Travel Trouble

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Record coral cover doesn’t necessarily mean the Great Barrier Reef is in good health (despite what you may have heard)

<p>In what seems like excellent news, coral cover in parts of the Great Barrier Reef is at a record high, according to <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/information-centre/news-and-stories/highest-coral-cover-central-northern-reef-36-years" target="_blank" rel="noopener">new data</a> from the Australian Institute of Marine Science. But this doesn’t necessarily mean our beloved reef is in good health.</p> <p>In the north of the reef, coral cover usually fluctuates between 20% and 30%. Currently, it’s at 36%, the highest level recorded since monitoring began more than three decades ago.</p> <p>This level of coral cover comes hot off the back of a <a href="https://theconversation.com/another-mass-bleaching-event-is-devastating-the-great-barrier-reef-what-will-it-take-for-coral-to-survive-180180" target="_blank" rel="noopener">disturbing decade</a> that saw the reef endure six mass coral bleaching events, four severe tropical cyclones, active outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, and water quality impacts following floods. So what’s going on?</p> <p>High coral cover findings <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-lot-of-coral-doesnt-always-mean-high-biodiversity-10548" target="_blank" rel="noopener">can be deceptive</a> because they can result from only a few dominant species that grow rapidly after disturbance (such as mass bleaching). These same corals, however, are extremely susceptible to disturbance and are likely to die out within a few years.</p> <h2>The data are robust</h2> <p>The <a href="https://peerj.com/articles/4747/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Great Barrier Reef spans</a> 2,300 kilometres, comprising more than 3,000 individual reefs. It is an exceptionally diverse ecosystem that features more than 12,000 animal species, plus many thousand more species of plankton and marine flora.</p> <p>The reef has been teetering on the edge of receiving an “in-danger” <a href="https://theconversation.com/not-declaring-the-great-barrier-reef-as-in-danger-only-postpones-the-inevitable-164867" target="_blank" rel="noopener">listing</a> from the World Heritage Committee. And it was <a href="https://theconversation.com/this-is-australias-most-important-report-on-the-environments-deteriorating-health-we-present-its-grim-findings-186131" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently described</a> in the State of the Environment Report as being in a poor and deteriorating state.</p> <p>To protect the Great Barrier Reef, we need to routinely monitor and report on its condition. The Australian Institute of Marine Science’s long-term monitoring program has been collating and delivering this information since 1985.</p> <p>Its approach involves surveying a selection of reefs that represent different habitat types (inshore, midshelf, offshore) and management zones. The <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/monitoring-great-barrier-reef/gbr-condition-summary-2021-22" target="_blank" rel="noopener">latest report</a> provides a robust and valuable synopsis of how coral cover has changed at 87 reefs across three sectors (north, central and south) over the past 36 years.</p> <h2>The results</h2> <p>Overall, the long-term monitoring team found coral cover has increased on most reefs. The level of coral cover on reefs near Cape Grenville and Princess Charlotte Bay in the northern sector has bounced back from bleaching, with two reefs having <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/sites/default/files/2022-08/AIMS_LTMP_Report_on%20GBR_coral_status_2021_2022_040822F3.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">more than 75% cover</a>.</p> <p>In the central sector, where coral cover has historically been lower than in the north and south, coral cover is now at a region-wide high, at 33%.</p> <p>The southern sector has a dynamic coral cover record. In the late 1980s coral cover surpassed 40%, before dropping to a region-wide low of 12% in 2011 after Cyclone Hamish.</p> <p>The region is currently experiencing outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish. And yet, coral cover in this area is still relatively high at 34%.</p> <p>Based on this robust data set, which shows increases in coral cover indicative of region-wide recovery, things must be looking up for the Great Barrier Reef – right?</p> <h2>Are we being catfished by coral cover?</h2> <p>In the Australian Institute of Marine Science’s report, reef recovery relates solely to an increase in coral cover, so let’s unpack this term.</p> <p>Coral cover is a broad proxy metric that indicates habitat condition. It’s relatively easy data to collect and report on, and is the most widely used monitoring metric on coral reefs.</p> <p>The finding of high coral cover may signify a reef in good condition, and an increase in coral cover after disturbance may signify a recovering reef.</p> <p>But in this instance, it’s more likely the reef is being dominated by only few species, as the report states that branching and plating Acropora species have driven the recovery of coral cover.</p> <p>Acropora coral are renowned for a “boom and bust” life cycle. After disturbances such as a cyclone, Acropora species function as pioneers. They quickly recruit and colonise bare space, and the laterally growing plate-like species can rapidly cover large areas.</p> <p>Fast-growing Acropora corals tend to dominate during the early phase of recovery after disturbances such as the recent series of mass bleaching events. However, these same corals are often susceptible to wave damage, disease or coral bleaching and tend to go bust within a few years.</p> <p>Inferring that a reef has recovered by a person being towed behind a boat to obtain a rapid visual estimate of coral cover is like flying in a helicopter and saying a bushfire-hit forest has recovered because the canopy has grown back.</p> <p>It provides no information about diversity, or the abundance and health of other animals and plants that live in and among the trees, or coral.</p> <h2>Cautious optimism</h2> <p>My <a href="https://theconversation.com/almost-60-coral-species-around-lizard-island-are-missing-and-a-great-barrier-reef-extinction-crisis-could-be-next-163714" target="_blank" rel="noopener">study</a>, published last year, examined 44 years of coral distribution records around Jiigurru, Lizard Island, at the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef.</p> <p>It suggested that 28 of 368 species of hard coral recorded at that location haven’t been seen for at least a decade, and are at risk of local extinction.</p> <p>Lizard Island is one location where coral cover has rapidly increased since the devastating 2016-17 bleaching event. Yet, there is still a real risk local extinctions of coral species have occurred.</p> <p>While there’s no data to prove or disprove it, it’s also probable that extinctions or local declines of coral-affiliated marine life, such as coral-eating fishes, crustaceans and molluscs have also occurred.</p> <p>Without more information at the level of individual species, it is impossible to understand how much of the Great Barrier Reef has been lost, or recovered, since the last mass bleaching event.</p> <p>Based on the coral cover data, it’s tempting to be optimistic. But given more frequent and severe heatwaves and cyclones are predicted in the future, it’s wise to be cautious about the reef’s perceived recovery or resilience.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on The Conversation.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Two years on since the Beirut port explosion

<p dir="ltr">It’s been two years since the devastating port explosion that rocked Lebanon and saw the country slowly become even more poor. </p> <p dir="ltr">The terrifying explosion killed 218 people, wounded 7,000 and damaged 77,000 apartments, displacing more than 300,000 people in the already struggling country. </p> <p dir="ltr">Covid was well underway with hospitals already under pressure, but the explosion saw them suddenly overflowing with injured citizens desperate for help. </p> <p dir="ltr">People are saying that the country’s stay-at-home orders saved lives which would have otherwise seen hundreds of thousands on the roads, at work and at the beach near the exploded port.</p> <p dir="ltr">But two years on and the residents are still struggling through the worst economic crisis in 30 years.</p> <p dir="ltr">Electricity runs for an hour a day unless you have a deal with electricity companies, there is also no running water, no bread, no gas, and much more. </p> <p dir="ltr">And it’s only expected to get worse in winter when temperatures plummet and families struggle to keep their loved ones, particularly the elderly, warm. </p> <p dir="ltr">Even putting food on the table has become more difficult with grocery prices soaring exponentially – almost 10 times what they were back in 2019. Families are being forced to ration and even resort to basics. </p> <p dir="ltr">There have been several protests calling for an end to the widespread corruption and tax increases.</p> <p dir="ltr">Will the politicians listen? Probably not, as this has been a long-running issue for Lebanon. </p> <p dir="ltr">Despite all this heartache, Lebanon remains the Paris of the Middle East and is likened to a phoenix, a mythical bird that is born again from the ashes of its predecessor.</p> <p dir="ltr">But what can we do to help Lebanon? Go and visit. </p> <p dir="ltr">Lebanon’s economy continues to rely on tourism and is a stunning summer/spring destination.</p> <p dir="ltr">Travellers will be in awe at the beauty of the Middle Eastern country which is constantly bringing Aussie tourists in.</p> <p dir="ltr">From its capital city Beirut, to Byblos in the seaside of the north of the country, Tyre, also known as Sour (pronounced soor), Harissa and many more it is certainly the place to be. </p> <p dir="ltr">It comes as the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism launched a tourism campaign to bring in Lebanese expats to come to the country during the 2022 summer season. </p> <p dir="ltr">The campaign was dubbed “Ahla Bha Talle,” in reference to a song by late and prominent Lebanese singer Sabah.</p> <p dir="ltr">So in reference to that TikTok video “Yallah come to Lebanon habibi” (Come to Lebanon my love). </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

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Surprise twist in traveller who failed to declare sandwich ingredients

