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OCEARCH wraps up 'unbelievably magical' final Nova Scotian visit –



The fourth and final OCEARCH shark expedition to Nova Scotia’s waters has wrapped up after a “huge success,” says its founder. 

“The Nova Scotian expedition was a huge success, being able to sample 10 animals for the science team,” says OCEARCH founder Chris Fischer. “That count gets us up to 83 animals now in the entire northwest Atlantic, and approximately 35 out of Nova Scotia.” 

The expedition launched in early September and concludes a four-year research project in Nova Scotia that has upended what Fischer and the shark science community thought about Atlantic Canada’s role in the shark ecosystem. 

“Total pioneering of exploration,” Fischer says. “We’ve learned more in the past four years about white sharks in Atlantic Canada than was known up until that time. Four years, you know, that’s an amazing rate of learning.” 

It wasn’t all that long ago that there was little awareness of sharks visiting our waters; chief among the various insights gleaned from this research, says Fischer, is just how regularly they are out there. 

“Nova Scotia continues to provide predictable access to these white sharks. We found places where they live, we’ve shown the world now, so if a scientist wants to research there, it’s worth the investment,” Fischer says. “They are there, you can go get them.”

Nova Scotia’s shores, with plenty of seals to be had for peckish great whites, are a shark’s dream Fisher says — a veritable feast.

“When we first came up four years ago to Canada, we thought they might be mating up there,” he says. “Now we know they are not. The semen samples of the males are not viable, the hormone levels in the males are low and the hormone levels in the females are low.

“They arrive skinny after a long winter, like many animals that migrate vast distances. They come up here, they bulk up on seals — like many other animals that come to Nova Scotia,” he says. “They’ll slide south, and the mature animals will go down off the southeastern United States and attempt to mate in the late winter, early spring. The rest of them cruise down off the East Coast and are down below Cape Hatteras. Some go as far as the Gulf of Mexico.”

And then, as the spring weather hits, just like plenty of folks from Ontario, they head on back to Nova Scotia. 

Surprisingly, despite Fischer’s sense that they have proven just how much science can be done up here, there’s “not really any of the Nova Scotian scientists” working with sharks, he says. Their main university researcher partner comes from the University of Windsor. 

It’s been a bit of a stormy season, but the expedition got to work more than half of the days on the boat, which Fischer says is just about what they expect.

“We get pretty good about the weather we had,” he says. 

The research project isn’t completely over, with the MC Ocearch planning to return to the northwest Atlantic over the next few years, probing the waters around Newfoundland.

“We have two more editions in the northwest Atlantic,” he says. “The most important thing I’m focused on now is, with the scientists when you get down to this point in the project, they need specific sizes of animals and sexes of animals, and from a specific location in order to complete the research. So we’re down to those kinds of things now.”

And on a personal note, Fischer says he’ll miss Nova Scotia, but was happy to make the most of it this year.

“I went on quite a few more small boat rides,” he says, “up into the islands and stuff, to try to soak it up. Unbelievably magical.” 

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Green activist hid in Louvre loos before gatecrashing Louis Vuitton’s show



Marie Cohuet hid in a lavatory inside the Louvre art museum for over two hours, plotting her gatecrashing of Louis Vuitton fashion show in protest at the environmental damage that activists say is caused by the fashion industry.

After edging closer to the show’s entrance as the event neared, Cohuet saw her chance when staff were distracted by the glitzy arrival of actress Catherine Deneuve.

Talking animatedly into her phone, Cohuet pretended to be from the organising team and walked in.

She bided her time until the catwalk parade began to a soundtrack of thunderous organ music and church bells, at which point she unfurled her banner and joined the procession of models under a chandelier-lit runway.

“It was a little bit like taking back power,” the 26-year-old environmental campaigner, a member of the Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth) group, told Reuters of the seconds before she was bundled to the floor by Louis Vuitton’s security agents.

Her banner was scrawled with the slogan “overconsumption = extinction”.

Cohuet said she had taken a stand on Oct. 5 against a fashion industry that fell short on its promises to act against climate change and pushed brands to renew collections faster, and produce more for less cost.

She accused LVMH of having pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions but excluding its sub-contractors from its calculations.

Asked by Reuters to comment, LVMH said its 2030 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than half, announced in April, included those of subcontractors.

Critics say that fast fashion, which replicates catwalk trends and high-fashion designs at breakneck speed, is wasteful, exploits low-paid workers and pollutes the environment, including through intensive use of pesticides to grow cotton.

On the runway, Cohuet’s heart was in her stomach as she stared ahead and passed the gazes of cinema stars, LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault and members of his clan.

“Sometimes an act of civil disobedience is needed, sometimes we need to challenge head-on those who are screwing the planet today, those who are trampling on human rights and social rights,” Cohuet said.

As a teenager at home, she expressed her indignation at the failure of global leaders to act on climate change. It had only been in the past few years that she joined protests, organised petitions and lobbied lawmakers.

Cohuet said she avoided frivolous clothing purchases and air travel but that there was only so much impact an individual could make. Real change must come from governments and leaders of big business, she continued.

Even so, Cohuet holds little hope for meaningful progress at this month’s United Nations COP26  climate change conference summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Nice promises get made on paper but then things tend to falter and states fail to turn them into concrete actions,” she said.


(Additional reporting by Mimosa Spencer; writing by Richard Lough; editing by Mark Heinricjh)

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Chinese institutions to receive 2nd batch of lunar samples for research – ecns



China has announced a list of research institutions that are to receive the second batch of lunar samples brought back by its Chang’e-5 mission.

The newly distributed samples, weighing about 17.9 grams, will be divided into 51 lots and handed over to scientists from 17 research institutions, according to a notice issued by the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

Sixteen institutions that are eligible to study the second batch of lunar samples are from the mainland, including Peking University, Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Macau University of Science and Technology is also qualified for using the lunar sample.

According to the notice, the China National Space Administration established a selection commission for the distribution of the samples earlier this month.

The Chang’e-5 probe returned to Earth on Dec. 17, 2020, having retrieved a total of 1,731 grams of lunar samples, mainly rocks and soil from the moon’s surface.

China delivered the first batch of the lunar samples, weighing about 17 grams, to 13 institutions in July.

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SpaceX's SN20 Starship prototype completes its first static fire test – Yahoo Movies Canada



SpaceX has taken a major step towards sending the Starship to orbit. On Thursday night, the private space corporation has conducted the SN20 Starship prototype’s first static fire test as part of its preparation for the spacecraft’s launch. According to Space, the SN20 is currently outfitted with two Raptor engines: A standard “sea-level” Raptor and a vacuum version designed to operate in space. At 8:16PM Eastern time on Thursday, the company fired the latter. SpaceX then revealed on Twitter that it was the first ever firing of a Raptor vacuum engine integrated onto a Starship.

Around an hour after that, the SN20 lit up yet again in a second static fire test that may have involved both Raptor engines. The SN20 will eventually have six Raptors — three standard and three vacuum — and will be the first prototype to attempt an orbital launch. A Starship launch system is comprised of the Starship spacecraft itself and a massive first-stage booster called the Super Heavy. Both are designed to be reusable and to carry large payloads for trips to low and higher Earth orbits. It can also eventually be used for longer trips to the Moon and to Mars. 

SpaceX doesn’t have a date for the SN20 test flight yet, but the plan is to launch the vehicle with the Super Heavy known as Booster 4 from the company’s Boca Chica site. The booster will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico, while the SN20 will continue its journey towards orbit. 

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