yet been sentenced.” Many, in fact, are subsequently found not guilty. “In many countries, prison populations could be reduced considerably by simply speeding up the time for cases to pass through the legal process,” he says.

High-Tech Pesticide Pests to carry their own cross

Scientists at CSIRO are exploring a new method to combat one of Australia’s worst pests, the Queensland fruit fly. This involves attaching 1.5-millimetre sensors to the insects (pictured).

CHRIS HADFIELD, ASTRONAUT

Quote Unquote "YOU ARE A ONEPERSON SPACESHIP: THAT IS YOUR SPACESUIT. AND YOU’RE GOING THROUGH SPACE WITH THE WORLD. IT’S AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE. YOU’RE NOT LOOKING UP AT THE UNIVERSE. YOU AND THE EARTH ARE GOING THROUGH THE UNIVERSE TOGETHER"

The astronaut recently gave a charming TED talk about the highs and lows of space walks. The high points, as you can see from his speech, were mind-blowing. The low point? “I was outside on my first space walk when my left eye went blind, and I didn’t know why.” Then his other eye went on the fritz too. He mused to the audience, “If you’re outside on a space walk and you’re blinded, your natural reaction would be to panic, I think.” Of course, he made it back safe and sound. “It turns out it was just the [suit’s] anti-fog, sort of a mixture of oil and soap, that got in my eye. Now we use Johnson’s No More Tears — which we probably should have been using right from the very beginning.” How’s that for an endorsem*nt, eh?

PHOTOS: DICOVERY CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (THE GRID); AFP (FLY WITH SENSOR); NASA (CHRIS HADFIELD)

It sounds like the stuff of a dystopian sci-fi film. But a team of scholars at Oxford University in the UK says it is possible to make a prisoner experience hundreds of years of a prison sentence in moments. “There are a number of psychoactive drugs that distort people’s sense of time, so you could imagine developing a pill or a liquid that made someone feel like they were serving a 1,000year sentence,” the team leader said in an interview with Aeon magazine. Whether this is humane is debatable, she writes on her blog, “but I believe it is an issue worth debating.” Might it actually be more humane to get a prison sentence over with in a blink of an eye, and then set someone free? Dr Peter Bennett, the director of the International Centre for Prison Studies, in the UK, thinks about world incarceration all the time. And it is not a pretty picture, he tells DCM. “More than 10.2 million people worldwide are held

OBSESSIONS

DEADLY DILEMMAS Life saving choices that one must make and hopefully live to tell the tale

Meet one of Discovery Channel’s newest, coolest shows. Deadly Dilemmas presents you with a dangerous situation, and simply asks, what do you do to survive? For example: you’re offered treatment for an infected wound. Do you choose leeches, or maggots (Maggots! They’ll digest the dead tissue)? We spoke to the show’s executive producer, Tom Gorham, about the new predicament programme

Were there a lot of dilemmas that didn’t make it to the show? There were plenty of rejects that were either too simple, too obvious or weren’t truly deadly. Being badly hurt wouldn’t cut it for Deadly Dilemmas; the wrong choice had to be fatal. To add a bit of spice, we kept a selection of weird and gross questions, like losing your liver versus your stomach, or the “to pop or not” spot dilemma. Getting a strong list of 90 dilemmas was a mammoth task! Do you feel the pull of the show is our mistaken belief that we would know what to do in most real world situations? Definitely, everyone loves to be surprised with cool science. Alongside that, I hope the audience will be hooked by the game element, playing along to keep their nine lives — and prove they’re one of life’s ultimate game players. How did you fare when you tested yourself in some of the situations? Have any of the examples made you rethink your life? After 15 years producing science and technology programmes, I had hoped that I had a pretty good idea of which choices would keep me alive — but there were plenty that surprised me. Who knew that pistachios could spontaneously combust? Or that too many carrots could kill you! As for lifestyle changes, I definitely won’t be eating reheated rice anytime soon, or squeezing spots on the end of my nose. Here’s a dilemma for you: would you rather sneeze co*ckroaches, or have a stranger sneeze in your face every day? I hadn’t knowingly played this game before making the series, but now I can see a deadly dilemma everywhere I turn. And the last question, that’s easy. I’d sneeze co*ckroaches any day.

DECISION-MAKING, UNDER THE MICROSCOPE MORE IS LESS?

50-50?

GAME ON

Research seems to indicate the more options we are given, the more befuddled most people become. In one study, shoppers who were offered samples of six different jams were more likely to buy one than shoppers who were offered 24 choices.

According to statisticians at Stanford University in the US, the actual odds of a coin toss are closer to 51-49, than 50-50. In 1903, how did Wilbur and Orville Wright decide who would be the pilot of the first plane ride in history? A coin toss, of course.

Some research has shown that playing action video games teaches people to make decisions up to 25 percent faster — while not influencing their accuracy, which seems to be rather unlike what you might expect but helpful nonetheless. Thanks, Halo!

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OBSESSIONS

TRICKS FOR A FOOD SHOT

I WANT ONE, MUMMY

ADVERTISING And you thought you were in control of your decision making

Fourteen. That’s how many brand names we can see, just glancing around from the (Apple) computer we’re currently typing on. Try it yourself and you’ll confirm the obvious — advertising is everywhere. And while we like to think ourselves as above it all, impervious to commercials, we’re really not. Way back in 1928, Edward Bernays wrote in his book Propaganda that, “In some departments of our daily life, in which we imagine ourselves free agents, we are ruled by dictators exercising great power.” Take a man buying a suit, Bernays wrote. He “imagines that he is choosing, according to his taste and his personality, the kind of garment which he prefers. In reality, he may be obeying the orders of an anonymous gentleman tailor in London.” Luckily, things have changed, eh? Anyway, we’re off to Have a Break, Have a ___________!

GREAT LOGOS

TAMPONS

Soaked in boiling water, they hide in “hot” pies or other foods and help produce that fresh, steaming look Because: There’s a Hershey’s kiss between the “K” and the “I”! (Tilt your head to the left and you’ll see it)

MOTOR OIL

Takes the place of maple syrup, which doesn't always look so good

MASHED POTATOES

In place of ice-cream (which would melt under hot lights)

Because: You just thought of The Rolling Stones. How many other bands have such an instantly recognisable wordless logo? It’s thought to have been first used on the Sticky Fingers album cover in 1971 — and is still going strong

GLUE

White paste looks like milk, and holds cereal in place without making it soggy. Yum!

Because: There’s an arrow between the “E” and the “x”

#5

Earlier this year, Eric Lawson became the fifth “Marlboro Man” to die of a smoking-related disease. The deaths are why Marlboro Reds have acquired the nickname “Cowboy Killers”.

US$0 The company didn’t pay anything to be featured as a huge plot point in the movie Cast Away, when Tom Hanks’ character survives thanks to scavenging in FedEx boxes.

2x

Cost of the 2004 TV commercial for Chanel No. 5 perfume. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, it featured Nicole Kidman prancing around in slow motion, and made some of us want to spritz perfume into our eyes so we never had to see it again. According to the Guinness World Records, it is the most expensive TV commercial ever produced. 20 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

A 2008 study from York University, in Canada, found that US pharmaceutical companies spend nearly twice as much on advertising as on research and development.

44%

Increase in Lucky Strike cigarette sales after they were featured heavily in Mad Men.

"I don’t love it, but maybe it will grow on me" So said Nike cofounder Phil Knight, who in 1971 bought the “swoosh” logo from a design student

Alan D Eames, an anthropologist who called himself “the Indiana Jones of beer”, claimed he found one of the oldest surviving examples of advertising on a Mesopotamian tablet dating to 4,000 BC. As proof that mankind hasn’t changed much, the ad featured a well-endowed woman holding a goblet of beer in each hand, and he interpreted the tagline as: “Drink Elba, the beer with the heart of a lion.”

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES (CARROT DYNAMITE)

US$33,000,000

Drink Like a Babylonian

SCIENCE BAD TO THE BONE

WHAT MAKES Extinction, Extermination A FACE EVIL? The next time you’re watching a classic Disney flick, take a look at the villain’s facial features. How exactly do the illustrators try to get us to dislike the baddies (in sometimes non-politically correct ways)? If you think a lot of them look similar, it’s because of:

A SHARP CHIN

Psychologists at the University of Warwick, in the United Kingdom, presented simple geometric shapes to volunteers to find out if they convey positive or negative emotions. Downward triangles (like in pointy chins) carried negative connotations.

“EVIL” EYEBROWS

Do sharply downwardpointing eyebrows remind you of anything? Like the downward triangle OF DEATH? As one of the Warwick researchers explained, “If we look at cartoon characters, the classic baddie will often be drawn with evil eyebrows that come to a downward point in the middle.”

ANDROGYNY

Male Disney villains such as Hades, Captain Hook and Jafar tend to have their masculine features balanced out by long hair, pronounced lips, arched eyebrows and shadowed eyelids. Females such as Cruella DeVille tend to be drawn with more masculine body shapes, a lack of flowing hair and angular faces. Critics have pointed out that in early Disney films, illustrators seem to be upholding gender norms whereby goodies follow clear gender roles, and the baddies do not.

DARK EYES

Generally speaking, classic Disney villains had brown eyes. Protagonists, meanwhile, were usually more likely to have big blue eyes (like Alice in Alice in Wonderland). Sharp chin Dark eyes Androgynous features Angular brows Maybe Twilight star Kristen Stewart should try out for a role as a villain next

MING

BUTTONS

Ming, a 507-year-old Icelandic clam, was declared the oldest animal in the world when it was discovered in 2006. Except scientists accidentally killed it. The defensive boffins later told the BBC, “Anyone who has eaten clam chowder in New England has probably eaten flesh from this species, many of which are likely several hundred years old.”

CELIA Celia, the last Pyrenean ibex, a type of Spanish wild goat, said “baahbye” to the world in 2000 when she was crushed by a falling tree. Cells from her body were later used to clone a her, achieving the first “de-extinction” — until the ibex baby died within minutes, unable to breathe properly due to a defect in one of its lungs.

Buttons, the last wild

passenger pigeon, was reportedly shot on March 24, 1900, by a 14-year-old boy named Press Clay Southworth, in Ohio, in the United States. The bird was stuffed and had its eyes replaced with… well, we’re sure you can probably guess.

ALL STRANGE, SAD STORIES, BUT THEY BRING UP AN INTERESTING QUESTION. HOW DO WE TRULY KNOW WHEN SOMETHING HAS GONE EXTINCT? SIMPLY SAYING, “Y’KNOW, I HAVEN’T SEEN A STEPHEN’S ISLAND WREN FOR AGES!” IS FAIRLY UNSCIENTIFIC. THE WORLD CONSERVATION UNION USED TO DECLARE A SPECIES EXTINCT WHEN IT HAD NOT BEEN SEEN FOR 50 YEARS. NOW, IT WILL ONLY DUB AN ANIMAL A GONER IF “THERE IS NO REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE LAST INDIVIDUAL HAS DIED”. PHILOSOPHERS, OF COURSE, WOULD SAY IT’S MIGHTY DIFFICULT TO PROVE A NEGATIVE

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES (KRISTEN STEWART); KYLE CASSIDY (NEIL GAIMAN), ICONS: THE NOUN PROJECT, EALANCHELIYAN S (EYES), SIMON CHILD (FU MANCHU), BLAKE THOMPSON (LIPS), ILLUSTRATION: BEN MOUNSEY (EXTINCTION, EXTERMINATION)

Contours speak louder than words

BIRDS PROBABLY THINK THAT STEPHENS ISLAND, A SMALL MASS OF LAND JUST NORTH OF NEW ZEALAND’S SOUTH ISLAND, IS HAUNTED. THAT’S BECAUSE IN 1894, THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF STEPHENS ISLAND WRENS, ONE OF ONLY THREE KNOWN FLIGHTLESS SONGBIRD SPECIES IN THE WORLD, WAS WIPED OUT — BY A SINGLE BEING. SAID BEING WAS TIBBLES, THE FELINE PET OF THE ISLAND’S LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER. SHE TURNED OUT TO BE QUITE THE HUNTER, SO MUCH SO THAT THE CHRISTCHURCH PRESS NOTED DEJECTEDLY THE WREN “HAS APPARENTLY BECOME QUITE EXTINCT. THIS IS PROBABLY A RECORD PERFORMANCE IN THE WAY OF EXTERMINATION”. OTHER INSTANCES OF EXTINCTION OR THE KILLING OF UNIQUE ANIMALS INCLUDE:

SCIENCE

Watch out for toxicity in your immediate environment It’s said a woman once snorted at Sir Winston Churchill, “If I were your wife, I’d put poison in your coffee.” He replied, “If I were your husband, I’d drink it.” Little did they know they could have just thrown (raw) cashews at each other

“A THIN LL POISOGS ARE NOTH N, AND IN WITH G IS POISOOUT N”

DOSE THE MOST Paracelsus, a Renaissance scientist, is said to have founded the study of toxicology, and gave rise to one of its first principles: the dose makes the poison. In short, anything is poisonous, from water to gummy bears, given the right amount.

AH, NUTS Why aren’t cashews sold in their shell? Because the shell contains a poisonous chemical. Cashews come from the same family as poison ivy, and handling raw cashews can cause irritation to the skin.

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PRETTY POISON Although considered among the most toxic animals in the world, poison dart frogs aren’t born that way. Their poison accumulates in their system due to a natural diet. As such, captive-born poison dart frogs are harmless.

TASTE OF DEATH Cyanide kills so quickly, its taste was unknown until 2006, when a man allegedly penned a suicide note: “Doctors, potassium cyanide. I have tasted it. It burns the tongue and tastes acrid.”

BOTOX Not just for people who want a wrinkle-free face, this drug, derived from botulinum toxin, is also effective at inhibiting sweating. And if "excessive sweating" embarrasses you, call it hyperhidrosis, which sounds more like a superpower.

4x

We’ve known lead is a poison for millennia, when Greek physician Dioscorides noted that the metal “makes the mind give way”. How right he was — some scientists now think that lead poisoning, which affects the brain, caused the rise in violent crime throughout the 20th century. A US study found that young people convicted of a violent crime were four times more likely to have high levels of lead in their bones.

Holy Thermodynamics, Batman! THERE IS NO FORM OF SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION THAT COULD NOT BE MADE MORE FUN WITH THE ADDITION OF A SUPERHERO. WHICH IS PROBABLY WHY ONE OF OUR FAVOURITE MEMES IS “BATMAN SLAPPING ROBIN”. IT FEATURES AN IRATE DARK KNIGHT GIVING THE BOY WONDER A RIGHT GOOD CUFFING ‘ROUND THE FACE. A SLEW OF NETIZENS HAVE PLACED DIFFERENT QUOTES IN THEIR RESPECTIVE WORD BUBBLES, BUT THE BEST AND MOST EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE GOES LIKE THIS: ROBIN: CLOSE THE DOOR BATMAN, YOU’RE LETTING THE COLD IN BATMAN: THERMODYNAMICS TWO: THE HEAT GOES OUT! OUR FAVOURITE CRIME FIGHTER IS INDEED CORRECT. THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS STATES THAT ENERGY FLOWS FROM A HOTTER OBJECT TO A COOLER ONE. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. BATMAN MIGHT ALSO HAVE SLAPPED ROBIN IF THEY HAD HAD THIS EXCHANGE: ROBIN: I’M SO DARN TIRED I FEEL LIKE ALL MY ENERGY HAS JUST VANISHED BATMAN: THERMODYNAMICS ONE: ENERGY CAN BE CHANGED FROM ONE FORM TO ANOTHER, BUT IT CANNOT BE DESTROYED!

LEARN SCIENCE WITH OTHER SUPERHEROES: “Faster than a speeding bullet!” The physics of velocity with Professor Clark Kent “With great power comes great responsibility.” The ethics of nuclear energy with Professor Peter Parker “I am Iron Man.” Metallurgy and human anatomy with Professor Tony Stark “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” Gamma radiation and its effects on behaviour with Dr Bruce Banner

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES (PILL OF SKULLS), ICON: THE NOUN PROJECT, SCOTT LEWIS (SAFETY PIN)

LIVING WITH POISON

TECHNOLOGY

EXTRA CHEESE, EXTRA COOL

Will the new pizza cutter spare your hand? Polymerisation for the flat black plastic finish grip (alas, not dishwasher-safe) The picatinny rail or MILSTD-1913 rail, a standard mounting platform originally developed for the US military, to mount attachments to rifles Dr Evil would be proud of this gizmo. It’s not “sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads” but it’s certainly more practical. Maybe. Check out the tactical laser-guided pizza cutter, designed to put an end to arguments about who got the bigger slice. By beaming a laser line onto your Multi-Meat Heart Attack Special (with extra pineapple slices, because you have terrible taste in pizza), the device ensures you can cut with a steady and fair hand. There’s also a flashlight, in case you need to cut in the dark. It’s easy to laugh at this as a dippy, do-nothing doohickey. But that would be to disregard it as an example of mankind’s thirst for innovation. Think of the combined scientific and technological thought that civilisation had to perfect before this could be invented! All that for just US$29.99!

Advanced metallurgy for the device’s zinc-alloy body and stainless steel blade An understanding of miniaturised electrochemical cells for the two AAA 1.5-volt alkaline batteries We’re wiping tears of wonder from our eyes. Neil Gaiman (see right) would be proud.

