On Australia’s western coast, you will find the world’s largest fringing coral reef: Ningaloo. The Ningaloo Coast is World Heritage listed and home to 300 species of coral, 500 fish species and megafauna such as whale sharks.
Late last year, we got to walk the coastal trails and dive beneath the waves to photograph this ocean paradise--and today, on World Oceans Day, we're inviting people across the globe to gaze at the turquoise waters and virtually swim with manta ray, stingray and sharks on Google Street View.
Partnering with Parks and Wildlife Service WA and not-for-profit Underwater Earth, we explored Ningaloo from every angle, collecting imagery above, below and along the coast.
Adventurers can meander down to the shoreline of Cape Range National Park and to Oyster Stacks, within the Mandu Sanctuary Zone of Ningaloo Marine Park, before going for a digital snorkel at high tide with a rich diversity of fish--we’ve already carefully navigated the sharp oyster shells for you.
“We have been capturing underwater Street View imagery, partnering with Google, for over nine years. We believe in the importance of revealing precious ocean environments to the world to help educate and inspire ocean protection and conservation. Ningaloo Reef is simply too precious to lose,” said Christophe Bailhache, Co-founder of not-for-profit Underwater Earth, and underwater photographer for this Ningaloo collection.
“What an amazing opportunity to not only let Ningaloo enthral, excite and engage an even broader audience, but importantly help better understand this most beautiful and fragile of underwater wonders in the changing world we live in. Thank you Google and Underwater Earth,” said Dr Peter Barnes, Ningaloo Marine Park Coordinator.
We see this Street View capture as a chance to document the Ningaloo Coast in its current condition and keep track of how it's evolving. And by raising awareness and making sure that as many people as possible see this natural wonder, and get to understand its significance, we hope to do our bit to help protect this incredible place.
Posted by Cynthia Wei, Program Manager, Google Street View
*All underwater images © Underwater Earth/Christophe Bailhache
This is pure 2020 style chaotic good
Updated at 8:48 p.m. ET on June 7, 2020.
On early Sunday morning, when the Dallas Police Department tweeted asking people to submit videos of “illegal activity” at protests to its iWatch Dallas app, K-pop fans were ready.
“I wanted to do something to stop or slow [the police] down,” a 16-year-old Houston girl who goes by @YGSHIT on Twitter told me. She was one of many South Korean–pop fans who quickly realized that their lightning-fast coordination and prodigious spamming abilities could be repurposed for what she considers a righteous cause. Concerned that video clips submitted to the police app might be used to identify and possibly arrest peaceful protesters, K-pop fans improvised. They submitted, over and over, their collections of “fancams”—short clips of concerts or promotional footage, usually zoomed in to focus on a favorite performer.
@YGSHIT, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from the police, selected a clip from a recent music video by the boy band BTS, which she submitted four or five times. Then she did the same for a clip of Dahyun, a member of the girl group Twice. The same for a clip of Ryujin, a member of the girl group ITZY. And for a live clip of the girl group Red Velvet.
Within hours, the police app had crashed. The Dallas Police Department announced the next day that the cause of the “interruption” was “still being determined,” and a spokesperson declined to provide further information, telling me that none was available.
On Twitter, fan accounts with large followings continued to mobilize. When the FBI tweeted asking for images of “individuals inciting violence” at protests, the call came almost immediately: “kpop stans”—internet slang for extremely invested fans—“you know what to do.” When the police department in Grand Rapids, Michigan, created an online portal for images and videos of “unrest,” @YGSHIT tweeted, “y’all already know what to do KPOP STANS RISE.”
Over the past week, as protests against police brutality have erupted nationwide, online fandoms of K-pop, Harry Styles, and others established a clear course of action: They would not use any of their normal promotional hashtags to boost their favorite music, instead keeping themselves and the platform focused on the message of Black Lives Matter. They would repurpose accounts that normally track chart positions and celebrity Instagram posts to instead disseminate information about how to support the protests. They would clog up every police department’s digital efforts. They would flood racist hashtags like #whitelivesmatter and #alllivesmatter with more concert footage to render them useless.
Many of them did this before hearing anything from the idols whose faces they use as their avatars, and several of them told me they did it because they felt a “responsibility” to use their technological savvy and their interconnected global network for more than just sharing memes. More and more fandoms are now realizing that they have substantial organizing and amplification capabilities of their own, and that they don’t need to wait for the stars they adore to commit to their chosen cause.
