66 surfers ride 1 surfboard, setting world record in Huntington Beach

Crowds in Huntington Beach watch from the pier as surf champions, celebrities and locals break the Guinness record for most people on a surfboard (66). (Allen J. Schaben)
Sixty-six surfers. One giant surfboard. And a new world record.

The group made history in Huntington Beach on Saturday when they set the record for the most people ever to ride a longboard -- 42 feet long, 11 feet wide, to be exact. Hundreds of spectators cheered them on from the nearby pier.

"You guys were officially amazing," said Michael Empric, adjudicator for Guinness World Records.

To earn the title, the surfers had to stand on the 1,300-pound surfboard for at least 10 seconds while riding a wave.

"Welcome to the Guinness world record holder family," Empric told the surfers.

Some officials believe the riders – including professional surfing stars and local surfers and officials – managed to stay on the board close to 15 seconds.

It must still be determined whether the board also set a record for being the world's largest.

Gray skies didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd.

"I'm not nervous, I'm excited," said Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), who joined the gathering at the pier. Around him, surfers and spectators eyed the giant board as it was taken to the ocean.

"We're Surf City, USA. Where else would this be happening?" said Jim Katapodis, Huntington Beach mayor pro tem. This is "great for Huntington Beach."

This is the second time the record for the most surfers on a board has been surpassed at Huntington Beach. In 2005, 60 surfers rode a 39-foot board that was on display in the city during the U.S. Open of Surfing, beating the record set earlier that year in Australia by 47 surfers on the same board. But Guinness officials were not present for the Huntington effort, so it was never officially recorded.

Huntington Beach residents Ed Fosmire and his daughter Lily were among the spectators gathered on the pier.

"We heard about the event when we got an announcement on our water bill," Fosmire said. "It seemed really cool to be able to witness a record being broken."

Preparation for the event took more than a year. The original plan by the city's visitors bureau was to have the board ready for last year's official 100th anniversary of surfing in Huntington Beach. But the project was pushed back due to budget constraints.

The 16-inch-thick fiberglass board, which cost an estimated $70,000 to $90,000, was designed by Australian board maker Nev Hyman and cut by Rhode Island-based engineering company MouldCAM.

It arrived in Orange County in two pieces and was assembled by Santa Ana-based boat builder Westerly Marine.

"I'm so proud of Huntington Beach and everybody that put this together," Mayor Jill Hardy said. "It's been a great day and a great kickoff to summer."


Frankie Knuckles, the godfather of house, in 2003.
The origins and ownership of the term "house music" have been hotly debated since, well, always. House music is a lot things to a lot of people. It's disco's revenge. It's a feeling. It's controllable desire you can own.

While house can still be a little elusive, it's like the Supreme Court's definition of pornography: You'll know it when you hear it. House was born in Chicago from a meeting of late '70 and early '80s technology — synths, drum machines, difficult-to-program sequencers and samplers — and the people using it — mostly black, often queer working-class men and women. Classic Chicago house is sought out for its soulful and unapologetic rawness, a far cry from the swaths of antiseptic house available today on Beatport. As much of modern music tries to scrub out any imperfections, classic house openly embraces its limitations and blemishes.

This is a primer for new jacks, albeit an incomplete one, as 100 other records could qualify for this list. It's a cheat sheet for people who discovered dance music through mainstream EDM, pop, or Jamie xx and are curious to learn where this music comes from.

10. Jesse Saunders, "On and On" (1984)
"On and On" is widely considered to be the first proper house record. It starts with screams and maniacal laughter, then oozes along, with a healthy dose of reverb and twinkly synths as a top line, never quite fully banging into a typical hands-in-the-air crescendo the way we've come to expect from a house record. But it's evidence that house has never been singular. It can be many things. "On and On" is a gauzy 4 a.m. jam to bridge night into morning.

9. Marshall Jefferson, "Move Your Body" (1986)
The stomping live piano intro is cited as the first time live pianos were used in house music, a trend that would rage on into the '90s and beyond. Marshall Jefferson is 55 years old and still going strong on the club and festival circuit.

8. Farley "Jackmaster" Funk feat. Darryl Pandy, "Love Can't Turn Around" (1986)This is part cover, part reinterpretation of the Isaac Hayes track "I Can't Turn Around," which was also covered by Steve "Silk" Hurley (Farley's roommate at the time). Darryl Pandy is an absolute beast on this track, and it was the first house single to break into the U.K. singles chart.
7. The House Master Boyz and the Rude Boy of House, "House Nation" (1986)Another Farley "Jackmaster" Funk, credited to his alias, the House Master Boyz. "Hu-Hu-Hu-Hu-Hu-Hu-House Nation" is pretty much all you need to get sucked into a hypnotic, liminal space of dance-floor bewilderment and enlightenment.
6. Fingers Inc., "Can You Feel It?" (1988)Fingers Inc. was a Chicago house supergroup featuring Larry Heard (AKA Mr. Fingers), Robert Owens, and Ron Wilson. In "Can You Feel It?" they made what might just be a perfect record. The preacher vocals, the alien bass line, the cracking drums. It would become a blueprint for deep house, its moodiness and melancholia trumping its hedonism. It has been copied, again and again and again, with varying degrees of success.
5. Joe Smooth, "Promised Land" (1986)On the other end of the tonal spectrum, Joe Smooth's "Promised Land" is an uplifting, spiritual anthem about rising above the horrible realities of inner-city life in the Reagan years, but its themes are universal. Perfect for closing out any set and sending the punters home filled with euphoric warm fuzzies.
4. Phuture, "Acid Tracks" (1987)This is the track often cited as kickstarting acid house, house's darker, extraterrestrial, squelch-laden offshoot (which deserves its own primer). Phuture was made up of Spanky, Herb J, and DJ Pierre, and Pierre is still active as ever on the club and festival circuit.
3. Adonis, "No Way Back" (1986)"No Way Back" wastes no time diving into its bouncy, wonky bass line. It's been called dystopian and fatalist. Adonis Smith also provided the deadpan vocals, which are simultaneously off-putting and body-jacking. The record was a huge commercial hit for Trax Records, Chicago's most visible house imprint, which originally released most of the tracks on this list.
2. Ron Hardy, "Sensation" (1985)Hardy was the Chicago house scene's loose cannon. He played fast, aggressive, and loud. His reel-to-reel edits inspired decades of DJs trying to re-create an edit they once heard at the Muzic Box, his stomping ground, which had a walloping sound system. He burned hard and bright, eventually dying of a heroin overdose in 1992. "Sensation" is one of the few records he made that was released in his lifetime. Play the long version.
1. Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle, "Your Love" (1987)Frankie Knuckles was the undisputed godfather of house music and its ambassador to the world. Knuckles cut his teeth in New York before moving to Chicago to run the Warehouse, where his elegant, tasteful take on house influenced several generations of future producers, DJs, and dancers. He's put out countless 12-inches and remixes, toured the world many times over, and had a street in Chicago named after him. Sadly, he passed away last year at age 59. This masterpiece is probably his best-known track, and rightfully so.