<p dir="ltr">The Aussie<a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/traveller-slapped-2-664-fine-for-sandwich" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> traveller who was fined $2,664</a> for bringing in a Subway sandwich and not declaring two ingredients has been given an amazing surprise. </p> <p dir="ltr">Jessica Lee was heading back from Singapore to Perth and purchased a footlong sandwich but only ate half and decided to keep the other for the flight. </p> <p dir="ltr">While on the way back to Australia, Jessica did not eat the sandwich and failed to declare chicken and lettuce when she arrived back in Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 19-year-old was slapped with a hefty $2,664 fine and shared the news on TikTok urging others not to make the same mistake she did. </p> <p dir="ltr">In an update, Jessica announced that she was gifted a $2,664 Subway gift card from the restaurant as well as a box of merchandise. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Subway makes my fine worth every single cent,” Jessica said in the new TikTok video.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Looking at positives over negatives always pays off.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She then proceeded to read the letter the restaurant sent her, thanking her for eating from them.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To say thank you for eating fresh, we’ve uploaded a sub card with $2,664 just for you,” the letter read.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We hope this covers all your chicken and lettuce needs.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Love your Subway fans.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

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Supervolcanoes: deadly for life, deadly for climate

<p>A collaboration of Australian and Swedish scientists has found that current carbon dioxide (CO2) emission rates are 200 times that of even the most catastrophic ancient supervolcano event. Known as the ‘Great Dying’, that event about 252 million years ago wiped out at least 90% of the species on Earth, and 96% of marine animals.</p> <p>But not all supervolcanic events are linked to mass extinctions.</p> <p>Recent research led by Dr Qiang Jiang, then at Curtin University’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Australia, indicates that some past supervolcanic events involved a slower rate of release of CO2 or less CO2 overall, or both, and that this was unrelated to the size of the eruption.</p> <p>To investigate these ideas, Jiang and team looked at the two largest supervolcanic regions of the past 540 million years – approximately the time at which complex life forms emerged on Earth.</p> <p>The largest, the Ontang Java province, is now split into three pieces around New Zealand and the Solomon Islands, explains Dr Hugo Olierook, study co-author and Research Fellow of Geology at Curtin, with most of it underwater or inaccessible. So the team turned its attention to the second-largest volcanic province, known as the Kerguelen large volcanic province – a body of solidified lava that’s three times the size of France in the southern Indian Ocean.</p> <p>The researchers dated samples collected from Kerguelen using Argon-Argon dating, which indicated an age of around 120 million years.</p> <p>“The new age data revealed that the Kerguelen eruptions were, in fact, active right across the global oceanic anoxic event 120 million years ago,” says Professor Fred Jourdan, Director of the Western Australian Argon Isotope Facility at Curtin. “But while they may have rapidly degraded the environment for marine organisms, it did not lead to a deadly mass extinction.”</p> <p>Armed with powerful microscopes and lasers, the team then looked deep inside the basalt samples for tiny (10-micron diameter) frozen magma blobs known as inclusions and measured the pockets of volatiles – molecules that become gasses easily (water, CO2 and hydrogen sulphide, for instance) – released from the magma blob as it solidified and shrank.</p> <p>When compared to similar gas studies of supervolcanoes associated with mass-extinction events, Jiang and team found that the Kerguelen province emitted at least five times less CO2 and at a rate 30 times slower than volcanic eruptions that wiped out entire life forms.</p> <p>Out of the big five extinction events since animals arose, four have been attributable to supervolcanoes, which deplete oceans of oxygen and cause global climate change on time scales too small for evolutionary adaption of many land and marine animals.</p> <p>Earth does have mechanisms through which carbon is drawn down into oceans, rocks and soils, explains Olierook. “Shells incorporate carbon into their structure, and oceans themselves draw down carbon into ocean beds, but this happens on the order of a few hundreds of thousands of years.”</p> <p>When the rates of CO2 emissions far outpace the drawdown cycle – such as during CO2-rich supervolcanic events, then the balance is upset.</p> <p>So, why are some supervolcanoes rich in CO2?</p> <p>There are a few likely reasons. When hot magma rises to the surface, it can interact with the rock layers it cuts through. In the case of CO2-rich supervolcanoes, Olierook says that the magma has intruded through “organic rich sedimentary basins, heating them up and turning to a sort of peat and coal, the kind of material that easily becomes CO2”. In the case of the two largest supervolcanoes, they “sat in the middle of the ocean. So, there was no really big amount of organic-rich material there,” he says.</p> <p>There is also the possibility that the rising magma itself is carbon-rich – something Olierook hopes to research further in the future.</p> <p>Finally, the research team compared the current rates of CO2 emission with those during the supervolcanic events that resulted in catastrophic mass extinctions.</p> <p>“Alarmingly our calculations also show that we are now currently emitting carbon dioxide 200 times faster than those supervolcanic eruptions that caused the most severe mass extinctions,” says Olierook.</p> <p>While this sounds like bad news all around, it also contains a faint glimmer of hope.</p> <p>“If we’re able to slow down our CO2 emissions now, we will actually see the effects of slowing it down now,” says Olierook. “We are certainly not at the point of having the highest ever CO2 in our atmosphere, yet – there was far more CO2 in the atmosphere, say 100 million years ago.</p> <p>“So, if we can focus on slowing the rate of CO2 emissions down, we could get to a level where our planet can cope with the emitted CO2.”</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/supervolcanoes-deadly-life-and-climate/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Clare Kenyon.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Travellers reveal the strangest things they've ever seen on a cruise

<p>Travellers have revealed the most bizarre things they’ve ever seen on a cruise on a popular internet forum.</p> <p>From stumbling upon inappropriately dressed passengers to family who wore their life jackets for the entire trip, commentators on Cruise Critic’s forum didn’t fail to deliver when answering: “What's the strangest thing you've ever seen on a cruise?”</p> <p>1. “Maybe not so strange but we were a little surprised one morning when a family came to breakfast in their PJs. Didn't bother us, after all, it's their vacation and we thought it was kinda cute.”</p> <p>2. “I ended up on a cruise with a group of Goths on a convention. They came fully equipped with their own Evil faery (the DJ). Some (heck most) of the costumes were very different. There was one guy with his teeth filed down, wore dragon wings, and contacts in the shape of snake eyes. One good thing, we never had a problem getting a chair in the sun by the pool. They had a couple of events that were open to everyone. It was my sister's first and last cruise. I guess it was too much for her!”</p> <p>3. “Getting off the ship in Tobago, observed a man leaving proudly wearing his tighty whiteys and nothing else.”</p> <p>4. “I was on my balcony watching some dolphins. I noticed my neighbour, who was also our dinner tablemate, was also leaning on the rail watching the dolphins. I started to say hello then realised that he wasn't wearing anything. I was much more embarrassed than he was. At dinner, his wife said that she told him not to go out on the balcony undressed.”</p> <p>5. “I stuffed my pair of jeans with towels, shoved them under the bed and put my shoes at the bottom, to make it look like a person was under there. Our cabin steward, his assistant, and their manager were the best we’ve ever had. It did scare them, at first, what I left them but we all got a great laugh out of it.”</p> <p>6. “A crew member was cleaning the drink station in one of the buffet dining rooms late in the evening (around 10pm). He did this by standing on top of the counter and using his shoe and a rag to wipe the counter. I definitely reported that to corporate.”</p> <p>7. “I saw a dad dipping his diaper clad kiddo in and out of the hot tub like a tea bag.”</p> <p>8. “'We saw a group of four who wore their life jackets everywhere. This went on for at least several days, possibly the entire cruise. We wondered if they slept in them as well.”</p> <p>9. “Our two-year-old granddaughters were walking around the stores in their PJs just before bed. A woman, who was slightly drunk, says, ‘I thought I was seeing double when one twin ran through another!’ We still laugh over that one.”</p> <p>What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on a cruise? Share your experience with us in the comments below. </p> <p><strong>Related links: </strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="/travel/cruising/2016/06/how-i-discovered-the-10-rules-of-cruising/"><em>How I discovered the 10 rules of cruising</em></a></strong></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="/travel/cruising/2016/06/just-how-much-does-each-day-on-a-cruise-cost/"><em>Just how much does each day on a cruise cost</em></a></strong></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="/travel/cruising/2016/06/things-not-to-pack-on-a-cruise/"><em>5 things NOT to pack on a cruise</em></a></strong></span></p>

Travel Trouble

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Tourist cops earful from member of Queen’s Guard

