Check out these stunning winners of the 2019 iPhone Photography Awards

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I don’t know if you’ve heard, but iPhone cameras have gotten really good. Like, really good. Nowhere is that more clear than in the winners’ circle at the 2019 iPhone Photography Awards. 

The annual smartphone photography competition announced its champions this week, giving accolades to both photos and photographers. The 12th edition of the iPhone Photography Awards produced some pretty stunning images, including the competition’s grand prize winner, “Big Sister.”

'Big Sister' from Gabriella Cigliano won the grand prize at the 2019 iPhone Photography Awards.

‘Big Sister’ from Gabriella Cigliano won the grand prize at the 2019 iPhone Photography Awards.

Image: Gabriella cigliano/apple

Grand prize winner Gabriella Cigliano took the photo on an iPhone X in Zanzibar. She didn’t know the two kids in the photo, but she said their “excitement was unexplainable” when they saw the image themselves.

“We couldn’t talk much, except for a few words in Swahili I had learned in the previous weeks, but those kids could definitely talk with their eyes,” Cigliano said. “It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life, and I’ll keep it in my memories forever.”

Apple has made huge advancements in iPhone camera tech in the last few years, with last year’s XS models in particular being praised for their excellent cameras. That said, plenty of the winning photos in this year’s competition were taken on older iPhones. 

For instance, the first place winner in the News/Events category was taken on an iPhone 6S. This is “Fire Dragon” by Lianyu Lu, which was taken in Meizhou, China.

'Fire Dragon' won the News/Events category and was taken on an iPhone 6S.

‘Fire Dragon’ won the News/Events category and was taken on an iPhone 6S.

The iPhone Photography awards have been around since 2007, which is also when the first iPhone came out. For a full list of winners, make your way over here. They’re separated into 18 categories (aside from the grand prize winners) with three winners in each category, so there’s plenty of gorgeous photography to peruse if you’re a fan of that sort of thing.

The fact that plenty of the winners were taken on older iPhones also goes to show that the skill of the photographer matters more than the device they took the photo with. Congratulations to everyone involved.

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Quentin Tarantino On How He Decided To Kill Hitler: “Just F*cking Kill Him, It’s A GREAT Idea”

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Universal

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth feature film — Once Upon A Time In Hollywood — comes out today and to say I’m gleefully excited would be an understatement.

You see, Tarantino — along with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Alfonso Cuarón, Clint Eastwood — is a dying breed, an auteur. He has a unique movie-making style that everyone not only distinctly recognizes but thoroughly enjoys. He in and of himself is the box-office draw.

In the age of superhero movies and preexisting properties, Tarantino still has the ability to not only create something unique but something excellent, and that is a quality that needs to be cherished.

Throw in the fact that he’s got Leo DiCaprio AND Brad Pitt starring in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and you have the makings of a perfect movie.

Prior to Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, though, if you were to ask the masses what their favorite Tarantino flick is, they’d likely say one of two things: Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Basterds.

Inglorious Basterds, which is now already a decade old (I know, fuck me, right?), was unique for Tarantino in that it was his first time delving into history … or at least, his version of it.

As we all know now (10-year spoiler alert), Tarantino ultimately has Adolf Hitler violently gunned down in a French movie theater during the film’s climactic scene. And according to the legendary director, the decision to do so wasn’t always necessarily cut and dry.

Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! prior to the Los Angeles premiere of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Tarantino walked the audience through his thought process of decided to off Adolf.

“So, the thing is though, I was like, ‘Well I don’t want it to be a double, that’s always a bummer whenever that happens in a movie. I’ve seen that before. And I don’t think they should sneak him out of the back, so, what am I gonna do?’” Tarantino begins.

“It’s like 4 o’clock in the morning; I’m writing by myself. And then I finally decide, ‘Just kill him.’ So, I took a piece of paper and I wrote on it, ‘Just fucking kill him.’”

“And I put it by my bedside table and went to bed. And when I woke up the next morning, I figured I would look at the piece of paper and realize: Was it a good idea or a bad idea? After I had a night’s sleep I read it and I go, ‘It’s a GREAT idea.’”

Given that Inglorious Basterds has since aged into one of the director’s finest films, the decision to kill Hitler ultimately proved to be a wise one, as the moment now stands as the movie’s most iconic moment.

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The Tour de France bikes, ranked

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Tour de France bikes ranked 2019 BH Arkea Samsic

It’s the rider, not the bike, but we can’t help staring when the Tour de France rolls around.

