Author - Jon Dungol

I try to make everything ok by telling the world about what's good! Who else would?!

Entertainment News

President Trump to honor Jon Voight with National Medal of Arts

For the first time since Trump became president, the prestigious National Medal of Arts will be awarded. The White House announced four recipients of the medal as well as four recipients of the National Humanities Medal in a statement on Sunday night. Trump plans to distribute the awards on Thursday during a ceremony at the White House.

One of the recipients that have drawn the most attention is Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight. The 80-year-old has been involved in quite a few films in his time, but, in addition, he has been a staunch supporter of Trump since the beginning, calling him “the greatest president of the century” as well as the “greatest president since Abraham Lincoln,” who died in office in 1865.

In past administrations, the awarding of these honors has been an annual affair, but this will be the first time since Trump was inaugurated in January 2017. President Obama was the last to give arts or humanities medals in September 2016.

A Long Career of Complex Characters

Voight starred in Midnight Cowboy, a film from 1969 that won an Academy Award for best picture. His starring role in the film Coming Home in 1978 won him an Oscar award for the best actor. In addition, he has appeared in the Showtime series, Ray Donovan. Now, he will receive this medal “for his exceptional capacity as an actor to portray deeply complex characters.”

Alison Krauss, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, and The Musicians of the United States Military will also be receiving the National Medal of Arts while The Claremont Institute, Teresa Lozano Long, Patrick O’Connell, and James Patterson are the recipients of the National Humanities Medal.

Voight often reprimands the Democratic party for their opposition and even explained in full on Twitter why Trump is such a good president.

“This is not peace,” he wrote. “This is not love. This is hate among the radical left. No amount of book smart will show the given policy of what truth stands for. Truth is a powerful emotion. Love … is what we should be voting for.

“And I must say that we — the Republican Party — have voted for renewal, for a place of safety, a community where all can have peace. But this is war among the left. They have hate. It’s like a venom. No words of God, no words of love, but a radical emotion of hate.”

For the first time since Trump became president, the prestigious National Medal of Arts will be awarded. The White House announced four recipients of the medal as well as four recipients of the National Humanities Medal in a statement on Sunday night. Trump...

Cool Stories Earth

If You Missed Mercury’s Journey Across the Sun, You’ll Have to Wait Another 13 Years!

Mercury’s journey across the sun happened on November 11th and if you missed it, you will have to wait another 13 years before this event occurs again.  Mercury’s next journey across the sun will not take place until November 13, 2031.  If you think this is a long wait, consider Venus who will travel 93 years from now!

Phenomenal events like this only happen when there is a set alignment on planet orbits. Just like all the planets in our solar system, Mercury and Venus circle the sun in a plane, similar to a pancake but it’s not perfectly flat because each planet has a tilt in its orbit.

Take Mercury’s path, there is an incline of 7° to the plane in which the planet, on average, orbits in the sky. From the perspective of our planet Earth, Mercury passes above or below the sun almost all the time, only crossing the sun 13 or 14 times in one century.

With Venus, this phenomenon is much rarer. It happens in transit pairs separated by 8 years and each pairing only happens about a century apart from each other.

Also, only Mercury and Venus can cross the sun since they are on the inner side of the solar system, unlike Earth.  Transits of Mercury seem to happen around the same time of year, either in November or May while Venus’ is more scattered.

When Will the Next Transit Be?

According to NASA, if you missed this last transit of Mercury, you will have to wait a really long time.  The next 2 transits will happen in 2032 and 2039 but will not be visible from North America. Skywatchers in the U.S will have to wait until 2049 and from the West Coast in 2052.

Regarding Venus, you should mark it on your calendar and even consider if you will still be around.  According to NASA, from December 10 to 11, 2117 it will be visible in southern and western North America and other locations.

As of December 8, 2125,  it will be visible for half its journey in the U.S.  The next pairing will not occur until 2247 and 2255.

If all of this seems too far in advance for you to even consider, have peace of mind, you will have plenty of chances to watch the moon travel across the sun during a solar eclipse or to watch the moon pass into Earth’s shadow during the lunar eclipse.

