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Archive for the ‘Skin Art’

League of Legends adding a new set of anime-inspired skins, including sexy Thresh – Polygon07.09.20

League of Legends is adding more anime-inspired skins to the game. The Spirit Blossom skin line features Teemo, Thresh, Vayne, Yasuo, and the newly announced champion, Lillia.

The line was originally teased at a panel at Anime Expo Lite and now has been fully revealed.

The most notable thing about this batch of skins is that Thresh has been turned human. And not just human, hes a hot anime human. Nobody asked for sexy Thresh but Riot Games delivered him to us anyway.

Judging from the splash art alone, we can infer that Yasuo is the hero of this skin line, as hes sporting obviously brighter colors. Thresh, Vayne, and Lillia are all immersed in darkness, possibly serving as villains. Teemo seems like a wandering nomad, but given that hes Teemo, it could really swing either way.

Spirit Blossom Vayne, Lillia, Yasuo, and Teemo will all cost 1,350 RP, which is around $10. Spirit Blossom Thresh will be 1,820 RP, which costs around $15.

These skins should be added to the Public Beta Environment for testing soon with the rest of the patch 10.14 content. Artwork for each of the new skins can be found below.

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League of Legends adding a new set of anime-inspired skins, including sexy Thresh - Polygon

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A New Skincare and Wellness Practice Transforming Dermatological Care One Patient at a Time – Greenwich Sentinel07.09.20

By Michelle Moskowitz

Dr. Sarah Dolder of Greenwich Point Dermatology, located at 20 East Elm Street

Far from the staid aura of rifling through a traditional dermatologist visit, Greenwich Point Dermatology, located at 20 East Elm Street, has truly redefined skin health, beauty and wellness with its new state-of-the art facility serving up the latest, cutting-edge technologies and treatments that apply to all skin concerns, no matter what the age or sex of the patient.

Opened in 2019 by Dr. Sarah Dolder, a highly trained, board-certified dermatologist, Greenwich Point Dermatology, offers a holistic, modern-day approach that goes skin deep and beyond providing a tri-fecta of dermatological care including medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology services, all performed on site in an ultra-modern, sophisticated open-air space that feels more like a loft in Tribeca (where Dolder once practiced) rather than a doctors office right off Greenwich Avenue.

Upon entering the office which encompasses the entire 2nd floor, patients are welcomed by cheerful, highly professional staff and then guided to register for their visit through an all-digital onboarding process. The lobby consists of luxe, sleek furnishings infused with a true minimalist aesthetic that exudes no-nonsense sophistication and top-notch service.

The lobby also boasts a softly lit, meticulous slate of shelving that showcases the highly curated selection of medical grade, organic skincare products from all over the world that Dolder has tested herself to ensure their efficacy.

When my husband and I moved to Greenwich a few years ago, I discovered that the community was craving a fresh approach to traditional dermatology. It has always been my dream to create the premier dermatology practice in the area bringing quality care and the highest standards with cutting edge technology, said Dolder. After many years working at esteemed practice, Tribeca Park Dermatology in NYC, Dolder has been on a mission to open the definitive skincare practice where clinically proven medical technologies and superior modalities are combined with a holistic, integrated approach to beauty and wellness with the goal of rendering natural and glowing results.

Im truly driven by the science behind skincare and delivering exceptional results, but I also want my patients dermatology experience to be an uplifting one, said Dolder who radiates with excitement while providing a tour of the facility that offers several treatment and surgical rooms, an Infrared sauna, and a multitude of high-tech machinery that Dolder handles with complete ease.

Dolder sees patients for everything under the sun consisting of the diagnosis and treatment of skin inflammation, such as acne and rosacea, as well as inflammatory skin conditions for which she has conducted copious amounts of research as she has a child who suffers from dairy and nut allergies.

Its not uncommon for me to address a mothers anti-aging concerns, a fathers hair loss, a sons acne, and a daughter rash all in the same week, said Dolder whose extensive medical, dermatological and fellowship training took place in Australia, the U.K. as well as in the U.S. at Columbia University, where she has served on the faculty for the past decade and continues to do so. I enjoy being able to provide my patients will all the aspects of dermatology that my profession encompasses, from skin checks to acne to Botox, said Dolder. It also allows me to develop meaningful and trusting long-term relationships with my patients and their families.

Having grown up in Australia, spending nearly every weekend on the beach, Dolder learned early on the harmful effects the sun has on ones skin and has made it her mission to share her professional insights and up-to-date research on effective treatments that can help patients combat sun damage. Dolder provides comprehensive skin checks using dermoscopy used to identify and treat pre-cancerous and malignant lesions as well as surgical procedures and excisions with the goal of leaving healthy skin intact.

Im committed to bringing the most innovative technologies and therapies to my patients in regard to skin cancer prevention like total body photography with mole-mapping and sunscreens that reverse sun damage while protecting the skin at the same time. Recently, Dolder brought on Dr. Jacqueline Berliner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon whose clinical expertise includes cutaneous oncology and the management of skin cancers with Mohs Surgery, the gold standard in treating skin cancer where the use of microscopically controlled surgery renders the best cosmetic results possible upon excision.

And for those who want to age naturally and gracefully, the cosmetic dermatological arm of her practice encompasses the latest breakthroughs in comprehensive correction and prevention in skin aging that Dolder and her team have judiciously vetted as the best in the industry, always backed by evidence-based results. Specialties include skin tightening and rejuvenation, acne scarring, vein and sweat reduction, volume enhancement and platelet-rich plasma (PRP), a natural injectable by Purespin that stimulates collagen and elastin production for renewed skin and hair restoration.

Other cosmetic procedures offered include chemical peels, neuromodulators, fillers, microneedling, radiofrequency, and their latest premium offering Morpheus8, a revolutionary technology used for skin tightening and stimulation which Dolder says is beneficial for anyone looking to lift and boost their skin health, without the downtime of traditional resurfacing lasers or surgery. Our patients are loving the results of a more sculpted jawline, lifted cheek area, and dramatically improved fine lines around the eyes and mouth. Three or four treatments are typically recommended for optimal results.

Prior to recommending any treatments or skincare regimens, Dolder consults with each patient in order to provide a fully customizable regimen that works well with ones lifestyle, skincare goals, and budget, especially when it comes to cosmetic services.

For those who want total relaxation, Greenwich Point Dermatology offers additional wellness services including facial acupuncture, Infrared sauna therapy, which reduces inflammation and promotes detoxification for the entire body, as well as biodynamic facials that utilize high-end plant-based skin care and reflexology to boost circulation and relaxation.

Since Dolder is committed to treating both the medical and aesthetic aspects of dermatology, Greenwich Point Dermatology accepts most major insurance providers including Oxford, Cigna, Aetna, BlueCross Blue Shield Anthem, Empire, United, and Medicare as Dolder, unlike many other practices in town.

When asked if its possible to age gracefully, Dolder replied with a wide grin, YES, We can all age gracefully! The secret is living a healthy lifestyle, avoiding the sun, and celebrating the things you love about yourself.

The marriage of surgery, science and art is what I love about dermatology, so I feel incredibly lucky to be able to draw from these interests each day to truly make a difference for my patients skin.

Call (203) 764-2230 to schedule an appointment or visit greenwichpointdermatology.com for more information and to sign up for their wellness newsletter.

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COVID Diaries: Love On Your Journey Because That’s Why You’re Here – WDET07.09.20

Your browser does not support the audio element.

Click play to listen to Courtney narratethe introduction to the final chapterof COVIDDiaries.

Taken by Erik Paul Howard for WDET

I knew the day was coming, when Id have to choose parting words to share with you about living through a deadly pandemic. But blah, blah, blah Im not prepared forit.

What is there to say really? I keep circling back to my own personal epiphany the freshness of the past 100 days, many of which were awful, sometimes tricks my mind into believing theyre the worst Ive everendured.

But they arent. Theres victory in that for me. When I step back and consider my life up to this point, I know I can get to the other side of this. But wheres the peace in that for you, if COVID-19 has presented the very worst of life that you couldnt evenimagine?

I dontknow.

But its made me consider this: My grandmother survived racism so thick itd make you vomit. Her daddy died after being hit by a car. He mightve lived with medical treatment, but he was Black. The hospital that couldve helped him sent him to thevet.

My grandmother still managed to love people after that, a few whom werewhite.

That says to me that fortitude isnt something I can speak to you, its something you grow into. You get more of it as you seek your life each day. You wont know what you can survive until youdo.

