A thriving piece of coral the size of the Empire State Building was discovered in Australia
Great Barrier Reef Coral Australia - Free photo on Pixabay

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is home to more than 1,500 species of fish, 411 species of coral, along with dozens of other species. But since 1995, it's lost more than half of its corals due to warmer waters and climate change. Recently, one of those pieces of coral has been found. And it's big. It's 1,600 feet tall, to be exact, making it taller than the Empire State Building.

Not only that, but the coral is healthy and thriving. The coral has a healthy ecosystem and a "blizzard of fish," lead scientist Dr. Robin Beaman said per Reuters. "We are surprised and elated by what we have found."

Even better, the coral didn't show any evidence of damage, even though the section of the Great Barrier Reef it was found in experienced bleaching in 2016. Bleaching happens when the water gets too warm, which causes the coral to expel living algae then calcify and turn white.


The coral was found off the coast of North Queensland. Since the late 1800s, seven other detached reefs have been discovered in this area, however this is the first time a discovery of this size has been made in 120 years.

ROV Dive 401 (Pt B) - Newly Discovered 500m Tall Reef youtu.be

The coral was found when a team of scientists from James Cook University were mapping the northern seafloor of the Great Barrier Reef using an underwater robot called SuBastian. The scientists also collected samples, which will be archived and placed in the Queensland Museum and the Museum of Tropical Queensland.

"To find a new half-a-kilometer tall reef in the offshore Cape York area of the well-recognized Great Barrier Reef shows how mysterious the world is just beyond our coastline," Jyotika Virmani, the executive director of Schmidt Ocean Institute, said in a statement. The Schmidt Ocean Institute was behind the expedition, and is a nonprofit that supports ocean research founded by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife Wendy.

The Great Barrier Reef, which stretches over 1,400 miles, and was designated as a World Heritage site in 1981. Unfortunately, the Great Barrier Reef experienced bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. Afterward, the number of newly born corals fell 89% below the historically average amount. On top of that, the replacement corals weren't as big and branching as they used to be, leading some to believe the ocean habitat will never be the same again. The Great Barrier Reef has experienced bleaching before, and has normally rebounded, however the size of the bleaching in 2016 and 2017 is what's worrisome.

While climate change is changing more than just the climate, it's great to know there is marine life that is, in some ways, still thriving.

Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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