Eclipses take place every few months but visibility varies considerably, especially for solar eclipses.

If you were fortunate enough to capture the Mercury event, share it on your social media so the rest of us can enjoy the moment!

Mercury’s journey across the sun happened on November 11th and if you missed it, you will have to wait another 13 years before this event occurs again.  Mercury’s next journey across the sun will not take place until November 13, 2031.  If you...

Earth Inspiring Stories

The Half-Earth Project and Its Plausibility

In case you don’t know, biodiversity is the key to life on our planet, providing ecosystem services which all life depends upon. For years biodiversity has been on the decline around the world caused by climate change and the loss of habitats.

Human activities could lead to our extinction along with the extinction of the planet. Losing so much of Earth’s biodiversity is destroying our heritage and the stability of the planet as a whole. Is there anything we can do about it at this stage?

What Is The Half-Earth Project?

The evolutionary biologist, E.O. Wilson, came up with his plan for Half-Earth. He proposes that half the planet should be completely set aside as a natural reserve in order to protect and preserve biodiversity. In his book “Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight For Life”, he explains that loss of biodiversity is already beyond the stage of recovery and the only solution to prevent mass extinction and destruction is to protect half of the earth from human interference. This will allow the natural reserve to protect and preserve the biodiversity while the other half of the planet is shared by humans.

Why The Concept Of Exactly Half?

The amount of space for suitable habitats for species is a critical factor in survival or not. Wilson developed “The Theory of Island” in the 1960s suggesting that any change in an area of habitat would result in a change in the number of sustainable species by the fourth root. Therefore, if the reserve grows in size so will the surviving species and the same can be said in reverse. In theory, if half of the global surface is protected, the number of species will be around 85% or more which could prevent extinction.

So, Where Is The Half Going To Be?

For the Half-Earth Project to work, there must be specifications in place by using advanced technologies that will comprehensively map the geospatial locations and distribution of species on the planet. The decision would be based on the data output to show where would be the best place to protect most species.

As geospatial is relating to data that is associated with a specific area, there are several locations best for preservation and most of those areas are in South America.

In order for the project to work, it will take scientific research and experienced leadership to form strategies to map the Earth’s species and will require engagement with people from everywhere to participate in the movement.

Once enlisted, people are asked to sign the Half-Earth Pledge in which people promise to support the Half-Earth Project by sharing information, participating locally in conservation efforts, and supporting the protection policies.

While reading through Wilson’s proposal, it might sound great but is it at all practical? What would be the negative fall-out on the human population from implementing this project?

An article called “Half-Earth Or Whole Earth?” was published which analyzed the other side of this Half-Earth Project and the negative impact it might have on humanity. The argument can be examined from the following points:

The problem with the Half-Earth proposal, it ignores the elements that cause the loss of biodiversity across the planet. The plan for future biodiversity does not address the overconsumption of resources and industrial activities that are unrealistic. Even if we divided the earth in half in terms of consumption of resources and our activities, there would still be major consequences for the entire planet.

How about the social impact caused by the half earth project? Restricting areas would cause many challenges from physical and economic displacement and will eventually lead to social conflict. Even to date, many strictly protected areas are in the middle of social conflicts.

Adding to that, who will create and control these protected areas? How can we possibly share these areas globally and equally? Lower-income countries suffer from enormous poverty and lack of infrastructure. Therefore, removing land from non-conservation use will impact those countries and communities the most who, ironically, are the least responsible for our current environmental issues.

Many studies have shown that protected areas work best if they are supported by local communities. One recent study showed that protected areas that have integrated local people as shareholders are more effective in reaching biological conservation, economic, and social development. The Half-Earth Project completely ignores the relationship between biodiversity and local communities.

Lastly, the Half-Earth Project does not offer any guidelines or an agenda on how to manage biodiversity in the human half. What will biodiversity look like and what’s the role of people in the plan? Will there be any restrictions in this plan?

All the above arguments and issues are predictable and expected but the Half-Earth Project does not mention the negative impacts or how these impacts will be addressed.

