Heavier-than-air flight is mind-boggling when you think about it. I mean, a 737 can weigh over 75 tons.

Just going to ignore the fact that 12 elephants' worth of weight is probably directly over my head right now... Image from Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.


It takes a lot of fuel to keep them up in the sky, too. A 737 burns through one gallon of jet fuel roughly every five seconds.

Planes are thirsty, thirsty things. Image from Outanxio/Wikimedia Commons.

That's about 750 gallons per hour!

So if you wanted to fly around the world, how much fuel would you need? As of this year, the answer is ... zero.

Image from Jean Revillard via Getty Images.

Yup, zero. As in nada. Zilch. One less than one. The big nothing. Zero.

This is the Solar Impluse 2. It's a plane powered completely by solar energy.

Image from Jean Revillard via Getty Images.

The plane is the child of the Solar Impulse project.

It doesn't use a drop of jet fuel. Instead, it generates electricity from solar panels on its 236-foot wings.

Image from Jean Revillard/AFP/Getty Images.

And if you're worried about it dropping out of the sky at night, don't. Batteries behind the pilot's cabin store plenty of power.

It doesn't go very fast — only about 30-40 mph.

Image from Jean Revillard/AFP/Getty Images.

That's pretty slow compared to a 737's 600 mph, but since the sun isn't going to do anything weird anytime soon* the plane can effectively fly forever, stopping only for repairs and to let the pilots out.

*At least not for, like, 5 billion years, anyway.

The Solar Impulse 2 is just big enough for its two pilots: Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.

Images via Jean Revillard via Getty Images.

Piccard is a psychiatrist and explorer, and Borschberg is an engineer and entrepreneur.

Since Solar Impulse 2's departure from Abu Dhabi in 2015, the plane has already traveled 12,400 miles around the world.

Image from Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images.

Starting in the United Arab Emirates, the plane has visited Oman, India, Myanmar, China, Japan, and, most recently, the United States.

Along the way, it's set new world records, including longest distance travelled by a solar plane and longest solo flight time of any aircraft.

The latest leg of its trip was a 62-hour journey from Kalaeloa airport in Hawaii to Moffett airfield in Mountain View, California.

Solar Impuse 2 landing in Mountain View. Image from Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images.

Next, the plane will travel over the U.S., then onward across the Atlantic Ocean to either North Africa or Southern Europe before continuing back toward its starting point in Abu Dhabi.

While the Solar Impulse 2 isn't going to put Boeing out of business anytime soon, that's not the point. The point is to show that clean energy is not only possible, but already here.

Image from Jean Revillard/AFP/Getty Images.

There's no secret magic technology making Solar Impulse 2's flight possible. All of this technology, like solar cells and efficient, energy-dense batteries, is readily available.

In fact, #FutureIsClean, an initiative started by Solar Impulse, claims that these same technologies could be used right now to reduce our energy consumption by 50% if we only had the spirit and will to implement them.

Humans have everything we need to convert to clean energy. We just need leaders and explorers to make it happen.

Watch Solar Impulse 2 fly over the Golden Gate Bridge below:

Believe it or not, there has been a lot of controversy lately about how people cook rice. According to CNN, the "outrage" was a reaction to a clip Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng posted as one of his personas known as Uncle Roger.

It was a hilarious (and harmless) satire about the method chef Hersha Patel used to cook rice on the show BBC Food.


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less

You can put this one in the "win column" for those who believe in equal pay. Leslie Odom Jr. took a stand and was not going to settle for anything other than what was fair.

The Hamilton star, who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Aaron Burr in the most successful musical in modern history, simply sought a similar wage to white actors who had comparable roles in other musicals. As he explained to Dax Shepard on his podcast Armchair Expert, they did not contact his agent at CAA until after the announcement of the shows filming. When the offer finally came, it was disappointing.


Keep Reading Show less