1. Move over, Southern California. The coolest new place to catch a wave? The Arctic Circle.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.


2. Yes, it looks freezing. And yeah, you should probably wear more than just a bathing suit*. But can we agree this also looks incredible?

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

*Finding a safe, comfortable wetsuit is important in cold-water surfing!

3. These daredevils are catching waves on northern Norway's Lofoten islands.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

Folks come from all around the world to surf in the harsh conditions there. When many of these pics were taken in March 2016, the temperature was hovering around freezing.

4. One perk to surfing in Lofoten that you won't find in Los Angeles or Hawaii is looking up and seeing the Northern Lights.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

Which, admittedly, is a pretty big perk.

5. I mean, c'mon. How are these images even real?

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

6. They are not fake. They are not Photoshopped. They are not from a "Harry Potter" movie or a Bob Ross painting.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

They're just pure Arctic Circle beauty.

7. Even when you're not surfing below, the lights are pretty damn spectacular.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

8. You can spot them near the poles when gaseous particles in our atmosphere collide with charged particles released from the sun, and pure magic* happens.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

*Science.

9. If happiness has a color, I vote we call it "aurora borealis" (what these lights have been dubbed in the Northern Hemisphere).

Because how can you look at this and not smile?

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

10. And if you're wondering why some lights are green while others are yellow or pink, it depends on what particles are colliding.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

The most common tone you'll spot is a pale yellow-green, similar to what you see above. It's produced by oxygen molecules about 60 miles above the Earth.

11. OK, sorry, now back to the surfing...

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

12. I don't even surf! But these people (and the gorgeous views) make me want to try.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

BRB, booking a flight to Norway...

13. Beyond inspiring us all to take up water sports, these pics are a stunning reminder of just how precious the Arctic Circle really is.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

I hate to be Debbie Downer, but beautiful places like Lofoten may look way different in the coming decades unless we slash our collective carbon footprint (and fast).

14. Climate change is drastically changing our planet. And the Arctic has been ground zero for these changes.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

15. In fact, the Arctic is warming at a rate of nearly twice the global average, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

16. Not only is Arctic sea life being affected — which is, in turn, affecting entire ecosystems — but fast-melting ice means a rise in global sea levels, too.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

And that doesn't bode well if you live on a coast.

17. So, yes, let's enjoy these magnificent views.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

18. And appreciate the brave people who surf their seas.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

19. But also remember our world is a fragile one.

And it's definitely worth saving.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

Now, back to buying that ticket...

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

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