The exploitation of earth’s natural resources has been one of the drivers of economic growth since time immemorial. This is despite the negative effects the extraction of rare minerals has on the planet. When it comes down to preserving the environment or over exploiting it in pursuit of economic growth, mankind will always choose the latter.
But sometimes Mother Nature fights back, and several Russian engineers came to learn this the hard way when a hole they were swallowed by one of the biggest diamond mines in the world, sad that not one of them lived to tell the tale. The engineers were digging in the mine in search for diamonds when it happened. No one really knows what happened in that mine up to this day.
Many European economies were hit hard by the World War II. The Soviet Union was heavily invested in the conflict its economy was in a sorry state when the war ended, the union was on the verge of collapse. In a bid to save the country from what seemed like an imminent collapse, the government embarked for the search of gold and diamonds in the Siberian wilderness.
Yuri Khabardin, Ekaterina Elagina, and Viktor Avdeenko were the three geologists sent to explore the vast wilderness in search of deposits of the rare metals. It was a long journey in the harsh weather, but it proved worthy as they discovered a kimberlite pipe — kimberlite pipes deliver deposits to the earth’s surface. The Soviets had hit the jackpot! They sent more engineers to dig the mine.
After the discovery, it didn’t take long for the digging to begin. The geologists were hoping to find more precious metals in the ground but it was during winter, which can be pretty harsh in that part of the world. There were layers and layers of permafrost, even with dynamite and jet engines, they could not break it to access the precious stones.
Well, the minerals weren’t going anywhere and they weren’t getting anywhere in the cold weather so they figured they’d wait for warm weather. The geologists were right to wait as the warm weather came and melted the permafrost. They could access the metals in the ground easily in the warm weather but boy, were they wrong.
The warm weather wasn’t helpful either. As the permafrost melted in the sun, the hole they were digging became deeper. They started noticing bizarre occurrences. For instance, the hole created by the melted permafrost started sucking in everything in the vicinity, like a black hole but on the ground. The geologists exploring diamond deposits as well as their machinery disappeared, too.
The hole would finally stop getting deeper but the Soviet government had already lost its engineers and their equipment. Lives were lost in the expedition. The mine, known as Mir Mine today, opened in the 60s and is one of the biggest in the world. The expedition turned out to be a success as the mine produces 10 million carats of diamonds per year, but was it worth it?
France’s 2022 Z Event Blows the Doors of Expectations
Streaming events are easily the fastest, widest way to reach the biggest audiences with entertainment today. However, the Z Event has now raised things to an all new level, boosting a charity event to one of the biggest financial donation drives ever. Combining the marketing for five different environmental causes and their non-profit organizations, the Z Event consolidated giving to an eye-popping €10.1 million.
The Z Event took a combined effort of 57 different streamers working together to pull it off. Focusing on their audiences, channel tools, and various related activities, the streamers consolidated traffic and attention on the charity drive, pushing digital focus on boosting the financial commitments well beyond previous amounts realized in earlier drives. Each year has been a record-breaking performance, so the latest one wasn’t going to be an exception from the participants’ perspective. Just from a technical perspective, the logistics for the latest Z Event took some serious marketing. Streaming is generally based on the assumption that everyone has sufficient technology to watch and listen to the event online with a browser and sufficient hardware. However, at some point the event also has to be managed to the lowest common denominator in terms of being viable, otherwise people don’t “show up” online. Doing the same with 57 plus providers as well as the variety of tools used in a coordinated fashion is still eye-popping in retrospect.
Interestingly, the Z Event has generated such a sizable audience in France, it has even dwarfed the individual industry channels. Rather than just being confined to the gaming arena, the Z Event organizers broadened their scope to include popular music channels as well as even politics. That doesn’t mean there weren’t challenges; for example, one of the charity organizations to benefit was the Goodplanet Foundation, which was reeling from earlier criticism about its operations and connections. So, to address any concerns about where the money went, participants and fans were allowed to choose the organization they wanted to benefit from the pool of eligible charities. That easily shut down criticisms and allowed the Z Event to move forward in a positive light.
Despite the biggest blowout yet in response, the latest Z-Event is scheduled to be the last in the planned strategy. No one is quite sure whether it will come back in a new format or just be repeated or done at all after 2022. Given the results, there’s going to be considerable pressure to bring it back in 2023, especially from the organizations that benefit from the sizable charity generated. However, no commitments have been made to take on the next Z Event per se.
