Advertisements



Light Snow Blankets Northern Maine

Light Snow Blankets Northern Maine.....»»

Category: topSource: yahooDec 2nd, 2023

11 things people do in Finland — the happiest country in the world — that Americans might find strange

Leaving babies outside is a no-no for Americans, but in Finland, it's fair game. Here's some other common Finnish practices that might surprise Americans. A woman in Vaasa, Finland, descends into freezing waters after using a sauna.Olivier Morin/AFP via Getty ImagesIn 2023, the World Happiness Report named Finland the happiest country in the world.Finns are known for their love of nature, saunas, and coffee.But Americans might be surprised by some of their customs.Finland has been named the happiest country in the world by the World Happiness Report for the past six years.With its harsh winters and limited sunlight, it's only natural for the rest of the globe to wonder just what brings the Nordic country such persistent joy.From free education to social benefits, there are a number of factors that may contribute to the nation's happiness — or contentedness, as locals would rather put it.But whether it's satisfaction or true happiness Americans are chasing, it seems like Finland is onto something. Here are 11 things people do in Finland that Americans might find surprising — and some could provide valuable insight into unlocking a more comfortable life.Some parents leave their babies outside to nap while they shop or enjoy a meal.In Helsinki, a woman pushes a baby's stroller through the snow.Alessandro Rampazzo/Anadolu via Getty ImagesIt's common for parents in Nordic countries like Finland to let their babies sleep outside.While this may seem outrageous to parents in America for various safety reasons, Finnish society is typically far more trusting, locals told Business Insider in 2023. Additionally, parents can take precautions like using weather-appropriate clothing, designated outdoor napping areas, and video monitors to ensure their child is safe.Many Finnish parents believe this sleeping method is preferable to bringing their babies inside, where they're more likely to be disturbed. Additionally, Katie Palmer, a sleep consultant in the UK, previously told BI that babies may sleep better and longer and be exposed to fewer germs.The shared sense of safety in Finland also impacts children's activities as they grow, too. Some kids as young as 7 will walk to playgrounds and travel to and from school independently.The Finnish government provides all expectant mothers and adoptive parents with the option to receive a baby box.This gift box contains many of the same items as the Finnish government's Baby Box, like clothes, a brush, and blankets.Netrun78/ShutterstockBaby boxes, also known as maternity boxes, are a long-standing initiative in Finland designed to give all children an equal start in life by providing essentials for an infant's first months.In April 2023, YouTuber Ihana Pon posted a video detailing the contents of her Finnish baby box. Included were items like a snowsuit, onesies, bedding, toiletries, and a book.She said every mother can apply for either the box or a cash supplement after 150 days of pregnancy.Working Finnish parents are also entitled to parental leave and continued pay after their child is born, with mothers receiving 17.5 weeks off at 74.6% of their pay, according to a December 2022 report by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This equates to about 13 weeks of fully paid time off.The US, on the other hand, has no federally mandated minimum paid maternity leave.They go to college for free.Helsinki University of Technology.DEA/ARCHIVIO J. LANGE/De Agostini/Getty ImagesFinland provides all residents with free education through the Ph.D. level.BI reported that in 2021, Finland spent 24% of its gross domestic product on social protection, and in 2023, the OECD reported an 85% satisfaction rate with the country's education system. Americans, in contrast, reported a 64% satisfaction rate with education.Despite the differences in satisfaction, the OECD reported that more Americans aged 25-64 completed tertiary education than Finns in 2022.Many Finnish families will vacation in summer cottages without running water or electricity.A lakeside cabin in the woods in Finland.MDowningUK/ShutterstockIn a country as northern as Finland, summer is sacred — it's so important that following Midsummer Day in late June, "virtually the entire country 'shuts down'" for over a month, This is Finland wrote in "A Guide to Finnish Customs and Manners," produced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department for Communications.Such a shutdown is made possible by the country's commitment to a work-life balance. By many US employers' standards, Finns get a lot of paid time off: five weeks — typically four weeks in the summer and one in the winter — and 13 national holidays, according to data shared by Vacation Tracker.Many families use this time to vacation in rural summer cottages, known as mökki. These often don't have running water or electricity. The lack of distractions provides both a physical and mental escape from the pressures of daily life, Culture Trip reported.Finns drink more coffee than anyone else in the world.A cup of coffee.Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesFinland consumes more coffee than any other country — 26.45 pounds per person annually — Business Insider reported in 2020, citing 2017 data from the International Coffee Organization.That translates to roughly five to eight cups of coffee a day, compared to the average American's three cups, according to a 2020 report from National Coffee Data Trends.The beverage is such a large part of Finnish culture that the language has adapted to contain words specifying different coffee-drinking situations. For example, there's "saunakahvi," which is sauna coffee; "mitalikahvit," coffee after winning a sporting medal; and "vaalikahvit," coffee after voting in an election.The country even has a labor agreement that mandates two 15-minute coffee breaks per day, which is hard to imagine coming from the US, where there isn't even a federal mandate for lunch breaks.While we can't pinpoint exactly why Finland has such an affinity for coffee, BI reported in 2020 that people may use caffeine to help power through the long winter days with minimal sunlight.In Finland, it's normal to use a public sauna completely naked.Tools for a hotel sauna in Helsinki.Sergi Reboredo/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesWhen you think about Finland, saunas are perhaps one of the first cultural components you envision. However, there are differences between how Finns and Americans typically use them.Aurora, a Finnish TikToker living in Los Angeles, explained in a 2023 video that she was stunned when she saw Americans use a sauna in gym clothes and shoes, and with their electronics. She had entered the sauna wearing only a towel.In another TikTok, she described the staples of Finnish sauna culture, including being naked, using birch tree leaves to exfoliate, and being very quiet.She added that it's common for Finnish people to use saunas in the winter, then jump into a pile of snow or go swimming in icy waters."I know this is like super popular right now in the wellness world to do sauna and do cold plunge that we have been doing for centuries, and it's the best," she told her followers.She told Business Insider she hopes Americans can experience saunas the way she does back home because they're "much more relaxing."Wife carrying is a unique sport that originated in Finland.The 2017 Wife Carrying World Championships took place in Sonkajäervi, Finland.Timo Hartikainen/AFP via Getty ImagesWife carrying's origins stem from the 19th-century figure Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, also known as "Ronkainen the Robber." Although there are different versions of the story, the idea is that Herkko and his men would kidnap women from their homes and carry them on their backs, reported Wife-Carrying.org.The first modern competition was held in Finland in 1992, and it is now held annually in Sonkajärvi, Finland.The contest is almost exactly as it sounds: A male must carry his "wife" (marriage isn't a real requirement) while racing through two dry obstacles and one wet obstacle. The "wife" must be at least 18 years old and weigh a minimum of 108 pounds to compete.In addition to wife carrying, Finns are also known for their interests in other eclectic sports like air guitar playing and rubber boot throwing.Finns buy most of their alcohol from government-owned liquor stores.A person holds a bottle of vodka at Alko, the Finnish national liquor store, in 2007.GAEL BRANCHEREAU/AFP via Getty ImagesUnlike in the US, Finns can only purchase beverages that have an alcohol content of 5.5 percent and higher from the state-owned liquor store, Alko. The only exceptions to this rule are "microbrewery beers and Finnish farm wines," according to Alko's website.Alko stores are closed on national holidays like Easter Monday, Midsummer Day, Christmas, and New Year's Day.Finnish people typically don't interrupt each other's conversations, and they're comfortable with silence.People enjoy outdoor dining at a café in Turku, Finland, alongside the River Aura Aurajoki.Sergi Reboredo/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesAmericans aren't exactly known for being comfortable with silence. Instead, we fill gaps in conversation and often speak over each other during exciting discussions, leading to a reputation for being talkative and loud.In Finland, however, it's normal to accept silence in conversation, and it's considered rude to interrupt, demonstrating a cultural difference that places more of an emphasis on listening than speaking, reported This is Finland in its "A Guide to Finnish Customs and Manners."Finland believes incarceration should be about rehabilitation.An inmate lies in his cell in the Saramaki prison in Turku, Finland in 2008.RONI LEHTI/Stringer/AFP via Getty ImagesLike many other Nordic and Scandinavian countries, Finland has a progressive criminal justice system.One hallmark of the system is the open prison. In 2020, Business Insider reported that inmates in open prisons live in dormitories, come and go in their own cars, and have access to education programs."And we have this kind of normality principle that prisoners should be treated equally, even though they are prisoners. But they should have access to same services and rights as other citizens," said Pia Puolakka, project manager for Finland's Smart Prison Project.Open prisons are part of Finland's Criminal Sanctions Agency's strategy to reduce the chances of reoffenses, or recidivism.According to a 2022 report by the agency, among people released from prison in 2017, 58% committed another offense within the following five years (although the agency noted COVID-19 did impact court proceedings for part of that time). The recidivism rate was 37% in 2017 for prisoners with one previous sentence, down 5 percentage points from 2016, the agency reported.In the US in 2019, Prison Legal News reported that a 2018 report by the US Department of Justice found that almost 45% of prisoners released in 2005 were arrested again within a year and 83% had been rearrested in nine years. Their findings did not denote how many sentences those with repeat arrests had received.Finland generally has a much lower incarceration rate than the US, with 51 per 100,000 people incarcerated compared to 531 per 100,000, reported World Prison Brief.They eat reindeer.Reindeer meat on mashed potatoes with berries.VW Pics/Universal Image Group via Getty ImagesAmericans may only think of reindeer when it comes to Rudolph, but in Finland and other Nordic countries, it's a common meat.Visit Finland reports that reindeer meat is eaten around the country year-round, and is often served with mashed potatoes like in the photo above.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 23rd, 2024

I"ve lived in Alaska for over 20 years. Here are 11 of the biggest mistakes I see first-time visitors make.

After living in the state for a long time, I've seen many first-time tourists do things they shouldn't, like feed the wildlife and skip museums. Alaska is a popular tourist destination in the summer.Pascal RATEAU/Shutterstock After living in Alaska for over 21 years, I've seen a fair share of tourists make common mistakes.  Educate yourself on Alaska Native culture and traditions, and respect them and the land. If you want to see the northern lights or the Iditarod, consider visiting in winter. Some tourists try to do too much in a single trip.Mount Denali is a popular Alaskan destination.bcampbell65/ShutterstockAlaska is huge. It's one-fifth of the size of the lower 48 — the contiguous United States — and larger than California, Montana, and Texas combined.Even though it's technically possible to visit all of the major spots along the road system over seven to 10 days, doing so will likely leave you exhausted and feeling like you didn't experience much of anything. So unless you're planning an extended stay, focus on exploring a single region.If you want to see southeast Alaska and the Inside Passage, book a cruise or use a combination of planes and ferries to travel between cities. Opt for lodging on the Kenai Peninsula if you want to come home with fresh halibut and salmon or get a close look at glaciers and sea animals.Anchorage has a thriving arts and culture scene, excellent options for dining and shopping, a well-maintained citywide trail system, and easy access to Chugach State Park. It can also serve as the starting and stopping point for adventures north or south.If you want to visit Denali National Park, then make Fairbanks — about a two-hour drive away from the entrance — your home base to explore the interior. And expect to mostly travel by plane if you want to go to Kodiak or Valdez and check out the Arctic.Don't disrespect the Alaska Natives or their land.Alaska Natives have lived in Alaska for thousands of years.Ric Jacyno/ShutterstockAlaska Natives were here for thousands of years before colonization. Every tourist and non-Native who has made Alaska home is a guest in their homeland, so be respectful of both the people and land. For example, if you're unsure how to pronounce the name of a place, dish, or landmark, just ask. And never mock the customs or traditional foods.Leave no trace behind when you visit trails, and if you're taking from the land — whether fishing, hunting, or harvesting berries — take only what you need.Another great way to show your respect is to learn about these cultures and traditions at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. It houses art and artifacts, holds dance performances and demonstrations of traditional games, and offers guided tours of life-size, outdoor village replicas.  You shouldn't expect to see the northern lights in the summer.A view of the northern lights over Fairbanks, Alaska.Hailin Chen/ShuttershockThe northern lights, or aurora borealis, is a beautiful display of colorful, dancing lights caused by charged gaseous particles in Earth's atmosphere.It's not impossible to catch them dancing across the sky during the summer, but it's not very common.If seeing them is a must, plan a trip in the winter to Fairbanks, which usually has the best light show.Make sure you're prepared for the weather by packing layers.Fleeces are great for layering.Little honey/ShutterstockEven if you visit in the summer, don't only pack sweatshirts, puffy coats, and pants.Temperatures and weather vary by region, but you can expect averages in the 60s Fahrenheit during peak summer, possibly reaching the 70s or 80s. This may drop into the 40s or 50s overnight. Weather can also change within a single day. You may wake up to cloudless blue skies and sunshine, only to be caught in the rain that afternoon.The key to staying comfortable is to dress in layers. A non-cotton base topped with fleece will wick away moisture and keep you warm. Then add a waterproof coat and sturdy shoes or boots to stay dry.  Use common sense when interacting with wildlife.Moose are quite common in Alaska.Steve Bower/ShutterstockWildlife sightings are a definite highlight of any Alaskan vacation.Fatal attacks from regularly spotted animals — like bears, moose, and wolves — are rare, but use common sense if you see any wildlife. Always maintain a safe distance, don't try to feed them or otherwise attract them with food, and never pet them. When out on the trails, make noise to alert animals of your presence and research what to do if you cross paths with one. Also, consider packing some bear spray – just make sure to aim it in the bear's face and not toward yourself.You're missing out if you only visit Alaska during the summer.The Iditarod is an annual long-distance sled-dog race.Amy NewmanSince the winter can be dark — with just hours of sunlight in some places — and very cold, summer is the state's tourist season.But for those willing to brave the weather, winter in Alaska is amazing. It's also somewhat more affordable since it's the off-season.There's an excellent chance you'll catch the northern lights, and there are plenty of opportunities for downhill and cross-country skiing, fat-tire biking, snow machining (or snowmobiling), and more.If you come in March, you'll also be able to catch the Iditarod, the annual long-distance sled-dog race.Share your itinerary — it's better to be safe than sorry.Be safe while enjoying outdoor adventures.Katerina Klio/ShutterstockAlaska's outdoor adventures are beautiful but they come with risks.Make sure to give your family, friends, or even the hotel's front desk a copy of your itinerary, especially if you're heading out alone.Should something go sideways on your trip, knowing where to start a search will make it easier for rescuers to track you down if you don't return when expected. Don't skip the museums.The Anchorage Museum is quite popular.Linda Harms/ShutterstockMake time to visit one of the state's many museums. They're a great way to learn about Alaskan history and artwork, as well as Alaska Native customs and traditions.The Anchorage Museum, Alaska State Museum in Juneau, and Museum of the North in Fairbanks are the big ones, but many communities have small museums or exhibits at the visitor's center that share the history of the area.You'll leave with an increased appreciation for the state that'll enrich your adventures.Try to buy 'Made in Alaska' or Alaska Native souvenirs.A Silver Hand means the souvenir was made by an Alaska Native artist.Amy NewmanSouvenirs are a must-buy on any trip, but make sure you leave with something authentically Alaskan and not another mass-produced trinket made overseas.Look for the "Made in Alaska" logo — an image of a mother bear and her cub — which signals that at least 51% of the product was produced in the state.Or look for a Silver Hand, which means your item was made by an Alaska Native artist. Pull over on highways if you want to enjoy the views.You can see great views while driving down Alaska's highways.Galyna Andrushko/ShutterstockMany tourists want to stop and take in the view or snap photos while they drive, but the "vehicle turnout" signs on Alaska's highways aren't just friendly suggestions.If there are five or more vehicles behind you, you're required to pull over to let them pass. Double-check that your rental car fits your plans.Many car-rental companies in Alaska have restrictions on what roads you can drive on.Henrik A. Jonsson/ShutterstockAlaska's main highways are paved but often riddled with large potholes thanks to studded tires and winter road maintenance.However, many of the other roads are gravel and minimally maintained, so several car-rental companies prohibit driving on them.Before booking, check the terms of the rental agreement to make sure your plans don't include traveling on any roads typically deemed off-limits, such as the Denali or Dalton Highway.This story was originally published on August 8, 2022, and most recently updated on February 14, 2024.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 14th, 2024

February has started off especially warm. Winter activities are feeling the heat.

Despite a deep freeze in January, warmer temperatures this winter have forced event organizers who rely on colder weather to pivot. Last weekend’s sunshine made for a pleasant walk for visitors to downtown Lake Geneva as they surveyed creations from the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship, part of the town’s annual Winterfest. But for the sculptures themselves, it was a different story. Constructed over a two-day period late last week, the whimsical structures were starting to become dripping mounds of ice and snow Sunday in the afternoon sun as temperatures approached 40 degrees. A Yeti eating spaghetti had lost his fork, while a first-place-finishing head of what appeared to be a cyborg lost much of its definition and detail by Sunday afternoon. By Wednesday, they were unrecognizable. “It’s fleeting art, I like to say,” said Deanna Goodwin, vice president of marketing, communications and development for Visit Lake Geneva. “Here today, gone tomorrow.” The festival, which typically draws 65,000 to 70,000 people, took extra precautions this year against Mother Nature, delaying the start of the competition by one day because of warmer temperatures. The sculptors started with large blocks or bricks of snow, wrapped in insulated blankets to keep them cold, and used sun screens to protect the sculptures from heat, Goodwin said. There have been years when the pieces stay “frozen and beautiful for weeks,” and others, like last year, when the weather was cooperative until a “really warm, 50-degree day on Sunday,” she said. But this is the first year she’s seen these kinds of measures being taken to protect the snow. “We were just amazed how well they did given the warm weather,” Goodwin said. “While the warm temperatures did affect the sculptures, it also brought out droves of people to see them, so it all worked out really well.” Despite a deep freeze in January, warmer temperatures this winter have forced some event organizers who rely on colder temps to pivot as they try to make the most out of the brief windows of winter weather in the greater Chicago area. Some places, such as Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove, can operate in a wide range of temperatures, but others that rely on ice and snow have struggled. WinterFest snow sculptor David Aichinger slides through the mouth of his team’s sculpture titled, Mischief Maker, in Flat Iron Park, on Feb. 2, 2024, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune) Utah-based winter entertainment company Ice Castles, which has set up an icy wonderland on the grounds of Geneva National Resort & Club in recent years, pivoted this season to the new Winter Realms experience featuring more light elements and snow. The event, which isn’t as reliant on ice, is the company’s effort to try to be “a little bit more weather resilient,” CEO Kyle Standifird said. “For us, it’s just been how long will the weather allow us to stay open, but the demand for activities and people wanting to come out is still really high,” Standifird said. “We were sold out in Lake Geneva for the first four, five days, and weekends are typically sold out.” The company, which has five other locations across the U.S., takes about an acre of land to build various ice and snow features with tunnels, lights, music, slides and more. Last year, Ice Castles stayed open for just one weekend in the Lake Geneva location, which is why Winter Realms was introduced this year, Standifird said. On opening weekend in late January, temperatures hovered in the 30s, but it has since warmed up, reaching a high of nearly 50 last Friday in Lake Geneva, prompting some social media users to complain in recent days about slushy, muddy conditions and closed structures. A high of 57 degrees was expected in Lake Geneva Thursday, but the forecast called for colder temperatures this weekend, with lows in the 20s at night, according to the National Weather Service. The host site, Geneva National, received word Thursday afternoon that Winter Realms had been called off for the season, with Feb. 4 being the last day of operation, according to a front desk employee. Representatives for Winter Realms did not respond Thursday to inquiries from the Tribune, but posted on their Facebook page late Thursday afternoon that they were closed effective immediately. “We are entirely weather-dependent,” Standifird told the Tribune as the season began. “The last three years we’ve just had ever-increasing challenges with the weather. Each year, we’ve tried to adapt and be able to withstand a few warm days, a few rainy days here and there. This year is when we made the biggest change and went heavy on the snow production and snow features to be able to withstand the warmer temperatures.” Snow can withstand the warmer temperatures and the rain “quite a bit better than ice can,” Standifird said. “It’s a bit of a risk every year because it costs the same to build something that can only be open for a week as opposed to something that can be open for two months, other than the labor costs,” he said. “We’ve been so well-received in this region that we’ve been willing to take that risk each year.” Many outdoor event organizers in the area say they understand the unpredictability of the winter weather and are prepared for what Mother Nature has in store. Like Ross Bruni, property manager of Maggie Daley Park, which during the winter season includes overseeing the ice skating ribbon. The ribbon traditionally will open for the season the Friday before Thanksgiving week and close sometime in March, depending on how quickly temperatures are warming up. Ice skaters weave around the Maggie Daley Park ice skating ribbon, Dec. 9, 2023. (Trent Sprague/Chicago Tribune) “We know what the winter looks like here in Chicago,” Bruni said. “It was typical Chicago weather this time around where it was 70 degrees a week before we opened and it was 35 the day we opened so we’re always ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at us.” The cold snap over Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, for example, had the ribbon shut down. During a holiday weekend like that, Bruni said the ribbon sees 10,000 to 11,000 skaters. Each day the ribbon has to be closed, especially through the mid-December to mid-January uptick, there’s between a $40,000 to $50,000 loss in revenue, he said. “We generally work hard to stay open, but we understand the need to be cognizant of what the weather conditions are and how they’ll affect the safety of our staff and our patrons,” he said. Snow can also be an issue for the ribbon, Bruni said, because of the unique characteristics of the quarter-mile skating feature, such as twists and turns, elevation changes and narrowing and widening areas, making it more difficult and time-consuming to clean and maintain. When the winter days warm up, the ice stays cold due to chillers underneath the surface of the ribbon that keep the ground temperature around zero degrees. “People are sometimes shocked that we’re able to stay open if it’s over 32 degrees,” Bruni said. “When we get into March, we’ll be open usually up to about 52 to 54 degrees. We can keep the integrity of the ice at that temperature as long as the sun isn’t beating down on us.” Dakota Sievers, 2, skates with his father, Kevin Sievers on Jan. 27, 2024, at Millennium Park. (Vincent Alban/Chicago Tribune) Once March rolls around, Bruni said the ribbon team is looking at three-day or seven-day forecasts as their closing for the season is “very weather-dependent.” Last season was extended by a week because another cold snap hit around that time, he said. While average monthly temperatures for January were in line with what’s normal for the Chicago area this time of year, February has been especially warm so far, with an average monthly high of 46.1 degrees and average low of 30.6 degrees through Feb. 7. Normal temperatures for February are a high of 32.5 degrees and low of 19 degrees, according to the weather service. December was also on the warmer side, with an overall average monthly temperature of 39 degrees, compared with the normal of 30.5 degrees, weather service data showed. Another activity heavily dependent on weather conditions is ice fishing. Johnny Wilkins, fishing guide with the Chicago Fishing School, said the activity has become increasingly popular as people want to go out and “be adventurous in the colder months,” and the best way to plan is by monitoring the weather and keeping safety in mind. “Illinois is always weird for ice fishing, you get little windows in the Chicago area,” Wilkins said. “Last year wasn’t great for ice fishing, but almost every season is different. In general, it’s a short season, so if you get your opportunity, you go. You don’t wait.” Wilkins takes people out for ice fishing in small groups and finds that inland ponds are the best spots where there’s a good amount of water that’s frozen over but the fish are still active. Once the water is frozen enough, it takes a particularly warm day up around 50 degrees to “really cut into the ice,” he said. “We’re lucky if we can get on the ice right around Thanksgiving, but mostly it’s closer to Christmas for safer ice,” he said. “Then sometimes, we go into late March. I’ve been out on the ice first of April. It’s a constantly changing thing, and you just have to be aware of it and be a little flexible around our area.” Wilkins said 2022 was a “poor year” because of warmer weather earlier in the season and conditions not becoming suitable for ice fishing until late January, while this season he got out on the ice in late December. He said ice fishing timelines are also “very lake-specific” because some years a certain body of water will be iced over enough by December and others it won’t be ready until January. Up in Fox River Grove is the Norge Ski Club, which trains youth ski jumpers for Olympic-level competition. While ski jumping would seem to be best accomplished in idyllic winter weather, Scott Smith, president and operations manager, said it’s actually sometimes better in the warmer months. “Believe it or not, we actually jump our jumps more in the summer than we do in the winter because of the snow situation,” Smith said. It’s much easier in the summer. All we have to do is turn on our sprinkling system to water down the plastic matting. The track itself is made of porcelain, and there’s really not much maintenance.” The ski club uses plastic matting on all of its ski jumps in the summer, and all the other equipment stays the same. This emulates jumping in wintery conditions because “it’s just as fast and you fly just as far,” Smith said. The summer ski jumping season at the club typically starts in May and will go until November, when the club shuts down to prepare the hills for the snow, Smith said, putting netting over the plastic matting. The winter season will last until mid-March, he said, when the hills get a break before the summer season starts again. Whether there’s natural snowfall or not, Smith said the club is able to get snow on the ground with snowmaking machines that work better when the temperatures are lower, like 20 degrees or less. “We made all of our snow during this last cold snap,” he said, referring to mid-January, when temperatures dropped well below zero in the Chicago area. “It’s about a five-, six-day process around the clock making snow.” Even though the weather is out of their control, Smith said he prefers to have man-made snow over natural snowfall because “it’s better to pack and is better for the jumps.” “This weather being up and down the way it’s been has been a challenge, honestly,” Smith said. “It does add a little extra work. You don’t just throw the snow down and ski. It’s a lot of grooming, a lot of handwork with rakes and shovels and stuff like that. But we always pull it off the best we can.”.....»»