My banana is musical New app underway to convert object vibrations to musical notes

“Play the world.” That’s the tagline of a new device called the Mogees, and at first it sounds like any other overblown marketing slogan that means precisely nothing. But the creators of the Mogees mean it literally. Plug the stethoscope-like suction cup onto an object — a balloon, a wall, your forehead — and the sensor will analyse the sounds made when you hit, tap, stroke or blow on it. The sounds are carried from the “stethoscope” to an app on your smartphone, which analyses the sounds, and converts them to music. The prototype Mogees is currently fundraising on Kickstarter, and will hopefully be shipped later this year. Until then, we have so many questions. What does human hair “sound” like? Does your face sound different from my face? Could you play ‘Smoke on the Water’ using only a bowl of leftover mashed potatoes?

ARGHH MY EYES!

The first item ever sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer. It was purchased for US$14.83, by a collector of broken laser pointers NEIL GAIMAN, AUTHOR

Quote Unquote “LOOK AROUND YOU: I MEAN IT. PAUSE, FOR A MOMENT AND LOOK AROUND THE ROOM THAT YOU ARE IN. I’M GOING TO POINT OUT SOMETHING SO OBVIOUS THAT IT TENDS TO BE FORGOTTEN. IT’S THIS: THAT EVERYTHING YOU CAN SEE,

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ME AND MY MOOG

Mogees not retro enough for you? Try the Moog. In 1964, Bob Moog invented the Moog synthesiser, a bewildering array of oscillators, triggers, cables, joysticks, keyboards and noise generators that created futuristic electronic sounds. They quickly took off, and were used by some of the greatest artists of the time, including The Doors, Diana Ross & The Supremes, and some group of Liverpudlians called The Beatles. Incidentally, Moog is pronounced “Mohg” (rhymes with “vogue”).

INCLUDING THE WALLS, WAS, AT SOME POINT, IMAGINED. SOMEONE DECIDED IT WAS EASIER TO SIT ON A CHAIR THAN ON THE GROUND AND IMAGINED THE CHAIR. THIS ROOM AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND ALL THE OTHER THINGS IN THIS BUILDING, THIS CITY, EXIST BECAUSE, OVER AND OVER AND OVER, PEOPLE IMAGINED THINGS” ANOTHER WAY TO LOOK AT THE WORLD:

“THE MORE YOU THINK ABOUT THINGS, THE WEIRDER THEY SEEM. TAKE MILK FOR EXAMPLE. WHO WAS THE GUY WHO FIRST LOOKED AT A COW AND SAID, ‘I THINK I’LL DRINK WHATEVER COMES OUT OF THESE THINGS WHEN I SQUEEZE ‘EM?’” CALVIN (FROM BILL WATTERSON’S COMIC, CALVIN AND HOBBES)

ADVENTURE NEWS FIRSTS

T H E M AT C H U P : F I R S T S I N A D V E N T U R E ION EXPEDIT

FIRST SPACE DEATHS The only deaths to happen in space itself occurred in 1971, when three Soviet cosmonauts, the crew of Soyuz 11, asphyxiated. The recovery team only found out after the craft had landed.

FIRST TWEET FROM EVEREST October 2010: Eric Larsen writes, “Everest summit! –Sent with @ DeLormeGPS Earthmate PN60w.” You couldn’t think of anything pithier than that? “I can see my house from here”, maybe?

FIRST TO VISIT ALL 201 COUNTRIES ON EARTH Travelling by bus, taxi, train and boat, Brit Graham Hughes visited every country on Earth in 1,426 days — on a weekly budget of US$100.

Quote Unquote “WHEN WE WERE INTERVIEWED FOR THIS JOB [TO BECOME A MYTHBUSTER], ONE OF THE THINGS THEY ASKED US WAS WOULD WE BE WILLING TO DONATE BODILY FLUIDS. I’VE PERSONALLY GIVEN VOMIT, BLOOD, URINE, FLATULENCE. I’VE NOT HAD TO DONATE ANY FAECAL MATTER — BUT I HAVE GIVEN MY DOGS’, IF THAT COUNTS. YEAH. IT’S A PRETTY WEIRD JOB”

MECH ANICS

KARI BYRON, OF THE MYTHBUSTERS' BUILD TEAM

MythBusters’ prettiest team member proves she’s not above getting gross to get to the heart of a myth.

SPORT

POTENTIAL HUSBANDS FOR KARI*

FIRST TASER SPORT FIRST BOXING MATCH Taser football must surely be the The first recorded match was in first game to combine stun guns Britain in 1681, when the Duke of and sports. Thankfully, the tasers Albemarle pitted his butler against carried by players are “only” a his butcher. “The latter won the tenth of the strength of those car- prize,” noted a local newspaper, ried by police. Game on! though he was “but a little man”.

FIRST “LUNAR OLYMPICS” Most people know NASA astronaut Alan Shepard became the first man to hit a golf ball on the moon in 1971. But not so many are aware that one of his crew mates joined him by throwing a javelin.

BEAR GRYLLS

He made such an impression when he drank his own urine on Man vs Wild, that it became an internet meme MIKE ROWE

As host of Dirty Jobs, he would have no problem with some of the show’s grosser myths

TOP THREE WINNERS

ANDREW ZIMMERN

FIRST TO VISIT ALL 201 COUNTRIES ON EARTH Having completed his jaunt, Hughes has a tip for the gents: “Colombia, Uzbekistan and Madagascar have the most beautiful women” in the world, he says. 28 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

FIRST COMMERCIAL FLIGHT Sure, it was very, very expensive — especially compared to today’s rates — but just think: no screaming babies, no terrible in-flight meals. Plus, you get to chat with the pilot!

FIRST “LUNAR OLYMPICS” Those astronauts knew how to have fun. But they’re topped by Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, who in 2006 hit a golf ball from the International Space Station. It likely burnt up after a while.

What would the star of Bizarre Foods come up with if his show was cohosted by Kari, who is both a pescatarian and germophobe? *Yes, we know she’s already married

PHOTOS: AFP (GRAHAM HUGHES); DANIEL NOVTA (BOXING LEGO); DISCOVERY CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (KARI BYRON)

FIRST MANNED DIVE TO FIRST ROBOT TO FIRST COMMERCIAL FLIGHT MARIANA TRENCH BE ARRESTED In 1914 an American businessIn 1960, the bathyscaphe Trieste In 1982, Beverly Hills police arrest- man flew as a passenger aboard a reached the deepest known part ed a robot for illegal distribution of Model 14 Benoist airboat, with a of the Mariana Trench, where the business cards. As cops jostled, its 75-horsepower engine. He paid the pressure was an intense 1.1 tonnes operators made it shout, “Help me! equivalent of more than US$9,000 per square centimetre. for the 23-minute flight. They’re trying to take me apart!”

FEATURES 32

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46

PAGE 32 GETTING UP CLOSE WITH THE SPECIAL FORCES

PAGE 76 FOLLOWING THE E-WASTE TO ITS GRAVEYARD

PAGE 46 EVER HEARD THE WHALES SINGING?

PAGE 88 WORLD'S GETTING TO BE A BETTER PLACE!

PAGE 62 THE DANGEROUS LINE OF RESCUE WORK

76 Good news XXXXXX

88

62

biofuels aside, algae can also be used to produce hydrogen gas, which can then be used as fuel. some researchers have even designed bioreactors specially for this purpose

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31 JUNE 2014

CALL OF DUTY LIVING ON THE EDGE WITH THE WORLD’S SPECIAL FORCES

THE DAREDEVIL LIVES OF OFFICERS AND MEN NEED NOT REMAIN CLASSIFIED. NEWS CORRESPONDENT ERIC TALMADGE GETS IN WITH THE WORLD’S NOTORIOUSLY SECRETIVE ELITE FORCES AND LIVES THROUGH HIGH DRAMA AND NAIL-BITING EXPERIENCES.

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PHOTOS: CORBIS

SPECIAL FORCES

SPECIAL FORCES RECRUITS HAVE TO BE PROFICIENT AT A VARIETY OF SKILLS. THESE MAY INCLUDE THE ABILITY TO ABSEIL FROM A HELICOPTER (OPPOSITE) AND BEING ABLE TO TRAVERSE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TERRAIN UNDETECTED 33 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE

US NAVY SEALS PROVIDE SECURITY AS A US ARMY UH-60 BLACK HAWK HELICOPTER DROPS OFF PERSONNEL DURING A CLEARING OPERATION IN SHAH WALI KOT DISTRICT, KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN

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PHOTO: UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

SPECIAL FORCES

ELITE FIGHTING FORCES ARE TASKED WITH THE MOST NERVERACKING, DANGEROUS AND DIFFICULT OPERATIONS DEEMED CRUCIAL TO THE SAFETY OF THEIR NATIONS. THEY ARE THE STUFF OF LEGENDS WHOSE WORK IS SHROUDED IN STEALTH AND SECRECY. AS THE NATURE OF WAR EVOLVED, FROM THE 18THCENTURY ROWS OF BRIGHTLY UNIFORMED FOOT SOLDIERS TO THE UNPREDICTABLE AND MESSY SCENARIOS OF TODAY’S WAR ON TERROR, THEIR ROLE HAS BECOME EVER-MORE ESSENTIAL TO MILITARIES AROUND THE GLOBE.

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THE KILLING HOUSE

PHOTOS: US NAVY (MAIN AND RIGHT); US AIR FORCE (FAR RIGHT)

The British Special Air Service (SAS) have an interesting facility designed to hone their trigger fingers. Known as the Killing House, it is filled with rubber-coated walls to absorb bullets, and video cameras to record training. Live ammo is used, as well as live hostages. It’s thought VIP hostages have included Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Before entering the Killing House, the Prince signed the following statement: “Should this demonstration go wrong I, the undersigned Prince of Wales, will not commit B Squadron Special Air Service Regiment to the Tower of London.”

rom North Korea to Brazil, highly trained, well-equipped special forces units are being employed to carry out a staggering array of missions. Some of the tasks focus on domestic security, such as fighting heavily-armed crime gangs, or drug cartels. Others are limited to highly specific needs, like clearing and opening up landing strips in remote areas on extremely short notice; or preparing for a nuclear disaster, be it caused by accident or enemy attack. When special forces go big — as they quite often do — it is likely to be history-shaping world news. Most of the time, however, only their targets will ever actually know what hit them. Here’s an inside look at what, and who, the world’s special forces are.

SUBMERGED WITH SEALS

When writing about the special forces, there are a few ground rules. Photos are fine, but no faces. No names, no ranks. The stars of this show are anonymous. Being identified in the special forces 36 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

business can be fatal, and not necessarily just on the battlefront. There are people out there who would love nothing more than to get a name, chase down an address, find out if there’s a wife or maybe a child, and use the information for blackmail. Or, to kill them straight out. But the anonymity is also ironic. The job done by the men and women of special forces around the world is the staple food of movies and headlines. And rightly so. Many of their jobs are high drama. Zero Dark Thirty was about the night mission to kill Osama bin Laden, carried out by the US Navy SEALs. Black Hawk Down featured the US Army’s Delta Forces, whose uniform was once worn by martial artist turned cult movie star Chuck Norris in another well-known, if more cheesy, film named after the elite unit. Bravo Two Zero meantime spotlighted the British forces, the SAS (made famous recently by former SAS soldier Bear Grylls, among others). And

SPECIAL FORCES

Brazil’s crack police special forces, BOPE, considered the world’s toughest and most professional urban warfare squad, was the subject of the critically acclaimed Tropa de Elite of 2007. Anonymity isn’t always a hard and fast rule, though. In a huge break from the no faces policy, Act of Valor, a controversial movie from 2012, actually featured real SEALs as its stars — a decision approved by the Navy, but later hammered by veterans and some critics alike. Even so, don’t expect fame to be a trend for active duty special forces operatives any time soon.

THE NORTH KOREAN SPECIAL FORCES ARE KNOWN TO HAVE A HUGE FLEET OF MINISUBMARINES THAT CAN BE USED FOR INVASIONS

ABOVE A PAIR OF US NAVY SEALS TAKE UP DEFENSIVE POSITIONS WHILE A SEAHAWK HELICOPTER TAKES OFF DURING A COMBAT SEARCH AND RESCUE EXERCISE LEFT A SEAL TAKES AIM WITH A SNIPER RIFLE FROM A HELICOPTER DURING TRAINING. SNIPERS WITH THE US SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES ARE TRAINED TO SHOOT ACCURATELY FROM UNSTABLE PLATFORMS SUCH AS BOATS AND HELICOPTERS RIGHT US NAVY SEAL PARACHUTISTS JUMP FROM THE REAR RAMP OF A TRANSPORT PLANE. SEALS TRAIN IN A RANGE OF PARACHUTE INSERTION TECHNIQUES, INCLUDING HOW TO PARACHUTE INTO BODIES OF WATER

When I first covered the SEALs, the rule was, no names all the way. Although I had worked around special forces units in places like Iraq and Afghanistan — where they often stood out during their downtime with regular Army and Marine units because of their unshaven faces and generally quiet, serious demeanour — the first time that I got the chance to get up close and personal with them was underwater, somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. We had deployed from the tiny Pacific island of Guam for a training mission aboard the USS Ohio, the first of a new class of submarine created in a conversion of 1970s vessels that switched nucleartipped intercontinental 37 JUNE 2014

PHOTO: EPA/ CLICK PHOTOS

ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for conventional cruise missiles, with a contingent of commandos, ready to be launched onto virtually any shore through rejigged missile tubes — to fight against conventional forces or terrorists. While near Guam, the SEALs conducted operations simulating an undersea launch in their submersible, and a surreptitious landing to assess a fictitious terrorist threat. Guam was dubbed “Backwateria” and the terrorists called the “AlShakur”. The names of the terrorist leaders were taken from a popular TV cartoon. In a wardroom just yards from the Tomahawk missile tubes, the head of the SEAL contingent agreed to be interviewed, but only if he was not identified or photographed. Getting him or his family would be a major propaganda coup for enemy forces. Later that afternoon, the sub’s captain, Andy Hale, had just finished his workout and was in a sweaty t-shirt and shorts, as he and I watched a flat-screen display in the sub’s battle command centre, showing the outside view bow and the aft (for the layperson, in front and behind). As the billion-dollar submarine hovered just below the water’s surface, a team of commandos crawled up through a tube once used to launch missiles, set up shop in a tiny submersible attached to the Ohio’s deck and disappeared into the dark sea around us. The rest, not surprisingly, is classified. That cruise across the Pacific was the Ohio’s first deployment since the makeover, and Hale was both proud and nervous about showing off a ship designed for stealth. Although I stayed aboard for several days, there 38 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

ONE TOUGH ACTOR Christopher Lee, known for his roles as Dracula and Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film adaptations, used to be a special forces commando. As director Peter Jackson recalls in the DVD commentary, “When I was shooting the stabbing shot with Christopher, he says, ‘Peter, have you ever heard the sound a man makes when he’s stabbed in the back?’ And I said, ‘Um, no.’ And he says ‘Well, I have, and I know what to do.’” The script called for the stab victim to scream in pain, which Lee explained was inaccurate.

SPECIAL FORCES

were parts of the ship I never saw. The back, where it had its nuclear power plant, was completely off-limits.

THOUGH NOT EVERY COUNTRY HAS STATE-OF-THEART BILLIONDOLLAR SUBMARINES FOR THEIR COMMANDOS, SOME COUNTRIES — ALONG WITH INSURGENTS, TERRORISTS AND DRUG CARTELS — ARE GETTING A LOT MORE SOPHISTICATED.

MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH KOREAN ARMY’S SPECIAL FORCES IN WINTER CAMOUFLAGE TAKING PART IN A WINTER SURVIVAL EXERCISE IN PYEONGCHANG, SOME 200 KILOMETRES EAST OF SEOUL. THE DRILL WAS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED TO PREPARE FOR POSSIBLE NORTH KOREA ATTACKS

Hale couldn’t talk about where the ship was going. But he noted that just about every Asian country with a coastline has subs. China, Japan, Australia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Singapore, Bangladesh and South and North Korea either now have or are planning to acquire them. All the Ohio had to do was turn west from Guam, and it could reach Asian shores within hours. The island they were simulating assaulting on our training mission, could just as well have been Taiwan, or the shores of North Korea, though the officers aboard stressed that the simulations were purely hypothetical. The Ohio’s conversion from a Cold War-style “boomer” to a commando-delivery platform reflects the ongoing reemphasis in militaries around the world towards special operations — as all-out wars 39 JUNE 2014

PHOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN: VII/CLICK PHOTOS; EPA/CLICK PHOTOS; U.S. NAVY SIDEBAR: DISCOVERY CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

have been supplanted by the fight against terrorism, in addition to limited, shorterterm strategic missions. Because of the sheer size of the sub (it is over 170 metres in length) it has more room for its 160-member crew and dozens of commandos than an attack submarine. While the interior is still cramped and claustrophobic, sailors have bigger beds and several places for playing computer games, taking naps or working out — which the SEALs do constantly.

THE IDEA OF USING COVERT, SPECIAL OPERATIONS IS A QUICK FIX TO BIGGER, MORE CHRONIC PROBLEMS. THIS HAS LED MANY CRITICS TO SUGGEST THAT CONVENTIONAL WAR-FIGHTING AND DIPLOMACY ARE GETTING SIDELINED. Most of all, though, the Ohio, unannounced, can take them just about anywhere.

