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The rolling desert hills and fiercely sunny sky of the city of Ouarzazate in Morocco have provided the backdrop for scenes in films like "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962), "The Mummy" (1999), "Gladiator" (2000), and for HBO's "Game of Thrones."

You may recognize it as Yunkai, one of the cities in Slavers Bay. Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.


What you may not know is that Ouarzazate is one of the solar energy capitals of the world, thanks to an absolutely massive solar array that officially opened in February 2016.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

Oh, and by massive, I mean ... it's so big you can see it from space.

Photo via NASA Earth Observatory.

More amazing than its sheer size though is the way it works; these aren't quite solar panels as you might know them.

The solar farm is made of 500,000 curved mirrors that reflect and concentrate the desert sunlight onto a pipe filled with fluid.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

The sunlight heats up the fluid to over 700 degrees Fahrenheit, combines it with water, and the resulting steam helps spin nearby turbines — generating energy.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

The plant even keeps going past daylight hours by using molten salt, which is great at retaining and transporting large amounts of heat.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

All this clever solar tech and innovation is putting Morocco on track to become way more energy independent.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

The country currently depends on imports for 97% of its energy but has plans for the solar plant to provide 38% of its power by 2020.

Not to mention, the plant is cutting hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon emissions while aiming to provide over 1 million people with clean electricity.

Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

It's innovative, historic, successful, and frankly, just kinda awesome to look at.


Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

If you find yourself wondering "Can't the U.S. do something like this? We have deserts!" I have good news for you.

Southern California has a massive solar plant of its own. A county in Texas also recently approved a $9 million deal for a 55-acre solar farm that will provide construction jobs and a six-year tax abatement for the community.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California. Also massive and also cool looking. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

Maybe one day every desert in the world will have a gigantic oasis of mirrors soaking up sunlight and pumping out delicious clean energy. I certainly hope so.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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This article originally appeared on 01.31.20


As the nation helplessly watches our highest halls of government toss justice to the wind, a 2nd grader has given us someplace to channel our frustrations. In a hilarious video rant, a youngster named Taylor shared a story that has folks ready to go to the mat for her and her beloved, pink, perfect attendance pencil.

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She's enjoying the big benefits of some simple life hacks.

James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.

"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”

His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.

Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.

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