<p dir="ltr">A tourist has learned the hard way to not interfere with the Queen’s guards, after she copped an earful from a guard for grabbing his horse’s reins.</p> <p dir="ltr">During a recent trip to London, the woman went to pose for a photo next to the guard and his horse when her hand went to reach towards the animal, drawing the guard’s attention.</p> <p dir="ltr">When she then touched the reins, he reacted by yelling with authority from atop his horse.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Stand back from the Queen’s lifeguard, don’t touch the reins!” he yells.</p> <p dir="ltr">A clip of the incident was shared by the woman’s step-son Ethan on <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@phigs_/video/7116598758816763141?is_from_webapp=1&amp;sender_device=pc&amp;web_id=7112642336690570754" target="_blank" rel="noopener">TikTok</a>, with the caption, “We will never return to London after this incident” and text across the footage reading, “Queens Guard Verbally Attacks My Step mum [sic]”.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-d6005c55-7fff-02e7-69ff-48d842020c82"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Though Ethan commented the guard as a “rather angry little man”, a large number of commenters sided with the guard, arguing that he has an important job to do and that working animals like his horse shouldn’t be touched while on duty.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/07/queen-guard-horse.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="360" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: TikTok</em></p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s not Disney they are working horses and serving army,” one person said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Serves her right, you aren’t allowed to touch the guard,” another wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They have a job, just don’t go near them,” a third added.</p> <p dir="ltr">British followers were particularly quick to defend his actions and respond to their decision not to return to London.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The whole of London is so upset that you won’t be returning we’re all begging you to come back,” one person said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Every British person I know knows you don’t touch them, or is she one of them ones that would put her hand in the blender,” another wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">As some commenters pointed out, the horse’s reins are connected to the animal’s mouth - which is quite sensitive - and tugging on the reins could spook the animal, causing it to bite her or unseat the guard.</p> <p dir="ltr">Others compared interfering with or touching the guard and his horse to doing the same to a guide dog, while <em><a href="https://honey.nine.com.au/royals/queens-guard-member-yells-at-tourist-for-touching-horse-reins-tiktok/98f85c75-54a9-4b5e-a9a7-146c4a6699a8" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9Honey</a></em> royal reporter Natalie Oliveri explained that as a rule, you shouldn’t touch animals that are on-duty.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Also, as a general rule tourists should be respectful of any member of Her Majesty's guard while they are on duty – they are there for an important reason and no one should try to interfere with that,” Oliveri said.</p> <p dir="ltr">She explained that it’s also best not to speak to members of the Queen’s Guard while they’re on duty, and that you shouldn’t expect a response from them.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If you would like a photo, perhaps it's best to stand at a respectable distance and never interfere with their job,” she added.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-f70ace45-7fff-42a5-8c43-e349bd54bbfc"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

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Grieving parents call for change after Aussie teen dies on school trip

<p dir="ltr">The parents of a teenager who died on an overseas school trip say more should have been done to prevent the death of their “fit and healthy” 15 year old.</p> <p dir="ltr">Blackburn high-school-student Timothy Fehring was meant to be on the “trip of a lifetime” when he attended a school trip in Germany in 2019, along with 16 other students and two teachers who chaperoned during the trip.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, after departing Melbourne and arriving in Germany on June 23, Timothy became ill.</p> <p dir="ltr">His mum, Barbara, received a text from Timothy that read: "I almost threw up and am working on getting better so I can have a better time."</p> <p dir="ltr">Barbara and her husband Dale said their son wasn’t one to complain and rejected claims he was just “homesick” in the leadup to his death.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He was a super fit and healthy child and he would never want to make a fuss or bring attention to himself," Barbra told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/timothy-fehring-family-speak-after-melbourne-schoolboy-dies-on-school-trip-in-europe/b8144abe-790c-46d1-8a35-f2dedfd5f1ff" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">As he continued to participate in activities, TImothy became violently ill, vomiting multiple times and eating very little on the first two days of the trip.</p> <p dir="ltr">When a teacher took him to a chemist and explained his symptoms, he was given some medication. Waking up the next day, Timothy asked his mum to get him home.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He expressed dissatisfaction about how he was being treated," the coroner’s findings read.</p> <p dir="ltr">Timothy was then taken to Munich Children’s Hospital and “thoroughly examined” by a doctor, and left six hours later with a diagnosis of a combination of homesickness, constipation and gastroenteritis.</p> <p dir="ltr">On June 27, he joined the group on a walking tour in Vienna, Austria, with the coroner’s findings stating he carried a “vomit bag”, walked slowly and looked tired.</p> <p dir="ltr">He asked to go back to the hospital, but staff denied his request.</p> <p dir="ltr">Then, when he threw up his dinner that night, staff contacted Timothy’s parents and made arrangements so he could fly home alone on June 29, which would include making a trip to a GP to secure a fit-to-travel certificate on June 28.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, after walking into the hallway to get some air, Timothy was found unresponsive with blood trickling from his nose.</p> <p dir="ltr">He was hospitalised but died on June 28, with an autopsy revealing he had a “highly acute” infection in his stomach and lungs, and had suffered a heart attack.</p> <p dir="ltr">Barbara and Dale said they weren’t made aware of the severity of Timothy’s illness, and are calling for change to staffing for overseas school trips.</p> <p dir="ltr">His mother acknowledged that the two teachers were trained in first aid, but said a school nurse would have had a better understanding of his illness.</p> <p dir="ltr">"They would have picked up on the signs quicker and we wouldn't be here today," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He wasn’t homesick,” she continued, adding that having more adults accompany students would have helped save her son.</p> <p dir="ltr">"When he said he was sick and said something wasn't right, that was the truth.</p> <p dir="ltr">"No one was being his advocate, we think it's important to have more adults to student ratios.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In his findings on Timothy’s death, Coroner Simon McGregor called on the Department of Education and Training to increase the staff to student ratios on these trips, and recommended that organisers should ensure there were enough resources available if someone did fall ill.</p> <p dir="ltr">"With the benefit of hindsight, staff made the wrong judgement call that Tim's complaints were not sufficiently serious," McGregor commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since then, the department said a group the size that Tim was in now requires three adults, not two.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Fehrings continue to mourn their son, with Dale saying it has been a “hard three years”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Children shouldn’t die, this is so tragic,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It hits you hard and it has been a hard three years. We have tried to cope."</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-e3a529fc-7fff-d243-0b79-aa7e71c18bc7"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Nine</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Mayan city collapse over 500 years ago linked to drought and social instability

<p>The Mayan civilisation was among the most advanced on Earth, based in Central America. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing even before the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century.</p> <p>Mayapán, 40km to the south-east of the modern city of Merida, in Mexico, was the political and cultural capital of the Maya in the Yucatán peninsula with thousands of buildings and a population of 15,000-17,000 during the city’s peak. Emerging in 1200CE, the city was eventually abandoned in 1450CE after its despotic rulers from the house of Cocom were overthrown.</p> <p>New research published in Nature Communications suggests that the civil unrest which led to the collapse of Mayapán emerged as a result of climatic changes.</p> <p>The interdisciplinary team included researchers from Australia’s University of New South Wales, the University of California in the US and the University of Cambridge in the UK. Their findings shed light on the impact of changes in the climate on societies, making use of records from the city from before the Colonial Period.</p> <p>A prolonged drought, the authors suggest, lasting between 1400 and 1450CE escalated existing social tensions in the city. The effects of the drought on food availability in particular provided the impetus for the civil conflict which eventually led to the city’s abandonment.</p> <p>“Our data indicate that institutional collapse occurred in the environmental context of drought and conflict within the city,” the authors explain. “Vulnerabilities of this coupled natural-social system existed because of the strong reliance on rain-fed maize agriculture, lack of centralised long-term grain storage, minimal opportunities for irrigation, and a sociopolitical system led by elite families with competing political interests, from different parts of the Yucatán Peninsula. We argue that long-term, climate-caused hardships provoked restive tensions that were fanned by political actors whose actions ultimately culminated in political violence more than once at Mayapán.”</p> <p>In addition to looking at the climate (political and environmental) during the collapse of Mayapán, the researchers also looked directly at human remains found in the ancient city.</p> <p>“Direct radiocarbon dates and mitochrondrial DNA sequences from the remains of individuals in the city’s final mass grave suggest they were family members of the heads of state (the Cocoms), ironically and meaningfully laid to rest at the base of the Temple of K’uk’ulkan, the iconic principal temple and ritual centtr of Mayapán.”</p> <p>The winds of revolution, the authors argue, were fanned by political actors while conditions were worsening for the city’s inhabitants. Chief leaders of the change in political power were the members of the Xiu family house.</p> <p>“Our results suggest that rivalry among governing elites at Mayapán materialised into action in the context of more frequent and/or severe droughts. Comparatively, such climate challenges present a range of opportunities for human actors, from the development of innovative adaptations to the stoking of revolution. These climate hardships and ensuing food shortages would have undermined the city’s economic base and enabled the Xiu-led usurpation. The unifying and resilient institutions that held the Mayapán state together until approximately 1450CE were ultimately eroded, the confederation dissolved, and the city largely abandoned,” they explain.</p> <p>But the researchers also note the ability of the Maya to persist despite their difficulties. Those that abandoned Mayapan went to other cities, towns and villages. “Yet economic, social, and religious traditions persevered until the onset of Spanish rule, despite the reduced scale of political units, attesting to a resilient system of human-environmental adaptations.”</p> <p>Such stories from human history provide food for thought as we face our own self-inflicted climate crisis which is exacerbating hardship for many millions around the world.</p> <p>The authors conclude: “Our transdisciplinary work highlights the importance of understanding the complex relationships between natural and social systems, especially when evaluating the role of climate change in exacerbating internal political tensions and factionalism in areas where drought leads to food insecurity.”</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/history/mayan-city-collapse-drought/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Evrim Yazgin.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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NYC firefighter killed in tragic holiday accident