FUTURE GO-TO GUYS?

Of course, not every country has the wherewithal to put its commandos up in stateof-the-art, billion-dollar submarines. But some of those countries — along with insurgents, terrorists and drug cartels — are getting a lot more sophisticated as well. Hollywood has been right on top of this trend too. Look no farther than Red Dawn 2, 40 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

US SPECIAL FORCES IN ACTION IN IRAQ

SPECIAL FORCES

SELF-CONTAINED AND IN THE ZONE

PHOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN: VII/ CLICK PHOTOS; EPA/CLICK PHOTOS; US NAVY SIDEBAR: DISCOVERY CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

DCM asked Discovery Channel executive producer Sarah Davies, whose work with special forces included people like Bear Grylls (pictured above) and Dave Pearce, both formerly of the British SAS, what she thought was special about the special forces. “One of the observations I have made of special forces — and I have hung around with quite a few of them because of the shows — is that they are the most selfcontained people I’ve ever met. They don’t wave their arms around, you know; they’re very calm. When they are busy doing whatever they’re working on, you can see that calmness spread over them. I’ve been out for drinks with Woody, our producer, who was really senior in the SAS, a very distinguished soldier. When you’re in the field with him, he doesn’t speak very much — he’s very organised, he goes into that zone. In a bar, he’s very happy, and chilling out. They do have two different sides to them, in a much more pronounced way than anyone I’ve met. And they don’t panic about anything. Like, when I was with Bear Grylls, stuck in a snowmobile in Canada, and I was freaking out. He just said, everything is going to fine. Joel Lambert was the same. And they’re very bright people — they’re very smart, very MacGyver-like. They make things out of nothing, always think things through. Just very clever but they’ve got two personalities, and know how to switch it on and off — and are very much in control of that switch.” 41 JUNE 2014

or Olympus has Fallen and you will find special forces of a different stripe: the North Koreans.

AS THE US GETS SET TO TACKLE SECURITY THREATS AGAINST TERRORIST NETWORKS, THE NEED AND IMPORTANCE OF SPECIAL OPERATIONS AND FORCES WILL CONTINUE TO GROW.

The North has an estimated 121,500 special ops soldiers organised into 22 light infantry brigades and seven independent light infantry battalions. Their mission is fivefold: conduct reconnaissance; perform combat operations in conjunction with conventional operations; establish a second front in South Korea’s rear areas; counter South KoreaUS special operations forces

in their own rear area; and maintain internal security. In some ways they are a sharp contrast to the superhigh-tech SEALs they train to fight against. If the North is to infiltrate the South by air, it will probably rely on low-flying aircraft instead of supersonic stealth fighters. In fact, it will most likely use a propeller-driven biplane made from cloth and wood that is as overlooked by radar systems as an F-35 Lightning II stealth jet. And its planes may well bear South Korean military markings. The North Korean special forces are also known to have a huge fleet of mini-submarines, which though they are probably not considered safe enough to even man by Western standards, can potentially be used close to shore for invasions, secret incursions, harassment missions or kidnappings and surveillance. Meeting all of these challenges has stretched thin many militaries, with their limited budgets and manpower. Altogether, the special operations command in the United States numbers about 66,000, which is currently less than two

THIS PICTURE DIVERS FROM A SEAL DELIVERY VEHICLE TEAM UNDERGOING “LOCKING OUT” TRAINING WITH THE SUBMARINE USS HAWAII. LOCKING OUT IS A PROCEDURE IN WHICH US NAVY SEALS EXIT A SUBMERGED SUBMARINE WITH THEIR GEAR. SUCH ROUTINES ALLOW FOR STEALTH INFILTRATION AND EXFILTRATION OF SEAL TEAMS LEFT A SOUTH KOREAN SPECIAL FORCES SOLDIER HAS DUG HIMSELF INTO THE SNOW DURING A WINTER SURVIVAL EXERCISE

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SPECIAL FORCES

percent of the military, but double what it was in 2001. Its budget has in the meantime shot up to US$10.5 billion, from US$4.2 billion in 2001. Not everyone is on-board with the expansion of special ops, either. The idea that using covert, special operations is a quick fix to bigger, more chronic problems has led many critics to suggest that conventional war-fighting and diplomacy are getting short shrift. There is no doubt, however, that special forces, once marginalised and looked upon by strategists as a last-ditch resort, are becoming the go-to guys in the conflicts of the present, and will continue to be key warriors in missions around the world, at least for the foreseeable future. In a paper prepared for the Council on Foreign Relations, Linda Robinson, a senior international policy analyst for the RAND Corporation, recently observed that the role of the United States special forces — and almost certainly those of other major military powers as well — have already become a keystone of international security, and will most likely continue to expand. “US special operations forces are doing more things in more places than ever before,” wrote Robinson. “They are now active in some 70 countries and, since 2001, have seen their combined budget nearly quintuple — a trend that seems likely to continue.” She added, “As the United States seeks ways to tackle a range of security threats worldwide, shore up the resilience of its friends and allies against terrorist and criminal networks, and minimise need for largescale military interventions, the importance of special operations forces will grow.” 43 JUNE 2014

D

A LOOK AROUND THE BRITISH SAS

ALTHOUGH THE US NAVY SEALS AND THE US ARMY’S DELTA FORCE ARE PROBABLY THE MOST CELEBRATED, EVERY MAJOR MILITARY IN THE WORLD, AND MANY POLICE FORCES, INCLUDE A SPECIAL OPERATIONS UNIT. THEY ARE CONSIDERED THE BEST OF THE BEST AND ABLE TO HANDLE THE MOST PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY DEMANDING ASSIGNMENTS. THE RANKINGS VARY FROM EXPERT TO EXPERT, OFTEN WITH A BIT OF NATIONALISM OR NOSTALGIA THROWN IN, BUT HERE IS A SAMPLING OF SOME OF THE TOP SPECIAL OPS FORCES:

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THE FRENCH ARMY SPECIAL FORCES

A MODEL FOR MANY SPECIAL FORCES AROUND THE WORLD, THE UK’S SPECIAL AIR SERVICE IS DESIGNED TO RESPOND TO A WIDE VARIETY OF CONTINGENCIES. IT INCLUDES A BOAT TROOP WITH SPECIALISTS IN MARITIME SKILLS USING SCUBA DIVING, KAYAKS AND RIGIDHULLED INFLATABLE BOATS; AN AIR TROOP WITH EXPERTS IN FREE-FALL PARACHUTING AND HIGH ALTITUDE-LOW OPENING OR HIGH ALTITUDEHIGH OPENING TECHNIQUES; A MOBILITY TROOP OF SPECIALISTS ON VEHICLES, DESERT WARFARE AND ADVANCED MOTOR MECHANICS FOR FIELD-REPAIR OF ANY VEHICULAR BREAKDOWN — AND A MOUNTAIN TROOP FOCUSING ON ARCTIC COMBAT AND SURVIVAL, USING SKIS, SNOWSHOES AND MOUNTAINCLIMBING TECHNIQUES.

NOT A WHOLE LOT OF INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON THIS SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCE, THOUGH THEY ARE KNOWN TO BE AMONG THE BEST IN THE WORLD, IN LARGE PART BECAUSE OF THEIR REPEATED DEPLOYMENTS ABROAD SINCE THE 1990S. ACCORDING TO THE ARMED FORCES HISTORY MUSEUM, LOCATED IN LARGO, IN THE US STATE OF FLORIDA, THE FRENCH ARMY SPECIAL FORCES BRIGADE IS COMPOSED OF UNITS FOR COUNTERTERRORISM AND PATROL OPERATIONS (AMPHIBIOUS, JUNGLE, MOUNTAIN OR MOTORISED); INTELLIGENCE AND LONGRANGE COMMUNICATIONS; AND PROVIDING AIR TRANSPORT AND SUPPORT ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD TO FRANCE’S SPECIAL FORCES.

ESTABLISHED JULY 1, 1941

ESTABLISHED SEPTEMBER 15,1940

MOTTO “WHO DARES WINS”

MOTTO “WHO DARES WINS”

ENGAGEMENTS - WORLD WAR II - MALAYAN EMERGENCY - INDONESIA–MALAYSIA CONFRONTATION - DHOFAR REBELLION - ADEN EMERGENCY - NORTHERN IRISH TROUBLES - FALKLANDS WAR - GULF WAR - NATO INTERVENTION IN BOSNIA - OPERATION BARRAS - WAR IN AFGHANISTAN - IRAQ WAR - OPERATION ELLAMY

ENGAGEMENTS - SECOND WORLD WAR - INDOCHINA - AFGHANISTAN - THE BALKANS - DETAILS OF THE LOCATIONS OF PAST OPERATIONS OF THE FRENCH ARMY SPECIAL FORCES REMAIN RELATIVELY UNDOCUMENTED

PHOTOS: DISCOVERY CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (SAS); AFP (FASF, GSG9); CORBIS (SPETSNAZ); ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES (SHAYETET 13); AFP (PHILIPPINES SPECIAL FORCES)

SPECIAL FORCES

PHILIPPINES SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

GERMANY’S GSG9

RUSSIA’S SPETSNAZ

ISRAEL’S SHAYETET 13

JUST AS THE US SEALS WERE CREATED IN RESPONSE TO A FAILED RESCUE IN 1979, THIS BRANCH WITHIN THE GERMAN FEDERAL POLICE FORCE SPECIALISES IN COUNTERTERRORISM, AND DATES BACK TO THE HOSTAGE CRISIS AT THE 1972 SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES IN MUNICH, WHEN 11 ISRAELI ATHLETES WERE HELD HOSTAGE AND KILLED. COMMANDOS WITH GSG9 (GRENZSCHUTZGRUPPE 9) ARE TRAINED IN MUNITIONS AND DISARMING IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES, HANDTO-HAND-COMBAT AND PARACHUTING. ALTHOUGH FAIRLY SMALL AND FOCUSED ON COUNTERTERRORISM, GSG9 HAS A REPUTATION AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST SUCCESSFUL AND EFFECTIVE SPECIAL OPS ORGANISATIONS.

TRAINING FOR THESE COMMANDOS MEANS ENDURING PUNISHMENT, AND LOTS OF IT. THE TOUGH PHYSICAL REGIME IS INTENDED TO PREPARE THEM FOR THE WORST AN OPPONENT CAN DISH OUT, AND THEY ARE FREE TO DROP OUT IF IT GETS TO BE TOO MUCH TO BEAR. THEY FOCUS ON RECONNAISSANCE AND ARE EXPERTS AT HAND-TOHAND COMBAT, ALSO PROVIDING PROTECTION FOR SENIOR RUSSIAN POLITICIANS. TRAINING IS SO BRUTAL THAT, AS ONE FORMER OPERATIVE REVEALS, RECRUITS WERE WOKEN IN THEIR BARRACKS AND FORCED THROUGH A WATERY CORRIDOR: “IT’S NOT WATER THEY’RE IN — IT’S BLOOD. BLOOD UP TO THE KNEES, THE WAIST, THE CHEST.” SUCH GORY TESTS SEEM PAR FOR THE COURSE DURING SPETSNAZ TRAINING.

SIMILAR TO THE US ARMY’S DELTA FORCE, LITTLE IS KNOWN ABOUT THIS UNIT, BUT THEIR MOST FAMOUS OPERATION, WHICH WAS ALSO MADE INTO A MOVIE, WAS CALLED OPERATION SPRING OF YOUTH, IN WHICH THEY HUNTED DOWN AND KILLED ALL THE BLACK SEPTEMBER TERRORISTS BEHIND THE 1972 MUNICH MASSACRE. THEIR MOTTO, LIKE THAT OF THE ISRAELI ARMY, IS “NEVER AGAIN”, A REFERENCE TO THE HOLOCAUST. THE NAME MEANS “FLOTILLA 13” AND THEIR EXPERTISE IS IN HOSTAGE RESCUE AND COUNTERTERRORISM. THEY TRAIN IN KRAV MAGA, ISRAEL’S NATIONAL MARTIAL ART. ALTHOUGH NOT SHOWY, KRAV MAGA ENCOURAGES HARD, FAST AND BRUTAL MOVES — WITH NO QUARTER GIVEN.

ESTABLISHED APRIL 17, 1973

ESTABLISHED 1949

ESTABLISHED 1948

ESTABLISHED JANUARY 16, 1978

MOTTO “READY FOR ACTION, ANYTIME, WORLDWIDE!”

MOTTO “WE KNOW NO MERCY AND DO NOT ASK FOR ANY”

MOTTO “NEVER AGAIN”

MOTTO “ANYTIME ANYWHERE”

ENGAGEMENTS - LUFTHANSA FLIGHT 181 HIJACKING - ARREST OF RED ARMY FACTION TERRORISTS - KASSEL PENITENTIARY PRISON RIOT - KLM JET HIJACKING - ARREST OF RED CELL SUSPECTS - AACHEN HOSTAGE RESCUE - PROTECTION OF GERMAN RELIEF WORKERS IN IRAQ

ENGAGEMENTS - COLD WAR CONFLICTS - SOVIET WAR IN AFGHANISTAN - CIVIL WAR IN TAJIKISTAN - EAST PRIGORODNY CONFLICT - WAR IN ABKHAZIA - FIRST CHECHEN WAR - INVASION OF DAGESTAN - SECOND CHECHEN WAR - INSURGENCY IN THE NORTH - CAUCASUS - RUSSO-GEORGIAN WAR

ENGAGEMENTS - SIX-DAY WAR - WAR OF ATTRITION - OPERATION SPRING OF YOUTH - OCCUPATION OF SOUTH LEBANON - OPERATION MOSES - SECOND INTIFADA - SANTORINI - NOAH’S ARK - ABU HASAN - 2006 LEBANON WAR - GAZA WAR - FRANCOP AFFAIR - GAZA FLOTILLA RAID - IRON LAW

ENGAGEMENTS - ANTI-GUERRILLA OPERATIONS AGAINST THE NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY AND SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES SECCESIONIST GROUPS CONSISTING OF THE MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT, MNLF LOST COMMANDS AND THE MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT - COUNTERTERRORIST OPERATIONS AGAINST JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH CELLS SUCH AS THE ABU SAYYAF GROUP - PARTICIPATION IN OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM — PHILIPPINES (OR OEF-P)

THE PHILIPPINES HAS GONE THROUGH MORE THAN ITS SHARE OF POLITICAL AND DOMESTIC UPHEAVAL OVER THE YEARS, AND THE PHILIPPINES SPECIAL FORCES, INCLUDING THE FIRST SCOUT RANGER REGIMENT, HAS BEEN A BIG PART OF ITS EFFORTS TO DEAL WITH THAT. THE REGIMENT, DESIGNED TO RAPIDLY RESPOND TO ANY AND ALL SPECIAL CONTINGENCIES, IS HIGHLY TRAINED IN A COMBINATION OF JUNGLE WARFARE, UNCONVENTIONAL TACTICS AND SNIPER ACTIONS. JUST THIS YEAR A SINGLE MILITARY UNIT OF THE FORCE, WHICH HAS BEEN TO DATE BEEN DEALING WITH BOMBINGS AND KIDNAPPING, HAS REPORTEDLY ALMOST TRIPLED IN SIZE.

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LISTEN TO THE WHALES SING

PHOTO: ADAM METALLO/ SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

Ever imagined these giants of the sea communicating with each other? Now you can, as technological advances step in and hydrophones and other gizmos help researchers identify sophisticated patterns of their interaction. Rachel Sullivan tells us how this is happening

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SINGING WHALES

CHILEAN AND SMITHSONIAN PALAEONTOLOGISTS STUDY FOSSIL WHALE SKELETONS AT CERRO BALLENA — THE NAME TRANSLATES TO "WHALE HILL" — NEXT TO THE PANAMERICAN HIGHWAY IN THE ATACAMA DESERT, IN CHILE 47 JUNE 2014

CAN'T MAKE HEADS OR TAILS OF THIS IMAGE? THIS IS A HUMPBACK WHALE CALF DIVING DOWNWARDS, BUT IS DISPLAYED UPSIDE DOWN. THE PHOTO WAS CAPTURED AT THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS, WHERE THE HUMPBACKS MIGRATE TO EACH YEAR TO MATE AND GIVE BIRTH

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SINGING WHALES

generation has grown up with whales — and thinks it is no big deal that they swim along the coast in their thousands each year,” he says.“It wasn’t like that when I was young. Any whale sighting was headline news,” he notes, “with people taking the day off work to see the rare event.” Today, whales only make the news in Sydney when they do something really spectacular, like breach in front of the Opera House, or stop ferry traffic with their arresting antics.