Overcoming a Fear And Then Creating a Children’s Book With It
People are afraid of different things. Some freak out from spiders, others can’t stand the sight much less the feel of a snake, and still others go into a panic over fish in the water. However, for Amulya Vadali, her fear was rooted in dogs. It didn’t matter the breed; all dogs were a primal threat to her as far as Vadali was concerned. If a city park allowed dogs, even in a fenced dog run, she wouldn’t go near the location. As it turned out, things were going to get even more challenging in high school. Attending her AP English class at Southern Regional High School, Vadali realized not only that her teacher had a dog, but she would bring the dog to class occasionally as well. It was the worst possible combination of academic stress and
Vadali was fit for a panic attack. Looking back on the matter after the fact, she is fairly convinced that the lack of any exposure to a pet dog in her younger years had a lot to do with her fear later on. As it happened, later in high school, Vadali’s brother was able to convince their parents to have a pet dog, and with exposure to their pet, Brody, she overcame her fear of canines in general. Much of the transition had to do with being with a dog from the beginning, puppy stage to full adult. In particular, the change catalyst came in the form of a golden retriever.
Named Cosmo, Vadali’s new pet was a gamechanger for her. In fact, the dog became her best friend. She went from being deathly afraid of dogs in general to practically having to be pulled away from them. It literally was a night and day change for Vadali.
Years later, Vadali made it through college, and then she found her husband and got married. However, one thing has remained constant: her four-legged partner, Cosmo. While the dog didn’t move away with her, Cosmo still gets visits almost regularly from Vadali. Every chance possible, she’s back with her childhood pet, most often on the weekends. She spends her work days functioning as a biotech researcher and scientist, but interestingly, Cosmo has also become her muse to be a children’s book author as well.
Vadali admits she loved the idea of writing early on, remembering back as far as when she was six and listening to her father read stories. And in school classes, Vadali tried her hand at writing. Her work was notable enough to earn some good marks, which inspired her, but Vadali ultimately ended up fading away from the practice. College science classes and similar kept her so busy, Vadali didn’t think about writing at the time. It wasn’t until she was back to regular life again, settled in marriage, that Vadali began thinking about stories once more. And that was enough to spark her mind towards writing again.
So, in October of 2021, Vadali decided to take a leap and write her first children’s book. And, no surprise, the focus of the book was on Cosmo saving his sister in a big, dark and gloomy forest. Named, Cosmo Faces the Forest of Fear, the book manifested Vadali’s early fears and how Cosmo helped her overcome them so much. Using tools of confidence, perseverance and patience, Vadali’s story provided a child’s resource for understanding how to deal with fear and overcome it. The book turned out to be a hit, sells well on Amazon today, and memorializes her years of relationship with Cosmo. Most importantly, she has put into words the love Vadali has for her best friend and dog.
The Simpsons Incorporate ASL in Their Show
The TV cartoon, The Simpsons, has never been known for being a mild, sedate cartoon with low volume. Instead, it’s been loud, brash and visual. That said, one of the reasons the Simpsons has lasted for so long, aside from always being relevant to current events and new generations, is the fact that the show also incorporates new elements when it makes sense. That was the case when the show’s writers decided to incorporate American Sign Language for the first time.
Of course, there were challenges. Cartoon characters are not always anatomically correct. In the Simpsons world, everyone has four fingers on a hand instead of five. To make matters worse, the episode needed Shakespeare to be translated with ASL. Oops.
Making Up Fiction Based on Reality
The current writer responsible for the ASL episode was also keen on going farther. Instead of just focusing on solving how to use ASL, Loni Sosthand also figured out a way to incorporate deaf actors for the voices as well. Double-wow. The recognizable character, Lisa Simpson, spends a story on mourning over the passing of a musician she liked and was a mentor to her character. As it turns out, however, that musician had a son in the cartoon, and the boy is deaf. Lisa, trying to be the perennial helper, wants to assist the boy in getting a hearing implant, and of course, things go sideways from there.
Of course, like many stories used by writers, Sosthand’s episode was rooted in reality. Her own family was big in jazz, different racial perspectives, and a sibling born deaf. The episode gave Sosthand a chance to use her personal experience of balancing a physical limitation with a whole family of issues and going from there. Sosthand ended up bringing her relatives into the cartoon world vicariously through Lisa Simpson’s experience trying to help the musician’s son.
The Results Proved the Success of the Idea
The ASL and deaf voice actor combination was a hit. The episode came across as realistic and accurate, despite fundamentally being a cartoon. And that’s the kind of factor that makes The Simpsons one of the longest running TV shows, much less the longest running TV cartoon show. Even South Park doesn’t even come close to longevity. And for those who use regular ASL, the particular episode of Lisa’s adventures hit home and provided representation for the first time on The Simpsons. It was history in the making.
