Nation: A Place to Die

A herd of 150 small whales nosed their way onto a beach near Fort Pierce, Fla., last week. Boaters and state conservation agents dragged the cetaceans, of the species Pseudorca crassidens, the false killer whale, back into deep water. But the whales doggedly finned themselves onto the sand again, and 125 died. Scientists were at a loss to explain the mass death wish: perhaps a leader gone berserk, or a quirk of weather or topology that disoriented the whales' biological sonar systems. To those who see omens, it seemed that the whales were trying to tell us something. To those who...

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