Remember when 'Cosmos' host Carl Sagan debunked flat Earthers with a piece of cardboard?
via YouTube

Over the past few years, there has been a growing number of people who believe the Earth is flat. A recent YouGov survey of more than 8,000 Americans found that as many as one in six are "not entirely certain the world is round."

Maybe there wouldn't be so much scientific illiteracy in this world if we still had Carl Sagan around.

Sagan hosted the original version of TV's "Cosmos" in 1980. It would be revived in 2014 with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson at the helm.

In the first episode of "Cosmos," Sagan easily proved the Earth was a sphere using a piece of cardboard, some sticks, and the work of an ancient Libyan-Greek scholar, Eratosthenes.

Carl Sagan explains how Eratostenes knows the earth is curve

"How could it be, that at the same moment, a stick in Syene would cast no shadow and a stick in Alexandria, 800 km to the north, would cast a very definite shadow? Sagan asked.

"The only answer was that the surface of the Earth is curved," he added. "Not only that but the greater the curvature, the bigger the difference in the length of the shadows."

Considering the distance between the two cities and the lengths of the shadows they produced, Eratosthenes was able to determine that the Earth had a seven-degree curve. He used that calculation to speculate the Earth was 25,000 miles in circumference.

These days we know that the earth is 24,860 in circumference, so Eratosthenes was 140 miles off, not bad for over 2,000 years ago.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.


In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.