And if youre still here, Listener, whoever you are, wherever you are thats my wish for you. That you seek your life because youre here anyway. That you love on your journey because thats why youre here anyway. And that hope and fortitude find you whenever you need them to renew the promise to yourself to carryon.

WDET is here to keep you informed onessential information, news and resources related to COVID-19.

This is a stressful, insecure time for many. So its more important than ever for you, our listeners and readers, who are able todonate to keep supporting WDETs mission. Please make a gift today.

Itssimple:

Taken by Amy Sacka for WDET

Its Erics birthday and were celebrating in our home with cake and candles. I think all of us yearn to be able to celebrate the milestones of our lives outside our four walls and any number or mixofpeople.

I hope that my photos show that that sense of joy we feel when weretogether.

Your browser does not support the audio element.

Click play to hear Amy Sackas on the joy in gatheringtogether.

To close out the COVID Diaries, I kind of returned to where I began which was taking pictures of my family and taking pictures of the people who are closest tome.

I think if theres one aspiration I have, its to be able to celebrate these milestones like Fathers Day, and birthdays, and Fourth of July without worrying about how many people we can be around how far away we need to be from people. Thats my aspiration and I hope that my photos show that that sense of joy we feel when weretogether.

Because if we cant be together, I think its going to be a pretty lonely winter, to tell thetruth.

Amy

Taken by Amy Sacka for WDET

A picture from Fathers Day of my father and my niece and nephews. I see this as a rare slip of time before the next outbreak when we will again have to socially distance from our loved ones. Its strange that aspiring to the good old days is aspiring to what was only a few months ago a time where we didnt have to think twice about how to connect, when to touch and how tobetogether.

Taken by Amy Sacka for WDET

My niece in her backyard. I think to some extent we have become like children during the pandemic. We are innocent and unknowing when it comes to many facets of the virus and what to do in the face of it. And yet we have learned to adapt in ways that require simplification, being forced to look at whats immediately around us withmorewonder.

Taken by Rosa Mara Zamarrn for WDET

As I sat waiting to pick up my car from the shop I saw this young man calling someone to bring more gloves fortheshop.

Im hopeful for the first time in a really long time that things are going to turn around and there has to be more.There has to bemore.

Your browser does not support the audio element.

Click play to hear Rosa Maras reflection on COVIDDiaries.

Taken by Rosa Mara Zamarrn for WDET

Fell for the first time in the two months since I startedrollerskating.

I cant believe this is going to be the lastinstallment.

To think about where we started and how I was feeling during that time all of the anxiety and frustration and everything to where I am today, its just its prettyinteresting.

I keep saying that word pretty interesting but I cant describe it any other way because Ive never gone through something like this before. Like, whos gone through a pandemic? Its a lot to think about: The way that the world is changing and the way that we have to adapt toit.

Im also just so proud of being from Southwest and I have so much love for my community and everything that everybodys doing. I really leaned on the people that I really love and that I look up to and admire, and its really just made me cherish everybody so muchmore.

Its a really tough time. Theres a lot of grieving, theres a lot of pain. And Im hopeful for the first time in a really long time that things are going to turn around and there has to be more. There has to be more.We have to figure out whats next and Im just really looking to those that I really love and finding peace with them, forsure.

RosaMara

Taken by Rosa Mara Zamarrn for WDET

Walking downtown, they changedthesign.

Taken by Darryl DeAngelo Terrell for WDET

Protest to ProtectBlackGirls

I just have aspirations for people to dobetter.

Your browser does not support the audio element.

Click play to hear Darryls hopes for thefuture.

The photos I submitted this week are documentation of a small protest outside of the Detroit Free Press.

I have aspirations for this society to do better. For Black femmes to be safe. They shouldnt have to feel as if theyre always being preyed upon. I want them to be able to exist and live without fear. And when I say Black femmes, I mean all Black femmes: Black cis women, Black trans women, Black non-binary femmepeople.

Thats all I ask for: For people to show respect. Be respectful to people. Leave people alone. I have aspirations for men to know what consent is and that sexual abuse and sexual harassment is a multitude of things its more than just aggressive rape.Its groping, its catcalling, its harassment, its following, its stalkingits somuch.

I just have aspirations for people to do better, because what is goingon?

Darryl

Taken by Darryl DeAngelo Terrell for WDET

Taken by Erik Paul Howard for WDET

Residents, youth, organizers, protestors, and supporters, including over 20 local organizations, gathered at Patton Park and marched to Clark Park and back for Your Fight Is My Fight protest rally and march inSouthwestDetroit.

My aspiration is solidarity. Solidarity between those of us that are suffering under systems, whether that be economics, health or how people are treated for the color of their skin or theirbeliefs.

Your browser does not support the audio element.

Click play to hear Eriks thoughts on solidarity among theoppressed.

Its a prerequisite for good people to forgo their ego and their fragility in public conversations so that they can set people, themselves included, free rather than shut down criticaldialogue.

So, my aspiration is solidarity. Solidarity between those of us that are suffering under systems, whether that be about economics or our health or how people are treated for the color of their skin or their beliefs. But also, that people that are benefitting from different parts of that system in different ways would also join that conversation with accountability, bringing to that conversation acknowledgements of how they are benefitting from the way that things stand. Thats the other part of solidarity thats part of my aspiration. With that kind of solidarity and that kind of accountability, together we can get to the truly aspirational work. The work thats right in front of us if well takeit.

Erik

Taken by Erik Paul Howard for WDET

Dwane Taylor reflects on Your Fight is My Fight a few days ahead of the event.

Sunday is a huge day for me. Ill be surprised if I dont cry. Its just amazing, when I came out to Clark Park and realized they had things going on in my own [neighborhood] it made me happy. Growing up here, you dont have a voice unless you come in numbers, honestly. Southwest is like the lost part of Detroit, a lot of people forget about Southwest. And thats why its really making me happy its taking place in Southwest. I believe that Corona brought people together. Made everyone realize who they were. Thanks to Corona, I kind of had to sit there and revaluate life and just realize this is not how were supposed to live. A lot of the stuff that I think is normal, that we grow up around, is not normal. And the person down the block is going through thesamestuff.

Taken by Erik Paul Howard

Neighbors, artists, supporters, and visitors gathered in solidarity for the Get Your Knees Off Our Necks event at Clark Park to raise awareness in Southwest Detroit for the#BlackLivesMattermovement.

Taken by Rachel Elise Thomas for WDET

A passenger demonstrates solidarity as protesters march down Vernor Hwy. in Southwest Detroit during the protest rally and march that started at Patton Park and ended at Clark Park inDetroit,Mich.

I hope to never do a visual diary based on an outbreak ever again, because that means that were not living in a healthyworld.

Your browser does not support the audio element.

Click play to hear Rachels reflections on COVIDDiaries.

If youve made it this far with us in our journey, I just want to say thankyou.

I was struggling as to what to document or what I wanted to express for my final week of my visual diary. In late June, there was a Black and brown solidarity rally and march in Southwest Detroit and documenting that was very special. Out of all the marches and rallies Ive been to over the past two months, that was the most meaningful to me. I really wanted to do something special with them. It also incorporates my passion of collage, and documentingandstorytelling.

I just want to say thank you to everyone whos taken the time to listen to my voice the past few months. Thank you for looking at the photos, or commenting.I really do appreciateyou.

And I hope to never do a visual diary based on an outbreak ever again, because that means that were not living in a healthy world. Although things will never go back to how they were and I dont want them to I still would prefer not to revisit something likethis.

Rachel

Taken by Rachel Elise Thomas for WDET

Rosa Maria Zamarron passes out water to protesters in the Monte Carlo driven by Nyasia Valdez in Southwest Detroit during the solidarity march that started at Patton Park and ended at Clark Park inDetroit,Mich.

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Fair and lovely: Colorism in language The Williams Record – The Williams record07.09.20

While researching skin-lightening creams, I started to wonder if fair as in just, fair as in beautiful, and fair as in light-complexioned were etymologically linked. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, these three usages emerged around the same time and share the Proto-Germanic root fagraz. It seems that, for English speakers in the Middle Ages, light skin was bound up with virtue and beauty, which isnt surprising.

What does surprise me is the extent to which modern English still ties lightness to virtue and darkness to, well, the opposite. We describe smart people as bright, brilliant, or sometimes as enlightened. Good conversations are sparkling, good hosts are radiant, and good skin glows, especially after good sex. If youre a digital marketer with a teenage target audience, a lot of things are lit.

