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85% of Venice underwater after worst flooding in 50 years
Venice's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, said the city was "on its knees."
- About 85 percent of Venice was underwater on Tuesday, with water levels reaching more than 6 feet deep at some points.
- Venice's mayor said the unusually strong flooding was caused by climate change, estimating the damage to be in the hundreds of millions of Euros.
- Venice's MOSE engineering project aims to protect Venice from rising seas, but some say it won't help the city stay above water.
Severe flooding in Venice has left at least two people dead and the city in a state of emergency. On Tuesday, strong storms caused the tide to rise to its highest level in 50 years, flooding roughly 85 percent of the city in waters up to 6 feet deep at some points.
Venice's mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the city was "on its knees." In videos posted online, store windows are submerged underwater, people walk around in knee-deep water, and the flooding comes up to the turnstiles at St. Mark's Basilica, marking the sixth time it's flooded in 1,200 years.
More Venice flooding https://t.co/AYU8Hlmuun— Sylvia Poggioli (@Sylvia Poggioli)1573647831.0
Italian media reported that one man had been electrocuted while using an electric pump, and the body of a second man had been discovered.
Situazione drammatica https://t.co/gS63ZK2j3Q— Luigi Brugnaro (@Luigi Brugnaro)1573600956.0
Flooding is not a new phenomenon in the "city of water". In the past, the tides in Venice would regularly rise twice a year, in the late fall and early spring. (These periods are known locally as the "acqua alta".) But flooding has become more severe and more frequent in recent decades, posing an existential threat to Venice, which some climate experts predict will be underwater by the end of the century. (It also doesn't help that the city is sinking at a rate of one-fifth of an inch per year.)
⚠Anche oggi affrontando maree che segnano record negativi. Domani dichiareremo lo stato di calamità. Chiediamo al… https://t.co/P7S4nP9ZUX— Luigi Brugnaro (@Luigi Brugnaro)1573595230.0
Mayor Brugnaro said the flooding was caused by climate change, estimating the damage to be in the hundreds of millions of Euros. Italy's minister of culture, Dario Franceschini, said the government would provide funding to help preserve the Unesco world heritage site.
To save Venice from rising seas, the government has begun MOSE, a massive project that involves building mobile gates and barriers designed to temporarily isolate the lagoon city from the nearby Adriatic Sea during high tides. Brugnaro suggested that, if completed, the project would have softened the blow from this week's flooding, a position he also expressed after a 2018 flood.
"We need resources and clear ideas," he said. "For now, MOSE is a ghost. We want to see it finished."
But critics of the project, one of the largest civil engineering pursuits in the world, have expressed concern about corruption charges, design flaws, and environmental costs. The project is expected to be operational in 2022."Built centuries ago on tiny islands, the city has always been subject to flooding," said NPR's Sylvia Poggioli. "An ambitious project of movable undersea barriers called MOSE is yet unfinished due to cost overruns and corruption scandals. Experts say once completed, it will be insufficient to deal with rising sea levels."
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A scientist in Sweden makes a controversial presentation at a future of food conference.
- A behavioral scientist from Sweden thinks cannibalism of corpses will become necessary due to effects of climate change.
- He made the controversial presentation to Swedish TV during a "Future of Food" conference in Stockholm.
- The scientist acknowledges the many taboos this idea would have to overcome.
Depiction of cannibalism in the Medieval ages.
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President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.
A new coronavirus vaccine on display at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/ Russian Direct Investment Fund via AP
Medical workers draw blood from volunteers participating in a trial of a coronavirus vaccine at the Budenko Main Military Hospital outside Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.
- In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
- Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
- It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
Talkspace.com<p>Former employees also questioned the legitimacy of certain interventions by the company into client-therapist interactions. For example, after one therapist sent a client a link to an online anxiety worksheet, a company representative instructed her to try to keep clients inside the app.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I was like, 'How do you know I did that?'" Karissa Brennan, a therapist who worked with Talkspace from 2015 to 2017, told the Times. "They said it was private, but it wasn't."</p><p>Other former employees said the company would pay special attention to its "enterprise partner" clients, who worked at companies like Google. One therapist said Talkspace contacted her for taking too long to respond to Google clients.</p><p>Talkspace responded to the Times with a Medium <a href="https://medium.com/@founders_22883/talkspace-founders-respond-to-a-new-york-times-article-78d6f5c45c59" target="_blank">post</a>, which claimed the Times report contained false and "uninformed assertions."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Talkspace is a HIPAA/HITECH and SOC2 approved platform, audited annually by external vendors, and has deployed additional technologies to keep its data safe, exceeding all existing regulatory requirements," the post states.</p>