<p dir="ltr">A US family experienced a tragic start to their family holiday, with shocking footage emerging of the moment a tree fell on their SUV, killing father-of-two Casey Skudin.</p> <p dir="ltr">Last month, Mr Skudin, from Long Beach, New York, was driving with his wife Angela and their two kids through the state of North Carolina at the start of the trip when a tree toppled over and crushed their car.</p> <p dir="ltr">The family were reportedly planning to celebrate Mr Skudin’s 46th birthday and Father’s Day that weekend at the Biltmore Estate, a popular tourist spot in Asheville.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-8a99234f-7fff-ff00-96ca-0484dcdb36d3">Phone footage taken from inside the car, shared by the <em>New York Post</em>, showed the car approaching a bend on a tree-lined road when, without warning, a huge tree branch appeared to snap off as the car passed beneath, shattering the windscreen.</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/07/firefighter-death-damage.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>The family’s car was crushed after a tree branch fell on it. </em></p> <p dir="ltr">The phone appeared to drop near the glove box, with Ms Skudin’s blonde hair visible in the frame.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Is everybody ok?” she asked, before looking at her husband and realising the extent of his injuries.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh my God! Casey!” she screamed, before the video was cut off.</p> <p dir="ltr">Their youngest son, 10-year-old Channing, was reportedly knocked unconscious and suffered broken bones, while their eldest, Benjamin, 19, was also knocked out.</p> <p dir="ltr">Both Benjamin and Ms Skudin walked away with minor injuries.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Skudin, a highly-decorated veteran firefighter, reportedly broke his neck. </p> <p dir="ltr">In a post shared to Facebook, Ms Skudin revealed that her husband had a pulse “for the entire hour it took to remove the 4,000lb tree that fell directly on him”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was crazy. I was the only one that wasn’t knocked out," Ms Skudin told the <em>New York Post</em>. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Just watching your husband die and you can’t do anything is really insane."</p> <p dir="ltr">In a heartbreaking Facebook post, Ms Skudin said her husband’s death had left a “gaping hole” in her life.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am left shattered while I navigate this new existence, one I never wanted to know. I have nothing left to do with my days but fight for you, for our family, for the hero they took," she wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sharing a photo of her husband’s casket, Ms Skudin wrote: "Honoring you [sic] has been my absolute pleasure &amp; I will continue to do so until our souls meet again."</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/07/firefighter-death1.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Angela Skudin shared images of her husband's casket after he was killed in a freak accident while driving.</em></p> <p dir="ltr">The father-of-two is being remembered as an “adoring husband”, a “stellar father”, and a “courageous firefighter”.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/casey-skudin" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe page</a> set up for the family, his death is described as a “catastrophic loss” for his family, friends, and members of the Long Beach community.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Angela, Ben, and CJ have an overwhelming amount of healing ahead of them. We hope to support them by taking away any stress along the way," it reads.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Skudin is now suing Biltmore Estate for $NZD 252 million for “grossly negligent conduct” and seeking compensation for medical costs, funeral expenses, lost wages and punitive damages, according to reports.</p> <p dir="ltr">Her lawsuit claims the fallen tree was rotten and had been held up with cables.</p> <p dir="ltr">It argues that Biltmore “knew it would cause great harm when it fell” and that the estate should have taken “appropriate measure of cutting the tree down and eliminating the potentially fatal risk”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Following the tragedy, Biltmore issued a statement admitting they were “deeply saddened by this news”.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Our heartfelt thoughts are with the family and their loved ones, and we are offering assistance at this time," they reportedly wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">They have denied any wrongdoing in the statement.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-7347f48c-7fff-200e-cdc4-315bb153d1ad"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Angela Skudin (Facebook)</em></p>

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Jacinda Ardern slammed for “shocking” gift to Joe Biden

<p dir="ltr">A gift the New Zealand Prime Minister gave to US President Joe Biden has been criticised by environmentalists who say she showed a “lack of care” in her “appalling” gift choice.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Ardern gave Mr Biden a swamp kauri bowl, made from glazed timber harvested from kauri trees commonly found in wetlands and culturally significant sites in the country’s North Island.</p> <p dir="ltr">Fiona Furrell, the chair of the Northland Environmental Protection Society criticised the “faux pas”, saying Ms Ardern shouldn’t have given a gift that promoted the exchange of indigenous plants and a process that harms the ecosystem.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To us, swamp kauri, of all things for a gift to America, is really not on. It's shocking after all the work we've gone through to try and protect these wetlands that produce the swamp kauri,” chair Fiona Furrell told <em><a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/471281/environmentalists-mana-whenua-criticise-pm-s-appalling-gift-to-us-president" target="_blank" rel="noopener">RNZ</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The milling of kauri timber often damages or destroys the peat swamps where they are buried, often for up to 60,000 years, which prompted the Supreme Court of New Zealand to restrict what was considered a legal export of the timber in 2018.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the ruling, swamp kauri items must be a product in itself, in its final or kitset form, and ready to be used or installed into a larger structure.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-42fc494e-7fff-0b8e-9157-735dd9f2115a"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">However, Ms Ardern’s office confirmed the gifted kauri bowl was bought from Nelson Parker, who was investigated for exporting wood products to China and was found to have likely broken the Forest Act for exporting a large kauri log arrangement and calling it art.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/07/jacinda-ardern-gift1.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>A pamphlet of swamp kauri products from Nelson Parker, including bowls. Image: RNZ</em></p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Parker wasn’t prosecuted because the manufacturer was originally told the kauri was compliant, even though little work had been done to change it from being raw wood.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Furrell said the Kiwi PM should have done more “investigating” before choosing such a polarising gift.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Any use of swamp kauri that is featured by our government, therefore puts our wetlands at risk, because people will want more swamp kauri now,” Furrell said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He [Biden] could make the decision himself. Perhaps it could be returned to New Zealand.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Parker has defended Ms Ardern’s decision, claiming that anyone who questioned her gift choice was a “parasite”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To think that people, somebody, can out of the goodness of their heart give a gift to somebody and then somebody comes in behind and says, 'Well that's wrong, it's illegal, it's immoral' or whatever they say. To me that shows you the quality of the people actually,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To be quite blunt, these people, they're probably listed as zero in my opinion, as far as I'm concerned.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I can pretty well describe these people to you, they probably don't do anything. They're parasites. As far as I'm concerned, if they want to meddle in what we do, well, then it's not a wise thing to do.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-eb42abf8-7fff-60b9-4bce-64e6ccdd4fe6"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: @jacindaardern (Instagram)</em></p>

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Travelling around the globe might not have to cost the Earth

