Right now a man-made object the size of a football field is orbiting some 250 miles above Earth. It's so large it can be seen from the ground with the naked eye. For more than 17 years humans have occupied the International Space Station. The 53 crews that have rocketed aloft have come from 10 nations; in all, people from 17 countries have visited. ... The station's international crews work in close quarters and in a dangerous environment for peaceful purposes and for the advancement of human knowledge. As many visitors to space have reported, when they look earthward they see one beautiful "big blue marble" without borders hanging in space.
Larry Fitzgerald, SI.com: Merry Christmas, everyone. As we enjoy this special day and celebrate the holidays with friends and family, I'll be thinking about someone who has become very important to me: Arizona Senator John McCain. We've become friends since I've been playing for the Cardinals. I have so much admiration for him, and I wanted to share why that admiration has become so strong. The Christmas season is the perfect time to do that. ... The sacrifices John McCain has made for our country, and especially the men and women he served with in the military, are incredible. read more
When a group of baby elephants needed warmth during a cold front in Southeast Asia last week, they bundled up in donated crochet and knitted blankets. Save Elephant Foundation was in need of provisions after an unusual bout of cold weather rolled into the area, threatening the youngest of its herd. The cold front came in from China and brought dangerously low temperatures to the Winga Baw elephant sanctuary in Myanmar. Thankfully, Blankets For Baby Rhinos, a "wildlife conservation craft group," was prepared. Save Elephants Foundation thanked the organization for the "beautiful knitting blankets" in a Facebook post on Friday.
One mother stops a rival Walmart shopper from snatching a Tickle Me Elmo doll. Another holds a seasonal job long enough to get the Mighty Morphin Power Ranger her son must have. A father hoping for a few Cabbage Patch Kids ends up with dozens. When we published our article about 2017's hot toy, the Fingerling, we asked readers to tell us how far they, or their parents, had gone to snag a popular toy. Almost every story we heard was from a time before the internet opened up so many shopping options. Happily, none involved fights or unbearable crowds.
Kerry Howley, New York Magazine: When the envelope [from Reality Winner] first arrived at the Intercept, there was considerable doubt that the document within it was real. The reporters decided, per standard journalistic practice, to contact someone who could verify its authenticity. What is less standard -- what Thomas Drake calls "abhorrent" and Tim Shorrock calls "just shameful" and investigative journalist Barton Gellman called "egregious" -- is for a reporter to provide a copy of the document itself, which could help reveal precisely who had provided it. read more