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Chris Hemsworth, Elton John Each Donate $1 Million Toward Australia’s Fire-Fighting Efforts

Celebrities are donating millions of dollars for relief efforts as wildfires engulf Australia.

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(TMU) — Aussie star Chris Hemsworth and his wife, model and actress Elsa Pataky, are likely preparing for their donated workout sessions for the benefit auction to Fund the Fires, organized by Make it Rain, which include a host of items up for auction and a two day music festival in Byron Bay January 8-9.

Hemsworth put his money where his heart is and announced on social media today that he and his family will be making a $1 million donation to Australian bush fire relief. He added:

“Hopefully you guys can chip in too. Every penny counts so whatever you can muster up is greatly appreciated.”

The post also has a list of links to several organizations and charities “who are working flat out to support and relief during this devastating and challenging time,’’ Hemsworth wrote.

A star in his home country of Australia since the age of 18, Hemsworth remains a down-to-earth, nice guy who does not hesitate to use his fame and money for the greater good of humanity. Some of the charities and foundations he supports include Baby2BabyCOREHollywood Charity Horse Show,  Motion Picture and Television Fund FoundationOceana, and the  Robert F Kennedy Memorial, over and above his support for Australian bushfire relief.

Australia is in the midst of the worst bushfire season in living memory, with record high temperatures. Fires have destroyed huge swathes of bush in New South Wales (NSW) since September. The death toll of Australia’s wildlife is now estimated to be more than one billion since the start of the fire season, while at least 25 people lost their lives and thousands of homes have been destroyed.

While scattered showers brought some relief to fire ravaged communities, Victoria and NSW are preparing for more dangerous fires on Thursday and Friday.

Hemsworth joins several other celebrities and A-listers who’ve made recent donations to bush fire relief, including Kylie Minogue, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez, Elton John, and Pink.

Elton John—no stranger when it comes to making donations to charities and causes—during a concert in Sydney, made an amazing announcement to the crowd, pledging $1 million towards Australian bushfire relief. During Elton’s epic announcement at his Qudos Bank Arena performance, he exclaimed his awe of the Australian firefighters and how heartbroken he was for the country.

“We should all be in the awe of the work the fire fighters are doing. There are people out there who have lost their lives trying to save homes, there are people who have lost their lives and their homes.

And lastly, there’s the plight of the animals, a loss of their habitat that frankly is on a biblical scale and it’s heartbreaking. Therefore tonight, I will be pledging $1 million dollars to support the bushfire relief fund.

As I said earlier, this is a magnificent country and I love it here, so much and to see what is happening here breaks my heart, so we have to come together, we have to fight and this is my bit towards it and I love Australia so much.”

Of course the crowd cheered with a standing ovation, before John performed “Your Song,” and included the message:

“To those who have lost their homes, God Bless, I hope that your lives will be repaired very, very soon.”

By Jade Small | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Scientists Thrilled by Discovery of Rare, Mammoth 400-Year-Old Coral

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A massive 400-year-old hard coral discovered on the Great Barrier Reef has scientists expressing their sense of surprise and excitement.

Named Muga dambhi by the Manbarra people, the Indigenous group who have traditionally taken care of the land, the “exceptionally large” brown and cream-colored coral is located off the coast of Goolboodi or Orpheus Island in the Great Barrier Reef.

It is believed that the coral was spawned some 421 to 438 years ago, meaning that its age predates the arrival of Captain James Cook and the advent of colonization in Australia, notes the Guardian.

The spectacular coral is about 35 feet wide and over 17 feet high, and is double the size of the nearest coral.

Scientists and members of the community participating in a marine science course discovered the specimen earlier this year.

While not the largest coral in the world, the huge find is of major significance to the local ecosystem, according to Adam Smith, an adjunct professor at James Cook University who wrote the field note on the find.

“It’s like a block of apartments,” Smith said. “It attracts other species. There’s other corals, there’s fish, there’s other animals around that use it for shelter or for feeding, so it’s pretty important for them.”

“It’s a bit like finding a giant redwood tree in the middle of a botanic gardens,” he added.