Category: topSource: chicagotribuneFeb 11th, 2024

Baltimore-Philadelphia In "Hammer Zone" Of Next Winter Storm

Baltimore-Philadelphia In "Hammer Zone" Of Next Winter Storm A winter storm earlier this week ended a nearly two-year snow drought in cities including Washington, DC, Baltimore, and New York City. Another storm threatens metro areas along the I-95 Corridor on Friday morning.  Private weather forecaster NY NJ PA Weather wrote on social media platform X that a "winter storm is developing from Philadelphia to the New Jersey coast."  "Tranquil and cold conditions today will give way to a significant winter storm by tomorrow for the Philadelphia metropolitan areas to the New Jersey Coast," the weather firm said.  The forecast calls for the bulk of the snow just north of Baltimore City to Philadelphia to Trenton; those areas are labeled in different zones with corresponding snowfall estimates.  In a separate forecast, meteorologist Mike Masco expects intense snowfall rates between Baltimore and Philadelphia.  FRIDAY'S STORM WILL HAVE 3 ZONES TO CONSIDER... ONE ZONE WILL GET NEAR NOTHING WHILE THE OTHER GETS DUMPED ON WITH SNOW.. The dynamics of this system will dictate the forecast outcome. I've highlighted 3 zones as it relates to what the upper air pattern will be doing Friday- Friday Night and how it develops our #Norlun trough -- which will be responsible for "Intense" snow rates. If you've been following me.. I've been very specific that I like an area around #Philadephia esp it's NJ suburbs and northern DE into central NJ (mostly south of #NYC and the Driscoll Bridge). Here's my 3 zones I'll be focusing in on. Zone 1 (Lehigh Valley, NNJ, Northern Philly Suburbs): Is in the left front quadrant of the jetstreak allowing for enough lifting to produce light to moderate zone. This area will high MUCH higher snow ratios (nearing 20:1) during the event which will yield 2-4" (possibly localized more) as the area will work off limited moisture .15-.20" of QPF Zone 2 (Central NJ, Southern NJ, Northern DE): Is the Hammer zone! It's the area that will see focused lifting at 700mb and 800mb, located in the left front quadrant of the jet streak, and have maximum moisture .20-.40" of QPF Zone 3 (DMV/Baltimore): Is the "screw zone". This area is underneath the 500mb vorticity lobe but in the right front quad of the jetstreak thus sinking air will be prominent. The other factor is the intense snowrates and lifting over SNJ/DE/PA will lead to sinking air in another area and I do feel that will be over #Baltimore # DC area. I may need to revise my totals here a couple times once we get into now casting. Another cold blast is expected this weekend for parts of the Lower 48.  The next Arctic Blast 2 -- which climate scientists say is caused by climate change -- will be weaker or "less worse" than Arctic Blast 1. Iowa will see the coldest temperatures > 40°F below normal Saturday morning. Actual temperatures in the -20s °F in Iowa. But cold air… pic.twitter.com/vXpwnLfc01 — Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) January 18, 2024 After more than a week of most Americans freezing...  ...global warming returns early next week across the nation.  Tyler Durden Thu, 01/18/2024 - 18:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 18th, 2024

Seasonal depression is right around the corner. "Winter cities" know how to fight it.

It turns out that making cities a fun place to be in the winter is good for people and communities. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden holidays light show in New York is one example of people enjoying winter.Anadolu/Getty ImagesDuring dark, gloomy winter, many cities go through a slump as people stay indoors.But it doesn't have to be that way: So-called "winter cities" are built to be used year-round.Designing cities to be fun and accessible in the winter is good for business and people.When Jennifer Seabolt moved from Hawaii to Boston about seven years ago, she prepared herself for winter. It wasn't the cold that got her — it was how dark and gloomy things would get.Trying to rally friends or family to leave home when it's cold and dark outside is hard, in part because it doesn't feel like there's a lot to do, she said. And most activities involve spending money, unlike the free outdoor events that seem easier to access during warmer months."It is absolutely more of an effort, I think, to try to do things during the winter," she said.Seabolt isn't alone. In many American cities, outdoor spaces shutter for a quarter of the year. In a time when a loneliness epidemic is raging — and cities are still struggling to rebound economically in the wake of the pandemic — city life shutting down for a whole season may exacerbate existing social and economic problems. That's where the concept of a "winter city" — designed to not only be livable, but actually enjoyable, during the chilly season — comes in.Winter cities are defined by a few basic design principles, according to Isla Tanaka, the winter city planner for the Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta: Putting public spaces in areas that receive sunshine, blocking wind, incorporating pops of color into an otherwise dreary landscape, lighting up spaces so they're still usable during long winter nights, and crafting infrastructure — like fire pits or public bathrooms — to support life in the winter.A fire pit in Edmonton.Why EdmontonIn Edmonton, which has been making itself a winter city for the last decade, initiatives include developing a four-season patio culture — the city now has over 20 venues with winter patios, up from around what Tanaka estimates was four to five patios during winter 2019-2020. The patios are heated, covered, or otherwise cozy outdoor spaces. There are festivals every weekend from November through mid-March. Parks now have bathrooms that can remain open in the winter, as well as year-round cafes. All of those initiatives sprung in part from a question of emotion, rather than infrastructure, according to Tanaka: "We said, what would make you fall in love with your city in winter?"The biggest success in Edmonton has been a change in culture, Tanaka said. It turns out that alleyways lit up with lightboxes, artistic installations, and warm patios for sipping beverages is enough to entice people to change their habits and embrace going out in the wintertime."We thought that shifting the culture would be one of the hardest pieces of the work. And it actually happened much faster than we expected," she said.The pandemic played a role — interest in outdoor activities in cities across the world spiked when indoor spaces shut down. Many cities are leaning into that enthusiasm with new programming and infrastructure to get people out of their homes.Members of the public and invited guests skate on the first day of the season at Wollman Rink in Central Park on October 23, 2022 in New York City.Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesIf you build it, they will comeOn a recent Sunday night in Brooklyn, New York, light rain and low temperatures didn't stop nearly 2,000 people from weaving their way through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's mile-long holiday light show. The immersive "Lightscape," which is stroller- and wheelchair-friendly, is bringing people outside at a time of year when the Garden would normally be "cold, dark, and closed by 4:30," said Adrian Benepe, the Botanic Garden's president and CEO.Benepe, a former NYC Parks Commissioner, says interest in outdoor activities in the city has surged in recent years, accelerated by the pandemic. When the Botanic Garden debuted its Lightscape show in November 2020, he was blown away by attendance. The show attracted more than 150,000 visitors during its six weeks, Benepe said, during a time of year when the Garden normally gets between 5,000 and 10,000 visitors a month. It's a financial boon during the Garden's slowest time of year, and good for the institution's brand. It's also good for public health."In addition to just being a source of enlivening cultural institutions that would otherwise be closed and dark, it's building community, it creates antidotes to winter lethargy and to loneliness," Benepe said. "There are physical and mental health, real public health reasons to do these things, to encourage people to get outdoors in the winter."One of the installations at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's "Lightscape" show on December 3, 2023.Eliza Relman/Business InsiderWinter light shows are catching on. The Botanic Garden installation is one of about 20 outdoor light attractions in the New York City metro area this season.This isn't the first time Benepe has overseen a hugely successful effort to get people into parks during the coldest time of year. While he was parks commissioner, he helped realize Christo and Jean-Claude's "The Gates" — 7,500 massive orange metal and fabric gates through 23 miles of Central Park — in February 2005.The Gates exhibit wasn't purposely designed to take place during the winter; it was timed to avoid bird migration seasons. But it did just what a winter city project should: It brought people outside during one of the year's coldest months, spread joy through art, and gave the city an economic boost. The 16-day-long installation attracted four million visitors. The snow made the bright orange gates look even more dramatic, Benepe said."Many of us in the Bloomberg administration believe it jump-started the revival of New York City as a major global tourism destination," Benepe said.Adrian Benepe, the president and CEO of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, said getting people outdoors and into parks during the winter is a matter of public health.Eliza Relman/Business InsiderBecoming an accessible winter city is only getting more importantIt's no secret that cities are still struggling to ease into a new normal post-pandemic. As remote work takes root, many downtowns are hurting without workers patronizing their businesses, riding mass transit, and occupying offices. The phenomenon is fueling warnings about the so-called "urban doom loop." As office vacancies rise, lower commercial property tax revenue could force leaders to curtail city services, hurting quality of life and pushing residents out.Patrick Coleman, a Michigan-based urban and town planner professional who runs the Winter Cities Institute, said that winter cities are almost an issue of "survival" for chillier urban areas."For many years, the north has been losing population because people have been told that cold is bad, warm is good," Coleman said. In his region, a lot of seniors leave when they retire, moving to places like Florida or Arizona."That's a real problem. I mean, even if they come back in the summertime, still, their dollars are being spent somewhere else."Edmonton has embraced all kinds of outdoor winter activities, including urban snowboarding. Why EdmontonCities across the world are racing to deal with hotter summers and extreme heatwaves that are growing deadlier. But even as climate change makes winter shorter and warmer, it's also predicted to cause more intense and frequent winter weather, including storms. That only accentuates the importance of adapting to inclement weather.All of this also comes on the heels of the pandemic, which ushered in a heightened awareness of how we use outdoor spaces year-round, with things like dining huts and park hangouts suddenly becoming omnipresent."As a result of the pandemic, we see a lot of northern cities saying, hey, we should make more ski trails in the city. We should have sledding hills. It's really renewed this interest in the livable winter city," Coleman said.Winter, of course, comes with its own challenges. Ice and snow removal is very important, Coleman said — you might clear off the streets, but someone, especially someone with mobility issues, might still have to step from the sidewalk to the curb, which could have its own puddle of snow and ice. And transit shelters are also often inadequate. While snow removal is always a thorny issue, Tanaka said that active pathways and bike lanes in Edmonton now get priority snow clearing service.But for Seabolt, who's braved long lines and cold conditions to try and take part in Boston's few winter city offerings, things like transit that would easily get her to other neighborhoods, or even just more lights up around the city, could make a big difference."A fire pit in the common would be amazing to just be able to sit around and you bring friends and maybe you bring marshmallows and can do something like that without feeling like you're confined to your home or your apartment, honestly, if you're in a city," she said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 10th, 2023

The most festive place in every state over the holidays

From festivals of light to Christmas markets, there are plenty of ways for places all over the US to celebrate the holidays. If you visit Solvang, California, over the holidays, you'll feel as if you've been transported to a quaint European town.CrackerClips Stock Media/Shutterstock Some towns and cities in the US simply do the holidays better than everyone else. Frankenmuth, Michigan, is a Bavarian-inspired town that goes all out with Christmas decorations. You'll also find holiday-themed sand sculptures at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. From festivals of light to giant Christmas trees, there are plenty of ways for towns all over the US to celebrate the holidays.Whether you're in New England or on the West Coast, each state has a festive way to get in the holiday spirit.Keep reading for the most festive place in every state to see if your town or city made the list.Huntsville, Alabama, is a Southern town that's beautiful all year long, although you can't miss it during the holiday season.Tinsel Trail in Downtown Huntsville.Katssoup/ShutterstockCheck out the Huntsville Botanical Garden for stunning foliage and thousands of beautiful Christmas lights or the annual Tinsel Trail in Big Spring Park in Downtown Huntsville.North Pole, Alaska, is decked out in Christmas decorations year-round, although it's an especially festive place to be during the holiday season.North Pole, Alaska.Kit Leong/ShutterstockNorth Pole's post office is one of the most popular attractions in town — it receives over 400,000 letters addressed to Santa Claus every year.Arizona's Lake Havasu City is better known for being a summer vacation destination, although it's also the perfect place to celebrate the holidays.London Bridge in Lake Havasu City.Maria Rita Meli/ShutterstockThe city's London Bridge and English Village are decked out in Christmas lights from Thanksgiving until New Year's for the annual Festival of Lights. The lights' reflections on the lake make the holiday season even more festive. In Arkansas, there are plenty of places to see Christmas lights all over Little Rock, but there's no better place than the Arkansas State Capitol building.Christmas decorations at State Capitol building in Little Rock, Arkansas.VMPICS/ShutterstockThe entire building is covered in lights during the holiday season, and it's also the site of many of the city's holiday celebrations. If you visit Solvang, California, over the holidays, you'll feel as if you've been transported to a quaint European town.Solvang, California.CrackerClips Stock Media/ShutterstockFrom windmills to horse-drawn carriages, Solvang is one of the state's most festive towns once the holidays roll around. Every year, the European-inspired town hosts Julefest, a holiday celebration complete with a Christmas tree lighting, plenty of holiday shopping, and Danish treats.Aspen, Colorado, is a charming, picture-book ski town with beautiful scenery and holiday decorations.Aspen, Colorado.Shutterstock.comIf you love winter sports, Colorado is the place to be for the holiday season.Whether you're hitting the slopes or cozying up in the ski lodge, spending the holidays in Aspen will make you feel like you're in a winter wonderland. Mystic, a coastal town in eastern Connecticut, is most famous for being the setting of the classic movie "Mystic Pizza," although it's also a beautiful place to spend the holidays.Mystic Seaport.Carol Ann Mossa/ShutterstockStroll around the town's harbor to catch a glance at the elaborately decorated boats, complete with Christmas lights and Santa statues. The Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Winterthur, Delaware, has some of the best holiday decorations in the state.Winterthur Museum.myLoupe/Universal Images Group/Getty ImagesThe historic estate is spectacularly decorated with Christmas trees, lights, and poinsettias, all of which will put your neighborhood's decorations to shame. There's nothing quite like spending Christmas at the most magical place on Earth at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.Christmas in Disney World.Gerardo Mora/Getty ImagesFrom the beautiful decorations and fireworks to seasonal treats, Disney World is a blast for all ages during the holidays. Helen is a charming, colorful small town in northern Georgia.Helen, Georgia.Vadim Fedotov/ShutterstockThe Bavarian-inspired alpine village is a sight worth seeing all year, but it's even more adorable once it's decorated for the holidays.The town also offers a Christmas market and parade featuring costumed characters, floats, and Santa Claus himself.Honolulu, Hawaii, proves you don't need snowmen when you can have sandmen.Sheraton Waikiki sand sculptures.Theodore Trimmer/ShutterstockThere may not be any snow in Hawaii for Christmas, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday season. Every year, the Sheraton Waikiki and Sandsational Sand Sculpting create beautifully lifelike sand sculptures during the holiday season.It's nearly impossible to avoid holiday cheer in Sun Valley, Idaho.Sun Valley, Idaho.CSNafzger/ShutterstockThe charming ski town goes all out — its celebrations include Christmas light displays, tree lightings, and visits from Santa Claus.If you're in Chicago, Illinois, you can't miss the Lincoln Park Zoo's annual ZooLights holiday celebration.ZooLights in Chicago.Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesThe free attraction has plenty of sparkling lights and 3D displays for guests to walk through at a safe distance.As far as names go, Santa Claus, Indiana, is probably one of the most Christmassy places in the country.The town post office at Santa Claus, Indiana.Kevin Pang/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty ImagesAs you might expect, the town's post office, which is decorated year-round, receives thousands of letters to Santa each year. Historic Valley Junction, a shopping district in West Des Moines, Iowa, is the perfect place to get in the holiday spirit.Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines, Iowa.Mark S./YelpFrom the holiday lights to extended holiday hours, it's the ultimate place to do all your holiday shopping. You'll feel as if you've been transported to Sweden when you visit Lindsborg, Kansas, especially during the holiday season.Hemslojd gift store in Lindsborg.Marty P./YelpFrom festive decorations to local activities celebrating Swedish culture, there are plenty of unique ways to celebrate the holidays in Lindsborg.Downtown Bardstown, Kentucky, turns into a stunning Christmas town during the holidays, complete with a giant tree and lights galore.Bardstown, Kentucky.The Old Talbott Tavern/YelpFrom festive train rides at the Kentucky Railway Museum to performances of "A Christmas Carol" while touring a historic home, you can't escape the holiday cheer in Bardstown.Bardstown is also home to the oldest hotel in the state, the Old Talbott Tavern, which was built in 1779.Natchitoches is the place to be if you're looking to see Christmas lights in Louisiana.Natchitoches, Louisiana.C.M. White/ShutterstockThe town hosts a Christmas festival every year that includes live entertainment, an arts-and-crafts show, and fireworks.Portland, Maine, is a charming New England city all year round, although it really comes alive during the holiday season.Christmas tree in downtown Portland, Maine.DenisTangneyJr/Getty ImagesWhether you walk around the downtown to enjoy the Christmas lights or escape the cold in a local pub, it's hard to avoid the holiday cheer in Portland. The Miracle on 34th Street Christmas light display is the best way to celebrate the holiday season if you're in Baltimore, Maryland.The Miracle on 34th Street in Baltimore, Maryland.AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyA section of 34th Street is covered in festive lights during December, making it the perfect place to visit to get in the Christmas spirit.Apparently, it all started around two decades ago, when a teen living on 34th Street placed a string of lights in the tree in his front yard, only to have all his neighbors mimic the tradition.Many people only associate the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, with summer vacations, although the town is filled with holiday charm in the off season.Nantucket, Massachusetts.Shackleford Photography/ShutterstockYou may not want to swim in the frigid Atlantic Ocean but the beach is just as charming in the winter thanks to its beautifully decorated lighthouses.Nantucket also holds an annual Christmas Stroll festival where visitors can shop at discounted prices from many of the island's shops and watch Santa arrive by boat into Nantucket Harbor. Frankenmuth, Michigan, is also known as Little Bavaria.Christmas display at Bronner's Christmas Wonderland.ehrlif/ShutterstockThe charming European-inspired town is home to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, which, at 320,000 square feet, calls itself the world's largest Christmas store.Red Wing, Minnesota, starts the holiday season early with its annual Holiday Stroll in November.Red Wing, Minnesota.Sam Wagner/ShutterstockThroughout the holiday season, the town is covered in decorations and plays host to festive events, cocktail receptions, and more.Winter really is the most wonderful time of the year in Jackson, Mississippi.Jackson, Mississippi.Sean Pavone/ShutterstockThe city celebrates the season with Christmas trees and lights galore that feel perfectly festive with or without a white Christmas. Branson, Missouri, is a go-to spot for Missourians looking to get into the holiday spirit.Christmas tree in Branson, Missouri.Corey Mathery/ShutterstockFrom live shows to holiday lights and shopping, Branson has everything you could ask for in a festive night out.Even if you don't ski, there are plenty of things to do in Whitefish, Montana, to appreciate all that Christmastime has to offer.Whitefish, Montana.Gail Benson/ShutterstockWhether you enjoy holiday shopping in Whitefish's downtown or take a sleigh ride through the snow at the Bar W Guest Ranch, this charming Montana ski town is the perfect place to enjoy the holiday season.In Nebraska, check out the fun holiday events at The Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha.Poinsettia flowers.AGCuesta/ShutterstockPoinsettias are one of the quintessential Christmas decorations, and you can see over 5,000 of them and a 20-foot-tall poinsettia tree at The Lauritzen Gardens' Holiday Poinsettia Show.Virginia City, an old mining town in western Nevada, goes all out in vintage style when the holiday season rolls around.Virginia City, Nevada.Purplexsu/ShutterstockAll of the shops on the town's main drag are decorated in lights, tinsel, and candy canes. Plus, the town has a Christmas parade every year to celebrate the holiday season. If you're in New Hampshire for the holidays, there's no better place to be than Portsmouth.Portsmouth, New Hampshire.Allan Wood Photography/ShutterstockThe city kicks off the holiday season by lighting up a giant Christmas tree downtown. Check out Market Square for festive decorations and beautiful architecture that only get more quaint when they're covered in snow. You're probably more familiar with Cape May, New Jersey, as a hotspot for summertime vacations, although the coastal town is also the perfect holiday location.Christmas lights and decorations on a small boutique in Cape May, New Jersey.James Kirkikis/ShutterstockThe charming town is full of decorations that are perfect for a cozy Christmas. Taos, New Mexico, is a town full of everything from arts and culture to skiing and other winter sports.Taos, New Mexico.JHVEPhoto/ShutterstockVisitors can check out the town's Christmas market at the Revolt compound during the holiday season for shopping, carolers, and visits with Santa. If you travel to the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn, New York, you'll find the city's most outrageous Christmas lights.Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York.Hollis JohnsonWander through the neighborhood to see beautiful lights and decorations that will put you in the Christmas spirit.And of course, from department store holiday windows to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, New York City is a hotspot for all things Christmas.McAdenville, North Carolina, goes by the name "Christmas Town, USA" during the holiday season.McAdenville's Christmas lights.Jill Lang/ShutterstockThere's no surprise why, since homes all over town are completely decked out in lights and decorations throughout December. The Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot, North Dakota, brings the charm of Scandinavian countries to the US.Scandinavian Heritage Park.Yosoyana/ShutterstockThe beautiful park, which includes a stave church and a replica of a Norwegian storehouse, looks even more beautiful covered in snow during the holiday season. You'll feel as if you've gone back in time when you visit Historic Zoar Village, Ohio.Blacksmith shop.Atlantide Phototravel/Getty ImagesThe German-inspired village has everything from bakeries to a blacksmith shop. Visit the historical town during the holiday season to enjoy self-guided tours and festive shopping.The Chickasha Festival of Light is the place to be if you're looking to enjoy some festive Christmas lights in Oklahoma.The Chickasha Festival of Light.EBThompson04/ShutterstockThe festival features over 3.5 million twinkling lights, an ice rink, food trucks, and more spread out over 43 acres.Silverton is a tiny town in Oregon, although it's arguably the most festive place to be in the state during the holiday season.The Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon.Bob Pool/ShutterstockChristmas in the Garden at the Oregon Garden is a must-see around the holidays in Silverton. Festive lights, music, and vendors will be sure to fill you with the holiday spirit.  Bethlehem is already a pretty Christmassy name, but the Pennsylvania town is known as Christmas City during the holiday season.Shoppers at the Christkindlmarket.George Sheldon/ShutterstockA visit to Bethlehem isn't complete without a trip to its Christkindlmarkt, a holiday market that sells festive foods, ornaments, nutcrackers, and other holiday items.In Rhode Island, Newport's historic mansions are the perfect locations for a festive night out.Elms Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island.Dan Hanscom/ShutterstockThe Elms Mansion and The Breakers Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, are popular tourist destinations all year long, although you can't miss the estates' gorgeous Christmas decorations.From Christmas trees to a dazzling outdoor light display, the mansions are a must-see if you love holiday decor. Charleston, South Carolina, is known for its charming colorful houses and festive decorations.Christmas decorations in Charleston, South Carolina.David AvRutick/ShutterstockDuring the holiday season, the charm of the stately Southern homes is only heightened by festive decorations.Stroll around the city's historic district and visit James Island County Park to enjoy the city's Festival of Lights. The interactive lakeside lights and treats will make you realize that white Christmases are overrated. In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a section of the city is transformed into a Christmas paradise during the holiday season.Christmas Light Display at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.Jacob Boomsma/ShutterstockEvery year, the city holds a holiday festival called Winter Wonderland at Falls Park. The park is covered in over 355,000 LED lights, including ones that shine on the falls to make them appear red and green. If you're in Tennessee for the holidays, there's no better place to be than Nashville.Horses in the Nashville Christmas parade.Milaicki Studios/ShutterstockEvery year, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center presents dazzling light displays, treats, and festive activities for the whole family.Many cities all over the US decorate for the holidays with wreaths and Christmas trees, although Fredericksburg, Texas, takes it to another level.Fredericksburg, Texas.ShengYing Lin/ShutterstockThe quaint, German-inspired town celebrates the season not only with a giant Christmas tree, but also with a German Christmas pyramid, an ice-skating rink, and many festive events.If you're in Utah for the holidays, you can't pass up the chance to check out Ogden's Christmas Village.Christmas Village in Ogden, Utah.David Martinez Moreno/ShutterstockThe city decks out its downtown in lights and decorations that make it feel like a winter wonderland. Stowe, Vermont, is a popular vacation destination throughout the wintertime for skiers and snowboarders.Stowe, Vermont.Don Landwehrle/ShutterstockChristmas, however, is the perfect time to visit Stowe because of the town's festive celebrations and beautiful winter landscape.Whether you take part in a holiday art auction or hit the slopes, you'll be sure to find plenty of Christmas cheer if you visit Stowe during the holiday season. A trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, will give you a taste of what it was like to celebrate Christmas in colonial times.A carriage rides through Colonial Williamsburg.L. Toshio Kishiyama/Getty ImagesIf you love US history, you have to visit Colonial Williamsburg at some point in your life.The attraction is a great vacation destination at any time of year, although it's a special experience during the holiday season when the historic homes are decorated according to trends of the historic time period.Leavenworth is a small Bavarian-inspired town in Washington's Cascade Mountains.Leavenworth, Washington.Checubus/ShutterstockLeavenworth's downtown is decorated for the holidays in festive lights, and the town's Christmas market keeps the holiday festivities going all season long. The Greenbrier is a beautiful historic resort in Lewisburg, West Virginia.The Greenbrier resort.Andriy Blokhin/ShutterstockThe entire property is covered in lights and the resort's interior is similarly festive. From holiday wine tastings to gingerbread-house workshops, there's no shortage of festive ways to spend Christmas at the Greenbrier. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, is a charming town with tons of natural beauty, although it is a particularly special place to spend the holidays.Elkhart Lake Station.StellaMc/ShutterstockThe Osthoff Resort holds an annual, award-winning Christmas market featuring artisan vendors and German cuisine like sauerbraten, schnitzel, and potato pancakes. Jackson, Wyoming, is a ski town with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.Jackson, Wyoming.Felix Lipov/ShutterstockThe town is famous for arches made of elk antlers, which are covered in Christmas lights during the holiday season.Read the original article on Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 6th, 2023

The full moon has different names for each month. Here"s the meaning and origin for the whole lunar calendar.

