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america's got talent

The competition came down to the Mayyas and pole dancer Kristy Sellars.

Next stop for the Mayyas … Vegas, baby!

The fan-favorite all-female dance troupe from Lebanon took home the ultimate prize on the Sept. 14 episode of “America’s Got Talent,” beating out some incredibly heavy competition this season. With the win comes a $1 million cash prize as well as the opportunity to headline a show at Las Vegas' Luxor Hotel and Casino.

From first-round auditions to the riveting live finale, the Mayyas have consistently lived up to their name, which translates to “proud walk of the lioness,” with remarkable skill and fearlessness in each and every performance.

You can take a look at their entire “AGT” journey below, ending with that unforgettable finale. Prepare to be blown away.


The dance crew promised to “hypnotize” during its first-round audition, and did so with flying colors. Having previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” back in 2019, the Mayyas were well prepared to wow the crowd.

Their spellbinding performance granted the Mayyas a golden buzzer from judge Sofia Vergara, who called it the “most beautiful creative dancing” she had ever seen.

They once again left audiences with their jaws on the floor after their semifinal routine, which was even more bold and dramatic. Howie Mandel called it the “best moment in AGT history,” adding that the Mayyas should be “the poster people for female empowerment."

Simon Cowell also predicted that their performance would “change the world.

Then came the live finale, where the proud lionesses left it all on the stage. The stunning performance had glowing orbs of light, glittery galaxies and a huge white gown made out of large feather fans. In a word, it had everything.

Yeah, it was hauntingly beautiful.

Viewers have been rooting for the Mayyas from the beginning—not only for their ability to create mesmerizing illusions using clever choreography and brilliant prop manipulation, but for their mission to “prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

As explained by Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

This combined with the country’s worsening economic crisis and apparent political corruption made each advancement to the next round mean so much more than getting closer to a coveted title. As Cherfan told People, “It’s about a huge bigger message for our people to make them believe in themselves and to give hope to our country who is going into a dark time."

The Mayyas shared their well-deserved victory with their home country, posting a video to Instagram of the win along with the caption saying “Lebanon, this one’s for you.”

It’s lovely to see incredible talent. It’s even better to hear the incredible stories behind the talent. The Mayyas were dedicated to showing the world what Arab women can do, and they succeeded.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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You could say Marine biologist, divemaster and National Geographic Explorer Dr. Erika Woolsey is a bit of a coral reef whisperer, one who brings her passion for ocean science to folks on dry land in a fresh, innovative and fun new way using virtual reality.

Images courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Her non-profit, The Hydrous, combines science, design, and technology to provide one-of-a-kind experiential education about marine life. In 2018, Hydrous produced “Immerse 360”, a virtual underwater journey through the coral reefs of Palau, with Dr. Woolsey as a guide.

Viewers got to swim with sharks, manta rays and sea turtles while exploring gorgeous aquatic landscapes and learning about the crucial role our oceans play—all from 360° and 3D footage captured by VRTUL 2 underwater storytelling VR cameras.


Hydrous then expanded on the idea to develop two more exciting augmented adventures using Meta Quest 2 technology: “Expedition Palau,” a live event where audiences can share a “synchronized immersive reality experience”, which includes live narration from Woolsey, and “Explore,” a “CGI experience” to enjoy the magic of the ocean at home.


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“I’ve been extremely fortunate to explore and study coral reefs around the world,” Woolsey said, sharing that it was “heartbreaking” to see these important habitats decay so rapidly while the latest scientific reports did not clearly lead to widespread compassionate action.

“How do we care about something we never see or experience?” she reflected. As she discovered, virtual reality would be a powerful solution for eliciting empathy. “VR has the ability to generate presence and agency and make you feel like you’re there. It's that emotional connection that can bridge scientific discovery and public understanding”

The combination of virtual reality and the ocean’s natural breathtaking beauty is, as Woolsey puts it, a “match made in heaven” for getting people more engaged in ocean education. “When you’re floating you can look up and down and all around you…seeing a school of fish surrounding you and reefs in these cathedral-like structures. Rather than watching a video of a scientist, you get to become the scientist.”

Hydrous also has special kits to provide middle school students hands-on learning about ocean life. In addition to a journal, activity cards and a smartphone VR viewer, each kit includes lifelike 3D printed model pieces of a coral reef so that middle school students can try building their own.

These reef models even turn white when temperatures rise inside the aquarium, which mimics the real “bleaching” that corals endure when they die due to higher than normal ocean temperatures. Students really do become scientists as they figure out how to bring color back to their reef.

While it’s true that the health of our oceans affects us all, the growing threats our oceans face—pollution, overfishing, climate change—don’t always affect us on an empathetic level. Through the use of technology, Woolsey has created an innovative way to connect hearts and minds to one of the Earth’s most important resources, which can inspire real and lasting change.

“We can’t bring everybody to the ocean, but we’re finding scalable ways to bring the ocean to everyone.”

To learn more about Hydrous, click here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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