According to the cover article in today’s issue of the journal Nature, the iconic reef off the coast of Australia suffered unprecedented coral die-off after last year’s record-breaking bleaching event. Now, as the Southern Hemisphere hits late summer temperatures, central and southern sections of the reef — areas which avoided the worst of last year’s bleaching — are in trouble.
“We didn’t expect to see this level of destruction to the Great Barrier Reef for another 30 years,” coral researcher Terry Hughes told the New York Times. Hughes led the team that conducted aerial surveys to document the bleaching last year, as well as subsequent surveys to assess just how much of that bleaching turned into dying.
Bleached corals don’t always turn into dead corals — some are able to recover when temperatures drop. Er, if temperatures drop. If water temperatures stay high and corals stay bleached, they will eventually starve to death. Without coral building reefs, whole ecosystems may disappear, along with the food, tourism, and jobs they support.
Hughes and his coauthors found that even corals in pristine, protected water were likely to be suffering from heat stress, meaning the only thing left to do to protect corals is, you know, address climate change.
The pair who paid SpaceX to take them on a historic trip around the moon can expect breathtaking views and a life-altering experience when they set out for space next year, according to Richard Garriott, a video game mogul and onetime space voyager. Garriott, who ventured into space in 2008 as the world’s sixth private space traveler, heralded SpaceX’s announcement this week as a major milestone for space exploration. He said the two passengers whom SpaceX has chosen for its 2018 mission, who have not been publicly identified, can buckle up for a “pinnacle life experience.” “Seeing the Earth from space is a profoundly life-changing event,” he told TIME on Wednesday. SpaceX on Monday said it plans to take two people, who paid a “significant deposit,” on a weeklong trip around the moon and back. It would be the first time in 45 years that humans will have returned to deep space. SpaceX said the pair will “travel faster and further into the Solar System than any before them.” Read More: Elon Musk’s Moon Mission Is Exciting, Audacious … and Iffy Garriott, a 55-year-old Texas computer game developer, said the feat would push human beings out of lower orbit and into new frontiers. “This proves that we are in a new golden age of space exploration,” he said. “This is a huge deal. It would be hard to overstate the importance. We’re beginning to push forward in the solar system again.” Garriott went to the Internal Space Station in 2008 aboard Russia’s Soyuz TMA-13. The journey to the Space Station — which is about 250 miles up, about the same as the distance from New York City to Washington, D.C. — was 12 days long and cost him $30 million, he said. “You’re traveling at 17,000 miles per hour. You go all the way around the Earth in 90 minutes. That means you see a sunrise or a sunset every 45 minutes. You cross entire continents in 15 minutes,” he said of his time in space. SpaceX’s guests can expect an even more dramatic experience since they’ll be flying away from Earth rather than around it. Garriott said he experienced what astronauts have called the “overview effect,” a cognitive shift in awareness about the world, when he looked out of the space station’s window. “It’s a feeling like, ‘I get it. I now understand the Earth at a much deeper level than I ever did,’” he said. “It was literally a physical moment. The hairs stand up on the back of your neck and arms.” “It’s a pinnacle life experience,” he added. “This journey is not one to underestimate.” […]
NASA has just announced the discovery of seven previously unknown earth-size planets orbiting a single dwarf star, which scientists believe could be the best place to look for life, and the Google team could hardly contain its excitement. Thursday’s animated Doodle shows earth peering through a telescope to find its seven friendly neighbors, just 235 trillion miles away. Scientists said the newly discovered solar system, Trappist-1, is significant because three of its seven planets orbit in the “habitable zone”; their proximity to the system’s star suggests the right conditions for holding liquid water. The other four could also potentially be hospitable to living organisms. Researchers don’t yet know whether any of the planets are habitable, but they believe it’s promising. “This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” NASA administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said in a statement. “Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.” […]
