+
upworthy
Heroes

Ever need proof about how we've changed the Earth? Check out what it looks like at night.

If you're ever in doubt that humanity is really, really powerful, you just have to look at the Earth at night.

All images from NASA Earth Observatory. Images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS. Data from Miguel Román, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Thanks to orbiting NASA satellites, we can see just how much of the Earth we've lit up.


These aren't single images, however. They're each stitched together from thousands of observations. Every couple of years, NASA is able to pull enough together to publicly update the night map.

On April 13, 2017, NASA released their newest set of night maps.

Updated computer programs have made the images clearer than ever. NASA's software is now able to detect things like moonlight and auroras and filter them out of the composites.

Check out that big divide right through the United States.

The United States is the third most heavily populated nation on Earth, but you can clearly see how the West is still dominated by wild, open space.

Night maps are also just dang beautiful. I mean — wow, India.

The nation's become a glowing, beating heart jutting out right in the middle of the ocean. It'll get even brighter as more of its residents get access to electricity.

From above, it's easy to understand how much geography matters. Look at Egypt.

The Nile has been the lifeblood of the region for pretty much all of history, and even today, lights stay tightly wound around that mighty river.

The glow of New York has sprawled out, expanded, and merged with Philly and Boston.

It's almost blinding!

When you zoom out though, you can see there's still plenty of darkness out there.

The oceans make up a huge, dark, swath of the Earth, but you can also clearly see how deserts, jungle, and tundra still keep us at bay.

But the absolute greatest images released this year have to be those of the "Black Marble."

These composite images were stitched together to show a full hemisphere of the Earth. The clouds and breaking sun are a bit of visual flair by the artist.

You can't deny they add something ethereal to the whole thing.

If things go right, we could be able to see a lot more of these images in the near future.

Perhaps every month or maybe even every day. A team of researchers led by Earth scientist Miguel Román of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center are planning to overhaul the whole system.

Since 2011, Román and his team have been developing new software that could make daily high-definition images available to the scientific community and public.

What's even cooler is these images are useful. For example, they could pinpoint who might need help after a natural disaster.

Imagine FEMA being able to monitor blackouts after a hurricane or earthquake. We could better monitor migrations or deliver aid to people who need it. In fact, a team at the United Nations has already used similar night-light data to monitor the war in Syria.

This technology could help us take better care of the people living on Earth all while appreciating the beauty of this planet we call home too.

In the end, we're still just lights in the dark. So let's take care of each other while we're here.

Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

Keep ReadingShow less

Kellogg's CEO tells people to eat cereal to save money

It doesn't matter if you're a single adult or married with children, there's nothing quite like having cereal for dinner or a late night snack once in a while.

Something about it feels nostalgic but it's also really easy to fall back on when you're too exhausted to cook a full meal. There's nothing wrong with grabbing a bowl of cereal for a meal outside of breakfast. You're feeding yourself or your family a food that contains some of the vitamins a body needs.

Maybe that's the thought process Kellogg's CEO Gary Pilnick was going with when he unintentionally sparked some serious backlash. Pilnick was interviewed by CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" discussing the cereal giant's new commercial featuring Tony the Tiger. The commercial itself isn't really the problem. It features a mom holding a box of cereal with kids excitedly awaiting their cereal for dinner chanting along with Tony the Tiger's call to eat the sweet meal.

The backlash came followeing Pilnick's comments about why his company felt the need to create a commercial advocating families eating cereal for diner.

Keep ReadingShow less


We all know that Americans pay more for healthcare than every other country in the world. But how much more?

According an American expatriate who shared the story of his ER visit in a Taiwanese hospital, Americans are being taken to the cleaners when we go to the doctor. We live in a country that claims to be the greatest in the world, but where an emergency trip to the hospital can easily bankrupt someone.

Kevin Bozeat had that fact in mind when he fell ill while living in Taiwan and needed to go to the hospital. He didn't have insurance and he had no idea how much it was going to cost him. He shared the experience in a now-viral Facebook post he called "The Horrors of Socialized Medicine: A first hand experience."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Monica Lewinsky reclaims the office power suit in new voting campaign

The activist teamed with apparel brand Reformation to combat voter frustration in a fabulous way.

Lewinsky partnered with Reformation for their "You've Got The Power" voting campaign

Monica Lewinsky knows a thing or two about reinvention.

The former White House intern became the source of media obsession after her affair with former President Bill Clinton become public. It solidified her place in history against her will, but through her actions since, Lewinsky has transformed her public persona into a feminist icon and champion of a powerful anti-bullying campaign.

Now, the 50-year-old Lewinsky is lending her household name to sustainable fashion brand Reformation and Vote.org in hopes to encourage people to vote this year.
Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Don't worry, Wendy's isn't raising prices during the busiest times. But changes are coming.

People were very upset after hearing that surge pricing may come to the local drive-thru.

A combo meal from Wendy's.

In a world where prices are continuously increasing, prominent companies are turning to surge pricing to raise prices even further during peak demand times. Uber charges people more for a ride when demand is high. Hotels have been changing prices based on demand for years and Amazon uses AI to keep prices constantly in flux.

Recently, Ticketmaster, known for charging high fees, has been charging customers even more for tickets as demand rises.

On Monday, February 26, news reports began circulating that Wendy’s, America's 5th most popular fast-food chain, would implement dynamic pricing at its restaurants. Many assumed that meant a Dave’s Double burger would cost an extra $3 during dinner time or medium fries would cost an extra buck during the lunch rush.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

What is in its 'golden age' but not enough people know about it?

There's so much good out there if you know where to look.

Canva

From astronomy to knitting, some fields of human endeavor are having a heyday.

When you peruse the news headlines or dive into discussions on current events on social media, it's pretty easy to feel despondent. Doom and gloom sells, unfortunately, and our natural negativity bias that's meant to protect us can be overworked by a 24/7 bombardment of humanity's challenges.

There is an anecdote to all of that, though: Curating and cultivating the good. Sometimes it's just knowing where to look to find examples of problems being solved, discoveries being made, innovation taking huge leaps and other evidence that humans are moving our collective life forward in incredible ways.

Someone on Reddit asked, "What is currently in its 'Golden age,' but not enough people know about it?" and thousands of people responded. Reading through the answers is an enlightening and uplifting glimpse of things we might not personally be involved with but are happy to see having a heyday. Like, who wouldn't like to know that we're in a golden age of astronomy and paleontology. Space and dinosaurs? It's like realizing our 5-year-old selves' ideal future.

Keep ReadingShow less