‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ sinks under the weight of a waterlogged sequel

Jason Momoa returns in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.”From DCCNN — 

That rushing sound is “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” taking on water, as the five-years-later sequel to DC’s biggest box-office hit reunites the key players before dousing them in questionable choices. Lacking the sense of discovery and world-building that powered the original, director James Wan settles for a sort-of misguided buddy comedy. Whatever the intent, this doesn’t feel like the answer to lift superhero movies out of their slump.

Indeed, as disappointing DC sequels go, “Aquaman” gives “Wonder Woman 84” a run for its money, although while the villains dragged that 2020 film to its own depths, the absence of a fresh-water foe creates different problems, lacking novel elements to distinguish this movie from its superior predecessor.

Having two villains in the first movie left one, the revenge-minded Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), to pick up the heavy lifting, having discovered a dark trident that brings with it incredible powers and creates an environmental threat to the world.

As for Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), he’s essentially dealing with the hangover of having become king of Atlantis, wrestling with family demands and bureaucratic red tape that ill befits his origins as a short-tempered brawler.

The danger fueled by Black Manta, meanwhile, compels him to take a bold step: Turning to his imprisoned half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) to help find and defeat him. If that recalls another sibling rivalry, hey, it’s not like Marvel invented messed-up mythological families.

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The interplay between Momoa’s smart-alecky hero and his serious, hostile one-time enemy in theory establishes a mechanism to lighten up the movie, but their “48 HRs.”-style relationship doesn’t muster enough sparks to anchor this visually relentless exercise.

Jason Momoa as Aquaman in "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom".

Jason Momoa as Aquaman in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom”.Warner Bros. Pictures

Director James Wan again fills the screen with spectacle, some of it unevenly rendered, though even eye-popping digital effects couldn’t compensate for the frequent flatness of the dialogue and situations. (Although David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, a veteran of “Aquaman” and one of Wan’s “The Conjuring” sequels, gets sole screenplay credit, he shares credit for the story with Momoa, Wan and Thomas Pa’a Sibbett, which might be a case here of too many cooks spoiling the fish stew.)

The film’s fraternal focus also doesn’t leave much to do for Nicole Kidman as Aquaman’s Atlantean mom and Amber Heard as his wife Mera, although speculation that the latter would have a significantly reduced role based on advance teasers appears to have been exaggerated.

The bottom line is while the first “Aquaman” delivered lots of fun, much of that resting on Momoa’s brawny shoulders, this one doesn’t nearly as consistently. Abdul-Mateen gets saddled with a one-note villain, and the idea of the grudging bond between Arthur and Orm wades through too many clunky moments to reach the few good ones.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’Warner Bros. Pictures

As noted, this has already been a rough year for both Marvel and DC, so commercial expectations for “Aquaman” should have been tempered accordingly. But even allowing for that tidal pull the film and its stewards have done themselves few favors by coming back this late in the game with something so uninspired.

Yes, we all know Aquaman can https://surinamecop.com/ talk to fish, a talent he jokes about at the outset. But to borrow a phrase associated with “The Godfather,” a conspicuously waterlogged sequel can make the case to let the franchise sleep with the fishes for a while, too.

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” premieres December 22 in US theaters. It’s rated PG-13. The movie is being released by Warner Bros., like CNN and DC, a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.

A fashion love story, on both sides of the camera

Photographer Willie Christie’s work has been both ahead of its time and steeped in his love for nostalgia and the artifice of old Hollywood movies, the fashion editor Grace Coddington wrote in the foreword to Christie's new book, “A Very Distinctive Style: Then & Now." The photographs embodied his personality, she told CNN, and his ability to bring a bit of amusement and humor to any scene.

Photographer Willie Christie’s work has been both ahead of its time and steeped in his love for nostalgia and the artifice of old Hollywood movies, the fashion editor Grace Coddington wrote in the foreword to Christie’s new book, “A Very Distinctive Style: Then & Now.” The photographs embodied his personality, she told CNN, and his ability to bring a bit of amusement and humor to any scene.Willie Christie

Editor’s Note: In Snap, we look at the power of a single photograph, chronicling stories about how both modern and historical images have been made.CNN — 

It’s a simple but elegant black and white portrait of a women in a vintage nightgown — long, white and frilly — standing in a field of tall grass, as a gust of wind sweeps the dress behind her.

