NASA Fails To Launch Satellite, Makes Up For It With Awesome New Google Maps

Did you hear about the NASA satellite that launched from California in the middle of the night last night, and would float in space monitoring...

Did you hear about the NASA satellite that launched from California in the middle of the night last night, and would float in space monitoring carbon levels? Pretty cool stuff, except for the fact that minutes after it was launched, it crashed into the ocean near Antarctica. It's a huge loss, both financially and to science (it cost $287 million to produce), but let's take a look at what this satellite was, and how it could have been of use.The almost-1,000-pound satellite, when it actually makes it into space, will be a boon to climate change scientists. (It might also confirm, for those who for whatever reason still don't buy the whole global warming thing, that indeed we have record levels of carbon dioxide out there, and that said emissions are contributing to rising temperatures.) Called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, the satellite was the first of its kind monitoring global carbon dioxide levels. Measurements collected by the satellite were "expected to improve climate models and help researchers determine where the greenhouse gas originates and how much is being absorbed by forests and oceans."In other NASA news (they've had a busy 24 hours!), they yesterday launched a new interactive Google Earth Map to show the amount of carbon dioxide being tossed into the U.S. atmosphere every hour. The effort, a partnership with Purdue University, can be found here. (Plug-in required. Also, it's really slow, but worth it.)(Image NASA/Purdue)
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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