Horoscopes Spilling The Zodiac Tea

Spilling the tea on the assumptions of compatibility in astrology

Follow our Zodiac series for everything astrology related. We’re Spillin’ the Zodiac T! Stay tuned for the juice.

Self-care. At this point, we’ve all heard the phrase, but how many of us actually practice it? No matter how busy our days are, self-care should always be a priority, especially because it’s a surefire way of mentally, physically, and emotionally de-stressing. Taking time for ourselves may seem selfish, but it’s necessary in order to maintain our mental wellness and wellbeing.

Trying to find that special someone in our lives, be it a friend or a lover there are many questions we find ourselves asking. One of those questions is most certainly on compatibility. When it comes to astrological compatibility, be it in romantic relationships, friendships, or even a parent-child relationship—it’s not only the sun sign that suggests whether you will be compatible. In fact, the sun sign is probably the last thing you should pay attention to when it comes to compatibility! The sun sign however does represent your identity, it is how you answer the question “I am” and how you experience life and express your individuality. 

There are other placements in your chart that make up who you are. Each placement plays a role in what you may find attractive, what does not appeal to you, and who you would be most compatible with. This means you need to look past the sun sign of someone and dig deeper into who they are.

The placements that you should be looking at when it comes to getting along with others are mainly your rising sign and your moon sign. Your rising sign is the sign that describes your personality and the type of person you project out into the world. The rising sign is who you are around people. Your moon sign deals with emotions and your interpersonal relationships. Your moon sign does not necessarily show outwardly like your rising sign but influences your emotional self. These two signs are very important when trying to find out whether you would be compatible with someone both romantically and platonically.

It is common that you will gravitate towards people with the same sign as you. To match up signs with similar elements, water signs with water signs or fire signs with fire signs. However, some of the best relationships are the ones where your partner, friend, or child, has a sign with a completely different element from you. This can bring a vibrant and new fresh take on things pushing you to grow beyond your limits. With each one of these out-of-element pairings comes out one of the most compatible combinations.

Now if you are curious about which elements may be the most compatible with one another, we may be able to guide you with some insight on that topic! And who knows, this could help you find your true love.

First up we have Aries and Libra. Fire and air ignite to start a fire! While Aries is impulsive and even hotheaded, Libra brings in the balance. Libra is known for being the one to restore harmony and peace as its symbol is the scales. Libras appreciate all perspectives and see all sides of the story and would likely never try to change their Aries partner. In return, the Aries can help the Libra to gain confidence in making bold decisions without spending an eternity weighing all the possible consequences.

Moving on to the next pair, Taurus and Cancer may be different but the two aren’t so far apart. Both the signs love taking care of loved ones, are homebodies, and appreciate the simple pleasures in life, good food, friends, and pleasant surroundings. What makes this pair so special, is that Taurus is protective of others, while Cancer longs for security. Cancers tend to be afraid to trust others and tend to withdraw into their shell. But if there is anyone that can earn and keep their trust, it is a Taurus. Like the banks of a softly flowing river, the earth meets water.  

Another earth and water pair are dreamy Pisces and firm Virgo. Spiritual Pisces is the one with the ideas, and practical-minded Virgo helps to bring in all the details necessary to put the plan into motion. When these two work together, they can pull off marvels!

The rule of physics says opposites attract. It is the same with Leos and Scorpios. While fire and water usually cancel one another, that is not the case with this unusual pair. While Cancer and Pisces can be gentle and soft, Scorpio is not your typical water sign. So, what could Leo and Scorpio have in common? Both signs are complex and can be prone to drama, but Leos wear their hearts on their sleeves and, are Scorpios secretive and to themselves. In this relationship, Leos can help the slightly-too-intense Scorpios to lighten up while the Scorpio can provide encouragement when Leo becomes fiery and volatile.

A guide and tool that many would swear by astrology when viewed with an open mind can teach you a thing or two about who you would most get along with.

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The Environment 2020 Elections Inequality

President Trump’s four year long war on science needs to come to an end

The past four years have been irreversibly affected by efforts from the Trump administration to limit the use of science in policy making. During this administration’s tenure all of the progressive climate reforms made by its predecessors have been reversed – the United States removed itself from The Paris Agreement and the wildfires raging across the West Coast have doubled in size causing the forced evacuations of more than 90,000 residents. To make matters worse, these fires show no sign of slowing down as increased emissions from heat-trapping gases have led to warmer and drier conditions in the area. The flames which have torn across the West Coast thus far in 2020 indicate the most active fire season on record. As the climate warms, the wildfires will continue to grow larger and more frequent. Still, President Trump denies the enormity of the threat presented by climate change. Our nation cannot afford another four years of his environmental inaction.

