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With Tourists Gone, Australian Scuba Tours Are Planting Coral on Great Barrier Reef Instead

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Elias Marat

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Great Barrier Reef

(TMU) — As Australia’s tourism has come to a crashing halt following the back-to-back tragedies of an unprecedented bushfire season and the coronavirus pandemic, tourism companies are volunteering their time, labor and resources to give back to the ocean environment.

Family-owned diving tour company Passions of Paradise is one such company hoping to nurture and heal the coastal environment by planting coral on the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s coast, which has been reeling in recent years due to the devastating impact of human activities.

Passions of Paradise CEO Scott Garden told Karryon that the eco-tourism company has donated an advanced multi-hulled catamaran, the Passions III, as well as fuel and volunteers to the Coral Nurture Program, which was initiated by the tourism industry and scientific community of Australia to bring life back to the Great Barrier Reef.

Garden explained:

“We have been assisting Dr. David Suggett’s team from the University of Technology Sydney who is conducting reef resilience research at one of our 26 reef sites.

“I have been working with Passions of Paradise Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Russell Hosp at the site most weeks recording data for the project and establishing a coral nursery.”

The expansive Great Barrier Reef comprises about 2,900 reefs and 900 islands. It is home to an incredible array of fish, shrimp, and various other reef denizens.

In recent years, dead coral reefs have become one of the major horrors resulting from the impact of human economic activities, with thousands of miles of coral ecosystem across the globe being transformed into bleached-out graveyards due to the devastating impact of fast-heating ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, pollution, marine pests, and overfishing.

As a result, the Great Barrier Reef—the largest living structure on the entire planet—has rapidly died off, turning massive amounts of once-dazzling coral reef ecosystems teeming with healthy marine life into dead zones.

The bleaching and eventual death of the Great Barrier Reef would not only spell doom for ocean life, but would also be the final nail in the coffin of Australia’s lucrative eco-tourism industry whose essential “product” is the environment itself.

The danger of a further degradation of the reef ecosystem coincides with a drastic and prolonged pause in international and domestic travel to Far North Queensland, which largely relies on billions of dollars in tourism revenue to keep local restaurants, hotels, and businesses running.

For this reason, five tourism companies—Passions of Paradise, Wavelength, Ocean Freedom, Sailaway, and Quicksilver Cruises—have pledged to use the lull in tourism to help clean up corals and help eliminate harmful pests that pose a threat to reef ecosystems, such as the crown-of-thorns starfish which is responsible for a large amount of coral destruction in the Great Barrier Reef.

Project coordinator and PhD student Lorna Howlett explained:

“The Coral Nurture Program aims to give operators yet another stewardship activity they can do at their reef sites in addition to Crown-of-Thorns eradication and the Eye on Reef monitoring program.”

The program involves volunteers restoring coral that has been fragmented and re-attaching them to reefs using state-of-the-art technology, such as “coral clips.” Howlett continued:

“We can only use fragments of opportunity found at the site, so Passions of Paradise has installed six frames at the site which can be used as a nursery to grow more corals.

“Once they find a coral fragment they attach it to the nursery to grow and as it grows they can take fragments from it to attach to the reef giving them a continual source of new corals.

“The 12-month project finishes next month, however, the operators can continue to operate the nurseries and outplant the corals.”

Passions of Paradise CEO Garden said that 1,000 pieces of coral have been planted so far on Hastings Reef, one of the most popular reefs for travelers that lies about 30 nautical miles from Queensland’s bustling tourist city of Cairns.

Garden hopes that when the crisis subsides, visitors will be able to indulge in a restored and sustainable ocean environment. He said:

“When tours resume passengers will be able to snorkel over the site which boasts healthy marine life and corals near the nursery.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Edward Snowden Applies For Russian Citizenship As He Announces He’s About To Be A Dad

Justin MacLachlan

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U.S. NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden has announced that he is going to be a dad and that he has applied for Russian citizenship due to the coming change in his life. Snowden said the move is to prevent separation from his unborn son.