On the other end of the binary, we insult peoples intelligence by calling them dim or unenlightened. A boring conversation is dull. Villains are blackhearted, and extortioners commit blackmail. Criminals exchange stolen goods on the black market. Terrorists, hackers, and predators lurk on the Dark Web. A suspicious person is shady, and the shadiest member of a family is the black sheep.

Is such language racist? One possible counterargument is that its more related to the day-night cycle than to complexion. Night has long been associated with sleep, danger, crime, fear. But in the United States a country built on slave labor most fears are racially charged. For some US-Americans, night is when thugs prowl the inner city, threatening decent folk. The cost of this false, infectious fear is police escalation. The cost of police escalation is the list of names we know too well.

Even before the current plague of police violence, white 19th-century slaveholders, historians and intellectuals liked to label Africa and people of African origin as benighted. Slavery was justified as a means of non-consensually enlightening these dark people. The colorism of our history, our society, and our language is one colorism. Its not a coincidence; its a system.

So this kind of language is racist, or at the very least inextricable from race, like everything else in this country. How to fix it? One popular approach is reclamation, which often happens through art. Songs like Complexion (Kendrick Lamar feat. Rapsody) and Black Effect (Beyonc and Jay-Z) celebrate Black beauty in general and dark skin in particular. And songs like Making the Most of the Night (Carly Rae Jepsen) and Honey (Robyn) reframe night as a time of risk-taking, intimacy, and possibility.

But reclaiming darkness is not enough. So long as light and dark exist as a binary, darkness will always suffer negative associations. This is because all binaries are hierarchies: one unit is always more valued or powerful than the other. Humans are so absurdly hierarchical that even spatial binaries up and down, right and left are subject to value judgment. Left-handed people, for example, are still stigmatized in many cultures.

Because racial Otherness elicits stronger emotions from many white people than does left-handedness or even Seinfeld (the funniest show of all time), racial binaries lead to especially intense racial hierarchies. Thus, from the moment it became law in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, separate but equal was intentionally and cruelly impossible. Given our history, any attempt to reclaim darkness without addressing the light-dark binary will not suffice.

If language is a means to express possibility, binaries limit that possibility. Our reflexive turn to lightness when we want to describe virtue can overlook more interesting descriptors. For instance, Ive read great essays that dont try to illuminate a subject to make it fully visible or comprehensible. Instead they develop questions, explore ambiguities, run up against limitations. This mode of intelligence isnt really bright or brilliant; I would call it translucent or liquid.

Lately Ive been updating my own vocabulary, cleaning out the old crusty words, bringing in some fresh ones. Ive swapped out productive (too capitalist) and fruitful (too fertility-core) for generative. Im trying to step away from fair and unfair, and to center what is helpful for certain people at certain times. Nonbinary language is rich in possibility and refreshingly shallow in hierarchy.

In particular, a nonbinary language of justice encourages wider interpretations of terms such as crime, policing and justice itself. Removing criminal from direct opposition to citizen reminds us that criminality encompasses both minor and major offenses, some of which may eventually become legal. Removing justice from direct opposition to injustice or oppression reminds us that there are many forms of justice, some more helpful or urgent than others. Passive nondiscrimination is not the same as systemic change, which is not the same as reparations.

When author Alexander Chee spoke at Williams a few years ago, he was confident that queer movements would continue to thrive. He explained that queer people just have more fun than those who depend on the gender binary. Binaries of any sort are not fun; they lead to unyielding hierarchies and uncreative language. Give us the support we need, not the fairness you wish to project. Give us full color, not monochrome.

Ananth Shastri 21 is an English major from Washington, D.C.

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Everything you need to go on the safest road trip possible – CNN07.09.20

Suns out time to go out? Maybe, maybe not, depending on the reopening plan in your state and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend. As families, couples and friend groups start to consider summer vacations, a road trip seems like a stellar idea. After all, you have more control when you travel via four wheels, since you can pack much more of your own (properly sanitized) goods, avoid airports entirely, and not be in close proximity to anyone you dont know.

However, there are still safety precautions that all travelers should take, even if theyre heading out to a nearby mountain for a camping trip, renting a seaside Airbnb, or choosing any other getaway. For advice on everything from what to pack to how to protect yourself and others, we spoke with doctors and travel experts to figure out the ultimate safety guide to getting on the road.

Even though restrictions are starting to loosen, case counts are unfortunately rising in many parts of the country. Dr. Suzanne Bartlett-Hackenmiller, an integrative medicine physician and the medical adviser for AllTrails, reminds us that you still need to make sure to bring and use your mask whenever you could be in close proximity to anyone.

She recommends creating a coronavirus kit of sorts that includes these essentials, along with extra toilet paper in case your rental isnt stocked, and other goods. Tylenol, water and other basics could go a long way if you need them in a pinch.

Try this: Assacalynn 50pcs Disposable Face Mask ($22.98, originally $27.88; amazon.com)

Assacalynn 50pcs Disposable Face Mask

During the pandemic, you can never have too many face masks. And when youre on the road, hiking more or going into unfamiliar places, you may need a new covering more often. Many rentals may lack a washer and dryer, and camping doesnt make it easy to clean a fabric mask, so these are better for a road trip, according to our expert.

Nostalgia in the Garden Face Mask by Alja Horvat ($13.59, originally $16.99; society6.com)

Nostalgia in the Garden Face Mask by Alja Horvat

If you do have access to a washer and dryer, a fabric mask is always a good idea too. Society6 just launched more than 1,000 masks on its site, all of which are covered in art from independent artists. Best of all: A portion of all proceeds go to World Central Kitchens coronavirus relief efforts.

While part of the joy of exploring Mother Nature is seeing new and beautiful views, if your road trip includes a hike, stay on the marked path. Particularly now, when a jaunt to the emergency room with a fractured ankle could put you at risk for more severe problems, podiatrist Dr. Velimir Petkov suggests following the course.

Avoid the temptation to hike off-trail and in unfamiliar or unmarked areas, he warns. You could get lost, injured or both.

Try this: Cotopaxi Tarak 20L Lightweight Durable Backpack ($100; amazon.com)

Cotopaxi Tarak 20L Lightweight Durable Backpack

If you intend to scale a mountain in search of great views of a waterfall, make sure youre packed for the trek. A sturdy, waterproof and lightweight backpack like this one allows you to take first-aid materials, water, snacks and other necessities.

In the morning, when you set out on your adventure, your temperature will likely be comfortable. As the sun reaches its highest point, youll start to sweat inside your car. And at night? Certain areas of the country experience a dramatic drop in degrees. Thats why car expert and CEO of eAutoLease.com Zoriy Birenboym recommends packing everything you need to stay comfortable, including clothing for different temperatures.

You dont want to be caught without the necessities and have to look for places in areas youve never been before, he says. Make sure this includes staying updated on what the weather will be in the areas you are traveling through. It may get cold at night even though its summer, so you may not think to pack a sweater or extra blankets, but if its 50 degrees you may wish you had.

Try these: Helly Hansen HH Lifa Active Solen Hoodie ($70; backcountry.com)

Helly Hansen HH Lifa Active Solen Hoodie

This lightweight option features moisture-wicking material thatll keep you fresh while battling triple-digit heat. It also has built-in UPF to protect yourself from UV radiation from the sun. Its ideal for daywear.

L.L.Bean Womens Classic Cashmere Sweater ($159; llbean.com)

L.L.Bean Women's Classic Cashmere Sweater

A cozy and simple cashmere-blend sweater will capture your body heat to keep you warm in colder temperatures. Its ideal for sitting around the campfire in the woods or stargazing by the lake.

While many people have reported difficulty sleeping during the pandemic, thanks to anxiety and uncertainty, adequate rest is mandatory before a long car ride, Petkov says. Do not drive while you are feeling sleepy. If you feel like you need rest, pull over and take a 30-minute power nap, he recommends.

Petkov says that even if you did reap the benefits of seven to eight hours of sleep, a little coffee can never hurt.

Try this: Thermos Stainless King 40 Ounce Beverage Bottle (starting at $22.99, originally $29.99; amazon.com)

Thermos Stainless King 40 Ounce Beverage Bottle

To keep your energy levels piqued, travel with coffee you can sip when needed. Reviewers love how long this thermos keeps hot drinks hot and how durable it is for everyday use.

As with any vacation, you want to make sure to plan, says Katie Key, president of Escape Campervans. This is true whether youre going camping, checking in to a hotel, renting a vacation home or enjoying any other type of travel experience.