The model, looking off camera, and leaving the viewer to wonder at who or what, is former American Vogue creative director Grace Coddington; behind the camera was fashion photographer and film director Willie Christie.

The photo is just one of many of Christie’s previously-unseen shots of Coddington, images largely taken in the 1970s when she was working as a fashion editor at British Vogue. This was a time that marked the beginning of Christie’s career, and the height of their romance. It’s memorialized in Christie’s new book, “A Very Distinctive Style: Then & Now,” a dynamic collection of work mining his personal archives as well as editorial work, campaigns and collaborations with rock ‘n’ roll stars like David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and more.

“At that moment, I was very into vintage clothes and things like that, and the dress had a romance about it, which I love. That was also something that (Christie) really was very good at capturing,” Coddington told CNN in a phone interview.

“Our lives were very intertwined with each other in terms of his career and my career… and that picture reminds me of that. It was a beautiful period of my life,” she said.

Here, Coddington and Christie take different, playful approaches to posing for a photographer, at a charity fashion show held at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1973.

Here, Coddington and Christie take different, playful approaches to posing for a photographer, at a charity fashion show held at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1973.Fairchild Archive/Penske Media/Getty Images

A fashion industry meet cute

Christie and Coddington first met in the early 1970s on an assignment for British Vogue. Christie was then an assistant to Clive Arrowsmith, the most “sought-after fashion photographer at the time,” and Coddington a junior fashion editor for the publication, Coddington wrote in the foreword of Christie’s book.

With the budget for only two hotel rooms, and Arrowsmith wishing to share one with model Ann Schauffuss, his girlfriend at the time, Coddington recalled her and Christie spending the days surrounding the shoot awkwardly shuffling around their shared room, dancing around each other for privacy and to get dressed separately in the bathroom.

Their first date was actually a few years later, when Coddington was in need of a plus-one date for a charity ball she had been given two tickets to — Christie was the only man with a tuxedo that she and her assistant Patricia McRoberts (Christie’s prior girlfriend) knew at the time, she said.

Just a few weeks later, they moved in together.

This uncomfortable portrait of femininity has resonated for four decades

Christie remembers his first time photographing Coddington — a shoot for London newspaper “The Evening Standard” in 1973. The publication was looking to write an article on Coddington, which she agreed to, but only if Christie shot the photos.

“I was full of trepidation before that shoot, because although we were living together, the fact that I actually had to photograph her for the first time kind of filled me with anxiety,” Christie told CNN. “Because this might have become a great flaw in our relationship — she could have thought ‘Oh, my God, he can’t take a photograph of me, I can’t stay with him any longer.’”

Fortunately, the shoot was a resounding success. From that moment Coddington and Christie were an unstoppable team, developing ideas for their own personal photoshoots as well as editorial commissions — Coddington styling while Christie visualized. In Coddington, Christie had found his “perfect collaborator” and “first muse,” he told CNN.

Their first Vogue collaboration came in 1974, with the creation of a 1940s nightclub scene featuring the model Marie Helvin staged as a cabaret singer, wearing a collection of glamorous evening gowns. (Her piano player, meanwhile, was the shoot’s hairdresser, styled in Christie’s own white Saint Laurent suit.)

"Grace had these clothes in mind and, ever the budding Hollywood film director, I wanted the whole nightclub scene," Christie writes of his debut Vogue shoot in his book. "Grace whittled me down to this simplified version."

Grace had these clothes in mind and, ever the budding Hollywood film director, I wanted the whole nightclub scene,” Christie writes of his debut Vogue shoot in his book. “Grace whittled me down to this simplified version.”Willie Christie

Romance on film

Coddington recalled weekends the pair would frequently spend at Christie’s mother’s house in Wantage, England, tucked away from the bustle of big city London. On one particular occasion, just before Christmas in 1975, they trekked up into the Berkshire Downs — Coddington with that vintage dress and wide-brimmed hat, and Christie lugging his camera, a Honda generator and a single studio light.

