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The man's eyes bulge down at the ground. All around him, it is littered with spray-painted, stenciled messages.

Their contents, written in a mix of English and German, are vile. The skin crawls to read them.

"Let's gas some Jews together," reads one stencil.


"Gays to Auschwitz," reads another.

The nose automatically wrinkles just looking at them.

The man shakes his head. "I work in an advice center for Roma and Sinti so we're used to this kind of racist bullshit. But these..."

"These are all tweets," the cameraman says. "Tweets," the man repeats quietly. He seems shocked and a little sad.

For the past six months or so, German artist Shahak Shapira had been reporting and flagging inappropriate tweets like these to little avail.

Shapira used Twitter's reporting to flag about 300 of them, he told The Associated Press. Most of his complaints went unanswered, and whenever he'd check back, the majority of the tweets were still visible.

Feeling ignored and frustrated, Shapira decided there was one sure-fire way to get heard.

Early in the morning, Shapira and a crew of workers arrived on the doorstep of Twitter's German headquarters in Hamburg and proceeded to stencil roughly 30 of the worst ones right on their doorstep.

[rebelmouse-image 19531299 dam="1" original_size="750x381" caption="For a lot of people, this is already what social media feels like. Image from Shahak Shapira/YouTube." expand=1]For a lot of people, this is already what social media feels like. Image from Shahak Shapira/YouTube.

A video of people's reactions to the display was published on YouTube on Aug. 7, 2017. The camera captures a man in a collared shirt walking by. He gazes at the tweets. "It's just disgusting," he says.

For a distressing number of people, stumbling through hateful messages on social media is a daily struggle.

For some, scrolling through our social media feed is relatively benign. The problem of harassment or hateful language can seem unimportant — because it's easy to ignore a problem when you don't see it.

But the truth is that there are many people who do have to see these kinds of things every day. Harassment and online abuse have been a problem for years. A Pew Research poll found that as many as 4 of every 10 internet users has experienced harassment.

And if your job is linked to work on social media, as many of ours are these days, you don't really have a choice about whether you have to see this.

By thrusting this language into the real world, Shapira has made it hard to ignore. If people don't want to tolerate this graffiti on the streets, maybe we shouldn't tolerate it on the internet either.

You can watch the full video below:

Twitter did not comment on the "artwork," although the AP reports that by Aug. 9, about half of the stenciled tweets had been removed online.

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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True

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.


www.youtube.com

“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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