Many state parks are urging people to make reservations so they can predict overcapacity, and many are limiting parking capacity to reduce crowding, she says. You should check various websites, call ahead, and ensure everything is in order before you fill up your tank and go.

Try this: Amazon Echo Auto ($34.99, originally $49.99; amazon.com)

Have a question about the weather, road conditions or operation hours? Ask Alexa while you drive, with this tech editor-approved device. It connects through your Alexa app on your phone and plays through the cars speaker. Alexa can play music, check the news, dial numbers, add to your to-do list, update your calendar and much more.

If there was ever a time to pack a first-aid kit, its now. Whether you scrape your knees or have an allergy attack, Petkov says it can always come in handy, especially if you plan on camping, hiking or biking as part of your road trip.

Try these: Adventure Medical Sportsman Series Medical Kit (starting at $39.99; amazon.com)

Adventure Medical Sportsman Series Medical Kit

This kit has all the nuts and bolts and all the bells and whistles you need to treat common injuries or illnesses. Youll find trauma pads, bandages, dressings, irrigation syringes, butterfly closures and many other hospital-quality supplies.

VSSL Camp Supplies ($129; amazon.com)

Consider this tiny yet mighty first-aid kit if you dont want a bulky pack. It comes with 45 essentials including tweezers, thermometers, bandages, antibiotic cream and so on, all in a tube with a diameter less than 2 inches. Plus, its waterproof!

Though you may be tired of singing the Happy Birthday song while you wash your hands, soap and hand sanitizer are a great form of defense against spreading germs. Terika L. Haynes, the CEO and founder of Dynamite Travel, reminds us that drivers and passengers alike should be very mindful of keeping their paws clean.

Each time the travelers enter the vehicle, they should apply hand sanitizer to their hands and also heavy-touch areas such as the steering wheel, drive shift and door handles, she says. One idea is to appoint one person as the hand sanitizer drill sergeant, who will keep giving everyone a spray or a pump when needed.

Try this: Touchland Power Mist Aloe Vera ($12; touchland.com)

Touchland Power Mist Aloe Vera Hand Sanitizer Mist

Particularly for travel and for kids a hand sanitizer spray is an easy way to keep up with the clean hands habit. We love the subtle scent of this version that protects and hydrates.

No matter if youre traveling with toddlers, kiddos or full-grown adults, no one is a happy camper when theyre hangry. Especially now, its tricky to predict restaurant hours and availability, so having snacks handy can avoid headaches, according to Haynes.

You may encounter restaurants that are not abiding by social distancing guidelines, and you do not feel safe, she says. Having to go back to the drawing board with travelers may take some time, so snacks will help to satisfy the appetites until you find a new dining option.

Try this: Snack in the Box ($9.99; amazon.com)

Dr. Charles Park Richardson, president of TransWorld Med, says when youre coming up with snack ideas, make sure to include nibbles that are packed with antioxidants to fight free radicals. These include berries, pecans and dark chocolate. You can store a bit of everything in these dual-compartment, 6-ounce snack boxes. You can see our roundup of nutritionist-approved healthy snacks here.

Power Up Trail Mix ($4.98; amazon.com)

This snack mix includes nuts, dried mango, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and more. Theres even an antioxidant-loaded mix.

Even if you arent camping, Haynes says its smart to bring your own linens and towels just to be on the safe side.

Several hotels are not offering housekeeping services to keep their guests safe, she says. Some hotels may readily have additional linens to offer to their guests, but others may not. The same is true with Airbnb hosts, who have to come up with their safety precautions.

Try these: White Classic Luxury Bath Towel Set (starting at $34.85; amazon.com)

White Classic Luxury Bath Towel Set

Reviewers praise this towel set which comes with two bath towels, two hand towels and four washcloths for its softness and absorbency.

AmazonBasics Lightweight Super Soft Easy Care Microfiber Bed Sheet (starting at $13.99; amazon.com)

AmazonBasics Lightweight Super Soft Easy Care Microfiber Bed Sheet

Inexpensive yet comfortable, these soft sheets are ideal for travel. As soon as you return home, throw them into the wash and start planning your next vacay.

You may not consider sun exposure while sitting in the car, but the rays can seep through open windows and cause you to burn and UVA rays, which cause signs of premature aging, can go right throw window glass. And while theres nothing that screams summer as much as roasting marshmallows or catching fireflies, mosquitoes are also drawn when were outdoors at night.

Thats why Bahar Schmidt, the founder of Eluxit travel agency, recommends going the extra mile to protect our skin with sunscreen and bug repellent alike.

Try these: Coppertone Pure & Simple SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion (starting at $15.99; amazon.com)

Coppertone Pure & Simple SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

Pack a few bottles of this trusted sunscreen so the whole car can lather up throughout the trip. As a bonus, this waterproof formula will last you through dips in the lake or sea, too.

Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent (starting at $7.15; amazon.com)

Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

To protect everyone from bug bites from bloodthirsty critters, buy this spray with DEET-free repellent that smells rather pleasantly of lemon.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers listed prices at the time of publication.

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#Stayhome guide for Thursday: Learn how to reduce food waste, make pandan leaf-wrapped chicken and more – The Straits Times07.09.20

LEARN: Reduce food waste

PHOTOS: HEYROZZ/INSTAGRAM, MINISTRYOFFUNNY/INSTAGRAM, MUNAHBAGHARIB/INSTAGRAM

Tune in to DBS' Facebook page at 6.30pm today and watch former radio DJ Rosalyn Lee, better known as Rozz, and comedians Munah Bagharib and Haresh Tilani compete to reduce food waste by identifying weird vegetables and creating cool recipes from food scraps.

This will then be followed by the latest episode of DBS' award-winning miniseries Sparks Season 2: A Call To Action.

This episode, filmed entirely over video conference, will tackle the topics of food security and food waste, with local theatre practitioner Adrian Pang playing a DBS banker called Chester Teo, and Carl Ng (Point Of Entry, 2010 to 2014) and MasterChef Asia (2015) finalist Lennard Yeong as guest stars.

Watch: DBS' Facebook page

ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

Love to cook, but hate to clean up?

This is a dish so irresistibly aromatic, it is worth the hot and greasy mess of deep-frying.

The recipe is straightforward and you can tweak it to your preference.

READ MORE HERE

PHOTO: AFP

While travel is still not an option for many around the world, you can still experience world-class attractions like the Natural History Museum in London, which is offering virtual tours of its exhibits. Learn about Hope, the blue whale suspended from the ceiling in the museum's Hintze Hall, or have Sir David Attenborough's voice in your ear guiding you through the museum's displays.

Info: Natural History Museum's website

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF KOH HONG TENG

Award-winning graphic artist Koh Hong Teng has an eye for detail.

This is on full display in the first page of the e-comic, It's Not The End, which he has created for the 30 Days Of Art series. It is a detailed line drawing depicting vendors and shoppers at a wet market.

As the comic unfolds, more and more panels crowd the pages, documenting the spread of the coronavirus around the world.

READ MORE HERE

CLICK HERE FOR MORE THINGS TO DO

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Tracing the Interconnectedness of Art and Video Games – Hyperallergic01.01.20

AKRON, Ohio It is difficult to imagine a life in the last 40 years that has been untouched by virtual worlds and increasingly immersive digital gaming. But are theseart? Yes, doye, video games are art or, at least, they can be. In fact, video games are some of the most popular and best-funded interpretive art forms on the planet. A single blockbuster video game might have a production budget of $100M, and employ artists to create original graphics, design characters and worlds, produce experimental soundtracks which have developed intoan incredible avant garde subgenre within contemporary scoring and electronic music in addition to a host of other technical graphic rendering and programming professionals. Just as A/V technology not only employed creative professionals in the making of mainstream videos, but also fostered a cohort of video artists who seized upon this new medium as a forum for experimentation, pushing against and advancing the form, video games (both mainstream and indie) are at a creative peak, as fine artists respond to and play with video gaming culture, visuals, and communities.

Some outstanding examples of these can be found in Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Artat the Akron Art Museum. Curated by Theresa Bembnister, the show features two dozen international artists who use video games as source material, and includes interactive art experiences, physical and virtual objects, and the opportunity to play while teasing out the art within video games.

