Breathe easy, because the hole in the ozone is nearly fully healed.

This is great news.

The hole in the ozone layer was at best a reason to not use hairspray, and at worst an indicator of a grizzly future in which all human life is roasted by an angry sun.

But a new study released by the United Nations states that the hole in the ozone could be a thing of the past. The 2018 Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion found that the ozone layer is on the road to recovery, thanks to efforts to repair the damage. It’s now a real possibility that the hole in the ozone could be fully healed within our lifetimes. The report projects that the damage could be reversed by the 2060s, and, in some parts of the world, by 2030.

“For the first time, there are emerging indications that the Antarctic ozone hole has diminished in size and depth since the year 2000,” states the report. “The weight of evidence suggests that the decline in ODS made a substantial contribution to the observed trends.” The hole over Antarctica was first discovered in 1985. The ozone layer over Antarctica is exceptionally thin, and has been gradually shrinking since the early 2000s. In 2018, the hole over Antarctica was nearly 9 million square miles, or, to put it in perspective, an area just smaller than North America.

In the mid-1970s, scientists began to be aware that man-made gasses from chemicals released from aerosol cans, air conditioners, dry-cleaning chemicals, and refrigerators were escaping into the upper atmosphere and wreaking havoc on the ozone layer. These ozone-depleting chemicals are called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and were pinpointed as the main culprit in the thinning ozone.

In 1987, 46 countries agreed to the Montreal Protocol, which served as an effort to curb the damage on Earth’s delicate atmosphere by globally banning CFCs. According to the recent UN report, “Actions taken under the Montreal Protocol have led to decreases in the atmospheric abundance of controlled ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) and the start of the recovery of the stratospheric ozone.” If the Montreal Protocol had not been enacted, the ozone layer could have been completely destroyed by 2065, nearly the same year it is now projected to fully heal.

The Kigali Amendment was added to the Montreal Protocol in 2016 as a further effort to reduce manmade damage to the environment. The amendment will go into place in 2019 and covers chemicals that replaced chemicals the Montreal Protocol banned. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have been used to replace CFCs, and while they do not hurt the ozone layer, they do have greenhouse gas properties much stronger than carbon dioxide. The Kigali Amendment could prevent a global surface temperature increase of 0.2 to 0.4 degree Celsius – a little that goes along way.

While we still have more work to do in fully rectifying the damage we’ve done to the planet we live on, at least it seems like we’re heading in the right direction.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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The Planet
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

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