In the image of Coddington standing in the field, Christie was looking to tell a love story, inspired from the old black-and-white movies he watched often, such as an adaptation of the literary classic “Wuthering Heights.” The aesthetic he hoped to recreate with “The Moors and the hills, all desolate and alone,” Christie explained. “And you know, women are being rejected and men are being foul.”

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To the side of Coddington stands a perfectly imperfect wooden signpost that Christie had quickly “banged together,” a prop to add to that vintage look and storytelling aspect of the piece, he said. With Coddington lit up by the single studio light, a backdrop of quintessentially British stormy clouds added a “punch of drama,” he said.

“There’s a longing there, because romance is losing, gaining, losing. People get together and they break up, and then there’s unrequited love,” Christie said.

Coddington and Christie were married in 1976, in a “wonderful seaside wedding in Derval, France,” Christie remembered. They split up in 1978, however, with Coddington left “heartbroken,” she said. Christie had begun focusing on his career in film, putting his all into shooting commercials, directing music videos and writing screenplays — and there had been another woman, Christie admitted.

Coddington and Vogue's Anna Wintour sit front row at Zac Posen's Fall-Winter 2010 runway show at New York Fashion Week.

Coddington and Vogue’s Anna Wintour sit front row at Zac Posen’s Fall-Winter 2010 runway show at New York Fashion Week.Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Coddington moved to the United States to work for Calvin Klein, and later become the creative director of American Vogue in 1988. She later married her current partner Didier Maligein; Christie married his current partner Amanda Nimmo in 1991 and they have two children together.

Why this morning-after portrait of Faye Dunaway became an iconic Hollywood moment

The cover artwork for "A Very Distinctive Style: Then & Now"

The cover artwork for “A Very Distinctive Style: Then & Now”ACC Art Books

Though Christie is based in https://clasicccop.com/ England these days, he often takes the time to visit with Coddington on trips to New York. On October 19, Coddington and Christie spoke together on Christie’s new book at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

“I am supposed to ask if you were ever starstruck by any of your models or actors that you photographed,” Coddington asked Christie during the talk.

“Well, I was by you,” Christie replied.

“Willie Christie: a very distinctive style: Then & Now” is available now. 

A cozy history of the ugly Christmas sweater

“The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon gives away a festive Christmas sweater to an audience member in 2013.Lloyd Bishop/NBCUniversal/Getty ImagesCNN — 

Move over twinkling fir trees and wreaths, eggnog, stockings and the office secret Santa — there’s a new kid in town. Over the last decade the ugly Christmas sweater has firmly embedded itself in yuletide culture.

You know the one. It’s a wooly pullover, usually in different shades of red, white and green, often of questionable fabric, and with at least one Christmas-inspired motif on it — a snowman, tinsel, a reindeer or candy canes. Extra points if it features 3D pom-pom or jingle bells.

The garment has quickly become an essential part of the holidays, ubiquitous as Christmas lights and wrapping paper. It’s obnoxious and tacky, but also fuzzy and kind of wholesome — the fashion equivalent of a Hallmark Christmas movie (with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek).

Val Doonican performing in a festive sweater on an episode of his ABC series "The Val Doonican Show" in 1971.

Val Doonican performing in a festive sweater on an episode of his ABC series “The Val Doonican Show” in 1971.Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

It took some time for the UCS to find its place in the pantheon of Christmas fundamentals, however.

Christmas-themed pullovers started making an appearance in the 1950s, a nod perhaps to the holiday’s growing commercialization. Initially referred to as “Jingle Bell Sweaters,” they weren’t as garish as today’s iterations, and found little popularity in the market, although some TV personalities — notably crooners Val Doonican and Andy Williams — really embraced the ugly side of the festive topper.

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It wasn’t until the 1980s that the item hit the mainstream. The shift came thanks to pop culture and comedies, with goofball dad characters like Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” turning the holiday sweater into an uncomely but endearing expression of cheer. Snowflake-emblazoned sweaters weren’t considered cool, but they radiated yule, and were sported at office parties and on Christmas Day.

Chevy Chase in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"

Chevy Chase in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”Warner Bros

The resurgence didn’t last long. In the 1990s the Christmas sweater faded in popularity; it was something only your unfashionable older relatives would ever think of wearing or gifting. By the turn of the new millennium, the item was widely considered an eyebrow-raising sartorial mishap.

