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:

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Image from Strut Safe's Instagram.

In March 2021, a woman named Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered in South London as she was walking home.

Simply walking home alone at night proved to be life-threatening. But this aspect of the story is no new news. Women have long shared their fears on the subject.

Constant glances over the shoulder and walking with keys between the fingers have become well-known protection rituals against potential violence. And these efforts, though necessary measures of self defense, can at times feel like small band-aids over a larger wound.

As Alice Jackson and Rachel Chung, two students in Edinburgh, attended one of Everard’s vigils, an idea struck them. And it’s helping women in the U.K. gain not only a sense of safety, but something else too. Something of equal immense value.

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"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) and actor Peter Dinklage.

On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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