<p>The last time you booked a flight online, you may have been offered the chance to ‘offset’ the carbon produced by your travel. This is due in part to recognition that the aviation industry is responsible for around 5% of human-made emissions resulting in climate change.</p> <p>The efforts by this sector to respond to its environmental impact can range from switching fuels (from coal to biomass, for instance), more efficient combustion processes (by improving aircraft engines, for example), protecting forests or promoting sustainable development in local communities.</p> <p>Now, in a potentially ground-breaking innovation for long-haul flights, a team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürisch (ETH Zurich) have developed an all-in-one solar-powered tower that’s able to use energy from the Sun’s rays to convert water and carbon dioxide into synthetic fuels.</p> <p>Think: water + carbon dioxide = energy. Sound familiar? Well, it should. It’s what many plants do to make energy for themselves.</p> <p>The ETH Zurich process has a lot in common, really, explains Dr Jessica Allen, a chemical engineer and renewable energy technologies expert at the University of Newcastle. Although in this case, “industrial photosynthesis might be a better term as this particular process doesn’t involve any physiological mechanisms like plants and living material”, says Allen.</p> <p>The proof-of-concept solar tower consists of 169 Sun-tracking panels that reflect and concentrate sunlight into a tower-top solar reactor. Here, energy from the Sun’s rays meets a combination of water, carbon dioxide and a special structure made of ceria (cerium oxide), which is porous and “acts like a filter network, undergoing many reduction-oxidation (also known as redox) reactions”, says Allen.</p> <p>These reaction cycles produce syngas (synthesis gas), which is then converted to liquid fuels such as diesel and kerosene (which is used as jet fuel for long-haul flights) via a well-established process known as the Fischer-Tropsch reaction, which typically occurs in the presence of metal catalysts, temperatures of 150–300°C and pressures of several tens of atmospheres.</p> <p>Much work remains to translate the process to industrial scale. Currently, the energy efficiency of the process is only at 4%, meaning that out of 100 parts of energy available, only four parts are captured in the process. This is something the researchers are keen to push up towards around 15%.</p> <p>According to Allen, that’s still at the low end of the energy efficiency of current solar-to-electricity and solar-to-thermal energy generation. She says that efficiency is crucial when it comes to systems that use land area for solar collection (such as solar panels and the ETH Zurich tower’s reflectors): “A low efficiency will mean a large land area to generate the required fuel.”</p> <p>Where the CO2 comes from is also very important. At present, it’s injected into the system, but the next obvious step is to start capturing it directly from the air. At that point the fuel production process might be considered carbon neutral, as the amount of CO2 captured from the air is the same as the amount released during fuel combustion.</p> <p>Direct-from-air carbon dioxide capture comes at a cost, though. “There is a fairly major energy penalty for doing direct air capture, because it’s quite hard to filter out carbon dioxide from the rest of the gasses,” says Allen.</p> <p>Then there’s the carbon footprint related to the manufacture and production of equipment and materials, but Allen urges a long-term outlook: “In the system that we’re in at the moment there will be an emission penalty for the materials, however, in the long term, we’ll eventually be manufacturing these things using zero emission approaches.” This will make the whole process – and not just the fuel itself – carbon neutral.</p> <p>The average fuel consumption of a Boeing 747 (which are still used as long-haul cargo transport today) is around 4L per second. For a flight of 10 hours, this equates to 144,000L of fuel.</p> <p>In the future, EHT Zurich researchers will work to increase the system’s energy efficiency to 15%, capture more heat in the process and improve the ceria structures in the reactor in addition to capturing CO2 directly from the air. Their long-term aim is to scale the process to an industrial size – in which enough fuel can be produced to truly fly us into a carbon-neutral aviation future.</p> <p><em><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/carbon-neutral-travel-wont-cost-earth/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Clare Kenyon.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Russell Crowe under fire for Sistine Chapel snaps

<p>Russell Crowe has received a wave of backlash after sharing his seemingly innocent holiday photos online. </p> <p>The actor is currently in Rome filming the movie <em>The Pope's Exorcist</em> and paid a visit to the Vatican during his trip. </p> <p>While in the holy city, he shared several phots from inside the world-famous Sistine Chapel while on a private tour. </p> <p>After sharing the series of images on Twitter, many were quick to point out that photography is banned in the chapel to prevent camera flashes form damaging the artwork.</p> <p>Many annoyed online users insinuated Crowe's celebrity status may have been part of his flouting of the rules. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I’m not sure there’s a more special privilege in the world than to hold the key for the Sistine Chapel and to experience it’s glory in silence. So grateful.<br />Sono al servicio di Roma. <a href="https://t.co/BjPfPAvoIO">pic.twitter.com/BjPfPAvoIO</a></p> <p>— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) <a href="https://twitter.com/russellcrowe/status/1549291793057206272?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 19, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>Sharing the snaps from the tour, Crowe wrote, "I'm not sure there's a more special privilege in the world than to hold the key for the Sistine Chapel and to experience it's glory in silence."</p> <p>Several Twitter users responded to Russell's post, asking how he managed to get away with taking photos inside the chapel.</p> <p>One wrote, "No photos allowed though,' while another said, "You can take photos where the rest of us mere mortals aren't allowed."</p> <p>Another added, "Did you get special permission to take photos at Sistine Chapel?"</p> <p>One user wrote, "I was there last month but it was so packed and strictly no photos allowed. I suppose we are not all gladiators."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Twitter</em></p>

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"This is the devil's work!": Nun pulls apart female models sharing a kiss

<p dir="ltr">A shocked nun caused quite a stir in the streets of Italy when she pulled away two female models who were kissing for a photoshoot.</p> <p dir="ltr">The nun was dressed in a white habit and rushed to stop Serena de Ferrari and Briton Kyshan Wilson who had locked lips in a Naples backstreet as they posed for a photo for Not Yet magazine.</p> <p dir="ltr">“What are you doing? This is the devil's work,” the nun shouted at them as they giggled.</p> <p dir="ltr">She looked around at the cameramen and crossed herself before saying: “Jesus, Joseph and Mary”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Make up artist Roberta Mastalia, who was on the shoot, said they had to ask the nun to leave thinking she was just joking.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We were on location in the Spanish Quarter in Naples, in a little sidestreet with the two models when all of a sudden the nun walked past,” he said, <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11027633/Italian-nun-splits-two-female-models-kissing-photoshoot-calling-devils-work.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Daily Mail</a> reported.</p> <p dir="ltr">“She asked us if we had been to Mass that day and when we said 'No' she started blaming young people for Coronavirus and then she saw the two models posing up ready to kiss and that's when she ran forward to split them up.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Our first reaction was we were all stunned. They took it as a bit of a joke and you can see from the video the two girls are laughing.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We then had to ask the nun to leave as we explained we had work to do and she slowly walked off.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Both Serena and Briton shared clips of the incident to their social media with the caption “God doesn’t love LGBT”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Local priest Father Salvatore Giuliano The Church is constantly updating its views but some of the older generation have not yet accepted it.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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Wedding swamped by massive waves

<p dir="ltr">A wedding in Hawaii has been derailed after massive waves sent tables and chairs crashing towards guests.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wild weather that included waves over six-metres tall - attributed to high tides and rising sea levels associated with climate change - ravaged the island’s south shores over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sara Ackerman, one of the attendees at the wedding in Kailua-Kona, filmed the terrifying scene that happened about five minutes before the ceremony was due to start.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was filming it and then it just came over the wall and just completely annihilated all the tables and chairs,” she said.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-54a2736b-7fff-5611-74e1-68ca15fcfce8"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“It wasn’t like a life-threatening situation by any means whatsoever. It was just like, ‘Oh my gosh … What are we going to do? Where are we going to put the tables?’”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CgHykPTpmSP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CgHykPTpmSP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by SARA ACKERMAN (@saraackermanbooks)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Despite the chaos, Ackerman said the ceremony went ahead and that they cleaned up the mess after the newlyweds exchanged vows.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We had the ceremony and it was beautiful, having all the (sea) spray,” she said. “The ocean was really wild. So it was great for the photos.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The weather wasn’t just ruining weddings, with waves crashing into homes and businesses, and spilling across highways, as reported by <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/world/hawaii-waves-swamp-homes-weddings-during-historic-swell/24f3ac40-49a2-4fc4-9c0a-81257e7ea7d6" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lifeguards and rescue crews across the state were occupied by the weather, conducting at least 1,960 rescues on the island of Oahu alone over two days.</p> <p dir="ltr">One serious injury was reported by Honolulu officials, where a surfer suffered a laceration to the back of his head.</p> <p dir="ltr">Chris Benchley, the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service’s office in Honolulu, said waves of this size were incredibly rare.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Waves over 12 or 15 feet (3.66 or 4.57 metres), those become extremely big and really rare to have," he said. “It’s the largest it’s been in several decades.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He explained that the swell was produced in the South Pacific, which recently experienced a “particularly strong winter storm” with winds focused directly at Samoa and Hawaii.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though it’s hard to pin the blame for this single weather event directly on climate change, Brenchley said it does play a role.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The most direct type of impact that we can use with climate change is the sea level rise,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Any time you add just even small amounts of water, you raise that sea level just a little bit. And now those impacts will be exacerbated whenever we have a large storm event or a ... high, high tide.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We had some waves that were reaching 20 feet (6 metres), 20 feet-plus even,” Brenchley added. </p> <p dir="ltr">“That’s getting on the level of historic.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-fadcae0f-7fff-95a0-4705-8108a65342a7"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: 9News</em></p>

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Traveller slapped $2,664 fine for sandwich

