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Watch Henry Rollins share his thoughts with Big Think:

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If you want a quick recap of what he discusses in the Big Think video, here's the long and short of it:

"Why are some Americans, people in the world, homophobic?" asks Henry Rollins.

He wants to know: "Why do they fear the gay? And why do they oppose, at least in America, so strongly, gay marriage, gay unions?"


Wait, people are still homophobic?

I know. It's hard for a lot of us to understand why anyone would be opposed to everyone having equal rights — and even worse, hateful of those who are "different."

But it's a fact. LGBTQ people are still fighting for the right to marry in 13 states and for equal treatment in general everywhere.

Rollins' first answer to his own question is simple but poignant:

"What makes people fear the gay and gay marriage? It's because you're giving these people equality. And that's the biggest fear that people with power have: that you'll get some too."
— Henry Rollins on Big Think


It makes sense that some members of the group in power fear losing it. But what power will straight people really lose if our gay friends and family members have the same rights we do? (Spoiler alert: none.)

And guess what? Gay marriage doesn't mean you have to get gay married!

"I don't want to be married. But if two people are crazy enough to be that in love with each other, damn, that's a great thing. Give them a break. Life's really short.
...
If you don't want a gay marriage, then don't have one."
— Henry Rollins on Big Think


I know. Duh.

But I think we need to keep talking about how ensuring that one group has equal rights does not make the dominant group do anything differently.

Let's all go "real hard" against homophobia, Henry Rollins style.

"I don't know how you say it, but gay rights to me, it's civil rights. ... [W]hen I see homophobia, it's the straw that breaks the camel's back, and I'm the camel. I go hard against it. Real hard. Real loud. Real flagrantly. Real right now...

I believe things are getting better. I think homophobia is an endangered species in America. As long as I'm around, it is. And I know I'm not the only person pushing against it."
— Henry Rollins on Big Think


What the great Maya Angelou said about racial equality applies here as well. "Because equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like the air: We all have it or none of us has it. That is the truth of it."

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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