Tokyo International Photography Festival

Extended Deadline: June 29, 2015

However, after receiving many emails and speaking with so many of you over the last few hours, we have decided to extend the submission deadline to June 29 at 12PM (PDT), due to the high volume of visitors to the submission site.

For those of you who have already completed your submission, no further action is required at this time, and we look forward to reviewing your work in the coming weeks.

As always, thank you for your support, and we hope to see you in October at the 1st Tokyo International Photography Festival - launching October 9, 2015!

The winners of the 3rd edition of the Tokyo International Photography Competition will be presented in a traveling exhibition across 4 continents:

United Photo Industries Gallery in Brooklyn, NY

Head On Photo Festival 2016 in Sydney, Australia

In addition, the competition's Grand Prix Winner will receive:

▪ All-expenses-paid trip to participate in the Tokyo International Photography Festival

▪ Double-page feature in PHaT PHOTO magazine

▪ Feature Announcement in the British Journal of Photography Online

▪ Special Feature in LensCulture

What does it mean to be human? For Sartre, it meant freedom and responsibility – the freedom to choose, the responsibility to act and define one’s place in life. Irvin Yalom gave us the four “givens” of existence: meaning, loneliness, freedom, and mortality.

The Human Condition is our eternal search for purpose, but also our capacity for good – and evil. It is kinship, honor, our thirst for knowledge, the pursuit of happiness – but just as often it is the harbinger of pain, death, betrayal, war, the deception of ourselves and of others.

At a time of increased uncertainty and tension on both the inter-personal and global stages, photography’s role in helping us negotiate our daily existence has never been stronger.

For our third edition, we ask you to share with us an unflinching view of what it means to be human.


A big thank you to all those who came out to Our/Berlin to see the Identity exhibition, featuring the winning photographs of the2014 Tokyo International Photo Competition and to share in some celebratory shots (and we mean many shots!) of vodka!

Hosted by our friends at EyeEm andOur/Berlin in cooperation with the Tokyo Institute of Photography and United Photo Industries, it was so amazing to see such a huge turn out to view the work of Lydia Goldblatt, Shandor Barcs, Albarran Cabrera, Maja Daniels, David Favrod, Adam Reynolds, Miki Takahashi, Erini 

How to weigh the Milky Way

Researchers use stars to infer mass of Milky Way
What if your doctor told you that your weight is somewhere between 100 and 400 lbs.? With any ordinary scale every patient can do better at home. Yet, one patient can't: the Milky Way. Even though today we peer deeper into space than ever before, our home galaxy's weight is still unknown to about a factor of four. Researchers at Columbia University's Astronomy Department have now developed a new method to give the Milky Way a more precise physical checkup.

The Milky Way consists of roughly 100 billion stars that form a huge stellar disk with a diameter of 100-200 thousand light years. The Sun is part of this structure, hence, when we look into the sky, we look right into a gigantic disk of stars. The vast number of stars and the huge extent on the sky make it hard to measure fundamental quantities for the Milky Way, such as its weight.

An international team of scientists led by Columbia University researcher Andreas Küpper used stars outside this disk, which orbit around the Milky Way in a stream-like structure, to weigh the Milky Way to high precision. In a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal, the team demonstrates that such streams, produced by dissolving globular clusters, can be used to measure not only the weight of our Galaxy, but can also be exploited as yardsticks to determine the location of the Sun within the Milky Way.

"Globular clusters are compact groups of thousands to several millions of stars that were born together when the universe was still very young," said Küpper. "They orbit around the Milky Way and slowly disintegrate over the course of billions of years, leaving a unique trace behind. Such star streams stick out from the rest of the stars in the sky as they are dense and coherent, much like contrails from airplanes easily stick out from regular clouds."

The researchers used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which scanned the sky of the Northern Hemisphere for about 10 years to create a comprehensive catalog of stars in the sky. The stream they tested the new technique on was produced by a globular cluster named Palomar 5, and had already been discovered in 2001 high above the Galactic disk. Eduardo Balbinot, coauthor on the current study from the University of Surrey in England, revisited the Sloan data and detected density wiggles in the stream of Palomar 5.

"We found the wiggles to be very pronounced and regularly spaced along the stream," said Balbinot. "Such variations cannot be random."