All the gorgeous aerodynamic lightweight carbon fiber comes from sponsors who each July put out their best product on cycling’s biggest stage for all the world to see and, they hope, buy.

Read more: Heading to the Tour? Go to the mountains

We went to the Tour again to track down the 22 teams’ bikes and rank them, from least to most desirable. (Spoilers: We don’t dig loud bikes and continue to be uninspired by all-black paint jobs.)

Following is our very subjective ranking of the 2019 Tour bikes.

SEE ALSO: Reporter’s notebook: Chasing riders and a dream at the Tour

DON’T MISS: A top Tour photographer reveals the secret to shooting the world’s greatest race

No. 22 — Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s Cube

The Litening raced by Wanty-Groupe Gobert is one of two Cube models at the Tour, this being the climbing bike. It hasn’t changed since last year, though it now has disc brakes, as do the majority of Tour bikes these days. But what we once thought were interesting color choices are starting to feel dated, so a new look is in order.

No. 21 — Cofidis-Solutions Crédits’ Kuota

The Kuota Khan raced by the Cofidis-Solutions Crédits team looks much the same as last year’s, save for an updated paint job. It’s an OK-looking bike with a somewhat classic road vibe but a fairly aero frame. Brands should ditch all the noisy decals, though.

No. 20 — Bahrain-Merida’s Reacto

This Reacto is one of two Merida road models raced by the Bahrain-Merida team, and it’s a fast-looking ride that’s unchanged since last year. The frame has slippery tubes as well as graphic touches for star rider Vincenzo "The Shark" Nibali. The Fulcrum wheels are fast, too. But matte-black bikes just haven’t inspired us, this year or last.

No. 19 — Katusha-Alpecin’s Canyon

The Canyon Aeroad raced by Katusha-Alpecin is one fast bike, and it’s much the same as last year’s. We dig the speed of the Zipp wheels — they’re among the fastest you can buy — but we’ll just never be fans of big all-caps on our wheels. Still, a sleek red frame does turn heads. Katusha-Alpecin is one of two teams at the Tour riding Chicago-based SRAM components, the other being Trek-Segafredo.

No. 18 — AG2R La Mondiale’s Eddy Merckx

The Eddy Merckx 525 frame raced by the AG2R-La Mondiale team has a traditional look that we like. Yet the deep-profile aero wheels from Mavic, while sleek, look a little too deep on this bike. Still, it must be cool to ride a bike with the name of cycling’s GOAT on it. Doesn’t every bike look better with a gold-plated chain?

No. 17 — Dimension Data’s BMC

The BMC Teammachine has a squeaky-clean design but maintains something of a classic road look compared with the hyper-aero bikes around the Tour. The shiny black paint and ENVE wheels are complemented nicely by the blingy chain and gum-wall tires.

No. 16 — UAE Emirates’ Colnago

The Colnago Concept looks like a lot of other bikes, but it’s still fast-looking. There’s a lot of free speed here, and coupled with the Campagnolo components and wheels and the Colnago frame, it’s a pure Italian stallion.

No. 15 — CCC’s Giant

The Giant TCR Advanced SL raced by the CCC team is a good-looking if understated frame, with its beefy head tube and slim seat stays. The matte-black look feels uninspired, but this bike benefits from the clean Cadex wheels and gum-wall tires. If the Olympic champ is racing it, you know it’s fast.

No. 14 — Ineos’ Pinarello

The stealthy Pinarello Dogma F12 raced by Team Ineos has a $6,200 pair of Lightweight wheels for the mountains. It’s a fast-looking bike whose curvy seat stays and fork help it stand out from the other matte-black bikes in the bunch.

No. 13 — Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Specialized Tarmac

As he’s worn yellow longer than anyone else in this Tour, we thought it only right to show Julian Alaphilippe’s Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc. Fast and light with the Roval wheels, the Tarmac is one of the best all-around road bikes. The blue on the lower half of the frame and fork nicely complements the black paint.

No. 12 — Lotto-Soudal’s Ridley

The bright-red Ridley Helium SLX raced by the Lotto-Soudal team is a great-looking bike that screams "Race me!" but manages to balance classic good looks and aero efficiency. The Campagnolo Bora Ultra wheels are sleek, too. No wonder it’s racking up stage wins.

