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Ghana's dancing pallbearers have a message for anyone who isn't social distancing
via Benjamin Aidoo / Twitter

In 2017, the dancing Ghanaian pallbearers went viral after being covered by BBC Africa. Led by their front man Benjamin Aidoo, Otafrija Pallbearing Services earned millions of views for their flashy outfits and insane ability to dance while carrying a coffin.

At some point, someone mixed footage of the pallbearers dancing to Vicetone and Tony Igy's 2010 club hit "Astronomia," giving an even darker edge to the footage. According to Know Your Meme, this combination made its first appearance as a punchline in skiing fail clip.



The pallbearers soon became the punchline in countless fail videos. The clips are often used to mock people who've made reckless mistakes and now have to meet their maker.




The pallbearers gained even more fame as their dancing coffin routine became a way for people to shame those who aren't practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This one about the reopening of a shopping mall during COVID-19 is particularly funny.


African Funeral/Coffin Meme: Coronavirus editionwww.youtube.com


The dancing pallbearers have become 2020's version of the Grim Reaper. In Brazil, they're used in public service announcements telling people, "Stay home or dance with us."

Aidoo is taking his new viral fame in stride and actually has a good sense of humor about it.

"It's a bit scary, but it's funny, too," said Aidoo, 32, who lives in Accra, the capital of Ghana. "People are saying, 'I'd rather stay home than have these guys bury me.' "

This pallbearer extraordinaire should be comfortable around death. He's been working at a funeral home since he was a teenager. Ghanaian funerals have long incorporated dancing, but since the 1990s people began hiring dancing troupes to give their deceased family members the ultimate send-off.

Aidoo's troupe now has over 100 members and he hopes to take his business worldwide.

"Over time," Wilhelmina Donkoh, a Ghanaian author and historian, told MSN, "the pallbearers wanted to distinguish themselves by putting up intricate displays." She understands the appeal of the dancers at a time when people are afraid.

"People want and need comic relief," she said, "to cover up the reality of a disease without a cure."

Aidoo and his dancers went viral again this week, but this time it was a video of their own making. In a clip posted to Twitter, Aidoo decked out in his famous suit, but this time wearing a protective mask around his neck, thanked "all the doctors in the world. You are working hard and taking care of everyone."

But the video ended with a sinister warning.

"Now remember, stay at home or dance with us," Aidoo said with a laugh.

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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True

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.


www.youtube.com

“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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