We've seen plenty of amazing time-lapse videos recorded on Earth, but Alexander Gerst, an astronaut at the European Space Agency, has taken the art of the time-lapse video to space.
Gerst caught the footage as the ISS flew over Brazil and the Atlantic Ocean at speeds of roughly 18,000 miles per hour, from approximately 250 miles above Earth. The video is part of a 166-day mission called "Blue Dot," named after Carl Sagan's description of Earth as a "pale blue dot" when photographed by NASA's Voyager probe. Other experiments during the mission "will cover materials physics, human physiology, radiation biology, solar research, biotechnology, fluid physics and astrophysics," reports iO9.
Gerst has only worked on the ISS crew since late May, but if this video is any indication, he may soon join the ranks of astronauts like Chris Hadfield and become a household name for giving the Earth-bound an inside look into life in space. Gerst has already amassed 72,000 Twitter followers for his insights from space, whether he's sharing breathtaking photos of the moon or he's just watching the World Cup with other ISS crew members.
Watch Gerst's mind-blowing video below. --Meghan DeMaria
After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that tainted celery was likely behind an E. coli outbreak that has made at least 19 people in seven states sick, Starbucks recalled its turkey and stuffing paninis from 1,347 west coast locations last week.
A seasonal offering, the sandwiches were pulled from stores in California, Oregon, and Nevada, Starbucks spokeswoman Erin Jane Schaeffer said; no other markets were affected, and so far, there are no reports of the sandwiches making anyone ill. After the E. coli outbreak was traced to chicken salad sold at Costco, the CDC tested the celery and onion used in the salad, and found the bacteria, Bloomberg reports. Taylor Farms Pacific Inc. then announced it was recalling multiple celery products, including the sandwiches sold at Starbucks.
Costco and Starbucks aren't the only companies dealing with E. coli — an outbreak linked to Chipotle has made at least 45 people sick, and health officials are still trying to determine the contaminated ingredient. Catherine Garcia
Something sinister is happening in the Sea of Japan.
— The Age (@theage) December 1, 2015
Since October, a dozen wooden boats have been discovered in the sea or on the coast filled with 22 decaying bodies, police and the Japanese coast guard said. One boat contained six skulls, and another had two headless "partially skeletonized" bodies. So far, the clues point to the boats being from North Korea – the coast guard says the hull of one boat with 10 bodies on it had "Korean People's Army," the name of the military, written in Korean, and Japan's NHK reports a tattered piece of cloth found on one boat looks like it could be from a North Korean national flag.
The coast guard is likely correct, maritime expert Yoshihiko Yamada told NHK. The boats have a "striking resemblance" to vessels used by North Korean defectors, and because the boats are "old and heavy," they didn't have enough engine power to "turn the ships against the currents." If the people on the boats were attempting to defect from North Korea, they could have taken the Sea of Japan route because, although more dangerous, it's not policed like the border with China. Catherine Garcia
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a specialized expeditionary targeting force will be deployed to Iraq to fight the Islamic State.
Carter told the House Armed Services Committee the U.S. will launch raids "at the invitation of the Iraqi government" and "conduct unilateral operations in Syria" against ISIS targets, with the goal of defeating ISIS "at its core." He did not say when the troops will arrive.
Department of Defense officials told NBC News about 100 to 150 special operations forces will be permanently based in Iraq, and will gather intelligence, free hostages or prisoners, and kill or capture ISIS leaders. They will also accompany and assist Iraqi and Kurdish forces in operations against ISIS. A senior defense official told NBC News the missions will be similar to the raid that was conducted in northern Iraq in October, where commandos helped Kurdish fighters free 70 ISIS prisoners. Catherine Garcia
Mark Zuckerberg announces the birth of his daughter by pledging to give away 99 percent of his Facebook shares
Most parents dream of a better world for their children. Unfortunately, most parents are not Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, who just announced the birth of their first child — a baby girl named Max.
Fortunately, Zuckerburg and Chan do have the resources to do their part to ensure that Max will grow up in a better world — and the rest of us will also get to reap the benefits! In an extended letter addressed to Max (and posted on Facebook), Zuckerberg and Chan have announced that over the course of their lifetimes, they will give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares — currently valued at $45 billion — in an effort to "advance human potential and promote equality."
"Max, we love you and feel a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children," the letter concludes. "We wish you a life filled with the same love, hope, and joy you give us. We can't wait to see what you bring to this world."
The National Board of Review (NBR) named Mad Max: Fury Road the best film of 2015 Tuesday, surprising many who thought the group of 120 New York film fans from would pick a "less action-oriented film," The Wrap reports. The film, directed and produced by George Miller, stars Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy in the Mad Max series' fourth installment depicting a rebellion against a tyrannical ruler in post-apocalyptic Australia.
While the win is certainly a victory for Mad Max, "don't take this as a sign that Mad Max is all of a sudden guaranteed to be a gate-crasher at the Oscars," writes Kevin Lincoln at Vulture:
Last year the NBR made the genuinely idiosyncratic decision to recognize A Most Violent Year as the best film of 2014, a decision that didn't quite set the dominos falling for J.C. Chandor's mostly under-the-radar '80s crime epic. The year prior they went with Her, which at least snagged an Academy nomination. [Vulture]
Has Jeb Bush already got a certain someone in mind for a running mate? Answering an audience question about vice presidents at a town hall meeting in Waterloo, Iowa, Bush let it slip that, "Should I be elected president, I would have my vice president — I think she will be a great partner."
It appeared to be almost an intentional "mistake" as he immediately joked, "I mean, did I say that out loud?" The audience laughed, and Bush went on: "We always talk about this with one gender in mind. I think we've reached the point I think in our country where maybe we should be a little less gender specific about this."
But as to who exactly he might be considering, Bush remained tight-lipped. Watch below. Jeva Lange
Jeb going for a news cycle by hinting he'd have a female running mate https://t.co/qj4aXD9S65
— Justin Green (@JGreenDC) December 1, 2015
The U.S. saw its highest level of terrorism-related arrests since September 2001 this year, a study released Tuesday reveals. Through a review of social media accounts and legal documents, researchers at George Washington University found that 56 individuals were arrested in 2015 for either supporting ISIS or plotting to assist the extremist group. "The individuals range from hardened militants to teenage girls, petty criminals, and college students," GWU's director of the program on extremism Lorenzo Vidino told The New York Times. "The diversity is staggering."
That diversity, Vidino suggests, is exactly why identifying and monitoring potential terrorist threats can be such a challenge for law enforcement agencies. "For law enforcement, it's extremely difficult to determine who makes a big leap from keyboard jihadist to doing something," Vidino said.
The average age of the Americans arrested was 26, though individuals ranged from a 15-year-old boy to a 47-year-old former Air Force officer. The overwhelming majority of arrests made were American citizens or permanent residents. An estimated 40 percent of those arrested were converts to Islam and over half of those arrested had attempted to travel abroad.