The full moon goes by many names each month, like the worm moon in March or the harvest moon in September, which originated to help track the seasons. The full moon, known as the "Super Pink Moon" rises behind the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.Christian Hartmann/Reuters This year's harvest moon rises Friday, September 29. It's also the last supermoon of 2023. Harvest moons occur in either September or October, depending on the date of the fall equinox. Every full moon has a special name. This naming system helped people track time for millennia. There are typically 12 full moons each year, including three or four supermoons. But while common, full moons have a long history of significance for many people and cultures.  "Astronomical events such as this mark the passage of time and provide a steady rhythm to our lives," Patrick Hartigan, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University, told Insider via email."These cycles are independent of human activities and remind us that we are part of this world but that we do not control everything," he said.The next full moon will be a harvest moon, rising on September 29.September: harvest moon, "corn moon," "barley moon"Amish people harvest corn in Maryland. Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesOver the millennia, September's full moon has signified to farmers that it's time to finish harvesting corn and other crops.A harvest moon sometimes occurs in October (the moon doesn't follow the Gregorian calendar), but it's always the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.Every few years, the harvest moon falls in October instead of September.The harvest moon rises with the setting sun. There's an optical illusion that the moon — any moon — looks larger than usual when it's near the horizon.So folks who see the full moon rise from the horizon around sunset may think it looks larger than normal. These bright moonlit nights give farmers a little extra time to harvest their crops.This year's harvest moon will reach its peak at 5:58 a.m. ET on September 29, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac. The next harvest moon: September 29, 2023Here are some of the many names assigned to full moons throughout the year.Tourists take pictures as a full moon rises in Moscow, Russia.Shamil Zhumatov/ReutersAcross North America and Europe, people have used full moons to track months and seasons for thousands of years, naming each one based on the seasonal changes it indicates.Different languages and cultures characterized their moons differently, sometimes based on agricultural cycles, sometimes on natural phenomena.The names assigned to full moons are often attributed to the native Algonquian peoples, who share a family of languages and originate from the area that today ranges from New England as far west as Lake Superior.Colonial settlers across North America adopted their own version of the indigenous names, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac.October: "hunter's moon," "blood moon," "dying grass moon," "travel moon"A man shoots at pheasants flying overhead during a pheasant hunt in Stokenchurch, England.Eddie Keog/REUTERSThese names refer to the time of year when leaves have fallen, the deer are fat, and animals are coming into harvested fields to eat what's left. Historically, hunters took advantage of October to store meat for the winter.Some associate this month's blood moon or "sanguine moon" with hunting, and it's different from a blood moon caused by a lunar eclipse. In the latter case, the moon appears to have a reddish hue.The next hunter's moon: October 28, 2023November: "beaver moon," "frosty moon"November's full moon is named for the industrious beaver.Jeff R Clow / Getty ImagesBeavers prepare for winter in November, as do trappers. This moon signaled the time to catch beavers and secure a supply of warm furs before the swamps froze.The next beaver moon: November 27, 2023December: "cold moon," "long night's moon"The moon sets behind a mountain at sunrise in Lake Louise, Alberta in December.Andy ClarkREUTERSDecember has the longest, darkest nights of the year, and the moon sits above the horizon longer than usual. Some Europeans and their descendants in North America also called the December full moon the "moon before Yule."The next cold moon: December 26, 2023January: "wolf moon," "old moon," "ice moon"Since they're known for their nighttime howls, it's not surprising there's a full moon named for wolves.John Moore/Getty ImagesIn mid-winter, as the story goes, hungry wolves would gather outside villages in North America and medieval Europe and howl into the night. This full moon was sometimes also called the "moon after Yule."The next one: January 25, 2024February: "snow moon," "hunger moon"The full February snow moon rises above the Hudson River and the town of Irvington, New York.Mike Segar/REUTERSIn North America, February marks the depths of winter, when snow blankets the ground and fresh food was traditionally harder to come by. Because it's a shorter month, some February's don't have a full moon at all.The next snow moon: February 24, 2024March: "worm moon," "sap moon," "crow moon"Former Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker urges sap to come out of a maple tree during an event at Hollis Hill Farm in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.REUTERS/Brian SnyderAs spring approaches, earthworms emerge from the ground, maple trees are ripe for tapping, and migratory birds return as winter ends.According to the Almanac, that's led Ojibwe people to call this the "sugar moon," Algonquin or Cree to call it the "eagle moon" or "goose moon," and northern Ojibwe to call it the "crow comes back moon."European settlers with religious calendars called this the "Lenten moon."According to NASA, "other names are the 'chaste moon' or the 'death moon,' related to the fasting of Lent and traditions from when the start of spring was the end of the old year and start of the new."The next worm moon: March 25, 2024April: "pink moon," "sprouting grass moon," "egg moon," "fish moon"Wildflowers along the California coastline in Big Sur at sunset.kanonsky/Getty ImagesThe pink moon is named for the pink phlox flowers that bloom in spring. The other names refer to additional staples of the changing season: growing grass, birds filling nests with eggs, and fish that swim upstream to spawn.The next pink moon: April 23, 2024May: "flower moon," "planting moon"As spring emerges, so does May's flower moon.REUTERS/Mike Blake In May, flowers burst fully into bloom, and it becomes time to sow crops again. Flower moon is an Algonquin name, according to the Almanac. In the Middle Ages, an English name for the May full moon was the "milk moon," according to NASA.The next flower moon: May 23, 2024June: "strawberry moon," "rose moon," "hot moon"A family picks strawberries at the Legare Farm Stand in Calais, Vermont.AP Photo/Toby TalbotStrawberries ripen for picking in June. Europeans dubbed this the rose moon, and other cultures called it the hot moon because it harkens summer heat ahead."Mead" or "honey moon" are other European names for this full moon. The term "honeymoon" dates back at least to the 1500s and originally meant a sweet period of time lasting around a month.The next strawberry moon: June 21, 2024July: "buck moon," "thunder moon," "hay moon"Young stag deer clash antlers during the annual rut in Richmond Park in west London, Britain.REUTERS/Toby MelvilleDeer grow new, velvety antlers in July, and thunderstorms rage aplenty in some parts of North America. For Anglo-Saxons, July was all about hay. Sockeye fish return to spawn in Alaska in June and July, so it makes sense the Tlingit people would call this month's moon the "salmon moon."The buck moon: July 21, 2024August: "sturgeon moon," "red moon"Researcher Matt Balazik gets ready to toss a 70-pound Atlantic sturgeon into the James River near Charles City, Virginia.AP Photo/Steve HelberTribes near the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain knew August was the best time to catch sturgeon, an enormous, hearty fish. Some people also think the moon appears more reddish in color this month because of the heat.The next sturgeon moon: August 19, 2024Some full moons are called supermoons or micromoons. The contemporary terms refer to how large and small the moon looks at various points in its elliptical orbit.Supermoons can appear a bit larger and brighter than a typical full moon.REUTERS/Paul HannaSupermoons occur when the moon is at perigee — the closest point to Earth. They can cause stronger ocean tides and weather events.Micromoons are the opposite, occurring at apogee — when the moon is furthest from Earth. They can reduce the variation in spring tides by 2 inches. Micromoons appear about 14% smaller than supermoons, and sometimes seem dimmer, since the area illuminated by the sun appears 30% smaller, according to TimeandDate.com.Since the International Astronomical Union has not officially defined supermoons or micromoons, astronomers disagree on which full moons get the designation.The next full supermoon: August 19, 2024The next full micromoon: February 24, 2024Blue moons are like special bonuses. They occur every two or three years, when a month or season has one extra full moon.A full moon isn't the best time to see stars, even at a place as dark as Yellowstone National Park.Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty ImagesWhen an astronomical season (the time between solstice and equinox) has four full moons instead of the normal three, the third one is a seasonal blue moon.When a calendar month has two full moons, the second one is a monthly blue moon. That happens because the lunar month is only 29 days long, while the Gregorian calendar month is usually 30 or 31 days long.The moon doesn't actually appear blue on these occasions. That would only happen if dust or smoke particles of a particular size cloud the atmosphere, say after a forest fire, volcanic eruption, or dust storm.The next seasonal blue moon: August 19, 2024The next monthly blue moon: August 19, 2024Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 26th, 2023

Rio Tinto (RIO) to Build Solar Power Plant in North Canada

Rio Tinto (RIO) will build a solar power plant to power its Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada. Rio Tinto RIO will build the largest solar power plant in Canada’s northern territories at its Diavik Diamond Mine. This move aligns with RIO’s global decarbonization objectives, which include a 15% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2025, and 50% by 2030. The company has made a commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.The plant will feature more than 6,600 solar panels. In addition to direct sunlight, the bi-facial panels will help generate energy from the light that reflects off the snow which covers Diavik for most of the year.The solar power plant, which is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2024, will add to Diavik’s renewable energy generation, which already features a wind-diesel hybrid power facility with a capacity of 55.4 MW powering the site. The solar plant is expected to generate around 4,200 megawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity annually for the mine. It will provide up to 25% of Diavik’s electricity during closure work, which will continue till 2029.  It will cut diesel consumption at the site by approximately one million liters per year. It will also help lower emissions by 2,900 tons of CO2 equivalent, which is almost same as eliminating the emissions of 630 cars.The Diavik mine, which is fully owned by Rio Tinto, is Canada’s largest diamond producer with an annual production capacity of 3.5 to 4.5 million carats of rough diamonds per annum. The mine started operating in 2003 and produced over 100 million carats of diamonds ever since. Commercial production is expected to end in the first quarter of 2026.In 2022, the company’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions were 30.3Mt CO2e, which was down 2% year over year and marked a reduction of 7% from its 2018 baseline. In the first half of fiscal 2023, RIO’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions were 15.4 Mt CO2e, 1% lower than the last year’s comparable period. The company has spent $95 million on decarbonization projects in the said period.Rio Tinto plans to invest $7.5 billion in capital between 2022 and 2030 to deliver on its decarbonization strategy. The company has made some advancements in its sustainability efforts during the first half of fiscal 2023. Among these, in April 2023, Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium started BlueSmeltingTM demonstration plant at its metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy. This is a part of the process to validate the ground-breaking BlueSmeltingTM technology, which aims to decarbonize RTIT's Quebec Operations.  The project is part of a partnership between Rio Tinto and the Government of Canada to invest up to C$737 million ($537 million) over the next eight years to decarbonize the Sorel-Tracy facility and to position the business as a center of excellence in critical minerals processing.In June, Rio Tinto announced that its Boron, CA operation has started operating with a fleet running on renewable diesel. This makes it the first open pit mine in the world to manage this feat. Also, during the month, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Baowu, to explore a range of industry-leading new projects in China and Australia in a bid to decarbonize the steel value chain.Miners are bringing about radical changes to mining operations with the help of technology and automation to increase productivity and efficiency, reduce costs and improve frontline safety. More importantly, these efforts will help the industry reach its sustainability target by cutting down on carbon emissions, which is the need of the hour considering the severity of climate change.BHP Group BHP recently signed a MoU with Toyota Australia, the Australian subsidiary of the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota TM to enhance safety measures and reduce CO2 emissions at the former’s Australian operations. Toyota’s expertise will aid BHP's progress toward its objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.To decarbonize its operations, BHP has plans to electrify its fleet of 5000 light vehicles in Australia.Vale S.A VALE has also set target to reduce Scopes 1 and 2 absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2030, and achieve net zero Scopes 1 and 2 emissions by 2050. Till 2022, Vale has achieved a reduction of 27% in CO2 emissions, compared with the 2017 base levels.Earlier this year, Vale successfully tested a new type of iron ore briquette, adapted for the direct reduction route. This marks a solid breakthrough as it will aid the steel industry's efforts to achieve emission reduction targets. The new type of briquette emits about 80% less CO2 compared to pellets in its manufacture. The briquette can also be used as a charge for the blast furnace. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s credited with a “watershed medical breakthrough” and is developing a bustling pipeline of other projects that could make a world of difference for patients suffering from diseases involving the liver, lungs, and blood. This is a timely investment that you can catch while it emerges from its bear market lows. It could rival or surpass other recent Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock And 4 Runners UpWant the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Toyota Motor Corporation (TM): Free Stock Analysis Report BHP Group Limited Sponsored ADR (BHP): Free Stock Analysis Report VALE S.A. (VALE): Free Stock Analysis Report Rio Tinto PLC (RIO): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksAug 15th, 2023

A powerful solar storm is due to hit Earth on Wednesday, sparking beautiful auroras. Here"s how to see them.

A coronal mass ejection that was released from the sun on May 7 is due to hit the Earth May 10. NASA predicts it could cause stunning auroras. The northern lights spotted in Riverton, Wyoming on March 23, 2023NWS Riverton A powerful solar storm due to hit the Earth on Wednesday could spark brilliant auroras. Auroras have been seen as far south as California, Utah, and New Mexico in recent months. Expect to see more auroras in coming months as the sun's activity reaches a peak. A powerful geomagnetic storm is due to hit the Earth Wednesday, causing dazzling auroras across the planet which may be seen farther south than usual. The coming auroras have been predicted after the sun released some plasma during a coronal mass ejection on Sunday that is currently traveling toward us at breakneck speeds.NASA predicts this plasma will hit the Earth on Wednesday, exciting our outer atmosphere and helping auroras shine.It will be the latest in a series of solar storms that have hit our planet in recent months, as the sun nears a peak of activity.The storms have sparked auroras that have been seen as far south as North Carolina, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, California, and Oklahoma.Here's how to spot the dazzling spectacle:How to spot and snap the auroraThe Aurora Australis, also known as the Southern Lights, as it glows on the horizon over waters of Lake Ellesmere on April 24, 2023SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AFP via Getty ImagesBefore heading out, check the aurora forecast on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website to see if you could see the aurora in your area.NASA predicts the storm could hit as a moderate (G2) to strong (G3) storm, about halfway up the geomagnetic storm scale, per spaceweather.com.If the storm hits as a G3, the aurora could descend to mid-latitudes and could be seen in states like Oregon, Nebraska, and Virginia, per spaceweather.com. But geomagnetic storms are notoriously hard to forecast and when it reaches the Earth, the storm could be weaker. Or it could be stronger.A recent example is a G4 storm that hit the Earth in March and caused aurora seen as far as Phoenix, Arizona. It had originally been expected to be a G3, but a later eruption of the sun made the storm more powerful. If you have clear skies, head for a place where there is low light pollution, away from city lights.Prepare for cold weather with blankets and hot beverages. You may have used your phone or looked at screens to get you where you need to go, so be patient, and let your eyes adjust to the darkness. You can try to snap pictures of the auroras with a camera, but make sure not to transfer it too quickly from a hot to a cold environment to avoid condensation, according to the Royal Photographic Society.The northern lights in Whitley Bay, England April 24, 2023.Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty ImagesPreset your camera before leaving a warmer space so your fingers don't get too cold — higher aperture may be better, but you may have to adjust your settings if the aurora is moving quickly (you can find information on how to set SLR cameras here.) This storm is caused by a powerful solar flareSouthern lights in Christchurch, New Zealand, on April 24, 2023.SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AFP via Getty ImagesThe sun released a long-lasting M1.5-class solar flare on Sunday, a burst of radiation that accelerates charged particles away from the sun, per spaceweather.com.The radiation from the flare traveled at the speed of light and reached Earth on Sunday, causing some minor radio signal blackouts over the weekend.A solar flare on May 7, which propelled forward a coronal mass ejection that is due to hit Earth on May 10.SDO/NASAThe flare also hurtled a coronal mass ejection (CME), a cloud of plasma and magnetic fields, toward our planet. This travels more slowly, though it can reach speeds of 600 miles per second. As the CME hits our ionosphere — a charged layer that surrounds the Earth — it will excite particles in the sky that light up to create the aurora. Because the storm is due to hit the Earth as a G3, there's a chance aurora could be seen further south than usual, though we should be safe from the worst effects of geomagnetic storms, like grid disruptions.Auroras seen in Sioux Da lls, South Dakota, on March 23, 2023NWS Sioux FallsExpect more of these aurora-brightening solar events in the coming monthsA view of the sun on April 21 shows the coronal mass ejection that caused the April 24 storm.SDO/NASAPowerful geomagnetic storms are becoming more common as the sun nears a solar maximum, which happens when our star's poles flip, causing havoc with magnetic fields at the surface of our star.As the sun's activity ramps up, we're also seeing more stunning solar phenomena.Over the past few months, we've seen a plasma vortex swirling like a whirlpool around the solar pole, a massive coronal "hole" in our sun, and a solar "tornado" the size of 14 Earths.The tornado, near the north pole of the sun.SDO/NASASpace weather isn't just pretty If this week's solar storm hits at a G3 level, there shouldn't be much adverse effect on our planet's infrastructure. But as our sun gets more active, scientists have warned that we could be at higher risk for a more powerful solar storm — up to G5.These bursts of electromagnetic energy can be quite dangerous, as they affect everything from the power grid to GPS signals."Space weather can ground flights," Owens previously told Insider, adding that the Federal Aviation Administration "won't allow flights if they don't have both radio and satellite communications."This solar flare has already affected radio signals sent from Earth, which need to bounce off the ionosphere to get from one point to the other — that's less efficient in rough space weather.Northern lights in Fischbeck, Germany, 24 April 2023.Cevin Dettlaff/picture alliance via Getty ImagesAs the magnetic fields from the sun crash into the Earth, they can also cause grid surges that can overwhelm power systems and underwater pipelines. On March 10, 1989, a huge solar flare caused a storm that surged the Quebec power grid, which was out of commission for eight long hours on a weekday morning, affecting about 6 million people.Storms can make the atmosphere more dense which can crash satellites, as was the case in February 2022, when 40 of 49 of SpaceX's Starlink satellites launched into orbit were knocked out of commission. Charged particles from the sun can also glitch electronic materials. This usually goes unnoticed, but on rare occasions, these particles have been linked to water mines exploding and phantom votes showing up in elections. People have even attributed their pacemaker glitches to these solar particles. This story was originally published on April 24, 2023, and was updated to reflect information from the latest storm due to cause bright auroras. Correction: April 28, 2023 — An earlier version of the story misstated the speed of the winds traveling from the sun. It was 600 miles per second, not 600 miles per hour. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 9th, 2023

A powerful solar storm is hitting Earth, sparking stunning northern and southern lights across the planet. Here"s how to see them tonight.

The northern and southern lights are expected to make another appearance tonight after stunning sky gazers across the planet over the weekend. The northern lights spotted in Riverton, Wyoming on March 23, 2023NWS Riverton A powerful G4 solar storm is hitting the Earth with winds as fast as 600 miles per second.  It sparked brilliant auroras on Sunday night, seen as far as California, Utah, and New Mexico. The storm should prompt northern lights Monday night as well. Here's how to see them.  A powerful geomagnetic storm is hitting Earth causing dazzling auroras across the planet that may last until Monday evening.Auroras were spotted over the weekend in the US, including in North Carolina, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, California, and Oklahoma, per spaceweather.com.Auroras seen in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, on March 24, 2023.NWS La CrosseThe spectacle also gave a treat to skygazers globally, with the lights seen across the UK, in the skies over Kyiv, Ukraine, and as far as Victoria, Australia. Because of the varying nature of this particular storm, it is difficult to know exactly where the auroras may be visible again tonight."The further north you are the better your chances of seeing the aurora tonight," Daniel Verscharen, an associate professor of space and climate physics at University College London, told Insider in an email. "Although this is quite a strong storm, the centre of the auroral activity will remain north of us. This means that people should look northward and mostly near the horizon."How to see and snap the aurorasSouthern lights in Christchurch, New Zealand, on April 24, 2023.SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AFP via Getty ImagesThe powerful storm should continue until Monday evening. A G4 storm warning — the second to most powerful level on the geomagnetic storm scale — is in place till about 8 p.m. ET, per the UK Met Office.The storm was caused by a coronal mass ejection that released fast winds barrelling through space.Auroras seen in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on March 23, 2023NWS Sioux FallsThe winds are traveling at more than 600 miles per second, Mathew Owens, a professor of space physics at the University of Reading, told Insider in an email. A photographer takes pictures of the southern lights in Christchurch, New Zealand, on April 24, 2023SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AFP via Getty Images"Some models predict that this storm will go on for a little bit longer, so it's definitely worth checking out the sky tonight," Verscharen said.  If you have clear skies, head for a place where there is low light pollution, away from city lights.Auroras seen in DeWitt, Iowa on March 24, 2023.NWS Quad citiesPrepare for cold weather with blankets and hot beverages. You may have used your phone or looked at screens to get you where you need to go, so be patient, and let your eyes adjust to the darkness. You can try to snap pictures of the auroras with a camera, but make sure not to transfer it too quickly from a hot to a cold environment to avoid condensation, according to the Royal Photographic Society.The northern lights in Whitley Bay, England April 24, 2023.Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty ImagesPreset your camera before leaving a warmer space so your fingers don't get too cold — higher aperture may be better, but you may have to adjust your settings if the aurora is moving quickly (you can find information on how to set SLR cameras here.) Storms like this aren't just prettyA view of the sun on April 21 shows the coronal mass ejection that caused the April 24 storm.SDO/NASAPowerful geomagnetic storms are becoming more common as the sun nears a solar maximum, which happens when our star's poles flip, causing havoc with magnetic fields at the surface of our star.As the sun's activity ramps up, we're also seeing more stunning solar phenomena.Over the past two months, we've seen a plasma vortex swirling like a whirlpool around the solar pole, a massive coronal "hole" in our sun, and a solar "tornado" the size of 14 Earths.The tornado, near the north pole of the sun.SDO/NASAAll of this has increased the number of auroras around Earth, but the bursts of electromagnetic energy from these storms can affect everything from the power grid to GPS signals."Space weather can ground flights," Owens previously told Insider, adding that the Federal Aviation Administration "won't allow flights if they don't have both radio and satellite communications."Radio signals sent from Earth also need to bounce off the ionosphere to get from one point to the other — that's less efficient in rough space weather.Northern lights in Fischbeck, Germany, 24 April 2023.Cevin Dettlaff/picture alliance via Getty ImagesIt's not just the speed of the winds that the scientists are looking at. The current storm also carries a magnetic field orientation that puts us in a precarious position, per Verscharen.This magnetic field in this storm points southward. Whenever that's the case, the storm is more likely to disrupt the Earth's magnetic field, he said. That's why scientists are keeping a close eye on how this storm evolves.Correction: April 28, 2023 — An earlier version of the story misstated the speed of the winds traveling from the sun. It was 600 miles per second, not 600 miles per hour.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 8th, 2023

