Beyond the Bricks: Week of 09/08
by Jess Sides | published Sep. 15th, 2020
Grieving Whale Is Mother Again
Two years ago, Tahlequah, a Southern Resident killer whale, lost her calf. She carried her dead calf for 17 days across 1,000 miles and received much love via social media.
This past July, researchers discovered that Tahlequah was pregnant again. Seventy percent of pregnant orcas end up miscarrying their baby, or the calf dies shortly after birth. This is due to boat noise, a lack of food supply, habitat loss and environmental pollutants.
Because of this, Southern Resident killer whales are an endangered species. Researchers were worried that Tahlequah’s baby would not make it.
There were 88 Southern Resident orcas, but due to human activity their numbers are down to a mere 72.
Despite researchers’ worries, Tahlequah’s calf is healthy.
Fall Guys Attracts Millions
Fall Guys is a new, online, battle royale game where up to 60 players compete as jellybeans and are thrown into a series of obstacles. The players play through four to five elimination rounds before competing for the crown. The crown is given to the overall winner of the game.
Crowns are used as in-game currency and are strictly for cosmetics in personalizing your jellybean. Your number of wins and crowns does not influence or affect the gameplay itself.
There are a variety of mini games that are randomly chosen with each new game. This gives a new experience every time a player fires up the game.
Fall Guys has gained over 7 million players within just a month of its release. The game has also become Sony’s most downloaded title in the company’s history. This puts Fall Guys before Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered and Destiny 2.
In discussing Fall Guys’s popularity, Sony believes it has to do with accessibility. There are only three controls a new player has to learn. This makes it easy for new players to join the game. The game is also simple and family-friendly. However, some are worried that since Fall Guys is only available on PS4 and PC, that future growth of the game will be limited.
Similar to Fortnite, another popular battle royale game, Fall Guys will have seasonal changes, updates, new maps, new costumes and more. The second season of Fall Guys, medieval-themed, is planned to debut next month.
Arctic "Zombie" Wildfires
“Zombie” wildfires are raging in the Arctic. A “zombie” wildfire smolders underneath the ice in the carbon-rich peat of the Arctic tundra during the winter and then sparks to a flame in the summer when the snow and ice melts.
This year is the worst for Arctic wildfires to date, according to the records. The arctic fires from the first half of July 2020 released as much carbon into the atmosphere as nations the size of Cuba does in a full year.
Since June, there have been over 100 fires. These fires release carbon and methane into the atmosphere; both are greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Temperatures in the Arctic have been increasing at a faster rate than the global average, and these fires are not helping to slow the rate.
The Arctic fire season is from May to October. Usually, the worst of these fires are in July and August.
Between January and August of this year, the fires released 244 megatons of carbon; this is more than the amount Vietnam released in 2017.
In Northern Alberta, Canada, more than 1,351 square miles have been lost to these fires. These fires also release other pollution that has impacted the air quality in Europe, Canada and Russia. This trend is expected to continue in future years.