Daily TWiP ArchivesSomething interesting has happened on (just about) every day of the year, and Daily TWiP provides the proof. An offshoot of my local events column The Week in Preview (affectionately known as TWiP), Daily TWiP was published April 2008-Aug. 2011 and is still giving readers reasons to celebrate.
More in "Daily TWiP"
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 23: National Mole Day
- Daily TWiP - June 18: International Picnic Day
- Daily TWiP - June 30, 1859: The Great Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope
- Daily TWiP - Dec. 1, 1761: Famed wax sculptor Madame Tussaud born
- Daily TWiP - Dec. 4: National Cookie Day
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 8: National Fluffernutter Day
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 7, 1936: "Benjamin," the last thylacine, dies
- Daily TWiP - Nov. 12, 1933: First photograph of the Loch Ness Monster taken
- Daily TWiP - April 1, 1957: The BBC pulls off its infamous spaghetti tree hoax
- Daily TWiP - April 11, 1954: The most boring day of the 20th century
- Daily TWiP - May 3, 1978: The first spam email is sent
- Daily TWiP - Feb. 28, 1939: The non-word “dord” is discovered in Webster’s New International Dictionary
- Daily TWiP - March 3, 1931: "The Star-Spangled Banner," set to the tune of an English drinking song, becomes the U.S. national anthem
- Daily TWiP - May 16, 1777: The American with the most valuable autograph is fatally wounded in a duel
- Daily TWiP - May 25: Towel Day and Geek Pride Day
- Daily TWiP - June 30: National Ice Cream Soda Day
- Daily TWiP - July 22: Spoonerism Day
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 13: International Left-Handers' Day
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 23, 1784: The short-lived state of Franklin declares its independence from North Carolina
- Daily TWiP - Feb. 5, 1897: The Indiana General Assembly unanimously votes to change the value of pi
- Daily TWiP - March 10: International Day of Awesomeness and Chuck Norris' birthday
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 25: National Irish Coffee Day
- Daily TWiP - Nov. 30, 1954: Ann Hodges becomes the first person hit by a meteorite
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 6, 1582 does not happen in certain countries
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 17, 1859: Joshua A. Norton declares himself Emperor of the United States
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 30, 2004: First images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat are taken
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 27, 1896: The shortest war in recorded history is fought
- Daily TWiP - July 30, 1419: Czechs chuck politicians (literally) during the First Defenestration of Prague
- Daily TWiP - July 21, 356 B.C.: Herostratus destroys one of the Seven Wonders of the World to ensure his own fame
- Daily TWiP - May 14: National Dance Like A Chicken Day
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 26, 2004: Dead whale unexpectedly explodes in Tainan, Taiwan
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 8, 1835: U.S. national debt hits zero for the first and only time
Daily TWiP – Jan. 26, 2004: Dead whale unexpectedly explodes in Tainan, Taiwan
There’s a reason whale watching is usually done from a distance – with such a large creature, it’s impossible to predict what might happen if you get too close. 600 enthusiastic bystanders learned this the hard way when the dead sperm whale they were following through the streets of Tainan, Taiwan, suddenly exploded Jan. 26, 2004.
The 60-ton, 56-foot-long whale had been found beached on the southwestern coast of the island just over a week earlier on Jan. 17. At that time, it was the largest whale ever recorded in Taiwan. Researchers decided to perform a necropsy (which is like an autopsy but for animals) to determine how the whale had died.
It took 13 hours for the combined efforts of three cranes and 50 workers to load the whale onto a flatbed truck. Under the direction of Professor Wang Chien-ping, the whale was transported to the laboratory at Tainan’s National Cheung Kung University.
The university appears to have been less than thrilled when Wang showed up on their doorstep with an enormous dead whale, as they informed him that he would not be able to perform the necropsy there. Wang and his crew turned their whale around and headed back through the streets of Tainan toward the Sutsao Wild Life Reservation Area.
It was at that moment, right in the middle of a busy street, that the whale exploded. The crowd of curious onlookers who had been following the whale (and the street vendors who had tagged along in hopes of making a few sales) found themselves showered with a foul-smelling mix of blood and entrails.
Storefronts, cars and the street itself were covered with the stinking mess. Traffic ground to a halt, taking the phrase “intestinal blockage” to a whole new level.
Business owners and residents donned masks and joined forces to clean up the area. It took several hours before order was restored.
Amazingly, there was still enough of the whale left for Wang and his fellow researchers to perform a necropsy. The explosion, they discovered, had been caused by a buildup of natural gases inside the decomposing whale.
Although the whale’s remains are long gone from the streets of Tainan, you can still see a few bits and pieces on display at the Taijiang Cetacean Museum. The whale’s skeleton, along with some organs and tissues, were preserved by Wang and have made their home at the museum since April of 2005.
– Teresa Santoski
Originally published Jan. 26, 2010.