Nature's Wonders
March 27, 2014

Unless you're a snowman, you're probably ready for this interminable winter to end. And I'm right there with you: It is way too late in the year to be bundling up before leaving home every morning.

But before we say goodbye to winter for the year, the folks at NASA put together this neat timelapse video of the unusually snowy season. Spoiler: It's pretty much nothing but white clouds all over the place from January until the present. --Jon Terbush

campaign 2016
6:35 a.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will formally announce his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, and he'll do it from his old high school, Livingston High School in Livingston, New Jersey. The event is designed to re-introduce Christie to GOP primary voters, a year after his fortunes started tanking with a scandal about politically motivated bad traffic on the George Washington Bridge. Christie was popular in high school and president of his class for three years, The Associated Press reports.

Still, a high school gymnasium isn't a terribly grand venue for a presidential campaign launch, and that may be a reflection of Christie's reduced presidential prospects and campaign ambitions. Once a frontrunner, Christie is now relying on "a bank-shot strategy, a narrowly tailored approach that leaves Christie with little room for error," Politico reports, counting on gathering momentum by exceeding low expectations. Peter Weber

This is terrible
4:34 a.m. ET

On Tuesday morning, an Indonesian Hercules C-130 military transport plane crashed into a busy Medan neighborhood, just minutes after takeoff. At least 30 people died in the crash, Indonesian search-and-rescue official Hisar Turnip tells Reuters. "That's the latest information, the number could go up."

The plane, built in 1964 and carrying 12 people, circled over the neighborhood three times before crashing into a hotel and massage parlor, a hotel employee told Reuters. Medan, on the island of Sumatra, is Indonesia's third-largest city. You can see the immediate aftermath of the crash in the video below. Peter Weber

A video posted by Banjo (@banjoapp) on

The Daily Showdown
4:01 a.m. ET

No Supreme Court member was more distraught and dismissive of the court's ruling that gay couples have a constitutional right to civil marriage than Justice Antonin Scalia. On Monday's Daily Show, Jon Stewart laughed at the highlights of Scalia's blistering dissent — "jiggery-pokery," "pure applesauce" — but then noted the more troublesome parts, where Scalia suggests the court subverts democracy and the Constitution.

Scalia, it turns out, has had no qualms about subverting democracy and the separation of powers when it suits his needs, Stewart noted, with examples. But Scalia was obviously very upset by the ruling, and Stewart decided to cheer him up by trolling him. "I feel bad for Scalia, I really do," Stewart said, calling the justice a "modern-day Diogenes" and presenting him with a "gesture of empathy" — an animated short called "Antonin Scalia and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." You can watch below. Peter Weber

Green-ish energy
3:16 a.m. ET
Facebook/United

This summer, starting on its Los Angeles to San Francisco route, United Airlines will fly commercial jets using a biofuel made out of plant oil and animal fat. In 2013, United agreed to buy 15 million gallons of the fuel, produced in California by AltAir Fuels, over three years, with the option to buy more. AltAir uses discarded farm waste like tallow (rendered animal fat) plus non-edible natural oils to make biofuel that works in existing jet engines.

The AltAir fuel will be blended with traditional jet fuel, starting with a 30/70 mix. But United isn't placing all its bets on AltAir. On Tuesday, The New York Times says, United will announce a $30 million investment in Fulcrum BioEnergy — a small amount compared with the $11.6 billion United spent on fuel last year, but the largest such investment by a U.S. carrier to date. Fulcrum turns municipal garbage into aviation fuel, promising cheap green fuel from a plentiful source of raw material.

Airlines are trying to reduce their carbon emissions but alternative, sustainable sources of jet fuel aren't yet available in dependable quantities. The industry hopes to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to half their 2005 levels by 2050. Peter Weber

you're gonna hear them roar
2:18 a.m. ET
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

A strange real estate saga is unfolding in Los Angeles, featuring a restaurateur and nightlife doyenne, six nuns, and Katy Perry.

The Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary purchased an 8-acre property in Los Feliz in 1972, and now that they all live in retirement homes, they want to sell the convent and live off of the proceeds. The nuns closed a deal with restaurant owner Dana Hollister for $15.5 million, but the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said they acted too quickly, and it's not actually their property to sell. Sister Catherine Rose, 86, disagrees. "We have control of our property, it's ours," she told ABC Los Angeles. "The archdiocese is not taking care of us, we've been taking care of ourselves."

The archdiocese claims the Immaculate Heart of Mary Institute is ultimately governed by the Holy See, and is trying to void the sale and evict Hollister. This is the part where Perry comes in — the archdiocese claims the singer has offered a better deal that will be more beneficial to the nuns. Sister Catherine Rose said all of the nuns met with Perry, but aren't fans of her songs and don't want to see her turning the convent into Our Lady of the Whipped Cream Shooting Bras. "She answered nicely but her answers were not what we were looking for," Sister Catherine Rose said. The first hearing in the civil suit will take place July 9. Catherine Garcia

Ebola
1:34 a.m. ET
John Moore/Getty Images

More than a month after the World Health Organization declared Liberia free of Ebola, the corpse of a 17-year-old tested positive for the virus.

WHO made the announcement after 42 days passed without a case of Ebola being reported. Since the teen's death on June 24, no other cases have been reported, Tolbert Nyenswah, the country's deputy health minister and head of the Ebola response team, told The Associated Press. "We have said over and over again there was possibility that there could be a resurgence of the virus in Liberia," Nyenswah said. "But our surveillance teams, our capacity is very strong."

Liberia was hit hard by the outbreak that started in 2014, and more than 11,100 people have died from Ebola in West Africa since last year. Officials are not sure how the young man contracted Ebola; the virus is still in Guinea and Sierra Leone, but he did not live close to those borders. Nyenswah said officials are looking into his recent travel, and added that residents of the teenager’s town, 30 miles south of Monrovia, have nothing to worry about. "There is no need for pandemonium," he said. "People should go about their normal business." Catherine Garcia

The Daily Showdown
1:27 a.m. ET

"Last week was amazing," Jon Stewart said on Monday's Daily Show, pointing to the Supreme Court decisions on ObamaCare, fair housing, and, especially, same-sex marriage. But of course, prominent national Republicans weren't pleased with the gay marriage decision, and Stewart played a few of the more vocal dissents, gleefully shooting them down as soon as they were raised. Then he got to the bottom line.

"Look, justices, senators, your problem isn't judicial activism, or overreach, or politically correct policing," Stewart said. "Your problem here is bald-faced, out-in-the-open, common sense experience. That's why you're not going to win the marriage-equality fight." To illustrate his point, he showed a clip of Donald Trump acknowledging that his three marriages aren't very traditional. "You're not going to win the marriage-equality fight because even a man pathologically disposed to not understand other people's points of views," he said, pointing at Trump, "even he gets it." You can watch below. Peter Weber

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