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Science

Watch the 'Interceptor' trash fence stop a literal wave of garbage from flowing into the ocean

Innovation at its best

interceptor trash fence, ocean pollution, river pollution

Literal islands of trash get created on the surface of the Caribbean Sea. This barrier aims to stop that.

The Interceptor Trashfence might sound like something out of an offbeat science fiction movie, but it's a very real tool being used to thwart further pollution in our oceans.

The Ocean Cleaunup, a nonprofit focused on technology that prevents plastics in rivers from drifting into the ocean, posted a video to YouTube revealing a trial of one of its latest innovations—The Interceptor Trashfence.

Living up to its name, the giant chain link fence was placed in Guatemala's Rio Motagua Basin, which The Ocean Cleanup believes to be the “heaviest polluting river in the world.” With an estimated 20,000 tons of plastic flowing through it each year, it’s a pretty safe assumption.

All of that waste goes directly into the Caribbean Sea, where blankets of garbage can be seen floating on the water’s surface. In 2017, the body of water was dubbed “the sea of plastic'' after disturbing photos showing those immense amounts of litter went viral.

However, with this trash fence intercepting an incoming tsunami of trash, there’s hope that the Caribbean Sea might return to its former glory.


The video shows the approaching wave, edging ever closer to the Interceptor. As the water impacts the Trashfence’s sturdy steel beams, all the plastic can be seen staying behind. It will take countless hours to clean up the literal mountains of trash left behind, but the good news is, the oceans would be clean and clear.

As the video progresses, we see that the Interceptor is not quite foolproof yet. Some bits of plastic are able to flow through certain weak spots in the fence. Still, the amount of garbage that stays behind is remarkable.

It’s hard to tell what is more uplifting— seeing the filtered water go about its merry way, or the look of delight the workers have at seeing their experiment get that much closer to success.

Many well-wishing commenters left their advice on how to prevent a potential breach in the future, such as molding the fence into a V shape pointing upstream, or doing a multifence approach. Others just came in to praise the nonprofit's efforts.

"Man this is heartbreaking to see yet so inspirational. You guys are doing amazing work," one person wrote.

Another added, "We need more people like you and the effort you put into this project to save our world for future generations and keep us from killing off our planet."

Even if the Interceptor wasn’t completely victorious, the overwhelming amount of trash accumulated could be enough of a shocking visual to at least bring a sense of urgency to the situation. As The Ocean Cleanup explained in the description section of its video, 1000 rivers are responsible for roughly 80% of ocean pollution. A twofold combination of removing plastic that’s already there, as well as stopping new plastic from entering (i.e., “closing the tap”), is essential.

The Interceptor is an innovative piece of technology, but a positive impact still primarily lies in the everyday choices we make as individuals. Relying less on single-use plastic items—making sure to bring cloth bags to grocery stores, not using plastic straws, opting for glass containers over Tupperware, and so on—is one small thing that can make a big difference. If there’s any doubt, just take another look at the video for a sobering reminder.

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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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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Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

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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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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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