It is these wiggles that allow the researchers to gain the unprecedented precision of their measurement. Using the Yeti supercomputer of Columbia University, they created several million models of the stream in different realizations of the Milky Way. From these models and from comparing the wiggle pattern of the models to the observations, they were able to infer the mass of the Milky Way within a radius of 60,000 light years to be 210 billion times the mass of the Sun with an uncertainty of only 20 percent. The unique pattern of the density wiggles helped significantly to rule out models of the Milky Way, which were either too heavy or too skinny.

"An important advance in this work was using robust statistical tools - the same ones used to study changes in the genome and employed by internet search engines to rank websites," explained Ana Bonaca, a coauthor from Yale University. This rigorous approach helped in achieving the high precision in weighing the Milky Way."

"Such measurements have been tried before with different streams, but the results were always quite ambiguous," added Professor Kathryn Johnston, coauthor of the study and chair of the Columbia Astronomy Department. "Our new measurement breaks these ambiguities by exploiting the unique density pattern that Palomar 5 created as it orbited around the Milky Way for the past 11 billion years."

In the future, the researchers aim to use more structures like the Palomar 5 stream to gain an even higher precision and to create the most realistic model of the Milky Way to date. From the improved precision the scientists hope to learn about the formation and composition of our home galaxy, and to understand how the Milky Way compares with other galaxies in the Universe. So far, the results indicate that the Milky Way is a healthy patient - neither too skinny nor too heavy for its size.


Lead author of the study "Globular Cluster Streams as Galactic High-Precision Scales - the Poster Child Palomar 5", Andreas Küpper, is a Hubble Fellow at the Astronomy Department of Columbia University. The Hubble Fellowship grants are awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., for NASA.

INTERVIEW: Boyan Slat, Teenage Inventor of the Ocean Cleanup Array

Last year, inventor Boyan Slat made waves by designing an “Ocean Cleanup Array” which he claimed could remove 72.5 million tons of plastic from the world’s oceans. Although his idea received criticism from some quarters, a year-long feasibility study concluded that the idea will work. 

Not just that—it could potentially remove half the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within a decade. The last 12 months have been a whirlwind for the young inventor; he’s given talks around the world and conducted tests in The Azores. We sat down with Boyan Slat to ask him about his inspiration, dealing with criticism and what the future holds for the Ocean Cleanup Array.

You’re 19 years old—how did you get started with your ocean cleanup project?

SLAT: When I was 16 years old, I was diving in Greece and suddenly I realized I came across more plastic bags than fish in the ocean. For my high school science project I then dedicated half a year to understanding the problem itself, and why floating ocean plastic is so difficult to clean up. I’d always been interested in engineering, and then came up with a concept of how I thought we could feasibly clean theocean garbage patches. In October of 2012 I presented this idea at a TEDx conference, and then spent several months with professors and industry experts, compiling a list of 50 questions that should be answered in order to confirm feasibility. One year ago the idea suddenly went viral on the internet, which enabled me to raise funds and assemble a team of 100 people, which whom I’ve now published an extensive study indicating the concept’s feasibility.

Can you summarize in a nutshell, to a non-technical layperson, how your Ocean Cleanup Array works?

SLAT: In the past there have been many concepts aimed at cleaning plastic from the oceans, but these were all based on vessels with nets, that would fish for plastic. Not only would this take billions of dollars and 79,000 years, but it would also create by-catch and emissions. Not a very attractive proposal. Furthermore the plastic rotates in the areas where the plastic concentrates, so it does not stay in one spot. So I wondered; why move through the oceans, if the oceans can move through you? I came up with a passive system of floating barriers that is attached to the seabed, and oriented in a V-shape. The barriers first catch, and then concentrate the plastic, enabling a platform to efficiently extract the plastic once it arrives in the center of the V.

How did you feel about the level of support your Cleanup Array received from around the world last year?

SLAT: Since in our opinion the attention was slightly premature, we immediately decided to put all media requests on hold, eventually totaling about 400 of them. On the plus side though, it enabled us to assemble a team to get the feasibility research going.

Were you likewise surprised at the level of criticism you received? And did you feel that at any point, people were being overly critical because of your age?

SLAT: I did expect this to happen. This is something I call the “inventor’s dilemma”. To further develop an idea, you are forced to do some communication: setting up a webpage, talking to people, etc., but with the risk it gets picked up by the media, and you get criticized by peers because it is just an idea. I do not think this was related to my age per se. What may have had to do with it was the fact that there had been many cleanup proposals in the past years, though all of them based on vessels with nets that would inefficiently fish for plastics. But while those ideas ended with the fancy artist’s impressions, for us that was just the beginning.

What have the past 12 months been like in terms of not only proving your concept, but in gathering a team to help you accomplish this?

SLAT: The managing thing was challenging, I must admit. Especially in the first half of last year there wasn’t a lot of time to be personally involved with the engineering. 100 people are a lot of people, but what made it challenging was that most of them were part-time volunteers, and a proportion is always situated abroad. Our load oceanographer works from Australia, for example.

Your proof of concept tests in the Azores went well. Tell us about the next steps you and your team are taking in the implementation of your feasibility study.

SLAT: The largest test we have done so far was 40 m this March, but in the 3rd (implementation) phase the scale will be 100 km. To bridge this gap, through a series of up-scaled tests we will now work towards a large-scale and operational pilot in 3-4 years’ time. Simultaneous to that we will continue the in-depth engineering and oceanographic field research to further optimize the structure.

What have been the most surprising results you have seen so far in your tests? What were you not expecting to see?

SLAT: I think a good example would be our process engineering work. The quality of the plastics turned out to be much better than expected, lab analyses showed. Even more surprising was that [we could turn the plastic into] oil comparable to what you would expect when using normal waste plastics. But then the (unsorted) plastic even turned out to be suitable for recycling into new materials! To show this, we even made the cover of the feasibility study book out of ocean plastic.

