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Why are new rivers carving through Greenland, and can we stop them?

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Natural Resources Defense Council

It's no big secret that our planet's heating up.

You can tell just by looking at the average temperatures over the last hundred years.

There's also the fact that, oh yeah, Greenland is literally melting.


Yup, that's a puddle of melted ice. Not actually a river leading to a lake. WHOOPS. GIF via New York Times.

That's why Dr. Laurence Smith and his team are getting their feet wet and hands dirty on Greenland's glaciers.

Perhaps more accurately, they are risking life and limb as they contend with frostbite and sinkholes in the cracking ice in an attempt to gather the most up-to-date and accurate on-the-ground evidence of climate change ever.

“We scientists love to sit at our computers and use climate models to make those predictions. But to really know what's happening, that kind of understanding can only come about through empirical measurements in the field," Dr. Smith, the head of the geography department at UCLA, told the New York Times (in a super-cool multimedia story that you should totally check out).

GIF via New York Times.

As the icy landmass crumbles beneath their feet, they're out there recording information on the velocity, volume, temperature, and depth of the thousands and thousandsof rushing rivers of melted water that have carved their way through Greenland due to rising global temperatures.

We're talkin' 430,000 gallons of water per minute flowing off the ice and into sinkholes called moulins that lead out into the ocean.

Did I mention that if the entire Greenland ice sheet melts, they're currently predicting that it could cause the sea to rise by a whopping 20 feet? 'Cause that's fun.

GIF via New York Times.

Until now, most climate scientists have relied on computer models to predict the changing shape of the world.

The physical evidence of climate change right outside is pretty hard to deny. But scientists have spent the last few decades trying to come up with computer calculations to predict exactly what will happen if our rate of carbon consumption continues.

430,000 gallons of water per minute is flowing off the ice and into the ocean.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors involved in climate conditions. As a result, these theoretical models have not perfectly predicted the future — a fact which those who reject mainstream climate science love to use as justification for their willful ignorance.

Case in point: Just this past year, when the overall sea level rose a whole one-quarter of a millimeter less than predicted.

To recap: Sea levels are in fact still rising, and the world is in fact heating up overall. But climate change isn't real because something something margin of error and science uh-huh OK sure.

GIF from "Easy A."

While these new calculations won't stop what's happening, they'll at least help us prepare for what we're about to face.

For example, if we can predict with greater accuracy (like, less than a quarter-of-a-millimeter off) just how much the water levels are going to rise in the years to come, we can enact a plan to build seawalls or other structures to stop flooding and save our coastal cities ( like that same quaint New England one that I call home ahhhhhhhhh).

GIF via New York Times.

But preventive treatment to stop the effects of climate change also means taking action to end the damage that we're doing right now. It's no use wasting taxpayer dollars on research that we ourselves are rendering useless to plan for a future that we won't live to see.

In the meantime, you can check out this stunning drone video of Greenland's melting glaciers — just as long as you promise to remind yourself that the beautiful sparkling landscape is neither natural nor good.

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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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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