In a nutshell, the Half-Earth Project is not plausible and cannot be put in place as a sustainable strategy because of the issues it has failed to address. Also, if implemented, it would result in dangerous and counter-effective consequences such as greater injustice and the rise of conflicts.

There would have to be a logical solution in place that would focus on the roots of the biodiversity loss. So much more must be done if we ever expected to address how the global economy works and address how we extract natural resources.

It’s a fact that economic growth is an issue all unto itself. Working toward achieving prosperity without growth could possibly be a part of the solution.

Implemented strategies must support measures to address inequality along with improved health and well being. This is a much more realistic approach and a better way for sustaining biodiversity vs what the Half-Earth Project is suggesting.

Are there steps that can be taken to improve our environment and protect nature? Yes, but it takes more than a pipe dream that would literally throw millions of people out of their homelands and overcrowd other countries leading to further conflicts.

In case you don’t know, biodiversity is the key to life on our planet, providing ecosystem services which all life depends upon. For years biodiversity has been on the decline around the world caused by climate change and the loss of habitats.
Human...

Cool Stories Earth

Rare Photos of Atmospheric Gravity Waves

Life is often full of amazing little treats that, to the untrained eye, would go entirely unseen. Phenomena are commonly found in all walks of life, and this can give us some of the most truly life-changing sights and scenes. However, one phenomenon that has so far been invisible to humans is known as atmospheric gravity waves.

These are ripples that you would not be able to see in the sky, but definitely have taken place. Such waves can take place in various locations but are often most commonly found during thunderstorms.

Indeed, it’s apparently not too dissimilar to what happens when you throw a rock across the water – you see that little ripple, that change. That is also a gravity wave; what is happening in the sky is similar.

Our Atmosphere is Liquid

Any disturbance to fluid can make these waves take place. Given that our atmosphere is a liquid, too, though, it can contribute to the development of similar wave effects later on in time. It’s a big reason why this kind of atmospheric wave has long been sought after by scientists looking to see it happen in real-time.

The person behind making this happen was Adam Morgan, a meteorologist at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Speaking to ABC News, Morgan said: “Essentially gravity waves are disturbances in any sort of fluid, so we see them often in water, but the atmosphere is a fluid as well, so any sort of disturbance in there can generate waves.”

Asked why this has taken place to begin with, Morgan said: “There was a big thunderstorm over the northwest of Western Australia and the disturbance, in this case, was the cold air falling out of the thunderstorm and into the warmer air near the surface,” Morgan said.

“The difference in density there causes the disturbance and then the gravity wave can travel out as the cold air spreads out,”

Indeed, he also noted that such waves can travel exceptionally large distances before they begin to dissipate and return to normal. Speaking further about the experience, Morgan said: “The disturbance will exist until everything rebalances itself, that’s why they can travel a long way,

“If you’ve ever been to the swimming pool and someone jumps in and does a dive bomb at one end of the pool, you might get the wave right at the other end of the pool after a bit of time.”

The main reason why we cannot normally see these, though, is due to the fact that they must produce some kind of cloud. Otherwise, there is not enough moisture in the air to try and give us an insight into what is going on in the background.

Still, we can now finally say that we have visual proof of an atmospheric gravity wave taking place. For many in the science community, this will be seen as a hugely impressive level of progress.

Life is often full of amazing little treats that, to the untrained eye, would go entirely unseen. Phenomena are commonly found in all walks of life, and this can give us some of the most truly life-changing sights and scenes. However, one phenomenon that has...

Cool Stories Funny Stories

Area 51 is Back in the Limelight

Over the past couple of months, UFO followers have gone absolutely nuts! They are flocking to the Nevada desert that is close by the famous, secretive US Air Force military base after a joke was posted on Facebook sometime back this year.

Over two million people said they would attend the event and race through the base to find these “so-called” aliens!  It seems more and more people are not using common sense!

Recently, the organizers of this event decided to cancel for fear of safety, worrying this could turn into another Fyre Festival.  The Fyre Festival was a fraudulent luxury music festival created to promote the company’s app for booking music talent.

Canceled? Who Cares!