How can we stop the plastic debris problem at the source? Where would you start if you were also working on tackling that problem?

SLAT: There is no single answer to preventing plastic from reaching the oceans. It starts with raising awareness about the existence of the problem. Many people and organizations have aimed to do so in the past decade, and this is also something I hope will be a valuable side-effect of The Ocean Cleanup. However, I don’t think this will be enough to significantly stem the flow of new plastics into the oceans on the short term. Infrastructural improvements, legislation aimed at certain high-risk products like microbeads, and alternative materials are different aspects. The Ocean Cleanup has plans to explore the possibilities of intercepting plastic in rivers before it reaches the oceans in the upcoming phase of the project.

 In one of your talks, you mention how using nets is ineffective against garbage patches such as the one in the Pacific. What do you think people could do in their daily lives to make an impact, apart from use less plastic bags?

In short: making sure no more plastic enters the oceans in the first place. For example, by supporting the different aspects mentioned in question 8.

How can people help support your work?

SLAT: We have now launched a crowd funding campaign, to help raise funds for the testing phase of the project. We aim to raise over two million USD in 100 days through www.theoceancleanup.com. So far we are still on schedule, for which we would like to thank the 15,000 people that backed the campaign so far.

There has been so much disheartening news about ocean pollution in recent years, including images of all manner of sea life being injured (or killed) by stray bits of plastic floating around. The Ocean Cleanup Array could make an enormous impact on the health and well-being of the oceans (and sea life within them), and can also encourage us to be far more diligent about the plastic items we use and discard,and the garbage we create in general. Each and every one of us can help to keep trash out of the ocean. What measures have you taken to reduce your own household waste? Please let us know in the comments section below!

White-beaked dolphins trapped in the ice and eaten by polar bears

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) depend on sea ice, where they hunt ice-associated seals. However, they are opportunistic predators and scavengers with a long list of known prey species. Here we report from a small fjord in Svalbard, Norwegian High Arctic, a sighting of an adult male polar bear preying on two white-beaked dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) on 23 April 2014. 

This is the first record of this species as polar bear prey. White-beaked dolphins are frequent visitors to Svalbard waters in summer, but have not previously been reported this far north in early spring. We suggest they were trapped in the ice after strong northerly winds the days before, and possibly killed when forced to surface for air at a small opening in the ice. 

The bear had consumed most parts of one dolphin. When observed he was in the process of covering the mostly intact second dolphin with snow. Such caching behaviour is generally considered untypical of polar bears. 

During the following ice-free summer and autumn, at least seven different white-beaked dolphin carcasses were observed in or near the same area. We suggest, based on the area and the degree to which these dolphins had decayed, that they were likely from the same pod and also suffered death due to entrapment in the ice in April. At least six different polar bears were seen scavenging on the carcasses.

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) inhabit Arctic areas where sea ice is present for significant parts of the year (Amstrup 2003). In most areas, they mainly feed on ringed (Pusa hispida) and bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus). Other species of marine mammals may be of importance based on their availability as prey or for scavenging (Thiemann et al. 2008).

The warming of the Arctic is significantly changing the ecosystem and relations between species (Post et al. 2013). As the polar bear habitat shrinks in coming decades, scientists anticipate reductions in where polar bears are observed, and these changes are predicted to be significant in the Svalbard and Barents Sea area (Durner et al. 2009).

Seven whale species are among the reported species of prey and food known to have been eaten by polar bears (Derocher 2012). The two smaller of these whale species, white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) and narwhals (Monodon Monoceros), are hunted by the bears in some circumstances (Freeman 1973; Smith & Sjare 1990). Five other species, all of them too large to be prey, have been observed scavenged by polar bears. The bowhead (Balaena mysticetus) is adapted to the Arctic and sea-ice covered areas, as are narwhals and white whales. 

The other four species—fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus), minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)—are frequently encountered in Arctic areas but are not true Arctic species. Here we report a new whale species eaten by polar bears, the white-beaked dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris), a species usually encountered in more sub-Arctic waters and less frequently in the sea-ice covered areas (Reeves et al. 1999).


Svalbard consists of a group of islands in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea area (74–81°N, 10–30°E). A branch of the North Atlantic Current extends north up along the west coast of Spitsbergen, the largest of the islands in the archipelago. It brings warmer water from the south, while more eastern areas are influenced by cold Arctic currents from the north-east (Loeng 1991; Piechura & Walczowski 2009). From 1970 to the present, the upper layer water temperatures have increased substantially in the north-west Svalbard area (Lind & Ingvaldsen 2012). A recent decrease in summer sea-ice cover of 14% over a decade in the Barents Sea area has been reported (Zhang et al. 2008).

The observations described here were recorded during a polar bear capture–recapture programme conducted annually by the Norwegian Polar Institute in April, using a Eurocopter 350 Ecureuil, and in summer to autumn, from tourist ships. The research vessel RV Lance was used as a helicopter platform for the work in spring.


At 16:37 on 23 April 2014, we encountered an adult male polar bear at the carcass of a white-beaked dolphin in Raudfjorden, at 79°45’1″ and N 11°56’28″. The carcass (dolphin A) was on the sea ice about 5 m from shore. The remains of a second dead white-beaked dolphin (dolphin B) were observed on land, about 50 m farther south and 5 m from the shore. Tracks from the bear showed he had also been feeding on dolphin B. 