“Cautious, yet mystified, Louise takes another bold action: She steps for the boundary. The light from that mist on the other side of that glass illuminates her face, showing her wonderment.” In the surprise hit movie Arrival, which is nominated for eight Academy Awards, linguistics professor Louise Banks (played by Amy Adams), is tasked with interpreting the language of a race of visiting aliens. In a dark, cavernous chamber aboard their spaceship, Louise moves from the shadows to the light – a dance that’s mirrored throughout the movie as the character slowly comes to terms with the true lessons the arrival brings. “I think that journey from darkness to light is her journey,” says Bradford Young, Arrival’s cinematographer. Born in Louisville, Ky., Young has made his reputation with like A Most Violent Year and Selma, in which his mastery of available light helped convey the stories’ intimate natures. And that’s what Arrival’s director Denis Villeneuve was looking for when he embarked on his first science-fiction film. “I was looking for a cinematographer with a very precise sensibility towards natural light,” Villeneuve tells TIME. “I wanted the movie to have strong roots in realism. I wanted a cinematographer who would not be afraid to deal with intimacy. It’s a very specific sensibility that I felt in Bradford’s previous work.” Nowhere else is this play on light more apparent then aboard the spaceship, in the gloomy chamber where Louise spends much of her time. Villeneuve says that the set was specifically designed to be ominous and dark, a place where light is absorbed rather than reflected, a place that subliminally represents death. “The main character is in a relationship with death,” says Villeneuve. “The more she learns about the Heptapod [alien] culture, the more it changes her perception of life, death and time.” Jan ThijsA scene inside the spaceship’s chamber from the film “Arrival” by Paramount PicturesThat’s where Patrice Vermette, the film’s production designer, comes in. “With any movies I do, my process is very similar,” Vermette tells TIME. “I start by creating mood boards and collections of images that are only emotional reactions to the script. It could be colors, lights, marbles, rocks.” Then, he and the director work out where to go with that inspiration. In this case, both men were deeply influenced by the artist James Turrell’s Shallow Space Constructions, a series of artworks that use light and space to question the nature of human perception. “When I saw hundreds of people being hypnotized by James Turrell’s light, I had an epiphany,” says Villeneuve. The cavernous chamber was born out of that experience. It is designed like a dark temple where the film’s characters come to see the light – in this case, the aliens who remain semi-hidden behind a blinding rectangular white screen. Instead of using green screens, Vermette and his team actually built the ship’s chamber. The physical space was humbling and also helped the director and cinematographer set up their shots, Villeneuve days, but the chamber’s bright screen was a challenge for Young. “We had to be fearless,” he says. “We had to accept the fact that when Louise’s very far from the screen she would be quite dark, and when she’s right up on the screen, we would, for lack of a better term, overexpose her.” But that was the point, he adds. “This movie is about Louise’s personal enlightenment. So you just submit to what the light offers and let that tell the story. It gave us the opportunity to let the lighting of the film mirror the journey of the character.” That concept is replicated in two other locations throughout the movie. In Louise’s home, a large wall-to-wall window opens up to a blinding, yet hazy, lake, contrasting with the deliberate darkness of her living room. And inside the brutalist, fortress-like architecture of Louise’s university, she faces a rectangular white board that opens up to a television announcing the aliens’ arrival. Again, light and darkness are at play, informing Louise’s journey. “The structure of all these places work together,” says Young. “Those places make the spaceship that much more important and the spaceship makes those places that much more important. They are in a conversation with one another. They remind us of where Louise came from and where she’s headed.” Outside of the spaceship, Young was inspired by the work of photographer Martina Hoogland Ivanow to create a sense of dread and chaos in direct opposition to the Zen-like nature of Louise’s safe and sacred zones. In her book, Speedway, Ivanow creates gloomy, ominous images from mundane situations: a simple landscape becomes a Twin Peaks-like world where the unknown could be lurking in the dark; a motorcycle pilot is transformed into a shadowy, threatening figure. Martina Hoogland IvanowFrom the series “Speedway”In Arrival, this is in play when we enter the military’s compound set up near the spaceship. “The calmness of the ship’s chamber is in contrast with the interior of the tents,” says Vermette. “We realize that it’s the human beings that are disturbing the peace and we can’t wait to get back inside the spaceship.” Toward the light – the one controlled by the aliens and the one under Young’s spell. “A light that brings a lot of intimacy, sensuality, fragility and humanity to the project,” says Villeneuve. Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent Follow TIME LightBox on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. […]