Futures Tumble As SVB Implosion Spark Global Banking Turmoil; Payrolls Loom

Futures Tumble As SVB Implosion Spark Global Banking Turmoil; Payrolls Loom US futures and European stocks pared broader declines earlier sparked by a rush to havens amid concerns about the health of the US banking system following the collapse of Silvergate and the rout that has crushed Silicon Valley Bank, sending it shares down 40% premarket after plunging 60% on Thursday amid a spreading liquidity crisis. The collapse of the lender was sufficiently traumatic to push today's payrolls report - until yesterday the highlight of the week - off the front page. S&P 500 futures fell slightly, erasing a bigger drop that pushed eminis briefly below 3,900 setting up the underlying index to extend a rout fueled by liquidity concerns in the banking sector and as investors prepare for the monthly payrolls report.  The benchmark dropped the most in over two weeks on Thursday, with banks slumping as SVB Financial Group took steps to shore up its capital position following losses in its securities portfolio. Nasdaq 100 futures were little changed. Europe’s Stoxx 600 equity gauge dropped more than 1%, with an index of bank stocks sliding the most since June. Bond markets were also roiled by the SIVB news, sending yields plunging and reversing sharp gains earlier this week following Powell's hawkish speech. Treasuries extended gains for a second day, driving 10-year yields down by as much as 11 basis points to a three-week low, while German 10-year government borrowing costs were at one point poised for their biggest slump since early February. In premarket trading, Shares of SVB - a major lender to startup companies - dropped 46% after a record 60% plunge on Thursday after a surprise announcement from SVB that it was holding a $2.25 billion share sale after a significant loss on its portfolio, which included US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. Other banks including JPMorgan and Bank of America also inched lower. However, the big impact of SVB’s woes is that it has investors asking whether this be the start of a much bigger problem as attention turns to risks that may lurk in other financial institutions after the Fed’s steep rate hikes. Some market strategists said that the declines are likely to remain smaller Friday as the risk of contagion from SVB is relatively contained. Their thesis was not helped after several VC titans such as Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and others advised portfolio businesses to withdraw their money. “The events around SVB highlight some of the additional risks of financial stress,” said Sarah Hewin, senior economist at Standard Chartered Bank in London. “There is a sense now of the bigger risks to the economy the more the Fed raises interest rates. At the margins it is raising the question of whether the Fed will indeed be able to do a 50 basis-point rate hike this month.” “I suspect there’s some comfort that SVB’s troubles are not systemic as for the majority of banks — improving interest margins due to rising rates are offsetting losses on their long-duration investment portfolios,” said Marija Veitmane, senior multi-asset strategist at State Street Global Markets. Here Are some of the other notable premarket movers: Roblox (RBLX US) shares rise 2.2% as Jefferies raises the online games designer to buy from hold, saying it expects continued growth through near-term macro and competitive pressures. Caterpillar (CAT US) shares fall 2.1% as UBS cuts the construction-machinery maker to sell from neutral, saying its growth momentum is not good enough to justify its valuation. Oracle (ORCL US) fell 4.5% after the software company reported cloud license and on-premise license revenue that was weaker than expected. Overall revenue was essentially in line with the analyst consensus, while adjusted earnings were slightly stronger. DocuSign (DOCU US) fell 13% after the e-signature company gave a first-quarter billings forecast that is weaker than expected. Analysts noted that the fourth-quarter results were strong but the company was re- investing much of its cost savings. Allbirds (BIRD US) shares slump 22% after the sneaker brand reported fourth-quarter net revenue that missed estimates. Analysts noted a lower-than- expected first-quarter outlook. Meanwhile, all eyes today are on the jobs report for February, due at 8:30 a.m. in New York. Payroll growth has topped estimates for 10 straight months in the longest streak in decades, a trend that, if extended, will boost pressure on the Fed to keep hiking rates. Median estimate for February change in nonfarm payrolls is 225k after 517k gain in January, while crowd-sourced whisper number is 250k (our full preview is here). For today's implied post-payrolls move, JPM's Bram Kaplan estimates the options market is pricing a ~1.4% S&P 500 move for NFP. The bank's chief economist, Mike Feroli, sees NFP to print around 200k vs 225k survey vs 517k prior and February Unemp rate to be same as Jan’s 3.4%, in line with consensus. “For the Fed these ripples across the financial system will be something to monitor but they are much more focused on their inflation mandate,” said Georgina Taylor, head of multi-asset at Invesco. “A strong set of data “will keep pressure on the Fed,” she added. In Europe, banks and financial services are the worst-performing stock sectors, leading the Stoxx 600 down by as much as 1.9%, while bond-proxy utilities was the only sector up. European banks stocks slid on Friday and underperformed the broader market after after US peers plunged following the collapse of Silvergate Capital and concerns around SVB Financial. The Stoxx 600 Banks index dropped as much as 4.9%, the most since June; subindex is down 3.6% at 1:03pm CET, compared to a 1.2% decline for the Stoxx 600 benchmark. Deutsche Bank was the biggest faller in the subindex, down as much as 9.8%; HSBC, Santander, BNP Paribas and ING the other major drags on the index. UBS fell as much as 5.4% to drag on the Stoxx 600 Financial Services index; private equity investors Partners Group and EQT also sink, while Credit Suisse shares plunged as much as 6.1% to hit a new record low.  Credit Suisse analyst Jon Peace says the drop for European banks, driven by worries about unrealized losses in bank bond portfolios, offers a buying opportunity (of course he would say that). Here are some of the most notable European movers: Daimler Truck drops as much as 4.8% in Frankfurt after its fourth- quarter earnings miss and a broader selloff in cyclical shares overshadowed its 2023 outlook Schroders shares fall as much as 4.3% after being cut to neutral from outperform at Credit Suisse as the broker sees the UK fund manager contending with headwinds Bachem Holding falls as much as 8.5% after an offering of 1.25m shares priced at CHF86.50 apiece, representing a 5.9% discount to Thursday’s close Kion falls as much as 6.7% after being cut to equal-weight from overweight at Morgan Stanley with the broker seeing an uncertain picture for price-volume dynamics at the forklift maker in 2023 Casino shares fall as much as 5.8% after the French grocer reported trading profit for the full year that missed the average analyst estimate Mobilezone shares decline as much as 9.3% after it announced disappointing weaker gross and Ebit margins OTP Bank shares decline as much as 1.9% after Hungary’s largest lender said 2022 profit fell after it booked a slew of charges linked to the war in Ukraine Vodafone shares rise as much as 1.7% after Bloomberg reported that the UK telecom operator is at the final stages of talks to merge its British operations with Three UK Breedon rises as much as 5% after Abicad Holding said it is acquiring about 5.3m ordinary shares at price of 75p apiece, representing a premium to the last close U-blox shares climb as much as 11% after the Swiss position-systems provider reported strong profitability and free cash flow for 2022 Leonardo gains as much as 2.9% after the Italian defense group projected profit for 2023 that was slightly ahead of estimates Earlier in the session, stocks in Asia tumbled, following US financial shares lower, after warnings from Silicon Valley bank led to concern about the broader sector, and the yen slides as the BOJ leaves policy unchanged. The Nikkei slumps 1.6% and Topix is 1.7% lower. China’s Shanghai Composite Index falls 1.2% and the CSI 300 slips 1.1%. Hong Kong shares also decline with the benchmark down 2.5% and Hang Seng Tech Index down 3.6%. Japanese stocks had their biggest drop in more than five months as shares of the nation’s major lenders tumbled after the Bank of Japan’s decision to leave policy unchanged set off a plunge in bond yields.  The Topix fell 1.9% to 2,031.58 as of the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, having its steepest drop since Sept. 26. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial contributed the most to the decline, falling 6.1%. Out of 2,160 stocks in the index, 159 rose and 1,953 fell, while 48 were unchanged. The Nikkei 225 fell 1.7% to 28,143.97.  The Topix’s gauge for banks slid the most in three years, with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial each falling at least 4.9%. Banks also dropped after their US peers slumped on concerns that signs of trouble at a Silicon Valley-based lender may point to broader risks for the sector. “Perhaps some investors were hoping for a review of yield curve control after the BOJ’s monetary policy meeting,” said Tomoaki Kawasaki, a senior analyst at Iwaicosmo Securities Co. “There was probably some talk about Silicon Valley in the morning, and the stock market was falling a little.” Australia's stocks slumped the most in six months: the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 2.3% to close at 7,144.70, posting its biggest decline since mid-September after concerns over a Silicon Valley-based lender sapped investor appetite. Banks were among the biggest drags on the Australian gauge, following their Wall Street peers lower as troubles at SVB Financial Group spurred concerns about the wider lending sector. Read: Asian Bank Stocks Drop to Two-Month Low on SVB Worries In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8% to 11,727.04. India's banking stocks posted their biggest slump in more than a month to lead declines as the nation's benchmark gauges joined a global selloff triggered by worries over the health of the US banking system.  The S&P BSE Sensex fell 1.1% to 59,135.13 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index declined 1%. Friday’s selloff saw both benchmarks end the week atleast a percent lower. For the year, the measures have lost 2.8% and 3.8%, respectively. HDFC Bank contributed the most to the Sensex’s decline, with a 2.6% fall on Friday. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex index, 21 dropped and nine advanced. Fifteen of 20 sector gauges compiled by BSE Ltd. closed lower, led by the banking index which fell 1.9%, its biggest drop since Jan. 27.  Banking and financial stocks, with nearly 40% weight in the benchmarks, have been among the prominent decliners recently with higher interest rates expected to impact margins as well as hurt demand for fresh loans. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched lower for a second day and the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers. Treasuries extended a rally across the curve as money markets eased Fed tightening bets. Euro-area and UK bonds also rallied in early trade, with short-dated debt outperforming amid demand for haven assets and amid paring of central bank hikes. The euro rose to trade around $1.06. The cost of converting euro payments into dollars using cross-currency basis swaps rises at the European open as demand for the greenback surges The pound rose, buoyed by stronger-than-forecast data on UK economic growth in January, which added to evidence of resilience in the face of a cost-of-living squeeze and widespread industrial unrest. Gilts followed moves in European bonds and Treasuries Norway’s krone slumped after data showed the headline inflation rate declined to 6.3% in February, versus the median projection of 6.8% in a Bloomberg poll of analysts that was the same as the central bank’s estimate. Underlying inflation, the measure followed by Norges Bank, also declined from an all-time high to 5.9%, matching the central bank’s view, while analysts had expected a smaller slowdown The yen reversed gains and government bonds advanced after the BOJ kept its policy settings for its negative interest rate and yield curve control program unchanged at Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s last meeting Australian sovereign bonds extended opening gains after the BOJ left its key policy rates unchanged. Aussie dollar dips were bought into by exporters and leveraged funds squaring up before US jobs data later today Global bonds broadly rally: Treasuries are richer across the curve, extending Thursday’s sharp rally, while off session highs reached during European morning as stock futures pare losses. Yields are richer by 3bp-6bp across the curve led by intermediates, steepening 5s30s spread by 3bp on the day and adding to Thursday’s aggressive bull-steepening move; 10-year yields around 3.85%, richer by 5bp vs Thursday’s after touching 3.797%, lowest since Feb. 16. Flight-to-quality backdrop remains a theme, supporting Treasuries, amid mounting worries about contagion in US banking system from SVB Financial’s slump. Treasury yields underperform gilts and bunds across the curve as they catch up to Thursday’s action. Peripheral spreads widen to Germany. Bloomberg dollar spot index is flat. In commodities, WTI Crude continues its decline trading ~$75. Spot gold rises roughly $3 to trade near $1,834/oz. Looking to the day ahead now, the main highlight will be the aforementioned US jobs report for February. Other releases include the UK’s GDP for January. And from central banks, we’ll hear from the ECB’s Panetta. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 3,910.75 MXAP down 1.9% to 156.95 MXAPJ down 1.8% to 502.93 Nikkei down 1.7% to 28,143.97 Topix down 1.9% to 2,031.58 Hang Seng Index down 3.0% to 19,319.92 Shanghai Composite down 1.4% to 3,230.08 Sensex down 1.1% to 59,130.19 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 2.3% to 7,144.69 Kospi down 1.0% to 2,394.59 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.3% to 453.84 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.53% Euro up 0.2% to $1.0597 Brent Futures down 0.3% to $81.35/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,836.92 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.14% to 105.16 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg President Joe Biden and European Commission leader Ursula von der Leyen will likely make their meeting at the White House on Friday convivial, despite trade tensions and the pressure of the war in Ukraine UK GDP grew 0.3% in January, recovering part of a 0.5% decline in December when strikes halted activity, Office for National Statistics figures show. Economists forecast growth of 0.1% in January Janus Henderson’s emerging-market hard currency debt fund has a “cautious overweight” on Argentina as the bonds are cheap and there’s expectation of a change in government at the October election, Thomas Haugaard says The ECB will step up its fight against stubborn inflation by raising interest rates four more times and unwinding its €5 trillion ($5.3 trillion) bond portfolio at a quicker pace, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists Japan’s broken bond market gave Governor Haruhiko Kuroda one last salute at his final policy meeting, when one of the 10-year tenors saw its yield turn negative For the first time in years, the euro is poised to offer better returns than its Nordic counterparts. Should money-market wagers materialize, the ECB deposit rate will climb above the Norges Bank key rate for the first time ever and will surpass the Riksbank’s benchmark after five years lagging Japan’s parliament gave a green light for veteran economics professor Kazuo Ueda to take the helm of the BOJ next month in the first change of governor in a decade A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks declined amid headwinds from the banking sell-off in the US owing to contagion fears related to Silicon Valley Bank in which shares of the group dropped more than 60% during Wall St trade and resulted in the four biggest US banks shedding a total of more than USD 50bln in market cap, while SVB suffered another 20% drop after-hours as funds advised companies to pull out of the lender. ASX 200 was pressured by losses in its largest-weighted financial industry on spillover selling from stateside peers and with the index also hit by weakness in the commodity-related sectors. Nikkei 225 declined with risk sentiment dampened following mixed household spending data and with banking shares further hit after the BoJ maintained its ultra-loose policy settings. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. conformed to the downbeat mood with Hong Kong underperforming amid a tech rout as JD.com shares suffer a double-digit drop despite beating on the bottom line, while property stocks are also in focus as shares in developer Kaisa initially dropped around 40% post-earnings and on return from a 12-month trading halt. Top Asian News China's parliament elected Chinese President Xi for a third term as President and as Central Military Commission Chairperson, while the NPC also elected Zhao Leji as NPC Standing Committee Chairperson and Han Zheng as China's Vice President. US is working to close a loophole in the export ban related to China's Inspur (000977 CH), while it was also reported that Senator Rubio introduced legislation seeking to block tax credits for batteries produced by the planned Ford (F) plant using Chinese technology. BoJ kept policy settings unchanged, as expected, with rates held at -0.10% and QQE with yield curve control maintained to target 10yr JGB yields at around 0%, while it kept the band around the yield target at +/-50bps with the decision on YCC made by unanimous vote. BoJ also maintained its forward guidance on interest rates and said Japan's economy is picking up with the economy expected to recover as the impact of the pandemic and supply constraints fade, while it stated that core consumer inflation is moving around 4% and inflation expectations are heightening. BoJ's Kuroda: premature to debate the specifics on the exit from monetary easing, policy rate and balance sheet the main things to consider when the debate begins; exit must be conducted only when 2% inflation is sustainably and stably achieved. Japan's upper house approved the appointment of Kazuo Ueda as the next BoJ Governor, while it approved the appointment of Shinichi Uchida and Ryozo Himino as Deputy Governors, as expected. European bourses are lower across the board, Euro Stoxx 50 -1.5%, as contagion fears from SVB dents risk sentiment and weighs heavily on banks, SX7P -4.0%. As such, the Banking sector is underperforming with the exception of Utilities; aside from the above, pertinent movers on the upside are limited to Leonardo and Vodafone. Stateside, futures remain under pressure with the ES around 3900 while the NQ is the relative outperformer, and little changed overall, with yields lower amid haven action and as participants prepare for NFP. Top European News US President Biden and European Commission President von der Leyen have agreed to launch talks on critical mineral and subsidies, according to a senior US official; expects to discuss strengthening cooperation on Russian sanctions. UK PM Sunak is to unveil up to GBP 5bln additional cash for defence, according to The Times. Reuters poll showed all 60 economists surveyed unanimously forecast the ECB to hike the Deposit Rate by 50bps to 3.00% at its meeting next week, while expectations are for the Deposit Rate to peak at 3.75% in Q3 vs prev. forecast of a peak at 3.25% in Q2. 5.6 magnitude earthquake occurs in northern Colombia, via EMSC. FX The USD has failed to benefit from the broader risk tone, with the DXY underpressure though yet to test the 105.00 mark to the downside within 105.07-36 parameters. JPY is the standout laggard, with USD/JPY testing 137.00 from a 135.82 base as hawkish positioning unwound following Kuroda's last BoJ, where policy parameters were maintained. At the other end of the spectrum is GBP, with firmer-than-expected headline GDP data and technicals via EUR/GBP assisting to lift Cable above 1.20; specifically, EUR/GBP moved below the 21- & 50-DMA's of 0.8849 and 0.8838 in relatively quick succession. Elsewhere, the CHF benefits on haven-flows while peers ex-JPY are generally firmer against the USD pre-NFP; CAD, ahead of its own jobs report, is litle changed in narrow 1.3823-3861 parameters. Fixed Income Core and periphery EGBs are benefiting from the glum risk tone; though, the benchmarks have eased from initial extremes as newsflow slows pre-NFP. Specifically, Bunds are now below 133.00 within 132.37-133.82 ranges; Gilts back towards 101.16 vs 102.00+ best and USTs at 112.00 despite being 13 ticks above the mark earlier. Amidst this, yields are lower across the curve with action in US yields most pronounced in the belly. Commodities Crude and base metals are dented by the deterioration in risk sentiment, with spot gold gleaning some modest upside from this. Currently, WTI and Brent are just off initial lows within ranges of circa. USD 1/bbl while base metals are, broadly speaking, softer across the board with LME nickel particularly afflicted. For gold specifically, the yellow metal briefly surmounted its 21-DMA and yesterday's best at USD 1834/oz and USD 1835/oz respectively, but remains only modestly firmer overall. Saudi Aramco is to supply full contract volumes of oil to at least four north Asian refiners in April. Chevron's (CVX) 240k BPD Richmond California plant reports malfunctioning flaring equipment. Geopolitics North Korean leader Kim oversaw the fire assault drill on Thursday and the drill proved the capability to counter an actual war, while shells were aimed at simulated targets of enemy airport. Furthermore, North Korean leader Kim said the army should be ready to fight at any time citing 'frantic war preparation moves' by the enemy, according to KCNA. US is to hold an informal meeting of UN Security Council members next week regarding human rights abuses in North Korea, according to Reuters. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov says that Russia and the US remain in contact over the New START Treaty but progress is not expected from these contacts. US Event Calendar 08:30: Feb. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 225,000, prior 517,000 Change in Private Payrolls, est. 215,000, prior 443,000 Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 10,000, prior 19,000 Unemployment Rate, est. 3.4%, prior 3.4% Underemployment Rate, prior 6.6% Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 62.4%, prior 62.4% Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.6, prior 34.7 Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 4.7%, prior 4.4% Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3% 14:00: Feb. Monthly Budget Statement, est. -$263b, prior -$216.6b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap What do you get when you see one of the biggest hiking cycles on record, alongside one of the most inverted yield curves in history, at the same time as seeing one of the biggest tech bubbles bursting in history, coupled with runaway growth in private markets. The answer is that you get nights like yesterday where SVB (Silicon Valley Bank) Financial Group, closed -60.41% lower on the day, wiping out $9.6bn of market value. Although this story was brewing in the background for much of the day, it wasn't until Europe went home that it exploded on the global macro stage as the S&P 500 went from around flat at that point to close -1.85%, with the KBW US bank index (-7.7%) seeing its worst day since June 2020. Rates saw a huge rally, especially at the front end as we'll see below. For background, SVB focuses on servicing emerging to middle-market growth technology companies that are usually backed by venture-capital firms. They announced that they had large losses on security sales and would be undergoing a stock offering to shore up its balance sheet. Silicon Valley Bank’s CEO pointed to the expectation of higher rates and persistent client outflows as to why the lender incurred a one-time $1.8bn loss on a security portfolio sale. Considering the client outflows are also likely driven by higher interest rates, it is not a stretch to say that this episode is emblematic of the higher-for-longer rate regime we appear to be at the start of, as well as inverted curves, and a tech venture capital industry that's been seeing much tougher times of late. The perfect storm of all the things we've been worrying about in this cycle. Sentiment across markets soured following the spreading of the SVB news. The KBW Bank index saw all of its 24 index member lower on the day with some high-profile names like JPM (-5.41%), BofA (-6.20%) and Citi (-4.10%) also much lower. The index has been down every day this week, with the 4-day performance (-12.31%) also the worst 4-day performance for US banks since June 2020. We'll have to see how this story develops but something always breaks hard during or after a Fed hiking cycle. Is this another mini wobble on this front or the start of something bigger? Tough to tell but I would be stunned if there weren’t many more casualties of this boom-and-bust cycle. Don’t forget, we haven’t been in recession yet. Imagine superimposing that on the leveraged world we live in. It's fair to say a new payrolls Friday comes at a fraught moment with today's probably up there with the most closely anticipated in recent times. This is before we see US CPI next Tuesday and what both imply for the March FOMC the following week. With such an outsized beat last month (+517k vs. 189k expected) it’s fair to say no-one has any real idea of what random number will be churned out today. Having said that, both 25bps and 50bps are in play for the FOMC and today and Tuesday will probably be swing factors with Fed Chair Powell stressing that “no decision has been made on this” earlier this week. SVB has to be thrown into the mix too. As we look forward to the jobs report, the recent momentum behind a 50bp hike actually stalled slightly yesterday even before the SVB story spread. This was driven by the latest round of weekly jobless claims data coming in beneath expectations. In terms of the specifics of the release, initial jobless claims came in at 211k over the week ending March 4 (vs. 195k expected). That’s their highest level so far in 2023, and marks an unusually large surprise on the upside as well, having come in above every economist’s estimate on Bloomberg. In absolute terms, the surprise of +16k above consensus is also the biggest weekly surprise on the upside in 9 months, so this isn’t the sort of report we see often. There was some weather distortions, with California (+10k) seeing a spike following massive snow storms and making up nearly a third of the increase in NSA claims (+35k). We will see how this evolves over the next couple of prints. And at the same time, there was a negative story from the continuing claims release as well, which came in at 1.718m over the week ending February 25 (vs. 1.660m expected). With the labour market appearing softer than otherwise expected, investors moved to dial back the amount of rate hikes priced for the months ahead. Looking on an intraday basis, expectations of the terminal rate had been at 5.67% immediately prior to the claims report, but fell to 5.61% shortly after, before ending the day -15.9bps lower at 5.515% for the July meeting after the SVB story. At the highs of the day, there was a 74% chance of a 50bp rate hike later this March, before the risk-off sentiment took the probability of a 50bp hike back down to 56% by the close. The broader sell-off across risk markets meant that the 2yr yield saw its biggest daily decline since January 6, thanks to a -20.0bps move to 4.87%. Longer-dated Treasuries also advanced, with the 10yr yield down -8.8bps to 3.90% and it even meant that the 2s10s curve steepened for the first time in a week as well, closing +11.4bps at -97.3bps. Both 2 and 10yr yields are down around another -8.5bps overnight. Back to the S&P 500, every industry group was lower and only 26 index constituents were higher. Sector performance has tilted toward defensive non-cyclicals recently with utilities (-0.84%) and consumer staples (-0.95%) selling off less yesterday than cyclical peers such as materials (-2.54%) and autos (-4.76%). Over in Europe, the STOXX 600 (-0.22%) posted a small decline as well, though trading had closed before the deeper US sell-off. The focus on the US labour market will of course be the main one today with the February jobs report. In terms of what to expect, our US economists think that nonfarm payrolls will have grown by +300k in February, in part thanks to mild weather during the survey week. That would be some way above the +225k consensus view, and would keep the unemployment rate at a 53-year low of 3.4%, with a risk it could round down to 3.3% if participation contracts slightly. This report will be very important when it comes to the Fed’s meeting on March 22, as what we’ve heard so far suggests that both 25 and 50bp hikes are still in play. Indeed, Chair Powell went out of his way while in Washington DC on Wednesday to say “I stress that no decision has been made on this”. On the topic of Washington, President Biden unveiled the administration’s initial 2023 budget proposal yesterday afternoon. The $6.9tr budget proposal is viewed as an opening bid to House GOP members, who are expected to negotiate it down in the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations. The proposal increases funding on an array of government programs, including making Medicare more solvent, lowering prescription drug prices, and trimming the deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade. The deficit cutting is mostly coming in the form of higher taxes on capital gains (25% on those making over $1mn), a new tax bracket of 39.6% on every dollar made over $400k, a minimum 25% on billionaires, and hiking the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. Republicans have already called the proposal a non-starter, with Speaker McCarthy saying that he does “not believe raising taxes is the answer.” There was no House budget plan yet, as Speaker McCarthy said that Republicans wanted to analyse the White House’s budget first. The opening salvo does nothing to lower expectations of a protracted debt ceiling fight. Returning to the theme of central banks, overnight the Bank of Japan (BOJ) left its key interest rate unchanged at -0.1%, while maintaining its YCC policy. In his last meeting as the BOJ’s Governor, Haruhiko Kuroda made no surprise move and lent support to the central bank’s long-standing ultra-dovish monetary policy. Following the decision, the Japanese yen lost ground, weakening as much as -0.6% against the dollar before cutting losses to trade at 136.53 per dollar as we go to press. Meanwhile, the Japan’s upper house in parliament has formally approved the appointment of Kazuo Ueda to be the next central bank chief in April. Additionally, the parliament also approved Shinichi Uchida and Ryozo Himino as the next BOJ Deputy Governors. Following a weak handover from Wall Street overnight, Asian stocks are also trading lower. Across the region, the Hang Seng (-2.46%) is sharply lower, wiping out all the YTD gains with the CSI (-1.12%), the Shanghai Composite (-1.15%), the Nikkei (-1.59%) and the KOSPI (-1.05%) also tumbling this morning amid contagion worries related to SVB. Outside of Asia, US stock futures are indicating further losses with contracts tied to the S&P 500 (-0.78%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.54%) quite weak for an overnight session. Bitcoin dropped below the key $20,000 mark in Asia trading hours for the first time since mid-January, reversing its strong 2023 uptrend. Back in Europe yesterday, it was a fairly quiet day on the whole, with the focus now turning to next Thursday’s ECB meeting. Ahead of that, sovereign bonds rallied for the most part with very modest reductions for yields on 10yr bunds (-0.3bps) and OATs (-0.1pbs), alongside larger reductions at the front end. We will be set for a big rally this morning though given the late news last night. The only ECB official we did hear from yesterday was France’s Villeroy, who said “We will bring inflation toward 2% by the end of 2024 or beginning of 2025 – that’s a commitment, not just a forecast.” Investors have almost fully priced in a 50bps increase at the next meeting (97%), but there’s a bit more doubt over what they’ll do in May still, with 50bps considered the most likely as per our own House View, but with only a 74.7% chance of such a move. To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned US jobs report for February. Other releases include the UK’s GDP for January. And from central banks, we’ll hear from the ECB’s Panetta. Tyler Durden Fri, 03/10/2023 - 08:01.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMar 10th, 2023

A Worm Moon, the last full moon of winter, hangs in the sky this week. Its other names include Death and Sugar Moon.