<p dir="ltr">An Aussie traveller has been slapped a hefty $2,664 fine for failing to declare ingredients in her sandwich. </p> <p dir="ltr">Jessica Lee purchased a footlong Subway sandwich while waiting at Singapore Airport and had half, saving the other half for the flight. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 19-year-old boarded her flight but did not eat the rest of her sandwich. </p> <p dir="ltr">As they neared landing in Perth, passengers were asked to declare items and Jessica did not think to mention her sandwich. </p> <p dir="ltr">Walking through customs, Jessica was then given a $2,664 fine because she failed to declare two ingredients - chicken and lettuce. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Probably will cry. Basically just paid $2,664 for my Subway just from Singapore,” Jessica said in a TikTok video.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is my mistake but basically I bought a foot long Subway at Singapore airport because I was a hungry girl after my 11-hour flight.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I ate six inches before my second flight and then saved the other six inches for my flight, which they [cabin crew] were more than happy with, they were fine with that.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She said it was an “expensive rookie mistake” and was hit with a double whammy because she quit her job before heading off to Europe. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I am very aware this is my mistake and I do take ownership, I am paying the fine,” she said, urging everyone to not make the same mistake she did. </p> <p dir="ltr">Under the Biosecurity Act, any travellers arriving in Australia are required to declare certain foods, plant material and animal products. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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We studied how the Antarctic ice sheet advanced and retreated over 10,000 years. It holds warnings for the future

<p>Alarming stories from Antarctica are now more frequent than ever; the ice surface is <a href="https://theconversation.com/warmer-summers-threaten-antarcticas-giant-ice-shelves-because-of-the-lakes-they-create-180989" target="_blank" rel="noopener">melting</a>, floating ice shelves are <a href="https://theconversation.com/conger-ice-shelf-has-collapsed-what-you-need-to-know-according-to-experts-180077" target="_blank" rel="noopener">collapsing</a> and glaciers are <a href="https://theconversation.com/ice-world-antarcticas-riskiest-glacier-is-under-assault-from-below-and-losing-its-grip-178828" target="_blank" rel="noopener">flowing faster</a> into the ocean.</p> <p>Antarctica will be the largest source of future sea-level rise. Yet scientists <a href="https://theconversation.com/scientists-still-dont-know-how-far-melting-in-antarctica-will-go-or-the-sea-level-rise-it-will-unleash-166677" target="_blank" rel="noopener">don’t know</a> exactly how this melting will unfold as the climate warms.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s43017-022-00309-5" target="_blank" rel="noopener">latest research</a> looks at how the Antarctic ice sheet advanced and retreated over the past 10,000 years. It holds stark warnings, and possibly some hope, for the future.</p> <h2>The current imbalance</h2> <p>Future sea-level rise presents one of the most significant challenges of climate change, with economic, environmental and societal impacts expected for coastal communities around the globe.</p> <p>While it seems like a distant issue, the changes in Antarctica may soon be felt on our doorsteps, in the form of rising sea levels.</p> <p>Antarctica is home to the world’s largest single mass of ice: the Antarctic ice sheet. This body of glacier ice is several kilometres thick, nestled on top of solid land. It covers entire mountain ranges beneath it.</p> <p>The ice sheet “<a href="https://vimeo.com/133626869" target="_blank" rel="noopener">flows</a>” over the land from the Antarctic interior and towards the surrounding ocean. As a whole it remains a solid mass, but its shape slowly deforms as the ice crystals move around.</p> <p>While the ice sheet flows outward, snowfall from above replenishes it. This cycle is supposed to keep the system in balance, wherein balance is achieved when the ice sheet is gaining the same amount of ice as it’s losing to the ocean each year.</p> <p>However, <a href="https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/ice-sheets/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">satellites</a> keeping watch from above show the ice sheet is currently not in balance. Over the past 40 years, it has lost more ice than it has gained. The result has been global rising sea levels.</p> <p>But these historical observations span only four decades, limiting our understanding of how the ice sheet responds to climate change over much longer periods.</p> <p>We wanted to look further back in time – before satellites – and even before the first polar explorers. For this, we needed natural archives.</p> <h2>Digging up Antarctica’s past</h2> <p>We brought together various natural archives to unearth how the Antarctic ice sheet changed over the past 10,000 years or so. These included:</p> <ul> <li>ice cores collected from Antarctica’s remote interior, which can show us how snow accumulated in the past</li> <li>rocks collected from exposed mountain peaks, which reveal how the ice sheet has thickened or thinned with time</li> <li>sediment cores collected from the seafloor, which reveal how the ice sheet margin – where the edge of the land ice meets the ocean – advanced or retreated</li> <li>lake mud and old beaches, which reveal how the coastline changed in response to the ice sheet growing or shrinking.</li> </ul> <p>When we started our research, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After all, this period of time was long considered fairly dull, with only small changes to the ice margin.</p> <p>Nevertheless, we studied the many different natural archives one by one. The work felt like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, full of irregular-shaped pieces and seemingly no straight edge. But once we put them together, the pieces lined up and the picture was clear.</p> <p>Most striking was a period of ice loss that took place in all regions of Antarctica about 10,000 to 5,000 years ago. It resulted in many metres of sea-level rise globally.</p> <p>In some regions of Antarctica, however, this ice loss was then followed by ice gain during the past 5,000 years – and a corresponding global sea-level fall – as the ice sheet margin advanced to where it is today.</p> <h2>A warning</h2> <p>Understanding how and why the Antarctic ice sheet changed in this fashion offers lessons for the future.</p> <p>The first lesson is more of a warning. The period of ice loss from 10,000 to 5,000 years ago was rapid, occurring at a similar rate to the most dramatically changing parts of the Antarctic ice sheet today.</p> <p>We think it was likely the result of warm ocean water melting the underside of floating ice shelves – something that has also happened in recent decades. These ice shelves hold back the ice on land, so once they’re removed the ice on the land flows faster into the ocean.</p> <p>In the future, it’s predicted ice loss will <a href="https://youtu.be/XRUxTFWWWdY?t=149" target="_blank" rel="noopener">accelerate</a> as the ice sheet retreats into basins below sea level. This may already be under way in some regions of Antarctica. And based on what happened in the past, the resulting ice loss could persist for centuries.</p> <h2>Bouncing back</h2> <p>The second lesson from our work may bring some hope. Some 5,000 years ago the ice sheet margin stopped retreating in most locations, and in some regions actually started to advance. One explanation for this relates to the previous period of ice loss.</p> <p>Before the ice began melting away, the Antarctic ice sheet was much heavier, and its weight pushed down into the Earth’s crust (which sits atop a molten interior). As the ice sheet melted and became lighter, the land beneath it would have lifted up – effectively hauling the ice out of the ocean.</p> <p>Another possible explanation is climate change. At Antarctica’s coastal fringe, the ocean may have temporarily switched from warmer to cooler waters around the time the ice sheet began advancing again. At the same time, more snowfall took place at the top of the ice sheet.</p> <p>Our research supports the idea that the Antarctic ice sheet is poised to lose more ice and raise sea levels – particularly if the ocean continues to warm.</p> <p>It also suggests uplift of the land and increased snowfall have the potential to slow or offset ice loss. However, this effect is not certain.</p> <p>The past can never be a perfect test for the future. And considering the planet is <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGI_SPM.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">warming faster</a> now than it was back then, we must err on the side of caution.</p> <p><em><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-studied-how-the-antarctic-ice-sheet-advanced-and-retreated-over-10-000-years-it-holds-warnings-for-the-future-185505" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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COVID changed travel writing