Some of the most passionate sports fans in the world—the Americans who mount cheese blocks on their noggins and endure sub-zero temperatures at Lambeau Field to pull for the Green Bay Packers—now have a home to share memories of deceased relatives and friends who bled Packer green and gold. To honor their late father Bill Snyder, a native of the appropriately-named Hartland, Wisc. who died of a sudden heart attack on Feb. 7, Steve Snyder, a journalist and former editor at TIME, and Jeff Snyder, an urban affairs professor at Cleveland State University, created greatestpackerfan.com. In an open letter that ran in Sunday’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Snyders wrote: “It’s nice to have a friendly shoulder to cry on, in these sports pages he always read, next to the same Packers bylines he cherished. And if you’ve lost someone from our pack, and could benefit from an open ear, please just write us. We’re in a hugging mood, are eager to hear more about the best Packers fans. You can e-mail us stories at GreatestPackersFan@gmail.com and we’re going to start chronicling these profiles of everyday Packers heroes over at GreatestPackersFan.com.” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel In the 1980s, Bill Snyder was a manager at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor in Milwaukee. For the past 25 years, he worked at Stein Optical and Visionworks stores in the Milwaukee area. Like so many Wisconsinites, Snyder lived for Sundays, and Packers football: after Brett Favre thew a 54-yard touchdown pass to Andre Rison in Super Bowl XXXI, which Green Bay won, the Synders never saw their dad happier. “Our dad vaulted from his chair, fell to his knees, screamed to the heavens,” the Snyders wrote. Bill Snyder sent his last text after the New England Patriots finished off their historic Super Bowl comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons. “Great Super Bowl,” Snyder wrote. “The Pack coulda won.” […]
President Donald Trump baffled many listeners on Saturday when he appeared to refer to an attack in Sweden that did not occur. Trump was discussing refugees in Europe during a rally in Florida when he made the comment. “You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden — Sweden — who would believe this? Sweden, they took in large numbers, they are having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening Brussels, you look at what’s happening all over the world,” he said. No incident occurred in Sweden on Friday night, though Fox News host Tucker Carlson ran a segment that evening about a filmmaker who claims crime surges in Sweden are linked to immigrants in the country. Trump often repeats what he sees on cable news. Trump’s assertion drew confusion from Swedes and others. “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound,” former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweeted. Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound. https://t.co/XWgw8Fz7tj — Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 19, 2017 Maybe Trump is Shocked about our free healthcare, free education and that we show humanity to refugees? #LastNightInSweden — Anna Skarsjö (@AnnaSkarsjo) February 19, 2017 Trump believes terror group 'IKEA' may be behind Sweden attack. #swedenincident — Paul Lamb (@Lambykins60) February 19, 2017 You have to admire the Swedish people, even in a time of tragedy, for their elegant mourning attire pic.twitter.com/ECdJMthvfk — Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) February 19, 2017 This wasn’t the first time the White House has been mocked over an apparent reference to an attack. While defending Trump’s travel ban earlier this month, Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway cited the “Bowling Green massacre,” a terrorist attack that never happened. […]
Green Beret Shawn Thomas, killed in a vehicle accident while deployed to Niger Africa on Feb. 2, 2017. A touching moment between a grieving military widow and her husband’s coffin was captured on camera by a bystander, giving millions of viewers on social media a window into the heartbreaking and personal effects of war. Lisa West Williams was waiting to exit her aircraft at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Tuesday, when she and her fellow passengers watched a flag-draped coffin being removed from the plane’s luggage compartments. It contained the body of Green Beret Shawn Thomas — a 35-year-old father of four who, according to his obituary, died while serving on Feb. 2 in a vehicle accident in Niger, Africa. The Oklahoma native was an Echo in the Special Forces and was on his eighth deployment when he died. He and his family — wife Tara and children Cheyenne, Taylor, Gavin, and Natylyn — were based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Filming the incident, Williams recorded the moment Tara greeted her husband’s coffin. Dressed in all black, she placed her hand on the coffin and buried her head into its side. Appearing to cry, she was comforted by loved ones before six members of the military carry his coffin to a nearby hearse. “It was an honor to fly home with this PATRIOT!” wrote Williams on her Facebook post of the video, which has been viewed over 8 million times. “God bless his wife and family. There was not a dry eye around me.” Later, Williams told WNCT that Tara had given her permission to post the footage, thanking her and hoping others would see the sacrifices made by military families. “She wanted people to realize that this goes on every day,” Williams told WNCT. “There are many men and women that come home in a casket and they’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for us.” According to Army Times, Shawn was awarded — among other honors — two Bronze Stars and four Good Conduct Medals. His body will be buried at Arlington National Ceremony. “Under his big beard, tattoos and giant muscles there was a small town Oklahoma boy that was grounded by his faith, strong values, and family,” his obituary read. “He will be missed by everyone that had the opportunity to meet him.” This article originally appeared on People.com […]