Both presidential debates last month included questions regarding climate change, prompting the candidates to speak on their plans to rectify the situation. But here’s the thing—there is no rectifying it. Global warming has worsened with every passing year since at least 1950. The only viable option left—apart from laying in the grave which has been dug for all living beings—is to try to slow down the progress of global warming and not allow the earth to become entirely unlivable for the future generations. Perhaps this is a classic case of too little, too late.

Since taking office President Trump has invalidated the well-known fact that carbon dioxide emissions are caused by human activities, labeling it “alarmist.” Instead, he has held onto the American coal industry as well as domestic oil production for dear life, therefore accelerating fossil fuel development. On the debate stage a few Thursday’s ago, the president proudly stuck up his faux green thumb and proclaimed that his fervent solution to save the environment is to plant more trees.

On the other hand, Joe Biden’s plan is only a little less ashy. His campaign promises a strict reduction of net carbon emissions through the creation of new energy-efficient homes and electric vehicle charging stations—but there is a big discrepancy. The former vice president cites support of the promotion of clean energy while simultaneously assuring voters that the jobs associated with natural gas production will remain secure. So, he must be lying to someone. A real transition from fossil fuels toward renewable energy will inevitably result in the elimination of the oil and coal industries. At the rate in which the world is warming, this elimination might need to come sooner than we’d expect, leaving millions of working class Americans out of work. But, at least it’s a step away from immediate and total destruction of the earth.

The hottest year ever recorded was in 2016, with 2019 coming in a close second place by less than one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit. Right now, there is an increased urgency to implement real change because doom is impending. Whoever winds up in the Oval Office next must plan for the economic pitfalls that will come along with such a change—but nonetheless ensure that the change happens, and fast. That is why it is imperative that all U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote do so today. In more ways than one, we hold the fate of the world in the palms of our hands. 


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Meet the 23 most badass goddesses ever

If your high school education was anything like mine, you learned a whole lot about Zeus and Poseidon somewhere between reading The Lightning Thief and Oedipus Rex. You probably caught on to a couple of the awesome goddesses in these myths (Hera, Aphrodite, Athena, we all had our favorite), but might not have known that there were more where they came from.
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It turns out that there’s a whole pantheon of incredibly cool and world-changing female figures in world mythology. We’ve found twenty-three that struck us as the most amazing examples of women in religion and legend. Without further ado, here are our favorite goddesses.

1. Tiamat

If you’re a fan of creation myths, Tiamat has got to be one of your favorite goddesses.

In the Babylonian Enuma Elish, Tiamat gives birth to the world’s gods and creates the earth–then she gets into a major battle with the other gods. Plus, her nickname is “chaos monster,” so that’s pretty legit.

2. Hel

We get our name for the underworld from this crazy cool Norse goddess. When the ancient Norse told each other to “Go to Hel” it literally meant “To go to the underworld” or “To go to see the goddess Hel.”

Did we mention that she leads an army of the dead during Ragnarok (the Norse apocalypse)?

3. Bast/Bastet/Basthet

All cat-ladies probably should have lived in Ancient Egypt. Then, they could have prayed to the cat goddess Bast for sensual pleasure, fertility, and health.

Goddess by day, Bast transformed into a cat at night to fend of serpents that sought to attack her father Ra.


4. Mazu/Tin Hau

Born Lin Moniang in 960, the goddess Mazu was said to have guided ships to harbor during her childhood. She continues to be worshipped across China and South Taiwan as a goddess of seafarers (pirates and storms beware!).

5. Atalanta

Raised by bears and hunters after her father abandoned her on a mountaintop, Atalanta became a feared virgin huntress. She eventually married Hippomenes after he beat her in a footrace (only because he distracted her with golden apples) and they had one son (but were turned into lions after disappointing Zeus).

Weird, right?

6. Mami Wata

African goddess of water Mami Wata represents and controls the spirits of the water. She’s often depicted as a mermaid and seen with snakes, and she’s as important to African diaspora communities.

If she isn’t badass, I don’t know who is.

7. Ixchel

We could tell you that there are goddesses more badass than Ixchel, but then we’d be lying. After all, her nickname is “the aged jaguar goddess of midwifery.” Wow.

She’s the goddess of both war and childbirth, so that’s more than a little cool in our book.

8. Princess Liễu Hạnh

If someone tells you that you’re definitely not allowed to worship a god or goddess, you know there must be something cool about them. Turns out, worship of Princess Liễu Hạnh was totally prohibited during the first years of the North Vietnamese Communist regime (but women have started worshipping her again since the 1980s).

Goddess of female emancipation and female power, Princess Liễu Hạnh was the daughter of the Jade Emperor, one of the four immortals, and a central figure in Taoism and other East Asian religions.