Think of 2001’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” in which Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy turns to greet Bridget (Renée Zellweger) at a family party wearing an unattractive knitted garment featuring a giant red-nosed reindeer. Bridget is horrified. So were you, probably, if you watched it in the cinema. But you probably also smiled. Such is the heartwarming power of the UCS.

Colin Firth sports a fine example of the ugly Christmas sweater in 2001 hit movie "Bridget Jones's Diary."

Colin Firth sports a fine example of the ugly Christmas sweater in 2001 hit movie “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”Miramax/Everett Collection

The early 2000s also saw new life breathed into this now holiday staple. According to the “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book: The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Ugly On,” Christmas sweater parties started kicking off just around the time Bridget was recoiling at Darcy’s outfit.

The first so themed get-together took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2002, said Brian Miller, one of the book’s authors and founder of online shop UglyChristmasSweaterParty.com, in a phone interview. “It’s hard to say what triggered the change in perspective, but I think that the moment someone wore the garment in a humorous way, people started seeing the comic side of it, and thinking ‘this thing at the back of the closet could be fun, instead of something awful that nobody wants’,” he said.

How this surprising Christmas film became a fashion favorite

The popularity of the ugly sweater snowballed from there.

Over the following decade, the festive knit evolved into “a new holiday tradition,” as Miller described it. “It became our generation’s mistletoe,” he added. “Which is pretty remarkable, when you think about it.”

Fast-fashion giants like Topshop and high-end retailers like Nordstrom began filling their shelves and sites with gaudy designs each holiday season. Vintage stores and the Salvation Army capitalized on the trend by upping their stocks of fuzzy snowmen and dancing Santa pullovers. Even the fashion pack came around. In 2007, Stella McCartney released a polar bear-themed alpine sweater. Givenchy followed in 2010, and Dolce & Gabbana the following year.

A festive look from Stella McCartney's Fall-Winter 2008 collection.

A festive look from Stella McCartney’s Fall-Winter 2008 collection.Chris Moore/Catwalking/Getty Images

2012 was a turning point for the ugly sweater craze. UK charity Save the Children launched Christmas Jumper Day, a fundraising event encouraging people to don their most cringeworthy sweaters. British newspaper The Telegraph described the item as “this season’s must-have,” while the New York Times reported on ugly Christmas sweater-themed runs, pub crawls and specialized e-tailers booming across the States. Concurrently, the knits began showing more tinsel, bells and wacky details, reaching peak kitsch.

Celebrities, from Taylor Swift to Kanye West embraced the trend, too. Late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon even started running a regular segment called “12 Days of Christmas Sweaters,” which still airs today.

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If anything, https://masurip.org/ the rise of social media has only heightened the “It” status of the ugly sweater. Today, we compete to show off our Christmas-sweater love on Instagram, while anyone from mass retailer Target to fast food chain Red Lobster (whose UCS features a pocket to keep food warm), and more fashion houses offer their own versions of the garment.

“When I attended my first Ugly Sweater Party in the early 2000s, I would have never anticipated the garment would take off like this,” Miller said. “Although it’s easy to see why: ugly knits can be worn by anyone — from my daughter at her school’s ugly sweater contest to office workers at their end of year party. They’re democratic. And they’re a lot of fun. Christmas can be quite stressful — wearing something ridiculous can help take the pressure off.”

This article was first published in December 2019.

With a little help from ‘Aquaman,’ this conservationist is on a mission to save the world’s coral reefs

Titouan Bernicot and his team spend hours in the water every day working on coral restoration.

Titouan Bernicot and his team spend hours in the water every day working on coral restoration.Ryan Borne

Editor’s Note: Call to Earth is a CNN editorial series committed to reporting on the environmental challenges facing our planet, together with the solutions. Rolex’s Perpetual Planet initiative has partnered with CNN to drive awareness and education around key sustainability issues and to inspire positive action.CNN — 

It’s no surprise that Titouan Bernicot is so deeply passionate about his work. Growing up on his family’s pearl farm on the French Polynesian atoll of Ahe, the ocean is so much a part of who he is that he describes it as his best friend.

