Over the past 30 years, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has experienced a 50 percent loss in coral. Though part of the decline is being attributed to the warmer ocean temperatures caused by climate change, about half of the damage is due to the proliferation of the crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS). The deadly predators can devour as much as 53 square feet (five square meters) of live coral annually.
Native to the region, the starfish — which grow as big as 32 inches across, have over 21 arms, and are covered in poisonous spikes — are beneficial in small numbers. They help keep faster-growing coral reef in control, allowing slower growing colonies to form. However, the recent population explosion, combined with two consecutive years of coral bleaching, is destroying the reef at an unprecedented rate.
On September 28, 2017, LEGO fans of all ages finally got the chance to visit the massive 82,000 square-feet, 100-feet high, LEGO house aka “Home of The Brick.” Located in the iconic toy’s hometown of Billund, Denmark, the impressive structure, that has been in the works since 2014, is the brainchild of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. Its exterior, resembling 21 gigantic LEGOblocks, is covered in colorful tiles giving the illusion that the entire building is made of the popular bricks. A 2X4 keystone brick placed on top welcomes visitors flying into Billund Airport with light beams from its eight knobs.
Part public art piece, part amusement park, the LEGO house has something for everyone — from the youngest enthusiasts to AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO). Upon entering, visitors encounter four color coded areas, each signifying a different aspect of play and learning. The Red Zone allows kids to put their creative skills to work using the millions of colorful bricks scattered under a cascading LEGO “waterfall.” The Green Zone, which tests social skills with storytelling and roleplay, includes activities like writing and directing a LEGO movie. The Blue Zone is dedicated to cognitive play, with fun tasks like guiding robots on Arctic missions to rescue trapped mammoths. The Yellow Zone allows visitors to express their emotions by using the bricks to build fish and releasing them into a large “aquarium” or planting their LEGO flower creations in the extensive LEGO meadow.