<p>In 2019, international travel and tourism was <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jul/01/global-tourism-hits-record-highs-but-who-goes-where-on-holiday" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a $1.7 trillion global industry</a>. A new cruise ship with space for <a href="https://www.cruisecritic.com.au/articles.cfm?ID=3443" target="_blank" rel="noopener">6600 passengers</a> was launched. And dog friendly holidays in the French Riviera were seen as the next big <a href="https://www.luxurytravelmag.com.au/article/these-are-2019s-top-travel-trends/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tourism trend</a>.</p> <p>On social media, travel influencers and bloggers vied for commissions and audiences, while the more “old school” travel writers and journalists continued to report from all corners of the world. The grey area around ethics and sponsorship was murkier than ever – and there was of course, an environmental cost: from the carbon footprint of frequent flyers to the social and cultural impact on <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/29/the-airbnb-invasion-of-barcelona" target="_blank" rel="noopener">over-touristed destinations</a>.</p> <p>Still, the industry was booming.</p> <p>Then, along came COVID-19.</p> <p>For more than a decade, I had made my living as a travel writer, contributing to publications in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and the UK. I’d visited 72 countries on the job. I’d paddled a kayak across the <a href="https://www.traveller.com.au/alone-in-the-isle-seat-auou" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tongan Vava’u archipelago</a>; written about Myanmar’s temples and <a href="https://meanjin.com.au/essays/borderlands/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tijuana and the Mexican border</a>; been hosted on numerous “famils” (familiarisation tours) around the world and met the woman who would become my wife in a Buenos Aires bar while on an assignment to write about the <a href="https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/history-culture/2012/07/the-new-australians-of-south-america/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">“New Australia”</a> utopian colony in Paraguay.</p> <p>When news of a virus emerged from a wet market in Wuhan in early 2020, all that stopped. As I slipped into the first of many lockdowns, initially I mourned for the travel life I couldn’t live anymore. Once upon a time, my editor would ring on a Friday afternoon to ask if I could fly to Vietnam on Tuesday.</p> <p>But during my enforced time at home, I realised the travel writing genre I was part of needed some serious re-thinking. The warning signs of a hubristic industry were hard to ignore. In 2019, for instance, the relaxation of regulations for climbers of Mount Everest had resulted in a <a href="https://www.gq.com/story/mount-everest-chaos-at-the-top-of-the-world" target="_blank" rel="noopener">“conga line in the death zone above 8,000 metres”</a> of people waiting to summit the peak.</p> <p>The image went viral.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Traffic Jam at the top of the world. A unique situation emerged near balcony when almost 236 climbers rushed to summit Mt Everest on 22 May,2019 following a short summit window. This has environment impacts as well <a href="https://twitter.com/ExplorersWeb?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ExplorersWeb</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ClimateReality?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ClimateReality</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/UNFCCC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UNFCCC</a> @climateprogress <a href="https://t.co/mHR37ycfvw">pic.twitter.com/mHR37ycfvw</a></p> <p>— The Northerner (@northerner_the) <a href="https://twitter.com/northerner_the/status/1131506158781517824?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 23, 2019</a></p></blockquote> <p>The notion that the genre might have finally reached its nadir after thousands of years of exploration, exploitation and discovery is not a new concept. But the sheer volume of <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/7-ways-travel-listicles-are-ruining-travel-writing_b_5a2d9455e4b04e0bc8f3b5f2" target="_blank" rel="noopener">listicles</a>, luxury reviews and Instagram journeys masquerading now as legitimate travel writing is alarming.</p> <p>Pandemic enforced lockdowns got me thinking about how the experience of immobility wasn’t unique. Wars, pandemics, shipwrecks and even prison walls had prevented others from travelling in the past, yet many still managed to travel internally through their own <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Creative-and-Non-fiction-Writing-during-Isolation-and-Confinement-Imaginative/Stubbs/p/book/9781032152516" target="_blank" rel="noopener">isolation</a>.</p> <p>More than two and a half years later, I now believe that despite the angst borne from lockdowns and closed borders around the world, this pause due to COVID-19 has ultimately been a good thing for travel writing – and perhaps the broader travel industry. It has allowed us time to stop and take stock.</p> <h2>A history of re-thinking and re-imagining</h2> <p>Travel writing is one of the most ancient and enduring literary forms. Evidence of the travels of Harkuf, an emissary to the pharaohs, is written on tombs in ancient Egypt. Indigenous Dreaming stories <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/abs/cambridge-history-of-travel-writing/introduction/4CF0BFA6F65A206D5CEBCC35F3AD2A5F" target="_blank" rel="noopener">“spoken or sung or depicted in visual art”</a> date back thousands of years.</p> <p>As Nandini Das and Tim Youngs write in <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40165322-the-cambridge-history-of-travel-writing?from_search=true&amp;from_srp=true&amp;qid=UjsOKwdkaJ&amp;rank=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Cambridge History of Travel Writing</a>,</p> <blockquote> <p>Travel narratives have existed for millennia: so long as people have journeyed, they have told stories about their travels.</p> </blockquote> <p>In a literary sense, travel writing can be traced to the emergence of commerce and movable print technology in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. It went on to flourish in the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanticism" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Romantic Era</a> of travel and exploration, from the late 18th century to mid 1850s.</p> <p>During this time, western travel writing was embroiled in the colonial project. The journals of Imperialist explorers such as William Dampier and James Cook were enormously popular, along with writers such as Richard Francis Burton and James Bruce who recounted their fantastical journeys to the public back home as they sought to conquer lands for “the mother country”.</p> <p>Travel writing continued to shift, changing forms and attracting different readers. The Grand Tour pilgrimage increased in popularity. Mark Twain’s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Innocents_Abroad" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Innocents Abroad</a> (1869), about his voyage on the “Quaker City” cruise ship, was the century’s best selling travel book.</p> <p>“People have been asking the melodramatic question, ‘Is travel writing dead?’ for the best part of a century,” notes contemporary travel writing scholar Dr Tim Hannigan.</p> <p>During the first world war, British travel literature seemed a requiem for a distant era. The war, observes cultural and literary historian Paul Fussell, “effectively restricted private travel abroad. The main travelers were the hapless soldiery shipped to France and Belgium and Italy and Mesapotamia”.</p> <p>But the end of the war, in fact, led to a significant re-thinking of the travel writing genre. Borders reopened, new countries and alliances had formed. People emerged from the isolation of war curious to see, hear and experience what this “new world” was like.</p> <p>This golden era of travel writing in the 1920s and 1930s was chracterised by a new inquisitiveness. Modernist and experimental styles emerged and, as literary scholar Peter Hulme writes,</p> <blockquote> <p>travel writing could become the basis of a writing career – perhaps because those who had just fought a war felt the need for the kind of direct engagement with social and political issues that travel writing and journalism seemed to offer.</p> </blockquote> <p>After the second world war, travel writing became more questioning of authority, with a quality of restlessness. Notable works incuded Eric Newby’s <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/118141.A_Short_Walk_in_the_Hindu_Kush?from_search=true&amp;from_srp=true&amp;qid=GkIrolRIA7&amp;rank=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush</a> (1958), Wilfred Thesiger’s <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/825419.Arabian_Sands?from_search=true&amp;from_srp=true&amp;qid=Js8VkeOG67&amp;rank=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Arabian Sands</a> (1959) and John Steinbeck’s <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33617956-travels-with-charlie-in-search-of-america?ac=1&amp;from_search=true&amp;qid=fwygWdt9sG&amp;rank=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Travels with Charlie in Search of America</a> (1962), about his three-month journey across the US.</p> <p>In 1960s and 1970s, new books showed how travel writing could evolve again while still displaying the “wonder” central to its appeal: presenting narrated inner journeys, adventure and a richness and complexity that had not been seen before.</p> <p>Peter Matthiessen’s <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/764165.The_Snow_Leopard?from_search=true&amp;from_srp=true&amp;qid=MfFMUKo9xS&amp;rank=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Snow Leopard</a>, Robyn Davidson’s <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/78895.Tracks?from_search=true&amp;from_srp=true&amp;qid=Ky3md4s1Az&amp;rank=4" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tracks</a> and even the creative voice embodied in Bruce Chatwin’s controversial In Patagonia, (a postmodern blending of fact and fiction), showed how travel narratives, rather than offering insular and superior perspectives, could be subjective, creative and affecting.</p> <p>This new era of travel writing post-COVID, I’d argue, has the potential to adapt to a changing world in the same way the genre changed after the first world war.</p> <p>Environmental concerns, Indigenous presence, awareness of the “other” (and of being the “other”) and an acknowledgement of benefits and pitfalls of technology are all central concerns to travel writing today.</p> <h2>New ways to think about travel writing</h2> <p>The work of South Australian based literary academic Stephen Muecke is an interesting example of a different kind of travel writing. Muecke has had a long career of adopting co-authorship practices, embracing Indigenous and diverse voices within his narratives to highlight that there is always more than one perspective worth considering.</p> <p>In Muecke’s <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13645145.2007.9634820" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gulaga Story</a> he writes about an ascent of Gulaga, or Mount Dromedary in southern NSW. Local Yuin Aboriginal people take him up the mountain to learn aspects of its Dreaming story and the totem of the Yuin.</p> <p>Muecke’s writing includes interviews with anthropologist Debbie Rose and sections of Captain Cook’s journal, from when Cook travelled along the NSW coast in the 18th Century. The latter offers a contrast between Cook’s initial surface appraisal and the deeper meanings of Indigenous knowledge.</p> <p>Muecke writes:</p> <p>Travelling whitefellas tend to think in lines, like the roads they eventually build and drive along, like the chronological histories they tell. Yet there are alternatives: being multiply present, for instance, as if by landing up in someone else’s somewhere, you still remain somewhere else. Maybe other people have been where you come from too; you arrive in their place and they tell you they have seen your city or your country.</p> <p>In <a href="https://re-press.org/books/reading-the-country/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reading the Country: Introduction to nomadology</a>, Moroccan artist Krim Benterrak, Muecke and Nyigina man Paddy Roe demonstrate how a co-authored, overlapping narrative from three distinct perspectives allows us to appreciate travelling along the northwest coast of Western Australia. Paddy Roe was from Roebuck plains, an area once inhabited by Indigenous people, though now it is silent except for the vast cattle studs.</p> <p>The three examine the different meanings of place in Roebuck Plains and how different people see and interpret it. Central to the book is the premise that their method is not the way of interpreting Roebuck plains. Their nomadology is an “archive of fragments”.</p> <p>Another more reflexive writer of place, English author James Attlee, wrote the book Isolarion while merely travelling along his street in Oxford. His is an example of <a href="https://theconversation.com/great-time-to-try-travel-writing-from-the-home-134664" target="_blank" rel="noopener">vertical travel</a>, where the travel writer focuses on the close-at-hand details, rather than far-off experiences.</p> <p>Such books acknowledge the fraught nature of the travel writer who arrives from a western country or culture to write about other people and their sophisticated cultures. Attlee’s book is also a creative response to travel writing’s long carbon footprint.</p> <p>Will it still be appropriate for future travel writers to fly around the world on junkets (“famils”) racking up carbon miles amid a climate crisis? I think writers and editors should “go local” much more, as Attlee has, not just from an environmental point of view, but also from an authenticity standpoint. Of course, that doesn’t mean writers can only write about their home cities and states, but it would be a logical place to start.</p> <h2>The new travel writing – 5 of the best</h2> <p>Encouragingly, there are already many recent examples of travel writing that can further engage readers in this shift. Here are 5 of the best.</p> <ol> <li> <p>The Granta travel edition: <a href="https://granta.com/products/granta-157-should-we-have-stayed-at-home-new-travel-writing/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Should we have stayed at home?</a> presents a diversity of modern voices and stories, ranging from Taipei alleyways, the history of postcards and an Indigenous perspective of South Australia.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/zero-altitude-helen-coffey-book-review-emma-gregg/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zero Altitude: How I learned to fly less and travel more</a> by Helen Coffey explores the world without stepping inside a plane. Coffey uses bikes, boats, trains and cars to seek unexpected adventures while deliberately addressing the impact of how we travel.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.bradtguides.com/product/minarets-in-the-mountains-1-pb/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Minarets in the Mountains: A Journey into Muslim Europe</a> by Tharik Hussain explores a “different” Europe to that of most travel writing of the past. Hussain travels through Eastern Europe with his wife and daughters encountering the region’s unique Islamic history and culture.</p> </li> <li> <p>Cal Flyn’s <a href="https://www.calflyn.com/nonfiction-books/islands-of-abandonment-nature-rebounding-post-human-landscape" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Islands of Abandonment</a> doesn’t look for places or experiences that might fit in a top listicle of summer holiday experiences. Instead, it explores the “ecology and psychology” of forgotten places such as uninhabited Scottish islands and abandoned streets in Detroit to observe the slow movement of nature when unchecked by human intervention.</p> </li> <li> <p>In <a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/wanderland-9781472951953/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Wanderland</a> Jini Reddy, an award winning travel writer who was born in Britain, raised in Canada, and whose parents are of Indian descent, decides to “take her soul for a stroll” away from office job in London in search of wonder, meaning and magical travelling on a random journey of inspiration “ricocheting” through Britain.</p> </li> </ol> <p>In much the same way that we’ve adopted little things like keep cups at coffee shops, and an awareness of ethical food and fashion choices, it is much easier today to find travel writing challenging the genre and exploring diverse perspectives. We’ll just have to do this writing alongside the Instagram influencers.</p> <p><em><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-changed-travel-writing-maybe-thats-not-a-bad-thing-183814" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Jacinda Ardern tackles awkward popularity question