At just 18 years old, Bernicot set up Coral Gardeners, an organization focused on restoring local reefs, and in the seven years since he has gathered a team to restore and plant more than 100,000 resilient corals at atolls across the Pacific Ocean.

Bernicot, now 25, has also recruited global stars as Coral Gardeners ambassadors, including actor Jason Momoa, who met members of the group earlier this year to take part in their work.

Now, with Momoa’s “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” opening in cinemas this week, Coral Gardeners has partnered with the film in a campaign to highlight coral bleaching and the damage caused by climate change. (Film distributor Warner Bros., like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.)

The partnership is called “The Lost Colors” because of the coral bleaching process; usually caused by warmer water, it makes coral expel certain algae that give them their color. If temperatures remain too high, the algae are unable to return and the coral dies.

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Once a coral dies, it is extremely hard for reefs to return and regrow. This is when the reef ecosystem begins to collapse — and that’s what Bernicot and Coral Gardeners are trying to prevent.

French Polynesia's islands and atolls are surrounded by coral reefs. The archipelago is home to over <a href="https://www.tahititourisme.com/coral-in-the-islands-of-tahiti/#:~:text=In%20French%20Polynesia%2C%20there%20are,%2C%20Taha'a%20and%20Raiatea." target="_blank">150</a> different species of coral.

French Polynesia’s islands and atolls are surrounded by coral reefs. The archipelago is home to over 150 different species of coral.Killian Domingo

Homegrown reef restoration

Bernicot says his “connection” with the ocean started when he was a baby, learning “about the fish behaviors, the octopus, the sharks, how they co-exist.”

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“When I am not feeling good, when I’m stressed, I like to just go on the water,” he adds. “There is no noise … there is only the sound of the reef, the fish.”

But with the climate crisis threatening wildlife across the globe, coral reefs are in a precarious position. Scientists have estimated that up to 70-90% of existing coral reefs across the planet could disappear within the next 20 years, with the whole ecosystem under threat of destruction by the end of the century.

A blind mole that swims through sand has been rediscovered after nearly 100 years

Increasingly extreme weather patterns are a further cause for concern. This year’s El Nino, a natural fluctuation in temperature in the Pacific Ocean, threatens to warm oceans even more.

This rise in ocean temperature increases the risk of coral bleaching, potentially devastating this delicate environment. There are real concerns from Coral Gardeners founder that these reefs could become the first ecosystem on the planet to collapse.

“I want to fight for those little guys, for those fish, for the octopus, sharks and stingray,” Bernicot says. “They don’t have the voice that we have and they don’t really need it. They just need people to be there for them and I want to be one of those people (to) save their home.”

Most of Coral Gardeners' work has been done on the island of Mo'orea.

Most of Coral Gardeners’ work has been done on the island of Mo’orea.Ryan Borne

Alongside Bernicot, Coral Gardeners has a team of more than 50 people, including scientists and engineers, some of whom grew up on the very atolls they are working across.

One of the main ways they support local reefs is through “upcycling” old ropes and other waste from abandoned pearl farms that is damaging coral and using it to create coral nurseries.

These nurseries consist of small pieces of coral that can grow in a protected environment underwater. Once they reach a healthy size and condition, they are usually reintroduced to natural environments where reefs can then grow.

Last year, Coral Gardeners managed to plant more than 15,000 corals in French Polynesia, with a further 9,400 in their nurseries. In 2023, Coral Gardeners says, the total number planted has more than quadrupled, with over 70,000 corals planted this year.

The nurseries are also used to help Bernicot’s team conduct research, providing information on the best environment for coral to grow and how different species fare in various conditions. The organization’s in-house R&D center, called CG Labs, has developed tools such as underwater mapping robots, AI-powered cameras, and an app for viewers to explore a “connected reef.”

Bernicot and his team manage one of the many coral nurseries they have established.

Bernicot and his team manage one of the many coral nurseries they have established.Noe Langronier

A solution for the future

Over the next few years, Coral Gardeners’ “Odyssey 2025” goal is to restore one million corals, reach one billion people, and expand internationally, with a team already at work in Fiji, says Bernicot.