Even with the cancellation, people have flocked to small towns like Rachel, NV with a population of 54 residences.  Their sole intent is to meet up with other alien hunters.  To the insane, one fan performed the perfect Naruto run, passing a live news broadcast at the scene.

Should you not know, a Naruto run is performed by leaning forward with your arms stretched out behind you while running!

Area 51 is a military site that is closed off to the public and has been rumored to have evidence of alien contacts.  Shortly after the event gained momentum, the US Air Force issued a very strong warning that people should stay away as this is a training site for American armed soldiers.

A spokesperson for the US Air Force, which I paraphrase, said they are always ready to stand by protecting America and her assets but this recent lure of the conspiracy theory has obviously made the place difficult to resist.

This phenomenon is based on a blend of interests in aliens and swirling government conspiracies, wanting to know something no one knows.

Residents of Rachel have been preparing for the influx of people from around the US as well as other places.  They are installing outdoor floodlights, fencing, and “No Trespassing” signs.  They have organized a radio-equipped neighborhood night-watch fearing there will not be enough food, water, garbage containers, or even toilets to support this mad dash.

There is also a fear that people will flock into the desert with absolutely no knowledge about the climate conditions which during the night hours can drop below 5°C.  People are arriving in shorts and flip-flops and will probably come face-to-face with snakes, scorpions, and other creatures.

Officials are concerned about people becoming angry when they don’t find what they are looking for and cell phone service will become overwhelmed.  Visitors will not find a gas station closer than 45 miles away!

In a nutshell, people will not find what they are hoping for and even though the creators on Facebook called the whole event a fraud, it doesn’t seem to be stopping people from invading this area and potentially putting themselves in harm’s way.

Quite honestly, people, this conspiracy theory has been around since the 50s when people were worried about Nuclear weapons and there is absolutely no proof of aliens living in Nevada.

Over the past couple of months, UFO followers have gone absolutely nuts! They are flocking to the Nevada desert that is close by the famous, secretive US Air Force military base after a joke was posted on Facebook sometime back this year.

Over two million...

Celebs

Royal Kids: Talk About Net Worth!

Princess Charlotte is the daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  Her net worth was estimated at around $5 billion when she was born.  From that time on, she has been very much her “mother’s little angel”.  She has created a craze in her style, her fan-base is enormous, and it all shows in her monetary value.

In 2018, her net worth was estimated at around $4.3 billion, based on Brand Fiance reports.  It was also reported by Reader’s Digest that to date her value is around $5 billion.  Above and beyond all else, these figures are astonishing considering her very young age!

Even more impressive, her brother George, the future king of England, is worth around $3.2 to $3.6 billion as estimated last year.  If you want to talk about rivalry among siblings, it’s pretty clear that Charlotte is the big winner!

How is This Calculated?

You might wonder where these figures come from.  The projections are based on what the children could bring to the UK economy over their lifetimes, assuming they keep the same positive effects.

For instance, the royal children have a huge impact on the sales of certain clothes and toys by the brands they wear or play with.  In this case, they have a similar effect on brands just like their mother, the Duchess of Cambridge.  It seems that everything Middleton touches does turn to gold!

No matter how you calculate it, the royal children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are worth staggering amounts of money and not one of them is even 10 years old!  Consider this, the day that Prince Louis was born, it was estimated he would add $70 million to the family’s wealth.

Adding to that, their cousin Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the firstborn child of Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle, was estimated at $65 million to $91 million in revenue after his birth.

There seems to be something magical as well as given if you are born into royalty!

Princess Charlotte is the daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  Her net worth was estimated at around $5 billion when she was born.  From that time on, she has been very much her “mother’s little angel”.  She has created a craze in her...

Funny Stories Vacation

Delta Passenger on ‘Private’ Plane Left Out One Important Detail

Vincent Peone’s video Tweet went viral last week as it showed him boarding a private Delta flight from Aspen, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah as the only passenger. He captioned the short clip, “Last week @Delta gave me my own private jet…kind of.” It seems, however, that the award-winning director may have stretched the truth a bit.

The full story is that, though Peone did board that flight as the only passenger, it never took off! Peone later claimed that his video was “100 percent true” – before he stopped filming, that is!