To the left of the entrance is a maximalist interactive video game projection, Long March: Restart by Feng Mengbo. Two long walls of the gallery serve as the canvas for the game projection, but unlike the side-scrolling game format, which requires characters to progress more or less on a linear path, encountering ever-multiplying foes in need of stomping or treasures to collect, Fengs player avatar, a Red Army solider, is free to move around the approximately 80-foot play area, navigating a hit parade of characters from the scrolling arcade cabinet and early home console gaming. The original Long March was made in 1934-35 by the Red Army troops under Mao Zedong, covering 8,000 miles in 370 days; the relentless action of Fengs Red Army avatar across the room requires that the gamer would have to dash to catch up with the character, said Feng in a 2010 blog post on MoMAs acquisition of the piece.

The blending of identity with cultural signifiers via avatar is, unsurprisingly, central to several the exhibitions interactive works; Rachel Rossins Skinsuits VR experience plugs participants into an abstract landscape where the main action of your character is to continually shed its skin, revealing new layers of character skins. The very nature of avatars as potential alter-egos makes this VR experience feel somewhat diagnostic as though in revealing a particular set of skins, the game is telling you something about yourself. (The identifiable characters in my short time on the machine were Batman and Bender from Futurama, which is basically accurate.)

Easily the single most cited game in the show, and the one that musttherefore be taken as the measure of our times, is Grand Theft Auto. GTA is all over Open World, from stunning street portraits of characters taken by Alan Butler through his avatars cell phone camera, to hazy landscapes by Joan Pamboukes that literally and figuratively blur the line between landscape and gamescape, to the haunting Elegy: GTA USA Gun Homicides by Joseph DeLappe. The latter isa version of the game designed to shoot the number of bystanders on the street that were actually shot and killed in the United States in 2018 and 2019; itleaves the streets littered with bodies. In her catalogue essay, A World of Possibility: Video Games as Art, Samantha Blackmon states: Art traditionally offers us a glimpse into the cultural and historical moment and so do video games. It is impossible to overlook the omnipresence of GTA not only as source material through which artists in Open World reflect on the world around them, but as the ultimate relentlessly and senselessly violent first-person shooter game, perhaps a contributing factor to the fever pitch of senseless and violent shootings out here in the real world, as well.

But Open World has much to offer beyond musings on gun violence. Several pieces highlight the tension experienced by female gamers, and the conceptual art that emerges when artists attempt to engage in feminist practice or praxis in the context of virtual worlds. An approximately one-hour video from Angela Washkos Free Will Mode series features Simsput in uncomfortable situations: Youre Either In or Out shows the mental collapse of a woman trapped in a lavish home with no doors, surrounded by a group of confused, tired, and hungry male characters, unable to get to her or the comforts of home; collective madness and much self-soiling ensues. Another of Washkos video works feature selections from her 2013-14 work, The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft,wherein her highly developed WoW character attempted to talk about feminism with other characters she encountered in the game. Madness ensues.

TimeTraveller (2008-13) by Skawennati tackles representation and Indigenous identity, in a Indigenous-futurist series of nine episodes that follows Hunter, a contemporary Mohawk warrior, on a virtual vision quest through some First Nationsand American Indianevents of great historic significance, including the Sioux Uprising of 1862, the 1990 Oka Crisis in Quebec, and the occupation of Alcatraz Island (1969-71).

The non-virtual objects in Open Worldinclude yarn console controllers by Nathan Vincent; brilliant fiber works by Krista Hoefle that translate the bit-forms of early arcade games into the geometric construction of quilts; and teeth-grindingly detailed ballpoint pen drawings on paper by Butt Johnsonthat illustrate game worlds, architecture, controller devices, and characters in epic high fantasy detail. But Ill leave it to you to explore the full measure of Open World.

A powerful counterpoint to the stimulation and social interaction of many of the works in Open World is the quiet and deeply affecting The Night Journey (2007-18) by Bill Viola and the USC Game Innovation Lab. This interactive installation invites the player to navigate a delicate black and white gamescape with no apparent objective other than to breathe, observe, and ruminate (the last was accompanied, in the bit of the game I played, by a flock of doves that flies overhead). While many games push an antagonist agenda, and even open-play style games still often enforce Capitalist and colonial values of exploration, acquisition, and accrual, Violas game is a quest that disciplines us in the pursuit of a commodity all too rare in our world: peace.

Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art continues at the Akron Art Museum (One South High, Akron, Ohio) through February 2, 2020.

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Makeup Tricks That Really Open Things Up – Salt Lake Magazine01.01.20

While a hoodie is a cute name for a sweatshirt with an attached hood, a hooded eye or droopy eyelid carries another meaning altogether.

At Got Beauty in Sugar House, we asked one of their top makeup artists, Tori Plant to demonstrate her cosmetic tricks to create the illusion of more open and youthful-looking eyes. She successfully accomplishes both in a natural, yet dramatic way by playing up the brows and sticking to warm and skin-toned neutrals for a contouring effect. As Tori suggests, By applying the deepest shade to the outer corner and crease, it creates an illusion of depth that will really make those beautiful eyes of yourspop.

STEP 1: Even the tone. Apply a soft skin-toned shadow from lash line to brow bone. This will serve as a blending shadow and will even out the tone of the lid.

STEP 2: Warm it up. Apply and blend a warm brown tone to the entire lidfrom lash line to crease. Use a brush to smudge the remaining product on the outer 3/4ths of the lower lash line.

STEP 3: Contour. Apply and blend your darkest brown shadow to the eyelid crease and outer corner V of the lid.

STEP 4: Liner and Lashes. Apply a thin layer of black or dark brown liner from the inner first lash to the outside lash. Add mascara focusing upward and for a bolder look, add on a set of false strip lashes.

STEP 5: Dont forget those brows. Line the entire lower brow line, then feather upward with the brow brush for a soft lift.

For more fun beauty tricks, click here.

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The 100 Best Science Photos of 2019 – Livescience.com01.01.20

Science can be beautiful, and gross, and surprising, and awe-inspiring. From stoic primates and graceful sea creatures, to cosmic cannibals and black hole jets, to bloody waterfalls and sparkling glaciers, this year was full of visual treasures in the science realm. Here are 100 of our favorite science photos of 2019.

Rivers get the rainbow treatment in a gorgeous series of maps from Hungarian cartographer Robert Szucs, who has a background in geographic information systems (GIS). He created the gorgeous maps because he was bored by standard river maps with "all the lines blue, all the same width," he said.

The super blood wolf moon lunar eclipse graced the skies late-night on Jan. 20, 2019, as our lone satellite began its trek into Earth's outer shadow or penumbra. The pinnacle of the show, the total eclipse, happened between 11:41 p.m. and 12:43 p.m. EST (8:41 p.m. and 9:43 p.m. PST), when Earth's umbra had entirely engulfed the moon. Here, Marcel Kusch captures this image in Duisburg, Germany, showing the super blood moon eclipse above an industrial plant.

Photographer Franois Baelen was diving near Reunion Island in the Western Indian Ocean when he captured this otherworldly image of a mother humpback whale and her calf (top right). The photo took the top prize in the Ocean Art 2018 wide-angle category, whose winners were announced in January 2019.

This spectacular image of a trio of spinetail devil rays (Mobula japonica) won the Best in Show in the 2018 Ocean Art underwater photography competition held by Underwater Photography Guide. The winners were announced in January 2019.

Kyle Parfrey of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and his colleagues created a computer model showing how charged particles near the edge of a black hole generate twisting and rotating magnetic fields. Here, a simulation of so-called collisionless relativistic plasma shows the density of positrons, or antimatter partners to electrons, near a rotating black hole.

At the end of January, scientists at the University of Hawai'i at Mnoa (UH) created a map that they hailed the biggest release of astronomical data of all time. By compiling data from four years of observations by the Pan-STARRS observatory in Maui, the researchers created a mosaic of the Milky Way (red smear in the middle) and its cosmic neighborhood. The map showed more than 800 million stars, galaxies and roving interstellar objects.

The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF) combines hundreds of images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope over multiple years to create the deepest view of the universe ever created. The composite photo, released in January, contains a whopping 10,000 galaxies.

Our home galaxy changed shape this year, or at least how we view it. Scientists found that at the edges of the Milky Way, where the pull of gravity weakens, the shape of the galaxy warps. Instead of lying in a flat plane, the galaxy takes on a bit of a twisted "S" shape.

Painted wolves, also called African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), are the underdogs of African carnivores. And they are perhaps the coolest looking, with their distinct markings, goofy ears and charismatic posturing. This year, BBC America's "Dynasties" showed the first documented evidence of painted wolves hunting and eating baboons.

Tracey Lund, of the United Kingdom, captured this action shot of gannets snagging fish underwater, and in doing so, Lund also snagged a finalist spot in the Natural World & Wildlife category of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards.

