If you want to live in a “Children of the Corn”-style bubble of innocence and purity, well, to me, that’s a startling approach to adolescence, but every generation’s got to find its own way to reject the one before, so: do as you will. But you can’t bring the bubble to the party, kids. Fandom, established media-style fandom, was by and for adults before some of your parents were born now. You don’t get to show up and demand that everyone suddenly change their ways because you’re a minor and you want to enjoy the benefits of adult creative activity without the bits that make you uncomfortable. If you think you’re old enough to be roaming the Internet unsupervised, then you also think you’re old enough to be working out your limits by experience, like everybody else, like I did when I was underage and lying about it online. If you’re not old enough to be roaming the Internet unsupervised and you’re doing it anyway, then that’s on your parents, not on fandom.
If you were only reading fic rated G on AO3, if you had the various safe modes on other media enabled, you would be encountering very little disturbing material, anyway (at least in the crude way people tend to define “disturbing” these days; some of the most frankly horrifying art I have ever engaged with would have been rated PG at most under present systems, but none of that kind of work ever seems to draw your protests). In the end, what you really want is to be able to seek out the edges of your little world, but be able to blame other people when you don’t like what you find. Sorry. Adolescence is when you get to stop expecting others to pad your world for you and start experiencing the actual consequences of the risks you take, including feeling appalled and revolted at what other people think and feel.
Now, ironically, fandom’s actually a fairly good place for such risk-taking, as, for the most part, you control whether you engage and you can choose the level of your engagement. You can leave a site, blacklist something, stop reading an author, walk away from your computer. Are there actual people (as opposed to works of art, which cannot engage with you unless you engage with them) who will take advantage of you in fandom? Of course there are. Unfortunately, such people are everywhere. They will be there however “innocent” and “wholesome” the environment appears to be, superficially. That’s evil for you. There are abusers in elementary school. There are abusers in scout troops. There are abusers in houses of worship. Shutting down adult creative activity because you happen to be in the vicinity isn’t going to change any of that. It may help you avoid some of those icky feelings that you get when you think about sex (and you live in a rape culture, those feelings are actually understandable, even if your coping techniques are terrible), but no one, except maybe your parents, has a moral imperative to help you avoid those.
In the end, you’re not my kid and you’re not my intended audience. I’m under no obligation to imagine only healthy, wholesome relationships between people for your benefit. Until you’re old enough to understand that the world is not exclusively made up of people whose responsibility it is to protect you from your own decisions, yes, you’re too young for established media fandom. Fandom shouldn’t be “friendly” to you.
First I want to say that I’m not trying to talk over nor silence anyone who has issues with Hunk’s enjoyment of food in Voltron. Your feelings are always valid. However, I do want to offer another perspective on the matter that I don’t think many of you have the experience of understanding through living.
Because I don’t think many of you are or know trained chefs.
We have been shown in both seasons that, besides being an incredibly gifted engineer, Hunk is also an accomplished cook, if not a trained chef (I lean toward the later with him, because he resonates SO much with me on the topic of food - yes there IS a distinct difference between the way a Foodie and a Culinarian talk about and interact with food!)
The thing about chefs is… we talk about food, we think about food, we make food analogies, we explain things using food as an example, we compare other things to food. I’m currently the sales manager and accountant (among other things) for my family’s seamster business. I compare literally every aspect of our business to food and restaurant management, to the point where I think I’m driving my partners insane sometimes.
Pricing our products? Gotta balance that menu! That scarf that has very low material cost and sells like crazy is like our chicken dish, so we can keep the cost of our high-end “salmon and lamb” plushes competitive! Extremely complex custom orders? Those are our wedding cakes and big catering jobs!
Want to win my heart? Cook me a nice meal. Want to give me the best gift ever? Take me to that fancy restaurant I’ve been eyeing. Want to make me feel creative and blessed? Get me an ingredient that I haven’t cooked with before or don’t get to cook with often. Mom gifted me a gram of saffron one Christmas and I nearly burst into tears I was so touched.