Well… Kind Off

“After the private jet broke down again with mechanical problems, I took a normal one the following morning,” he confesses in his tweet.

Peone feels no contrition over his post, and though he took a flight alongside other passengers the next day, he’s enjoying the moment of viral fame.

“The footage I have tells a short, funny, and positive story – because those are the kind of stories I like to tell. I make comedy!” he wrote.

He also added, “I had some laughs with the amazing crew while living the dream.”

Delta also has no negative feelings about Peone’s post but, rather, responded to his popular Twitter with a thank you for shouting out to them. Most likely, several others had no issue with his post either as it gave them the opportunity to drool over the “hot pilot” Peone had on the would-be private flight.

Vincent Peone’s video Tweet went viral last week as it showed him boarding a private Delta flight from Aspen, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah as the only passenger. He captioned the short clip, “Last week @Delta gave me my own private jet…kind...

Cool Stories

Designing Abstract Aerial Art that Can Only Be Viewed From Above

There are so many amazing and beautiful natural things that you will never notice or realize unless you view them from above.  JP and Mike Andrews have shared amazing sights and patterns that can only be seen from above by creating their own work as “abstract aerial art”.

They use drones called DJI Phantom 4 Pro and DJI Mavic 2 Pro.  They will find scenes that are literally all too perfect to be real and are, sadly, ignored.

Above Down Under

UK photographers started in 2016 when they visited Australia.  They wanted to know how much more they could view of remote areas from above.  They bought their first drone and headed to the outback. They quickly became in awe of what they discovered.

They grabbed the perspective of the drone to capture textures of the earth, swirls of patterns, symmetry and amazing colors.  The more they were drawn into what they were viewing and photographing, the more committed they became.

Each landscapes changes, exposing a truly magnificent and somewhat strange world that we live in.  The more they photographed these images, the more they were amazed at what they were actually looking at! Now, they are sharing these images to the world.

There are so many amazing and beautiful natural things that you will never notice or realize unless you view them from above.  JP and Mike Andrews have shared amazing sights and patterns that can only be seen from above by creating their own work as...

Tech News Vacation

The TSA is Working to Keep Your Laptop in Your Bag

The TSA is finally testing a screening method that will allow passengers, even those without a TSA PreCheck, to keep their laptops in their bags during the process. This new screening method is being tested in Las Vegas, and if it works, it will expand throughout the nation.

This month the TSA announced the opening of a new facility on the lower level of Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The new method being tested is under the Advancing the Checkpoint Environment program, or ACE, for short.

The Innovation Task Force

The director of the Innovation Task Force, Jose Bonilla, stated that this new facility will allow them to assess the new technology and processes being considered.

It will also make it easy for them to make a demonstration of the unique network of capabilities without having an effect on current operations.

The usual TSA checkpoints at Terminal 3 are found in the upper level of the building, while the ACE facility can be found downstairs. For the moment, only domestic passengers flying United Airlines will be able to go through ACE lanes.

However, this will soon be expanded to other domestic and international airlines. The ACE checkpoint is open for 4 hours every day, from Sunday to Thursday.

Passengers that go through the ACE lanes can leave their laptops in their bags even if they don’t have a PreCheck and they will be able to bypass traditional checkpoints. This process also provides faster security screening because fewer passengers are processed on these lanes.

The main ACE trials involve advanced imaging machines that make use of CT tech to look into the carry-on bags of passengers.

The images are more detailed than the traditional images produced by X-ray scans, which is why it will no longer be necessary for passengers to get their things out of their bags.

Similar machines are also being tested on other airports in the country, such as JKF Terminal 7. As ACE continues being used, newer technologies and procedures will be introduced to guarantee its evolution.

In fact, one of the main objectives of the ACE facility is to allow the testing of different types of tech and processes in conjunction with each other.

Passengers going through the ACE lanes will still have to remove liquids from their bags as well as their shoes, but it may not always be the case. The procedure will evolve alongside the technology, so many more upgrades to the screening process will follow.

The feedback from passengers who have used the ACE lanes and from the agents who manage them is important to evaluate these new processes and technologies, which will help the TSA roll out these new procedures and machines more broadly.