About a metre from dolphin A was a hole about 60 by 75 cm in diameter, covered with ice slush. The surrounding sea ice was about 20-cm thick. This was the only location in the fjord without solid ice, and appeared to be a breathing hole kept open by the dolphins. We therefore considered it likely that dolphin B was also taken by the bear at this hole. Little more than the spine, rib cage and skull of dolphin B remained when we found it. Dolphin A was more or less intact, as only the outer fat layer was removed from parts of the dorsal side and no meat was taken .

Fig. 1 A male polar bear on the carcass of a white-beaked dolphin, 23 April 2014. The bear has started to cover the remains with snow. Just to the left of the dolphin is a hole in the ice, assumed to be a breathing hole that dolphins trapped in the ice have kept open.

The polar bear was immobilized using a method described by Stirling et al. (1989) and an examination of its tooth wear yielded an estimated age of about 16–20 years. With clearly visible ribs, the bear was very skinny also shows that the bear had a very full belly, reflecting a recent large meal—likely much of dolphin B and parts of dolphin A. The male was in the process of covering dolphin A with snow. This could decrease the likelihood of other bears, foxes or gulls scavenging the remains. Although covering fresh kills with snow has been observed among polar bears (Stirling 1974), caching is suggested to be rare in this species (Amstrup 2003). Polar bears digest much of the fat they consume from a carcass within a day (Best 1985). The time needed to keep competitive scavengers away is therefore relatively short.

Among six species of dolphins in the genus Lagenorhynchus, only white-beaked dolphin and Atlantic white-sided dolphin (L. acutus) have been observed in the waters of Svalbard. For white-beaked dolphins, Reeves et al. (1999) reported a range in body length of 154–278 cm and 55–309 kg among individuals measured. The white-sided dolphin has not been recorded in the more northern areas of the archipelago (Reeves et al. 1999). 

Earlier observations of white-beaked dolphins as far north as northern Spitsbergen have all been made in summer and autumn (June–November;. Prior to this report, no recording of the species has been made in winter or spring this far north in Svalbard. The fjords and around the coast of northern Spitsbergen, an area normally covered by annual ice, were ice-free in winter 2013/14. It is likely that the presence of the dolphins in early spring was due to the lack of sea ice in the period prior to our observation. Ice maps indicated open water as late as 28 March, but dense ice in Raudfjorden from 4 April. In the period 17–18 April, strong northerly wind packed drift ice into the fjords. We speculate that this event led to the entrapment of white-beaked dolphins, including the two we found dead. Entrapment, and later suffocation, of white-beaked dolphins in areas with heavy pack ice has earlier been reported along the coast of Newfoundland (Sergeant & Fisher 1957; Hai et al. 1996).

Sea-ice distribution in April 2014 and the position (1) where the bear and the two white-beaked dolphins were observed at that time. The other observations of carcasses and scavenging bears from summer and autumn were at position (1) as well as positions (2) and (3). All reported observations of white-beaked dolphins from 2002 to 2013 in (b) June–November and (c) December–May. Circles sizes denote the estimated group sizes of the pods observed. Green circles are from December to March, blue from April to May. The observations are from the Norwegian Polar Institute’s marine mammal sightings database (www.mms.data.npolar.no/), an archive of reported observations from different sources, particularly cruise ships, operating in the waters of Svalbard.

Dolphins can be found in larger pods in the waters of Svalbard. Sightings reported to the Marine Mammal Sightings database (www.mms.data.npolar.no/) range from single individuals to pod sizes up to 200, with a median of six. In summer 2014, at least seven different white-beaked dolphin carcasses were reported in the area where we observed the two dolphins in April. In Raudfjorden, at the same location as our observations in April, at least five different carcasses were observed between 2 July and 1 September. One adult male and one adult female polar bear were seen feeding on the dolphins. Farther to the west, in the bay Frambukta, one dolphin carcass was observed on 4 July, where two bears were seen feeding on it. Another carcass was found on 22 July in Liefdefjorden, to the east of the initial observations. It was scavenged by two polar bears.

The observations indicate that entrapments of pods of white-beaked dolphins may provide a significant source of food for some bears locally over a longer period of time after such an incident. Given the size of the dolphins, as prey they are more likely to be taken by male than female polar bears (Thiemann et al.2011). An increase of white-beaked dolphins in areas where the sea ice shifts northward may, given the significant size of these animals, offer a new prey or carrion food source to bears in an environment where access to ringed seals and bearded seals may decline in future years.


Rupert Krapp was involved in the spring polar bear survey. Anders Skoglund designed. We would like to thank Kelvin Murray and Oliver Richter for relevant observations and images. Also thanks to the Airlift helicopter crew for excellent flying and service. Grants for the work were provided by the Governor of Svalbard and the Norwegian Animal Research Authority. The World Wildlife Fund contributed significant support to the Norwegian Polar Institute’s monitoring programme.

Data confirms that there is transmission of fecal coliforms in communal bathrooms

Data confirms that there is transmission of fecal coliforms in communal bathrooms at Quinnipiac University and that toothbrushes can serve as a vector for transmission of potentially pathogenic organisms. This research is presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

“The main concern is not with the presence of your own fecal matter on your toothbrush, but rather when a toothbrush is contaminated with fecal matter from someone else, which contains bacteria, viruses or parasites that are not part of your normal flora,” said Lauren Aber, MHS (Graduate Student, Quinnipiac University). Potential microorganisms that can be introduced are enteric bacteria and pseudomonads. Enteric bacteria are a family of bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, they are known to be normal flora found in the gut. They are also known to ferment glucose, fail to contain cytochrome in an oxidase test and many can reduce nitrates to nitrites. Pseudomonas group of bacteria are gram-negative aerobic rods commonly found in soil, water, plants and animals. They are part of the normal flora of the gut and also on the skin of humans.