Snowden and his wife are applying for Russian citizenship in order not to be separated from their future son in an era of pandemics and closed borders, he said on Monday. Snowden’s wife, Lindsay, is expecting a child in late December, the RIA news agency said, citing his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, Reuters reported.

Snowden fled the U.S. and was given asylum in Russia after leaking secret NSA files in 2013 that revealed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the U.S. National Security Agency where he was a contractor. Snowden exposed various capabilities by the NSA by revealing various extensive privacy violations. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently found one such program was unlawful and that the U.S. intelligence directors who publicly defended it had lied to the public. The court determined that the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans’ telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

U.S. authorities have for years wanted Snowden to return to the U.S. to face criminal charges on espionage brought against him in 2013.

“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son. That’s why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we’re applying for dual US-Russian citizenship,” Snowden wrote on Twitter. “Lindsay and I will remain Americans, raising our son with all the values of the America we love, including the freedom to speak his mind. And I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited. Our greatest wish is that, wherever our son lives, he feels at home.”

Russia has already granted Snowden permanent residency rights, his lawyer said last month, a requisite step towards Russian citizenship.

Snowden’s wife recently publicly announced her pregnancy last week in a photograph posted to Instagram. “A long time in the making,” she wrote. “Our greatest collaboration coming soon.” Snowden said; despite applying for Russian citizenship, he hopes to one day return to the U.S. to reunite his family.

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Proud Boys group furious after gay community takes over #ProudBoys hashtag ‘to reclaim our pride’

Elias Marat

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(TMU) – It’s been less than a week since President Donald Trump name-dropped the far-right Proud Boys group, an organization known for their political violence against left-wingers. And now, the group is trending for reasons entirely out of their control.

And after having their name hijacked by the gay community on Twitter, the surly group of boys are less proud than they are supremely pissed off.

Over the weekend, gay Twitter executed a glorious plan to use the tag #ProudBoys to share uplifting stories and images of love rather than the sort of hatred and violence the far-right group has become known for.

Star Trek star and LGBTQ activist George Takei was one of the first to suggest the subversive trend, writing in a Thursday tweet:

“I wonder if the BTS and TikTok kids can help LGBTs with this. What if gay guys took pictures of themselves making out with each other or doing very gay things, then tagged themselves with #ProudBoys. I bet it would mess them up real bad. #ReclaimingMyShine”

Over the weekend, the viral campaign swept across Twitter as thousands of users ranging from celebrities to politicians and even the Canadian military used the hashtag.

Take posted a photo of himself with his husband, explaining:

“Brad and I are #ProudBoys, legally married for 12 years now. And we’re proud of all of the gay folks who have stepped up to reclaim our pride in this campaign. Our community and allies answered hate with love, and what could be better than that.”

Rep. Carlos G. Smith, the first LGBTQ Latino legislator from Florida also tweeted that he and his husband Jerick Mediavilla were “Proud Boys” ready to vote. He tweeted:

“@JerickFL and I are joining thousands of gay men on social media to reclaim #ProudBoys from white supremacists and bigoted neo-nazis,” he tweeted. “Let’s replace the hashtag with images of love, positivity, and true PRIDE! Your two favorite #ProudBoys are here standing by, ready to VOTE!”

The Canadian Armed Forces in the USA also participated in the trend, and shared a photo of two men kissing, one of whom is a corporal called Brent Kenny, accompanying their post with the simple caption: “#ProudBoys.”

Naturally, for the Proud Boys – a males-only group obsessed with proving their masculinity through feats of violence and milk-guzzling rituals – the trending hashtag was anything but welcome, especially after Twitter cleansed the platform of their presence.

Members of the so-called “pro-western fraternal organization” have been posting about their displeasure over seeing same-sex love on the much smaller rival app Parler.

