We have a huge moon ... and 5 other reasons why Earth is totally boss.

Our planet really is incredible.

For the first time since 1972, NASA managed to snap a photo of the entire sunlit side of the Earth.

Photo by NASA.


It was taken by the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite, and it's the first time a single shot has captured one entire side of the Earth since the Apollo 17 astronauts took this incredible, iconic picture. It reminds you just what an amazing place our home planet really is.

Don't buy it? Here's a handy, by-no-means exhaustive list of why this random collection of molten space rocks, water, atmosphere, and life is the most incredible planet orbiting our sun.

1. Earth has the biggest moon in the solar system (in relative terms).

Yep. Photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr.

Sure, Ganymede, Titan, Io, and Callisto are all larger in total diameter, But compared to Jupiter and Saturn, the planets they orbit, those moons are tiny, insignificant speck-pebbles. Earth, despite its relatively small size, has a freaking huge moon. Just look at that thing. It may be the fifth largest moon in the solar system, but it's by far the largest relative to the size of the planet it orbits.

On the flip side, this might also be why there are no werewolves on other planets.

Photo by Sandpiper Productions/Wikimedia Commons.

But sometimes you gotta take the good with the bad.

2. There are rocks on Earth that are over 4 billion years old, and you can touch them.

You have to go to Canada to do it, but you can do it.


Photo by NASA.

That's the Nuvvuagittuq belt in northern Quebec. Some of the rocks there date back 4.28 billion years. Before the first recorded life on Earth. And you can put your hands on them. You can touch something that was around before bacteria.

If you're willing to go to Canada, that is.

3. Earth has birds.

Jupiter might be bigger. Venus might be hotter. But Earth is the only planet in the solar system that is home to a type of creature that flies through the air like an alien superhero.

Soar like a ... you. Photo via Public Domain Images.

It is a proven scientific fact that, if we didn't have jobs, 97% of all people would spend 40 hours a week just watching birds fly around and going, "Ooooooohwhoooaaa."

Birds could have decided to evolve on Mercury or Neptune or Saturn. But they didn't. They evolved right here on Earth.

Other planets so jelly.

4. Some lakes on Earth occasionally explode.

Most lakes are pretty boring. 99% of them just kinda sit there ... being lakes. But every once and a while, one will go completely bonkers and let loose with a huge eruption of poison gas, just to keep people and wildlife on their toes.

Yeah, I look serene. But are you sure? Best back up, human, before you find out. Photo by Adam Jones/Wikimedia Commons.

Unfortunately, this has led to tragedy in the past, when lakes have erupted unexpectedly and without warning. But now experts think that gas can be extracted from them and used to provide electricity homes in areas, like Lake Kivu in Rwanda, where only 20% of homes currently have power. It has the potential to be a game-changing innovation for countries that sorely need it.

Other planets? They don't even have the boring kind of lake, much less the exploding kind. Only on Earth.

5. Earth is the only place where this has ever happened.

Photo // @jimmy_chin A surfer finds some shade during another surreal Indonesian sunset. Looks easy and mellow until you consider the razor shallow reef he's surfing at low tide. @thephotosociety
A photo posted by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

Find some shade, dawg! You're on Earth!

6. Earth is the only planet in the solar system that has ever supported, and probably ever will support, human life.

Look, other planets are great. You can send robots to take pictures on 'em. Measure atmospheric nitrogen levels on 'em. Maybe even walk around on 'em in a spacesuit for a little bit. But you sure as heck can't live on 'em.

Take Mars, for example. Totally solid planet. Definitely top five. But hang out on Mars for even a few seconds, and it will soon turn into the worst day of your life.

"Just try and breathe on me, asshole. See what happens." Photo by NASA.

In contrast, Earth is pretty much perfect. It's just the right temperature, has just the right amount of fresh water, and has incredible biodiversity. Sometimes it rains but whatever. That's just annoying.

Life didn't just evolve on Earth. Life evolved on Earth multiple times. Asteroid hits and wipes out much of the life? Volcanic eruption scorches life to death? Ice age comes and life freezes its noonies off? Too bad. Life comes the hell back.

No matter how you slice it, Earth is a pretty close-to-ideal place to live. It's our one and only home. And it's going to go on being our one and only home for at least the foreseeable future.

It's up to us to make sure nothing bad happens to it. Not now, not ever.

'Cause, like, honestly ... just look at it:

Photo by NASA.

Just ... wow.

Heroes

A new Harriet Tubman statue sculpted by Emmy and Academy award-winner Wesley Wofford has been revealed, and its symbolism is moving to say the least.

Harriet Tubman was the best known "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses that helped thousands of enslaved black Americans make their way to freedom in the north in the early-to-mid 1800s. Tubman herself escaped slavery in 1849, then kept returning to the Underground Railroad, risking her life to help lead others to freedom. She worked as a spy for the Union Army during the Civil War, and after the war dedicated her life to helping formerly enslaved people try to escape poverty.

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Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Kenneth Goldsmith / Twitter

The Hillary Clinton email scandal was a major right-wing talking point during the 2016 election that aimed to create an air of suspicion around the candidate.

The media played right into it turning Clinton — one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for the office — appear just as unworthy of the presidency as Trump, a vulgar, politically-inexperienced pathological liar.

The controversy surrounded Clinton's use of a private email account in which over 30,000 emails were sent during her time as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. An FBI interrogation found there were 110 confidential emails sent from her private account.

Clinton was never criminally charged, however FBI director James Comey said she was "extremely careless."

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Democracy

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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