Laila, a 20-year-old BTS fan who lives in France, helped coordinate the fandom’s efforts to crash police apps, and requested to go by her first name out of concern about retaliation. “The fandom wants [BTS] to speak [up about police brutality]. They really want that,” Laila told me. “But we are already working together.” Laila is part of three K-pop group chats on Twitter that have pivoted to activism in the past week: one that raises money for Black Lives Matter organizations by selling fan art, another that tracks new hashtags to spam with fancams, and a third that spreads information about how to stay safe at protests. Most recently, Laila said, fans have been filling up #maga and #bluelivesmatter hashtags on Instagram with photos of K-pop stars. They’ve also publicly instructed other fans not to tweet in honor of BTS’s seventh anniversary next week, in order to keep the focus on Black Lives Matter.
Because K-pop fans are spread across the world, many of them are seriously interested in global politics. Sometimes they champion causes that are outwardly goofy—as when BTS fans threatened to sue Ivanka Trump for using the hashtag “BTS” in the caption of a photo from the White House. But in December, the Chilean government identified K-pop fandom as one of the more powerful forces driving human-rights protests across the country; in 2018, BTS fans supported student protests in Bangladesh.
“[These] are people who are used to tuning into developments in another part of the world and coordinating in response to events there,” says Miranda Ruth Larsen, a doctoral candidate at the University of Tokyo who studies K-pop.
With all this speed and enthusiasm, these fans look like a united front—but that isn’t exactly true. K-pop fans have a long and complicated history with cultural appropriation and antiblack racism. “While, yes, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, within the fandom there has been pushback,” says Zina, a 29-year-old K-pop-fandom critic and blogger from South Florida who asked to be identified only by her first name for professional reasons.
Some of their actions have been less considered and effective than others—flooding #WhiteLivesMatter with K-pop videos just ended up pushing it into Twitter’s Trending Topics sidebar. “You [go on the site and] see ‘Trending in K-Pop: White Lives Matter,’” Zina told me. “As a black fan who’s seen over the years that anti-blackness is literally everywhere, including in fandom spaces, the first thought [when you see that] isn’t Oh yes, these are my peers tweeting to mess up this tag, it’s Oh shit, what just happened.”
But tactics can be tweaked, and the spontaneity of the effort is still exciting: Much of this activism is led by black fans, and its happening even without any catalyst from the K-pop stars who are the reason for the fandom in the first place, Zina said. Many popular K-pop groups and artists have yet to say anything at all about the protests, and others waited a long time. On Thursday—nearly a week after the protests spread across the country—an official BTS Twitter account shared a supportive statement. And on Saturday, the group and its label Big Hit Entertainment revealed a $1 million donation to Black Lives Matter.
“The fandom has been moving, the fandom has been donating, the fans have been protesting,” Zina said. “Then the groups have shown support. The fandom paved the way for the groups.”
At this point, fans don’t really need celebrities to speak for them.
Fandoms have trained themselves for years to understand how attention works on social media and how to funnel it to things they care about. They easily can reach millions of people in a day—albeit with slightly more complicated methods than a major pop group like BTS, which can speak to all of its 26 million followers at once—and they know it.
This is a fairly recent realization. In 2015, Lady Gaga was credited with using social media to encourage her fans to be more engaged with LGBTQ activism—in part by giving them the nickname “Little Monsters” and bringing them together under her mentorship. But by 2018, young Harry Styles fans were exerting pressure from the bottom-up: They started bringing Black Lives Matter flags to his concerts and urging him on Twitter to recognize the cause, wrote Allyson Gross, a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, in a recent paper on how fans identify with celebrities and view them as representatives for their values. They were guiding him toward action, hoping “to mobilize his image for their own political purpose,” she argued. (The pressure campaign was largely successful.)
Now fans are moving beyond asking pop stars if they can borrow their influence. When they’re seeking attention for a cause, “the audience is no longer our stars, but ourselves,” Gross told me in an email. The pandemic has laid bare the limits of celebrities, she suggested, and the current protests have an urgency that supersedes a fandom’s desire to hear feel-good messages from someone they admire. When Styles, who is white, showed up at a protest in Los Angeles on Tuesday, many fans discouraged one another from sharing the images, arguing that he shouldn’t be the focus of a Black Lives Matter event and that white fans shouldn’t need to see him there before deciding to care about the movement themselves.
Fans still think celebrities have an obligation to support certain causes, but right now they’re more interested in seeing a mass movement come from the fandom itself. And they’re well equipped to create one. “Fandoms are dispersed, often digital, and already organized, all of which aid and support their using their platforms to shift the locus of attention,” Gross told me.