9. Ixcacao

Goddess of chocolate. Need we say more?

Ixcacao (or, Cacao Woman) was a Mayan and Meso-American goddess of fertility and agriculture (and, of course, chocolate).

10. Gaea/Gaia

Gaea is not just the earth goddess in Greek mythology, but the actual Earth as well. In Greek myth, she gives birth to the sky and sea, as well as all of the Titans and Giants.

11. Parvati

Wife of Shiva and mother of Ganesha, Pavarti is the Hindu goddess of love and devotion. Her love for her son Ganesha forced her husband, Shiva god of war, to find her son a new head when his was lost – leading to Ganesha’s appearance as a human god with an elephant head.

12. Pele

We have three words for you: Goddess. Of. Volcanoes. Pele’s creative and destructive powers allowed her to form the volcanoes that would eventually create the Hawaiian islands.

13. Tara

In Buddhism, the goddess Tara is not only a deity but also a Bodhisattva ( person who has reached enlightenment).

She’s often depicted as either the White Tara (goddess of health and peace) or the Green Tara (goddess of fertility and protection).

14. Yemaya

In Ancient Nigeria, Yemaya was the goddess of the river among the Yoruba people. But, when Africans were taken as slaves to the Americas, she became the goddess of the ocean and followed in their stories.

When you hold a seashell to your ear and listen to the roaring noises it produces, that is said to be the voice of Yemaya speaking to you.

15. White Buffalo Calf Woman

Among certain Native American tribes, White Buffalo Calf Woman taught her people to live in harmony with the natural world. Not only did she teach children to love and care for wild animals, but she also taught the people of the earth that they all came from the same beginnings.

16. Freya

Get excited again, cat-ladies, the Norse goddess Freya rode a chariot driven by cats according to ancient myth. Freya, goddess of love, sex, beauty, fertility, war, and death, also governed the afterlife in Fólkvangr (not Hel nor Valhalla, but a kind of in-between).

17. Isis

Goddess of nature and magic, Isis was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of children and the dead. With her brother Osiris, Isis gave birth to the falcon god Horus.

The annual floods of the Nile river are even tied to her: Ancient Egyptians believed that her tears flowed heavily in memory of the time when the god Set dismembered her brother.

18. Ostara/Oestre

Saxon goddess of dawn and spring-time, Ostara is often depicted with a hare, or rabbit, alongside her.

According to myth, when spring arrived late one year, Ostara felt guilty at the sight of a shivering bird and took that bird as her companion (giving him legs to avoid hunters and naming him Lepus).

19.  Gordafarid/Gurdāfarīd

In the Persian epic poem The Book of KingsGordafarid is a heroine who defeats Sohrab, the commander of the Turanian army, to protect her homeland.

In modern Iranian culture, Gordafarid continues to represent female bravery and wisdom.

20. Durga

Durga takes many forms as the mother goddess of Shakti mythology but is most well-known as the goddess of victory of good over evil. In some traditions, she’s even thought to be the basis for the goddess Pavarti: Durga is the warrior goddess version of the earth mother goddess Adishakti, and Pavarti is the earthly-version of Adishakti.

21. Ishtar

Ancient Sumerian goddess of love, war, sex, power, and fertility, Ishtar also appears in Aramean mythology as the goddess Astarte.

If you’ve seen photographs of the Ishtar Gate, then you know how influential Ishtar was across Ancient Near Eastern religions.

22. Banu Goshasp

Another favorite of Persian poetry, Banu Goshasp appeared in many Iranian epics like the Banu Goshasp Nama. In fact, the Banu Goshasp Nama is thought to be one of the oldest Persian epics about a warrior woman, and tells the story of Banu Goshasp’s journeys through Turan and India.

23. Itzpapalotl/Ītzpāpālōtl

It’s hard to find a goddess worthy of closing-out all these other incredibly female goddesses, but Itzpapalotl fits the occasion. After all, she was the Aztec skeletal warrior goddess who ruled Tamoanchan, home of human creation and infant mortality victims. Her nickname was even “Obsidian Butterfly”–pretty cool if you ask us.
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Even though we’ve all grown up in a patriarchal society where Jupiter and Shiva, Hercules and Ba’al come to mind before any female goddesses, there are plenty of rocking ladies in the land of mythology. Here’s to these literal goddesses!

The Environment Science Now + Beyond

Earth Day Network plans to engage citizens in climate action for Earth Day 2020

The world recently celebrated Earth Day after entering the 49th year since it first began in 1970. Many people took the time to raise awareness, by sharing a motivational video or even making eco-friendly clothes. With the annual holiday celebrating its 50th year in 2020, the Earth Day Network will focus on climate action. Overall, this process is to take care of the environment.

