Giant squid in TasmaniaDec. 4, 1952:  A deadly cloud of air pollution from coal burning causes havoc over London.  The tragedy led to stricter air pollution laws in the UK, enacted four years later.   Official announcements at the time linked 4,000 deaths to the tragedy but years later, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives estimated that the “Killer Fog” may have killed 12,000.

Dec. 4, 2006:  Holy Calamari!  A Japanese fishing crew captures the first-ever video of a giant squid.  The 11-foot beast — actually small for a giant squid — is hooked and videotaped, then hauled aboard.  What did the fishermen use for bait?  Squid. At right, an image of a giant squid that washed up in Tasmania in 2007.

Dec. 4, 2007:   Activist Annie Leonard releases a viral video, "The Story of Stuff." The 20-minute long dissertation of how much our society consumes, and throws out, is published in book form several years later.

Dec. 4, 2012:  A study in the Journal of Human Reproduction reports that the sperm count of French men dropped by one-third between 1989 and 2005.  The study does not cite a cause, but calls the decline “a serious public health warning.”

Photo: Getty Images

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.