The full moon has a lot of names, and they change every month. From the March Worm Moon to the November Beaver moon, here's what to call it. The full moon, known as the "Super Pink Moon" rises behind the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.Christian Hartmann/Reuters A Worm Moon rising in the sky Monday and Tuesday night is the last full moon of winter. The March full moon is also called the Sugar Moon, Sap Moon, or Death Moon. People across North America and Europe have named full moons to track the seasons and months for thousands of years. "Worm Moon" is one of several names for the March full moon rising in the sky Monday and Tuesday — the last full moon of winter.Earthworms consume and convert organic material into fertilizer in Hong Kong.Bobby Yip/ReutersThe Worm Moon will appear full and bright on Monday and Tuesday nights, peaking in brightness at 7:42 a.m. Eastern Time.Across North America and Europe, people have used full moons to track months and seasons for thousands of years, naming each one based on the seasonal changes it indicates.Tourists take pictures as a full moon rises in Moscow, Russia.Shamil Zhumatov/ReutersThe names assigned to full moons are often attributed to the native Algonquian peoples, who share a family of languages and originate from the area that today ranges from New England as far west as Lake Superior.Colonial settlers across North America adopted their own version of the indigenous names, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac.Here are some of the many names assigned to full moons throughout the year.A full moon rises over Dajti Mountain in Tirana, Albania.Florion Goga/ReutersDifferent languages and cultures characterized their moons differently, sometimes based on agricultural cycles, sometimes on natural phenomena.March: Worm Moon, Sap Moon, Crow MoonMassachusetts Governor Charlie Baker urges sap to come out of a maple tree during an event at Hollis Hill Farm in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.REUTERS/Brian SnyderAs spring approaches, earthworms emerge from the ground, maple trees are ripe for tapping, and migratory birds return as winter ends. According to the Almanac, that's led Ojibwe people to call this the Sugar Moon, Algonquin or Cree to call it the Eagle Moon or Goose Moon, and northern Ojibwe to call it the Crow Comes Back Moon.European settlers with religious calendars called this the Lenten Moon.According to NASA, "other names are the Chaste Moon or the Death Moon, related to the fasting of Lent and traditions from when the start of spring was the end of the old year and start of the new."The next one: March 7, 2023April: Pink Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, Fish MoonPhlox flowers bloom in early spring.Wikimedia CommonsThe pink moon is named for the pink phlox flowers that bloom in spring. The other names refer to additional staples of the changing season: growing grass, birds filling nests with eggs, and fish that swim upstream to spawn.The next one: April 6, 2023May: Flower Moon, Planting MoonREUTERS/Mike Blake In May, flowers burst fully into bloom and it becomes time to sow crops again.The next one: May 5, 2023June: Strawberry Moon, Rose Moon, Hot MoonA family picks strawberries at the Legare Farm Stand in Calais, Vermont, June 21, 2007.AP Photo/Toby TalbotStrawberries ripen for picking in June. Europeans dubbed this the rose moon, and other cultures called it the hot moon because it harkens summer heat ahead.The next one: June 3, 2023July: Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Hay MoonYoung stag deer clash antlers during the annual rut in Richmond Park in west London, Britain, October 16, 2015. The Royal Park has had Red and Fallow deer present since 1529, and early autumn sees the rutting or breeding season begin amongst the herd of over six hundred animals.REUTERS/Toby MelvilleDeer grow new, velvety antlers in July, and thunderstorms rage aplenty in some parts of North America. For Anglo-Saxons, July was all about hay.The next one: July 3, 2023August: Sturgeon Moon, Red MoonVirginia Commonwealth University graduate student Matt Balazik gets ready to toss a 70-lb Atlantic sturgeon into the James River near Charles City, Virginia, October 8, 2010.AP Photo/Steve HelberTribes near the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain knew August was the best time to catch sturgeon, an enormous, hearty fish. Some people also think the moon appears more reddish in color this month because of the heat.The next one: August 1, 2023September: Harvest Moon, Corn Moon, Barley MoonAmish people harvest corn in Maryland. Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesOver the millennia, September's full moon has signified to farmers that it's time to finish harvesting corn and other crops. A Harvest Moon sometimes occurs in October (the moon doesn't follow the Gregorian calendar), but it's always the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.Because the harvest moon rises with the setting sun, it looks larger than usual. These bright moonlit nights give farmers a little extra time to harvest their crops.The next ones: September 29, 2023October: Hunter's Moon, Blood Moon, Dying Grass Moon, Travel MoonA man shoots at pheasants flying overhead during a pheasant hunt in Stokenchurch, southern England.Eddie Keog/REUTERSThese names refer to the time of year when leaves have fallen, the deer are fat, and animals are coming into harvested fields to eat what's left. Historically, hunters took advantage of October to store meat for the winter.The next one: October 28, 2023November: Beaver Moon, Frosty MoonA Canadian beaver chews through a tree in Gatineau Park, Quebec.Wikimedia CommonsBeavers prepare for winter in November, as do trappers. This moon signaled the time to catch beavers and secure a supply of warm furs before the swamps froze.The next one: November 27, 2023December: Cold Moon, Long Night's MoonThe moon sets behind a mountain at sunrise in Lake Louise, Alberta on December 2, 2009.Andy Clark/REUTERSDecember has the longest, darkest nights of the year, and the moon sits above the horizon longer than usual. Some Europeans and their descendants in North America also called the December full moon the "moon before Yule."The next one: December 26, 2023January: Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Ice MoonJohn Moore/Getty ImagesIn mid-winter, as the story goes, hungry wolves would gather outside villages in North America and medieval Europe and howl into the night. This full moon was sometimes also called the "moon after Yule."The next one: January 25, 2024February: Snow Moon, Hunger MoonThe full "Snow Moon" rises above the Hudson River and the town of Irvington, New York, February 3, 2015.Mike Segar/REUTERSIn North America, February marks the depths of winter, when snow blankets the ground and fresh food was traditionally harder to come by. Because it's a shorter month, some February's don't have a full moon at all.The next one: February 24, 2024Some full moons are called supermoons or micromoons. The contemporary terms refer to how large and small the moon looks at various points in its elliptical orbit.REUTERS/Paul HannaSupermoons occur when the moon is at perigee — the closest point to Earth. They can cause stronger ocean tides and weather events.Micromoons are the opposite, occurring at apogee — when the moon is furthest from Earth. They can reduce the variation in spring tides by 2 inches. Micromoons appear about 14% smaller than supermoons, and sometimes seem dimmer, since the area illuminated by the sun appears 30% smaller, according to TimeandDate.com.Since the International Astronomical Union has not officially defined supermoons or micromoons, astronomers disagree on which full moons get the designation.The next full supermoon: July 3, 2023The next full micromoon: February 24, 2024Blue moons are like special bonuses. They occur every two or three years, when a month or season has one extra full moon.Wikimedia CommonsWhen an astronomical season (the time between solstice and equinox) has four full moons instead of the normal three, the third one is a seasonal blue moon.When a calendar month has two full moons, the second one is a monthly blue moon. That happens because the lunar month is only 29 days long, while the Gregorian calendar month is usually 30 or 31 days long.The moon doesn't actually appear blue on these occasions. That would only happen if dust or smoke particles of a particular size cloud the atmosphere, say after a forest fire, volcanic eruption, or dust storm.The next seasonal blue moon: August 19, 2024The next monthly blue moon: August 30, 2023Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 6th, 2023

Aristotle first spotted "blood snow" on Mount Olympus. Today, photos show that colorful algae may be eating away Earth"s glaciers.

Multicolored algae have bloomed on glaciers since the Ice Age, but scientists think the patches of pink, purple, and green snow are getting bigger. Blooms of colorful algae on glaciers in the Alps, Antarctica, and Greenland.Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images; Dr. Matt Davey; Rey Mourot Photos show colorful algae blooms are turning glaciers pink, purple, and green across the planet. Aristotle first wrote about "blood snow." The glacier algae is probably a vestige of the Ice Age. But scientists think the algae blooms are growing and speeding up glacier melt as the planet warms. You might think of glaciers as vast fields of white snow. But some of them are changing colors.Pink snow at the Presena glacier, near Pellizzano in the Italian Alps.Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty ImagesIn Greenland, glaciers are turning a deep purple-grey — almost black.A drone image shows researchers trekking to a vast bloom of purple algae staining the Greenland ice sheet black.Courtesy of Laura HalbachIn Antarctica, they're peppered with green snow.Scientist Andrew Gray surveys blooms of green snow in Antarctica.Dr. Matt DaveyAnd in the Alps, they're blushing pink.A man walks on pink snow at the Presena glacier near Pellizzano, Italy.Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty ImagesIn all these places, and more, the culprit is microscopic algae.Purple algae from Greenland, imaged through a microscope.Courtesy of Katie SipesColorful blooms of snow and ice algae have been documented on glaciers in nearly every continent.A strip of "blood snow" filled with red algae cuts across a dark bloom of purple algae in Greenland.Dr. Pamela E. Rossel/GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, PotsdamThe first written record of a glacier algae bloom comes from the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. He wrote about seeing pink snow on Mount Olympus.Illustration of a sculptural bust of Greek philosopher & teacher Aristotle (384 - 322 BC)Stock Montage/Getty ImagesToday, people call that "blood snow" or "watermelon snow."Eric Maréchal/AlpAlgaResearcher Eric Maréchal suspects snow and ice algae are on every glacier on Earth — vestige of a time when ice covered the planet, 20,000 years ago.Eric Maréchal shows a sample of microalgae near the Galibier peak, in the French Alps, on June 18, 2021.Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty ImagesMaréchal studies the red algae that makes blood snow. He leads a research group called AlpAlga.The algae that makes "blood snow," under a microscope.Eric Maréchal/AlpAlgaHe's one of many scientists who think the algae blooms are getting bigger and more common — both an indicator and a driver of glaciers' catastrophic disappearance.A researcher takes a sample of Sanguina nivaloides algae at the Brevent in Chamonix, France, June 14, 2022.Denis Balibouse/ReutersThat's because microalgae thrive in warmth and moisture.Eric Maréchal/AlpAlga"The moment you have melting, the algae just are happy," Liane G. Benning, who studies purple ice algae in Greenland, told Insider.Liane G. Benning examines an ice core in Greenland.Courtesy of Katie Sipes"They just need a little bit of water," she added. "And they have a party. They go and bloom."A helicopter flies above a purple algae bloom darkening the ice sheet in Greenland.Dr. Pamela E. Rossel/GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, PotsdamWhile the algae are partying, they're slowly killing their hosts. Instead of the blinding white that reflects sunlight away from a glacier, algae blooms create vast patches of pink, red, purple, or green.A close-up of wet ice full of algae. This image is about 20 centimeters wide.Courtesy of Rey MourotStudies in the Himalayas, Greenland, Alaska, and across the Arctic have found that these colorful blooms cause glaciers to absorb more sunlight, leading to new ice melt.Annotated image of snow fading into darkened ice in Greenland.Insider/Laura HalbachThis could have dire consequences. Glacier melt is raising sea levels, driving extreme weather, and diminishing water supplies worldwide.Rising sea levels destroy homes built on the shoreline, forcing villagers to relocate, in El Bosque, Mexico, November 7, 2022.Gustavo Graf/ReutersBut the idea that the blooms are getting bigger is still a hypothesis, since there's no thorough record of glacier algae before human-caused climate change.A DeepPurple research camp in Greenland, surrounded by an algae bloom, as seen from a drone.Courtesy of Rey MourotBenning's research group, Deep Purple, is trying to fill this gap.Deep Purple researchers store samples in Greenland.Courtesy of Laura Halbach and Alex AnesioThey're looking back in time by drilling into the ice, where they hope to find clues about the history of algae on the Greenland ice sheet.Liane G BenningResearchers like Andrew Gray are also using satellite imagery and drones to measure today's algae blooms.Satellite imagery shows green blooms of algae lining the coast of Robert Island in Antarctica.Landsat/Copernicus/Maxar Technologies/Google Maps"We still don't know much about the fundamental ecology of snow algae," Gray, who studies green snow algae in Antarctica, told Insider in an email.Multi-colored snow algae on Anchorage Island in Antarctica.Dr. Matt DaveyHe's trying to solve some key mysteries about the algae: "where they are, why they are where they are, and how they're likely to respond to warming."Researcher Matt Davey samples snow algae at Lagoon Island, Antarctica.Sarah VincentFor Maréchal, warming is actually making it harder to study the algae.Sunset over the Mediterranean, as seen from Mount Olympus.Eric Maréchal/AlpAlgaIn May, his team hiked to the glaciers to take samples of snow while it was still white. They needed a baseline to compare against later in the summer, once the red algae started blooming.Maréchal's colleagues, Stephane Ravanel and Lucie Liger, take samples of red snow algae on Mount Olympus.Eric Maréchal/AlpAlgaBut when they reached their sampling site on Mont Brevent, expecting blankets of pure white snow, they found it was already pink with algae.Eric Maréchal searches for Sanguina nivaloides algae at the Brevent in Chamonix, France.Denis Balibouse/ReutersWhen they returned a week later, all they found was bare earth. The snow had already melted away.A research site atop Mont Brévent, usually covered in seasonal snow through early July, lost most of its snowpack in May.Eric Maréchal/AlpAlgaOne Italian ski resort covered a glacier with reflective white material to counteract the snow's color change and slow its melt. But that's not an option in most places.Huge geotextile sheets on the Presena glacier near Pellizzano in Trentino, northern Italy, in order to delay snow melting on skiing slopes.Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images"What can we do about these pesky algae? Everybody asks that question," Benning said. "We should bloody stop changing the climate."A coal-fired electricity plant in Juliette, Georgia.Chris Aluka Berry/ReutersThe scientists don't think their algae research will solve the problem. But it can help inform better models of future glacier melt. For now, modeling doesn't account for algae.Courtesy of Laura Halbach and Alex Anesio"My perception of life in Antarctica really changed when I started thinking of the snow and ice as a kind of soil, supporting all sorts of bacteria, fungi, virus, cyanobacteria, algae (of course), all the way to invertebrate life," Gray said.Red snow algae under an electron microscope.Liane G Benning/German Research Centre for Geosciences/GFZ Potsdam"Most people when they go on a glacier and they look at that, they think it's just dirt," Benning said.Researchers stand in a vast patch of glacier darkened by purple algae in Greenland.Courtesy of Laura Halbach and Alex AnesioGenerally, studying microalgae in the snow and ice can help researchers understand Earth's glaciers and the hidden worlds inside them, before they disappear.An AlpAlga researcher digs beneath a pink algae bloom.Eric Maréchal/AlpAlgaBut like dirt, the ice has a life of its own. And it may be changing with the climate, just like life everywhere else.Courtesy of Laura Halbach and Alex AnesioRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 7th, 2023

25 of the most mind-boggling natural phenomena on Earth

Awe-inspiring natural marvels happen every day on Earth. For many, you have to be at the right place at the right time to witness them. An unusual lake in Canada.Justin Raycraft/Flickr From Pele's hair to kaleidoscopic clouds, our planet is filled with unbelievable natural phenomena. You have to be at the right place at the right time to witness many of these events. Here are some of the most mind-boggling phenomena Earth has to offer, and the science behind them. 1. Volcanic lightningVolcanic lightning at Mount Sakurajima, Japan.Kyodo/ReutersThat's right, volcanoes can produce lightning.It's pretty hard to study, but researchers have a few ideas about what causes it. One of the most common is that during an eruption, ash picks up so much friction that the build-up of static electricity causes lightning.Check out volcanic lightning in action below:2. Fire rainbows — sorry, we mean 'circumhorizon arcs'A fire rainbow in Pennsylvania.fishhawk/FlickrThese beautiful sky paintings have nothing to do with fire or rain, as weather-loving people are very quick to point out.They're actually caused by the sun, very high in the sky, shining through a particular type of ice cloud formation. That means that how rare they are varies with how far north or south you are.3. HalosAn ice crystal halo.Lucas Jackson/ReutersLike fire rainbows, halos require just the right formation of ice crystals in clouds high above the surface of the Earth to bend light from the sun into a perfect ring.The same phenomenon can also happen with moonlight, although moon halos are usually white and sun halos can be rainbow-colored, like this one.4. Fire whirls, aka fire tornadoesA large fire whirlUS Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia CommonsIt's pretty clear how this phenomenon got its nickname: It looks like a tornado, but it's made of fire. They form when wind patterns twist an active fire into a column.Fire tornadoes are rare, but they've been reported to grow as wide as 1,000 feet. Fire whirls can spread fires not only directly, but also by scattering burning debris.5. PenitentesPenitentes in front of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope and the Licancabur volcano in northern Chile.European Southern Observatory/FlickrThese ice spikes, called penitentes, form in high altitudes, where sunlight turns ice directly into water vapor, rather than melting it to water.Sun beams vaporize small dimples in the snow's surface. Then, the uneven surface directs sun into the dips and away from the peaks, exacerbating the trend.Penitentes can grow as tall as 15 feet.Watch them grow and die:6. Pele's hair lavaPele's hair lava from Hawaii's Mt. KilaueaJames St. John/FlickrWind can catch individual droplets of lava from a volcanic eruption and stretch them into what's basically long, thin glass wires. These strands  — which are called Pele's hair — can reach as long as 6 feet.While in Hawaii the phenomenon is named for Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, it's also found in Norway, where it's known as Witch's Hair.7. Salar de UyuniSalar de Uyuni in Bolivia.Juan Karita/APSalar de Uyuni in Bolivia is both the world's largest salt flat (it's about 4,000 square miles) and the home of half the planet's lithium, a key component in most electronics' batteries.The wet season turns the salt flat into a perfectly reflective lake.8. Synchronized hordes of cicadasA 13-year cicada in Chapel Hill, N.C.Gerry Broome/APPeriodical cicadas are insects that emerge as broods every 13 or 17 years. They spend most of their life underground, sucking the juice out of plant roots — in fact, they're North America's longest-living insect.Once a brood emerges, they're singing to mates, mating, laying eggs, and dying, all over the course of a few short weeks. 9. Bismuth crystalsIridescent bismuth crystals.maticulous/FlickrBismuth is a dense, super-shiny grey metal that's found in predictable places like safety valves and paintings, but also Pepto-Bismol.If you melt it, then cool it very slowly, bismuth forms iridescent cubic crystals — even on your own stove.Watch that magic happen here:10. Blood FallsBlood Falls in Antartica.Peter Rejcek/National Science Foundation/Wikimedia CommonsBlood Falls, in one of the driest regions of Antarctica, is fed by an underground lake. It's full of bacteria scientists want to study because they fuel themselves with sulfates, instead of sugars like we do.The water has so much iron in it that it literally rusts when it meets air, giving the waterfall its trademark color.11. Desert rosesA desert rose, which is a special form of the mineral gypsum.the paleobear/FlickrSting wasn't making it up: There really is such a thing as a desert rose.It's a rose-like formation of the mineral gypsum that can develop in dry, sandy places that occasionally flood. The switching between wet and dry lets gypsum crystals form between grains of sand, trapping them.12. Giant permafrost explosionsA giant hole in the Siberian permafrost.REUTERS/Vladimir Pushkarev/Russian Centre of Arctic ExplorationAs the climate is changing, new phenomena are developing — none quite so explosively as this one.It turns out that if you heat frozen methane trapped in the Siberian permafrost enough, it turns into a gas, eventually building up so much pressure that the ground explodes. The loud boom and giant hole these bursts create were first reported in 2013.13. Rainbow eucalyptusRainbow eucalyptus, which hails from the Philippines and Indonesia.Forest and Kim Starr/FlickrHailing from the Philippines and Indonesia, the rainbow eucalyptus, also known as the rainbow gum, is probably the most colorful tree on Earth. Its striped look is caused by bark turning colors and peeling away as it ages.The youngest bark is bright green because it contains chlorophyll (usually found in leaves), then turns first purple then red then brown as it gets older, loses chlorophyll, and picks up tannins (also found in wine).In an ironic twist, huge amounts of rainbow eucalyptus wood pulp is turned into white paper every year.14. Eye of the SaharaRichtat structure, also known as "the Eye of the Sahara."Flickr/Daniel OinesFormally known as the "Richtat structure," the Eye of the Sahara is in Mauritania. Scientists are still trying to confirm how it was formed, but they think it's the eroded remains of a giant dome of rock. If so, it would have originally formed when magma pushing up toward the surface of the Earth created a bulge, like a pimple.Each band of the ring is made of a different type of rock that erodes at a different speed. It's also the "almost home" signal for astronauts landing in Florida. In fact, astronauts are mostly responsible for teaching us there's something there in the first place, since the formation is difficult to recognize when you walk over it.15. Giant snake orgiesA snake orgy in Manitoba, Canada.Fred Greenslade/ReutersMaybe you don't really like snakes, but how do you feel about tens of thousands of harmless snakes waiting out the winter in underground limestone dens? That's a real thing in Manitoba, Canada, home to the highest concentration of snakes in the world, according to National Geographic.In May, they slither out of their nests to mate, with dozens of smaller male snakes lurking, waiting to ambush larger females."Imagine trying to find a slightly bigger piece of spaghetti in a colander of spaghetti, and it's moving," Bob Mason, a scientist at Oregon State University, told The New York Times in 2016.Watch the snakes in action here:16. Bright red Lake NatronLake Natron, in Tanzania.NASA/Wikimedia CommonsLake Natron, in Tanzania, can hit 140 degrees Fahrenheit and, thanks to a nearby volcano, alkalinity at the level of pure ammonia.That means it's almost deserted, except for a particularly hardy fish, the microbes that make it look red, and lesser flamingos. (The birds actually use the lake as their only breeding ground — not just because they're color coordinated, but because there aren't very many predators around to eat the chicks.)But animals that do die in the lake end up so coated in baking soda and similar chemicals that they look like they've been turned to stone.17. WaterspoutsA waterspout near Singapore.Neil Anderson /ReutersWaterspouts look like liquid tornadoes, but while they can form during storms, they can also develop on calm, open ocean — swirling towers of wind climbing up from the water to the sky.They are most common in the Florida Keys, although they've also been spotted on the Great Lakes.18. Clonal tree grovesPando, one of the oldest and largest organisms in the world.J. Zapell/Wikimedia CommonsThat looks like a forest, right? All those trees you could walk between? Wrong. It's all one tree.Underneath the soil, a dense network of roots connects all the shoots that look like 47,000 trees from above.Called the quaking aspen for its fluttery leaves, it usually grows into groves of identical clones, although it can reproduce sexually on special occasions.This grove, nicknamed Pando, is one of the oldest and largest organisms in the world, although the original stem is long dead by now.19. Lake Maracaibo, lightning capital of the worldLightning occurs over and around Lake Maracaibo.ReutersLake Maracaibo in Venezuela sees more lightning strikes than anywhere else on Earth: In fact, there are thunderstorms here 300 days out of the year, according to a NASA study.The area is so stormy because cool mountain breezes and warm, moist air clash over the lake, creating electricity.20. Eternal flame fallsA shoot of fire behind an upstate New York waterfall.Kim Carpenter/FlickrIn upstate New York, near the Canadian border, there is a small waterfall hiding a big surprise: a shoot of fire about eight inches tall.Behind the waterfall is a natural gas seep that feeds the flame.It's sheltered enough by the waterfall to stay lit pretty reliably, although hikers do re-light it if they see it's been blown out. (We should note that it's not 100% natural — but too cool to skip.)These burning gas seeps are actually fairly common, but this one is more interesting and younger than most — and very photogenic.21. Spotted LakeAn unusual lake in Canada.Justin Raycraft/FlickrCanada's Spotted Lake is famous for its summer style, which is heavy on the polka dots.That's because the lake's water actually evaporates every summer. It leaves behind large spots, which are colorful deposits of a dozen minerals.Further proof Spotted Lake is out of this world: Scientists are using it as a model for how ancient Martian lakes may have worked.Fly over Spotted Lake, also called Kliluk Lake, in this video:22. Goats! In trees!Goats in Morocco are climbing trees.Cuno de Boer/FlickrMoroccan goats have learned to climb trees in order to better snack on their tasty Argan fruit.Local farmers like the goats so much (and their Argun-nut-filled poop, which the farmers turn into oil) that they've brought more goats in to enjoy the buffet.23. Nacreous cloudsNacreous clouds, which form very high in the atmosphere.Alan Light/FlickrUsually spotted only near the poles, nacreous clouds form very high in the atmosphere (twice as high as commercial airplanes fly), where the air is particularly cold and dry.The colorful shine actually comes from the setting sun being lower in the sky than the clouds, so they reflect sunbeams back toward Earth.Unfortunately, while they're beautiful, nacreous clouds also destroy ozone, the compound that protects us from the sun's most dangerous rays.24. Green sand beachesGreen Sand Beach, in Hawaii.Marco Garcia/APThis probably isn't what comes to mind when you dream of tropical beaches. Papakolea, also known as Green Sand Beach, in Hawaii is one of only a couple beaches in the world with green sand.The remarkable hue comes from olivine rock that was formed during eruptions of the nearby volcano.25. A starling murmuration, aka a 'black sun'A murmuration of starlings in Britain.Scott Heppell/APAn individual starling isn't much to look at. But put hundreds or thousands together and these birds turn into an incredible dance known officially as a murmuration and nicknamed a "black sun."The flocks can be seen in the US and Europe, particularly in England, although the bird's British population is now only a third of what it was 40 years ago.The flock's complex choreography boils down to just a couple simple rules, like follow your neighbor.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 17th, 2022

64 gifts for college students that will help them manage dorm life, midterms, and adulting