I think we can all say that the Earth, a place that we can call home, hasn’t been in the best condition for quite a while. Some countries are living in polluted air, have no clean water to drink or bathe in, and overpopulation is increasing. The list of ongoing conflicts is continuing. This initiative that the Earth Day Network plans to take into action will definitely help benefit our planet. 

During a press release, Earth Day Network President, Kathleen Rogers said that next year has to be the year of transformative change that seizes the positive action underway in order to make the world bigger and bolder.  “Together, we can unite to build a movement that is inclusive, ambitious, and impossible to ignore,” Rogers said.

Climate scientist Gavin Schmidt tweeted a photo of a map of Earth since the first Earth Day up until March of this year. Just by looking at this map, you can see the drastic change that the planet has been through in the past 49 years. According to a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), greenhouse gas emissions had to fall to 45 percent of the levels from 2010 to meet the goal to 1.5 Celsius above the pre-industrial levels.

So what are some ways that we as humans can do to help change the Earth in a positive manner? Here are suggestions from the Earth Day Network that will help encourage you to take action.

1. Vote Earth

A pile of voter stickers that read "I Voted" in red, white, and blue.
[Image description: A pile of voter stickers that read “I Voted” in red, white, and blue.] Via Element5 on Unsplash
This year and 2020 are big years for many countries. That is elections.

Vote Earth’s purpose is to register one million voters, educate and activate new and existing registered voters, and demand all political candidates to make their support of climate action. The campaign also wants to target young and first-time voters into participating. This is a great time for eligible voters to encourage candidates to engage in different environmental policies.

Whoever will be chosen into office for your country will make a huge difference on climate change.

2, Earth Challenge 2020

A woman is holding a pile of dirt with a small plant growing on top.
[Image description: A woman is holding a pile of dirt with a small plant growing on top.] Via Nikola Jovanovic on Unsplash
Earth Challenge 2020 plans to engage citizens worldwide to collect one billion points in different environmental areas, such as water quality.

By creating this challenge, Earth Day Network wants to make this report on environmental health the largest citizen scientist initiative ever. They are also planning on launching an app at the beginning of the year. To participate in this action, connect with @Earth_Challenge on Twitter using the hashtag #EC2020.

3. Billion Acts of Green

Three wind turbines are on a green hill. The sky above them is a bright blue with a lot of clouds.
Image description: Three wind turbines are on a green hill. The sky above them is a bright blue with a lot of clouds. Photo by Tim Foster

Earth Day Network plans to update the landmark Billion Acts of Green program by reaching their goal of 3.5 billion environmentally-friendly acts to complete. Many of these acts include reducing your carbon footprint, conserve energy, end plastic pollution, and many more.

Billion Acts of Green also encouraged to participate in environmental projects in your community.

4. Great Global Cleanup

A chalk figure of a person throwing away a piece of trash in a trash can.
[Image description: A chalk figure of a person throwing away a piece of trash in a trash can.] Via Gary Chan on Unsplash
This project is very easy. All you have to do is pick up pieces of trash from parks, neighborhoods, beaches, and many other outdoor environments.

The network wants people in U.S. cities to participate in this event in hopes of becoming the largest environmental volunteer event ever. Through the use of social media, digital mapping, and mobile registration, Great Global Cleanup will connect partners and participating members from around the globe to pick up trash from the ground.

With the help of the Earth Day Network, we can all make a difference in helping the Earth become a more eco-friendly environment again. Even just contributing to one small action will make an impact.

Science Now + Beyond

Humans launched a fake star into the sky because we just have to colonize everything

As Cicero once wrote over two thousand years ago, “ad altiora nati sumus.” We were born for higher things – apparently, he was right.

A private space exploration startup called Rocket Lab just launched a star into space. Now, I know what you’re all thinking, how could they launch a star into space? Well, first of all, it wasn’t a real star, and second, they could, because nobody technically owns outer space. You don’t have to be NASA if you happen to have a super lab in your garage and have the tech to launch something into the sky, you very well may do so.

Rocket Lab built a geodesic sphere of 3.2 ft., covered it in reflective panels (65 of them, really reflective) and dubbed it the Humanity Star. The sphere weighs 17.6 lbs and it’s currently orbiting around the Earth, where it will stay for approximately nine months. After that, the star’s orbit will start to decay and it will be pulled back into our gravity, but don’t worry, there is no danger of a fake star falling on to our heads because our atmosphere will burn it upon re-entry. There shouldn’t be any traces left – in space or on Earth.

The last thing we need is more pollution.