SLOW PROGRESS

PHOTO: CORBIS

Whales fall into one of two categories based on diet: baleen whales, such as humpbacks, who use bony plates to sieve krill and other small animals from the water, while toothed whales are active hunters that include killer, beaked and sperm whales.

ne sunny day last Australian spring we sat on one of Sydney’s rocky headlands, hoping to catch a glimpse of a humpback whale on its annual migration north. We’d come equipped for the long haul, with binoculars for every member of the family, and enough food for a siege. After only a few minutes we spotted our first, swimming lazily just off the coast. Then another, and another and another. They were so close that we could hear them buzzing and sighing to each other in the water, and so numerous that after an hour of watching their antics, our children had seen enough whales and were begging to go down to the beach and throw seaweed at each other. That, says marine mammal expert Dr Rob Harcourt of Sydney's Macquarie University, in Australia, is great news. “It means that this

RESEARCHERS NOTICED THAT SOME EAST COAST WHALES WERE SINGING A NEW SONG, WHICH WAS PREDOMINANT ON THE WEST COAST. BY THE FOLLOWING YEAR, ALL THE EAST COAST WHALES WERE SINGING THE SAME NEW SONG. Most species were hunted until the 1960s for oil, whale bone and other products, until people started to notice that the animals had all but disappeared. In 1986 the International Whaling Commission banned

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WHALE CARCASSES SUPPORT COLONIES OF SEA ANIMALS BY FERTILISING THE OCEAN. SPERM WHALES BRING UP IRON FROM GREAT DEPTHS AND EXCRETE IT IN SHALLOWER ZONES, RESULTING IN TURNOVER OF NUTRIENTS. “Antarctic blue whales are increasing at around seven percent per year, which is close to their biological maximum,” she says, adding that because they are coming off such a low base, they are still at low numbers and remain endangered. Southern right whales are also making good progress, Harcourt adds, though northern right whales, which call the northern hemisphere home, are not faring so well. 50 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

“The areas where they live have heavy shipping traffic, and between ship strike and entanglement in fishing nets, they are in big trouble,” Harcourt explains. “Even though some shipping lanes have been moved in a bid to protect the whales, some populations are unlikely to survive.” Sperm whales’ fortunes are similarly mixed. They were hunted off Albany in Western Australia until 1978, and despite more than 35 years elapsing, their numbers are still worryingly low. “Sperm whales, which are the largest of the toothed whales, have a slower life history than most other whale species, with maturity delayed in males until they are between 30 and 35 years old. Males were harvested preferentially because they contained more oil than females, and it has had longterm repercussions,” Harcourt says. “It’s the same story wherever they were hunted,” he adds.

LEAP OF KNOWLEDGE

Eager to make up for lost time, in just a couple of decades, scientists’ understanding of whale habits has increased exponentially. While travelling humpbacks communicate with one another using a combination of sighs and drawn out groans, the choral activity swims into high gear in the breeding season, with males singing to attract mates. All of the humpbacks in a population sing the same song, but occasionally a new verse is added — and it can come from surprising sources. “Some years ago, researchers from the University of Queensland studying humpback whale song off east coast Australia noticed that a couple of whales were singing a new

JAPAN AND WHALING

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

all commercial whaling, and after a worryingly slow start, some species are now starting to make a comeback. Harcourt says that humpback whales, like most baleen whale species, are recovering at the maximum rate of more than 10 percent population growth each year. Antarctic blue whales were almost obliterated by hunting, with their population falling from an estimated 239,000 at the start of whaling to just 360 animals in 1973. Today, says blue whale genetic expert Dr Catherine Attard, the news is better.

At the end of March 2014, the United Nations' International Court of Justice ruled that the Japanese government must stop its whaling programme in the Antarctic. Australia, backed by New Zealand, had brought the case against Japan in May 2010, arguing the programme was commercial whaling disguised as scientific research. In early April, Japan announced it was cancelling its annual Antarctic whaling hunt in response to the court ban, though a fisheries agency official told AFP that they "plan to go ahead with research whaling in other areas as scheduled".

SINGING WHALES HUMPBACKS AND OTHER BALEEN WHALES EAT KRILL AND OTHER SMALL CREATURES. THEY TAKE IN BIG MOUTHFULS OF WATER AND FILTER IT WITH BALEEN. WATER GOES OUT, FOOD GETS STUCK ON THE BALEEN — AND THEN THEY JUST SWALLOW IT

song, one that they knew was predominant off the west coast,” says Harcourt. “Only males sing, so any novelty might give one male a competitive advantage over the others. The next year, all of the east coast whales were singing the new song.” He adds, “Whales tend to stick to migratory routes learned from their mothers. So it’s possible a couple of males got lost and swam up the wrong side of the country, bringing their song with them.” More recent work has shown that songs are transmitted between whale populations from eastern Australia across different populations in New Caledonia, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands, before ending up in French Polynesia. The return of the ocean’s giants has also been good news for other species. “[Baleen] whales may not be a keystone predator but they are a large part of the ocean’s biomass, says Harcourt. “Whale carcasses support entire colonies of animals, while whalefall — the name given to dead whales that fall to the ocean floor — feeds a lots of unique species.” There is also evidence supporting the idea that they help fertilise the ocean. Sperm whales bring up iron from great depths and excrete it in shallower zones, resulting in turnover of nutrients. “Removing whales meant that a lot of biomass was taken out of the system,” notes Harcourt. However, with the loss of whales there is some speculation that other species took over some of their niches, with increased abundance of other krill eaters and species like penguins and seals.“Marine food webs are very complex, and it is hard to say with any certainty exactly what has happened,” Harcourt muses. 51 JUNE 2014

ADAPTING TO US?

Attard explores the differences in DNA that are found between individuals, populations, subspecies and species to answer ecological and evolutionary questions about blue whales. She used the differences in DNA between Antarctic blue whales and pygmy blue whales (both blue whale subspecies) to determine how much movement and breeding was occurring between the two. “[Non-lethal] skin samples taken from pygmy blue whales and Antarctic blue whales showed that while pygmy blue whales traditionally call more temperate waters home, they are increasingly being found feeding in the waters around Antarctica during summer months,” she says. “They are also hybridising with Antarctic blue whales, which feed in the Antarctic,” she adds, suggesting that the ecology of pygmy blue whales and Antarctic blue whales has changed due to humans. “While it’s possible that the absolute number of pygmy blue whales has not changed in the Antarctic, now their proportion is higher because of the catastrophic collapse of the Antarctic blue whale. Another explanation is that climate change may have forced the pygmy blue whales to seek a colder climate,” she notes. “Alternatively, the decimation of Antarctic blue whales may have created an opportunity for pygmy blue whales to feed on the highdensity concentrations of krill found in the cold water.” They’re not alone. One night in 2009 US researchers in Wilhelmina Bay on the Western Antarctic Peninsula discovered one of the largest swarms of krill ever observed: more than two million tonnes of the tiny crustaceans. And when they looked out the windows the 52 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

KILLER WHALES WEREN’T HUNTED IN THE SAME WAY AS OTHER SPECIES; INSTEAD THEY WERE EXPLOITED FOR AQUARIA

LEFT THE EYE OF A BOWHEAD WHALE THAT WAS CAUGHT BY AN INUPIAQ WHALING CREW IN THE CHUKCHI SEA, OFF THE ARCTIC COAST OF ALASKA. RIGHT INUPIAQ WHALERS SAY IT'S POSSIBLE TO TELL THE AGE OF A WHALE BY COUNTING THE RINGS IN ITS EYE — MUCH LIKE THE RINGS OF A TREE

SINGING WHALES

THE HUNT FOR SURVIVAL HUNTING A MULTI-TONNE BEAST THE SIZE OF A MONSTER TRUCK IN ITS OWN ELEMENT IS NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED. SO WHY DID MANKIND EVER GET INTO WHALE HUNTING IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Whaling was once about survival. Indigenous tribes in Norway, Iceland, Alaska and Greenland were faced with a brutally bare landscape. Whales provided everything they needed in one big package. Every part of the mammal was eaten, or used in some way. Take the Makah tribesmen, who have lived on the west coast of what is now the border between Canada and the United States, in Washington state, for millennia. Archaeological evidence points to Makah whale hunting that goes back at least 2,000 years. Makah elders say they have hunted them forever. At some points in the tribe’s history, whales provided up to 80 percent of their subsistence needs. As with many similar tribes, the fact that whales were often the only thing between survival and death meant that a whale hunt was an exercise in ritual. Makah tribesmen would first bathe in the frigid waters of the Pacific, where they would grate sharp mussels and barnacles against their skin. Before the hunt, the fresh grave of a fellow tribesman would be dug up and the corpse dismembered, before the torso was strapped to a hunter’s back — a gesture of respect. Once they found a humpback or grey whale, the hunters would spear it with a massive harpoon. After the animal died, a hunter would dive into the sea and sew its mouth shut, to prevent air from escaping and making it easier to tow the whale home. Whale’s meat was a huge part of the diet, without which many northern tribes would lack niacin, iron and protein. The blubber, meanwhile, was an invaluable source of vitamins A, C and D. No part of the whale was thrown away. Its tough sinews could be crafted into rope and bowstrings, dried stomach used to hold oil. Bones might become building materials. Baleen plates could be repurposed into fishing line, household utensils, weapons, snares and sledges, among other things. The image above, features a basket woven with baleen. 53 JUNE 2014

following morning they found hundreds of humpback whales feeding on the superaggregation, with even more nearby. Over six weeks, the scientists counted 306 humpbacks focused on the krill swarm, with another 500 scattered throughout the bay. Another krill swarm in a nearby bay was so overrun with banqueting whales that the ship couldn’t even lower its acoustic equipment. The pickings were so rich that the researchers even heard male whales singing, something that is usually confined to breeding grounds in the north, leading them to suspect that some whales decided not to undertake their annual migration.

RESEARCHERS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT NOISE FROM INCREASING SEISMIC SURVEYS AND MARINE ACTIVITIES. IT INTERFERES WITH THEIR COMMUNICATION. IN BLUE WHALES, THE PITCH OF THEIR SONGS HAS BEEN DECREASING WORLDWIDE. But like many things, the find was a mixed blessing, with the researchers attributing the superaggregation to the rapid warming of the Antarctic Peninsula, which has up to 80 more ice-free days than 54 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

just a few decades ago. In the long term the outlook is less positive: krill require sea ice cover to spawn away from predators, and recent sea ice contractions in parts of Antarctica have been linked to overall declining krill populations. In the northern hemisphere melting ice seems to have caused another problem — beluga whales have recently been found to be carrying the cat parasite Toxoplasma gondii. At this stage it’s unclear how the pathogen reached the whales, with one possibility being that the local Inuit people are keeping more cats as pets, and flushing kitty litter down the toilet. But experts speculate that loss of Arctic ice is also eroding the ecological barrier that previously protected beluga whales. There is another source of concern among researchers too: the effects of anthropogenic (humancaused) noise pollution on whales.“Noise from increasing numbers of seismic surveys and other marine activities has been shown to interfere with communications between whales,” Attard explains. In blue whales, since whaling stopped, the pitch of their songs has been decreasing worldwide. “It may be that climate change is altering the dynamics of sound moving through water,” she says. “Or perhaps the lower densities of whales immediately after whaling meant they had to use higher-frequency sound to communicate with a spreadout population — and now their frequency is returning to normal levels as their populations increase.” She says it is interesting because blue whale songs are not as complex as those of humpbacks. And even though they differ from area to area, all of the whales from a particular

While mass strandings are distressing, Macquarie’s Harcourt says that most whale species don’t strand. But sometimes, they just appear to make a mistake. OUT OF THE DUST “Pilot whales and others One of the defining that strand in groups tend to characteristics of toothed be deep-water animals that whales is echolocation, highare not used to solid objects frequency sounds produced like sandbars,” he explains. through a nasal passage located “Whales tend to forage near between the blowhole and zones where there is lots of skull. These high-frequency productivity, and when this clicks echo off objects in is closer to land, mistakes can the water, creating a highhappen; they are a herd animal resolution sonic image of the that swims together and if animal’s surroundings. the dominant animals swim Like much about whales’ ashore, because they are sick or evolutionary past, echolocation’s being pursued by killer whales, origins remained shrouded in then the rest of the group mystery until recently, when will follow.” the most ancient whale known PEEPING TOMS to have used echolocation Eavesdropping on whales was discovered — Cotylocara using technology developed macei was slightly larger than by the military to track enemy a bottlenose dolphin and lived submarines has also shed new around 28 million years ago. light on the hunting methods The finding suggests that echolocation very likely evolved of one of the ocean’s most successful predators. not long after whales split into Found in every ocean, the two major cetacean groups killer whales (also known as 35 million years ago. While that was significant, orcas) are one of the most one of the most startling widespread and successful fossil finds of recent times is mammal populations in a five-million-year-old whale the world. “As a species graveyard unearthed by they have a broad diet, but construction workers next to individual populations are the Pan-American Highway in highly specialised,” says Chile. It showed that stranding orca specialist Dr Volker is sadly nothing new. Deecke from the University INDIVIDUALS MAY ALLOW The 40 large whales in ofSOME Cumbria, in the United HUMANS TO APPROACH OR the graveyard are related to Kingdom. “Some fish, TOUCH THEM, LIKEeat THIS ADULT GREY WHALE. PAY ATTENTION modern blue, fin and minke others eat marine mammals TO EXPERTS whales and were accompanied —WARNINGS includingFROM largeTHE whales — THOUGH — THESE ARE STILL by other fossil curiosities while WILD tropical ANIMALSpopulations AND NOT ALL OF THEMa MAY BE SO TOLERANT including walrus-whales and have preference for sharks.” LEFT: KILLER WHALES WEREN’T aquatic sloths. He adds, HUNTED IN “Without THE SAME doubt WAY AS The whales stranded in four one of the keys toINSTEAD their THEY OTHER SPECIES; WERE EXPLOITED FOR AQUARIA, separate events over several success as a species is their SAYS ORCA EXPERT DEECKE. thousand years, most likely ability toANIMALS adapt their hunting “YOUNG THAT WERE CAPTUREDtoINtheir THE prey, ‘70S ARE after eating prey contaminated technique and NOWcooperate IN A PRIMEwith REPRODUCTIVE by toxic algae — a common then the other STATE, AND IN SOME cause of strandings among members of their podAS — THOSE or POPULATIONS, SUCH FROM WASHINGTON IN some species even today. The even other species —STATE in order THE US, WHERE MANY ANIMALS whales had probably stranded toWERE survive.” TAKEN, THEY REPRESENT above the high tide line in an Among their predatory A LOST GENERATION. THE POPULATIONS ARE STILL estuary, their bodies buried by repertoire is “wave-washing”, STRUGGLING TO RECOVER” sand over time. a speciality of Antarctic orcas area sing from the same song sheet year after year. “Despite this, researchers are seeing the same pattern of decreasing frequency everywhere.”

SOME WHALES MAY ALLOW HUMANS TO APPROACH OR TOUCH THEM, LIKE THIS ADULT GREY WHALE. PAY ATTENTION TO WARNINGS FROM THE EXPERTS THOUGH — THESE ARE STILL WILD ANIMALS AND NOT ALL OF THEM MAY BE SO TOLERANT

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

SINGING WHALES

55 JUNE 2014

CENTURIES AGO, THE INUIT PEOPLE HUNTED BOWHEAD WHALES. THIS PHOTO, CAPTURED BY ROBERT FRÉCHETTE, WAS FEATURED IN A BOOK TITLED "ARVIK! IN PURSUIT OF THE BOWHEAD WHALE", WHICH AMONG OTHER THINGS, DISCUSSES THE CULTURAL, ANTHROPOLOGICAL, HISTORICAL AND GEOPOLITICAL CONTEXTS SURROUNDING THE PRACTICE. THE PHOTO WAS ALSO SHORTLISTED IN THIS YEAR'S SONY WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS

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SINGING WHALES

57 JUNE 2014

that hunt in the pack ice. Working together, they create large waves that wash seals off ice floes — into their waiting jaws. Even more chillingly, in Twofold Bay off Australia’s south-eastern coast, one group used to cooperate with whalers to hunt passing baleen whales. When they spotted a potential victim, several of the whales would swim up to the whalers’ bayside cottages and attract their attention by slapping their tails on the water. The whalers would follow them out to sea and if the hunt was successful, they would reward the orcas with the dead whale's tongue — an arrangement that came to be known as the “law of the tongue”.