“I’ve seen stan Twitter come together more than ever during this,” says Gabrielle Foster, a 19-year-old Styles fan from Virginia who runs the Twitter account Black Harries Matter. “A lot of us have been going out to march ourselves, and since we already have a big social-media presence in general, it’s helped a lot in spreading news about what’s happening at the protests and how we can help from home or from another state.”
Fans have always been real people with various identities, but right now we’re hearing much more about their political stances and their personal stakes in issues than we are about which bops they’re listening to. Many are changing their avatars from photos of pop stars to illustrations of the Black Lives Matter fist. And the lines between fandoms that normally have nothing to do with each other—or are even actively hostile toward each other—are also temporarily blurring, as fans of Ariana Grande or Taylor Swift or Beyoncé or Blackpink find common cause.
“I love that they’re on our side,” Elul Adoda, a 21-year-old Harry Styles fan from Minneapolis said of the K-pop fandoms’ various efforts. “I feel like they’re half the world’s population.” She’s not a K-pop fan—in fact, she actively dislikes some of the fandoms’ usual social-media presence—but she’s delighted to see them putting their skills to new use. “Stan Twitter is using its platform.”
Poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron talks about what he meant by “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Shot by Skip Blumberg.
I love this!
Re: the last post, the article mentions that some places use clams to test the toxicity of the water. It’s like that in Warsaw- we get our water from the river, and the main water pump has 8 clams that have triggers attached to their shells. If the water gets too toxic, they close, and the triggers shut off the city water supply automatically.
The clams are just better at measuring the water quality than any man-made sensors.
Edit: check out this documentary trailer : https://vimeo.com/408820791
God Bless Our Troops
It’s just like this every night for the rest of our lives..
I have decided that I will buy books again, that I will live in a house full of books again even if it means I cannot move as nimbly through the world. Because I love books. It’s as simple as that. I love books, I want to own books, and I will own books.
I’m saying this because last year I had this bizarre new idea that maybe I should give away most of my books and keep only the few I really like/love (and I really did give away more than 50% of them).
But that’s utter nonsense.
I’m going to start buying books again.
it’s called the Internet, counsellor
This is fine :/
- On the Antarctic Peninsula, so-called snow algae are turning the snow green.
- The algae thrive on temperatures just above freezing, which are increasingly common.
- Antarctica's green snow could lay the groundwork for a whole new ecosystem.
First ever map
With COVID-19's stranglehold on the news cycle, it's enough to wax nostalgic about the other varieties of existential dread that used to stalk our screens. But don't worry – there's still plenty to worry about. Global warming, for example, is still very much a going concern. In Antarctica, it's been turning the snow green. And no, that's not a good thing.
It's all happening on and near the Antarctic Peninsula, the bit of the Frozen Continent that juts out furthest north. It's one of the fastest-warming places on Earth. By some accounts, average annual temperatures have increased by almost 3°C (37.5°F) since the start of the Industrial Revolution (c. 1800).
The Peninsula is where, earlier this year, Antarctica's temperature topped 20°C for the first time on record. On 9 February 2020, Brazilian scientists logged 20.75°C (69.35°F) at Seymour Island, near the Peninsula's northern tip. Just three days earlier, the Argentinian research station at Esperanza, on the Peninsula itself, had measured 18.30°C (64.94°F), a new record for Antarctica's mainland.
Those warmer temperatures are not without consequences. Certainly the most spectacular one are the giant icebergs the size of small countries that occasionally calve off from the local ice shelves (see #849). Less dramatically, they've also led to an increase in microscopic algae that are coloring large swathes of snow green, both on the Peninsula itself and on neighboring islands.
These 'snow algae' are sometimes also known as 'watermelon snow', because they can produce shades of pink, red or green. The cause is a species of green algae that sometimes contains a secondary red pigment. Unlike other freshwater algae, it is cryophilic, which means that it thrives in near-freezing conditions.
This week sees the publication in the journal Nature Communications of the first ever large-scale map of the Peninsula's snow algae. Single-cell organisms they may be, but they proliferate to such an extent that the patches of snow and ice they turn a vivid green can be observed from space.
1,679 separate 'blooms'
The team who produced this map actually did use data from the European Space Agency's Sentinel 2 constellation of satellites, adding field data collected on Adelaide Island (2017/18) and Fildes and King George Islands (2018/19).
Prepared over a six-year period by biologists from Cambridge University in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey, the map identifies 1,679 separate 'blooms' of the snow algae.
