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Editorial: Aloe gel without aloe, whale-watching in Manhattan and the polar bear dance

It’s a friendly reminder that in purchasing products, it’s always, “Buyer beware.” News reports warn there may not be any aloe vera in that aloe vera gel. Huge disappointment to many Americans counting on a bit of help in getting that smooth, supple skin depicted in advertisements.

Not so much. Samples of store-brand aloe gel purchased at national retailers such as Walmart, Target and CVS did not come up with any of the good stuff – in this case, plant – in various lab tests. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will not be putting this omission at the top of its agenda since it doesn’t approve cosmetics before they are sold and has never levied a fine for selling fake aloe. Too bad. Remember GNC’s claims? One disappointment after another.

You can see a lot of unusual things in New York City. Any given day can provide a glimpse of something that could only be produced in a gigantic city built vertically on a narrow island. Even still, whales are not typically among them.

They are now. Or, at least, one is. A humpback whale has been spotted in the Hudson River for two consecutive years. The family of Dr. Rachel Dubroff has spotted it both years swimming across from their apartment at Riverside Boulevard and 63rd Street in Manhattan.

The good news is that the whale’s interest in visiting Manhattan – we presume it wasn’t for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – is based in part on waters that are cleaner than they have been in generations. That makes it safer for the whale and for the fish it feeds upon.

The bad news is that the river is busy. From small crafts to big ships, vessels continually ply these waters, creating a potential hazard for the creature that a whale-tracking organization has nicknamed Gotham. Even still, it could be safer than a Fifth Avenue sidewalk at Christmastime.

Let’s give the Buffalo Zoo credit for doing its part in the effort to protect endangered animals. Here are the “bear facts”: Anana, a female polar bear, left the Buffalo Zoo for the Cincinnati Zoo, where she is expected to be introduced to a male called Little One. And Berit, a female from Cincinnati, was transported to the zoo in Madison, Wis., while the Buffalo Zoo’s newest arrival, Sakari, a male from Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, will meet the Buffalo Zoo’s Luna.

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