The best gifts for college students are practical and fun. Here are 64 gift ideas, from useful dorm tech to cute clothes and room decor. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Crystal Cox/Business Insider/Birthdate Co.College students are juggling a lot. From late nights studying to living on their own, their lives look very different than they're used to. Finding the college student in your life a great gift can show you support them, are thinking about them, and want them to have a good time in between challenging classes. The gifts on this list include everything from gadgets that will make their life easier, clothes for lounging, and plenty of products for self-care. Whether they're getting ready for next semester or a future study aborad trip, here are 64 thoughtful gifts any college student would love.A lamp that melts candles without lighting themCrystal Cox/InsiderCandle Warming Lamp, available at Amazon, $54.99If they're worried about setting off the dorm fire alarm, get them this chic lamp instead. It slowly melts candle wax to activate the scent — and all without needing to light the candle itself.A custom necklace to celebrate their birthdayBirthdate Co.Birthdate Pendant, available at Birthdate Co., $140A perfect birthday gift for any astrology lover, this custom necklace includes four gemstones and crystals (chosen for their birth date) embedded in a gold pendant, along with their birthdate, zodiac sign, and initials engraved on the back.A guided journal to keep them organizedCrystal Cox/InsiderBestSelf Self Journal, available at BestSelf and Amazon, from $32For any college student with a big goal in mind (even if that goal is just being more organized), this sleek planner will help them get far. It lasts for 13 weeks, making their goal feel more approachable while also helping them set a new journaling habit.A sleek crossbody phone caseCrystal Cox/InsiderCasey Pebble Leather Crossbody Bandolier, available at Bandolier, $108If they hate carrying a bulky bag just to store their phone and wallet, this stylish crossbody case was invented for them. It accommodates a wide range of smartphones and features card slots and a snap pocket to keep their essentials all in one tiny, easy-to-access place.Comfy faux-fur slippers they can wear to classAmazonKoolaburra by UGG Women's Lezly Slipper, available at Amazon, DSW, and Nordstrom Rack, $59.99Koolaburra slippers are soft and cozy enough to wear around their dorm every day but also have a rubber sole so they can wear them to class and around campus. They come in nine different colors and reviewers love how warm they keep their feet on cold days.A sweet plant care packageSucculentBarShop/EtsySucculent Bar Shop Hang in There Care Package, available at Etsy, from $36This sweet care package includes a wooden card with a cute message, a succulent with a planting kit, and a pot, all to remind the college student in your life that you're thinking of them. You can make the gift even more special with optional add-ons, from face masks and bath bombs to candy and notepads.Neon light signs for ultimate dorm vibesDormify"Good Vibes Only" Neon Sign, available at Dormify, $79Nothing screams college vibes more than a quirky neon light or color-changing LED-rimmed walls. Dormify's options are perfect for achieving this, and the brand has everything from wholesome neon signs to goofy ones. A manifestation of good vibes is probably helpful for the average student, but there are plenty of other options like GRLPWR, Happy, and Party.A scratch-off self-care checklistUncommon Goods100 Things to Do For Your Wellbeing, $15, available at Uncommon GoodsThis scratch-off poster is a checklist of 100 things any college student can do so support their mental health, whether they're studying for midterms or missing home. The squares include everything from "visit your favorite spot" to "ask for help with a difficult task" and serve as a mindfulness reminder even after they've scratched them all off. A sunrise alarm clock for a gentle, phone-free wakeupSuzy Hernandez/InsiderHatch Restore, available at Amazon and Target, $129.99Using your phone as an alarm clock makes it a lot more tempting to start scrolling on your phone first thing in the morning, which isn't the healthiest habit. A sunrise alarm clock can help your student have a much better start to their day than immediately checking emails or scrolling on Instagram. The Hatch Restore is a great sunrise alarm option with a ton of special features.A microwave-safe bowl cozy for hot dinnersCraftyWanda/EtsyCrafty Wanda Bowl Cozy (Set of 2), available at Etsy, $17.49Microwave bowl cozies are great for protecting your hands from a hot bowl straight out of the microwave or a cold bowl full of ice cream. The high corners can help lift hot food in and out of the microwave and can help prevent burns and spills. These are reversible, machine washable, and a great gift for any college student who uses their microwave regularly.A trendy Trader Joe's-inspired cookbookUrban Outfitters"The I Love Trader Joe's College Cookbook" by Andrea Lynn, available at Urban Outfitters and Amazon, from $15.29If there's one place you hear all these Gen Z'ers talking about, it's Trader Joe's. This quirky cookbook contains 160 easy recipes for busy (and usually broke) college students, drawing from some of the brand's favorite ingredients to create mouth-watering hors d'oeuvres, party-worthy appetizers, and nourishing meals.Does your student prefer to cook with the air fryer? Check out this equally nifty "I Love Trader Joe's Air Fryer Cookbook"! A long-lasting backpack that'll look good on campus and at job interviewsHerschelHerschel Little America Backpack, available at Herschel and Amazon, from $100.80Typical backpacks work great for class, but what about everything that happens outside of class? Having a sturdy backpack that's well-suited for traveling and job interviews helps a ton. Herschel's Little America is a great option because it's versatile, sturdy, and stylish. Similarly, the Dagne Dover backpack ($215) is specifically designed for a woman's body and is made to store everything you need and go anywhere you go. If the student is a tote person and doesn't touch backpacks, the Longchamp Le Pliage Shoulder Bag ($155) is a staple for students and young workers alike.Popular wireless over-ear headphones for quality noise-cancelingAmazonBeats Solo3 Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Apple, from $99If there's one thing every college student needs, it's good wireless headphones. This Beats pair has rich sound and up to 40 hours of listening time. And if they let the battery run out, a five-minute charge converts to three hours of playback.If they're a runner and need something lightweight and in-ear, you should opt for Jaybird Vista.A silicone mold for a soothing ice rollerCrystal Cox/InsiderSilicone Ice Mold for Facial Beauty Ice Roller, available at Amazon, $12.99Gua Sha facial tools and rollers have become a super popular way to reduce facial puffiness, soothe redness, and de-stress. This silicone ice mold is easy to use, small enough for a mini fridge's freezer, and can be filled with everything from simple water to coconut milk and aloe vera for a relaxing skincare boost. A helpful air purifierBed Bath & BeyondHoMedics TotalClean 4-in-1 Air Purifier, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, and Home Depot, from $55.99For college students living in a traditional dorm room, a breath of fresh air is more than welcome. This HoMedics TotalClean 4-in-1 air purifier creates cleaner air no matter how small the space is, clearing pollen, dust, smoke, pet dander, mold spores, and germs for easy breathing. Bonus points: It has an auto shut-off timer, a built-in night light, and a three-year manufacturer's warranty for optimal satisfaction.The most comfortable socks college students can ownBombasWomen's and Men's Ankle Sock 4-Pack, available at Bombas, $49.40Bombas makes the best socks on the market. They benefit from upgrades like a supportive honeycomb stitch, blister tabs built into ankle-height styles, and a Y-stitched heel and "invisitoe" that minimizes annoying bumps. Even if it seems like socks aren't an exciting gift, comfort is pretty much always a hit in college. Plus, for every pair purchased, Bombas donates a specially designed sock to someone in need.A modern card game for nights in and partiesAmazonWhat Do You Meme Game, available at Amazon and Walmart, $29.99College students today are of the meme generation, so this game will be highly appreciated. This set includes 75 of the funniest memes plus 360 caption cards to make the wonkiest combinations for a game during study breaks or chill wine nights.A statement scrunchie that'll make any outfit look goodAmazonKitsch Dinner Scrunchie, available at Amazon and Target, from $13.99There are few accessories that can pull together an outfit and make it look chic, even if that outfit is sweatpants. The massive dinner scrunchies by Kitsch are the perfect accessory to add to a quick outfit and make it look put together. Gifting this to someone means they will always have the option to add an easy, fashionable touch to their look.An air fryer for the snack loverAmazonPhilips Premium TurboStar Air Fryer, available at Amazon and Crate & Barrel, from $185.95Air fryers are all the buzz for how they can turn just about anything into a warm, crispy delight. Plus, they save a ton of time, which every college student can appreciate. The Philips Premium TurboStar Air Fryer is one of the best air fryers on the market today.There's some debate over how good air fryers actually are, so you can also think about gifting a toaster oven.A good wallet to hold their cards, cash, and student IDVera BradleyVera Bradley Microfiber Zip ID Wallet, available at Vera Bradley and Amazon, from $20Vera Bradley's Zip ID Wallet is a great option for students who have to frequently show or swipe their student ID, but don't need an overstuffed bifold. The O-ring is a convenient and sturdy place to hold all their keys. It also makes it easy to clip the wallet into their other bags.A smartphone-sized travel photo printerStaplesFujifilm Instax Mini Link Bluetooth Photo Printer, available at Amazon, B&H Photo, and Apple, $99.95Mini portable Bluetooth printers make turning iPhone photos into tangible memories quick and easy — which is especially convenient for decorating their room. All they'll have to do is download the app (which also has internal PhotoShop elements and features like themed stickers and collages) and connect via Bluetooth. Clothes and shoes for their upcoming interviews and presentationsEverlaneThe Oversized Blazer, available at Everlane, $228Workday Khakis, available at Dockers, $54.99Wool Coat, available at Other Stories, from $219College is full of big meetings, presentations, and nerve-wracking interviews. For days when sweatpants aren't an option and something more formal is needed, these are some great options for women's staples. We've also created a list of our personal favorite workwear stores for women and men — plus the best styles to buy from each one. A steady supply of healthier (and still tasty) snacksThrive Market1-Year Membership, available at Thrive Market, $59.95College students live off good food and snacks. Gifting a subscription to Thrive Market means access to healthier snacks, which leads to them feeling more energized and better studying.A waterproof speaker that can bring the bassCrystal Cox/InsiderJBL Flip 5 Bluetooth Speaker, available at JBL, Amazon, and Walmart, from $94A Bluetooth speaker is a must-have: it helps set the mood for study nights and brings the party to life whenever they're hosting. JBL's Flip 5 speaker is the best choice. It has vibrantly booming bass, lasts for up to 12 hours without a charge, and is waterproof.A trio of unisex products that makes skincare clean and simpleAtticusBest Seller Trio, available at Atticus, $83.70Stress affects how our skin looks, especially in college. Skincare, however, can get overwhelming because of how many options are available. Atticus's high-quality skincare line makes it simple for everyone and is made to be gender inclusive. Its trios, like the Best Seller, include all the products you need: a cleanser, daily moisturizer with SPF, and night cream with anti-aging ingredients. Great coffee from all over the world to help them stay energizedAtlas Coffee Club3-Month Coffee Subscription, available at Atlas Coffee Club, $60If they drink coffee, they'll likely drink a fair amount of it during college. And it's really nice to have a cup better than one from the dining hall. Atlas Coffee is a monthly subscription that's sort of like a worldwide coffee tour — bringing the best single-origin coffee (with a postcard from its origin country) to your door. They'll also get brewing tips and flavor notes. One of the best tablets for note-taking, entertainment, and everything elseAmazonApple 10.2-inch iPad (32 GB), available at Amazon, Apple, and Walmart, from $299.95 If you go on a college campus today, you'll probably see iPads all over the place — and for good reason. These slim rectangular boxes are bundles of joy for students. They make note-taking, e-reading, Netflix, and leisure drawing easy to do all in one place. The new 256GB iPad ($479) will make an unforgettable gift. If you want to take it up a notch, the highly-coveted and ultrafast 11" iPad Pro ($799) is even better.If they already have an iPad, you can think about getting them an Apple Pencil ($129), which will level up their gadget even more.A weighted blanket that'll change the way they sleepTranquilityTranquility Weighted Blanket, available at Target and Walmart, from $34.31Every college student ever has needed better sleep. Weighted blankets apply a calming pressure on you, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up more rested. Tranquility's weighted blanket is perfectly-sized it is to move from bed to couch, fits a standard dorm twin XL bed, and is easily washable.A foolproof planner to keep everything in orderDay DesignerWeekly Planner, available at Day Designer, $68A planner keeps them organized between all their assignments, exams, and social events. Day Designer makes luxurious planners that students love. Planners come in daily or weekly options which each have space for all your checklists and schedules, plus extra pages for goal setting, future planning, and notes.If this style doesn't suit them, pick another from our favorite planners for college students.A cult-favorite tumbler to keep their drinks just the right temperature for hoursHydro FlaskHydro Flask 40 oz. Wide Mouth Water Bottle, available at Hydro Flask, REI, and Amazon, from $49.95This HydroFlask will keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours with the lid on, perfect for when they need coffee during a long night studying.A key-, wallet-, and iPhone-finderAmazonTile Mate, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, $24.99You can't go wrong with a tracker for their keys, wallet, or phone. The Tile Mate is compact, thoughtful, and useful for everyone — especially an oft-frazzled college student.  A bed frame that can easily move with themLauren Savoie/InsiderThuma Bed Frame (Full), available at Thuma, from $995A good bed frame is the foundation of good sleep and this one by Thuma features interlocking Japanese joinery that makes it incredibly sturdy but easy to disassemble, move, and store. It's a great option for young adults on the move, especially if they're moving into older or smaller buildings. A nice watch they can wear to internshipsMVMTMVMT Men's Chrono Watch, available at MVMT and Amazon, from $81MVMT Women's Avenue Watch, available at Bloomingdale's and Amazon, $128MVMT makes beautiful watches for men and women at great prices, and they feel more contemporary to wear than most on the market. It's a versatile, sentimental gift you can feel good about giving because you know they'll feel good — and perhaps more put-together — wearing it. Their favorite comfort foodsGoldbellyFood gifts, available at Goldbelly, prices varyGoldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration.One of the best facial cleansers for a clean and effective routineFOREOFOREO Luna 3 Facial Cleansing Device, available at FOREO and Amazon, $219FOREO's cult-favorite Luna 2 cleansing device gently and effectively cleans with thin, antimicrobial silicone touch points, and it removes 98.5% of dirt and makeup residue without irritating the skin. Plus, it's 100% waterproof and the battery life lasts for a few months per charge. Find a full review from a female reporter and a male reporter here.Coffee table books that add a touch of personalityAmazon"In Vogue: An Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine" by Alberto Oliva dna Norberto Angeletti, Available at Amazon and Walmart, $50.99"Color Scheme: An Irreverent History of Art and Pop Culture in Color Palettes" by Edith Young, available at Amazon and Walmart, $19.29For all the books college students have to read for class, it's nice to have some decor books lying around that are beautiful to look at and fun to flip through. Depending on their interests and aspirations, "In Vogue: An Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine" is perfect for a fashionista. For an artsy student, "Color Scheme: An Irreverent History of Art and Pop Culture in Color Palettes" is a great choice. One of the easiest ways to find your favorite fragranceScentbirdPerfume subscription (6-months), available at Scentbird, $89Finding a fragrance that speaks to you is a step towards finding your style. But buying a bunch of different scents can take a long time and cost a lot. Scentbird is a perfume and cologne discovery subscription that helps you find your favorite perfumes by sending monthly options based on your preferences.An aroma diffuser to set the moodGrove CollaborativeCollaborative Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser, available at Grove, $39.99An aroma diffuser delivers calming, in-home aromatherapy and is a great fragrance option for dorms where candles usually aren't allowed. This one from Grove Collaborative diffuses essential oils for up to five hours at a time, has LED light options, and elegantly blends into any room thanks to its minimalistic ceramic design.If you're looking for more diffusing options, check out our guide to the best essential oil diffusers we tested. An inexpensive way to get the iced coffee they love at homeAmazonTakeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $30.49If the student you're thinking of drinks coffee — and there's a very good chance they do — having access to one of the best cold brew contraptions will be a gift that keeps on giving. A cold brew machine means you can go 4-5 days in a row without brewing another pot. It's also easy to clean. Find a full review here.A book that helps them build good habits and break bad onesAmazon"Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones" by James Clear, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $11.98Many college students are trying to map out what they want out of life and how to build the habits that get them where they want to go. In the popular book "Atomic Habits," James Clear, an expert on habit formation, teaches practical strategies for building lasting habits and ditching detrimental ones. A bottle or two of famous toilet spraysPourriPoo-Pourri Toilet Sprays, available at Pourri and Amazon, from $7.99Whether they're in a community bathroom or a private one, odds are they'll be sharing it with a roommate. These Poo-Pourri toilet sprays use essential oils and plant-based ingredients to eliminate bathroom odor before it begins. Just pick their fave scent, spray, and go — no stink necessary.A media streamer that transforms a normal TV into a smart oneAmazonRoku Ultra 4K/HDR/HD Streaming Player, available at Amazon, Roku, and Walmart, from $89.99Most college students aren't forking over a monthly payment to cable. This streaming player is, overall, the best one you can buy, and it transforms an otherwise ordinary TV into one that can stream shows and movies from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Prime Video, and others all in one spot.  Trendy and convenient Apple AirPodsAppleApple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) with Charging Case, available at Target, Amazon, and Apple, from $239If you're after the title of their favorite relative of the year, here's a good place to start. AirPods are both easy to use and functional as well as trendy. A comfy Patagonia pullover they'll rely onPatagoniaMen's and Women's Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover, available at Patagonia, $129Men's and Women's Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece, available at REI, $129It's a good bet that many of their peers will also have this Snap-T pullover from Patagonia. This and the Better Sweater are long-held favorites, and both are comfortable classics that they'll no doubt come to rely upon. A Patagonia sweater is also a particularly good gift for students who are invested in sustainability. The company has been turning plastic bottles into polyester for its clothing since 1993, and continues to do so today.A portable projector that's the size of a soda canAmazonAnker Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector, available at Amazon and Walmart, $299.99Anker's Nebula Capsule is a powerful and versatile mini projector, and its portability makes it a great option for college students who want a cozy movie-viewing experience in the comfort of their own room. It's 1 pound and the size of a soda can, but it has surprisingly crisp image quality and 360-degree sound. Find a full review here.The world's comfiest shoesAllbirds/InstagramMen's and Women's Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $110Startup Allbirds makes wildly popular shoes out of soft, sustainable materials. Their Runners, made of super-soft merino wool, have been nicknamed "the world's most comfortable shoes." You can find a full review here. A great game for a night in with friendsAmazonCards Against Humanity, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, $29Grab a fun card game they'll inevitably end up pulling out to play with friends on the weekend nights and snow days.A Brooklinen gift card for really nice sheetsBrooklinenGift Card, available at Brooklinen, from $50Few things sound as nice as comfortable, beautiful sheets that you don't need to buy for yourself. Brooklinen is one of our favorite startups to shop at, and we ranked their sateen cotton sheets the best luxury sheets you can buy.An Echo Dot with a built-in clockAmazonEcho Dot (4th Gen) with Clock, available at Best Buy, $59.99The newest Echo Dot is more convenient than ever. The all-new design features a larger speaker for better audio, a digital clock to display the time and timer countdowns, and all of Alexa's other features. A custom poster of their favorite placeGrafomapA customized poster, available at Grafomap, from $19Commemorate their college town, hometown, or favorite place in the world with this customizable graphic map so they can keep it with them wherever life takes them.A savvy suitcase for traveling on holiday breaksAway/FacebookThe Carry-On, available at Away, from $275Away's popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360-degree spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here.We also recommend Calpak for other luggage options. A book about capitalizing on the huge choices to make in your 20sAmazon"The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now" by Meg Jay, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $12.19The decisions you make in your 20s can greatly impact the rest of your life. The best defense is a good offense and your grad should know now, before any life-altering events crop up, how to get the most out of their "defining decade."An Amazon Prime membershipTommaso Boddi / Getty ImagesGift an Amazon Prime membership, $139An Amazon Prime membership is one of those things that immediately makes life easier. If you decide to gift one, the recipient will enjoy free two-day shipping; access to the Prime Now app, which provides free two-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items; Prime Video, Amazon's streaming video service; Prime Music; the Kindle Lending Library; Prime Reading; Prime Audible Channels; unlimited photo storage, and more.If you want to see how Amazon Prime actually gives you a lot more than free shipping, you can read about the benefits of the service here.A candle to remind college students of their favorite place or hometownAmazonHomesick Location Scented Candle, available at Amazon, Homesick, and Uncommon Goods, from $34If they're away from family or friends, a reminder of home is a wonderful thing to have around. Make sure to check the rules of their dorm or living situation before buying them a candle.Framed memoriesFramebridgeGift Card or Frame a Memory, available at Framebridge, from $45Help them honor some of their best memories — whether it's from friends now studying across the country, family, or best-loved locales. Framebridge is relatively affordable, but decor is one of the luxuries plenty of college students shirk to save elsewhere, so give them permission and funds to make their dorm a home.A monogrammed leather shave bagLeatherologyLeatherology Small Shave Bag, available at Leatherology and Amazon, from $95The dreaded truth of college is that you'll most likely need to schlep your shower belongings to a communal area if you live in the dorms. No one wants to rely on a plastic shower caddy to do that. Grab them a leather shave bag that they'll use for years to come — they probably wouldn't justify the expense on their own, and they'll be grateful to have it. If you're looking for a chic aesthetic, Dagne Dover also makes a great neoprene toiletry bag named the Hunter (from $45) that's built to accommodate makeup. If they have a lot of toiletries, you'll probably want to get the large size for $65.The most comfortable lounge pants we've ever tried for lazy weekend morningsMeUndiesMen's and Women's Lounge Pant, available at MeUndies, $68MeUndies is a popular LA startup that makes some of the most comfortable underwear we've ever tried. Their lounge pants, however, are the real hidden gem — perfect for lounging around on weekend mornings, and they're sleek enough to avoid feeling too unkempt.The best pillow you can buyCoop Home GoodsPremium Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow, available at Coop Home Goods and Amazon, $72Make sure they're optimizing their sleep with the best pillow you can buy. Thanks to the shredded memory foam, they'll get the support and comfortable "sinking in" sensation of a traditional memory foam pillow, but none of the excessive heat or firmness that can be a problem with solid foam. Read more in our buying guide here.A wonderful addition to any skincare routineSephoraKiehl's Ferulic Brew Antioxidant Facial Treatment with Lactic Acid, available at Kiehl's and Sephora, $54This new facial essence from Kiehl's is a great addition to any skincare routine. It's especially good for those who want to even out their skin tone, smooth skin texture, and add some extra moisture. It's made with rich ingredients and is simple to use: you just pat a few drops onto your face, rub it in, and it'll do its magic.An extra-long, reinforced phone chargerAmazonNative Union 10-Foot Extra-Long Charging Cable with Leather Strap, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Native Union, from $24If they're going to be tethered to devices, you may as well give them a long leash. This long charging cable means no matter where one is, they'll have power — and they won't have to sit at the foot of their bed to reach it. A gym bag that can transition to a professional settingNordstromHerschel Supply Co. Novel Duffel Bag, available at Amazon, Nordstrom, and Herschel, from $76.64Just like bringing a beat-up JanSport everywhere, lugging an old nylon gym bag isn't ideal for anyone looking for versatile use. Herschel Supply Co. makes reliable, long-lasting bags, and this one has a separate compartment for gym or dress shoes. A microwave-safe ramen cooker for stressful or time-crunched nightsAmazonRapid Ramen Cooker, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $6.98There will be plenty of late nights filled with cheap and tasty ramen. If they're going to eat it anyway, at least let them make it quickly and perfectly every time.A super soft throw blanket they'll cocoon themselves in time and time againAmazonBEDSURE Sherpa Fleece Blanket, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $23.39Grab their favorite candy, this sherpa-lined fleece blanket with over 4,400 five-star reviews on Amazon, and a Hulu gift card to make their nights in actually fun.Gift cards — perhaps the best gift you can give a cash-strapped college studentFlickr Creative Commons/Lani EldertsWhat a stressed, broke college student needs most is money and probably a hug. If you're looking for a way to gift maximum convenience, gift cards are a surprisingly thoughtful way to do that — either for their favorite restaurant, transportation, school books, or music to keep them occupied during long study hours. Check out more gift card gifts here. Everything: Visa Gift Card / Amazon Gift Card Coffee: Starbucks Gift CardSchool books: Amazon Gift Card Entertainment: Netflix Gift Card / Hulu Gift Card / Sling Gift Card / StubHub Gift CardTransportation: Uber Gift CardFurniture: Amazon Gift Card / Wayfair Gift CardMusic: Spotify Gift CardGroceries and food: Whole Foods Gift Card / Chipotle Gift CardClothes: Nordstrom Gift Card / Everlane Gift CardTech: Best Buy Gift CardTravel: Delta Gift Card / Airbnb Gift CardRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 13th, 2022

An unexpected force may be speeding up glacier melt across the globe: colorful algae blooms

