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Street Art by Hebsarte in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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Street Artist Hebsarte

By Hebsarte in Villas Del Sol, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.


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bluebec
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From coming out to months in hospital: How Charlie and Nerissa overcame the odds and tied the knot

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Growing up in India, Nerissa was bullied for being gay.

It wasn't until she moved to Australia as an international student where she started to feel more comfortable with her sexuality, and met her wife at a support group.

But when Charlie suffered a devastating accident early in their relationship, both their lives were changed irrevocably.

"I was living in the hospital, so it became part of our life," Nerissa explains.

"Before that, I was like, 'okay, I can lead my gay life, and I can lead my straight life'. But [after the accident], it was very hard to separate the two.

"I think it helped push my coming out, with family in India and friends here as well … [there were] those that accepted it, and those that didn't fell by the wayside."

ABCQueer caught up with Nerissa and Charlie on the series finale of the Innies + Outies podcast.

Nerissa

I went to an all-girls Catholic school [in India], run by Irish nuns. It was very much: this is a sin. If you're gay, you're going to hell.

I got bullied a lot for the way I looked and the way I dressed.

Even when that [bullying] got to the principal, even she told me: "You can't stand the way you stand. You can't walk the way you do."

She told me, "if you don't change the way you are, then I'm going to expel you."

I've always been a tomboy but I thought, well, if I change my physical appearance, then it will change how I feel.

So I did a full 360. I put on makeup, I wore heels, dresses, everything. I hated it. And no matter what I did, that feeling inside just didn't go away. And it would just eat me from the inside out.

I came to Australia as an international student and started to get exposed to more things. It took me a long time to finally come to terms with identifying as gay, and being okay with myself, before I could start to tell anyone.

I decided to come out to my sister in India. A week after my 30th birthday, I rang her and I just blurted out: I am gay. Her response was: I accept you.

It was the first time I was saying it to someone, and it was all I needed in that moment.

My sister was my first ally, but because she was in India, she said I should find some support in Australia. So I googled a coming-out group. And that's how I met Charlie.

We really clicked as friends straight away. Then she told me she liked me and I was like, "no I'm not ready for this, you're not my type". But Charlie was very persistent, and she did not give up.

She even told me, "You can play hard to get if you want, but we're gonna be together". She was obviously right because it's been 11 years since then.

Just holding Charlie's hand and walking down the street, or going to a restaurant and sitting down together, symbolises and signifies so much for me.

Growing up, I never could have imagined it. It's been absolutely incredible.

Charlie

When I met Nerissa, there was an instant attraction.

I'd been out for about 10 years, but I went to this coming out group because I'd just moved to the city and wanted to find people to socialise with.

I think the first thing I spotted was her high back sneakers, which I really liked. And the cocky little attitude that went along with them. She was laying back, shoes kicked up, swinging on a chair. I thought, "oh yeah, I'd like to get to know her".

I think looking back, I probably could have given her a bit of a break and not jumped straight in there. For me, the chemistry came quite early on. But it was too soon for her.

We had only been together for eight weeks when I had a motorcycle accident.

I was a nurse back then, and I was on my way home from a night shift. A car that was coming from the other direction hit me. It didn't see me, cut in front of me and I T-boned this car and went flying.

I spent 11 weeks in hospital and had 22 surgeries.

Nerissa was amazing. I don't know how she did it. She just completely adapted to the role I needed her to be in. She was working throughout the whole thing, but she moved into the hospital with me, stayed in my room and was up in the middle of the night trying to help me.

We got married at the British Embassy in Australia, because I'm from the UK and at the time, it was legal over there. And then we got married at our local church as well.

Four months before the wedding, I had a below-knee amputation as a result of my accident. The goal was that I would walk down the aisle, and we didn't know whether I would reach that. It was a real focus for my rehab. And we achieved it.

I was there on the day walking down the aisle with Nerissa and that meant so much to both of us.

I feel really proud to be able to step out every day in my relationship with Nerissa, to call her my wife and for it to be okay and for no one to have any issues with it. I think we've come such a long way. And I appreciate it every day.

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bluebec
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Googly eyes stuck on Light's Vision as prank played on Adelaide founding father and other public faces

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Giant "googly eyes" have continued to appear around Adelaide, most recently this morning on a statue of city planner Colonel William Light as he looks over the city from a site aptly called Light's Vision.

The round black and white eyes, usually reserved for children's crafts, appeared on a Dan Murphy's sign in Welland last week, a picture of Colonel Sanders on a KFC restaurant bucket in Eastwood, and a Jim's handyman van.