All toothbrushes were collected from participants using communal bathrooms, with an average of 9.4 occupants per bathroom. Regardless of the storage method, at least 60% of the toothbrushes were contamination with fecal coliforms. There were no differences seen with the effectiveness of the decontamination methods between cold water, hot water or rinsing with mouthwash and 100% of toothbrushes regularly rinsed with mouthwash had growth on MacConkey agar indicating fecal contamination (n=2).

Fecal coliforms were seen on 54.85% of toothbrushes, which has been seen in previous studies. There is an 80% chance that the fecal coliforms seen on the toothbrushes came from another person using the same bathroom.

“Using a toothbrush cover doesn’t protect a toothbrush from bacterial growth, but actually creates an environment where bacteria are better suited to grow by keeping the bristles moist and not allowing the head of the toothbrush to dry out between uses,” said Aber.

“Better hygiene practices are recommended for students who share bathrooms both in the storage of their toothbrush but also in personal hygiene,” said Aber. It is also recommended to follow the American Dental Association recommendations for toothbrush hygiene.

Toothbrushes are a known source of contamination. Since the 1920’s scientists suspected that the re-use of toothbrushes could be a possible source of infection in the oral cavity. There are several potential sources of contamination of one's toothbrush; toothbrushes stored open in the bathroom are especially vulnerable to contamination with material from the toilet or contamination from other occupants. Sanitization and storage practices of a toothbrush are very important to the potential bacteria present on a toothbrush.

Lauren Aber will participate in a media availability both live and online on June 1, 2015 at noon. CDT. The availability will be broadcast from room 350 in the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and can be watched online at bit.ly/asmlive7. Reporters are encouraged to ask questions in person or via Twitter using the hashtag #asmlive.

This research was presented as part of the 2015 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology held May 31- June 2, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. A full press kit for the meeting, including tipsheets and additional press releases, can be found online at http://www.asm.org/index.php/asm-newsroom2/81-news-room/93500-gm-press-2015.

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.

Sony World Photography Awards 2016 Open for Entries

The 2016 Sony World Photography Awards are open for entries. Free to enter, the Awards feature five competitions: Professional; Open; Youth; National Awards and Student Focus. The awards’ prizes include the latest Sony digital imaging equipment; inclusion in the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at Somerset House, London; inclusion in the 2016 awards’ book and $30,000 for the overall winners. New for 2016, the 14 Professional categories are now divided into two distinct genres - Art and Documentary. 

The change is to provide a clearer structure in which photographers can be recognised. Both genres also include new category additions, with Art presenting the new Staged and Candid categories and Documentary now including Daily Life andEnvironment. Also new this year, the British Journal of Photography will partner with the World Photography Organisation and its Student Focus competition. As part of this partnership, the winning Student Focus photographer will receive an online feature showcasing a body of work on the jounral's website.

Sony Press Release

2016 edition of the world’s largest photography competition opens for entries
New Art and Documentary genres in Professional competition
Record entries and exhibition visitors for 2015 awards
British Journal of Photography named media partner for Student Focus competition

1 June 2015: The 2016 Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s largest photography competition organised by the World Photography Organisation, are open for entries.

Now in its ninth year, the awards are an authoritative voice in the photographic world. Each year they attract both emerging talent and established artists and present the world’s best contemporary photography from the last 12 months.

Free to enter at http://www.worldphoto.org, photographers of all abilities are invited to submit work to any of the awards’ five competitions: Professional; Open; Youth; National Awards and Student Focus.

New for 2016, the 14 Professional categories are now divided into two distinct genres - Art and Documentary. The change is to provide a clearer structure in which photographers can be recognised. Both genres also include new category additions, with Art presenting the new Staged and Candid categories and Documentary now including Daily Life and Environment.

Also new this year, British Journal of Photography (BJP), the world's longest running photography magazine, will partner with the World Photography Organisation and its Student Focus competition. As part of this partnership, the winning Student Focus photographer will receive an online feature showcasing a body of work on BJP website and will also have the opportunity to take over the magazine’s Instagram feed.

The Sony World Photography Awards offer a range of benefits to those who enter. Firstly, all submitted images are seen by juries made of up leading experts from across the photographic industry. Beyond this, awarded shortlisted and winning photographers are given global exposure and recognition and have the opportunity to promote and sell their work via the World Photography Organisation.

The awards’ prizes include: the latest Sony digital imaging equipment; inclusion in the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at Somerset House, London; inclusion in the 2016 awards’ book and $30,000 (USD) for the overall winners.

The 2015 Sony World Photography Awards attracted 173, 444 entries from 171 countries. The 2015 L’Iris d’Or / Professional Photographer of the Year title was awarded to Getty Images photographer John Moore. The awards’ annual exhibition of the winning and shortlisted works returned to Somerset House, London and saw a record 33,394 visitors.

The Sony World Photography Awards shortlist will be announced on 23 February and overall winners on 21 April, with an exhibition at Somerset House, London running from 22 April - 8 May 2016.

Photo: Aristide Economopoulos, United States, Winner, Professional, Arts & Culture, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

Gallup: Portuguese government one of the most corrupt

In its latest international poll, Gallup has ranked the Portuguese government as one of the most
corrupt in the world, based on the perceptions of the Portuguese people.

Of the 129 countries surveyed, Portugal is up there with the worst, though not quite as bad as the Czech Republic where 94% of respondents think corruption is widespread in their government, followed by Lithuania with 90%.

The results of the survey conducted last year, but only released a few days ago, show fully 88% of Portuguese think corruption is widespread in the country.

By contrast, the cleanest four are Sweden (14%), Denmark (15%), Switzerland (23%) and New Zealand (24%).