No. 11 — Movistar’s Canyon

The Canyon Ultimate CF SLX bikes raced by the Movistar team are the riders’ choice for the mountains, and they’re have a nice blue-fade paint job. The Campagnolo Bora Ultra wheels complement the bike well. And while we believe that the color of your bar tape should always match that of your saddle, everything still works out here.

No. 10 — Mitchelton-Scott’s Addict

The Scott Addict raced by Mitchelton-Scott at the Tour doesn’t look that special from afar, but up close you can see it has a gorgeous deep-purple paint job. The bike is fully integrated, so you won’t find any cables. Like a lot of climbing bikes now, it’s more aero and has features like dropped seat stays. Dura-Ace wheels with disc brakes complete the bike.

No. 9 — Sunweb’s Cervélo

The R5 is one of two Cervélo models raced by the Sunweb team at the Tour this year. This lightweight climber has a traditional road-race look and a clean frame design. Its colors work well together, but the vibe still says climb fast.

No. 8 — Arkea-Samsic’s BH

At last year’s Tour we praised the BH bikes raced by Arkea-Samsic for their classic good looks. This year’s fleet is much more aero in frame design and with the FFWD wheels but still distinguished-looking. Besides the world champion’s custom livery, the BH is the only white bike at this year’s Tour.

No. 7 — Groupama-FDJ’s Lapierre

This Lapierre Aircode SL is the same as those raced last year by the Groupama-FDJ team, and once again it’s the most French bike around the race with its proud tricolor paint job. Coupled with the fast Dura-Ace wheels, it’s one of the better-looking aero road bikes at the Tour.

No. 6 — Bora-Hansgrohe’s Specialized Venge

The Specialized S-Works Venge raced by Bora-Hansgrohe is the same as last year’s, but a great bike with a good-looking mix of colors is timeless. Up there with the fastest aero bikes in the bunch, the Venge is fully integrated and built for speed with deep-profile Roval wheels with disc brakes. If it’s good enough for Peter Sagan, it’s good enough for us.

No. 5 — Astana’s Argon 18

The aqua-teal of Astana’s Argon 18 is refreshing and unique in the bunch of black bikes, an elegant color scheme that complements the traditional look. But the team issue is still lightweight and fast with rim brakes and these Corima wheels.

No. 4 — Trek-Segafredo’s Madone

Trek’s Madone took the No. 1 spot in our ranking last year, and it stays in the top five this time thanks in part to its intriguing new paint job. (The custom work is something customers can get through Trek’s Project One service.) We’ve ridden the Madone and can attest it is a superfast ride, especially with these Bontrager wheels. We like it enough to look past the supersize lettering.

No. 3 — EF Education First’s Cannondale

The Cannondale SuperSix EVO is one of the best all-around road bikes, and the one raced by EF Education First is new for 2019. It’s lighter, comes with either rim or disc brakes, and is more aero. What makes it a looker is the groovy paint, with a mix of blue, purple, and pink seemingly changing with the light. The EVO steps onto our podium of best Tour bikes.

Read more: We rode the new SuperSix EVO, billed as the ‘fastest lightweight road bike’

No. 2 — Total Direct Energie’s Wilier

Total Direct Energie’s Wilier Zero SLR in admiral blue quickly caught our eye at this Tour. It’s a stunning and elegant beauty but is still high on performance features, with its aero frame and fork, integrated cables, disc brakes, and FFWD wheels. The glossy blue really pops. We’ll have one to go, thank you.

No. 1 — Jumbo Visma’s Bianchi

Our favorite bike at the 2019 Tour is the Bianchi Oltre XR4 raced by Jumbo-Visma. Its aggressive, deep tube shapes make for clean aero efficiency, and its timeless celeste green is synonymous with cycling’s rich history going back to Fausto Coppi. With the stealthy Dura-Ace wheels and gum-wall aesthetic, it’s an all-around aero bike that turns heads and delivers stage wins.

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How to Survive an Alligator Attack

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In late August of 2018, a woman was walking her dog at a golf course on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. As she approached the 13th green, an alligator appeared and attempted to attack the woman’s dog. When she tried to protect the dog, the alligator turned on her instead, dragging her into the water and killing her.

Over five million alligators live in the United States, occupying a territory that stretches from South Carolina to Texas, with the majority residing in Florida. The good news is that gators typically don’t go after people. They primarily eat smaller prey like fish, raccoons, birds, turtles, and sometimes deer. If they attack a person, it’s likely a case of mistaken identity; in the above story, the woman’s dog was the original target.  