The star is visible to the naked eye, most visible at dawn and dusk when spinning rapidly, it will reflect the sun’s light. If you see an anomalous, exceptionally bright something just above the horizon, it isn’t aliens or a flying superhero, it’s the Humanity Star. I know, I’m disappointed too, personally, I would’ve preferred to go with the superhero, but what can you do.

Rocket Lab stated that the star’s purpose is to “briefly catch people’s attention” so that we’ll look up beyond the fake star, all the way to the beauty of the night sky. Peter Beck, the company’s CEO, wants us to look “past our terrestrial life, to consider our position as one species on a small planet in a vast universe.” His message continues with hope for love and collaboration between people: “Humanity is finite, and we won’t be here forever. Yet in the face of this almost inconceivable insignificance, humanity is capable of great and kind things when we recognize we are one species, responsible for the care of each other, and our planet, together.”

This all sounds very sweet, but the Humanity Star has received many criticisms. What are the implications and consequences of a fake star? For instance, it has been called a “huge disco ball” by angry astronomers who may have some trouble observing the sky, you know, with a sphere that reflects everything.

On a more philosophical level, the Humanity Star symbolizes just the next appropriation of the natural world. For all the talk of humanity as a family, this is still the act of conquering a shared space. The sky is the last frontier we have, the last piece of nature we haven’t colonized yet, and here we go, launching a ball of carbon fiber to claim it. The star is another form of wall graffiti but in space.

Theoretically, we can all reach for the stars (pun intended).

However, a variety of international agreements, treaties, and conventions called “Space Law”, enforced by the United Nations Office For Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) states that “a number of fundamental principles guide the conduct of space activities, including the notion of space as the province of all humankind, the freedom of exploration and use of outer space by all states without discrimination, and the principle of non-appropriation of outer space.”

This statement is a little bit contradictory, and this is probably one loophole Rocket Lab could use to their advantage. Space belongs to all humankind as a “province” (so imperialistic) but not to the individuals, only to the states and nations. But the Humanity Star is said to belong to all humankind, so they are technically not appropriating anything for themselves. Still, Rocket Lab aren’t NASA or government-funded, so they made sure to keep the entire operation quiet until the launch.

It might be pretty and exciting to look at, but the Humanity Star is emblematic of man’s fatal pride – hubris. We are playing at being gods, reconfiguring the universe the way we like it. Shaping creation in our own image.

Science Now + Beyond

The Super Blue Blood Moon is coming this Wednesday. Here’s how to watch it.

When I was pregnant in 2016, there happened to be a few celestial events.

During one lunar eclipse, I got very strict orders from back home to not go out during the eclipse, to not touch anything sharp and to lie down straight all day. The strictness of these instructions and authority of the source made me resent eclipses. Which is a shame as it made me miss out on the biggest celestial event of 2017: the total solar eclipse that happened in August 2017.

It turns out I didn’t miss out on much as I was situated in the UK and the event that had most of United States out in a massive party was extremely underwhelming in here. The moon only covered a tiny fraction of the Sun.

This year in January, however, an event nothing short of phenomenal is occurring. It is something that only happens once in a blue moon (pun intended).

Animated young blonde girl with green eyes jumping up and down in excitement

On January 31st we will witness a Super Moon, a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse all at the same time! The last time this happened was almost 150 years ago. Although reports  Wright and Fred Espenak, a famed eclipse expert, and retired NASA astrophysicist, said the last total lunar eclipse during a super blue moon was on Dec. 30, 1982.

Here is how that will work:

A blue moon is when a full moon comes up twice in one month, the occurrence is not as rare as the phrase suggests. The moon on the 31st however, will not be blue. It will most likely be red or coppery which is a characteristic of a total eclipse.

A full blue moon

A supermoon is when the moon is closest to earth. The moon’s average distance is While the moon’s average distance is 238,000 miles (382,900 km) from Earth.

On 31st January, it will be the about 221,559 miles (356,565 kilometers) from Earth. Because the moon will be its closest to Earth, it will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter.

And now for the best part: the eclipse. To brush up on our elementary science a lunar eclipse is when the Earth gets in between the Sun and the Moon. For the eclipse to happen the earth and the moon have to align. So, to sum it up, on the 31st of January we will have a super blue moon. The earth will then orbit in between the sun and the moon and we will witness a total lunar eclipse. Amazing right?!

The Eclipse will begin at 07.51 a.m. ET and will be visible from the western Pacific Ocean, Alaska, western Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, and Japan. Since the event starts at sunrise, North Americans will only be able to see a partial eclipse.

Depending on where you are in the world, I hope you remember to schedule a viewing of this phenomenal celestial event. It took (possibly) 150 years in the making, you might not be around for the next time this happens! And scary myths aside, nothing short of another pregnancy will keep me away from this one.

