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Brian Lam

Brian Lam loves the ocean, technology, California and Hawaii. His websites are The Scuttlefish and The Wirecutter.

The more-certain future of Aquarius, the last undersea science lab

A recent grant is enough to keep Aquarius, the world’s only remaining underwater research habitat, actively maintained by its salty crew. But it won’t cover scientific mission funding. Aquarius lives, but it’s also like it’s taking a long nap.

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Defunded - a heartbreaking look at the state of oceanic research

This week, I'm reporting from the Aquarius undersea research base in Key Largo, Florida. The habitat is the world's last undersea research base. Because NOAA is pulling funding from the 22 year old facility in September, this week's mission is its last scheduled one.

This is a video of oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle that was taken a day or two ago. She's being filmed on Aquarius a Red Camera that is in a waterproof housing tethered to an internet connection in the base. Sylvia's helmet, which is a custom variation of a helmet that working divers use, is equipped with a point of view camera and audio comms. The entire thing was streamed over Ustream a few days ago. This section of the video is of her answering the broad and simple question--Why should we care about the ocean?

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The Kung Fu Kid (and why it's OK the new movie isn't called that)

I was seven when this photograph was taken of me attempting Daniel-San’s crane technique in the sand. It must have been around this age that Karate Kid jump-kicked its way into my subconscious, sketching an outline for my life and my own incarnation of the American Dream: Focus your chi, beat up your enemies, win the trophy.

The new Karate Kid happens to feature Kung Fu. Although some have a problem with that literal misnomer (Karate is not the same martial art form as Kung Fu), I believe this apparent discrepancy speaks to deeper, common roots and philosophies shared by all martial arts. I’m cool with it.

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