The bad news is that gators are incredibly powerful if they do get a hold of you. With 150 million years of evolution to back them up, alligators are pure killing machines. Some are over eleven feet long, weigh up to 1,000 pounds, and can bite down with a PSI of nearly 3,000 pounds. But for all that power, gators do have some weak points. Understanding how to exploit them could save your life if you ever get attacked.

Like this illustrated guide? Then you’re going to love our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness! Pick up a copy on Amazon.

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

The post How to Survive an Alligator Attack appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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‘The Great Hack’: Netflix doc unpacks Cambridge Analytica, Trump, Brexit and democracy’s death

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It’s perhaps not for nothing that The Great Hack – the new Netflix documentary about the connections between Cambridge Analytica, the US election and Brexit, out on July 23 – opens with a scene from Burning Man. There, Brittany Kaiser, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, scrawls the name of the company onto a strut of ‘the temple’ that will eventually get burned in that fiery annual ritual. It’s an apt opening.

There are probably many of us who’d wish quite a lot of the last couple of years could be thrown into that temple fire, but this documentary is the first I’ve seen to expertly unpick what has become the real-world dumpster fire that is social media, dark advertising and global politics which have all become inextricably, and, often fatally, combined.

The documentary is also the first that you could plausibly recommend those of your relatives and friends who don’t work in tech, as it explains how social media – specifically Facebook – is now manipulating our lives and society, whether we like it or not.

As New York Professor David Carroll puts it at the beginning, Facebook gives “any buyer direct access to my emotional pulse” – and that included political campaigns during the Brexit referendum and the Trump election. Privacy campaigner Carroll is pivotal to the film’s story of how our data is being manipulated and essentially kept from us by Facebook.

The UK’s referendum decision to leave the European Union, in fact, became “the petri dish” for a Cambridge Analytica experiment, says Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr She broke the story of how the political consultancy, led by Eton-educated CEO Alexander Nix, applied techniques normally used by ‘psyops’ operatives in Afghanistan to the democratic operations of the US and UK, and many other countries, over a chilling 20+ year history. Watching this film, you literally start to wonder if history has been warped towards a sickening dystopia.

carole

The petri-dish of Brexit worked. Millions of adverts, explains the documentary, targeted individuals, exploiting fear and anger, to switch them from ‘persuadables’, as CA called them, into passionate advocates for, first Brexit in the UK, and then Trump later on.

Switching to the US, the filmmakers show how CA worked directly with Trump’s “Project Alamo” campaign, spending a million dollars a day on Facebook ads ahead of the 2016 election.

The film expertly explains the timeline of how CA had first worked off Ted Cruz’s campaign, and nearly propelled that lack-luster candidate into first place in the Republican nominations. It was then that the Trump campaign picked up on CA’s military-like operation.

After loading up the psychographic survey information CA had obtained from Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University academic who orchestrated the harvesting of Facebook data, the world had become their oyster. Or, perhaps more accurately, their oyster farm.

Back in London, Cadwalladr notices triumphant Brexit campaigners fraternizing with Trump and starts digging. There is a thread connecting them to Breitbart owner Steve Bannon. There is a thread connecting them to Cambridge Analytica. She tugs on those threads and, like that iconic scene in ‘The Hurt Locker’ where all the threads pull-up unexploded mines, she starts to realize that Cambridge Analytica links them all. She needs a source though. That came in the form of former employee Chris Wylie, a brave young man who was able to unravel many of the CA threads.

But the film’s attention is often drawn back to Kaiser, who had worked first on US political campaigns and then on Brexit for CA. She had been drawn to the company by smooth-talking CEO Nix, who begged: “Let me get you drunk and steal all of your secrets.”

But was she a real whistleblower? Or was she trying to cover her tracks? How could someone who’d worked on the Obama campaign switch to Trump? Was she a victim of Cambridge Analytica, or one of its villains?

British political analyst Paul Hilder manages to get her to come to the UK to testify before a parliamentary inquiry. There is high drama as her part in the story unfolds.

Kaiser appears in various guises which vary from idealistically naive to stupid, from knowing to manipulative. It’s almost impossible to know which. But hearing about her revelation as to why she made the choices she did… well, it’s an eye-opener.

brit

Both she and Wylie have complex stories in this tale, where not everything seems to be as it is, reflecting our new world, where truth is increasingly hard to determine.

