GOOD

NASA Figures Out Earth's Weird Flashing Light Phenomenon

No, it’s not the U.S. government going up in flames

Since NASA launched its Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) into space two years ago, it’s been capturing some interesting details from nearly 1 million miles above Earth. The camera, known to scientists as the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, or EPIC, caught hundreds of flashing lights coming from our planet’s atmosphere, NASA reports. When curious viewers started writing in asking what was causing the mysterious flashes, NASA did a little investigation of their own to discover the tiny source of those big, flashy projections.


Apparently, “high-altitude, horizontally oriented ice crystals” cause the bright flashes of light, though the phenomenon isn’t all that new. Famous astronomer Carl Sagan first noticed unusual flashes back in 1993, thanks to images taken by the Galileo spacecraft. Previously, Sagan and his colleagues assumed most flashes were caused by smooth pools of water beaming back light directly at the spacecraft’s cameras. But what they didn’t notice were the flashes beaming from large spans of land as well, which required a more refined explanation.

DSCOVR deputy project scientist Alexander Marshak told NASA that when he and his team first saw the flashes, he “thought maybe there was some water there, or a lake the sun reflects off of. But the glint is pretty big, so it wasn’t that.” Instead of looking for water down below, Marshak and his team looked to the sky and realized it was the tiny particles of ice in the Earth’s atmosphere beaming back light. After running several experiments to prove their hypothesis, Marshak’s team published their findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

In total, EPIC recorded 866 glints of light between June 2015 and August 2016. They eliminated the ones caused by reflected sunlight by looking at specific angles of light and used DSCOVR’s measuring instruments to deduce the land-based glints came from cirrus clouds floating high in the sky. “The source of the flashes is definitely not on the ground,” Marshak told NASA. “It’s definitely ice, and most likely solar reflection off of horizontally oriented particles.” NASA scientists will use this information to further investigate how heat and light leaves and enters our atmosphere.

To see the daily archive of EPIC pictures (and possibly discover something new for yourself) head to NASA’s website.

Articles
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."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture
NASA

Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

Keep Reading Show less
Science

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News
Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

Keep Reading Show less
Health