And if one lunar eclipse wasn’t enough, we have another one in store for us later this year! On July 27th, viewers from South America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia will have a chance to view the moon as small as it possibly can be. The moon will eclipse when it will be furthest away from Earth, making it the smallest moon of 2018. According to National Geographic, “the moon will travel through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, potentially making this a particularly deep total eclipse.”

Two lunar eclipses occurring at two different times but in the same year. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Science Now + Beyond

Going green could actually be good for your wallet

It seems like common sense to be passionate about the environment. The world is our home, and we should treat it the way we would treat our own homes, by taking care of it and making it last forever.

However, many, including the President of the United States, don’t seem to understand the impact and importance of our own actions on the beautiful planet we live on. I could list tons of reasons why someone should be trying to live more eco-friendly, but I will focus on one that not that many people tend to think about: the economic impact, both widespread and personally.

There’s a lot of money in renewable energy, and the leveled energy cost is very little compared to coal and other harsher resources. When hydropower costs merely $0.08 per kW per hour, compared to coal coming in at about $0.1, it seems strange that someone would ignore those numbers and be hesitant to switch to renewable energy. There are many ways to go green that can save someone money off of their bills. Going green saves companies and citizens money, so shouldn’t that be considered a good thing?

For many individuals, going green means investing in renewable energy, which can deter people, because the personal cost of renewable energy is not cheap. Solar panels alone can cost over $10,000. The rate of solar energy is about 12 cents per kiloWatt and hour, whereas for basic electricity it’s only 4 cents. When it comes down to it though, a difference of 8 cents shouldn’t keep someone from wanting to go green. Plus, going back to the business side of things, investing in renewable energy actually creates jobs.

More renewable energy means a need for more places to create that energy, which equates to more jobs. Coal has come to a place where not much else can be had out of it, while renewable energy is a new frontier with room for growth and the ability to create more jobs than can be imagined.

If you personally can’t afford solar or other forms of renewable energy but still want to be an environmental warrior, there are plenty of ways to do so at home. Cutting down on your shower time is a great way to help the environment and spend less. The average ten-minute shower costs about $2 a person, which may not sound like much until you look at the bigger picture. In total, that’s almost $60 a month a person devoted to showering, and that’s excluding people who take longer showers or shower more than once a day.

If you still want to take a long shower (I’m not one to talk, I love long showers), you could always use a low-flow showerhead, which will save you a significant amount of money and energy if you simply install it into your shower.

Or just turn the water off, while you’re shampooing your hair or soaping up; these small habit changes can make a huge change in the environmental and economic impact you can make.

Another way to save water and energy is to run your washing machine on a low temperature every time you use it. It cleans your clothes and uses less energy, thus limiting your personal impact on the environment.

Or, if you’re running the air conditioner or heat, then be sure to close your windows; you can lose a lot of the energy you’re pumping into the room if you leave them open. According to the Department of Energy, 20 to 40% of energy cost is lost out of open leaks in your house. Though it’s impossible to completely seal every crack and cranny in your house, you can do your part by keeping the windows closed whenever heat or air is on. The same goes for your refrigerator. Don’t keep your refrigerator door open for long periods of time, as you waste energy, and thus money as the cold air escapes and the fridge has to create more.

I may sound redundant, but it’s on us to help save the environment considering that our government isn’t trying to. Whether you switch to solar energy, or just limit your water usage every day, you are making an impact.

Any little thing you do will pave the way for a better and cleaner future for our planet, while also saving you some cash in the long run.

Tech Now + Beyond

What happens when you can buy your way into outer space?

Here on Earth, we have a system where you receive certain privileges and human rights only if you can afford them.

And if you cannot, you can say goodbye to your education, healthcare, even your happiness.

And if this wasn’t enough, we might be starting to rebuild the same flawed system in space too.

Take SpaceX’s “moon mission” as an example. Elon Musk’s private space exploration enterprise is planning to send two paying customers around the moon by 2018. The price is a secret, but some estimate it to be as high as $175 million dollars per seat.

What happens when we make space exploration so wildly exclusive, in the interests of rapid innovation? For one, we short-change the human race. If, in the future, only the elite, the .0001% of humans have the opportunity to experience the world outside of ours, it is almost as if no one does at all.

NASA has provided this country with a tradition of government-sponsored space programs. While the agency does not send ordinary Americans to the moon, their voyagers are extremely well-trained professionals. This makes more sense than to send amateur rich people out into space with, at best a year of training, and a hope for the best.

Of course, NASA’s approach doesn’t make financial sense. NASA does not rely on external funding; with a government lacking passion for exploration, and in favor of pouring funds into other areas such as defense spending, the agency cannot compete with its private competitors.