In an episode of BBC America's "Dynasties" that aired in February, scientists followed a colony of emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) as the tuxedoed birds contended with Antarctica's inhospitable climate to keep their fragile eggs cozy. Here, a 2-week-old chick balances on its mother's feet and stays warm in her fuzzy brood pouch.

A Pennsylvania couple spotted this quirky-looking cardinal roosting outside their home in Erie early this year. Its feathers are scarlet on one side and taupe on the other a telltale sign that this bird is a gynandromorph, or half male, half female.

Glittering galaxy? Nope, just a sparkly image of a fruit fly's sex organs. Biologist Ben Walsh, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom captured the glorious image. He stained the testes of a dissected fruit fly with fluorescent dye and then captured the result through a microscope using the camera on his iPhone.

What appeared to be a sizzling fire poured over Yosemite's iconic El Capitan rockface this year. But it wasn't hot nor was it a flame. Rather, this so-called firefall happens when the winter light hits the melting snow just as the sun is setting. The fiery display occurs at the same time every year.

A mysterious and hefty fish called the hoodwinker (Mola tecta) showed up in the Northern Hemisphere for the first time this year. The 7-foot-long (2.1 meters) fish washed ashore in Sands Beach in Santa Barbara County, thousands of miles away from its home turf in southeastern Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and possibly Chile.

Researchers made a gruesome discovery and took some gruesome images of it. They found that spiders in the Peruvian Amazon regularly dine on frogs, lizards and even small mammals. Here, in all its glory, a tarantula in the genus Pamphobeteus preys on a mouse Marmosops opossum. Dinner anyone?

Hang on, little guy! This tiny frog lived some 216 million years ago and was so small it could have fit on the tip of your finger. Researchers found the specimen of this amphibian now considered the oldest known frog relative from North America - in the Chinle Formation of northern Arizona. Luckily, if a giant phytosaur did snap its toothy maw at the Chinle frog, it missed.

Photographer Richard Barnden captured the last moments of a doomed parrotfish's life in the depths of French Polynesian waters. In doing so, Barnden snagged the twin titles of Underwater Photographer of the Year 2019 and British Underwater Photographer of the Year for 2019. The parrotfish in the photo looks almost panicked, as it frantically seeks shelter from the hungry sharks on hot pursuit.

In that same photo contest, photographer Songda Cai collected a Commended award in the Behavior category this year. Her snazzy photo illuminates a jellyfish carrying a type of deep-sea octopus called an argonaut males rely on jellyfish for protection from predators.

As if swooping from the darkness, a giant bat of dust and gas spread its ghostly wings this year just beyond Orion's right hip. And the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope snapped this stunning image of the spooky scene. Called the "Cosmic Bat," this formation is considered a reflection nebula because it glows "like fog around a street lamp," NASA says.

In March, Earth showed a two-toned face in a satellite glamour shot snapped during the spring equinox. In the image, half of our blue orb was illuminated, while the other half was steeped in darkness. What caused such beautiful symmetry? On the equinox, the amount of daylight and darkness are nearly equal at all latitudes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

An elephant matriarch in Kenya named F_MU1 died of old age this year, after spending some 60 years living in the Tsavo region. And she was an impressive sight to the very end. Known as a big tusker, this African elephant sported tusks long enough to brush the ground. Fortunately, photographer Will Burrard-Lucas captured stunning images of the stately pachyderm in the weeks prior to her death. Burrard-Lucas nicknamed F_MU1 "Queen of the Elephants."

Saturn's moons Prometheus, Pandora and Epimetheus hang like specks of dust among the planet's rings in this image snapped from the Cassini spacecraft. In fact, new views like this have suggested these moons likely coalesced from the planet's rings, acquiring their color from either ice volcanoes or a mysterious red material in the rings.

Sometimes gross is also "amazing," as in this inside-out toad! Jan Freedman, curator of natural history at The Box museum in Plymouth told Live Science that he was walking with his family at a reservoir when his 8-year-old son spotted the gory corpse. You can see the toad's translucent intestines spilling out, while the peeled skin of its underside, which is still attached below the jaw, stretches over the toad's back.

This year, Natalia Rossi, the manager of the Cuba Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), wrote about her amazing work as a crocodile specialist and the difficulty of being in such a male-dominated field. "When you jump into muddy waters full of crocodiles and all male eyes are on you, and you feel the silent wonder: Is she going to make it?," Rossi said. Here, an image she snapped of a baby American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) as it hatches from its shell in Cuba.

This spring, an image of a monkey in a Finland Zoo got quite a bit of attention on social media for her particularly buff body. In the image, a female white-faced saki monkey (Pithecia pithecia) named Bea crouches on a branch in her enclosure at the Helsinki Zoo. Her arms, chest and legs looked exceedingly bulky relative to her small face. Turned out, she was not a furry bodybuilder, but rather had the ability to puff up her fur.

Images released this year highlighted the transformation of the planet's surface as a result of climate change. At the point when the Arctic's sea ice was supposed to reach its maximum thickness, scientists found that it was almost gone across the Bering Sea. In early April, the sea was almost entirely free of ice, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) pointed out. The image shows the iced-over Bering Sea this time of year in 2014 (left), and what it looked like on March 31, 2019 (right).

Scientists using high-speed video revealed a horror scene beneath the water's surface: the gruesome and deadly attacks carried out by glassworms one of the fastest seen in animals. In the videos, you can see multiple-jointed mouthparts extending from the heads of these teensy creatures extended; Inside those mouthparts are branching structures that catch and hold squirming prey even when the prey sprouted "teeth" from its neck.

Meet the Blobs: Two continent-size mountains of hot, compressed rock hidden in the gut of the planet, deep beneath the crust. This year, the official news site of the American Geophysical Union, called Eos, revealed an unprecedented view of these so-called "blobs." One of these blobs lies beneath the Pacific Ocean, and the other is buried beneath Africa and parts of the Atlantic.

In a study out this year, researchers equipped with computer models looked at climate changes during the Quaternary period, which started around 2.59 million years ago and continues into today. They found that Earth has not undergone any such changes as rapid as those seen today. During the Quaternary, glaciers would have crept down from Greenland (shown here) to cover much of North America and northern Europe.

Here, hydrothermal fluid bubbles upward, gets trapped by a mineral ledge, and spills up and over the edge. That's just one scene scientists discovered deep in the Gulf of California this year. There, they found a fantastical expanse of hydrothermal vents, full of crystallized gases, glimmering pools of piping-hot fluids and rainbow-hued life-forms.

If human-caused global warming greatly increases over the next several decades, scientists say that the glaciers that cover the European Alps could disappear by 2100. Here, a supraglacial pond on Plaine Morte glacier, the largest plateau glacier in the European Alps.

A creepy video released in April and fit for a scene from a horror flick shows nightmarish lobster-like "bugs" emerge on the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico to attack the corpse of an alligator. Those football-size isopods (related to pill bugs) use their mandibles to break through the scaly skin and feed on the juicy insides.

This image is "amazing" not so much because it's a "looker," but for the sheer scientific prowess that went into capturing it. In April, an international team of scientists released the first-ever close-up picture of a black hole (or, more technically, its shadow). The black hole called M87 lurks at the center of the Virgo A galaxy. The team spent 2 years trying to zoom in on M87's singularity. This image shows the contours of the black hole's event horizon, the point beyond which no light or matter can escape.

Balloon-y! A bizarre creature that looks a bit like a balloon on a string turned up this spring during a dive to the Java Trench in the Indian Ocean. "We were just watching the video back and saw the thing come out of the darkness," said Alan Jamieson, the chief scientist on the expedition and a senior lecturer at Newcastle University in the U.K. "It drifted right towards the camera... and then drifted off again." Jamieson thinks the gelatinous creature may be a new species of ascidian (also called a sea squirt).

Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral caught fire this year, with part of the building's spire collapsing in flames. The cause of the fire has not been nailed down yet, but it could have been linked to ongoing renovation work on the building, according to a BBC report. The damage to the church, including the famous stained glass, was extensive.

Wildflowers in orange and yellow hues blanketed Southern California's Antelope Valley this spring. And photographer Jim Ross with NASAs Armstrong Flight Research Center captured a stunning aerial shot of the mosaic from a T-34 airplane on April 2. The spray of color is known as a superbloom, a phenomenon boosted by the years wet winter.