Other characters come and go in this story. Zuckerburg makes an appearance in Congress and we learn of the casual relationship Facebook had to its complicity in these political earthquakes. Although if you’re reading TechCrunch, then you will probably know at least part of this story.

Created for Netflix by Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, these Egyptian-Americans made “The Square”, about the Egyptian revolution of 2011. To them, the way Cambridge Analytica applied its methods to online campaigning was just as much a revolution as Egyptians toppling a dictator from Cario’s iconic Tahrir Square.

For them, the huge irony is that “psyops”, or psychological operations used on Muslim populations in Iraq and Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks ended up being used to influence Western elections.

Cadwalladr stands head and shoulders above all as a bastion of dogged journalism, even as she is attacked from all quarters, and still is to this day.

What you won’t find out from this film is what happens next. For many, questions remain on the table: What will happen now Facebook is entering Cryptocurrency? Will that mean it could be used for dark election campaigning? Will people be paid for their votes next time, not just in Likes? Kaiser has a bitcoin logo on the back of her phone. Is that connected? The film doesn’t comment.

But it certainly unfolds like a slow-motion car crash, where democracy is the car and you’re inside it.

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How The Hell Hasn’t Maverick Been Promoted From Captain Since The Original ‘Top Gun’ Came Out?

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why wasnt maverick promoted top gun

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It’s been a few years since we first learned a sequel to Top Gun was in the works, and after being intermittently treated to casting news and photos from the set, our hopes and dreams were finally realized when the trailer forTop Gun: Maverick dropped last week.

I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical when the followup was first announced, as sequels that come out decades after the original don’t really have the best track record.

With that said, after seeing the trailer, I’m very pumped to hang with the boys again (especially when you consider Kenny Loggins’ sweet, sweet pipes are going to be featured on the soundtrack).

However, ever since I watched the preview, there’s been one question on my mind that I’ve been unable to find the answer to: how the hell hasn’t Maverick been promoted from captain after more than 30 years in the Navy?

In the trailer, we’re treated to Ed Harris asking Maverick this very question, saying:

“Thirty-plus years of service. Combat medals, citations, the only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last 40 years.

Yet you can’t get a promotion, you won’t retire, and despite your best efforts you refuse to die. You should be at least a two-star admiral by now. Yet here you are. Captain. Why is that?”

Thankfully, according to USNI News, it looks like we’ve found an answer to this pressing question thanks to the military branch itself, which attempted to explain  his lack of advancement while speaking to the outlet:

The most straightforward answer to have a captain with 35-plus years of service is for the captain to have previous enlisted experience. In the case of Maverick, this scenario doesn’t fit with the movie’s timeline – Maverick was a lieutenant in 1986.

Another possible scenario occurs if there’s a break in service. For instance, perhaps at some point after the famous incident involving MiGs of uncertain origin over the Indian Ocean, as depicted in the first “Top Gun,” Maverick left active duty and did some time in the Navy Reserve. Then later, he returned to active duty. With more than five years in the reserves, Maverick could be pushing 37 years in uniform.

The final scenario for Maverick would be if he were retired but retained in service, a scenario that keeps individuals in uniform after reaching their statutory retirement. Generally speaking, cases of individuals being retired but retained are rare, but not unheard of, according to Naval Personnel Command.

Based on what the Navy had to say, we can rule out that first scenario, and based on what Harris’ character had to say, it seems like we can also discount that last one.

Perhaps he took some time off to fly rubber dogshit out of Hong Kong? I guess we’re going to have to wait until June 26, 2020 to find out when the movie finally hits theaters.

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Yes, the climate has changed before. But warming has never hit the entire planet at once the way it is now, new research shows.

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glacier

Our climate has changed before. Between 1300 and 1850, Europe and North America experienced what’s known as the Little Ice Age; before that, the Medieval Warming Period brought slightly higher temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere from 800 to 1200.

But neither of those shifts came close to the level of climate change we’re seeing now, new research shows.

That’s because those past instances affected relatively small areas of the planet — less than half — while the warming trend that has characterized the last 150 years is felt across all of Earth.

A new set of studies, published today in the journals Nature and Nature Geoscience, describe these differences. The work shows that the period of years between the late 20th and early 21st century is the first time Earth’s climate has changed on a planetary scale.