TO STUDY HOW THE VOCAL KILLER WHALES GET AROUND THEIR PREY, HYDROPHONES WERE USED. IT WAS FOUND THAT THE KILLERS HUNT IN STEALTH MODE, PRESUMABLY KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH POD MEMBERS BY SENSING THEIR PRESSURE WAVES. More recently in Iceland, underwater footage has revealed a population of herring specialist killer whales that utters a low call prior to striking a school of the fish with their tails. “We suspect the call prompts the school of fish to 58 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

compact, meaning that when struck, more fish are stunned,” explains Deecke. “An Alaskan population of humpback whales does something similar to elicit a behavioural response in their prey.” He says, “The fact that two species that are not closely related have converged on a very similar call — that makes us think that the call is directed at the fish. It is the acoustic equivalent of using tools to modify something in the environment.” Deecke studies the feeding behaviour of killer whales in Canada’s British Columbia, where two distinctly different populations live. Among researchers they are identified as either “resident” or “transient”. “The resident population eats salmon, while the transient population prefers seals and other marine mammals, including porpoises and minke whales,” he notes, adding that there is no interaction between the populations. When Deecke played the calls of the two populations to local seals, he found the seals responded to the transient whales’ calls and took evasive action, but ignored the calls of the resident fish eaters. “The seals seem to be learning which calls are harmless and habituate to them.” To find out how the normally vocal killer whales get around the seals’ sensitivities, Deecke used underwater microphones called hydrophones, and found that the killers hunt in stealth mode, presumably keeping in touch with pod members by sensing their pressure waves. “There’s a real acoustic arms race going on,” he says. While hydrophones provide a lot of valuable information, he says that it is harmless suction tags that attach to the whale for 12 hours or so that often provide

BEING EYE TO EYE WITH A HUMPBACK WHALE CALF MAY BE AN AWESOME EXPERIENCE, BUT YOU'D BETTER REMEMBER NOT TO MAKE MUMMY ANGRY BELOW LEFT A RESEARCHER ON A BOAT ATTEMPTS TO ATTACH A SATELLITE TAG TO A BLUE WHALE IN SANTA BARBARA, IN THE US STATE OF CALIFORNIA BELOW RIGHT WHALES MUST SURFACE TO BREATHE; THIS IS USUALLY WHEN SCIENTISTS — TOURISTS AND HUNTERS TOO TRY TO APPROACH, THOUGH THE ANIMALS CAN BE SKITTISH

SINGING WHALES

HOW TO STUDY A BEHEMOTH

READING WHALE EARWAX

Baylor University professors Dr Stephen Trumble and Dr Sascha Usenko, in the United States, recently developed a new technique that uses contaminants and hormones found in a blue whale’s earplugs (their earwax) to determine its lifetime exposure to chemicals and environmental pollutants. "You have this 100-year-old question: How are we impacting these animals? There is ship traffic, environmental noise, climate change and contaminants. Now, we are able to provide definitive answers by analysing whale earwax plugs," Usenko said in a press release. The researchers can also now go back and study earplugs stored in museums that may have been harvested decades ago. DAWN OF THE WHALE

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; CORBIS (BOTTOM RIGHT); STEPHEN TRUMBLE (WHALE

Despite frequent discoveries of whale bones bristling from arid outcrops from the wadis of Egypt to Chile’s Atacama Desert, until relatively recently little was known about the early origins of whales. Charles Darwin’s suggestion that cetaceans, the order to which whales belong, had evolved from land-based mammals, was greeted with ridicule. Eventually scientists came to agree with Darwin, but evidence for this transition remained scant until 1981, when two University of Michigan palaeontologists working in Pakistan found an amphibious marsh-dweller in freshwater sediments dating to around 53 million years ago. Known as Pakicetus inachus, the wolf-like animal featured the heavily thickened midline of the skull (known as an involucrum) that characterises whales, though it lacked the inner ear specialisations for underwater hearing that came later. Discoveries of many other whale ancestors followed. This included evidence that some species had already reached their impressive proportions by 40 million years ago, with a serpent-like whale called Basilosaurus found in the desert of Egypt reaching around 17 metres in length. 59 JUNE 2014

SINGING WHALES

WHALE WATCHING TOURS ARE BECOMING POPULAR AS THE ANIMALS MIGRATE FROM THEIR COLD-WATER FEEDING GROUNDS TO THE WARM WATERS OF THE TROPICS, WHERE THEY BREED.

BEFORE WHALING, PEOPLE FROM WELLINGTON IN NEW ZEALAND USED TO TELL STORIES OF HOW THEY COULDN’T SLEEP AT NIGHT BECAUSE THE RIGHT WHALES WERE RUMBLING AND BLOWING SO LOUDLY. a more intimate picture. “I tagged a juvenile male killer whale, and when I 60 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

played back the recording, I could hear the distant sound of a seal growling,” Deecke recalls. “It seemed that the whale had heard them too because the sounds got louder and louder — until suddenly there was the sound of bones crunching and flesh ripping. There was no more growling after that.” Despite their fearsome reputation, killer whales don’t eat people, but Deecke says that while they may not be man-eaters, anyone who thinks they are the marine equivalent of a panda is very much mistaken. “They’re neophobic, and are disturbed by anything unfamiliar. I certainly wouldn’t get in the water with one,” he says. One young boy famously did though, and had a literal brush with death.

“The little boy, who was swimming in shallow water with his parents watching from the beach later described hearing gunshot sounds in the water, which was a big male pinging him with his echolocation,” Deecke says. “Because the boy wasn’t wearing a wetsuit he probably gave off a similar signal to a seal. The whale charged him but called off the attack when he came within sight, and just brushed past the boy.”

FRIENDLY SEAS

As an industry, whale watching has far surpassed whale hunting in value, with thousands of people taking whale watching tours each year as the animals migrate from their cold-water feeding grounds in the polar regions, to the warm waters of the tropics,

where they breed. It all makes for an interesting recreation. On the whole, Harcourt says whales aren’t faring too badly from the new arrangement, particularly where whale watching activities are regulated. “Whale watching regulations dictate that there should be no more than three boats within 300 metres of a whale. However, when one is spotted, recreational boats tend to cluster around as well as commercial operators,” says Harcourt. “Generally in Australia, things aren’t too bad, but elsewhere the results are more mixed.” He says, “In Tonga there is a whale swim industry, and stocks have not recovered at the same rate. Whether this is due to numbers of people in the water, or to some other reason is unclear. Tonga is also a calving ground, which may mean that any interaction may have more significant effects.” “Blue whales that gather in the northern Indian Ocean off the coast of Sri Lanka have also been edging further south recently, quite possibly due to local tour operators overwhelming the visiting animals,” Attard adds. She notes that Sri Lankan cetacean expert Anoukchika Ilangakoon has observed whales gradually moving further and further offshore over the past few years, apparently in response to the increased human attention. Harcourt says that it is a timely reminder of how sensitive these animals are, despite their enormous size. “Before whaling, people from Wellington in New Zealand used to tell stories of how they couldn’t sleep at night because the right whales were rumbling and blowing so loudly,” he says. “We’ve still got a long way to go before we get back to that.”

TO THE RESCUE

PHOTO: CORBIS

WHEN IT IS A MATTER OF NANO SECONDS BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH, A SWIMMER'S ARMS CONDITIONED BY PUNISHING TRAINING OR A FIGHTER PLANE SECONDS FROM EXPLODING CAN HOLD THE KEY TO SURVIVAL. DANIEL SEIFERT GETS A CLOSE LOOK AT THE RIGOURS OF SAVING LIVES

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EPIC RESCUES

LEFT IN 2010, THE CRUISE SHIP COSTA CONCORDIA RAN AGROUND OFF THE ITALIAN ISLAND OF GIGLIO, KILLING 32 PEOPLE. THE CAPTAIN OF THE CRUISE LINER, FRANCESCO SCHETTINO, LATER ADMITTED TO CAUSING THE SHIP TO RUN AGROUND, AND WAS VILIFIED BY THE PRESS FOR ABANDONING HIS SHIP BEFORE ALL PASSENGERS WERE OFF. HE LATER CLAIMED, “I TRIPPED AND I ENDED UP IN ONE OF THE BOATS. THAT’S HOW I FOUND MYSELF IN THE LIFEBOAT.” A SIX-HOUR EVACUATION WITH RESCUE BOATS AND HELICOPTERS SAW MOST OF THE 4,252 PEOPLE ON BOARD BROUGHT ASHORE SAFELY

COSTA CONCORDIA

“ ”

VADA A BORDO, CAZZO!” UNLIKE SHIP CAPTAIN SCHETTINO, COAST GUARD CAPTAIN GREGORIO DE FALCO WAS LIONIZED FOR HIS RESCUE EFFORTS. AT ONE POINT, HE BARKED AT SCHETTINO TO “GET [BACK] ON BOARD, DAMN IT!”

500

MANY DOUBTED WHETHER THE 500-STRONG TEAM OF DIVERS AND ENGINEERS WOULD BE ABLE TO RIGHT THE SHIP, AS THIS WAS ONE OF THE LARGEST SALVAGE OPERATIONS EVER UNDERTAKEN

A building, alive with fire, is crackling and humming like a dying beehive. Someone is inside. Hugging a wet towel to the face, you shoulder through the entrance, the blushingred doorknob singeing a mark into your arm like a kiss. Inside, the room pulses with dark and light, heat sinking feverishly into you. It’s impossible to breathe. A small boy lies unconscious from the smoke that stings your eyes. You pick him up, but he is heavier than he looks. You need both arms, and have to drop the towel. Your lungs sting and labour against the poisonous air, and your vision starts to blur. It feels as if clamps are strangling your heart, but you drag the limp bundle towards the door, feet slithering against the slippery floorboards. Five steps to fresh air. Four. Three. The door is shut again. No time to flounder for that towel. The searing-hot metal doorknob licks painfully at your sweaty palm, raising steam, tearing blisters. Two steps. One. And you’re out, the evening air caressing your face, stirring the child. Ambulance lights twinkle merrily in the distance, but they are getting nearer. Everything is going to be okay. Many of us have done it. You are sitting in a dull office meeting, or in your classroom, when your mind starts to drift into that superhero fantasy. What would it be like, we wonder, to save a life? And just what does it take? 63 JUNE 2014

CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN: LUIS URZÚLA WAS THE LAST OF LOS 33 TO BE RESCUED, AND CHEERS BROKE OUT WHEN HE EXITED THE CAPSULE; CHILE'S MINES MINISTER LAURENCE GOLBORNE SPEAKING TO THE PRESS BEFORE THE RESCUE OPERATION BEGAN; SCREENSHOTS FROM THE LIVE FEED OF THE RESCUE, SHOWING THE PROCESS (SECOND FROM BOTTOM), AS WELL AS THE RESCUERS AFTERWARDS (BOTTOM), HOLDING UP A SIGN THAT TRANSLATES TO "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED CHILE"

OUT IN THE OPEN

HE IS EITHER VERY CHEEKY OR VERY IDIOTIC. HE DIDN’T SEEM WORRIED AT ALL

AN ANONYMOUS SOURCE ON THE RESCUE TEAM SPEAKING ABOUT MINER YONNI BARRIOS TO THE DAILY MAIL. DURING THE ORDEAL, TWO WOMEN WENT TO CHECK UP ON BARRIOS AT THE ABOVEGROUND CAMP. ONE WAS HIS WIFE. THE OTHER WAS HIS MISTRESS. BARRIOS, AS NOTED, WAS UNRUFFLED. HIS WIFE DID NOT VISIT HIM IN HOSPITAL UPON RESCUE, SAYING SIMPLY, “IF HE WANTS TO SEE ME OR TALK TO ME HE CAN COME FIND ME. OTHERWISE WE WILL TALK THROUGH OUR LAWYERS”

EPIC RESCUES

DUR ATION OF RES CUE

3. 3 MO N T H S

INTO THE LIGHT TOOLS USED IN THE RESCUE

PHOTOS: HUGO INFANTE/GOVERNMENT OF CHILE; GETTY IMAGES; REUTERS (CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN); RICKRESCORLA.COM (TOP RIGHT)

ANTIDEPRESSANTS

NASA RATIONS

PHOENIX ESCAPE POD

For 69 days in 2010, the world’s hopes and thoughts were with 33 men, living 600 metres under the surface of the earth. Los 33, as they were known, became trapped after a cave-in at their copper and gold mine in Chile. That they were alive at all was a miracle. It took a full 17 days for workers just to find them, the first sign of their presence a probe that emerged with a note saying, “Estamos bien en el refugio los 33 (all 33 of us are well inside the shelter).” After the initial euphoria, came the sobering realisation that it would be a long time until these men could be brought to the sunlight again. Some thought it would take up to four months. After being told the news, the miners were sent antidepressants along with supplies. “It would be naïve to think they can keep their spirits up like this,” the health minister told press at the time. In the interim, Chilean authorities turned to NASA. The extreme conditions and long period of confinement were not unlike the environment of a

space mission. In response, NASA offered astronaut food rations and specialists to provide on-site advice on medical, behavioural and nutritional issues. Among the challenges was keeping the miners well fed. But not too well fed — authorities were worried that if they gained too much weight, it could be tough for them to squeeze into a narrow rescue pod. When Los 33 requested wine to celebrate Chile’s Independence Day, the request was denied. During this time, the anxious families had set up camp above. After several weeks, telephone communications were set up. In the beginning, the men were given just 30 seconds to speak to their loved ones. That was time enough for Esteban Rojas to promise his girlfriend of 25 years that they would finally get married, once he was rescued. By October, three rescue holes had been drilled into various parts of the mine, so that if one failed, there would be backups. Into a hole would go the capsule, dubbed “Phoenix”. Specially built by the Chilean navy, the

escape capsule looked like a giant cigarette, with wheels on the side to roll smoothly up the rock walls. One by one, the miners were slowly wheeled up, a journey of 15 minutes per man. Each one was strapped into monitoring equipment, to observe their vital signs. Sunglasses covered their weak eyes. By the night of October 13, all of

Los 33 were brought to the surface. The world breathed out. Less than three weeks later, miner Edison Pena completed the New York City Marathon in the United States. He had trained for it by running every day during his ordeal. Why such dedication, many wondered? “Running makes you free,” he noted.

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WAR CRIMES

WHETHER THEY ARE DESTROYED INDIVIDUALLY OR IN GROUPS OR HOWEVER IT IS DONE, WITH MASS BOMBING, POISONOUS SMOKE, POISONS, DROWNING, DECAPITATION, OR WHAT, DISPOSE OF THEM AS THE SITUATION DICTATES”

– PORTION OF A MESSAGE SENT TO JAPANESE POW CAMPS IN AUGUST 1944. KNOWN AS THE KILL-ALL POLICY, IT GAVE PERMISSION TO CAMP COMMANDERS TO EXECUTE ALL PRISONERS SHOULD THE NEED ARISE, SUCH AS “WHEN AN UPRISING OF LARGE NUMBERS CANNOT BE SUPPRESSED WIT HOUT THE USE OF FIREARMS”

D U RAT I ON OF RE S CUE

1 H OUR 50 M I NS

A SHOW OF HEROISM TOOLS USED IN THE RESCUE

P-61 BLACK WIDOW

ARMED RESCUERS

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How does one save 500 Allied soldiers from a Japanese prisoner of war (POW) camp? One answer is, through showmanship. The prisoners were held in a camp near Cabanatuan city, in the Philippines, and there were around 220 Japanese guards in the camp itself, and an estimated 1,000

more just minutes away. The rescue force, consisting of 133 US soldiers and over 250 local guerrillas, desperately needed the crucial element of surprise. On January 30, 1945, they got it, in the form of a P-61 Black Widow, a twinengined, twin-boomed night fighter. Piloted by Captain

Kenneth Schrieber, the P-61 screamed through the air like a firecracker on wings, making it impossible for Japanese troops to ignore. How can you possibly ignore a plane backfiring with the force of an artillery gun, and skimming just nine metres above nearby hills? The Japanese must have thought

EPIC RESCUES

LEFT A P-61 BLACK WIDOW HELPED DISTRACT THE GUARDS, SO THAT THE PRISONERS COULD ESCAPE

D U R ATI O N O F R E S C U E 8 0 M I N U TE S

PREPARING FOR 9/11

BELOW ALLIED SOLDIERS WHO WERE CAPTURED BY JAPANESE TROOPS TAKE A BREAK, WITH THEIR HANDS TIED BEHIND THEIR BACKS ON THE LONG MARCH FROM BATAAN TO THE POW CAMP NEAR CABANATUAN

TOOLS USED IN THE RESCUE

MEGAPHONE

they were seconds away from viewing an explosion, made all the more fiery in the evening darkness. Which is exactly what the rescuers wanted. Under this visual and audial cover, they were able to belly-crawl just yards away from the enemy, and gain the upper hand. Their force saw a few

dead and a small number wounded, but rescued 498 of the prisoners. They inflicted huge losses on the Japanese, obliterating their guard towers within 15 seconds, and killing anywhere between 500 and 1,000 troops. One US soldier later noted, “The idea of an aerial decoy was a little unusual, and honestly, I didn’t think it would work, not in a million years. But the pilot’s manoeuvres were so skilful and deceptive that the diversion was complete. I don’t know where we would have been without it.”

PHOTOS FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: JOHN L. MARINE; GETTY IMAGES; REUTERS ICONS: THE NOUN PROJECT, MURA

SINGING

For many, the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers, in the United States, were a black swan event, an unexpected event, altering our view of the world. Suddenly, planes were weapons, and skyscrapers were sitting ducks. But one man had seen this kind of attack coming. His name was Rick Rescorla (pictured with megaphone), who enlisted in the US Army and served in Vietnam. After a military career replete with decorations for bravery, Rescorla became director of security for Morgan Stanley, at their prestigious offices: World Trade Centre (WTC). In 1993, the Towers were attacked, with terrorists detonating a van stuffed with explosives in the centre’s underground

garage. Rescorla knew in his heart that one day, there would be an attack from the air. He began to formulate plans accordingly. At 8.46am on September 11, American Airlines Flight 11 smashed into WTC’s north tower. Rescorla sprang into action. Despite announcements in the south tower saying people should remain inside, he guided people out to safety, shouting encouragement and singing a Cornish adaptation of a marching song through a megaphone. When a second plane smashed into his offices at 9.03am, he returned into the building to keep doing his job. At 10.05am, the tower collapsed and he died. But not before saving an estimated 2,700 lives. 67 JUNE 2014

COCA-COLA SAVES A LIFE

1 BOTTLE

OKENE SURVIVED ON JUST ONE BOTTLE OF COCA-COLA SODA DURING HIS ORDEAL, RATIONING IT IN SMALL SIPS

DU R ATION OF R ES CUE

6 0 + H O URS UN T I L RE A C H I N G TH E S U R FA C E

DEAD MAN’S HAND TONY: Have you come into the next deck, onto the main deck? NICO: I’m onto the main deck now. TONY: So you should be walking on the ceiling, yeah? NICO: Yeah. [Pause] Agh! TONY: What’s that?! Oh, you found one [a dead body], yeah? NICO: There’s someone alive here! TONY: He’s alive, he’s alive! Okay, keep him there. Alright, just… just… hold him there,

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just keep him there. [Pause] TONY: [To himself] F***ing hell, I don’t know what are we’re going to do. This radio transcript details an exchange between Tony Walker, project manager for a company called DCN Diving, and a diver swimming in the wreck of a capsized boat. Days before, the boat had capsized off the Nigerian coast and sunk over 30 metres to the floor of the Atlantic. Nico was there to retrieve the corpses of the crew who

had died 72 hours before — he had already found four of them — when a “dead” man grabbed his hand. The man was Harrison Odjegba Okene (pictured above), and he was very much alive. Trapped in a tiny air pocket, he was the only survivor. When everyone had recovered from the severe shock and had calmed down slightly, Okene was revived with warm water before being given air and transferred to a diving bell.