Ice and snow across the planet are turning spectacular shades of pink, purple, and green. Scientists are racing to understand the microbes behind it. Researchers trek to a vast bloom of purple algae staining the Greenland ice sheet black.Courtesy of Laura Halbach Pink, red, purple, and green algae blooms are growing on glaciers all over the planet. Scientists who study snow and ice algae fear the blooms are a symptom of climate change. Algae blooms can induce ice melt, hastening the catastrophic disappearance of the world's glaciers. Glaciers around the world are turning beautiful but menacing shades of pink, red, purple, and green.Eric Maréchal has seen it firsthand in the European Alps.About 20 years ago, as he trekked through the mountains, he would occasionally run into other scientists who were giddy about finding rare "blood snow" — an overgrowth, or "bloom," of red algae that stains the glacier's surface.Maréchal said the blood snow started becoming more common about 10 years ago. Now he sees bright pink and red algae blooms every year.Pink snow at the Presena glacier, in the Italian Alps, due to colonies of algae.Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty ImagesMuch like soil, snow and ice are thriving with microorganisms.Colorful blooms of microscopic algae have been documented on glaciers in nearly every continent. The "blood snow" algae has also been found in the Arctic, Antarctica, and mountains in both Americas.Maréchal suspects snow and ice algae are on every glacier — vestige of a time when ice covered the planet, 20,000 years ago.Eric Maréchal shows a sample of microalgae near the Galibier peak, in the French Alps.Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images"It's like the memory of the Ice Age, when the Earth was a snowball," Maréchal, who studies algae at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, told Insider."We have the chance when they are blooming, that everybody who goes hiking can experience them. So it's a wonder. At the same time, it's a marker of environmental change, because when they are blooming, it means that there is a strong disturbance of the ecosystem."Algae may be accelerating the disappearance of Earth's glaciersAndrew Gray surveys blooms of green algae in Antarctica.Dr. Matt DaveyScientists like Maréchal think these algae blooms are getting larger and more frequent as rising global temperatures melt glaciers worldwide. This is still a hypothesis, as there is no historical data on glacier algae and scientists haven't pinpointed exactly which nutrient or environmental condition is fueling the blooms.But the researchers believe microalgae thrive in warmth and moisture.A researcher takes a sample of Sanguina nivaloides algae at the Brevent in Chamonix, France.Denis Balibouse/Reuters"The moment you have melting, the algae just are happy," Liane Benning, who leads a research project called Deep Purple, funded by the European Research Council, told Insider.Her team is working to build a historical record of Greenland's purple ice algae, including how much it bloomed before humans began changing the climate.A helicopter flies above a purple algae bloom darkening the ice sheet in Greenland.Dr. Pamela E. Rossel/GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam"They just need a little bit of water," she added. "And they have a party. They go and bloom."Liane Benning examines an ice core in Greenland.Courtesy of Katie SipesIt may be a party for the algae, but it's a slow funeral for the glacier.Instead of the blinding white that reflects sunlight away from a glacier, algae blooms create vast patches of pink, red, purple, or even green.Studies in the Himalayas, Greenland, Alaska, and across the Arctic have found that these colorful blooms darken the surface of glaciers, causing them to absorb more sunlight and leading to new ice melt.Satellite imagery shows green blooms of algae lining the coast of Robert Island in Antarctica.Landsat/Copernicus/Maxar Technologies/Google Maps"It's like a runaway effect," Benning said. "You make more algae; they bloom more; they melt more. They melt more; there is more blooms."They're still gathering data to prove it, but if that runaway loop hypothesis is real, it's probably accelerating as Earth's glaciers disappear.Already, the catastrophic impacts of ice loss are creeping across the planet — like sea-level rise and the dwindling of water sources that are usually replenished by glaciers. Those dangers could worsen faster than scientists have predicted, since their models don't account for microalgae.Glacier algae seems to be booming, but scientists have a lot to learnResearcher Matt Davey samples snow algae at Lagoon Island, Antarctica.Sarah VincentThe first written record of snow algae appears in writings from Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, who described seeing the red snow on Mount Olympus.It was another two millennia before someone took a sample of glacier algae for scientific research, Maréchal said.Maréchal's colleagues, Stephane Ravanel and Lucie Liger, take samples of red snow algae on Mount Olympus.Eric Maréchal/AlpAlgaThe algae species turning the Alps pink didn't get a scientific name until 2019. Before that, it was mistaken for a different species."We are incredibly late. We are maybe 50 years behind the ocean sciences," Maréchal said.A Deep Purple research camp in Greenland, surrounded by an algae bloom, as seen from a drone.Courtesy of Rey MourotBut in the last couple of decades, as the algae have seemed to boom, so has research on them. Ice algae and snow algae are different types of microorganisms, and different fields of study, but they both affect glaciers."Most people when they go on a glacier and they look at that, they think it's just dirt," Benning said. "Only when we looked at them under the microscope, we realized: 'Wait a moment, this dirt is moving.'"Purple algae from Greenland, imaged through a microscope.Courtesy of Katie SipesScientists have learned that the algae take on their colorful pigments in order to protect themselves from UV damage from the brilliant glare of sunlight reflecting off white snow.But there's still much to learn about these vibrant microalgae.A strip of "blood snow" filled with red algae cuts across a dark bloom of purple algae in Greenland.Dr. Pamela E. Rossel/GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam"We still don't know much about the fundamental ecology of snow algae," Andrew Gray, who studies snow algae in Antarctica, told Insider in an email.He added that the biggest snow algae mysteries include "where they are, why they are where they are, and how they're likely to respond to warming."As glaciers disappear, so might this ancient algaeBoth Greenland and the Alps saw record ice melt this summer.An aerial photograph shows the melting Sermeq glacier in Greenland.Hannibal Hanschke/ReutersIn May, Maréchal's team hiked up to the glaciers to take samples of the snow while it was still white. They needed a baseline to compare against later in the summer, once the red algae started blooming.But when they reached their sampling site, expecting blankets of pure white snow, they found it was already pink with algae. When they returned a week later, all they found was bare earth. The snow had already melted away.A research site atop Mont Brévent, usually covered in seasonal snow through early July, lost most of its snowpack in May.Eric Maréchal/AlpAlgaThe trend continued later in the year."This summer proved to be extremely difficult, because the snowpack and glacier proved to melt at an accelerated pace," Maréchal said.The disappearance of glaciers is a compounding global catastrophe, with dire implications for our climate, sea levels, and water supplies.Beneath all of that, if you zoom in to microscopic levels, global ice melt could also spell the disappearance of these ancient algae, which are likely the foundation of an under-researched ice ecosystem.Multi-colored snow algae on Anchorage Island in Antarctica.Dr. Matt DaveyIce and snow are full of "bacteria, fungi, virus, cyanobacteria, algae," and even insects, Gray said. Scientists don't know enough about those ecosystems yet to understand what that loss could mean.What if ice and snow microbes play a role in keeping glaciers stable, or pulling carbon from the atmosphere?In some places, like one Italian ski resort, covering the glacier with reflective white material can slow its melt and counteract the snow's color change. But that's a Band-Aid solution.Large white geotextile sheets cover northern Italy's Presena glacier in order to delay snow melting on skiing slopes and reflect sunlight during summer months.Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters"What can we do about these pesky algae? Everybody asks that question," Benning said. "We should bloody stop changing the climate."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 10th, 2022

How to stay safe in an extreme solar flare, where the sun bombards Earth with radiation and magnetic havoc

Preparing for an extreme solar storm mostly means getting ready to live without electricity for several days. Radio and GPS could drop out, too. The sun blows out a coronal mass ejection.NASA/GSFC Solar flares and plasma eruptions are common, and sometimes big enough to wreak havoc on Earth. Eruptions on the sun can cause power outages, radio blackouts, and GPS confusion. Stay safe during a solar storm by preparing to lose power, printing out maps, and staying off planes. The sun is constantly writhing with activity, with plasma bubbling on its surface and giant sunspots opening and closing. Sometimes, the solar surface erupts and sends a burst of plasma and electrically charged particles shooting toward Earth.As the solar particles wash over Earth, our planet's magnetic field lines send them toward the north and south poles, where they penetrate into the upper layers of the atmosphere and interact with gas molecules to create the dancing lights of the aurora.The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in the sky near Rovaniemi in Lapland, Finland.Alexander Kuznetsov/ReutersBigger solar eruptions can produce beautiful auroras as far south as Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oregon.But a really, really big one can shut down power grids, confuse GPS, and disable radio communications.Earth's atmosphere blocks the radiation from these solar eruptions, shielding people on the ground, but it can't stop the magnetic and electrical activity from messing with our technology.A coronal mass ejection, as seen from NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory-A spacecraft.NASA/STEREO/COR2"The risk from severe space weather is that it disrupts the technologies now vital to human life," Mike Hapgood, a space-weather consultant at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK, told Insider via email. "This has become a big issue only in the past sixty years, say since 1960, as electricity has replaced coal as a key energy source for homes and offices."We're in a new solar cycle, with the sun building to maximum activity in July 2025. Solar flares and space storms will probably be common over the next three years.That's primetime for the possibility of a giant, blackout-inducing solar event.What is a solar flare and how do they affect Earth?A coronal mass ejection.NASAA solar flare, which is a burst of radiation that accelerates charged particles away from the sun, travels at the speed of light, so by the time forecasters see it, it's already affecting Earth's ionosphere, according to NASA. That can cause radio blackouts.Coronal mass ejections are a more violent, targeted eruption when a cloud of plasma and magnetic fields shoots out into space.CMEs primarily affect the magnetosphere, jostling Earth's magnetic field lines in an event called a geomagnetic storm, also known as a solar storm. That's what can cause power outages.Forecasters can issue warnings ahead of CMEs. Some CMEs reach Earth as fast as 15 hours after they're first spotted, while others can take days, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center.As with any disaster, however, it's wise to plan ahead so you're not rushing to stock up on supplies at the last minute.Start now: Stock up on supplies for living without electricityIsmail Sha studies with a rechargeable lantern for his final examination during a power outage in Cape Town, South Africa.Esa Alexander/ReutersGeomagnetic storms can produce extra currents in the power grid, which interfere with transformers and can cause outages."I'd expect that interference to cause parts of the power grid to shut down to prevent wider damage, and the operators would need some time to restore normal operation, maybe hours, maybe a day or two," Hapgood said.That's what happened in Quebec in 1989. An inundation of particles from the sun knocked out the region's power for about nine hours."I'd rate that as a once-in-a-century event in any particular location," Hapgood said, adding that any solar-storm power outage would likely be across a region of roughly 1,000 miles."It is important for people to have some personal resilience to loss of electricity," he added.That means stocking up on nonperishable food, clean water, cash, battery-powered or hand-crank flashlights, blankets and warm clothes for the winter, and some means of cooking safely without electricity.It's also a good idea to have a battery-powered or wind-up radio to get news and weather updates. But there's a chance that won't work during a solar storm, either.Don't plan to rely on radio or GPSRadio enthusiast Robin Hsu looks at a radio receiver while monitoring flight traffic, at a cafe in Pingtung, Taiwan.Fabian Hamacher/ReutersRemember that solar flares, as well as CMEs, can degrade radio signals and even cause radio blackouts. Two solar storms cut off emergency radio communications for a total of 11 hours shortly after Hurricane Irma in 2017.Geomagnetic storms also interfere with satellites and can even push them out of orbit, disrupting GPS on Earth. So it could be smart to print out directions to key spots or emergency-evacuation locations ahead of time.You may want to avoid flying during a solar stormAn Interjet Airlines plane taxis at San Antonio International.Robert Alexander/Getty ImagesEarth's atmosphere protects people on the ground by blocking the powerful radiation that comes with solar flares and CMEs. But being on a plane during a flare or solar storm can expose you to high doses of radiation, research has shown.In some cases, you might not be able to get on a plane anyway. If your flight goes over the Arctic during a geomagnetic storm, it could be canceled or rerouted due to the risk of communication blackouts and navigation failures.Don't ever run a generator indoorsThis mistake is a common killer in the aftermath of disasters and power outages. Generators produce carbon monoxide, so experts recommend you never run them indoors or in an enclosed space like a garage, shed, or basement. These machines can fill the area with poisonous gas and kill people in just minutes.The same goes for charcoal grills: Never use them indoors, even if the area is well-ventilated. Charcoal also produces carbon monoxide.Being disaster-ready overall can prepare you for solar flaresHurricane Ian, just south of Cuba, seen from the International Space Station.NASAGetting ready for the possibility of a major solar flare isn't that different from getting ready for any other disaster. For hurricanes, earthquakes, snow storms, pandemics, or zombie apocalypses, it's also crucial to prepare to lose power.If you follow the basics of disaster preparedness, you'll probably be ready for a solar flare.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 7th, 2022

52 unique and useful gift ideas for men, from a versatile backpack to a mini massage gun

Whether you're shopping for your husband, brother, or guy friend, he's sure to love and use these gifts every day. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Boy Smells and YETIShopping for men can be tricky, whether it's for a brother, husband, friend, boyfriend, father, or any other male figure in your life, but there are a couple of strategies you can employ when buying him a gift. Your first, and maybe best bet, is to hone in on one of their interests and buy a gift accordingly. For example, the gamer in your life would love to receive the Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset, and any fitness-loving man would appreciate the Theragun Mini massage gun, which works wonders for sore muscles. You can also go for high-quality basics and essentials, aka things every man should own. We've highlighted several gifts like these, like a leather wallet from Bellroy or a top-notch shave kit from Harry's.A custom made-to-measure suitIndochinoIndochino Gift Card, available at Indochino, from $50Every man deserves a custom suit, whether it's for regular wear in the office or some special occasion. With in-store and online shopping options, Indochino is the best place to fully customize. Read our full review on what it's like to design a suit at Indochino and send him a gift card so he can go through the process, too.A device to take his gaming console on the goBackboneBackbone One, available at Backbone, $99.99If he's always on his XBOX or PlayStation gaming console, the Backbone One is a gift he'll absolutely love. The controller-like device connects to smartphones and can be used to remote play his favorite console games while on the go.Slip-on sneakers made from recycled materialsRothy'sRothy's City Slip-On Sneaker, available at Rothy's, $139Rothy's is known for its sustainably-made, comfortable slip-ons for women, and with the launch of the City Slip, men can now enjoy them, too. Made from recycled plastic bottles, the City Slip is the brand's first unisex slip-on sneaker.A luxe candleBoy SmellsCashmere Kush, available at Boy Smells, Bloomingdale's, and Nordstrom, from $36It's hard to find someone who doesn't enjoy a good candle. This one from Boy Smells gives off a woodsy and earthy fragrance perfect for his home or apartment. A warm button-upOuterknownOuterknown Blanket Shirt, available at Outerknown, $148 The Outerknown Blanket Shirt is soft, warm, and versatile enough to wear on breezy beach days, chilly fall evenings, or layered under a heavy coat in the winter. With dozens of colors and patterns to choose from, you'll definitely find one he loves.A short but useful book to help unlock creativityAmazonThe Innovator's Handbook: A Short Guide to Unleashing Your Creative Mindset, available at Amazon, $15.30Written by Hussain Almossawi, an award-winning product designer whose resume includes brands like Nike, Apple, and Adidas, "The Innovator's Handbook" outlines the keys to creative success.A comfortable loungewear setTommy JohnTommy John Zen Waffle Lounge Henley Jogger Set, available at Tommy John, $186Tommy John is our favorite place to buy underwear, but the brand also has an amazing assortment of loungewear. The Zen Waffle Lounge set is one of the most popular ones, but you can't go wrong with any of the options. Read our full Tommy John loungewear review here. A new bottle of cologneAmir Ismael/InsiderDossier Men's Colognes, available at Dossier, from $14.25Cologne is always a good gift for men, but instead of buying one incredibly expensive bottle, you can buy several from Dossier. The brand recreates popular fragrances — some of which he may already have — at a fraction of the cost. Read our full review here.A beef jerky bouquetManly Man coBeef Jerky Flower Bouquet, available at Manly Man Co., $59If flowers aren't his thing, try this beef jerky flower bouquet. It's a treat he's sure to love and comes in four different flavors. Raw selvedge jeans made in the USATodd SnyderTodd Snyder Made in USA Selvedge Rigid Slim Fit Jeans, available at Todd Snyder, $268Todd Snyder's Made in USA Selvedge Jeans the perfect gift for fashion lovers and denim aficionados. Made at the Vidalia Mill in Louisiana using vintage shuttle looms reclaimed from the famed White Oak Plant, they connect to the history of selvedge denim in America. The denim is rigid, but after many wears, you can achieve a super personalized fit.Professional lightingLogitechLogitech Litra Beam, available at Logitech, $99.99Whether he's into live streaming and making Youtube videos, or he simply needs better light during his video meetings, the Logitech litrabeam is one of the best solutions. It can help achieve professional-level lighting effects and will surely improve his content.Incredibly comfortable sleep pantsSaxxSaxx Sleepwalker Pants, available at Saxx, $75We love Saxx underwear because of its comfort and utility, and the Sleepwalker is no different. The sleep pants feature the same BallPark Pouch support system that's found in Saxx underwear, making them enjoyable to wear while sleeping or lounging.A record player for audiophilesAmazonFluance RT81 Turntable, available at Amazon and Walmart, $249.99The Fluance RT81 Turntable is a great way for him to enjoy his vinyl collection (or feel inspired to start one) using modern technology. A funky pair of underwearMeUndiesMeUndies Men's Membership, available at MeUndies, $18Your first thought may be that underwear is sort of a strange gift, but hear us out. MeUndies are so comfortable they will blow his mind, and they come in tons of colors and limited-edition prints.Smart light bulbs that can create billions of lighting combinationsPhilipsPhilips Hue White & Color Ambiance A19 LED Starter Kit, available at Best Buy, $169.99Philips Hue lighting not only looks cool but can also replicate a natural sunrise and combat the effects of seasonal sunshine deprivation. This starter kit is also compatible with Amazon's, Google's, and Apple's smart assistants. A high-quality shave setHarry'sHarry's The Winston Set, available at Harry's, $25Harry's has become one of the biggest shaving brands thanks to its affordable prices and quality razors. If he prefers to groom with multi-blade razors, The Winston Set is an awesome way to elevate his shaving experience.A solid massage gunTheragunTheragun Mini, available at Theragun and Amazon, from $179The compact design of the Theragun Mini makes it easy to carry around, but don't let the small size fool you. It still packs a better punch than most massage guns around the same price.Theragun Pro, available at Amazon, Best Buy and Theragun, from $499We think the Theragun Pro is worth every pretty penny for its power and durability. It beats others on the market for its revolutionary QuietForce Technology, a feature that makes the operation of the gun far quieter than any others in the brand's lineup. A watch strap that'll up the ante on his Apple WatchNomadNomad Apple Watch Band, available at Nomad, $79.95Dress up his Apple Watch with a beautiful Horween leather strap that costs far less expensive Apple's own straps. A weighted blanket from a beloved online mattress startupCasperCasper Sleep Weighted Blanket (15 Pounds), available at Amazon, Best Buy and Caspar, from $99The pressure of a weighted blanket has a soothing effect that'll reduce anxiety and help him fall asleep faster. Plus, it'll feel like he's being wrapped in a big hug. A versatile backpackYetiCrossroads 22L Backpack, available at YETI, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Moosejaw, from $200You've probably heard of YETI's coolers and tumblers, but did you know the brand makes a backpack, too? This stylish bag is perfect for any student, camper, or traveler in your life.An LED lamp for their home officeAmazonSaicoo LED Desktop Lamp, available at Amazon, $59.99If his days are filled with Zoom meetings, this desk lamp will make an excellent addition to his home office. It has a sleek design, adjustable light levels, and a touch control panel.A nice umbrellaL.L. BeanWindpro Vented Auto Open/Close Umbrella, available at L.L. Bean, $35Everyone needs a nice umbrella, like this one from L.L. Bean. It's perfect for those who live in places where the weather is unpredictable.A high-quality washSephoraJack Black All-Over Wash, available at Amazon, Sephora, and Ulta, from $24Upgrade his shower routine with Jack Black's All-Over Wash. This foaming wash is gentle enough to be used on the entire body and has a pleasantly fresh scent.A high-end gaming headsetWalmartSony Pulse Headeset, available at Amazon, $99.99Microsoft Xbox Series X|S wireless gaming headset, available at Target, $99.99Whether he's team PlayStation or team XBOX, a good headset is an easy way to level up his gaming experience.  A pair of our favorite jeansMott and BowMen's Jeans, available at Mott & Bow, from $107Mott and Bow makes denim jeans that are equally durable and comfortable at affordable prices. Replace his old worn-out pair with a new style he'll have for many years to come.Stylish t-shirtsCuts ClothingT-Shirts, available at Cuts Clothing, $54You might not think t-shirts make great gifts, but the ones from Cuts Clothing do. They're incredibly soft, stretchy, and durable. With a few new tees added to his wardrobe, his casual style will improve immediately.A stylish and comfortable pair of sneakersAllbirdsMen's Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $110Popular shoe startup Allbirds now sells high-top sneakers and even clothing, but for the uninitiated (and honestly really anyone), the classic Wool Runners make an excellent gift. Comfortable socks that give backBombasMen's Performance Running Ankle & Calf Sock Gift Bag, available at Bombas, $74His feet will thank you for keeping them cozy all winter long in these socks. And for every pair purchased, Bombas will donate a pair to a homeless shelter.A classic leather walletBellroyBellroy Apex Sleeve, available at Bellroy and Amazon, $129A wallet doesn't have to be a boring gift when it's from Bellroy. The brand offers a great variety of designs to fit all kinds of people's personal styles or needs. From low-profile designs like the Low to RFID blocking wallets like the Apex Sleeve, there's a lot to choose from.Cozy slippers he'll love to lounge around in or wear outsideUGGUGG Tasman Slipper, available at Amazon, Nordstrom and UGG, $100The UGG Tasman is a wonderful option because it's incredibly warm, comfortable, and can be worn indoors and outdoors. For more slipper options, check out our guide on the best men's slippers here.An Amazon Echo DotAmazonAmazon Echo Dot (4th Gen), available at Amazon and Best Buy, $49.99Amazon's tiny but mighty smart speaker is just as powerful as its sibling devices, allowing him to control anything from his lights to his music.A waterproof, no-glare Kindle e-readerAmazonAmazon Kindle Paperwhite (11th Gen), available at Amazon, $139.99The recently refreshed Kindle Paperwhite is an excellent gift for anyone who loves to read. For $140, he'll get a Kindle that's waterproof, has a new 6.8-inch display screen with thinner borders, 20% faster page turns, and storage for thousands of books. An exfoliating razorTargetGilletteLabs Exfoliating Razor, available at Target and Walmart, $22.97Skincare is an important part of maintaining a clear face after shaving, so to help, GilletteLabs' latest razor will exfoliate his skin while he shaves.An Instant Pot for easy weeknight mealsAmazonInstant Pot DUO 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker (6-qt), available at Amazon, Target and Instant, from $99.95The Instant Pot is one of the most versatile appliances you can add to your kitchen for under $100. Help him make delicious home-cooked meals in a cinch, even when he has to work late.An audible subscriptionAmazonAudible Gift Membership (3 Months), available at Amazon, $45With an Audible membership, he'll gain access to thousands of audiobooks and podcasts that he can listen to on his Kindle, smartphone, or in the car. A luxurious sheet set that makes bedtime betterBrooklinenClassic Core Sheet Set (Queen), available at Brooklinen, $152.10Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle (Queen), available at Brooklinen, $245.03High-quality sheets might be the last thing on his mind, but he'll appreciate them once he has them. Brooklinen's bedsheets are some of our favorites for their comfort, feel, and overall value.Whether you choose the Classic Core Sheets or the higher-end Luxe Hardcore Sheets, the bundles will include everything he needs to give his bed a fresh makeover. Brooklinen also sells comforters, pillows, candles, and blankets. Read our full review of Brooklinen sheets here. A flask that'll keep his coffee hot and his water coldHydro FlaskHydro Flask 32-Ounce Wide Mouth Bottle, available at REI, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Hydro Flask, $44.95This insulated bottle keeps hot drinks hot (and we mean hot) for up to 12 hours, and cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours. Whether he enjoys hot coffee or ice-cold water, this flask will keep his drinks at the perfect temperature.An Amazon Prime membership that makes shopping online super convenientAmazonAmazon Prime One Year Gift, available at Amazon, $139Amazon Prime opens up a whole new world of access, be it to fast two-day shipping or any of the other 25-plus perks you'll get with a membership. If you know he doesn't have one yet, this is a smart gift — but in the case he does, he'll get to use the $39 on anything he wants or needs from the site.A Disney Plus gift subscriptionDisney PlusGift Subscription, available at Disney+, $79.99This subscription gives him unlimited access to movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox, and costs just $79.99 for a year. Read everything there is to know about Disney+ over here.And if he needs some binge-spiration, here are all the new movies available to stream.Fresh chocolate chip cookiesGoldbellyJacques' World Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies, available at Goldbelly, $74.95Men with a sweet tooth would be thrilled to receive this 12-pack of gourmet chocolate chip cookies delivered right to their front door. The cookies are shipped from Goldbelly and are made by world-famous chocolatier Jacques Torres.A timeless pair of sunglassesRay BanOriginal S Bio-Acetate, available at Ray-Ban, $183You can't go wrong with a pair of timeless Ray-Ban's Wayfarer frames. They're fashionable, come in countless colors, and go with virtually everything.A custom cashmere sweater with his initialsRalph LaurenCustom Cashmere Crew, available at Ralph Lauren, $298If you're looking for something a bit more special than your average sweater, Ralph Lauren's Custom Cashmere allows you to personalize sweaters with different colors and initials.A beautiful tieBonobosPremium Necktie, available at Bonobos, $89A nice tie is a men's wardrobe essential. This one from Bonobos is made from 100% silk and comes in over 20 designs.A warm winter coatTriple F.A.T. GooseDowning Parka, available at Triple F.A.T. Goose, $700Don't wait until the forecast includes freezing temperatures and snow to get him a new winter jacket. Triple F.A.T. Goose's Downing Parka is exceptionally warm with a 750-fill power and it's also waterproof.Popular wireless earbudsDave Smith/Business InsiderApple AirPods Pro, available at Amazon, Best Buy and Target, from $239A pair of Apple AirPods Pro is perfect for enjoying music, podcasts, and taking calls hands-free.Comfortable sweater polosThe Tie BarPerfect Tipped Merino Wool Polo, available at The Tie Bar, $32.50The Tie Bar's Merino Wool Polo is a stylish, winter-appropriate take on the classic polo shirt. He'll enjoy the looks of a long-sleeve polo with the warmth of merino wool.An Amazon Echo ShowAmazonAmazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen), available at Amazon, Target, and Best Buy, $129.99The Echo Show is my personal favorite Echo because of its crisp HD display. Like every other Echo, it uses Alexa to accomplish any number of tasks, from answering questions to reordering supplies on Amazon. But in addition to Alexa's verbal response about the day's weather forecast, for example, the Echo Show displays it on its 8-inch screen. A clean, daily skincare routineHumanrace SkincareHumanrace Routine Pack, available at Humanrace, $110Featuring clean ingredients and sustainable packaging, Humanrace is an easy three-step routine that will simplify his skincare regimen.A warm fleece he'll always wearPatagoniaPatagonia Men's Better Sweater Fleece Jacket, available at Patagonia, REI, and Dick's Sporting Goods, $149We're firm believers that you can't own too many Patagonia fleeces. The Better Sweater Fleece Jacket is super warm compared to its light weight and comes in 11 different colors, so you'll definitely find one he'll like.Noise-canceling earbudsBeatsBeats Fit Pro, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy, from $199.95The all-new Beats Fit Pro earbuds are a great alternative to AirPods. They feature wings to keep them secure in your ears and noise-canceling technology.The latest Apple WatchAppleApple Watch Series 7 GPS (41mm), available at Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy, from $349With way more features than your average wristwatch, the brand new Apple Watch Series 7 is a gift that tech lovers will love.A high-end electric razorBraunBraun Series 7 (7085cc) Electric Razor, available at Amazon and Target, from $134.99We've tested tons of electric razors and the Braun Series 7 is one of the best you can buy. It's the perfect grooming tool for men who prefer electric over traditional multi-blade razors.Read our full review here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 11th, 2022

The National Park Service warns visitors not to lick Sonoran Desert toads, whose psychoactive poison has been smoked by celebrities like Joe Rogan and Chelsea Handler