This spring, Florida-resident Marvin Hajos died after being attacked by one of his cassowaries a giant, flightless bird native to Australia and Southeast Asia. Rescue workers reportedly found Hajos lying dead between two cassowary pens, perhaps having been attacked by a female protecting her eggs, the medical examiner said at the time. While the mug shot here does not show one of Hajos killers, it is the same type of bird. In fact, at the owners pre-mortem behest, the cassowary was put up for auction, along with about 100 other exotic animals on his estate.

A newfound crab named Callichimaera perplexa, which means "perplexing beautiful chimera, lived up to its name. The creature had a mouth of a shrimp, claws of a modern frog crab, the shell of a lobster and paddle-like appendages reminiscent of a sea scorpion. Oh yeah, perhaps lucky for us, this chimera is no longer alive, reaching its heyday more than 90 million years ago.

A powerful magnetic explosion erupted from a tiny star, astronomers reported this year. While stars do have tantrums of this sort from time to time, what caught scientists eyes was the fact that this star residing some 250 light-years from us is the coolest and smallest star known to emit such a rare white-light superflare. This type of superlare describes a sudden eruption of magnetic energy that unleashes huge quantities of radiation. Here, an illustration of this mega eruption.

This glamour shot of the Daedalus Crater on the far side of the moon made its way online this year (it was captured during the Apollo 11 mission) to illustrate that the moon is, indeed, all its cracked up to be and more. A new analysis of our moons surface revealed it is far more fractured than anyone thought. The researchers found that cracks from asteroid impacts extend to depths of 12 miles (20 kilometers). Using computer simulations, the team found that a single asteroid impact could fragment the lunar crust into blocks about 3 feet (1 meter) wide, opening surface cracks that extend for hundreds of kilometers.

In the sad but pretty category, NASAs time-lapse animation showing the disappearance of Perus forests from five years of satellite observations does make an impact. The animation focuses on the devastating depletion that took place between 2013 and 2018 in the forests of southeastern Peru's Madre de Dios region.

About 99 million years ago, a Cretaceous millipede scampered over the forest floor in what is now Southeast Asia, avoiding being squished by neighboring dinosaurs. But the millipede, now called Burmanopetalum inexpectatum, did stumble into a sticky patch of sap, said researchers who found the tiny corpse entombed in the hardened form of that sap called amber.

Rangers in Australia could hardly believe their eyes this year when they spotted a wild carpet python snake with not two but three functioning eyes. The condition of having a third eye on the forehead is extremely rare, a biologist told Live Science about the snake case.

An illustration of seeming flower petal milk ducts went viral this year on Twitter. But alas, the image is not an accurate portrayal of a womans mammary glands. The most glaring error in the image, which was created with an iPad app called Anatomy & Physiology, is that it shows skeletal muscles; a womans breasts dont contain skeletal muscles, though some parts have circular or smooth muscle in place.

The triangle weaver spider (Hyptiotes cavatus) is now the only known creature, besides humans, to employ a catapulting strategy known as "external power amplification, a new study out this year found. Once prey lands in this spiders web, the arachnid releases silk at its back leg, which is the rear anchor line; then it (and the web line) shoots forward with alarming speed to ensnare its next meal. [The web catapult is pretty intricate and wild if you want to read more about it.]

A great white shark thought to have entered Long Island Sound (a potential first for great whites) may not have been there at all, Live Science reported in May. OCEARCH scientists had outfitted the great white shark dubbed Cabot with a tracking device in 2018 off Nova Scotia. Then this spring, the 9-foot-8-inch-long (nearly 3 meters) male sharks dorsal fin tag pinged a location that appeared to be off the coast of Greenwich, Connecticut. However, a day later the ping showed the shark was far outside the Sound.

We found out this year just whats living on our face: Dozens of Demodex mites are burrowing head-first inside the pores at the bottom of hair follicles lodged in your face. The tick-like arachnids gorge themselves on the natural oils inside those pores. And the public media organization KQED San Francisco created a brilliant video showing a zoomed-in look at the face-feast.

The world got its first glimpse at a wild albino panda this year. The stunning all-white, red-eyed furball was captured on camera while tramping through a bamboo forest in China.

They may be wee just 6 inches (15 centimeters) long but dragonfish are fearsome, at least for the teensy sea life they call prey: The fish sports massive jaws lined with nearly transparent, razor-sharp teeth. Scientists this year figured out how the glow from the fishs body doesnt light up its clear teeth to tip off potential meals. When they looked at the chompers under an electron microscope, the researchers found an array of grain-size nanocrystals speckled across each fang's enamel; those specks keep light from reflecting off its open jaws.

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CNN Travel’s 20 best places to visit in 2020 – CNN01.01.20

(CNN) Whether you want to relax on a remote island off the coast of Africa, ride Germany's coolest trains or spot howling monkeys in South America, there is much to explore heading into a new decade in 2020.

Japan will be hosting the Summer Olympics, Jamaica will be marking the late Bob Marley's 75th birthday, and Washington will be on pins and needles for much of the year preparing for the US presidential election.

We don't know whether Chile's long-planned celebration around the December solar eclipse could be overtaken by continued protests in the streets or whether Galway, Ireland, will be hurt by the ongoing Brexit debate in the UK.

Here they are, CNN Travel's 20 places to visit in 2020, in alphabetical order:

Chile Lake District

"Los Lagos" offers travelers stunning landscapes, serenity and on December 14, a total solar eclipse over the town of Pucn at 1:03 p.m. local time.

SERNATUR/Chile Tourism Board

While Chile has been in the headlines because of civil unrest, a visit to "Los Lagos" away from the urban centers offers travelers astonishing landscapes and serenity. This region is set to be even more impressive in December 2020, thanks to a total solar eclipse.

On December 14, totality will occur over the town of Pucn at 1:03 p.m. local time and will last just over two minutes.

Cosmic phenomena not withstanding, this region of southern Chile is worth more than a two-minute visit, thanks to the national parks, volcanoes and outdoor adventuring.

Don't Miss: The seafood. On the island of Chiloe, try curanto -- a stew-style dish featuring seafood, meat, potatoes and Chilean rhubarb. -- Francesca Street

Copenhagen, Denmark

Colorful houses along canals help make Copenhagen a happy place for its residents as well as its visitors.

Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Copenhagen was given another happiness boost earlier this year when Kongens Nytorv, its much-loved square, finally reopened after a seven-year closure because of the construction of a new metro line.

A stroll down Strget, one of Europe's longest pedestrian streets, is highly recommended, as is a visit to one of Copenhagen's many top restaurants.

The Dead Sea

Float your worries away. The Dead Sea is the perfect spot to relax during a tour of the Middle East.

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On the border of Israel and Jordan, the Dead Sea can feel like an extremely salty oasis, where talk of ongoing political conflict is less common than the sight of travelers from around the world covering themselves in black mud and falling backward into the water.

The feeling of engaging in a trust fall with the watery landscape -- simply close your eyes, drop, and feel yourself pushed upward by the water -- may be why so many people from so many eras have found holiness here.

Beyond the act of wading into a body of water with nearly eight times the salinity of the ocean, the Dead Sea's key location makes it a perfect stop on a Middle Eastern road trip.

Dominica

This lush Eastern Caribbean island has bounced back from extensive damage from Hurricane Maria.

Peter Schickert/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

With lush, primordial rainforests, foliage-engulfed peaks and deep ravines crisscrossed by 365 rivers, the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica more than lives up to its "Nature Island" moniker.

The 290-square-mile island suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Maria in 2017, but Dominica has bounced back with a commitment to sustainable, climate-resilient construction and a renewed focus on ecotourism offerings.

Dominica is in the midst of an impressive luxury hotel boom, thanks in large part to its longstanding Citizenship by Investment program. Investing $100,000 and up in a high-end resort is one path to citizenship under the program.

Luxury lodging is a bonus, but the real draw in Dominica is the rugged outdoors.

Estonia

Don't be surprised if you hear more about Northern European country's bustling food scene in the new year.

Courtesy of Visit Estonia

While Estonia may not yet be synonymous worldwide with haute cuisine, this Nordic-like country in Northern Europe can hold its own.

Add a smattering of spas, a bevy of castles and ancient, silent forests, and it's not hard to see why Estonia is on the rise.

Galway, Ireland

A European Capital of Culture for 2020, Galway is a rural land where artists are drawn by the sublime beauty of the rocky landscape.

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As with the United States, Ireland's west coast has historically attracted pioneers and mavericks. Battered by Atlantic winds, the weather is fiercer here than in the cultivated east. This is a rural land where people live by their own rules, and artists are drawn by the sublime beauty of the rocky landscape. The capital of County Galway, Galway City, is an artsy enclave where bonhomie and erudition are prized.