TOOLS USED IN THE RESCUE

DECOMPRESSION CHAMBER

RESCUE DIVER

DIVING BELL

He had to be brought to the surface slowly and carefully: after three days underwater, Okene had inhaled a potentially fatal level of nitrogen. He spent over two days in a decompression chamber before he was released. Although the incident occurred in May 2013, footage from the diver’s camera, mounted on his head, was only released by DCN Diving in December — and sure enough, it quickly went viral.

EPIC RESCUES

CALORIE COUNTING MICHAEL PHELP’S REPORTED DAILY BREAKFAST WHEN TRAINING FOR THE 2008 OLYMPICS (12,000 CALORIES)

3 2 1 1 3 3

FRIED-EGG SANDWICHES

CUPS OF COFFEE

FIVE-EGG OMELETTE

PHOTOS: AFP ICONS: THE NOUN PROJECT, RICHARD ZEID (ROW BOAT), BRENNAN NOVAK (LUNGS), SERGEY KRIVOY (STRENGTH)

BOWL OF GRITS

SLICES OF FRENCH TOAST

CHOCOLATECHIP PANCAKES

D URAT I O N O F RE S C U E 2 . 2 5 DAY S

“CUT MY LEG OFF, BUT PLEASE SAVE ME” TOOLS USED IN THE RESCUE

KNIFE

ANAESTHETIC

Fifty hours. That’s how long one man spent crawling through the wreckage of the now-infamous Bangladesh factory collapse, hunting for survivors. His name was Didar Hossain, and he wasn’t a rescue worker or a paramedic. He was just a regular guy, working at another garment factory opposite the ill-fated Rana Plaza. Like the streets of New York after the towers of the World Trade Centre collapsed in 2001, this area of Dhaka was filled with dust. It looked like the end of the world. Despite protest from his own factory’s security guards, Hossain pushed outside and

rushed into the ruins of the building. Originally eight stories high, it had flattened like a grotesque layer cake to just three levels. It was carnage. “When I first entered, there was a body without a head,” he later told the BBC. “So I brought that body out.” Hossain spent the entire first day in the choking dust, scrabbling rocks away from grasping, trapped limbs. On the second day, he found a young girl, her right hand sandwiched under rubble. Her first words to him were, “Please brother, don’t leave me, get me out — even if you have to cut off my hand.” He hurried out looking for

a medical professional to help him, but the medic, terrified, said three words to Hossain. “You do it.” So carrying just a knife, together with some local anaesthetic, Hossain went inside and did as requested, as the girl watched. After carrying her to safety, a nearby victim shouted to Hossain, an echo of the girl’s request. “Cut my leg off, but please save me.” He did so, this time with no anaesthetic left. In total, 1,129 innocent people died in the Dhaka factory collapse. Were it not for one young man, 34 more names could have been added to that unfortunate list of undeserving ending.

FALLING BABIES

1937 THE SAME YEAR BABY DAVID TUMBLED OUT OF HIS WINDOW, A COMPANY IN LONDON, ENGLAND, BEGAN DISTRIBUTING CAGES TO HOUSEWIVES. THE CAGES WERE FOR BABIES, AND WERE MEANT TO BE HUNG OUTSIDE APARTMENT WINDOWS, SO GROWING BOYS AND GIRLS COULD GET SOME FRESH AIR. IT WASN’T A NEW IDEA: THE CAGE HAD BEEN PATENTED IN 1923, AND A POPULAR MECHANICS ARTICLE NOTED, “THE PORTABLE BALCONY IS APPARENTLY POPULAR WITH CHILDREN AND MOTHERS.” MOTHERS, PERHAPS. CHILDREN, PROBABLY LESS SO

14

CHILDREN A DAY IN THE UNITED STATES ALONE, FALL OUT OF WINDOWS, ACCORDING TO ONE STUDY

FO U R DAY S

“HOUSTON, WE’VE HAD A PROBLEM” TOOLS USED IN THE RESCUE

DUCT TAPE

PLASTIC BAG

SQUARE CANISTER

One of the early problems space mission Apollo 13 suffered was not lifethreatening. Astronaut John Swigert was halfway to the moon — when he realised he had forgotten to file his income taxes. “How do I apply for an extension?” he asked Joe Kerwin at mission control, who burst out laughing. “Joe, it ain’t funny. Things happened kinda fast down there, and I do need an extension.” Luckily, it turned out that Americans out of the country got extra time. “That’s good news,” said Swigert. “I guess I qualify.” But would he be alive to file them? With the mission going smoothly, Kerwin broadcast, “The spacecraft is in real

SPACESUIT HOSE

SCISSORS

TOWEL

good shape as far as we are concerned. We’re bored to tears down here.” It is never wise to tempt fate. Fifty-five hours into the flight, trouble struck. Swigert flipped a switch for a “cryo-stir”, which powered fans that prevented liquid oxygen from settling. There was a bang, and the flash of warning lights. Then, the most famous understatement in the history of broadcast: “Houston, we’ve had a problem,” said Swigert. “It looks to me like we’re venting something,” noted astronaut James Lovell dryly, staring out of the window. It was oxygen, which powered not just their bodies, but the command module.

The crew quickly moved from the command module to the lunar module, which would act as their lifeboat home. But it was designed for two men, not three; 45 hours of use, not 90; and while the module had oxygen, the build up of carbon dioxide could be fatal. Air-scrubbing canisters were used to remove carbon dioxide. But the command module canisters they’d salvaged were square. The lunar module opening was circular. It was the most basic of problems: how do you fit a square peg onto a round hole, using just a ragtag bunch of objects available? On the ground, frantic engineers flung copies of the objects onto a table. It looked like something you’d throw in the back of a shed: plastic bags, gloves, cardboard, duct tape, hose and string. After much sweating, swearing and smoking, they managed to jury rig the correct shape. Now they had to transmit those instructions and have them replicated without flaw to three cold men, whose every exhale was poisoning them, impairing movement and thinking. Fumbling fingers meant that they tore a vital part of the enhanced canister. Luckily, there was a spare, and the problem was soon solved. The crew still had a long way to go before they landed safely on Earth, but their most pressing risk (for the moment) had been overcome. Ed Smylie, the engineer who spent two days designing the modification, breathed a huge sigh of relief as soon as he found out the astronauts had that most vital of tools: duct tape. “I felt like we were home free. One thing a Southern boy will never say is ‘I don’t think duct tape will fix it.’”

PHOTOS: CORBIS (MAIN); NASA (INSET)

D URAT I O N O F R E S C U E

EPIC RESCUES

RECREATING SPACE

25

ASTRONAUT JOHN SWIGERT SITS IN A RESCUE BASKET AS HE IS LIFTED ABOARD A RECOVERY HELICOPTER, FOLLOWING THE SPLASHDOWN OF THE APOLLO 13 LUNAR MODULE IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN LEFT INSIDE THE LUNAR MODULE, WITH SWIGERT SHOWN ON THE RIGHT. IN THE BACKGROUND IS THE "MAIL BOX", WHICH THE CREW JURYRIGGED TO SCRUB CARBON DIOXIDE FROM THE LUNAR MODULE'S ATMOSPHERE. THE "MAIL BOX" WAS DESIGNED AND TESTED ON THE GROUND AT THE MANNED SPACECRAFT CENTER BEFORE IT WAS SUGGESTED TO THE THREE APOLLO 13 ASTRONAUTS

SECONDS WHILE FILMING APOLLO 13, THE DIRECTOR RECREATED ZERO GRAVITY BY FILMING THE ACTORS IN AN AIRCRAFT THAT FLEW SHARP DOWNWARD PARABOLAS. AS SUCH, THEY COULD ONLY SHOOT IN BURSTS OF 25 SECONDS

612 PARABOLAS WERE FLOWN IN ALL, ADDING UP TO NEARLY FOUR HOURS OF WEIGHTLESSNESS

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DUR ATION OF R ES CUE

2 0 MI N UT ES

20 LIVES ONE SWIMMER TOOLS USED IN THE RESCUE

CARDIOVASCULAR ENDURANCE

STRONG ARMS

There is a reason swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, consumes over 8,000 calories a day when training. Competitive swimming is one of the toughest sports in existence, and the energy it takes to power the human body through a resistant element like water is surely astounding. Professional swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan had the energy it took. He was a seven-time champion of the USSR, a 17-time world 72 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

champion, and a 13-time European champion. He had set 11 world records in underwater swimming. But September 16, 1976 remains the day of his greatest and memorable triumph. A thumping detonation rang in Karapetyan’s ears as he was jogging at the bank of a lake in Yerevan, Armenia. Out of control, a trolleybus had driven off a bridge, and sank like a stone to the bottom of the lake. On board were 92 people. The sound was like a

starter’s gun to Karapetyan, who didn’t hesitate to dive into the water — except this water was near freezing. Using the bars of the ladder attached to the bus roof as leverage, Karapetyan smashed in the back window and grabbed the first human shape he could find. Kicking to the surface 10 metres above, he dragged the person to safety, ignoring the glass shards that slashed at him. Then he did it again. And again. And again. Karapetyan spent 20

minutes delivering bodies from death to life. Thirty people were brought up, though only 20 made it. He later said, “I knew I could only save so many lives, I was afraid to make a mistake. It was so dark down there that I could barely see anything. One of my dives, I accidentally grabbed a seat instead of a passenger. I could have saved a life. That seat haunts me in my nightmares.” As he brought up his last person, the swimmer sank

EPIC RESCUES

D U R ATI O N O F R E S C U E 2 S E C O N D S

ONE LUCKY CRADLESNATCHER TOOLS USED IN THE RESCUE

TIMING

THE ROAD ALONG THE LAKE IN YEREVAN, ARMENIA, WHERE THE TROLLEY BUS LOST CONTROL AND DROVE INTO THE WATER ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1976

into unconsciousness. It would be 46 days before he woke. In the end, Karapetyan paid dearly: he would never be strong enough to swim in competitions again. But he was strong enough to save more people in 1985, when he passed by a burning building. Without a pause, Karapetyan started pulling people out of the inferno, sustaining multiple burns and earning him another stay in the hospital.

And let’s not forget the first time the young man played hero, in 1974. This time, he was a passenger on a bus, when its handbrake malfunctioned and it sped towards a cliff off a mountain road. Smashing the panel separating the passengers from the driver’s compartment, he yanked the steering wheel just in time to stop it from sailing into the chasm. Not once, not twice, but three times a national hero.

ONE STREET SWEEPER

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous,” goes a saying. It is a good one, which is why it’s been attributed to Albert Einstein, and other thinkers. Was that line, or something like it, running through Joseph Figlock’s mind in October 1937? The Detroit street sweeper was cleaning an alley backing onto an apartment, when he was struck by a revelation from above. Specifically, a baby named David Thomas, who plummeted several stories onto Figlock. Both sweeper and baby were injured (some sources say both were unharmed), but survived. A great story of fortuitous coincidence.

But not as fortuitious as what happened a year later, in October 1938. Figlock was sweeping the same alley, on the same day, when the same child fell into his arms, yet another time! Ian Fleming had some things to say about coincidence too: “Once is happenstance,” wrote the author of the popular James Bond novels. “Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” Perhaps it is fortunate that David Thomas didn’t hit Figlock a third time, else the sweeper might have wondered why the universe was angrily pelting him with young children and wondering what it asked of him.

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WHITE WEDDING

2010

DU R ATION OF R E S CUE

3 0 S ECO N D S

THE ALMOST PLUMMETING BRIDE TOOLS USED IN THE RESCUE

AN IRON GRIP

GOOD EYESIGHT

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Just days before her wedding in 2011, a 22-year-old university student received terrible news: her fiancé didn’t want to be with her any more. The woman, who some sources say was called Li Wan (other sources just refer to her as Miss Li), was devastated. Clad in the snowy dress in which she had planned to walk down the aisle, Li crawled over the ledge of her apartment window. Seven stories below, people on the streets of Changchun city, the capital of China’s Jilin province, took notice of the sobbing would-be bride high above their heads, after her mobile phone smashed onto the pavement. Li jumped, and began to tumble to her death.

For about a millisecond, anyway. Several police officers and concerned civilians had barged into the apartment, including community officer Guo Zhongfan. It was in Guo’s iron grip that Li found herself struggling. But he was having none of it. He managed to pull the kicking woman to safety, with help from people on lower floors — they pushed at her feet to help get her back up to safety — as dozens of people applauded from the street. Then he delivered a brief but succinct comment to assembled press: “I am the director of the Xinfa Community Administration Office. My surname is Guo. I did what anyone would have done.”

PHOTO: REUTERS ICONS: THE NOUN PROJECT, DMITRY BARANOVSKIY (HAND), PROLETKULT GRAPHIK (KNOT)

UP UNTIL THE 20TH CENTURY, BREACH OF PROMISE WAS A COMMON LAW IN MANY COUNTRIES, PENALISING A PARTY IF THEY BROKE AN ENGAGEMENT, WHICH WAS SEEN AS A LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT. ALTHOUGH IT HAS LONG SINCE BEEN REMOVED FROM MOST LAW BOOKS, IN CANADA, THE LAW STOOD UNTIL 2010

EPIC RESCUES

DESPITE THE AWKWARDLOOKING GRIP THAT OFFICER GUO ZHONGFAN HAD ON THE DISTRAUGHT LI WAN, SHE REPORTEDLY DID NOT SUFFER ANY INJURIES

D U R ATI O N O F R E S C U E 3. 5 DAY S

FISHING FOR PISCES TOOLS USED IN THE RESCUE

SUPPORT SHIPS

FOUR-LEGGED SAVIOURS Large-scale disaster rescues can be tough for human rescuers, who have to sift through cadavers and body parts in the hope of finding the living. But this gruesome work can have equally negative effects on rescue dogs trained to sniff out the living. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, handlers reported severe emotional changes in their dogs. One said, “After the first day, Anna [the dog] became very quiet and her attitude went down because she was finding only human remains.” Up to 400 dogs were deployed to help people at the former World Trade Center.

THREE SUBMERSIBLES

NYLON ROPES

It is August 29, 1973, and 480 metres deep, two men lie in a tin can, rapidly running out of air. They are ex-submariner Roger Chapman and engineer Roger Mallinson, the crew of Pisces III. This submersible was laying transatlantic telephone cables off the coast of Ireland, and had just surfaced, when a small watertight sphere on the craft flooded with a tonne of water. The craft sank like a stone, as the machinery went haywire. Some 30 seconds later, a jolt rocked the two men as they hit the bottom at 65 kilometres per hour. In the moments before impact, they had just enough time to turn off the depth gauge, so it wouldn’t explode, and stuff cloth in their mouths so they wouldn’t bite their tongues off on impact. It was 9.30am. They had 66 hours of oxygen left. As that was the main concern, the two men decided to do as little as possible. Minimal activity meant they used much less oxygen. In this cold metallic submersible the size of an elevator, they sat in silence. Chapman jotted a comment in his notebook: “On bottom.” Up top, an immense rescue effort was underway. It was spearheaded by Peter Messervy, a man who had himself been rescued from

Pisces III when it sprang a leak some years earlier. A sister Pisces craft was shuttled down from Aberdeen, in Scotland. Another Pisces was flown from Canada by the Canadian Air Force. But time was ticking, and carbon dioxide was building up in Pisces III. To boost morale, a ship sent a heartening message to Chapman and Mallinson — from Queen Elizabeth, no less. Their spirits soared, though, as Mallinson later said, it turned out it was from Queen Elizabeth II, a ship. “But because it was so formal, we’d assumed it was the Queen,” he told the BBC. “Then the message came: ‘Sorry boys, wrong lady’.” The operation didn't start too well. At first, neither of the Pisces craft could find their stricken sister. Another submersible, CURV III, suffered an electrical fault. Finally, on Saturday at 4am, the Pisces craft and a repaired CURV III began to attach lines to the Pisces III. The lift began at 10.50am, but slowly, with much tangling of cables. The craft swung crazily. The bag the men had been using for a toilet, burst. Finally, at 1.17pm, they surfaced, 84 hours and 30 minutes after the accident. They had just 12 minutes of oxygen left.