The group is also working on more collaborations like the one with “Aquaman,” including partnerships with “mindful brands” to create effective conservation activism.

The islands that went from whale hunting to whale watching

But at the end of the day, for Bernicot, it’s all about the community where Coral Gardeners began. Working alongside many of his former classmates, the reef restoration project is a true homegrown effort.

“No one thought that one day, we could answer to the question ‘What do you want to do?’ by saying ‘I want to become a coral gardener,’” Bernicot says. “It wasn’t a job, but now it’s real.”

“They are living proof that today https://sayurkana.com you can be paid to do something meaningful, and that ocean conservation is not obliged to be a part-time job only volunteering,” he adds. “You can wake up every morning with one single priority and focus (on) how to save the most important place on Earth.”

CNN’s John Lewis contributed to this report.

Octopus DNA seems to confirm scientists’ theory about a long-standing geological mystery

The octopuses used in the study were collected from the seabed around Antarctica.

The octopuses used in the study were collected from the seabed around Antarctica.Nerida Wilson/University of Western Australia

Sign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore the universe with news on fascinating discoveries, scientific advancements and more.CNN — 

A study of octopus DNA may have solved an enduring mystery about when the rapidly melting West Antarctic ice sheet last collapsed, unlocking valuable information about how much future sea levels may rise in a warming climate.

The innovative research focused on the genetic history of the Turquet’s octopus (Pareledone turqueti), which lives on the seafloor across the Antarctic, and what it could reveal about the geology of the region over time.

Tracing past encounters across the species’ various populations suggested the most recent collapse of the ice sheet occurred more than 100,000 years ago during a period known as the Last Interglacial — something geoscientists suspected but had not been able to confirm definitively, according to the study published Thursday in the journal Science.

“This project was exciting because it offers a brand-new perspective to solve a long-standing question in the geoscience community,” said lead study author Sally Lau, a postdoctoral research fellow at James Cook University in Australia.

“DNA of living animals today contains all the information about their ancestors (in the) past, so it’s like a time capsule,” she said.

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The research team arrived at its findings by sequencing the DNA of 96 Turquet’s octopuses that had been collected by institutions around the world and through fishing bycatch over the years. The oldest samples dated to the 1990s, but when sequenced, their genes provided what was essentially a detailed family tree going back millions of years.

Octopus family tree

The team studied genetic information from Turquet's octopus, which is pictured above.

The team studied genetic information from Turquet’s octopus, which is pictured above.Dave Barnes/British Antarctic Survey

The DNA analysis enabled researchers to understand whether different populations of Turquet’s octopuses had interbred and at what point that interbreeding had happened.

“It’s like doing a 23andMe on the octopus,” Lau said, referring to the genetic testing company. “This information gets passed down from parents to children and grandchildren and so on.”

Today, populations of Turquet’s octopus in the Weddell, Amundsen and Ross seas are separated by the continent-size West Antarctic ice shelves and can’t intermingle.

However, the study suggested that there was last genetic connectivity between these populations around 125,000 years ago, during the Last Interglacial, when global temperatures were similar to today’s.

This finding indicated the West Antarctic ice sheet had collapsed during this time — an event that would have inundated coastal regions but opened up ice-bound areas on the seafloor that the octopuses would be able to occupy, ultimately encountering and breeding with members of Turquet’s populations that were once geographically separated from one another.

“What makes the WAIS important is that it is also Antarctica’s current biggest contributor to global sea level rise. A complete collapse could raise global sea levels by somewhere between 3 and 5 metres,” said study author Jan Strugnell, professor and director of the Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture at James Cook University, in a statement. Strugnell first came up with the idea to use genomic methods to investigate whether the ice sheet had collapsed during the Last Interglacial.

“Understanding how the WAIS was configured in the recent past when global temperatures were similar to today, will help us improve future sea level rise projections,” she said.

Sally Lau (right), a postdoctoral research fellow at James Cook University in Australia, and Jan Strugnell, professor and director of the Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture at James Cook University, lead the research.

Sally Lau (right), a postdoctoral research fellow at James Cook University in Australia, and Jan Strugnell, professor and director of the Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture at James Cook University, lead the research.Joe Perkins

Why octopuses?