As a result, a bastion of space research is now being eclipsed by companies that fund joy-rides for the rich. Some want NASA to step aside and permit the flourishing of the free market. Adam Minter on Bloomberg urges the government to accept that “the private sector will always have an advantage” in terms of lowering costs. This is the same logic used to argue for privatized human needs, such as healthcare.

None of this is to say that private space start ups should disappear. At their best, these enterprises fill in for NASA’s lack of funding through frequent collaborations, their importance shown by NASA’s blog dedicated to SpaceX.

Private space companies are not ideal, but they have proven helpful. Instead, the problem lies with how the private and public space exploration sectors are being positioned against each other. In this battle, the underfunded and bureaucratic NASA is no match. We cannot afford to let it step aside and be replaced by an entirely privatized space industry. We cannot risk having important research projects decided entirely on the whims of the free market and the personal benefit of the rich.

Also a problem: the perpetual underfunding of NASA. And under Trump, it’s not likely to get better.

Unless these problems are fixed, we are poised to enter a future where even outer space travel is divided by class.

USA World News The World

Global warming, Chelsea Manning, and Obama’s final press conference: The Week in Review

We get it, Wednesdays can be tough to get through. In an effort to keep up with the world’s ever-changing news landscape, we’ve put together the top 10 headlines so you can stay on top of things.

1. Earth hits record-high temperatures for the third year in a row


For three years in a row, temperatures on our planet have broken records for the hottest year. This past year, the symptoms of a warming atmosphere were harshly felt around the globe. The Arctic experienced twenty to thirty degrees increased temperature and loss of ice, drought caused starvation across the African continent, and “once-in-a-hundred-years” weather events like flooding or tornadoes keep appearing year after year. NASA estimates over a half-degree increase in surface temperature between 2013 and 2016. Doesn’t sound like a lot for an average Wednesday, but for a planet to increase by that amount in just three years is enormous.

Scientists acknowledge the warming effects of El Niño on both 2015 and 2016, but show that the bigger and most alarming factor in the rising temperatures on Earth is the increase of greenhouse gases. Human caused climate change, though denied by our incoming president as a plot hatched by China to decrease competition from U.S. manufacturing. The data is there, whether politicians will manipulate it is another story.

2. Chelsea Manning’s sentence is commuted by President Obama

Democracy Now

Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower intelligence analyst who was given 35 years in prison for leaking information to Wikileaks, has had her sentence commuted by President Obama. Manning, a transgender woman who has been in a male prison for 7 years, has attempted suicide twice since being imprisoned. Her sentence was much longer than the average for intelligence breach and she has already served more than the average few years. This is a Presidential Commutation, which is different than a pardon, as she has already served a reasonable sentence. 

Vice-president-elect Mike Pence has expressed his opposition to this move, which may mean that the incoming administration may try to overturn it after they step in on the 20th. Legal experts say that overriding a predecessor’s decision is very difficult and it is likely to stand.

3. A Nigerian jet misfires on a refugee camp


On Tuesday, a Nigerian military jet accidentally bombed a refugee camp in Rann, killing over 50 and wounding over 200. The air force was targeting Boko Haram members reported to be plotting an attack on a nearby military outpost but misfired on this camp of innocents who have fled from Boko Haram. Doctors Without Borders and other medical aid workers offered aid to this remote camp of about 20,000 and attempted to assuage the chaos they found there. Nigerian President Muhammad Buhari called the incident “a regrettable operational mistake.”

4. Eugene Cernan, the last man on the moon, passes away


Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, died at the age of 82. He visited space a total of three times and visited the moon twice. He became the eleventh man in history to walk on the moon and was the commander of Apollo 17.

The Apollo 17 was the last mission to the moon, which took place in December of 1972.

5. The Ringling Bros. Circus is set to close by May

Image Source

The Ringling Bros. Circus is officially closing in May, after being open for 146 years. Some of the reasons for the decision to stop the “Greatest Show on Earth” are low attendance, high operating costs and continuous pressure from animal rights groups, according to the Associated Press. One of the groups that has vocally protested the circus is the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The Ringling Bros. Circus will complete 30 more shows before they close forever in May.

6. Joe Biden is awarded the prestigious medal of honor, and we totally shed a tear.

Daily Dot

During his last few days in office, President Obama awarded Vice President Joe Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is America’s highest civilian honor and given to individuals who have made “especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” Biden was emotional as Obama presented him the medal during a ceremony in the White House. Past recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey.