Festivals bloom freely in Galway, with cultural gatherings spread across its calendar like wild heather. Visit any season, and you'll happen across celebrations of food, music, history, art, literature and nature, plus everything from burlesque to banjos, and ponies to Pride.

Jamaica

Ian Fleming's superspy James Bond appears in his 25th feature film, "No Time To Die," in which Daniel Craig's 007 returns to his creator's real-life beach house, Goldeneye.

Island Outpost

James Bond, Bob Marley, turquoise waters and dazzling waterfalls -- Jamaica has a lot to offer, particularly in 2020.

Fleming wrote 14 James Bond novels at Goldeneye, working there every winter from 1952 until his death in 1964. Guests can stay in the famed author's five-bedroom beachfront home on the northern coast of the island and avail themselves of Fleming's writing desk.

Jamaica's favorite son, though, is the iconic reggae musician, Bob Marley, who would have turned 75 on February 6. Marley's Jamaica is a living, beating heart, overflowing with love, pain, history and cultural significance.

Through its charitable foundation, Rockhouse has invested $5 million in childhood education programs, including revitalizing six schools, most recently opening the island's first school that serves students with special needs, Savanna-la-Mar Inclusive Infant Academy (SIIA).

Guests at Rockhouse and its sister property, Skylark, are invited to tour the school and meet the educators, administrators and the extraordinary children of SIIA, an opportunity that is not to be missed. -- Brekke Fletcher

Kyrgyzstan

Remote Kyrgyzstan offers up desert-like canyons to rival the American West.

Barry Neild/CNN

Tucked away between China to the east, Kazakhstan to the north and Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan is easy to overlook, but it's a perfectly formed jewel of a country.

Head east from the capital of Bishkek to where rugged mountains descend into the sparkling snow-melt waters of the vast Lake Issyk-Kul, and Kyrgyzstan reveals itself as a beguiling wonderland that few international visitors have discovered.

In the space of a few miles, the landscape offers up desert-like canyons to rival the American West and lush, high-altitude meadows to rival the European Alps. In winter, there's skiing around the town of Karakol. In summer, trekking and horseback riding into the Tien Shan mountains. All-year-round, there are jaw-dropping geological marvels around every corner.

Years of hardship after the collapse of the Soviet Union have taken their toll on Kyrgyzstan, and it's still finding its feet as a tourist destination. But where it lacks infrastructure to deal with lots of visitors, it excels in delivering genuine unexplored frontiers to adventurous travelers willing to rough it a little. It's safe, extremely welcoming and very good value for the money.

Kyushu, Japan

The third largest of Japan's five main islands, subtropical Kyushu offers stunning scenery, top eats and plenty of cultural attractions.

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Although themain focuswill be on Tokyo, take some time to explore subtropical Kyushu, which offers more than 36,000 square kilometers (about 13,900 square miles) of stunning scenery, top eats and plenty of cultural attractions.

Though this harbor city is synonymous with tragedy, it's also filled with attractions that highlight its trade history with Europe and China, not to mention a fantastic dining scene buoyed by its coastal setting. -- Karla Cripps

New Caledonia

This remote French overseas territory is home to streaky pink sunsets and stretches of white sand beach.

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The group of four archipelagos -- which, by the way, opted to remain a French overseas territory for the time being -- is about halfway between Fiji and the coast of Queensland, Australia, south of the Solomon Islands.

It's like visiting a nearly empty South of France in the summertime, eating gorgeous, buttery pastries after an afternoon of sunning yourself without being surrounded by crowds.

Nearly all travelers begin in the capital of Noumea and work out from there. Noumea's striking lagoon-front location blends French colonial heritage buildings with the colors of the sea and sky.

With only about 100,000 residents, it's easy to live the simple life there -- you can stay in an urban B&B, then pass an afternoon snorkeling, swimming or kitesurfing before enjoying a fresh meal of fish, paired with white Burgundies imported from 17,000 miles away.

Don't miss: The three Loyalty Islands -- Lifou, Mare and Ouvea -- are an ideal place for learning about the indigenous Kanak people, who far predate French colonization of the region. Visit these tribes and learn about their customs, festivals and way of life. -- Lilit Marcus

Paraty and Ilha Grande, Brazil

So Tom and Prncipe

The island nation of So Tom and Prncipe is home to rich jungle and volcanic peaks, including Pico Cao Grande on Sao Tome island.

Ruth McDowall/AFP/Getty Images

The little two-island nation of So Tom and Prncipe, in west Africa's Gulf of Guinea, is an equatorial biodiversity hot spot.

Sometimes called the "African Galapagos," the islands' rich jungle and volcanic peaks are teeming with endemic plants, including hundreds of species of orchids and extraordinary, 10-foot-tall begonias. There's plenty of wildlife to spot, too, including the world's smallest ibis and the world's largest sunbird, as well as the marine turtles who make their nest here.

Those low visitor numbers can partly be attributed to it being a little hard to get reach, but the effort is worth it. There are direct flights to So Tom, the larger of the two islands, from Lisbon, Cape Verde, Angola, Bioko island and Gabon. Principe is another 87 miles (140 kilometers) away and can be reached by small plane. Together, the islands cover just 386 square miles and the population is less than 200,000, making this the smallest African sovereign state after the Seychelles.

The islands were unpopulated until the Portuguese established it as a colonial outpost in the 15th century, and the Portuguese legacy is still felt in the country's music, culture and customs. Many of today's population are descended from the enslaved Africans brought to work at the islands' plantations. The nation celebrated 40 years of independence in 2015, and coffee and cocoa are still key industries here.

Don't miss: Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon) is a snorkeling and diving spot on northern So Tom, prized for its azure waters. -- Maureen O'Hare

St. Petersburg, Russia

Russia's former imperial capital, St. Petersburg is most popular during the so-called "White Nights" of midsummer.

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Until now, most travelers wanting to head to Russia have needed a certain amount of persistence to wade through the visa red tape. No longer.

Since July 2019, some 53 nationalities -- including all European Union citizens -- can now get e-visa access to the northern city of St. Petersburg and surrounding area for up to 30 days.

Today, the city is most popular during the warmer months, especially the so-called "White Nights" of midsummer. Thanks to its northerly latitudes, the city barely sees any darkness during the summer season, and the streets are teeming with visitors around the clock.

But St. Petersburg is arguably at its most romantic in the fridge-freezer months of midwinter as ice clogs the Neva River and atmospheric fog wafts across the city.

Despite the subzero temperatures, it's a great time to be outside. There's skating in parks, and even cross-country skiing. In the heart of the city, snow and ice transform historic buildings, bridges and canals into spectacular scenes that evoke classic Russian literature.

Sri Lanka

The ancient city of Polonnaruwa, which was Sri Lanka's capital in the 12th century is a UNESCO Heritage site.

Jorge Fernndez/LightRocket/Getty Images

Sitting in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern tip of India, travelers may default to thinking of Sri Lanka as a beach getaway. But to truly immerse yourself in the country's history, go inland and tour the country's cultural triangle.

Tunisia

The ancient city of Dougga, Tunisia, is considered the best preserved Roman town in North Africa.

Natalia Seliverstova/Sputnik/AP

In 2018, the restriction was lifted and Europeans have been quick to return. Currently, the US government advises against travel to the Libyan border in the southeast of the country and certain mountainous areas to the west.

Vancouver Island, British Colombia

Vancouver Island is home to pristine beaches and forests, small, artsy towns and a cosmopolitan capital city.

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The big, beautiful cities and national parks of Canada's eastern provinces are attractive options in every sense. But you're unlikely to find a treasure chest as bountiful as British Columbia's Vancouver Island on the west coast -- a 290-mile stretch of pristine forest and beaches punctuated by small, artsy towns and a cosmopolitan capital city.

You could easily occupy an adventure-packed month there backpacking, camping and eating well. More manageable is an itinerary between two towns -- the southern coastal paradise of Tofino and the capital, Victoria -- with a five-hour, bear-sighting, picturesque drive in between.

Or orient your Vancouver Island visit by activity or theme: romantic getaway, rugged outdoor adventure, First Nation art and culture, foodie pilgrimage, nature nirvana, surf safari or a combination.

Washington, D.C.

The Wharf riverfront development project is attracting dining, hotels and visitors.

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CNN Travel's 20 best places to visit in 2020 - CNN

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