According to Gallup, corruption is regarded as being pervasive right around the globe, in countries with a free press – “an indicator of good governance and development” – as well as those where media freedom is limited or non-existent.

Among countries with a free press, the ‘bottom 10’ best in the corruption chart are mostly European. Although the US does not make the ‘top 10’ list, it is not far from the top. Seventy-three percent of Americans say corruption is pervasive in their government.

The new figures are further embarrassment at a time when corruption is said to be at the root of the current spat between Portugal and its former colony, oil-rich Angola – also reckoned to be among the world’s most corrupt nations.

It is perhaps not surprising that a free press does not necessarily inspire freedom from corruption. In Portugal, 41% of respondents believe the media itself is corrupt. So says Transparency International, which released its latest survey figures a few months ago.

Transparency International reported in its 2013 Global Corruption Barometer that the Portuguese police are rated slightly better than the press, but the business community is worse and the judiciary far worse.

Needless-to-say, very few members of the public who contribute to these surveys admit to being corrupt themselves. Only 2% of Transparency International’s Portuguese respondents owned up to bribing anyone during the previous 12 months.

No questions were asked about the ‘underground economy’ which is said to involve a good chunk of Portugal’s population and a fifth of the nation’s GBP.

Leaving aside the possibility of prejudiced opinions and error, what is being done about all this shocking state of affairs? Not a lot apparently.

After noting at the end of its latest research report that things do not seem to have got any better over the past several years, Gallup concluded rather wearily: “Improving these perceptions is likely to be a long-term task….”

Len Port

Organisers announce over 100 events dedicated to photography at Photo Romania Festival 2015

Gentle Violence - Cristina Bobe / Photo Romania Festival 2015
Photo Romania Festival brings 10 days of exhibitions, conferences, workshops and photography competitions to Cluj-Napoca – Transylvania’s largest city – between May 15 and 24, announced the organisers during a press conference. The festival is the biggest photography event in Eastern Europe, and this year's edition includes 70 exhibitions by internationally renowned artists, over 20 workshops with various themes held by specialists, conferences, concerts and other special events. The opening Gala of the festival will take place tomorrow night and will be followed by the presentation of a group exhibition created by the members of Photosharp, one of Romania’s biggest photography communities. This year's edition will have an estimated 160 guests from home and abroad, renowned photographers and managers of photography festivals throughout Europe. 

The manager of Photo Romania Festival, Cătălin Balog Bellu, included Photo Stories – a TED-like photography conference, Hungarian Photographers @ Photo Romania and Architecture Photography Days among the top events the audience will be able to attend during the fifth edition of the festival. For the first time in Romania, the festival will also include a formal meeting of European photopraphy festivals managers – Industry Days. Also, the festival will contain panels dedicated to professional wedding or dental photography, and special events dedicated to photojournalism or mobile phone photography. The exhibitions bring together various photographic techniques, from analog photography to digital manipulation and photography on wood, and address different genres, ranging from portrait photography to the conceptual one, and from landscape photography to photojournalistic projects focusing on social issues.

Waiting Patiently - Sylvia Plachy
Photo Romania Festival 2015
According to Sebastian Vaida, Photo Romania’s artistic director, some the top exhibitions brought to Cluj by this year’s edition are Waiting patiently by Hungarian-born American photographer Sylvia Plachy, one of the most celebrated photographers in the world, The Atlas of Beauty by Mihaela Noroc, Midnight Milk by Norwegian artist Marie Sjøvold, and Gentle Violence by Cristina Bobe, a unique experiment that combines photographic art with medicine. All of the above will be open to the public between May 15 and 24 and will be hosted by The National Arts Museum in Cluj. Other special exhibitions are Jane Long’s Dancing with Costică, Blanco y Negro by Josep Maria Ribas Prous, or Felix Dobbert’s Reconstructions - Still Life In Progress. 

The headquarters of the festival, located in an old and picturesque building in the center of the city, will become, during the 10 days of events, a genuine Museum of Photography, hosting old and contemporary photography exhibitions, dozens of workshops within the the Photo Romania Academy, conferences dedicated to the history of photography or specific photographic techniques and themes, book releases, concerts, debates and informal meetings between the audience and the photographers. Although this is where the heart of the festival will beat, Photo Romania will also include events all across the city, in various galleries, museums, universities, shopping centers, in the city’s Central Park and even outside Cluj, in the astonishing Turda Salt Mine and the small town of Turda. 

Photo Romania Day Festival will also host a Nikon day, during which those interested will be able to test the latest equipment from the Japanese manufacturer. In addition to working with Nikon, the festival enjoys a partnership with Nordic Light Festival in Norway, which facilitated Marie Sjøvold’s exhibition in Cluj.

Created in 2010 under the name FIAF, Photo Romania Festival brought photography to the forefront of Romanian cultural life and was able to put Cluj in the global network of high-class photography festivals. Furthermore, the prestigious British publication "The Telegraph" included Photo Romania in a list of most important photography festivals in the world. 

Photo Romania Festival 2015 lead partner: Nikon

Photo Romania 2015 Project is funded by EEA Grants 2009-2014, PA17/RO13 program, “Promoting cultural and artistic diversity in the European cultural heritage”.

Photo Romania Festival is organised with the support of the Town Hall and City Council in Cluj-Napoca.

For more information regarding Photo Romania Festival, visit the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PhotoRomaniaFestival), visit the website (http://www.photoromaniafestival.ro/) of the event and read the official publication of the festival: http://issuu.com/photoromaniafestival/docs/photosinteza.

