What The 1970 'Exploding Whale' Fiasco Has To Do With Coronavirus

Here's why the Doncaster Council is tweeting about an exploding whale in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

What The 1970 'Exploding Whale' Fiasco Has To Do With Coronavirus

In 1970, a dead whale washed ashore in Oregon (Representative Image)

In November 1970, a dead sperm whale washed ashore in Florence in Oregon, USA. City officials decided to remove the whale carcass from the beach by blowing it up with dynamite - a disastrous attempt that is now serving as a cautionary tale amid the coronavirus pandemic, half a century later. 

The Council of Doncaster - a town in Yorkshire, UK - recently shared a thread on Twitter to highlight three essential points about dealing with the coronavirus crisis. They used the story of the exploding whale to make three points about dealing with the pandemic, and the thread has gone viral on the microblogging platform with over 80,000 'likes' and more than 45,000 'retweets'. 

In the Twitter thread, the Doncaster Council recounted the incident of the exploding whale and described how the whale carcass led to a debate on how best to dispose of it. City officials had three options - they could either leave it to decompose, bury it or blow it up with dynamite - and chose to go with the third one. 

Unfortunately, the chief engineer used half a tonne of dynamite to blow up the whale carcass in front of a crowd of spectators, going against the advice of experts who said it was way too much dynamite. 

"Very quickly, the short-sightedness of the plan became evident. The huge amount of dynamite sent massive chunks of blubber flying through the chilly air, and it rained down around the terrified onlookers," wrote Doncaster Council on Twitter. The ill-thought plan led to a car getting crushed under blubber, and "to cap everything off, the main bit of the whale stayed exactly where it had been."

"So why do we tell you this story?" the council asked before explaining how the tale can teach three important lessons in the times of coronavirus. Here is what these lessons are:

The Twitter thread has been widely praised on social media. 


"BRILLIANT thread.  Whoever thought this one up is a blinking marvel," wrote one Twitter user. 

"Wow. Amazing thread guys. Take a bow!" said another. 

"This is an excellent lesson, very well told," a user remarked. 

What do you think of this tale? Let us know using the comments section. 

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