'Monster' Is Too Gentle A Word For What Their Camera Captured

It was fifth grade. It was the days of AOL chatrooms and Windows 95 — the good ol' days, when you had to really earn it to find something good on the Internet.

One day, my grandpa brought home a shiny edition of Microsoft Encarta, and I was hooked. Not just for MindMaze (remember MindMaze?!) but for all the illustrations and encyclopedic information available within a few clicks. This was life before Wikipedia, and I was addicted.


I decided to research the deep ocean for a school project and ... oh god ... I stumbled into something that looked like ... this!

"What the WHAT, man!" is what my tiny child brain repeated unto itself for time immemorial. "That ain't cool!"

Thankfully, at the time, there was no actual footage of anglerfish to haunt my nightmares. But all that changes ... now.

Because for the first time, at this depth, we have visual contact, people!

BEHOLD! LOOK UPON THY WORKS, YE MIGHTY, AND DESPAIR:

[RECORD SCRATCH]

...hold up, did you hear that?

It's only nine centimeters?! This thing has been the stuff of my nightmares for years and it ain't even bigger than my hand?!

But here's the thing: As horrific as this fish was to me (fifth-grade me legit hid under a desk after stumbling across it that first time), it gave me a lifetime of respect and fascination for the deep sea. I mean ... I couldn't get this thing out of my head! How does it exist?

...and what kind of food does it attract with its ... interestingly shaped apparatus?

...and how could ANYTHING exist at 600 meters below? That's 2,000 feet deep! A 20-story building!

That's why articles about islands of plastic trash in our oceans or warnings from Sea Queen Sylvia Earle hit me a little harder. I turn into a little fifth-grade version of myself, daydreaming about the mysteries and wonder of the deep — yes, even the mysteries of the bizarre and monstrous anglerfish — as well as how to preserve and protect it.

Did you know that we've only explored 5% of the ocean? That's right, we haven't explored 95% of our own planet's ocean. Crazy, right?

Think of all the anglerfish just waiting to be found! Wait, you know, nevermind, don't think about that.

Share this with a fifth-grader you know and pass the wonder down to the next generation — because it's fun to scare kids into caring about something cool.

Courtesy of Verizon
True

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

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

Keep Reading Show less