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China Earth News Science

China's Yangtze River Turns Red 272

redletterdave writes "The Yangtze River, the third longest river in the world traditionally known as the 'golden watercourse,' mysteriously blushed for the first time on Sept. 6. Residents in the surrounding area near the city of Chongqing, where the Yangtze connects to the Jialin River, literally stopped in their tracks when they noticed their once golden river had turned a shocking shade of red. Residents have carefully crept down to the riverbanks for the past few days to save some of the red, tomato juice-like river water in bottles. Early predictions from scientists say the red water was likely a result of pollution, but investigators are still investigating the unknown cause."
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China's Yangtze River Turns Red

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  • by DaTrueDave ( 992134 ) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @05:02PM (#41275817)

    I was looking at some of the photos linked in that article, and I noticed that some of them [] are pretty obviously photoshopped. I'm sure the river was red, but I'm not so sure it was such a dramatic shade of red. You can see where the editing was sloppy and bled over into the arm and thumb of the person holding the bottle, and the arm of the guy behind, as well as some sections that are probably the actual shade of red that the river turned.

  • Re:Red? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 08, 2012 @05:07PM (#41275859)

    I was thinking the same thing then clicked the link in the article and that was where the red pictures were, the page we are linked to has the before pictures.

    It's pretty unmistakeably red if you can see red.

  • by jopet ( 538074 ) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @05:12PM (#41275879) Journal

    Aluminium plants produce a huge quantity of "red mud" which is red from iron oxide. A spill could well color the whole river red.
    See e.g. here where the mud spilled through a broken dam in Hungary: []

  • Re:Red? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuurMyy ( 1003853 ) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @05:13PM (#41275881) Homepage
    Here are the red pictures []
  • Re:Red? (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Saturday September 08, 2012 @05:23PM (#41275949)
  • Dumping (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @05:24PM (#41275957) Homepage

    Some of the religious nuts will probably claim this is bibilical, but more likely, somebody dumped some industrial waste.

    Something like that happened in San Jose, CA about twenty years ago. Someone dumped several big industrial plating baths into the sewers all at once. This killed most of the bacteria that digest waste in the sewerage treatment plant. So for about three days, raw sewerage was dumped into the San Francisco Bay. Big mess, especially since there isn't much water flow in the south end of San Francisco Bay to dilute that stuff. It could be both seen and smelled. EPA fined San Jose millions for that. San Jose found and fined the plating company.

  • Re:Red? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 08, 2012 @05:32PM (#41276025)

    Quite obviously photoshopped. Look at the photo with the two men, one holding a bottle. Now look along the left side of the bottle. Look at the men's left arms. Screaming fake. If you inspect some of the other pictures closely, you will also find other areas where color manipulation is evident.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 08, 2012 @06:19PM (#41276331)

    I'm pretty sure that was intended to be read with a sarcastic tone. Though I'm from the States, from what I've gathered the Daily Mail is like the UK's version of the National Enquirer--correspondence of their articles to actual reality is purely coincidental.

    And, like the Enquirer, the more fantastic (in the literal sense) the story, the better.

  • Re:Red? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 08, 2012 @06:19PM (#41276333)

    AC Parent is a liar

    No, he's not.

    Take a good look at the area under the bottle in this image []. Some of the water remains brown, yet parts of the two men's arms are the exact same color as the water.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @06:54PM (#41276543) Homepage

    Based on a quick study of the poorly Photoshopped image (you can clearly see the mask lines, and the bits they forgot to alter) it looks like someone simply doubled the saturation on the water.

    I've made an attempt to restore the image to something approaching reality [].

  • by poity ( 465672 ) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @07:41PM (#41276793)

    On the captions you see it's by China Photo Press/Barcroft Media, which means DailyMail bought them from 3rd party photo journalists, who obviously were looking for a quick sell and weren't concerned with some color enhancement. Here's a phone camera video taken yesterday [] It's not as red as the photos, but still very red. The locals who are talking to the guy filming say it's the first time they've seen anything like this, so it's not a total fake either.

  • Re:Red? (Score:5, Informative)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @08:32PM (#41277013) Homepage Journal

    It looks to me like they tweaked the saturation. I was wondering about that because I saw the same pictures elsewhere and the color is not nearly so dramatic -- at least if you're not conditioned to having the river look one way or the other.

    My wife is a physical oceanographer and her first reaction when she heard about this is that it was some kind of phytoplankton bloom. Some pictures I've seen make it look like some kind of dye, which is more plausible than you might think.

    When my brother was a civil engineering co-op student he caused a local news sensation . He'd been given the job of doing a dye study looking for illegal sewer connections. What happens is that developers assume the first pipe they come to is the right one to hook the sanitary sewer lines up to. He only needed half a teaspoon of dye powder, but the smallest quantity he could order was a two gallon pail. So he flushed the whole pail down the toilet, and hit the jackpot, dyeing the whole harbor of Salem Mass fluorescent green.

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @08:37PM (#41277035) Homepage Journal

    I don't remember the parties having any colors when I was a kid, though according to WP, the Dems and Reps did indeed sometimes use Red and Blue respectively. And of course everywhere but here, the left is "Red" and the right is "Blue". I think this has to do with the left being fond of waving red flags (an old symbol for a fight to the death) and the right usually being associated with asserting traditional hierarchies, which originally meant rule by so-called Blue Bloods — people who had the right ancestors.

    But the red flag became the symbol of the socialist movement, which has always been unpopular in the U.S. I think American liberals consciously avoided using red, so as to avoid assisting those who defined a commie as anybody to the left of Genghis Khan. So the standard color scheme never really caught on here. Meanwhile, the world socialist movement fell out of favor after the biggest Marxist state collapsed and the second-biggest basically switched over to intensive capitalism — pretty much destroying the whole red-versus-blue image. Since Americans aren't great at historical memory, they were now free to re-invent the color scheme.

    It's true that the current Red-State/Blue-State thing started out on TV. (WP says it was first used in the 2000 presidential coverage). But I think the main credit for its spread goes to the right, which embraced an image [] that neatly illustrated their claim that liberals represent a group of people living in a few prosperous coastal states, and who completely ignore the needs of Americans in flyover states.

    Note that is an influential political blog, while belongs to an obscure lighting and design firm whose web site has been in parking mode since 2007 [].

  • Re:news! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 09, 2012 @03:54AM (#41278503)

    It appears you don't even understand your position. As an a-theist, it isn't that you don't believe in god, you believe there is no god, otherwise you would be an agnostic. Atheism takes a position, one which cannot be based on knowledge*, which renders it belief.

    That and no one is killing anyone else over invisible stamps.

    You flatter yourself based on mistaken belief.

    League of Militant Atheists []

    Documentary on Militant Atheism in the Soviet Union []

    Militant Atheism in the USSR []

    Tortured for Christ in Atheist Romania - Richard Wurmbrand []

    * ~ 10^11 galaxies in the universe . . . no God anywhere? Really? You know this?

  • Re:news! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Forty Two Tenfold ( 1134125 ) on Sunday September 09, 2012 @04:30AM (#41278607)
    You're another idiot in the long list of those who conflate two non-exclusive terms. Atheism [] vs antitheism [].

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