Heroes

A whale interrupts a deep-sea expedition on the site of the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Five years after the Deepwater Horizon spill, the animals of the sea are still recovering.

A whale interrupts a deep-sea expedition on the site of the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

You may have seen a video making the rounds about deepwater explorers and their encounter with a sperm whale.

It's a really cool clip. If you haven't seen it yet, go ahead and give it a watch (it's at the bottom of this post).


But there are a few things you might not know about that crew. For example...

The crew is led by the same man who discovered the Titanic.

No, not him.

Him!

That's Bob Ballard, and he's basically the Michael Jordan of, uh, doing stuff underwater.

Just two dudes at the top of their game.

So it really shouldn't come as much of a surprise that he's making rare, chance encounters with whales.

And another thing you might not know about the whale video: It was filmed at the site of the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster.

Less wondrous majesty of the sea, and more ... oil and fire and smoke and stuff.

It's been five years since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.

Located roughly 40 miles off the Louisiana coast, it became the site of one of the world's largest drilling-related disasters.

For 87 days, oil rushed from the leak before it was finally capped on July 15, 2010. It wasn't until Sept. 19, though, that the well was sealed off.

According to a report by the U.S. Coast Guard, nearly 5 million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf.



As part of the containment efforts, the Coast Guard attempted to burn the oil off the surface, as seen in this picture from May 5, 2010.

Wildlife was negatively affected onshore and off, leading to short- and long-term challenges.


Ballard and his crew are out there researching the spill site to answer some remaining questions.

There's still a lot we don't really know about the long-term effects of such a huge spill.

The crew took some time this week to answer questions about their work exploring the area during a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session.

They touch on their work, as well as some general questions about the spill. I highly recommend checking it out. It's great stuff.

Check out the team's encounter with the sperm whale below:

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Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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