The team chose this species of octopus for the study because the animals are relatively immobile — they can only crawl along the seafloor, which means they’re more likely to breed within their genetically distinct local populations. By contrast, a fast-moving marine species such as krill would have more homogenous DNA, blurring out historical genetic connections, Lau said.

Plus, the biology of the Turquet’s octopus was relatively well-studied, and scientists understand its DNA mutation rate and generation time, which are crucial for accurate molecular dating, Lau added.

Using octopus genomics is an “an innovative and exciting way” to address an important question about historical climate change, one expert said.

Using octopus genomics is an “an innovative and exciting way” to address an important question about historical climate change, one expert said.Louise Allcock

Previous studies involving species of crustacean and marine mollusk had detected a biological signature of ice shelf collapse with direct connectivity between the Ross and Weddell seas, Lau noted. But the new Turquet octopus study was the first with enough high-resolution data and an adequate sample size to understand whether that genetic connectivity was driven by the collapse of the ice sheet or a much more gradual movement of octopuses around its edges.

Lau said that her team’s genetic approach couldn’t reveal exactly when the ice sheet collapsed or how long that event took. However, with fresh octopus samples and more advanced DNA analysis techniques, it might be possible to resolve those questions in the future.

“We’d love to continue using DNA as a proxy to explore other parts of Antarctica with poorly understood climate history,” she said. “We’re constantly looking for new species to test these science questions.”

‘Pioneering’ study

In a commentary published alongside the study, Andrea Dutton, a professor in the department of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Robert M.
DeConto, a professor at the School of Earth and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, called the new research “pioneering.”

They noted that while geological evidence had been mounting that the icy expanse of the West Antarctic ice sheet may have collapsed during the Last Interglacial period, “each study’s findings have come with caveats.”

Bringing an entirely different data set to bear on this urgent issue “posed some intriguing questions, including whether this history will be repeated, given Earth’s current temperature trajectory,” they added.

Using octopus genomics was “an innovative and exciting way” to address an important question about historical climate change, said Douglas Crawford, a professor of marine biology and ecology at the University of Miami who wasn’t involved in the research.

“This is a careful study with https://kolechai.com sufficient sample size and carefully vetted set of genetic markers,” he added.

“It takes a challenging hypothesis and uses a totally independent data set that (ultimately) supports WAIS collapsed,” he said via email.

Who are the Japanese synth duo that topped Google’s 2023 list of top trending song searches?

HONG KONG, CHINA - DECEMBER 01: Singers Lilas Ikuta and Ayase of Japanese superduo Yoasobi perform on the stage during Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival on December 1, 2023 in Hong Kong, China. (Photo by Li Zhihua/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)

Lilas Ikuta and Ayase of Japanese duo Yoasobi perform at the Clockenflap festival in Hong Kong on December 1, 2023.Li Zhihua/China News Service/VCG/Getty ImagesCNN — 

It was the year that saw Taylor Swift and Beyoncé launch world stomping tours, Olivia Rodrigo spill her “GUTS” and Jason Aldean ride a wave of culture war controversy in the country genre.

But according to Google’s annual Year in Search roundup it was a Japanese synth duo that really piqued global music lovers’ curiosity in 2023.

In an era where K-pop has been at the vanguard of Asia’s musical exports for years, Yoasobi – which combines catchy synth tracks with electric live shows and anime lore – is leading a renaissance for J-pop.

Their track “Idol (アイドル)” featured in one of the year’s biggest anime series, “Oshi no ko,” and sparked a dance trend on Japanese TikTok, powering it to the top of Google’s annual list in the global song category.

The songs are not necessarily the “most searched” on Google. But the list identifies the search inquiries that saw high traffic spikes over a sustained period relative to the previous year and therefore offers a window into which topics became zeitgeists.

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It is the second year in a row an artist from Asia has topped the global list after Indonesian singer Keisya Levronka headed the 2022 song category.

Formed during the coronavirus pandemic as a studio project and fronted by vocalist Ikura and producer Ayase, Yoasobi is known for songs inspired by short stories.