The largest bloom they found, on Robert Island in the South Shetland Islands, was 145,000 m2 (almost 36 acres). The total area covered by the green snow was 1.9 km2 (about 0.75 sq. mi). For comparison: Other vegetation on the entire peninsular area covers about 8.5 km2 (3.3 sq. mi).
For the algae to thrive, the conditions need to be just right: water needs to be just above freezing point to give the snow the right degree of slushiness. And that's happening with increasing frequency on the Peninsula during the Antarctic summer, from November to February.
Like other plants, the green algae use photosynthesis to grow. This means they act as a carbon sink. The researchers estimate that the algae they observed remove about 479 tons of atmospheric CO2 per year. That equates to about 875,000 average UK car journeys, or 486 flights between London and New York.
That's not counting the carbon stored by the red snow algae, which were not included in the study. The red algae are estimated to cover an area at least half of the green snow algae, and to be less dense.
About two-thirds of the algal blooms studied occurred on the area's islands, which have been even more affected by regional temperature rises than the Peninsula itself.
The blooms also correlate to the local wildlife - in particular to their poop, which serves as fertiliser for the algae. Researchers found half of all blooms occurred within 100 m (120 yards) of the sea, almost two-thirds were within 5 km (3.1 miles) of a penguin colony. Others were near other birds' nesting sites, and where seals come ashore.
This suggests that the excrement of the local marine fauna provides essential hotspots of fertiliser like nitrogen and phosphate, in what is otherwise a fairly barren environment. The researchers suggest the algae in their turn could become nutrients for other species, and thus be the building block for a whole new ecosystem on the Peninsula. There is some evidence the algae are already cohabiting with fungal spores and bacteria.
'Green snow' currently occurs from around 62.2° south (at Bellingshausen Station, on the South Shetland Islands) to 68.1° south (at San Martin Station, on Faure Island). As regional warming continues, the snow algae phenomenon is predicted to increase. Some of the islands where it now occurs may lose summer snow cover, thus becoming unsuitable for snow algae; but the algae are likely to spread to areas further south where they are as yet rare or absent.
The spread of snow algae itself will act as an accelerant for regional warming: while white snow reflects around 80% of the sun's rays, green snow reflects only around 45%. This reduction of the albedo effect increases heat absorption, adding to the chance of the snow melting.
If no effort is made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, scientists predict global melting of snow and ice reserves could push up sea levels by up to 1.1 m (3.6 ft) by the end of the century. If global warming continues unabated and Antarctica's vast stores of snow and ice – about 70% of the world's fresh water – were all to melt, sea levels could rise by up to 60 m (almost 200 ft).
That may be many centuries away. Meanwhile, the snow algae map will help monitor the speed at which Antarctica is turning green by serving as a baseline for the impact of climate change on the Earth's southernmost continent.
For the entire article: 'Remote sensing reveals Antarctic green snow algae as important terrestrial carbon sink' in Nature Communications.
Strange Maps #1030
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
This is my new favourite way to manage social distancing.
This is a delightful way to spend 10 minutes!
p.s. My new book of science cartoons ‘Department of Mind-Blowing Theories’ is out now: http://tomgauld.com/comic-books-v2
Excellent cat content!
I’ll take all three, thanks!
for yesterday’s @guardian review
The USGS released a unified geologic map of the moon on a 1:5,000,000-scale — and the data to go with it:
This new work represents a seamless, globally consistent, 1:5,000,000-scale geologic map derived from the six digitally renovated geologic maps (see Source Online Linkage below). The goal of this project was to create a digital resource for science research and analysis, future geologic mapping efforts, be it local-, regional-, or global-scale products, and as a resource for the educators and the public interested in lunar geology. Here we present the completed mapping project as unit contacts, geologic unit polygons, linear features, and unit and feature nomenclature annotation.
That paintball aesthetic is quite becoming.
unfortunately Zoom calls don’t get any better in 400 years
The timelines keep shifting and people are getting antsy for many valid (and not-so-valid) reasons. When will this end? Will we ever get “normal” again? At this point, simulations are probably the closest we can get to seeing what might happen next. Marcel Salathé and Nicky Case peer into what happens next with these playable simulations.
Where many simulations have felt like distant, abstract ideas, Salathé and Case’s explanations and interactives are rooted in optimism and practical things that we can do now.
[h/t Stephan Hurtubise]
Update — more here:
Le français c'est facile
Posted by Tsunoo Rhilty on Friday, May 1, 2020
[h/t François Lang]