Today, the googly eyes were spotted on Colonel Light, South Australia's first surveyor-general.

Instead of peering across to Adelaide's CBD from Montefiore Hill in North Adelaide, Colonel Light now appears to be looking at both the ground and the sky.

While mystery surrounds the identity of the so-called "googly eye bandits", ABC Radio Adelaide roving reporter Troy Sincock said the latest episode showed the same unmistakable "signature move".

"There he [Colonel Light] is with his scroll in his left hand pointing out with his arm raised to the right over the top of Adelaide Oval into the city centre, just looking at the beautiful site he created for the city of Adelaide and, lo and behold, he's got googly eyes," he said.

"This is like the crowning glory for these pranksters.

"Instead of having the eyes looking in the same direction, they are looking in completely different directions, as if to say the world has gone mad, what a peculiar and ridiculous situation we're currently dealing with."

Adelaide residents appear to be enjoying the googly-eyed phenomenon as the city endures a COVID-19 outbreak.

"In all of the madness happening right now, I'm glad they have found a way to bring a giggle to people," one person wrote on ABC Adelaide's Facebook page.

Another said she hoped Colonel Light would have seen the funny side.

"No damage done, no foul."

Another Facebook commenter admitted she laughed at the prank but said "it's disrespectful".

"I hope someone can restore his vision. A true pioneer. But oh it's funny," she said.

Others speculated the googly eyes could soon be appearing on election corflutes set to be put up on Stobie poles ahead of the March state election.

The statue of Colonel Light has previously been the subject of light-hearted disfigurement, including when a yo-yo was attached to his outstretched finger.

It was also vandalised in 2020 amid criticism of monuments to colonial figures prompted by Black Lives Matter protests across Australia.

Colonel Light died in 1839 and is the only person officially buried within the square mile of Adelaide's CBD.

The statue was originally located in Light Square — where Light is buried — but was moved to North Adelaide in 1938.

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DexX
23 hours ago
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Click through for the photos! :)
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bluebec
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Fucking hero
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Archaeologists find victim of ancient tsunami caused by Thera eruption

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Archaeologists find victim of ancient tsunami caused by Thera eruption

Enlarge (credit: Sahoglu et al. 2021)

Archaeologists working in what is now western Turkey recently unearthed the rubble left behind by a series of powerful tsunamis that slammed into a Bronze Age city. The giant waves were triggered by the eruption of the volcano Thera on the island of Santorini, hundreds of kilometers away—a cataclysm that toppled the Minoan civilization and shook the rest of the ancient Mediterranean world.

Among the ruins left by the event in Çeşme-Bağlararası, Ankara University archaeologist Vasıf Sahoglu and his colleagues found the skeleton of a young man and a dog; they’re the only victims of the disaster ever found by archaeologists.

Going out with a bang

From around 2000 BCE to around 1450 BCE, the Minoan civilization was the dominant force in the Mediterranean. Its power and wealth came from seafaring and trade, and its cultural and economic influence stretched from its home island of Crete all the way to Egypt. But sometime between 1600 and 1500 BCE, a volcano called Thera, on what is now the island of Santorini (about 200 km north of Crete in the Aegean Sea), erupted violently.

Modern geologists say Thera probably erupted with about the same force as Indonesia’s Mount Tambora in 1815, which blanketed the world in a high-altitude cloud of volcanic ash for over a year. The eruption destroyed the city of Akrotiri and submerged part of the island—possibly inspiring the story of Atlantis.

It’s hard to say that a single event brought about the end of an entire civilization, but it’s also nearly impossible to deny that the devastation Thera rained down played a crucial role in the Minoan decline.

Besides the immediate destruction, the volcano also blasted aerosols high into Earth’s upper atmosphere, blocking solar radiation and ushering in years, or maybe even decades, of cold summers and bad crops. We can see the record of that temperature change in polar ice cores and tree rings from around the Northern Hemisphere. It’s probably no coincidence that Minoan power began to decline sharply around 1450 BCE.

Hours after the eruption, people in the bustling port city of Çeşme-Bağlararası—which is flanked by two rivers at the end of Çeşme Bay—must have seen the waters of the bay draw back from the shore. Moments later, a rushing wall of seawater slammed into Çeşme-Bağlararası, knocking down walls and buildings in its path and leaving scattered stones, mud, and clumps of shells in its wake. At least two more waves followed, and a fourth came days later, disrupting the search for victims buried in the rubble.