Their debut single, “Yoru ni Kakeru”, is based on an original short story by Mayo Hoshino, titled “Thanatos no yuuwaku” (Temptation of Thanatos), about a young man who falls in love with a woman who repeatedly attempts suicide.

“Yoru ni Kakeru” topped Billboard Japan’s Hot 100 list for six non-consecutive weeks and became the first song to receive a diamond streaming certification from the Recording Industry Association of Japan, acknowledging that the song had been streamed at least 500 million times.

Their live shows, backed by a band, are notorious for their riotous use of lasers and dizzying digital projections.

Two other acts from Asia made Google’s top 10 list in the global song category.

Yoasobi was joined by K-pop girl group Fifty-Fifty, whose bubblegum Korean-English language debut “Cupid” was the fifth most trending searched song.

The song rose to global prominence in part because of its “Twin” version, recorded entirely in English. Fifty-Fifty, which launched only last year, became the fastest K-pop group to break into the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Cupid.”

Former BTS singer Jung Kook’s single “Seven,” featuring US rapper Latto, rounded out the Asian representation on the list at No. 10.

Released after the massively popular Korean boy band announced they’d be focusing on individual projects, “Seven” debuted at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 and Global 200, becoming the fastest song to hit 1 billion streams on Spotify.

There was also a version with more explicitly sexual lyrics, something rare in the traditionally more conservative world of K-pop, which added to the track’s shock factor and internet virality.

Behind Yoasobi’s “Idol” in the No. 2 spot globally was the controversial track “Try That in a Small Town” by Jason Aldean, and “BZRP Music Sessions #53,” Shakira’s viral diss track aimed at her ex Gerard Piqué.

Other songs leading the https://jusnarte.com trending search enquiries in 2023 include “Rich Men North of Richmond” at No. 8. Oliver Anthony’s lament for the working class and rage against Washington’s political elite became the first by an artist with no chart history to reach No. 1 on Billboard.

An 84-year-old woman was brutally killed nearly 30 years ago. DNA advancements led police to her neighbor

Wilma Mobley, 84, was found dead in her home in Jerome, Idaho, on August 10, 1995.

Wilma Mobley, 84, was found dead in Jerome, Idaho, on August 10, 1995.Jerome Police DepartmentCNN — 

For more than two decades, the brutal killing of 84-year-old Wilma Mobley remained a cold case.

Mobley was found dead in Jerome, Idaho, on August 10, 1995, and had been strangled and attacked with an “axe type instrument,” authorities say.

Police had identified several potential suspects, but never had enough evidence to conclude one was responsible. That changed this year, when new advancements and DNA collected from Mobley’s underclothing at the time of her killing led authorities to her neighbor, Jerome’s police chief announced in a news release on Wednesday.

The suspect, Danny Lee Kennison, died by suicide in his Filer, Idaho, home in 2001, Police Chief Duane Rubink said.

Kennison had been one of three possible suspects throughout the investigation, the police chief said, but without conclusive evidence, the case eventually went cold.

Authorities continued to come back to it, asking help from the FBI and the Idaho State Police lab to help catch the killer, Rubink said.

In the summer of 2022, a new detective reviewed the case and the evidence that was collected at the time of the killing, and sent items to the state police forensic lab for testing in March 2023.

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The break in the case finally came just this week when state police lab technicians reported they found a “significant amount of a DNA profile” matching Kennison on a clasp of Mobley’s underclothing that had been sent for testing, the police chief said.

“Advancements in DNA science have the power to unveil the truth even after years of uncertainty,” Idaho State Police said in a Facebook post. “Science, when combined with relentless investigative dedication, can unravel mysteries and bring closure to victims and their families.”

Kennison and Mobley were neighbors at the time of her killing, but did not have a personal relationship, according to police.

“With the amount of DNA matching Kennison, excluding the other suspects mentioned in the case file, and no other DNA profile present, the Jerome Police Department is closing this case,” Rubink said.

The detective who took over the case met with family members on Tuesday and delivered the news, police said.

“The Jerome Police Department thanks the officers, detectives, and prosecutors who have worked on this case over https://kueceng.com the years, and helped to preserve the evidence which was available for this testing,” Rubink added.

Jerome is located about 115 miles southeast of Boise.