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Seaside Heights is a town on the Jersey Shore: a place synonymous with Snookie, The Situation, and a heaping helping of fist-pumping.

So you probably wouldn't be judged for thinking it's not a place of overwhelming inclusivity. In this case, though, you'd be wrong.

Let's set the scene: It's a spring night during prom season and deliriously happy high schoolers are sauntering down the boardwalk on their way home from a night they'll never forget.


As couple after couple passes by one particular rooftop bar, some bros overlooking the scene are screaming at couples to kiss. And then there's a pause.

Walking down the street is a gay couple in matching tuxedos (adorable). They're holding hands (adorable).

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But here's the thing — as openly gay "Good Morning America" producer Mike Del Moro noted on Twitter (where he live-tweeted this occurrence), they're doing it in a town "where — not so long ago — young men would shout the word 'f****t' out their car window as we'd stroll along the boardwalk."

Del Moro, who was on the boardwalk with his mother and boyfriend, was instinctively nervous for the couple.

That makes total sense. Even in an ultra-liberal center like San Francisco, I've been harassed for holding hands with my husband. So in a place like Seaside Heights, Del Moro definitely had cause for concern.

What happened next, though, was a heartwarming step in the direction of progress.

Let's let Del Moro's tweets do the talking:

Del Moro makes it clear this occurrence doesn't mean that "everything's fine."

It's just one instance. But it is movement. And, as Del Moro notes, "it's an encouraging moment for young LGBTQ folks out there."

For the teens at the center of the story, the moment was worth every second.

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You know how the internet works, so it won't surprise you that the happy couple was immediately found, identified, and lauded for being out in a place where being authentically yourself can become dangerous.

They're Theodore Vidal and Colin Beyers, boyfriends who couldn't be more happy that things are changing in their town.

Speaking to BuzzFeed, Vidal, who revealed that he had been bullied after he first came out, said their encounter with the strangers on the rooftop was completely unexpected. "It was so surprising that these guys were supporting us," Vidal said. "Especially after what I've gone through."

"It's an area where you normally would get discriminated against and the fact that those guys cheered us on was shocking," Beyers told BuzzFeed. "It's one of those small victories that makes the hard times worth it."

Speaking with me over direct messages, Vidal said that all the positive attention had made him and his boyfriend feel "welcome in the world," which is not always the case for LGBTQ youth. "It's made such an impact on me."

This is a reminder that things are getting better in small ways every day.

Admittedly, the story — however heartwarming — is still pretty problematic. Quick PSA to all dudes on roofs: Please stop screaming at people to kiss each other.

Catcalling is a bad idea regardless of why you're doing it, and there's no reason to put undue pressure on young people of any gender to kiss each other in public. And while this moment turned out great, it could have definitely been awkward or even upsetting.

That said, we shouldn't let those imperfections take away from the fact that this story proves LGBTQ acceptance is making real strides against toxic masculinity and bigotry.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the day when gay couples can walk around without being jeered at or celebrated. In the meantime, though, this feels like a step in the right direction.

"It's moments like what happened at Seaside that give me hope and make all the hardships worth it," Beyers told me. "It's funny, because we really didn't do anything; all we did was be ourselves in front of some drunk people."

Hey, that kind of bravery is often more than enough.

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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