Ten-year old Chilean teaches star gazing to classmates

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Ten-year old Ricardo Barriga’s backyard in Pirque, Chile is strewn with a blow-up unicorn, pool toys, a soccer ball and a $3,000 telescope that his parents mail-ordered from Germany.

The budding young astronaut can identify constellations in the austral sky, little-known features of the moon, planets and black holes. He recently started giving $4 lessons to classmates to help them do the same, with hopes of raising enough money to buy himself a space suit, he said.

Barriga counts himself lucky to have been born in Chile, a South American nation known as star-gazer’s paradise, with clear skies, a desert-dry climate and little light pollution.

The Chilean elementary school student came upon astronomy while flipping through the “A-section” of his parents’ encyclopedia and has been hooked ever since, he said.

“It was an encyclopedia with all kinds of information in it,” Barriga said. “My dream is to be an astronaut and also, to have a space suit.”

Barriga’s parents have promised him a trip to Orlando, Florida in the United States, where he hopes to visit NASA’s Kennedy Space Station in nearby Cape Canaveral.

“I thought that if I could become an astronaut I could work for NASA,” he said.

Chile is home to 70 percent of global astronomy investment, thanks to the cloudless skies above its northern Atacama desert, the driest on earth. Within five years, the South American country will host three of the world’s four next-generation, billion-dollar telescopes.

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Capitals invite youth hockey team that stood up for player who heard racial taunts

The Washington Capitals had a surprise for a local youth hockey team that stood up after an African-American teammate was subjected to racial taunts.

Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly and defenseman John Carlson told the Metro Maple Leafs, based in nearly Odenton, Md., via video that they would be getting tickets to Monday's home game against the St. Louis Blues at Capital One Arena.

Divyne Apollon II, 13, was the player who heard the taunts at a tournament in late December. According to The Washington Post, he heard monkey sounds and chants that he should play basketball. When he was suspended for getting into a fight, his teammates wore a sticker decrying racism — featuring the word racism surrounded by a circle with a hockey stick crossing through it — at the next game.

The story caught the attention of Smith-Pelley, who had heard basketball chants last season while he sat in the penalty box during a game at the Chicago Blackhawks.

His video with Carlson was played for the Metro Maple Leafs, earning excited cheers from the team. Sixty tickets are being made available, and team members will get to meet with Capitals players afterward.

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Time for youth as hapless Mariners near new A-League low

The A-League season isn't yet one-third complete, but forlorn Central Coast coach Mike Mulvey says it's time to give youth a chance.

The toothless Mariners slumped to a low point in their wretched start when beaten 2-0 by the Wellington Phoenix on Saturday, anchoring themselves even more firmly to the competition basement.

Youthful: Jordan Murray (left) is among the young talent earning a chance with the Mariners.Credit:AAP

A failure to beat the Newcastle Jets at home next week would leave Mulvey's men with an outright club record of 15 successive winless matches.

Having started the season with two draws and a number of encouraging displays, Central Coast's seasoned coach is running out of patience with an injury-ravaged side which has lost six on the trot.

Unlike last week's road loss to the Western Sydney Wanderers by the same scoreline, Mulvey said the performance against the Phoenix was sub-par.

He is planning changes and hinted his selections will be skewed towards building a brighter future for a club which appears on track already to secure a third wooden spoon in four seasons.

Goalkeeper Adam Pearce made his A-League debut against Wellington and forward Jordan Murray his first start. Mulvey later took interest in how midfielder Mario Shabow and striker Josh MacDonald performed off the bench. All four players are aged under 24.

"You don't want to throw them in when things are not going right but they deserve an opportunity now and I think we need to look at that," Mulvey said.

"I've got a history in the A-League – with Gold Coast United (2010-12) – of playing a lot of young players."

Mulvey was impressed by 21-year-old Pearce, a decade younger than 12-season veteran gloveman Ben Kennedy, who was unavailable with a leg injury.

Kennedy may find it hard to oust the 1.98m Pearce when fit again.

"Adam's got a great physique and has a great future in the game. He needs to be given an opportunity to play a little bit more."

It’s looming as a long season for Mulvey and the Mariners.Credit:AAP

Upon arriving at the Mariners this year, former Brisbane Roar coach Mulvey said he identified a weakness in the club's development program.

He was heartened a number of good youth coaches have been hired, believing that is the key to Central Coast returning as an A-League force and avoiding the chop when promotion-relegation is eventually introduced.

"In five or six years there will be relegation," Mulvey said.

"We need to develop our own players because we weren't producing what we were producing six, seven, eight years ago. So we've addressed that."


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‘World’s most modified youth’, 22, has had over 40 ops including forked tongue and eye tattoos because he ‘likes to turn heads’

Ethan Bramble from Melbourne has had a string of body modifications including getting his tongue split, his belly button removed and his eyeballs tattooed black.

Mr Bramble, who recently turned 22, has always had a passion for body art and started modifying his body at just 11 years old.

Ethan told Barcroft TV: “More or less I just fell in love with the way it looks and how you feel when you walk down the street and you kind of get that sense of empowerment."

With tattoos across his body and face, Mr Bramble says he doesn’t like to put a number on how many individual tattoos he has but says about 75-80 per cent of his body is entirely covered in ink.

Mr Bramble estimates that he has spent within the region of $15,000 to $20,000 dollars and the most expensive was getting his eyeballs tattooed.

The procedure was very risky “because it can easily go wrong and you can end up being blind".

He said: “When I got my eyeballs tattooed, my mum couldn’t look at me for like a month without getting tears in her eyes."

The most painful procedure Mr Bramble has ever had is getting his tongue split.

“About seven days after the procedure not being able to talk, eat or drink was tormenting me,” he said. “I had to lay in bed for three or four days.”

Although Mr Bramble says body modification empowers him, his extreme appearance has provoked some negative reactions from the public and online.

“You realise when you look like this that there are going to be certain downsides and not everyone is going to treat you how they should. But it’s nice when people do treat you properly.”

For others, Mr Bramble is a living work of art, covered from head to toe in meaningful words and images.

Girlfriend Jade Randazzo approves his look but admits that there are few things that she doesn’t like about her partner’s appearance.

The couple has been together for six months and met after Mr Bramble already had most of his tattoos and procedures done.

Mr Bramble said he likes the way he looks and has no intention of stepping away from the needle and knife — although he admits there’s not much skin left on which to tattoo or modify.

Next up on his list is inserting silicone into his penis.

He said: “I think genital implants to me is just being very courteous to your partner or the opposite gender."

Claiming he has no regrets with any of the procedures done, Mr Bramble says his appearance hasn’t changed who he is.

He said: “No one wants to live their life not being seen, not being recognised. I like to stand out.”

A version of this story originally appeared on News.com.au

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