Arthur is Going to End, Long Live Arthur
PBS has been known for a lot of things in terms of documentaries, but for a whole generation of kids the name Arthur was more familiar while they were growing up. Just like for Boomers and many from Generation X that the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom will never be forgotten in their minds for many Generation Z and some late Millennials who caught the show, “Arthur” was a familiar name from childhood. The PBS Kids cartoon has now reached a major milestone of 25 season runs, and its creators as well as distributors are in agreement it’s time to shut down the program.
The original concept for Arthur as a cartoon came from Marc Brown, a writer and illustrator of children’s books. Arthur was the “everykid,” a cartoon character kids from all backgrounds could relate to and no one in particular. It helped that Arthur was an Aardvark and his family and neighbors were all animals as well. A parent never had to try and explain differing cultures to their kids watching the show, unlike many other TV programs and simply growing up has required these days. The show was timeless, positive, and it became an international success as well, easily translatable to other languages.
The break in the confidentiality of the show’s ending first came from Kathy Waugh; she let the secret loose during an interview in the summer of 2021. Since then, the final episode has been in countdown mode, with fans of all ages wondering when the final chapter was going to be viewed. The creators and show managers decided reaching the 25th anniversary was as good a stop as any, especially after all 250 something episodes that came before it and a few movies. However, on February 21, the last episode was shown on its original schedule.
Lots of folks thought the Arthur cartoon series was just going to keep on going without an end. The program was easy to maintain, working with storylines that definitely felt evergreen in placement and not stale at all in teaching kids values and social
Travis Baker Flies Again More Than a Decade After Surviving Fatal Plane Crash
Sometimes it isn’t easy to get over a minor thing that happened to you, whether in childhood or adulthood. It’s hard to fathom going into an airplane again after being in one that ended up in a fatal crash. Travis Barker has defied what most people would consider impossible, but he did not do it alone. Let’s delve into how he managed to accomplish this significant feat after more than twelve years.
The 45-year-old drummer with Blink-182 traveled on Saturday, August 14, the first flight since his horrific 2008 plane crash that saw four of his colleagues dying and Barker surviving with third-degree level burns.
Girlfriend Kourtney Kardashian accompanied Barker aboard Kylie Jenner’s private plane as they traveled to Cabo. Kris Jenner and her boyfriend, Corey Gamble, were also said to be on board, according to the outlet.
Barker was caught sporting a white tank top, gray jeans with a black belt studded with metal studs, and a black beanie on his head for the outing. Kardashian, 42, meanwhile, looked stylish in a black dress and black sunglasses.
“Travis flying to Cabo is a marvelous thing. Many years ago, a plane disaster was incredibly traumatic. To reach this point, he’s had a lot of aid, according to media reports. Kourtney has been immensely helpful. She never urged him to take to the air. They’ve been able to travel around the United States without flying, and Kourtney appears quite comfortable with it.
Barker and longtime partner DJ AM (Adam Michael Goldstein) escaped an aircraft accident more than a decade ago while flying from South Carolina, where they had just performed. A year later, Goldstein died of a prescription drug overdose.
The disaster killed Barker’s security officer Charles “Che” Still, his aide Chris Baker, pilot Sarah Lemmon, and co-pilot James Bland.
After the accident, the musician had a hard road to rehabilitation, both mentally and physically. He had third-degree burns covering 65 percent of his body and had to undergo many operations and skin grafts. In addition, Barker was abusing “excessive” marijuana and prescription drugs.
Barker declared his plans to return to the skies in June. On Twitter, he proclaimed, “I might fly again.”
When Goldstein died, Barker said in an interview that he decided to stop using medications and flushing medicine, “even stuff that I needed,” after his opiate tolerance began to rise with each surgery.
“Everyone usually asks, ‘Did you go to rehab?'” the drummer said to the publication. “‘No, I was in a plane crash,’ I answer. That was the extent of my rehabilitation. Have you ever lost three pals and come close to dying? That served as a wake-up call for me. I would not have quit if I hadn’t been in a car accident.”
In the same interview, Barker expressed his desire to be a writer “If I succeed in overcoming [flying], and the angels above assist me in my trips and keep me safe, I’d like to come back and [inform my children], ‘Hey, I just went here, and then I came home.’ And everything turned out OK.’ I have to inform them since I was about to abandon them. That is a perfect day.”
After the crash, the drummer’s dread of flights grew to the point that he remarked, “I used to be afraid of planes.” “I wasn’t able to go down the street. I was convinced that if I saw a plane [in the sky], it was going to crash, and I didn’t want to see it.”
“The closer I got to it, the more it seemed like I was getting closer to the terrible stuff than the beautiful stuff. I felt more akin to attempting to flee, to be in an accident and being burned, to trying to save my buddies from a burning jet, “Barker continued.
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