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It Takes Two

Somewhere between Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, just off the coast of a tiny volcanic island called Raikoke, a small vessel bobbed in the chop of the Sea of Okhotsk. An assorted group of photographers, scientists, and filmmakers lined the boat’s railing and stared in disbelief as the landscape came into focus. The island, usually lush and green, smoldered in an ashy gray state of complete desolation. The air was heavy with sulfuric smoke tendrils, and flocks of birds circled in infinite loops overhead with nowhere to land. The sea-lapped shores, once home to a thriving sea lion rookery, had been reduced to smoking rubble.

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Conserving the Cline: A community effort to protect a historic ranch

On the horizon, barely visible through the falling snow, you can see them: elk, by the hundreds, silhouetted against the shadowy mountains beyond. Rolling meadows stretch in every direction, and Tarryall Creek, framed by the muted deep-gold of late-fall willows and shrubs, snakes its way through the land. Just off a rutted dirt road, an adobe-style pueblo-revival ranch house, built in 1928, stands hollowly, yet proudly over the landscape it anchors—a reminder of a bygone era, and a beacon of potential.

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Meet Christina Anderson: The Most Important Person at GoPro

How’s this for a branding achievement: In making the space-survival film of the year, The Martian, Ridley Scott turned to GoPro cameras as a key storytelling tool. As Quartz points out, “GoPros had more screen time than Kristen Wiig or Donald Glover.” Watching Matt Damon’s ill-fated astronaut log his every action with the small camera, you have to wonder at how GoPro has become synonymous with first-person video capture. One woman deserves much of the credit for that: Christina Anderson.

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Why Scientists Don't Dig This $2 Million Plan to Save the Oceans

Dutch engineering student Boyan Slat shocked the environmental community when he announced in a 2012 TEDx talk that he had invented a way for the oceans to rid themselves of plastic with minimal human intervention. After all, we’re funneling a jaw-dropping 8 million tons of the stuff into the oceans each year, in addition to the more than five trillion pieces of plastic garbage already swirling in the waters. Could a then-17-year-old really have found a simple solution to this massive problem?

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Booked Up

Four-year-old Rachel Vlietstra takes a deep breath and reads aloud from her picture book. “Mom said, ‘Make your bed,’” she says, and then glances at the illustration of a little boy in his messy bedroom. There’s a pause as she turns the page—but there’s no rustle of paper. In fact, there’s no physical book. Instead, Rachel’s mouse arrow hovers over a button on her computer screen. Click. “So I made my bed into a library and read and read and read.”

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Looking Up

<< This digital story, no longer online, was a two-part scrolling feed with the latest update at the top; difficult to capture the dynamics in a PDF. >> The air had never been sweeter. The view never more sublime. At 13,824 feet above sea level, Eric Holle sat on a rock, drinking in the wind, laughing with the kind of joy that comes from the hardest fought accomplishment. The granite angles of Jagged Mountain cascaded to the earth beneath him as he inhaled the wild scent of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. He found the summit register—the running log of mountaineers who reach the summit and record their arrival—and signed his name. Beside it, he penned “100 / 100.”

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