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Heroes

Richard Branson sank a ship and turned it into a sea-saving monster.

If ships really do have souls, the Kodiak Queen's must have been a weary one.

It's an old ship, first launched as a Navy barge in 1940 under the uninspiring moniker YO-44, and it's had its share of experiences. On Dec. 7, 1941, for instance, it was moored in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when the Japanese attacked. The crew had to scramble to avoid the bombs while all around them, other ships and their sailors sank to the bottom of the harbor.

Photo from BVI Art Reef, used with permission.


YO-44 survived the attack and was eventually decommissioned, renamed the Kodiak Queen, and turned into a fishing boat. But that wouldn't last forever. It eventually ended up in a maritime junkyard in the British Virgin Islands, destined for scrap.

Then, in 2012, someone recognized it.

A historian, Mike Cochran, saw Kodiak Queen in the junkyard, figured out what it was, and decided being turned into scrap metal was too ignoble for one of the few remaining Pearl Harbor ships.

Photo from BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

Cochran started to recruit a team, including photographer Owen Buggy and Buggy's previous boss and friend, British business magnate Richard Branson. Together, they set out to give the Kodiak Queen a proper retirement.

Their idea is something called the BVI Art Reef. Rather than ending up as junk, the Kodiak Queen will become a reef — a living part of the ocean that it traveled for so many years.

As part of the project, sculptors decided to adorn the Kodiak Queen with an 80-foot-long squid-like kraken sculpture welded from wire mesh and rebar.

Photo from BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

Photo from BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

Krakens are mythical sea monsters known to sink ships. But this particular one isn't attacking — it's helping shepherd the Kodiak Queen along.

Photo from Owen Buggy Photography/BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

"The kraken is embracing the boat and taking it down to this next life," Aydika James, a founder of the company that built the kraken, told The New York Times. "She’s no longer a weapon of war; she’s now a platform for rebirth and regrowth."

Once the work was finished in April 2017, all that was left to do was for the ship to get a friendly tow out to its new home.

Photo from Owen Buggy Photography/BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

The destination? A sunny spot off the island of Virgin Gorda.

Photo from Owen Buggy Photography/BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

The crew came out to see it off, including Branson, the man who'd helped get this all together.

Photo from Owen Buggy Photography/BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

They gave it the proper honors for a ship going on a voyage — a bottle broken across the bow.

Photo from Owen Buggy Photography/BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

And then down...

Photo from Owen Buggy Photography/BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

...it...

Photo from Owen Buggy Photography/BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

...went.

Photo from Owen Buggy Photography/BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

There was a tense moment where it looked like it was about to tip over onto one side — ruining the artwork — but in the end, everything went right.

Safely nestled on the sea floor, the Kodiak Queen will slowly transform into an artificial reef.

Photo from BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

Artificial reefs are submerged structures that create habitats for fish and other sea creatures, which can help to restore damaged ecosystems. As sea life moves in, either naturally or through planned coral restoration projects, the Kodiak Queen's old hull and the kraken's many wiry nooks and crannies will become a great habitat for fish and other sea creatures.

In the meantime, the Kodiak Queen has become a tourist attraction and popular diving spot.

Photo from BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

It's giving a boost to the local economy, helping to highlight the importance of ocean conservation, and it might even inspire some future divers and conservationists.

Photo from Owen Buggy Photography/BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

It's even helping scientists learn more about the waters around Virgin Gorda.

Photo from Owen Buggy Photography/BVI Art Reef, used with permission.

Scientists are using the Kodiak Queen as a platform to gather something called environmental DNA, which is a way to monitor what animal populations are present through castoff material (like poop).

This was a spectacular reincarnation for such a storied ship. One must imagine if indeed the Kodiak Queen has that weary soul, it must be pretty satisfied with how it ended up.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

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Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

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Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

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The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

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