"Not only is the global temperature on average (across the entire planet) hotter than before, the current warming is also exceptional in terms of its geography," Scott St. George, a researcher who was not involved in the new studies, told Business Insider in an email.

The other key difference between today and the past, of course, is that earlier periods of warming were caused by natural factors like volcanic eruptions. This time, human activity is to blame. 

Overall, this means those of us on Earth today are experiencing warming that’s truly "global" for the first time ever.

Until the last 150 years, there was no such thing as ‘global’ warming

The authors of the Nature study looked at global patterns of climate change over the last 2,000 years. Since temperature records from 2,000 years ago aren’t available, the scientists analyzed ancient ice cores taken from the North and South Poles, long-lived trees, reef-building corals, and lake and marine sediments as proxies.

The researchers found that before the 20th century, periods of warming (and cooling) didn’t affect the entire globe the way some scientists previously thought. Instead, episodes of climate change were regional or continental.

melting glacier

For example, the coldest temperature snaps seen during the last 2,000 years occurred in the central and eastern Pacific during the 15th century, and in northwestern Europe and southeastern North America in the 17th and 19th centuries, the authors reported. None of these affected the entire planet at once.

The researchers found no evidence of worldwide warming, either. Temperature records from the last few decades, by contrast, show that more than 98% of the globe is experiencing the warmest period ever in history at the same time.

"There really is nowhere on Earth where you can escape the grip of this ongoing warming," St. George said, adding, "today’s version of climate change is also happening a lot faster than it did in the past." 

Carbon emissions are causing Earth to heat up faster than ever 

The paper published in Nature Geoscience shows that the scattered periods of warming and cooling before about 1850 were mostly caused by volcanic activity. Since then, greenhouse gases have become the dominant influence on global climate. And they’re much more damaging.

Last year was the hottest year on record for the world’s oceans, and the fourth warmest for the planet in general. Scientists have reported unprecedented melting in both Arctic and Antarctic glaciers, and the Greenland ice sheet is losing ice six times faster than it was in the 1980s. 

Read More: One of Antarctica’s biggest glaciers will soon reach a point of irreversible melting. That would cause sea levels to rise at least 1.6 feet.

climate change

The only surefire way to curb this warming is to stop sending heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

"It’s important to emphasize that the choices we make about carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases will have an enormous impact on the arc of future climate change," St. George said. "Although it would have been best for us to have started making meaningful progress on this problem several decades ago, the second-best time to begin the work is right now."

SEE ALSO: Last month was the hottest June ever recorded in Earth’s history, with temperatures nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit above average

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here’s what could happen to Earth over the next 500 years

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LightSail 2 is now surfing on sunlight

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LightSail 2, the crowdfunded spacecraft designed to be powered by the sun’s photons, has officially set sail. The Planetary Society announced today that LightSail 2 deployed its solar sail on Tuesday as it was flying south of the continental United States. So far, everything seems to be working as intended. Scientists reported on Twitter that the solar sail was angled within 30 degrees of its expected orientation, a sign that it is properly tracking the Sun.

One slight hiccup — the spacecraft did not rise far above the horizon, which scientists theorize is due to its orientation during the pass and the presence of the sail. The 32-square meter sail is roughly the size of a boxing ring. After the sail deployed on July 23rd, telemetry indicated that the spacecraft’s small motor was rotating correctly, extending four, four-meter booms from their central spindle. The booms — made of cobalt-alloy — are attached to four triangular sections that make up the sail itself.

"Yesterday, we successfully set sail on beams of sunlight," said Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society in a statement. "Thanks to our team and our tens of thousands of supporters around the world, the dream started by The Planetary Society’s founders more than 4 decades ago has taken flight."

The images captured by LightSail 2’s two wide-angle cameras gave scientists evidence that the sail had deployed correctly. Each 185-degree fisheye camera lens is wide enough to capture more than half of the sail. The Planetary Society released raw images captured by the spacecraft, which include jaw-dropping shots of the Earth and its own sail.

Four weeks ago, LightSail 2 first launched into space from the Kennedy Space Center while aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Unlike traditional spacecraft which are powered by rocket engines, solar sails are propelled by photons from the sun. At present, the Sun is giving the space craft a gentle push that is no heavier than the weight of a paper clip. Over time, this push will raise LightSail 2’s orbit. The spacecraft will spend the next month raising its orbit in this fashion, and is expected to re-enter the atmosphere in roughly a year.

Source: The Planetary Society

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