Licking the Sonoran Desert toad is dangerous due to toxic secretions that contain the substance 5-MeO-DMT, which has been called the "God molecule." Sonoran desert toad (left); Joe Rogan (right)National Park Service; Christian Petersen/Getty Images The National Park Service told visitors not to lick toads or anything else they find in the parks. The warning was a nod to the psychoactive properties in toad secretions that some people smoke. However, licking the toads is dangerous to humans and animals. The National Park Service has warned visitors not to lick a particular toad that's known for its psychoactive properties, which have been intentionally consumed — albeit not by "toad licking" — by celebrities like Joe Rogan.The Sonoran Desert toad, also known as the Colorado River toad, can grow to nearly 7 inches and is one of the largest toads in North America. It's typically found in northern Mexico and the southwestern US, but is perhaps most well known for the toxins it exudes."These toads have prominent parotoid glands that secrete a potent toxin. It can make you sick if you handle the frog or get the poison in your mouth," the park service wrote in a post shared on Facebook Monday, alongside a spooky photo of a toad appearing to look right into a trail camera at night. "As we say with most things you come across in a national park, whether it be a banana slug, unfamiliar mushroom, or a large toad with glowing eyes in the dead of night, please refrain from licking."The concept of "toad licking" has been depicted in popular media for decades, but is largely considered an urban legend. The practice is dangerous and can make humans and animals sick, as the Sonoran Desert toads release toxins through glands in their skin as a powerful defense mechanism.According to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the toxins are strong enough to kill full-grown dogs. However, the psychoactive secretions released by the toads are consumed by humans in other ways. The substance is typically dried into crystals and then smoked using a pipe. The result is a psychedelic experience that can last 15 to 30 minutes, according to The New York Times.The relevant psychoactive substance, 5-MeO-DMT, is illegal in the US and designated a Schedule 1 substance, but that hasn't stopped it from accruing fans. The substance, which is closely related to DMT, is typically called Five or Bufo, but has also been referred to as the "God molecule."Like other psychedelic substances that are being increasingly embraced for therapeutic purposes, 5-MeO-DMT has been used by some as medicine or in church rituals. One Navy SEAL and combat veteran told the Times smoking the toad's secretions was the only thing that helped his depression and anxiety.Some celebrities have also been open about their experiences with the toad. Comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan, an outspoken advocate for psychedelics, said 5-MeO-DMT was "probably the most terrifying experience" he's ever had on  psychedelics, adding that he felt he had "ceased to exist."Comedian Chelsea Handler also told The Hollywood Reporter her experience with the drug was "really scary.""It's this frog venom thing where they light it, you inhale it and you basically hallucinate. You see visions and colors. I was at some woman's house, lying in her living room on blankets, and I was immediately drenched in sweat feeling as sick as I've ever felt," she said.Some are concerned that the growing embrace of psychedelics and 5-MeO-DMT could threaten the existence of the Sonoran Desert toad due to illegal poaching and overharvesting, the Times reported. The toad is already believed to have been wiped out of California, where it was last seen in the wild in the 1970s.Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 6th, 2022

61 gifts for college students that will help them manage dorm life, midterms, and adulting

The best gifts for college students are practical and fun — here are 61 gift ideas, from useful dorm tech to cute clothes and room decor. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Amazon; Urban OutfittersCollege students are juggling a lot. From late nights studying to living on their own, their lives look very different than they used to. Finding the college student in your life a great gift can show you support them, are thinking about them, and want them to have a good time in between challenging classes. The gifts on this list include everything from gadgets that will make their life easier, clothes for lounging, and plenty of products for self-care. Whether they're just heading off to school or getting ready to tackle their last final, here are 62 thoughtful gifts any college student would love.The 61 best gifts for college students in 2022:A sweet plant care packageSucculentBarShop/EtsySucculent Bar Shop Hang in There Care Package, available at Etsy, from $36This sweet care package includes a wooden card with a cute message, a succulent with a planting kit, and a pot, all to remind the college student in your life that you're thinking of them. You can make the gift even more special with optional add-ons, from face masks and bath bombs to candy and notepads.Comfy faux-fur slippers they can wear to classAmazonKoolaburra by UGG Women's Lezly Slipper, available at Amazon, DSW, and Nordstrom Rack, $59.99Koolaburra slippers are soft and cozy enough to wear around their dorm every day but also have a rubber sole so they can wear them to class and around campus. They come in nine different colors and reviewers love how warm they keep their feet on cold days.Neon light signs for ultimate dorm vibesDormify"Good Vibes Only" Neon Sign, available at Dormify, $79Nothing screams college vibes more than a quirky neon light or color-changing LED-rimmed walls. Dormify's options are perfect for achieving this, and the brand has everything from wholesome neon signs to goofy ones. A manifestation of good vibes is probably helpful for the average student, but there are plenty of other options like GRLPWR, Happy, and Party.A scratch-off self-care checklistUncommon Goods100 Things to Do For Your Wellbeing, $15, available at Uncommon GoodsThis scratch-off poster is a checklist of 100 things any college student can do so support their mental health, whether they're studying for midterms or missing home. The squares include everything from "visit your favorite spot" to "ask for help with a difficult task" and serve as a mindfulness reminder even after they've scratched them all off. A sunrise alarm clock for a gentle, phone-free wakeupSuzy Hernandez/InsiderHatch Restore, available at Amazon and Target, $129.99Using your phone as an alarm clock makes it a lot more tempting to start scrolling on your phone first thing in the morning, which isn't the healthiest habit. A sunrise alarm clock can help your student have a much better start to their day than immediately checking emails or scrolling on Instagram. The Hatch Restore is a great sunrise alarm option with a ton of special features.A microwave-safe bowl cozy for hot dinnersCraftyWanda/EtsyCrafty Wanda Bowl Cozy (Set of 2), available at Etsy, $17.49Microwave bowl cozies are great for protecting your hands from a hot bowl straight out of the microwave or a cold bowl full of ice cream. The high corners can help lift hot food in and out of the microwave and can help prevent burns and spills. These are reversible, machine washable, and a great gift for any college student who uses their microwave regularly.A trendy Trader Joe's-inspired cookbookUrban Outfitters"The I Love Trader Joe's College Cookbook" by Andrea Lynn, available at Urban Outfitters and Amazon, from $15.29If there's one place you hear all these Gen Z'ers talking about, it's Trader Joe's. This quirky cookbook contains 160 easy recipes for busy (and usually broke) college students, drawing from some of the brand's favorite ingredients to create mouth-watering hors d'oeuvres, party-worthy appetizers, and nourishing meals.Does your student prefer to cook with the air fryer? Check out this equally nifty "I Love Trader Joe's Air Fryer Cookbook"! A long-lasting backpack that'll look good on campus and at job interviewsHerschelHerschel Little America Backpack, available at Herschel and Amazon, from $100.80Typical backpacks work great for class, but what about everything that happens outside of class? Having a sturdy backpack that's well-suited for traveling and job interviews helps a ton. Herschel's Little America is a great option because it's versatile, sturdy, and stylish. Similarly, the Dagne Dover backpack ($215) is specifically designed for a woman's body and is made to store everything you need and go anywhere you go. If the student is a tote person and doesn't touch backpacks, the Longchamp Le Pliage Shoulder Bag ($155) is a staple for students and young workers alike.Popular wireless over-ear headphones for quality noise-cancelingAmazonBeats Solo3 Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Apple, from $99If there's one thing every college student needs, it's good wireless headphones. This Beats pair has rich sound and up to 40 hours of listening time. And if they let the battery run out, a five-minute charge converts to three hours of playback.If they're a runner and need something lightweight and in-ear, you should opt for Jaybird Vista.A silicone mold for a soothing ice rollerAmazonSilicone Ice Mold for Facial Beauty Ice Roller, available at Amazon, $12.99Gua Sha facial tools and rollers have become a super popular way to reduce facial puffiness, soothe redness, and de-stress. This silicone ice mold is easy to use, small enough for a mini fridge's freezer, and can be filled with everything from simple water to coconut milk and aloe vera for a relaxing skincare boost. One of the nicest and most classic notebooksAmazonMoleskine Classic Notebook, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $19.68Moleskine journals have a history of belonging to creatives and being the place where great ideas and art begin. If the student you're thinking of is a writer or artist, a Moleskine journal is a perfect gift to let them know you support them. These are also stellar for note-taking.A helpful air purifierBed Bath & BeyondHoMedics TotalClean 4-in-1 Air Purifier, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, and Home Depot, from $55.99For college students living in a traditional dorm room, a breath of fresh air is more than welcome. This HoMedics TotalClean 4-in-1 air purifier creates cleaner air no matter how small the space is, clearing pollen, dust, smoke, pet dander, mold spores, and germs for easy breathing. Bonus points: It has an auto shut-off timer, a built-in night light, and a three-year manufacturer's warranty for optimal satisfaction.The most comfortable socks college students can ownBombasWomen's and Men's Ankle Sock 4-Pack, available at Bombas, $49.40Bombas makes the best socks on the market. They benefit from upgrades like a supportive honeycomb stitch, blister tabs built into ankle-height styles, and a Y-stitched heel and "invisitoe" that minimizes annoying bumps. Even if it seems like socks aren't an exciting gift, comfort is pretty much always a hit in college. Plus, for every pair purchased, Bombas donates a specially designed sock to someone in need.A modern card game for nights in and partiesAmazonWhat Do You Meme Game, available at Amazon and Walmart, $29.99College students today are of the meme generation, so this game will be highly appreciated. This set includes 75 of the funniest memes plus 360 caption cards to make the wonkiest combinations for a game during study breaks or chill wine nights.A statement scrunchie that'll make any outfit look goodAmazonKitsch Dinner Scrunchie, available at Amazon and Target, from $13.99There are few accessories that can pull together an outfit and make it look chic, even if that outfit is sweatpants. The massive dinner scrunchies by Kitsch are the perfect accessory to add to a quick outfit and make it look put together. Gifting this to someone means they will always have the option to add an easy, fashionable touch to their look.An air fryer for the snack loverAmazonPhilips Premium TurboStar Air Fryer, available at Amazon and Crate & Barrel, from $185.95Air fryers are all the buzz for how they can turn just about anything into a warm, crispy delight. Plus, they save a ton of time, which every college student can appreciate. The Philips Premium TurboStar Air Fryer is one of the best air fryers on the market today.There's some debate over how good air fryers actually are, so you can also think about gifting a toaster oven.A good wallet to hold their cards, cash, and student IDVera BradleyVera Bradley Microfiber Zip ID Wallet, available at Vera Bradley and Amazon, from $20Vera Bradley's Zip ID Wallet is a great option for students who have to frequently show or swipe their student ID, but don't need an overstuffed bifold. The O-ring is a convenient and sturdy place to hold all their keys. It also makes it easy to clip the wallet into their other bags.A smartphone-sized travel photo printerStaplesFujifilm Instax Mini Link Bluetooth Photo Printer, available at Amazon, B&H Photo, and Apple, $99.95Mini portable Bluetooth printers make turning iPhone photos into tangible memories quick and easy — which is especially convenient for decorating their room. All they'll have to do is download the app (which also has internal PhotoShop elements and features like themed stickers and collages) and connect via Bluetooth. Clothes and shoes for their upcoming interviews and presentationsEverlaneThe Oversized Blazer, available at Everlane, $228Workday Khakis, available at Dockers, $54.99Wool Coat, available at Other Stories, from $219College is full of big meetings, presentations, and nerve-wracking interviews. For days when sweatpants aren't an option and something more formal is needed, these are some great options for women's staples. We've also created a list of our personal favorite workwear stores for women and men — plus the best styles to buy from each one. A steady supply of healthier (and still tasty) snacksThrive Market1-Year Membership, available at Thrive Market, $59.95College students live off good food and snacks. Gifting a subscription to Thrive Market means access to healthier snacks, which leads to them feeling more energized and better studying.A waterproof speaker that can bring the bassJBLJBL Flip 5 Bluetooth Speaker, available at JBL, Amazon, and Walmart, from $94A Bluetooth speaker is a must-have: it helps set the mood for study nights and brings the party to life whenever they're hosting. JBL's Flip 5 speaker is the best choice. It has vibrantly booming bass, lasts for up to 12 hours without a charge, and is waterproof.A trio of unisex products that makes skincare clean and simpleAtticusBest Seller Trio, available at Atticus, $83.70Stress affects how our skin looks, especially in college. Skincare, however, can get overwhelming because of how many options are available. Atticus's high-quality skincare line makes it simple for everyone and is made to be gender inclusive. Its trios, like the Best Seller, include all the products you need: a cleanser, daily moisturizer with SPF, and night cream with anti-aging ingredients. Great coffee from all over the world to help them stay energizedAtlas Coffee Club3-Month Coffee Subscription, available at Atlas Coffee Club, $60If they drink coffee, they'll likely drink a fair amount of it during college. And it's really nice to have a cup better than one from the dining hall. Atlas Coffee is a monthly subscription that's sort of like a worldwide coffee tour — bringing the best single-origin coffee (with a postcard from its origin country) to your door. They'll also get brewing tips and flavor notes. One of the best tablets for note-taking, entertainment, and everything elseAmazonApple 10.2-inch iPad (32 GB), available at Amazon, Apple, and Walmart, from $299.95 If you go on a college campus today, you'll probably see iPads all over the place — and for good reason. These slim rectangular boxes are bundles of joy for students. They make note-taking, e-reading, Netflix, and leisure drawing easy to do all in one place. The new 256GB iPad ($479) will make an unforgettable gift. If you want to take it up a notch, the highly-coveted and ultrafast 11" iPad Pro ($799) is even better.If they already have an iPad, you can think about getting them an Apple Pencil ($129), which will level up their gadget even more.A weighted blanket that'll change the way they sleepTranquilityTranquility Weighted Blanket, available at Target and Walmart, from $34.31Every college student ever has needed better sleep. Weighted blankets apply a calming pressure on you, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up more rested. Tranquility's weighted blanket is perfectly-sized it is to move from bed to couch, fits a standard dorm twin XL bed, and is easily washable.A foolproof planner to keep everything in orderDay DesignerWeekly Planner, available at Day Designer, $68A planner keeps them organized between all their assignments, exams, and social events. Day Designer makes luxurious planners that students love. Planners come in daily or weekly options which each have space for all your checklists and schedules, plus extra pages for goal setting, future planning, and notes.If this style doesn't suit them, pick another from our favorite planners for college students.A cult-favorite tumbler to keep their drinks just the right temperature for hoursHydro FlaskHydro Flask 40 oz. Wide Mouth Water Bottle, available at Hydro Flask, REI, and Amazon, from $49.95This HydroFlask will keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours with the lid on, perfect for when they need coffee during a long night studying.A key-, wallet-, and iPhone-finderAmazonTile Mate, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, $24.99You can't go wrong with a tracker for their keys, wallet, or phone. The Tile Mate is compact, thoughtful, and useful for everyone — especially an oft-frazzled college student.  A bed frame that can easily move with themLauren Savoie/InsiderThuma Bed Frame (Full), available at Thuma, from $995A good bed frame is the foundation of good sleep and this one by Thuma features interlocking Japanese joinery that makes it incredibly sturdy but easy to disassemble, move, and store. It's a great option for young adults on the move, especially if they're moving into older or smaller buildings. A nice watch they can wear to internshipsMVMTMVMT Men's Chrono Watch, available at MVMT and Amazon, from $81MVMT Women's Avenue Watch, available at Bloomingdale's and Amazon, $128MVMT makes beautiful watches for men and women at great prices, and they feel more contemporary to wear than most on the market. It's a versatile, sentimental gift you can feel good about giving because you know they'll feel good — and perhaps more put-together — wearing it. Their favorite comfort foodsGoldbellyFood gifts, available at Goldbelly, prices varyGoldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration.One of the best facial cleansers for a clean and effective routineFOREOFOREO Luna 3 Facial Cleansing Device, available at FOREO and Amazon, $219FOREO's cult-favorite Luna 2 cleansing device gently and effectively cleans with thin, antimicrobial silicone touch points, and it removes 98.5% of dirt and makeup residue without irritating the skin. Plus, it's 100% waterproof and the battery life lasts for a few months per charge. Find a full review from a female reporter and a male reporter here.Coffee table books that add a touch of personalityAmazon"In Vogue: An Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine" by Alberto Oliva dna Norberto Angeletti, Available at Amazon and Walmart, $50.99"Color Scheme: An Irreverent History of Art and Pop Culture in Color Palettes" by Edith Young, available at Amazon and Walmart, $19.29For all the books college students have to read for class, it's nice to have some decor books lying around that are beautiful to look at and fun to flip through. Depending on their interests and aspirations, "In Vogue: An Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine" is perfect for a fashionista. For an artsy student, "Color Scheme: An Irreverent History of Art and Pop Culture in Color Palettes" is a great choice. One of the easiest ways to find your favorite fragranceScentbirdPerfume subscription (6-months), available at Scentbird, $89Finding a fragrance that speaks to you is a step towards finding your style. But buying a bunch of different scents can take a long time and cost a lot. Scentbird is a perfume and cologne discovery subscription that helps you find your favorite perfumes by sending monthly options based on your preferences.An aroma diffuser to set the moodGrove CollaborativeCollaborative Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser, available at Grove, $39.99An aroma diffuser delivers calming, in-home aromatherapy and is a great fragrance option for dorms where candles usually aren't allowed. This one from Grove Collaborative diffuses essential oils for up to five hours at a time, has LED light options, and elegantly blends into any room thanks to its minimalistic ceramic design.If you're looking for more diffusing options, check out our guide to the best essential oil diffusers we tested. An inexpensive way to get the iced coffee they love at homeAmazonTakeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $30.49If the student you're thinking of drinks coffee — and there's a very good chance they do — having access to one of the best cold brew contraptions will be a gift that keeps on giving. A cold brew machine means you can go 4-5 days in a row without brewing another pot. It's also easy to clean. Find a full review here.A book that helps them build good habits and break bad onesAmazon"Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones" by James Clear, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $11.98Many college students are trying to map out what they want out of life and how to build the habits that get them where they want to go. In the popular book "Atomic Habits," James Clear, an expert on habit formation, teaches practical strategies for building lasting habits and ditching detrimental ones. A bottle or two of famous toilet spraysPourriPoo-Pourri Toilet Sprays, available at Pourri and Amazon, from $7.99Whether they're in a community bathroom or a private one, odds are they'll be sharing it with a roommate. These Poo-Pourri toilet sprays use essential oils and plant-based ingredients to eliminate bathroom odor before it begins. Just pick their fave scent, spray, and go — no stink necessary.A media streamer that transforms a normal TV into a smart oneAmazonRoku Ultra 4K/HDR/HD Streaming Player, available at Amazon, Roku, and Walmart, from $89.99Most college students aren't forking over a monthly payment to cable. This streaming player is, overall, the best one you can buy, and it transforms an otherwise ordinary TV into one that can stream shows and movies from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Prime Video, and others all in one spot.  Trendy and convenient Apple AirPodsAppleApple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) with Charging Case, available at Target, Amazon, and Apple, from $239If you're after the title of their favorite relative of the year, here's a good place to start. AirPods are both easy to use and functional as well as trendy. A comfy Patagonia pullover they'll rely onPatagoniaMen's and Women's Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover, available at Patagonia, $129Men's and Women's Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece, available at REI, $129It's a good bet that many of their peers will also have this Snap-T pullover from Patagonia. This and the Better Sweater are long-held favorites, and both are comfortable classics that they'll no doubt come to rely upon. A Patagonia sweater is also a particularly good gift for students who are invested in sustainability. The company has been turning plastic bottles into polyester for its clothing since 1993, and continues to do so today.A portable projector that's the size of a soda canAmazonAnker Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector, available at Amazon and Walmart, $299.99Anker's Nebula Capsule is a powerful and versatile mini projector, and its portability makes it a great option for college students who want a cozy movie-viewing experience in the comfort of their own room. It's 1 pound and the size of a soda can, but it has surprisingly crisp image quality and 360-degree sound. Find a full review here.The world's comfiest shoesAllbirds/InstagramMen's and Women's Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $110Startup Allbirds makes wildly popular shoes out of soft, sustainable materials. Their Runners, made of super-soft merino wool, have been nicknamed "the world's most comfortable shoes." You can find a full review here. A great game for a night in with friendsAmazonCards Against Humanity, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, $29Grab a fun card game they'll inevitably end up pulling out to play with friends on the weekend nights and snow days.A Brooklinen gift card for really nice sheetsBrooklinenGift Card, available at Brooklinen, from $50Few things sound as nice as comfortable, beautiful sheets that you don't need to buy for yourself. Brooklinen is one of our favorite startups to shop at, and we ranked their sateen cotton sheets the best luxury sheets you can buy.An Echo Dot with a built-in clockAmazonEcho Dot (4th Gen) with Clock, available at Best Buy, $59.99The newest Echo Dot is more convenient than ever. The all-new design features a larger speaker for better audio, a digital clock to display the time and timer countdowns, and all of Alexa's other features. A custom poster of their favorite placeGrafomapA customized poster, available at Grafomap, from $19Commemorate their college town, hometown, or favorite place in the world with this customizable graphic map so they can keep it with them wherever life takes them.A savvy suitcase for traveling on holiday breaksAway/FacebookThe Carry-On, available at Away, from $275Away's popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360-degree spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here.We also recommend Calpak for other luggage options. A book about capitalizing on the huge choices to make in your 20sAmazon"The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now" by Meg Jay, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $12.19The decisions you make in your 20s can greatly impact the rest of your life. The best defense is a good offense and your grad should know now, before any life-altering events crop up, how to get the most out of their "defining decade."An Amazon Prime membershipTommaso Boddi / Getty ImagesGift an Amazon Prime membership, $139An Amazon Prime membership is one of those things that immediately makes life easier. If you decide to gift one, the recipient will enjoy free two-day shipping; access to the Prime Now app, which provides free two-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items; Prime Video, Amazon's streaming video service; Prime Music; the Kindle Lending Library; Prime Reading; Prime Audible Channels; unlimited photo storage, and more.If you want to see how Amazon Prime actually gives you a lot more than free shipping, you can read about the benefits of the service here.A candle to remind college students of their favorite place or hometownAmazonHomesick Location Scented Candle, available at Amazon, Homesick, and Uncommon Goods, from $34If they're away from family or friends, a reminder of home is a wonderful thing to have around. Make sure to check the rules of their dorm or living situation before buying them a candle.Framed memoriesFramebridgeGift Card or Frame a Memory, available at Framebridge, from $45Help them honor some of their best memories — whether it's from friends now studying across the country, family, or best-loved locales. Framebridge is relatively affordable, but decor is one of the luxuries plenty of college students shirk to save elsewhere, so give them permission and funds to make their dorm a home.A monogrammed leather shave bagLeatherologyLeatherology Small Shave Bag, available at Leatherology and Amazon, from $95The dreaded truth of college is that you'll most likely need to schlep your shower belongings to a communal area if you live in the dorms. No one wants to rely on a plastic shower caddy to do that. Grab them a leather shave bag that they'll use for years to come — they probably wouldn't justify the expense on their own, and they'll be grateful to have it. If you're looking for a chic aesthetic, Dagne Dover also makes a great neoprene toiletry bag named the Hunter (from $45) that's built to accommodate makeup. If they have a lot of toiletries, you'll probably want to get the large size for $65.The most comfortable lounge pants we've ever tried for lazy weekend morningsMeUndiesMen's and Women's Lounge Pant, available at MeUndies, $68MeUndies is a popular LA startup that makes some of the most comfortable underwear we've ever tried. Their lounge pants, however, are the real hidden gem — perfect for lounging around on weekend mornings, and they're sleek enough to avoid feeling too unkempt.The best pillow you can buyCoop Home GoodsPremium Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow, available at Coop Home Goods and Amazon, $72Make sure they're optimizing their sleep with the best pillow you can buy. Thanks to the shredded memory foam, they'll get the support and comfortable "sinking in" sensation of a traditional memory foam pillow, but none of the excessive heat or firmness that can be a problem with solid foam. Read more in our buying guide here.A wonderful addition to any skincare routineSephoraKiehl's Ferulic Brew Antioxidant Facial Treatment with Lactic Acid, available at Kiehl's and Sephora, $54This new facial essence from Kiehl's is a great addition to any skincare routine. It's especially good for those who want to even out their skin tone, smooth skin texture, and add some extra moisture. It's made with rich ingredients and is simple to use: you just pat a few drops onto your face, rub it in, and it'll do its magic.An extra-long, reinforced phone chargerAmazonNative Union 10-Foot Extra-Long Charging Cable with Leather Strap, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Native Union, from $24If they're going to be tethered to devices, you may as well give them a long leash. This long charging cable means no matter where one is, they'll have power — and they won't have to sit at the foot of their bed to reach it. A gym bag that can transition to a professional settingNordstromHerschel Supply Co. Novel Duffel Bag, available at Amazon, Nordstrom, and Herschel, from $76.64Just like bringing a beat-up JanSport everywhere, lugging an old nylon gym bag isn't ideal for anyone looking for versatile use. Herschel Supply Co. makes reliable, long-lasting bags, and this one has a separate compartment for gym or dress shoes. A microwave-safe ramen cooker for stressful or time-crunched nightsAmazonRapid Ramen Cooker, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $6.98There will be plenty of late nights filled with cheap and tasty ramen. If they're going to eat it anyway, at least let them make it quickly and perfectly every time.A super soft throw blanket they'll cocoon themselves in time and time againAmazonBEDSURE Sherpa Fleece Blanket, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $23.39Grab their favorite candy, this sherpa-lined fleece blanket with over 4,400 five-star reviews on Amazon, and a Hulu gift card to make their nights in actually fun.Gift cards — perhaps the best gift you can give a cash-strapped college studentFlickr Creative Commons/Lani EldertsWhat a stressed, broke college student needs most is money and probably a hug. If you're looking for a way to gift maximum convenience, gift cards are a surprisingly thoughtful way to do that — either for their favorite restaurant, transportation, school books, or music to keep them occupied during long study hours. Check out more gift card gifts here. Everything: Visa Gift Card / Amazon Gift Card Coffee: Starbucks Gift CardSchool books: Amazon Gift Card Entertainment: Netflix Gift Card / Hulu Gift Card / Sling Gift Card / StubHub Gift CardTransportation: Uber Gift CardFurniture: Amazon Gift Card / Wayfair Gift CardMusic: Spotify Gift CardGroceries and food: Whole Foods Gift Card / Chipotle Gift CardClothes: Nordstrom Gift Card / Everlane Gift CardTech: Best Buy Gift CardTravel: Delta Gift Card / Airbnb Gift CardRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 21st, 2022