Mystery in the Sky: A Legendary Photo (Slowly) Gives Up Its Secrets

The previously unpublished version of the iconic photograph.
Part detective story, part homage to the American immigrant experience and, ultimately, a tribute to the simple dignity of hard work, the documentary film Men at Lunch examines the mysteries behind one of the most recognizable images of the 20th century: eleven men casually perched atop a steel beam hundreds of feet above Manhattan. For eight decades, from the time the photo was made in 1932 until brothers Seán and Eamonn Ó Cualáin came across a print of the photo in a pub in the west of Ireland in 2009, the picture was embraced as a stirring illustration of the creation of modern New York. Here, the picture seems to say, are the immigrants who built, by hand, the greatest skyline in the world. Here are the unsung heroes of Manhattan.

But as the Ó Cualáin brothers dug into the claim accompanying the picture they saw in that County Galway pub — namely, that the photo showed two local men, Sonny Glynn and Matty O’Shaughnessy, among the 11 on the girder in the sky — they discovered that little to nothing was truly known about the photograph itself. For instance, the picture is often misidentified as having been made atop the Empire State Building; it was actually taken during construction of Rockefeller Center. Even the photographer remains anonymous — for years the picture was wrongly credited, officially and unofficially, to the great Depression-era social reformer and photographer, Lewis Hine.

Today, four years after first encountering the photograph, and with their documentary film now in limited release, Seán (director) and Eamonn (producer) are still working to confirm the identities of most of the 11 men in the picture, even as they both have moved on to other film projects. Thus far, their inventive research into the skyscraper photo — including digital, 360-degree recreations of the image, beautifully rendered in the documentary — has uncovered the names of only two of the workers: Joe Eckner (third from left) and Joe Curtis (third from right).

Incredibly, their digging also brought to light another, previously unpublished portrait of the men on the beam on that long-ago September day — a photo, seen here (slide #2 above), of the 11 cheekily waving their hats.

Anyone with information about the photograph, or with documentation that might confirm the identities of any of the other nine men in the picture, is urged to contact Seán and Eamonn through the film’s Facebook page or via Twitter: @menatlunchfilm. Although, truth be told, Seán Ó Cualáin admits to an understandable ambivalence about the possible ramifications of their enduring investigation.

“Deep down,” he says, “I hope that the identities of all eleven men are not found. The mystery adds to the magic of the photo.”

A First Run release, Men at Lunch was financed by TG4, The Irish Film Board and The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. It opens in New York at the Quad Cinema on Friday, Sept. 20.

Photo Romania Festival has made the news in the prestigious British Journal of Photography

Mihai Moiceanu & Morten Krogvold
Photo Romania Festival and its partnership with Nordic Light Festival of Norway have made the news in the "British Journal of Photography". British journalists underline the importance of the cultural dialogue between the two festivals, which offers Romanian and Norwegian artists a chance to develop their international recognition. The Romanian photographer who exhibited in Kristiansund is Mihai Moiceanu, whereas Marie Sjøvold and her exhibition ”Midnight Milk” will be present at Photo Romania, in Cluj-Napoca, between the 15th and 24th of May.

“We are proud to be able to send a young photographer of this calibre to Romania. It’s great to be able to help get Norwegian photographers out into the world.”, said Charles Williamsen, the managing director of Nordic Light, cited by the "British Journal of Photography". The magazine welcomes the positive cooperation between Photo Romania and the Norwegian festival, and the international publicity opportunity that it offers to young photographers from both countries. The "British Journal of Photography" was founded in Liverpool in January 1854, it is the second oldest specialized magazine in the UK, and one of the most relevant photography journals worldwide.

The exhibition "The Inner Circle of Wood" by Mihai Moiceanu was a great success in Norway. The international photography community and the audience at Nordic Light greatly appreciated his nature shots of rural Romania. His works will also be exhibited at Photo Romania Festival, along with 50 other exhibitions by internationally acclaimed Romanian and foreign artists. One of most anticipated events of this year’s edition will be the exhibition "Midnight Milk" by Norwegian photographer Marie Sjøvold, addressing in an intimate manner the identity changes in a woman's life after becoming a mother. “Over the last few years, Marie Sjøvold has excelled with her high quality personal and intimate projects. We are proud to be able to send a young photographer of this calibre to Romania”, said Charles Williamsen.

The collaboration between Photo Romania Festival and Nordic Light marks two important steps for the Romanian event: ”first of all, it is the first time a Romanian photography festival’s representatives are involved as institutional partners in an international photography event. Secondly, it is the first time a Romanian festival is part of a cultural exchange of this magnitude”, said Cătălin Balog Bellu, the managing director of Photo Romania Festival. 

According to Sebastian Vaida, the artistic director of the Romanian festival ”Our visit to the Nordic Light photo festival has meant a new experience in culture, meeting a lot of interesting and warm people, incredible places and outstanding photographers. We can't wait to meet our partners from the Nordic Light festival again, as they will visit us here, in Cluj Napoca, for Photo Romania Festival.”

Hundreds of photographers from around the world, dozens of exhibitions, workshops, contests and special events will animate Cluj between the 15th and 24th of May, at the fifth edition of Photo Romania. The public will be able to attend more than 50 exhibitions by Romanian and international photographers, specialized workshops, competitions, concerts, and special events such as Photo Stories, Industry Days, Photojournalism Day, Focus Hungary, or Architecture Photography Day. 

For more information regarding Photo Romania Festival, visit the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PhotoRomaniaFestival) and the website (http://www.photoromaniafestival.ro/) of the event.

Photo Romania Festival 2015 lead partner: Nikon

Photo Romania 2015 Project is funded by EEA Grants 2009-2014, PA17/RO13 program, “Promoting cultural and artistic diversity in the European cultural heritage”.

Photo (© Sebastian Vaida): Mihai Moiceanu (left) and Morten Krogvold, the artistic director of Nordic Light Festival