Heroes

Ever look closely at lightning? These 9 images may give you a new perspective.

Five neat things you may not have known about lightning.

Ever look closely at lightning? These 9 images may give you a new perspective.

Lightning. Whoa.

Lightning strikes over Las Vegas. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.


We've all seen it. It's just a fact of life, something so common that we rarely give it a second thought.

If you dig a bit into the science of lightning, it doesn't lose its mystery — it only gets cooler.

Lightning over a harbor in Poole, England. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Sure, we all know that lightning is just an electrostatic discharge that occurs during a storm. But what the eff does that even mean?

Let's break it down. During a storm, the water molecules inside a cloud are moving around super rapidly. As a result, electrostatic charges build in the cloud, with the negative charges forming at the bottom.

Those negative charges then attract positive charges from surrounding objects — trees! buildings! people! the ocean! And when those opposite charges build up and build UP AND BUILD UP enough of an attraction ... BAM! Lightning strikes.

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Lightning in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images.

So for the sheer sake of lightning's coolness, here are five neat things you may not have known:

1) Y'know that counting trick to calculate how far away lightning is? Yeah, it actually works.

According to NASA, because light and sound travel at relatively constant (but different) rates, you actually can pretty easily estimate how far away lightning is.

First, count the seconds between when you see the lightning strike and when you hear the associated thunder. Second, divide that number by five. That number, in miles, is approximately how far away the lightning is.

Who knew that trick actually worked!? Keep that one in your back pocket for your next thunderstorm.

Lightning is seen amid a cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile. Photo by Claudio Santana/AFP/Getty Images.

2) Lightning never strikes the same place twice? MYTH.

NOPE. Just nope. Lightning often strikes the same place twice. The Empire State Building gets struck by lightning an average of 25 times per year.

It's not that lightning is more attracted to a place it has struck before, really. It's just that lightning is like, "HEY, BIG POINTY THING!" strike! ... "HEY, BIG POINTY THING!" strike! ... you get the picture.

Lightning strikes near the Empire State Building in New York City. Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

3) Ever hear that if you touch someone struck by lightning, you'll be electrocuted? That's a myth, too.

Also wrong — humans just don't store electricity like that. So if you see someone get struck by lightning, help them! You certainly will not be electrocuted through them.

Lightning strikes over Johannesburg. Photo by Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images.

4) If you get stuck in a lightning storm: Just keep moving to find shelter.

You may have heard that you should lay on the ground in a lightning storm. Don't! That will actually increase your chances of getting harmed by a ground current (which is the current that disperses out from a lightning strike along the Earth's surface).

Just keep moving to find shelter — and no, a tree is not shelter. Standing under trees is a super common way to get injured in a storm.


Lightning over Sydney. Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

5) You can see lightning from space. FROM. SPACE.

Well, maybe YOU can't unless you're a badass astronaut like Terry W. Virts. He took this amazing video of India. From space.

So there ya have it. Lightning: powerful, fast, dangerous, and unbelievably awesome.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

Keep Reading Show less

There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

Keep Reading Show less