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PHOTOS: ANDREW McCONNELL/ PANOS PICTURES

TECHNO TRASH

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E-WASTE DUMPING

Who doesn't want the smartest phone, the latest computer, top-of-the-line HDTV and all the super exciting gadgets? But we also discard as fast as we consume. What happens to these 'replaced' techno gems? Photographer Andrew McConnell tells us about where millions of unwanted gadgets go to die

AGBOGBLOSHIE IN GHANA HAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST E-WASTE DUMPS IN AFRICA, ROUGHLY THE SIZE OF FOUR FOOTBALL GROUNDS. IT RECEIVES OVER 200,000 TONNES OF DISCARDED ELECTRONIC GADGETRY ANNUALLY.

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Often swathed in clouds of acrid smoke, Ghana’s Agbogbloshie dump is where many of yesterday’s coveted electronics end their days. The once-shiny gadgets lie abandoned and covered in grime, the fruits of technological innovation now nothing but a husk in a landscape of toxic desperation. Rather than being safely recycled, much of Europe’s unwanted and obsolete electronics end up being exported illegally, and then dumped in developing countries. Agbogbloshie’s e-waste dump, one of the largest in Africa, imports over 200,000 tonnes of electronic gadgetry annually, a grim reminder of today’s mindlessly throwaway society. The independent global campaigner Greenpeace says that exporting e-waste from Europe and the United States is illegal, but that exporting old electronics for "reuse" allows unscrupulous traders to profit from dumping old electronics in Ghana. Award-winning photographer Andrew McConnell’s evocative images tell the story of a very modern problem, and one that is increasing in a world where electronics have a very limited shelf life. McConnell, whose specialities include in-depth social documentary work across the globe, spent two weeks in Ghana capturing the gritty life of Africa’s largest discarded gadget dump. Even after bracing himself for the harsh reality of life at Agbogbloshie, McConnell was 78 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

E-WASTE DUMPING

CHILDREN IN GHANA RUMMAGE THROUGH THE MANY E-WASTE DUMPS WHICH WILL AT BEST GET THEM $2 FOR A DAY'S WORK

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shocked by what he saw. “I have never seen anything like it before, it was like something from a bad dream. The air was thick with smoke, and the ground was black with toxins. Children who should have been in school or at home with their families were toiling in this bleak landscape — it was pretty depressing.” The fires at Agbogbloshie’s dump are the usual way of getting rid of the remaining rubbish that has no salvage value, the bright orange flames the only flicker of colour in this bleak landscape. Fumes and toxins weigh heavy in the air, a major reason that this dump has the infamy of being named last year as one of the top 10 toxic threats in the world — alongside places like Chernobyl, the nuclear accident site in the Ukraine. “Burning creates some of the most carcinogenic and toxic substances known, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and furans,” says McConnell. “At these burning sites the concentration of toxic metals has been found at over 100 times the normal level. I saw children with sores and rashes on their skin and there must be serious health concerns for those working and living nearby.” The pollution problem of this toxic reclamation is further exacerbated by the use of styrofoam as fuel for the fires. While the shells of the thousands of unwanted computers and phones that arrive at the dump are often damaged and dirty, the real prize lies within, in the form of copper and aluminium. Circuit boards are dismantled and cables burned to reveal the usable copper inside. These precious pieces are salvaged, and then sold on to middlemen by the workers — for meagre financial rewards. 80 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

A MAN RIPS A CIRCUIT BOARD APART TO SALVAGE COMPONENTS

LEFT AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE DUMP HAS MOUNDS OF OLD MONITORS, WHICH CHILDREN TAKE APART. RIGHT A MAN CROSSES A SEVERELY POLLUTED RIVER IN AGBOGBLOSHIE. WHEN THE RAINS COME, MUCH OF THE WASTE WILL BE WASHED OUT INTO THE SEA.

E-WASTE DUMPING

NUMBER OF PEOPLE DIRECTLY AFFECTED 10MILLION

CHERNOBYL, UKRAINE POLLUTANT: RADIOACTIVE DUST INCLUDING URANIUM, PLUTONIUM, CESIUM-137, STRONTIUM-90, AND OTHER METALS

500,000+

CITARUM RIVER, INDONESIA POLLUTANT: CHEMICALS INCLUDING LEAD, CADMIUM, CHROMIUM, AND PESTICIDES (UP TO FIVE MILLION PEOPLE AFFECTED INDIRECTLY)

300,000+

KABWE, ZAMBIA POLLUTANT: LEAD

300,000+

DZERZHINSK, RUSSIA POLLUTANT: CHEMICALS AND TOXIC BY-PRODUCTS FROM NUMEROUS CHEMICAL MANUFACTURING PROCESSES

225,000+

KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA POLLUTANT: MERCURY, CADMIUM

160,000+

HAZARIBAGH, BANGLADESH POLLUTANT: CHROMIUM

135,000+

NORILSK, RUSSIA POLLUTANT: COPPER, NICKEL OXIDE, OTHER HEAVY METALS

40,000+

AGBOBOLISHIE DUMP, GHANA POLLUTANT: LEAD

20,000+

MATANZA-RIACHUELO, ARGENTINA POLLUTANT: VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS, INCLUDING TOLUENE

UNKNOWN

NIGER RIVER DELTA, NIGERIA POLLUTANT: PETROLEUM (EXPERTS DISAGREE ABOUT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE DIRECTLY AFFECTED. FURTHER INVESTIGATION IS REQUIRED) 81 JUNE 2014

WASTE IS SOMETIMES SET ALIGHT AT AGBOGBLOSHIE. THIS PRODUCES DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES SUCH AS POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS, DIOXINS AND FURANS, AND RELEASES TOXIC METALS SUCH AS LEAD, BERYLLIUM AND CADMIUM INTO THE ENVIRONMENT. AT THESE BURNING SITES, CONCENTRATIONS OF TOXIC METALS HAVE BEEN FOUND TO REACH OVER A HUNDRED TIMES THE NORMAL LEVEL

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PHOTOS: ANDREW McCONNELL/ PANOS PICTURES

E-WASTE DUMPING

JUNE 2014

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PHOTOS: ANDREW McCONNELL/ PANOS PICTURES

The dump is spread over a wide area of ground, about the size of three or four football pitches, and is also partly used as a scrapyard for car parts. The area has long been a scrapyard, so when electronic waste started to arrive, it became the obvious destination. “There is very little order there,” notes McConnell. “Trucks arrive in the middle of the night and dump the e-waste on the ground. In the morning people come and go through it to salvage what they can. Salvaged parts and metals are sold on to middlemen. Anything that can’t be recycled is burnt, so at regular intervals you will see huge fires light up and thick black smoke rise high into the sky.” The detrimental effects on the people and environment of Agbogbloshie far outweigh any "prize". An old cathoderay tube computer for example harbours up to three kilograms of lead. Exposure to lead is particularly dangerous to young children, and causes damage to both the brain and the nervous system. Since 2008 the environmental associations Green Cross and the Blacksmith Institute — the latter of which compiled the 2013 toxic threat report — have been working with the aim of making the situation better for those who work and live in the area. Among other things, they are trying to encourage the use of wire strippers as a pollutant-free salvage method for retrieving copper from cables — and are also looking into the possibility of mechanising the wire stripping process. It is hoped that this will be more efficient and, most importantly, pollution-free. Some 40,000 people in and around the Agbogbloshie dump are affected by the pollution from getting rid of 84 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

E-WASTE DUMPING

POLLUTION BY NUMBERS

2.1 MILLION DEATHS A YEAR ARE THOUGHT TO BE CAUSED BY AIR POLLUTION, ACCORDING TO RESEARCHERS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, IN THE UNITED STATES

85 MILLION

TONNES OF WASTE WAS RECYCLED OR COMPOSTED IN 2010 IN THE UNITED STATES — UP FROM 18 MILLION TONNES IN 1980

5,000

CHILDREN DIE EACH DAY DUE TO DIRTY DRINKING WATER, AND A BILLION PEOPLE DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO SAFE DRINKING WATER

6 BILLION

PEOPLE HAVE PHONES OUT OF A WORLD POPULATION OF SEVEN BILLION, BUT ONLY 4.5 BILLION HAVE ACCESS TO A WORKING TOILET, ACCORDING TO THE UNITED NATIONS ACCORDING TO SOME STUDIES, AT LEAST

1.3 TONNES OF WATER,

244 KILOS

OF FOSSIL FUEL AND FAR LEFT EVEN IN SUCH A BLEAK PLACE, THERE ARE MOMENTS OF HAPPINESS. BUT DANGER IN THE FORM OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES IS NEVER FAR AWAY

22 KILOS

OF CHEMICALS ARE NEEDED TO MANUFACTURE ONE DESKTOP COMPUTER

ABOVE WORKERS STRIP EVERY BIT OF METAL POSSIBLE FROM THE E-WASTE, BUT LEAVE PLASTIC SCRAPS BEHIND IN PILES

A RECENT STUDY STATES THAT

LEFT SOMETIMES TO EXTRACT COPPER FROM CABLES, CHILDREN GATHER PILES OF ELECTRICAL CABLES AND BURN THEM. IT IS A RELATIVELY QUICK WAY TO RETRIEVE COPPER, BUT THE PROCESS CAN PRODUCE TOXIC BY-PRODUCTS

THE WORLD’S ANNUAL VOLUME OF E-WASTE WILL WEIGH ALMOST AS MUCH AS 200 EMPIRE STATE BUILDINGS — OR 11 GREAT PYRAMIDS OF GIZA

BY 2017

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E-WASTE DUMPING

SOMETIMES TO EXTRACT COPPER FROM CABLES, CHILDREN GATHER PILES OF ELECTRICAL CABLES AND BURN THEM.

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e-waste. Workers range from young children to adults, all risking their health to eke out a living. One worker last year was found to be suffering from aluminium exposure levels of 17 times the norm. “People come from nearby to work at the dump. For the most part, the children working at the dump are extracting copper from the electronics. Others take hard drives or salvage components,” explains McConnell. While copper and aluminium may be worth money to others, extracting them is difficult when there are few or no tools available. Sometimes smashing a computer on the rocks is the only way of getting to a small nugget of something valuable. For this arduous work in polluted conditions, the workers earn themselves around US$2 a day. The idiom of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure may be true — yet at what cost? The immediate and long-term health risks and rising pollution in Agbogbloshie make this a very dangerous place for the present and the coming future. “My overriding memory from this story was one of anger — anger at how corrupt and inept the systems for disposing of e-waste are,” McConnell says. “Most people in Europe do dispose of their electronics in a responsible way; however this makes little difference when many of the companies charged with carrying out this disposal are involved in selling used electronics to groups who then ship it to Africa.” “Until this is addressed and tackled properly, the average person cannot guarantee their electronic device will not end up in a dump in Ghana.”

REASONS TO FEEL GOOD Life isn't all that bad, certainly not as bad as some of the daily morning newspapers make it out to be. It may not be deliberate, but while addressing the core of an issue, the sweeter stuff of a news-story gets missed. Seasoned news writer Eric Talmadge goes looking for the equivalent of a dessert buffet of information

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It is the duty of every good journalist to find the dark cloud behind every silver lining. If the government announces a new plan to bring computers into every classroom, the next day’s story will likely focus on how much that will cost taxpayers — or quote fresh studies on how computer-bred kids in the future will have sloppy handwriting and bad eyesight. Breakthroughs in medicine or technology are inevitably reported with an eye to their expected costs (usually horrendously expensive), scepticism over whether they will really work, or handwringing over all the potential dangers and side effects they might have. Write a happy story, dear journalist, and you are bound to be drawn and quartered for being naive, somebody’s stooge, boring, or on the wrong medication. But every now and then, even journalists need a reality check. The world can’t be all bad. In fact, we all know that it isn’t: sometimes, it’s actually pretty awesome. Some of those breakthroughs and achievements should make us feel kind of happy to be alive. Here’s Discovery Channel Magazine’s list of our top 20. We challenge you to write your own list too.

ILLUSTRATIONS: ARTURO ALEJANDRO ROMO E (PILLS); SIMON CHILD (MAN) FROM THE NOUN PROJECT

20

GOOD NEWS XXXXXX

BIOFUELS ASIDE, ALGAE CAN ALSO BE USED TO PRODUCE HYDROGEN GAS, WHICH CAN THEN BE USED AS FUEL. SOME RESEARCHERS HAVE EVEN DESIGNED BIOREACTORS SPECIALLY FOR THIS PURPOSE

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FEWER PEOPLE ARE DYING OF HEART DISEASE

Let’s start with the basics — our lot as a species. How are we doing? By two very important yardsticks, hunger and poverty, the answer is encouraging. The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world were chronically undernourished in the time from 2010 to 2012. Africa, admittedly, remains a major concern. But global trends are positive. The number of undernourished plunged almost 30 percent in Asia and the Pacific, from 739 million to 563 million, and the overall undernourishment figures for the region dropped from 23.7 percent to 13.9 percent. Significant progress has also been made in Latin America and the Caribbean, where undernourishment has fallen considerably, from 14.6 percent to 8.3 percent. Next up, poverty. According to the World Bank, the shift from central control to a market-based economy in China over the past 30-plus years has lifted about 500 million people out of poverty. There is still a long way to go, for sure. Trade problems, pollution, politics. Yes, yes, yes. But 500 million. That’s a lot of lives improved, a lot of human potential opened up, a lot of pain and suffering alleviated. Even the World Bank, after lots of cautions about how 98.99 million people still lived below the national poverty line at the end of 2012, the second largest number of poor in the world

after India, has to tip its hat at that one. “Since initiating market reforms in 1978, China has shifted from a centrally planned to a market based economy and experienced rapid economic and social development,” the World Bank writes in a report. “GDP growth averaging about 10 percent a year has lifted more than 500 million people out of poverty. All Millennium Development Goals have been reached or are within reach.’’ In other words, for an awful lot of people in China, and elsewhere in the world, things have certainly gotten better.

Cancer and cardiovascular disease are the top two killers in the world today. But progress is being made to reduce fatality rates for both. In the United States, for example, fatalities resulting from heart disease are going way down. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the death rate from heart disease has fallen about 39 percent over the past decade, a huge step forward when one looks at the other side of the coin — heart disease strikes someone in the US about once every 34 seconds, and is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing almost 380,000 people a year. For American women, heart disease takes more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Two important reasons for the decrease in heart disease fatalities, says the AHA, are vast improvements in medical treatment — the association notes that cardiovascular operations and procedures increased by about 28 percent from 2000 to 2010, totalling 7.6 million in 2010 — and the dramatic drop in smoking rates among adults.

UNDERNOURISHED IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

CARDIOVASCULAR OPERATIONS AND PROCEDURES INCREASED

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~30% FROM

BY 28%

2000 TO 2010, 739 MILLION FROM TOTALLING TO 7.6 MILLION 563 MILLION IN 2010

ILLUSTRATIONS: SIMON CHILD (FOOD); BRYAN ANDERSON (COFFIN); GREGORY SUJKOWSKI (EYE DROPPER) FROM THE NOUN PROJECT

FAR GREATER NUMBER OF PEOPLE ARE FED WORLDWIDE: 500 MILLION LIFTED OUT OF POVERTY IN CHINA

GOOD NEWS

POLIO HAS BEEN ERADICATED FROM INDIA Progress in public health is not only being made in the developing world. India this year marked one of the most important public health landmarks of our time; it has won the war over polio. According to UNICEF, it has not reported a case of the once-feared disease in three years. The last case was a two-year-old girl who got polio paralysis in January 2011. UNICEF called this success story an example of “unprecedented progress for a country, which reported more than half the global polio cases until the year 2009”. India introduced the oral polio vaccine in 1985, when it clocked over 200,000 cases of polio annually. Since 1995, 12.1 billion doses of polio vaccines have been administered.

IN 1985 INDIA HAD OVER 200,000 CASES OF POLIO ANNUALLY. SINCE 1995

12.1 BILLION DOSES OF POLIO VACCINES HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED. THE COUNTRY HAS NOT REPORTED A NEW CASE OF THE DISEASE IN THREE YEARS

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HIV AND AIDS ARE NO LONGER THE DEATH SENTENCE THEY ONCE WERE Another scourge of our times, HIV/AIDS, is still a massive problem, but is gradually coming under control. According to the UN, new HIV infections among adults and adolescents is plunging, dropping 50 percent in 26 major countries monitored by the UN and 33 percent globally between 2001 and 2012. Far fewer people are dying: there were 1.6 million AIDS deaths in 2012, compared with 2.3 million in 2005. In 2012, the UN estimated that 35.3 million (actually between 32.2 and 38.8 million) people lived with HIV. More people are living with HIV because they are benefiting from new, life-saving treatments. Last year, doctors from the University of Mississippi Medical Centre, in the United States, announced a baby had been “functionally cured” of HIV, news that was hailed in the medical world as a historical breakthrough. The baby was born in 2010 with HIV, and was treated with antiretroviral drugs for the first time 30 hours after her birth. She was given antiretroviral drugs for the first 18 months of her life. When she was examined again in 2012, the baby was two years old and HIV-free.