As is typical for an organization that has been labeled a hate group by numerous monitors, online Proud Boys spouted homophobic, anti-gay hatred that they’ve long peddled and banked on.

While most people hadn’t heard about the Proud Boys, the infamous group earned their 15 minutes of fame after Donald Trump name-dropped them in a notorious moment from last Tuesday’s first presidential debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Trump clearly had trouble denouncing political violence by his far-right supporters when he was asked by moderator Chris Wallace whether he would “condemn white supremacists and militia groups, and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities.”

Instead, Trump said “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”

The Proud Boys are a group of nationalist extremists who describe themselves as “western chauvinists” and are known for their anti-Muslim, misogynistic rhetoric, as well as their frequent brawls with left-wing opponents.

However, the group denies being racist, despite its numerous links with alt-right, neo-fascist organizations.

After the group’s name was hijacked over the weekend, Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio complained that “the left” had turned the group’s name into a “slur” in an attempt “to drown out the voices of our supporters.”

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The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix

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esoteric meaning neo interrogation matrix

More than 20 years old now, The Matrix is recognized by fans across the world as being one of the most brilliant films in history, most notably for its deeper meaning and esoteric philosophy.

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One scene that is particularly intriguing, considering the social climate of today, is Neo’s interrogation by the Agents of the Matrix.

Now, before we dig into the potential hidden meaning here, as I perceive it, and how Neo found himself in this uncomfortable position to begin with, let’s first establish some key points in relation to the overall story line that will help us to appreciate the implications behind this scene a little bit more.

What Does The Character Neo Represent in the Matrix?

Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one. This is an important piece of the puzzle to help us understand what the directors of the film are trying to communicate to us. With that said, when we assess Neo’s character in the first film, we find that he is a solitary individual that keeps to himself and is struggling to find deeper meaning in this world by constantly searching the internet.

What Does The Character Morpheus Represent in the Matrix?

Morpheus in Greek mythology is a messenger of the gods. He appears to humans through dreams with the intention of delivering divine Knowledge and Truth. In the Greek mythos, he can appear in almost any form in people’s dreams, which could be because anyone, regardless of race, gender, or outward appearance, can be a messenger of enlightenment and Truth.

The First Matrix Film is About The Beginning of the Journey to Awakening

With the understanding of the deeper meaning behind what Neo and Morpheus’ characters represent in the film, we can now appreciate the intro scene of Neo sleeping (whilst searching for Morpheus) through a different lens of perception and awareness.

You see, Neo sleeping whilst searching online for Morpheus represents the early stages of the Truth seekers journey — “asleep” but still searching for deeper meaning in life — and hoping to find that meaning by seeking out a “messenger” of higher Knowledge and Truth.

Truth is Terrorism in the Empire of Lies

Through his incessant efforts, Neo begins to get closer and closer to finding the elusive Morpheus. This, however, also attracts the unwanted attention of the Agents in the Matrix, which represent the enforcers of the shadow government of this system. Their job is to ensure that no one exposes what the Matrix really is, and how it turns unsuspecting every day human beings into useful resources that it can use and exploit.

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The Agents proceed to apprehend Neo and interrogate him, where they make it very clear that they’ve been spying on him and keeping meticulous records of his activities, both online and offline, for quite some time now. As we all know very well today, all around the world intelligence agencies are doing exactly that — tracking what we view online and keeping meticulous records on many of our movements.

The agents, however, do not see Neo as being a major threat to the Matrix system, as he is still in the early stages of his awakening and does not know enough to be a major threat. Instead, they offer him a deal where they will be willing to “wipe the slate clean” on his illegal activities online, if Neo will simply help them track down the man they call Morpheus, who they claim is “a known terrorist” that is “considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive”.