So far, the feedback is great on the introduced innovations, so we expect to hear more about this very soon as it will eventually appear on other airports in the country.

The TSA is finally testing a screening method that will allow passengers, even those without a TSA PreCheck, to keep their laptops in their bags during the process. This new screening method is being tested in Las Vegas, and if it works, it will expand...

Animals City Life

St James’s Park Gets Three New Pelicans

Wonderful News! There are three brand new arrivals to St James’s Park in London.  Their names are Sun, Moon, and Star.

James’s Park is famous for their pelicans who are able to roam freely but they seem to prefer staying close by the lake.  All three pelicans came all the way from the Prague Zoo and will soon be joined up with permanent residents Isla, Tiffany, and Gargi.

Actually, all three arrived here toward the end of May but have been kept out of public sight so they can settle into their new surroundings.

Hugh Smith, the Senor Wildlife Officer for The Royal Parks, believes it will take a few weeks for the two flocks to come together. There will be little interaction between the new pelicans and the established pelicans.

They will need a period of adjustment for bringing together three relatively tame birds with three semi-wild birds.  They do not see any disagreements just a little apprehension or suspicion while they get to know each other.

It will not take very long for these birds to start using the Pelican Rock because it’s natural for them.

A Gift For a King

Pelicans first arrived at St James’s Park in 1664 when the Russian Ambassador sent a gift to King Charles II.  This is the third time the Czech capital has sent pelicans to live in this very famous park which is located next to Buckingham Palace.

The Prague Zoo sent four in 1995 and another three in 2013.

Miroslav Bobek, Zoo Director, said he was honored to help St James’s Park to keep this 350-year tradition alive.  We believe that Sun, Moon, and Star will have a very happy life along with the other pelicans.

You can visit the park every day between 5 AM and Midnight and say hello to the Pelicans.  You can go to Duck Island Cottage between 2:30 PM and 3 PM to watch them being fed fresh fish.

Wonderful News! There are three brand new arrivals to St James’s Park in London.  Their names are Sun, Moon, and Star.

James’s Park is famous for their pelicans who are able to roam freely but they seem to prefer staying close by the lake.  All...

Earth

Why Manufacturers Need to Be More Responsible About Plastic Pollution

One of the world’s harshest truths is that recycling won’t solve waste problems on its own.

Recycling is a band-aid at best, when you take into account contamination created by incorrect recycling and the degradation of plastic. Not to mention millions of pounds of recyclable materials never actually get recycled.

However, this doesn’t mean plastic pollution is something we should either accept as a fact of life or ignore. What it means is that we need to make adjustments to the way we approach the issue of waste.

Recyclability Is No Longer Important

The most recent EPA statistics from 2015 show that the amount of plastic waste generated in the US is increasing.

As much as 70% of the plastic that enters recycling facilities all over the world is actually unusable, and some of it even impairs machines and ruins loads of potentially recyclable materials.

But what happens with the plastic that doesn’t get recycled? Well, according to a report from the Guardian, hundreds of thousands of unrecycled plastic are shipped each year to impoverished countries such as Senegal, Laos, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

Because there are no ways to handle that much plastic, the current solution is to ship it away and make it someone else’s problem.

This is of course a lot more harmful to the environment because all this plastic is most likely burned, which releases toxic fumes containing heavy metals, dioxins, and hydrochloric acid.

This could be easily blamed in people who don’t care about properly sorting their recyclables at home, but plastic recyclability is actually complex.

Even people who know their recycling very well understand how arcane the process is because there’s no way to know whether or not a type of plastic will be accepted by local waste processors.

This makes the recycling process less than effective, no matter how well you categorize and separate your waste.

Circular Economy: A Solution

The solution to all these issues is quite simple. For one, manufacturers who produce products and packaging should plan and have systems in place to take these things back once they’re no longer useful to consumers.

The move toward a circular economy that features a closed-loop system would make manufacturers responsible for the waste their products produce.

This would, in turn, motivate manufacturers to be less wasteful with their products and packaging from the start, because they’re aware they have to take care of it in the end.