7. Search for Malaysian Airlines flight is suspended

Australia’s Transport Minister, Darren Chester, announced that the search for a Malaysian Airlines flight which disappeared flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing would be suspended after three years of searching. A 12,000 km sq area of the southern Indian Ocean west of Perth was covered by the Malaysian, Australian and Chinese Governments. Several pieces of debris were recovered, but as Chester explained, “It has been a costly exercise but it hasn’t been a factor in the decision to suspend the search…We’re in a position where we don’t want to be providing false hope to the family and friends.”

8. President Obama gives his final press conference

Barack Obama gave the final press conference of this presidency on Wednesday. He was immediately questioned about his commutation of whistleblower Chelsea Manning who leaked three-quarters of a million confidential or sensitive military and diplomatic documents.  However, he acknowledged that critical journalism would be important for the protection of democracy. The President also expressed particular concern about the infringement of minority voting rights, saying  “We are the only country in the advanced world that makes it harder to vote rather than easier.”

Obama ended on a note of tempered hope as he added, “I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad. I believe tragic things happen. I think there’s evil in the world, but I think at the end of the day, if we work hard and if we’re true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time.”

9. Fiat Chrysler is accused of cheating on emissions tests

The US Environmental Protection Agency issued a “notice of violation” last Thursday alleging Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had installed undisclosed software in some of it’s cars which resulted in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides. By installing, then failing to disclose that software, the company is in violation of the Clean Air Act. According to the EPA website, it will not know if a recall will necessary until the investigation is complete.

10. Congress votes towards measures that begin dismantling Obamacare

In an overnight “vote-a-rama” in the senate last Wednesday, the Senate passed a bill directing congress to write legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The bill was passed as part of the Budget Reconciliation Process, which broadly speaking is a way for legislation to be passed much more easily than normal since it can’t be filibustered in the Senate. The legislation passed on Wednesday night is limited to issues regarding debt and spending and has a self imposed deadline for completion of January 27th.

For a more in depth look at repeal, replacement and next steps, check out Everything you need to know about repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Until next week:

Science Now + Beyond

The first global selfie happened yesterday, 70 years ago

Whether you’re a Star Trek nerd or a Star Wars fan, we can all agree that outer space is pretty cool.

What’s even cooler than outer space? Well, since many of us won’t have the opportunity to visit outer space: photos of outer space. For space enthusiasts, yesterday marked a special day in the history of photography: the 70th anniversary of the first photo of Earth taken from outer space.

On October 24, 1946, members of the United States military snapped the above photograph of the Earth using a combination of unlikely devices. During World War II, the U.S. military obtained a number of Nazi V-2 ballistic missiles and then transported them to the White Sand Missile Range in southern New Mexico for aerospace experiments. One October day, some of the scientists at White Sands decided to strap a 35-millimeter motion picture camera to a V-2 ballistic missile and launch it into outer space. That’s the kind of science we’ve always dreamed of.

The gerry-rigged camera/missile combination made it 65 miles into the air and crossed the Karman line, the border between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space, and managed to snap several photographs before spiraling back down to Earth. When the missile slammed back into the surface of the Earth, the camera itself was completely destroyed. However, the White Sands scientists had the good sense to protect the camera’s film by building a specially reinforced case for it–and when they retrieved the film they were rewarded with the first photograph of the Earth from outer space.

What did we have before?

Before the White Sands photograph, the only photo ever taken of the Earth was snapped from the Explorer II balloon at 13.7 miles (not yet in outer space but just high enough to see the curvature of the Earth).

While the White Sands photo might not seem terribly impressive to us, it’s an awesome reminder of how far we’ve come. Remember, 1946 was a good decade before Russia launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, and twenty years before Apollo 11 put the first man on the moon.

What happened after?

The White Sands photo paved the way for future space exploration and photography. In 1968 during the Apollo 8 mission, astronaut William Anders snapped what is perhaps the most famous photograph of the Earth: Earthrise. On Christmas Eve in 1968, Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit and the on-board astronauts held a live broadcast where they showed off the photographs they had recently taken from Earth. Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell expressed a sentiment that many people echo when seeing Earthrise for the first time: “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth.”

In 1977, Voyager I snapped another iconic photo of outer space: Pale Blue Dot. The first “portrait” of the solar system, Pale Blue Dot is a fuzzy photo of what appear to be three rainbow lines, but actually shows the Earth from 4 billion miles away! In the photograph, the Earth takes up only 0.12 pixels and falls right in the middle of a scattered light ray from the sun.

Since then, hundreds–if not thousands–of photographs have been taken in outer space and of the Earth. The United States’s space program has launched missions to Mars and into the distant corners of the galaxy. And while the White Sands photo might seem insignificant in the midst of all this progress, it is likely that this single photograph inspired a generation of scientists to ask “What else is out there?” Thanks for the inspiration, White Sands, we can’t wait to see what else we discover beyond our planet.