When I first watched the scene in S2 where they’re all standing around thinking about Zarkon and Hunk says he was thinking about calzones I nearly lost my shit because that was me right there on the screen. My husband and fiancee both groaned fondly and face palmed because yes, they know, I’m always thinking about food!
I have other skills. I primarily consider myself a writer, as Hunk would primarily be considered an engineer, and writing does have influence over my life and my conversations, just has Hunk did demonstrate his engineering skills in S2. But there is something about also being a chef that keeps food coming up in conversation.
Yes, Hunk is a big guy (just a side note, the reason he’s the strongest member of the team is because he has the caloric reserves to burn that Shiro doesn’t), a lot of chefs are also big guys (and gals, and enbies!). Loving food and being large is perfectly wonderful and beautiful. Being a chef and constantly talking about food is modus operandi and I was truly delighted to see his character unfold in a way that resonated with me so very much.
Whether it’s crops, forests or phytoplankton blooms in the ocean, our scientists are tracking life on Earth. Just as satellites help researchers study the atmosphere, rainfall and other physical characteristics of the planet, the ever-improving view from above allows them to study Earth’s interconnected life.
1. Life on Earth, From Space
While we (NASA) began monitoring life on land in the 1970s with the Landsat satellites, this fall marks 20 years since we’ve continuously observed all the plant life at the surface of both the land and ocean. The above animation captures the entirety of two decades of observations.
2. Watching the World Breathe
With the right tools, we can see Earth breathe. With early weather satellite data in the 1970s and ‘80s, NASA Goddard scientist Compton Tucker was able to see plants’ greening and die-back from space. He developed a way of comparing satellite data in two wavelengths.
When healthy plants are stocked with chlorophyll and ready to photosynthesize to make food (and absorb carbon dioxide), leaves absorb red light but reflect infrared light back into space. By comparing the ratio of red to infrared light, Tucker and his colleagues could quantify vegetation covering the land.
Expanding the study to the rest of the globe, the scientists could track rainy and dry seasons in Africa, see the springtime blooms in North America, and wildfires scorching forests worldwide.
3. Like Breathing? Thank Earth’s Ocean
But land is only part of the story. The ocean is home to 95 percent of Earth’s living space, covering 70 percent of the planet and stretching miles deep. At the base of the ocean’s food web is phytoplankton - tiny plants that also undergo photosynthesis to turn nutrients and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen. Phytoplankton not only feed the rest of ocean life, they absorb carbon dioxide - and produce about half the oxygen we breathe.
In the Arctic Ocean, an explosion of phytoplankton indicates change. As seasonal sea ice melts, warming waters and more sunlight will trigger a sudden, massive phytoplankton bloom that feeds birds, sea lions and newly-hatched fish. But with warming atmospheric temperatures, that bloom is now happening several weeks earlier - before the animals are in place to take advantage of it.
4. Keeping an Eye on Crops
The “greenness” measurement that scientists use to measure forests and grasslands can also be used to monitor the health of agricultural fields. By the 1980s, food security analysts were approaching NASA to see how satellite images could help with the Famine Early Warning System to identify regions at risk - a partnership that continues today.
With rainfall estimates, vegetation measurements, as well as the recent addition of soil moisture information, our scientists can help organizations like USAID direct emergency help.
The view from space can also help improve agricultural practices. A winery in California, for example, uses individual pixels of Landsat data to determine when to irrigate and how much water to use.
5. Coming Soon to the International Space Station
A laser-based instrument being developed for the International Space Station will provide a unique 3-D view of Earth’s forests. The instrument, called GEDI, will be the first to systematically probe the depths of the forests from space.
Another ISS instrument in development, ECOSTRESS, will study how effectively plants use water. That knowledge provided on a global scale from space will tell us “which plants are going to live or die in a future world of greater droughts,” said Josh Fisher, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and science lead for ECOSTRESS.