It is likely that the coral hasn’t been discovered for such a long time due to its location in a relatively remote and unvisited portion of a Marine National Park zone that enjoys a high degree of protection.

“Over the last 20 or 30 years, no one has noticed, or observed, or thought it newsworthy enough to share photos, or document, or do research on this giant coral,” Smith said.

The coral is in remarkable condition, with over 70 percent of its surface covered in live coral, coral rock and microalgae. No disease, bleaching or recently deceased coral has been recorded on the specimen.

“The cumulative impact of almost 100 bleaching events and up to 80 major cyclones over a period of four centuries, plus declining nearshore water quality contextualise the high resilience of this Porites coral,” the field note added.

The specific coral has been given the name Muga dhambi, meaning big coral, out of respect for the Indigenous knowledge, language, and culture of the Manbarra Traditional Owners.

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Greenland Ice Washed Away as Summit Sees Rain for First Time in Recorded History

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For the first time in recorded history, torrential downpours of rain have struck Greenland’s icy summit nearly two miles above sea level.

Greenland, an environmentally sensitive island, is typically known for its majestic ice sheet and snowy climate, but this is fast changing due to a massive melt taking place this summer.

However, the typical snowfall has been replaced in recent years not simply by a few showers, but by heavy rainfall. The torrential downpour last week was so huge, in fact, that it washed away a terrifying amount of ice across some 337,000 square miles of the ice shelf’s surface, reports Earther.

Temperatures at the ice shelf had simultaneously warmed to a significant degree, with the summit reaching 33 degrees Fahrenheit – within a degree above freezing and the third time that the shelf has surpassed freezing temperatures this decade.

The fact that rain is falling on ice rather than snow is also significant because it is melting ice across much of southern Greenland, which already saw huge melting events last month, while hastening rising sea levels that threaten to submerge whole coastal cities and communities.

To make matters worse, any new ice formed by the freezing rainwater will not last long. The ice shelf currently existing on Greenland was formed by the compression of snow over innumerable years, which shines bright white and reflects sunlight away rather than absorbing it, as ice from frozen rain does.

The huge scale of the melt and accompanying rainfall illustrate the growing peril of rapidly warming climate conditions across the globe.

“This event by itself does not have a huge impact, but it’s indicative of the increasing extent, duration, and intensity of melting on Greenland,” wrote Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado. “Like the heat wave in the [U.S. Pacific] northwest, it’s something that’s hard to imagine without the influence of global climate change.”

“Greenland, like the rest of the world, is changing,” Scambos told the Washington Post. “We now see three melting events in a decade in Greenland — and before 1990, that happened about once every 150 years. And now rainfall: in an area where rain never fell.”

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South Korean Toilet Turns Poo Into Green Energy and Pays Its Users Digital Cash

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What if your morning #2 not only powered your stove to cook your eggs, but also allowed you to pay for your coffee and pastry on the way to class?

It seems like an absurd question, but one university in South Korea has invented a toilet that allows human excrement to not only be used for clean power, but also dumps a bit of digital currency into your wallet that can be exchanged for some fruit or cup noodles at the campus canteen, reports Reuters.

The BeeVi toilet – short for Bee-Vision – was designed by urban and environmental engineering professor Cho Jae-weon of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and is meant to not only save resources but also reward students for their feces.

The toilet is designed to first deliver your excrement into a special underground tank, reducing water use, before microorganisms break the waste down into methane, a clean source of energy that can power the numerous appliances that dorm life requires.

“If we think out of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure,” Cho explained. “I have put this value into ecological circulation.”

The toilet can transform approximately a pound of solid human waste – roughly the average amount people poop per day – into some 50 liters of methane gas, said Cho. That’s about enough to generate half a kilowatt hour of electricity, enough to transport a student throughout campus for some of their school day.

Cho has even devised a special virtual currency for the BeeVi toilet called Ggool, or honey in Korean. Users of the toilet can expect to earn 10 Ggool per day, covering some of the many expenses students rack up on campus every day.

Students have given the new system glowing reviews, and don’t even mind discussing their bodily functions at lunchtime – even expressing their hopes to use their fecal credits to purchase books.

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