Ancient disaster forensics

Sahoglu and his colleagues excavated a part of Çeşme-Bağlararası not far from a massive stone fortification. This part of the city was deserted at the time of the eruption, according to the archaeologists, but houses and other buildings still stood here when the wave hit. And Sahoglu and his colleagues found many of those buildings in ruins, completely or partially collapsed. The rubble of demolished buildings lay scattered across the area, mingled with Minoan-style pottery, seashells, and other objects.

It’s clear that this devastation was wrought by the sea, not a local earthquake. All of the collapsed walls fell in the same direction, as if pushed. Mixed with stone rubble from buildings and bits of broken pottery, Sahoglu and his colleagues also found seashells from clams, limpets, and other marine life washed ashore by the waves. And under the microscope, they saw the tiny shells of plankton in the sediment that filled the space between the stones.

Çeşme-Bağlararası is one of just a handful of sites where archaeologists have found evidence of tsunamis following the Thera eruption. That’s partly because the techniques for studying sediments left behind by tsunamis have improved drastically in recent years, so archaeologists are now better equipped to look for evidence of these natural disasters. And at Çeşme-Bağlararası, the evidence offers a hint about whether Thera erupted in one continuous outburst or in several stages that lasted for days—or even weeks.

A tragedy in at least four acts

The rubble at Çeşme-Bağlararası lay in four distinct layers, which marked the landfall of at least four tsunamis. And Sahoglu and his colleagues say their timing supports a theory that Thera erupted in several phases, with short pauses in between. Each new phase of eruption, they suggest, triggered a tsunami that left its mark at Çeşme-Bağlararası.

A thin layer of volcanic ash, mixed with bits of small rubble, covered the debris from the first wave. This told Sahoglu and his colleagues that a little time—maybe a few hours—passed between the first wave and the second. By the time the first wave hit, volcanic ash from Thera would have started falling on Çeşme-Bağlararası, and it had time to accumulate before the second wave came.

A thicker layer of ash lay atop the second wave’s debris, suggesting that a few more hours had passed before a third wave hit. It’s hard to imagine what the people of Çeşme-Bağlararası must have experienced during those hours. Two powerful waves had all but razed the city, no doubt leaving many people injured, dead, and missing, and ash rained down from a darkened sky.

Then the third wave came, carrying bits of charred and still-burning debris from elsewhere around the Aegean Sea with it. The third layer of debris lies beneath a layer of sediment rich in charcoal and burned wood.

Bronze Age search and rescue

In the wake of the third tsunami, all was quiet for at least a few days, and maybe as long as a few weeks, according to Sahoglu and his colleagues. Throughout the ruins of Çeşme-Bağlararası, the researchers found traces of holes people had dug into the rubble. Sahoglu and his colleagues say those holes are probably the remains of rescue and recovery efforts during which survivors tried to dig victims—living or dead—from the rubble. The fact that archaeologists found only one set of human remains at the site gives us reason to hope those efforts were successful.

The young man’s skeleton lay about a meter beneath one of those search pits. Sahoglu and his colleagues say it looks as if “it was too deep to be found and retrieved and therefore (probably unknowingly) left behind.”

It’s not clear whether the young man lived in Çeşme-Bağlararası or whether the wave washed his body ashore from elsewhere. Someday, analysis of the chemical isotopes in his bones might offer clues about where he spent the last few years of his life. But his body came to rest facedown, curved along with the high-water line of debris, in the remains of a building.

Not far away, an entryway had collapsed onto a dog, burying the poor animal in rubble.

Rescue efforts in Çeşme-Bağlararası may have been interrupted by a fourth tsunami because its debris covered the third layer and filled in the holes dug by frantic rescuers. And then, at last, the sea left the city in peace.

“One of humanity’s most triumphant revivals”

“While many people survived the event, their worlds would have changed,” wrote Sahoglu and his colleagues. Seagoing trade was vital to the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, from political relations between empires down to the material stuff of daily life. Much like today, people’s lives included a mix of trade goods and cultural influences from other areas of the world.

The Thera eruption, and the earthquakes and tsunamis that accompanied it, would have destroyed much of the infrastructure of sea travel. At Çeşme-Bağlararası, rubble clogged the harbor and left it inaccessible. Coastal settlements around the Aegean lay in ruins. Farmers struggled for years to produce enough food. But eventually, communities and societies recovered and rebuilt.

“Çeşme man is a representative of the many people who died or went missing on that tragic day and did not live to witness one of humanity’s most triumphant revivals,” Sahoglu and his colleagues wrote.

PNAS, 2021 DOI: pnas.211423118; (About DOIs).

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Eraserhead, Brock Davis

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