<p dir="ltr">Jacinda Ardern has faced an awkward moment on Australian television, after ABC’s 7.30 host Sarah Ferguson asked what it’s like to be more popular abroad than at home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though the New Zealand Prime Minister is quite a popular figure overseas, she faces growing voter dissatisfaction and has been criticised for the strict COVID-19 elimination policies her government introduced during the initial stages of the pandemic.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Ardern has been in Australia on a trade and tourism mission, joining Anthony Albanese for the Australian Leadership Forum in Sydney on Thursday, where they discussed everything from climate change to trans-Tasman trade.</p> <p dir="ltr">She was then interviewed on Thursday night’s episode of the ABC show, where she was quizzed about her experience being a global celebrity.</p> <p dir="ltr">“How does it feel to be more popular abroad than at home?” Ferguson asked.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-16774397-7fff-60a5-75b1-be390a867887"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“My total focus is at home. That’s what matters to me,” Ms Ardern replied.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">"All I do is magnify the Kiwi spirit." - <a href="https://twitter.com/FergusonNews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FergusonNews</a> asks New Zealand Prime Minister <a href="https://twitter.com/jacindaardern?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jacindaardern</a> how she feels about being a global celebrity. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/abc730?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#abc730</a> <a href="https://t.co/JjvkGe2pBK">pic.twitter.com/JjvkGe2pBK</a></p> <p>— abc730 (@abc730) <a href="https://twitter.com/abc730/status/1544980367051870208?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 7, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Earlier in the interview, Ferguson remarked it was unusual for the leader of a small Pacific country to become an “international celebrity”, to which Ms Ardern said she wouldn’t think about herself in those terms.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think the rest of the world would,” Ferguson replied.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I guess, gosh, that would be for them,” Ms Ardern said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For me, I will forever, first and foremost be the prime minister of New Zealand, and my focus is totally on our nation.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If by virtue of just doing that job to the very best of my ability, there is some interest in what New Zealand does and how we do it - then I will always reflect back to the fact that all I do is magnify the Kiwi spirit.”</p> <p dir="ltr">When Ferguson suggested that Ms Ardern had been able to take advantage of social media and use it to boost her “celebrity” status more instinctively than previous leaders, Ms Ardern replied that besides leading New Zealand in the best way she can, she felt she had a job to prove to the public that politicians are “very human”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Ultimately, we want people to be attracted to politics - we want people to want to do the job,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If we give this air that you have to be completely ironclad and almost so resilient as to not to be human, people won’t see themselves wanting to enter the fray.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-a70fb51b-7fff-9bc1-f9fa-668414e6858d"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the tension of the interview, Ms Ardern’s trip to Australia has appeared to be mostly positive.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cfphg9EvwgC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cfphg9EvwgC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">The Kiwi PM was the first world leader to meet with Mr Albanese in Australia last month, with the two former DJ’s exchanging band t-shirts and vinyl records.</p> <p dir="ltr">On her latest trip, Ms Ardern also met with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet earlier on Thursday at Parliament House, and with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Ardern and Mr Andrews are said to have discussed climate change, mental health and infrastructure, vowing to stay in touch.</p> <p dir="ltr">With both adopting similar hardline strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is understood that Ms Ardern had more contact with Mr Andrews than any other Australian leader during the pandemic.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-26389da5-7fff-b8db-f373-f31774d985e2"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: ABC</em></p>

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Keanu Reeves' sweet airport encounter goes viral

<p>Keanu Reeves has made a young man's day with a heart-warming interaction at New York's JFK airport, in a moment which has since gone viral online. </p> <p>Often known as the nicest guy in Hollywood, the 57-year-old actor was spotted having a passionate exchange with a young fan while waiting to collect his luggage after a long flight from London on the weekend of July 4th. </p> <p>The interaction was captured by <span style="font-family: 'Source Sans Pro', Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; background-color: #ffffff;">TV producer Andrew Kimmel, as he documented how the boy asked Reeves a </span><span style="background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="font-family: Source Sans Pro, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 17px;">torrent of questions which were received in an astonishingly positive manner. </span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Source Sans Pro', Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; background-color: #ffffff;">"Keanu Reeves was on my flight from London to NYC today. A young boy asked for an autograph at bag</span>gage &amp; then began to fire off a series of rapid-fire questions. Keanu happily responded to every single one," tweeted Kimmel.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Kid: Why were you in London?</p> <p>KR: Filming a documentary.</p> <p>Kid: I saw online you were at the Grand Prix (pronouncing the x)</p> <p>KR: Yes, the Grand Prix (in a French accent, without correcting him). F1! Race cars!</p> <p>Kid: Do you drive?</p> <p>KR: Not F1, but I like riding motorcycles.</p> <p>— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) <a href="https://twitter.com/andrewkimmel/status/1544101130921250816?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 4, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>The precocious child hit him with a serious of rapid fire questions: "Why were you in London?"..."Do you live in New York?"..."How long are you staying?"..."Which Broadway show are you going to?"</p> <p>Keanu responded to every one, with the patience of a saint. </p> <p>When the child began running out of questions, Keanu took an interest in the boy and started grilling him about his own holiday. </p> <p>He asked the boy, "Why were you in Europe? What galleries did you go to in Paris? What was your favourite?"</p> <p>Kimmel, who had been a fly on the wall for the exchange, was so impressed by the good-naturedness of the movie star he felt he had to share the moment.</p> <p>"The man could not have been nicer, especially after an international flight," Kimmel tweeted. "I thought I'd share this because the dude is a class act and little moments like this can make such a big difference in people's lives."</p> <p>Adding to the evidence of the actor's superhuman tolerance, Reeves agreed to a selfie with Kimmel, which he added to the twitter thread.</p> <p>"I mean… had to. Have a happy 4th everyone!" said Kimmel. "We need more Keanus!"</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Twitter</em></p>

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