6. Seeing Life, From the Microscopic to Multicellular
Scientists have used our vantage from space to study changes in animal habitats, track disease outbreaks, monitor forests and even help discover a new species. Bacteria, plants, land animals, sea creatures and birds reveal a changing world.
Our Black Marble image provides a unique view of human activity. Looking at trends in our lights at night, scientists can study how cities develop over time, how lighting and activity changes during certain seasons and holidays, and even aid emergency responders during power outages caused by natural disasters.
7. Earth as Analog and Proving Ground
Just as our Mars rovers were tested in Earth’s deserts, the search for life on ocean moons in our solar system is being refined by experiments here. JPL research scientist Morgan Cable looks for life on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. She cites satellite observations of Arctic and Antarctic ice fields that are informing the planning for a future mission to Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter.
The Earth observations help researchers find ways to date the origin of jumbled, chaotic ice. “When we visit Europa, we want to go to very young places, where material from that ocean is being expressed on the surface,” she explained. “Anywhere like that, the chances of finding biomarkers goes up - if they’re there.”
8. Only One Living Planet
Today, we know of only one living planet: our own. The knowledge and tools NASA developed to study life here are among our greatest assets as we begin the search for life beyond Earth.
There are two main questions: With so many places to look, how can we home in on the places most likely to harbor life? What are the unmistakable signs of life - even if it comes in a form we don’t fully understand? In this early phase of the search, “We have to go with the only kind of life we know,” said Tony del Genio, co-lead of a new NASA interdisciplinary initiative to search for life on other worlds.
So, the focus is on liquid water. Even bacteria around deep-sea vents that don’t need sunlight to live need water. That one necessity rules out many planets that are too close or too far from their stars for water to exist, or too far from us to tell. Our Galileo and Cassini missions revealed that some moons of Jupiter and Saturn are not the dead rocks astronomers had assumed, but appear to have some conditions needed for life beneath icy surfaces.
9. Looking for Life Beyond Our Solar System
In the exoplanet (planets outside our solar system that orbit another star) world, it’s possible to calculate the range of distances for any star where orbiting planets could have liquid water. This is called the star’s habitable zone. Astronomers have already located some habitable-zone planets, and research scientist Andrew Rushby of NASA Ames Research Center is researching ways to refine the search. “An alien would spot three planets in our solar system in the habitable zone [Earth, Mars and Venus],” Rushby said, “but we know that 67 percent of those planets are not inhabited.”
He recently developed a model of Earth’s carbon cycle and combined it with other tools to study which planets in habitable zones would be the best targets to look for life, considering probable tectonic activity and water cycles. He found that larger planets are more likely than smaller ones to have surface temperatures conducive to liquid water. Other exoplanet researchers are looking for rocky worlds, and biosignatures, the chemical signs of life.
10. You Can Learn a Lot from a Dot
When humans start collecting direct images of exoplanets, even the closest ones will appear as only a handful of pixels in the detector - something like the famous “blue dot” image of Earth from Saturn. What can we learn about life on these planets from a single dot?
Stephen Kane of the University of California, Riverside, has come up with a way to answer that question by using our EPIC camera on NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite. “I’m taking these glorious pictures and collapsing them down to a single pixel or handful of pixels,” Kane explained. He runs the light through a noise filter that attempts to simulate the interference expected from an exoplanet mission. By observing how the brightness of Earth changes when mostly land is in view compared with mostly water, Kane reverse-engineers Earth’s rotation rate - something that has yet to be measured directly for exoplanets.
The most universal, most profound question about any unknown world is whether it harbors life. The quest to find life beyond Earth is just beginning, but it will be informed by the study of our own living planet.
Aries♈: independent & dependent at the same time, confident, popular, has the best hair I’ve ever seen, can be really moody at times, cares a lot about her friends, isn’t sporty, but still looks very athletic, a bit selfish but will defend anyone who she believes is worth defending and protecting
Taurus♉: mom of the group, somehow she always has snacks in her backpack, wears headphones everywhere, seeks a love relationship, stalker when in love, very good at cooking, marriage material, incredibly stubborn, strong af, loyal