Thankfully, plastic alternatives are not in shortage. They’re innovative and they’re not made of fossil fuels, so they’re a win/win for everyone.

Among the alternatives that are already proposed, you’ll find bioplastics made of arthropod shells, seaweed-based materials, biodegradable combinations of natural resins and cellulose, and mushroom0based foam, just to mention a few.

If companies wanted to take that step, there are some alternatives, such as Sulapac, that can be produced on existing production lines. That means companies could switch from their current materials to a greener version.

However, biodegradable plastics still have issues.

Even though we may think disposable products marked as “compostable” are better than plastic or other materials, they can still end up in the ocean, it still takes years for the material to break down, and it can still endanger wildlife exposed to it.

This kind of material also needs to be sent to specific industrial composting facilities, which are not available everywhere.

The fact is that most biodegradable alternatives, with the exception of plant-based and edible options, don’t actually help if they’re still used to create disposable items you can only use once.

Importance of Individual Actions

Individual actions are key to making a true change in this situation.

A big part of helping the issue is changing the way we think about convenience and the value we place on durability. Even though it’s true that what we do matters, corporations are not be let off the hook.

If you take only 100 companies, you’ll find that they’re responsible for 71% of local emissions since 1988. This means that companies are the world’s biggest plastic polluters, including companies in the energy industry, beverage, meat and dairy as well.

Why can’t they be let off the hook? Because they have the resources and the power to reduce the amount of pollution they produce. Whether that’s plastic pollution or another kind.

In spite of this, few companies actually make the move, which is why consumer demand needs to rise. Putting pressure on these companies to take responsibility is key and even though that’s a challenge on its own, it’s the only way we can make a palpable change.

One of the world’s harshest truths is that recycling won’t solve waste problems on its own.

Recycling is a band-aid at best, when you take into account contamination created by incorrect recycling and the degradation of plastic. Not to mention millions...

City Life Cool Stories

Beyond the Streets: Early Brooklyn Graffiti Exhibition

Beyond the Streets, a show exhibiting the work of celebrated artists who spent years illegally working on the streets, first opened in Los Angeles last year.

It’s curator, Roger Gastman, has now opened a second iteration of Beyond the Streets in Brooklyn, NY, where visitors get to view the work of over 150 street artists from around the world.

Gastman, a well-known graffiti historian and “urban anthropologist” is known not just for these shows, but also for co-authoring books on street art and co-producing films like Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Two floors of wall-breaking art

You can check out this latest show, including conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, feminist art collective Guerrilla Girls, Shepard Fairey, and Takashi Murakami, at the new 25 Kent Avenue space on the edge of Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

The art takes up two whole floors of the space and also offers sculptures, works on canvas and, immersive installations alongside a Beastie Boys installation featuring “artifacts and ephemera” from the band’s 4-decade history, a functioning tattoo parlor by Bert Krak & Alexis Ross and a room of puppets made of trash by Paul INSECT and BAST.

Gastman has long had a passion for celebrating art that was first done illegally under the cover of night. In recent years, developers that are changing cities have desired officially sanctioned murals around as a way to “clean up the neighborhood.”

But the artists in these shows are ones who broke the rules, shaped what we know as street art, and, at times, paid the price for pioneering the way, says Gastman. Though many of them now have their own profitable studio practice, their beginnings were anything but.

“You know, this culture—which was started by youths writing their names over and over again for the sake of fame and fun and notoriety—has ballooned into a worldwide cultural phenomenon,” says Gastman in an interview with Artnet.

“So many of the pioneers are still with us today. A lot of them are getting older. But let’s learn from them. Let’s respect them. And let’s preserve the history as much as we can while they’re with us, before it’s too late.”

The exhibition opened up on June 21st and will remain open until the end of August this year. If you’re not able to make it to Beyond the Streets NYC, you can see the artists’ work on the website. They’re worth checking out, even if not in person.

Beyond the Streets, a show exhibiting the work of celebrated artists who spent years illegally working on the streets, first opened in Los Angeles last year.

It’s curator, Roger Gastman, has now opened a second iteration of Beyond the Streets in Brooklyn...