This represents that the single greatest threat to this manipulative system — which is overwhelmingly ruled by deception and exploitation — is any messenger of higher Knowledge and Truth that can potentially awaken those who are still “asleep” to what the proverbial Matrix really is. In fact, one could argue this sort of power struggle has been going on for thousands of years, and is possibly why Socrates was accused of “corrupting the youth” by the ruling class more than 2,000 years ago and subsequently sentenced to death; or why Fred Hampton was assassinated by government authorities in 1969; or, in more recent history, why civilians that were peacefully protesting against Wall Street and the bankers for their part in destroying the world economy in 2008, were targeted by the FBI and even labelled as potential “domestic terrorists“.

Simply put, Truth is terrorism in the empire of lies.

Imaginary Rights

Neo, still being somewhat naïve and unbegun in his journey, rejects the Agent’s offer and demands he get a phone call because “I know my rights!”

To this, Agent Smith retorts, “tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?”, which results in Neo’s mouth warping in the most eerie of ways.

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This scene represents a lesson that all genuine Truth seekers eventually come to learn — this system is not concerned with human rights nor is it concerned with upholding authentic justice. Instead, it inculcates these beliefs and misperceptions into our minds from a very young age, because it serves to help legitimize its unnecessary existence in the eyes of the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate us as to why we think we need it. But in reality, our government guaranteed “rights” can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.

In relation to current events, for example, many thousands of people worldwide have been arrested for violating curfew orders; In one Indian state, civilians were told they must take selfies every hour and send it to the authorities to prove that they are staying indoors; in South Africa, some have been fined for not wearing masks while driving their cars; In Boston in the United States, people have even been told that they will be fined if they walk “the wrong direction” down the street; Homeless people in France have reportedly been fined for not staying indoors; Some people have been arrested for attending funerals of loved ones because it violated lockdown orders; Others (including doctors and scientists) have had their right to freedom of speech censored online; In Australia, a pregnant woman was actually arrested in her home for facebook posts that encouraged protesting against the lockdown; According to the International Labor Organization, tens of millions are being pushed into unemployment; and travel all around the world has been severely restricted by these authorities who have taken it upon themselves to be the rulers of this planet by dictating what the rest of us can and cannot do. Whether you agree with these policies or not, these things cannot logically be called “rights” since they are so very easily violated and taken away from us.

We Must Start With the Imagination

There are many other examples that demonstrate how our government given “rights” are more of a comforting illusion than an actual reality, such as the CIA’s secretive Black Site torture programs, which have been done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and authorities throughout the world. In these programs, people have been kidnapped — without any legal criminal charge or trial — and then taken to undisclosed secret locations where many of them are tortured for many months on end, in ways that are considered to be in violation of international law and basic human rights. The CIA, of course, simply claims they are suspected terrorists. In 2014, however, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report found that at least 26 of the people that were kidnapped and tortured were actually “wrongfully detained”.

Wake Up Neo — You Are the One

Fortunately, Neo manages to escape this unthinkable situation without any serious injury or harm. Soon after, he is contacted by Morpheus, where he is told that he was very lucky that the Agents underestimated his great potential and spared him, because if the Agents had known the great secret that Morpheus knows, then Neo would probably be dead.

Confused by the obvious strangeness of everything taking place, Neo asks Morpheus what the hell is going on, and what exactly is he talking about?? Without hesitation, Morpheus replies to him, “You are the one Neo — You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.”

This is perhaps the most important lesson the new Truth seeker must eventually come to learn — We are the ones we have been waiting for to change this corrupt world my friends; and we must stop looking for heroes and human leaders to absolve us of this very serious responsibility. Instead, we must all take on the role of Morpheus — which is to awaken as many Neo’s (new minds) as we possibly can, whilst also taking on the role that represents the journey of Neo, by challenging ourselves to become the best version of who we authentically are.

By doing this, we will help to awaken and unleash the unique creative forces of each individual’s problem solving imagination; and we will also find unity in our shared struggle against the injustices, and corruption, of this inhumane system which invariably exploits us all.

If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?

Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com

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