NEW HIV INFECTIONS AMONG ADULTS AND ADOLESCENTS

50 % IN 26 MAJOR COUNTRIES MONITORED BY THE UN

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ILLUSTRATIONS: RICARDO MOREIRA (MEDICINE); JEREMY J BRISTOL (PEACE SIGN) FROM THE NOUN PROJECT

GOOD NEWS

CANCEL YOUR DEATH AND ENJOY YOUR 80s. WE’RE LIVING LONGER

OUR CITIES ARE GETTING SMARTER AND CLEANER

Men and women born today can expect to live more than 10 years longer than they would have if they were born in 1970. Along with reduced rates of malnutrition, fewer people around the world are dying of infectious diseases, fewer children are dying of childhood illnesses and young mothers are faring better. As of 2013, the average life expectancy at birth was 71 years, according to UN data. But that’s just the worldwide average. In Monaco, life expectancy has reached almost 90 years. According to the World Health Organisation, as of 2011, the global population aged 60 years can expect to live another 20 years on average. That’s a lot of life yet to be lived.

A UN prediction asserts that by 2064, three-quarters of the human race, which will by then number over nine billion, will live in sprawling urban centres. Even today, cities account for about for about 70 percent of global gross domestic product — and they will in the years ahead almost certainly become far more the centre of human social and cultural life than they are now, or have ever been before. Technological advances have made our megalopolises cleaner, smarter, more efficient and more resilient than ever before. In 2013, MBC Times magazine dubbed Calgary, in Canada, the cleanest city in the world, and noted it is also ecologically sound. Among other things, the magazine pointed out the city purifies up to 100 million litres of water a day and powers 75 percent of the city with renewable energy.

AS OF 2013, THE AVERAGE LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH WAS

IN 2013, MBC TIMES NAMED CALGARY IN CANADA THE CLEANEST CITY IN THE WORLD, NOTING IT PURIFIES UP TO

71 YEARS IN MONACO, LIFE EXPECTANCY HAS REACHED

ALMOST 90 YEARS

100 MILLION LITRES OF WATER A DAY AND POWERS 75 PERCENT OF THE CITY WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY

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When’s the last time that you heard anyone fretting about the hole in the ozone layer? Back in the 1970s, it was all the rage in the media. The discovery of a growing hole in the ozone layer that protects life on Earth from dangerous ultraviolet solar radiation was for years the biggest, and most publicised, of environmental fears. But the world got together to do something about it, mainly by dramatically reducing the use of man-made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons that were widely used in refrigerators and aerosol sprays. The movement culminated in a protocol signed in the 1980s by all 197 member states of the UN. Scientists now say the impact on humans from the hole is expected to start decreasing over the next 10 years. They also note that the levels of ozone-depleting gases seemed to have peaked in 2000, and are now probably on the decline. The forecast today is for the ozone layer to return to pre-1980 levels by 2049 over much of Europe, North America, Asia, Australasia, Latin America and Africa. 94 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

RARE MAMMAL REAPPEARS, HUNDREDS OF SPECIES IDENTIFIED The world is teeming with life forms that we haven’t even seen, and we are finding new and often surprising species all the time. According to the World Wildlife Fund, at least 441 new species were identified over the four years from 2010 to 2013 in the vast Amazon alone, which reaches across eight different countries. Experts say that millions of species live there, and most of them are still undescribed. Among the new finds are Callicebus caquetensis, a species of titi monkey that purrs like a cat, and Passiflora longifilamentosa, a passion flower that sprouts spaghettilike filaments from the centre of its bloom. All in all, in those four years, the WWF compiled a list of 258 plants, 84 fish, 58 amphibians, 22 reptiles, 18 birds and one mammal species. The WWF also reported last year that another animal that hadn’t been seen this century was caught on camera in Vietnam. The saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) is one of the rarest and most threatened mammals on the planet. Zoologists didn’t even know they existed until 1992.

THE FORECAST TODAY IS FOR THE OZONE LAYER TO RETURN TO

PRE-1980 LEVELS BY 2049 OVER MUCH OF EUROPE, NORTH AMERICA, ASIA, AUSTRALASIA, LATIN AMERICA AND AFRICA

441 NEW SPECIES WERE IDENTIFIED FROM 2010 TO 2013 IN THE AMAZON ALONE. EXPERTS SAY THAT MILLIONS OF SPECIES LIKELY LIVE THERE, AND MOST OF THEM ARE STILL UNDESCRIBED

ILLUSTRATIONS: NICK GREEN (LEAF); LESLIE RANCHON (GOAT HEAD) FROM THE NOUN PROJECT

THE OZONE HOLE IS CLOSING: GLOBAL EFFORTS ARE PAYING OFF

GOOD NEWS

WE MAY BE LIVING IN THE MOST PEACEFUL ERA IN HISTORY Maybe it doesn't feel like it, probably because of 24-hour news, where bad news inevitably filters to the top. Our awareness of violence and disaster has never been so high, yet the actual incidents seem to be going down. Dr Steven Pinker, a Harvard psychology professor, argues that there are fewer conflicts today, and that the wars we fight don’t kill as many people as conflicts did in the Middle Ages. He also claims that global rates of violent crime have plummeted in the last few decades, which he attributes to better education, and even a growing sense of empathy in our modern world.

WORLD WAR II, WHICH LASTED FROM 1939 TO 1945, STILL RANKS AS THE PLANET’S DEADLIEST MILITARY CONFLICT, WITH AN ESTIMATED

66 MILLION PEOPLE LOSING THEIR LIVES 95 JUNE 2014

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GOOD NEWS

WE’RE COMMUNICATING ACROSS PLANETS AS WE REACH FOR THE STARS...

...AND ROAMING AROUND ON MARS

OH, AND BY THE WAY, WE’RE BACK ON THE MOON

Our reach as Earthlings now extends over 125 astronomical units (one astronomical unit is 93 million miles, or close to 150 million kilometres) into space, meaning we have for the first time ever, ventured beyond our own solar system. Our interstellar representative, which bears a golden disc with drawings of our species and signs of our achievements and capabilities in case it ever encounters alien life, is the Voyager 1 probe, launched t September 5, 1977. Together, the Voyager spacecraft (there were two) spent more than 11 years exploring Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Just getting a message to and an answer back from Voyager 1 takes 33 hours. And its trip is far from over. NASA expects to stay in touch with our interstellar emissary until 2020.

One of the big success stories in interplanetary travel started more than a decade ago and is still going strong on the surface of Mars. Taking advantage of one of the Red Planet’s closest passes of Earth in thousands of years, the United States in 2003 launched two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, on what they estimated would be a mission providing several months of on-the-ground exploration. What they got was six years out of Spirit, which went silent in 2010, and more than 10 years from Opportunity — and counting. In March this year, NASA proudly noted that Opportunity was exploring “Murray Ridge” on Solander Point, part of the rim of Endeavour Crater. The rovers have been a boon in capturing Mars imagery, taking hundreds of thousands of raw photos, and have given NASA a big boost towards achieving its four long-term goals: to determine whether there was ever life on Mars, to learn how the climate of Mars has changed, to characterise the geology of Mars and — most exciting of all — to prepare for human exploration.

China ended a 37-year hiatus of lunar landings with its robotic Chang’e-3 lander and Yutu rover last December, making it the third nation to make a so-called "softlanding" on the moon. The landing in Mare Imbrium provides an opportunity to explore the moon’s minerals and analyse soil samples. Since this is the first landing since 1976, the Chinese mission has the benefit of far more advanced technology than earlier US and Soviet missions; and hopes are high that it will make a big contribution to understanding our closest neighbour. India and Russia also are working on lunar missions.

THE VOYAGER 1 PROBE LAUNCHED IN

INCLUDING ORBITERS, LANDERS AND ROVERS, THERE HAVE BEEN

IN 1970, THE CHIEF ASTRONOMER AT NEW YORK’S HAYDEN PLANETARIUM DESIGNED A WATCH THAT MEASURED THE TIME IT TOOK FOR THE MOON TO ROTATE AND GO AROUND THE EARTH. EACH "LUNATION" IS EQUIVALENT TO 29.530589 EARTH DAYS

1977 AND WITH ITS SIBLING, SPENT MORE THAN

11 YEARS EXPLORING JUPITER, SATURN, URANUS AND NEPTUNE

39 MISSIONS TO MARS — ONLY 16 OF THEM HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL

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9498 9498

DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

ILLUSTRATIONS: TIMOTHY DILICH (MICROBE); SIMON CHILD (WOMAN) FROM THE NOUN PROJECT

GOOD NEWS

THERE’S NO NEED TO FEAR BEING ALONE EVER AGAIN

WE HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE AGES AT OUR FINGERTIPS

“GOD PARTICLE” MAY SUGGEST WE’VE GOT A LOT OF TIME TO FIGURE THINGS OUT

Because you never are, and never have been! According to the Human Biome Project, every human being is the host to something in the line of 10,000 species of microflora that live on and in your skin, your mouth, your gut — sharing every nook and cranny of that body that you once might have considered to be yours and yours alone. Altogether, the guests you carry account for a few pounds (several kilograms) of your total bodyweight.

Access to information has never been quicker, cheaper or more democratic than right now, thanks to the internet and other technological advances. Even in countries where they try to block it, the spread of information is becoming more relentless than ever. And based on the results of isolation in the not-too-distant past, that’s a mighty good thing.

Scientists are still trying to work out all the implications of the discovery of evidence supporting the existence of the Higgs Boson, that “God Particle” everyone was talking about a couple of years ago. That news was without a doubt one of the biggest breakthroughs in physics in a long time, and it is going to take some time to fully digest. If you have forgotten, or never really got it in the first place, the Higgs Boson is essentially what gives particles mass. But more recently, physicists are starting to ponder an interesting corollary — that the properties of the particle might suggest our universe is finite. And here we have the classic “cup half-empty” conundrum. What little coverage that theory got was generally gloomy. The universe as it we know it will end, the headlines said. But here’s the kicker: even if the theory is right, we’ve still got many tens of billions of years to go, so all of us won't be around for it (though who knows if our descendants will).

Scientific research now suggests that caffeine, the most widely taken psychoactive substance in the world and most commonly consumed as coffee or tea, may not just be a quick pick-meup. It may actually be good for your health too, possibly reducing your likelihood of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, improving the function of your liver, and allowing your brain to work faster by blocking a neurotransmitter called adenosine. So cross this ubiquitous stimulant off your guilty pleasures list. It’s a health drink. Just don’t drink too much! And don’t forget, there’s still no substitute for your nightly sleep — surely the 21st reason to feel better.

EVERY HUMAN BEING IS THE HOST TO SOMETHING IN THE LINE OF

APPROXIMATELY 2,937 MILLION PEOPLE USE THE INTERNET TODAY (THAT’S OVER 40 PERCENT OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION), COMPARED TO

THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER COST

A 2013 STUDY BY THE HARVARD SCHOOL OF HEALTH FOUND THAT DRINKING BETWEEN

10,000 SPECIES OF MICROFLORA

16 MILLION IN 1995 (JUST 0.4 PERCENT OF THE GLOBE’S RESIDENTS)

US$10 BILLION TO BUILD. WHILE TRAVELLING AT 99.999 PERCENT OF THE SPEED OF LIGHT, A PROTON CAN GO AROUND THE COLLIDER 11,000 TIMES PER SECOND

SO GO AHEAD, AND HAVE THAT CUP OF JOE

TWO AND FOUR CUPS OF COFFEE A DAY COULD REDUCE THE RISK OF SUICIDE IN PARTICIPANTS BY UP TO 50 PERCENT

99 JUNE 2014

GOOD NEWS

HOLLYWOOD PORTRAYALS ASIDE, ROBOTS ARE (STILL) OUR FRIENDS

WE HAVE SET ASIDE A CHUNK OF THE EARTH FOR PROTECTED HABITATS

THE VERDICT IS OUT: FEELING GOOD IS GOOD FOR YOU

WE MIGHT EVEN FIND A WAY TO APPRECIATE co*ckROACHES

And while we’re on the topic of robots, it is probably worth noting that they haven’t gone Terminator on us just yet. To the contrary in fact — robotics have revolutionised manufacturing, eliminating many low-quality jobs, yes, but replacing them with better, skilled positions for humans in the workplace. Robot-assisted surgery has shortened and simplified procedures and recovery times. Robots are now doing our vacuuming, helping us find things in places too dangerous for us to physically explore — and rapidly proving themselves to be valuable as companions and pets, particularly for the very young and old, or the immobile.

One-eighth of the land mass of the Earth is now protected for the conservation of nature. There are well over 100,000 protected areas in the world, which combined represents an area equivalent to China and India put together. That is more than ever before, and it underscores a growing understanding that preserving habitats is a necessary, and often viable, policy — not merely an obstacle to industrial development. According to a 2010 report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, which tracks progress on preserving habitats, the movement to designate and protect habitats represents “the most important investment that humanity has made in the protection of nature”. As IUCN puts it, the move is “one of the great success stories of conservation”. Cheerful news!

The fact is, looking on the bright side is good for you. Studies support what might seem pretty darn obvious. Happy people are healthier. Optimistic people are happier. Altruism is not alien to our basic human nature. And all these traits can be learned, exercised, strengthened — just as their opposites can be. To a certain extent, if you try to find fault and gloom, you will. And the more you do, the more internalised your pessimism will become. But psychologists are increasingly getting on board with the idea that our outlook on life is to a significant degree pliable. And that, if we make the effort, we can be happy — or at least happier.

co*ckroaches. It’s kind of hard to feel good about these guys. But the fact is, they have been around a lot longer than we have. As a species, they are seemingly indestructible. They’ve been through millions of years of evolution and can survive in almost any climate (or behind any cupboard). So is it time for a truce? The day may soon come when instead of trying to exterminate roaches, we may be able to put them to work for us. For well over a decade, scientists have been working on a tiny backpack-like device that plugs into a co*ckroach’s nervous system and can be used to control what the insect does, which way it turns, and whether it stops or moves. Although the device is not quite ready for prime time yet, camera-equipped robo-roaches could one day be used to do anything from crawling into rubble to search for earthquake survivors, to checking out enemy positions in combat zones.

ACCORDING TO SOME ESTIMATES, THERE ARE CURRENTLY

THERE ARE WELL OVER

THERE ARE ABOUT

4,000 ROBOTS

PROTECTED AREAS IN THE WORLD, WHICH WHEN COMBINED REPRESENTS AN AREA EQUIVALENT TO

RESEARCHERS HAVE FOUND THAT SMILING FOR JUST 60 SECONDS STRAIGHT CAN DECREASE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE. A SMILE CAN BE RECOGNISED UP TO

CURRENTLY SERVING IN THE US MILITARY, INCLUDING SOME SMARTER ONES THAT SCOUT FOR DEADLY BOMBS

100 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

100,000

CHINA AND INDIA PUT TOGETHER

91 METRES AWAY — IT IS SAID TO BE THE MOST EASILY IDENTIFIABLE FACIAL EXPRESSION

3,500 SPECIES OF co*ckROACHES IN THE WORLD. IN THE NEAR FUTURE, ONE OF THESE COULD BE EQUIPPED WITH A TINY DEVICE OR CAMERA TO SEARCH FOR QUAKE SURVIVORS OR CHECK FOR ENEMIES IN COMBAT ZONES

WHAT'S ON THIS MONTH ON DISCOVERY CHANNEL

Mystery of The Lost Islands Renowned zoologist and behaviour expert Dave Salmoni is no stranger to adventure. Having trekked the globe to study predators in their natural environments, Dave visits some of the world’s most remote islands to investigate how and why their native inhabitants have been so spectacularly successful at surviving — despite the harshest of conditions. AIRS EVERY MONDAY TO FRIDAY 8 PM, STARTING 9 JUNE

102 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

WHAT'S ON

New Adventures with Bear Grylls World-renowned survival expert Bear Grylls has found his next adventure and he is bringing 20 men and women along for the ride in the new larger-thanlife adventure reality-competition series GET OUT ALIVE WITH BEAR GRYLLS. This series sees Bear taking on the role of host, judge and mentor during which he will guide these 10 two-person teams in a nonstop extreme survival journey through the treacherous terrains of New Zealand’s scenic South Island. AIRS EVERY MONDAY TO FRIDAY 10 PM, STARTING 2 JUNE

103 JUNE 2014

Klondike Discovery Channel’s firstever scripted mini-series KLONDIKE brings to life the story of six strangers and their collective fight for survival and wealth in a small frontier town in the remote Klondike, in North West Canada. It follows the lives of two childhood best friends, Bill and Epstein, in the late 1890s as they flock to the gold rush capital. AIRS EVERY MONDAY TO SATURDAY 10 PM, STARTING 23 JUNE

104 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE INDIA

WHAT'S ON

Magic of Science Get ready to learn the chemistry, physics and biology powering the world's greatest illusions. The new season of MAGIC OF SCIENCE fuses the showmanship and mystery of street magic with the raw power of science. From overpowering an entire American Football team to levitating fast food to a life-threatening underwater escape, MAGIC OF SCIENCE takes the mystery of magic and powers it with science. AIRS EVERY MONDAY TO FRIDAY 8 PM, STARTING 23 JUNE

72 Hours Every detective knows that the first 72 hours after a crime are crucial to solving it. What is less well known is that the victim's last 72 hours often hold the key to the criminal's identity. Through a cinematic blend of dramatic reenactments, 72 HOURS takes the viewer through the painstaking investigative process until the case is solved and the criminal convicted. In the end, justice is always served. AIRS EVERY SATURDAY AND SUNDAY 9 PM, STARTING 14 JUNE

105 JUNE 2014

Discovery Channel Magazine India - June 2014 - PDF Free Download (2024)

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