The magnetic north pole – that point which guides our compasses and GPS systems – has never been static.
But now, the north has moved so fast that scientists have been forced to update their model of the planet’s magnetic field a year earlier than expected.
“Due to unplanned variations in the Arctic region, scientists have released a new model to more accurately represent the change of the magnetic field,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information said in a press release Monday.
The change is crucial in order to pinpoint the precise location of the pole, ensuring that navigational systems (including mobile phone map-based apps), government organizations, airliners, and others can continue to work with accuracy.
Since 1831, the northern magnetic pole has shifted from Canada’s Arctic regions toward Russia in a relatively smooth manner.
The World Magnetic Model, funded by the U.S. and U.K. militaries, is tasked with tracking the positions of the Earth’s three magnetic poles. Normally, the model only requires an update every five years.
However, in recent years the pole’s drift has quickened its pace, moving in the direction of Russia at unprecedented speed, throwing off GPS systems and placing pilots and maritime navigators at risk – or forcing them to rely on old-school compass-based navigation.
Cierran Beggan, a geophysicist at the British Geological Survey, told The Guardian:
“We know from old ships’ logs that in the past 400 years, the north magnetic pole has hung around northern Canada. Until the 1900s, it moved perhaps tens of kilometers, back and forth.
But in the past 50 years it started to move north, and in the past 30 years it started to accelerate away … It went from moving at about five to 10km [ six miles] a year to 50 or 60km a year today. It’s now moving rapidly towards Siberia.”
The drift is the result of processes deep in the center of the planet, where the liquid outer core comprised of iron and nickel spins and flows like water, serving as a conductor for Earth’s magnetic field.
The recent change in the flow of the fluid is believed to be similar to the formation of a jet stream in the atmosphere, leading to changes in the planet’s magnetic field.
“The north magnetic pole has been caught up in this jet and it’s pushing it rapidly across to Siberia,” Beggan added.
This has caused the World Magnetic Model to lose accuracy at an increasingly higher pace, according to scientists.
“The error is increasing all the time,” Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA, told Nature.
However, these changes are all part and parcel of the natural behavior of the Earth and have not been caused by human activity. Rock samples reveal that the Earth’s magnetic field has been in perpetual motion for millions of years.
Migratory animals such as birds, butterflies, and whales use the magnetic field for directions.
If anything, the latest shift in the earth’s magnetic north pole is a learning opportunity for us humans, who only discovered the pole in 1831.
The newest version of the model should remain accurate for the time being, but is on track for another update next year.
Jeff Bezos Thanks Amazon Workers And Customers For Paying For His Flight To Space
The billionaire space race chalked up one more ignoble milestone on July 20 when the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, boarded a reusable rocket his company Blue Origin built and funded, flew to the edge of space for a moment of weightlessness, and came back down to earth.
You can watch the flight and learn more about the journey here.
The Amazon founder has faced withering criticism for accumulating his massive fortune on the backs of an exploited workforce that is subject to harsh working conditions and low pay in warehouses or Fulfillment Centers where staffers must urinate in water bottles in order to meet their quotas.
In his press conference following the launch, Bezos thanked that same workforce for helping him to shoot himself into space in a move that many critics have described as a simple “joyride.”
“I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for this,” he told the crowd, which responded with laughter. “Seriously, for every Amazon customer out there and every employee thank you from the bottom of my heart very much. It’s very appreciated.”
Critics on Twitter responded with derision, noting that Bezos was able to enjoy the trip at the expense of his hard-working employees.
“Thing is, employers are supposed to pay their employees, not the other way around, but that’s basically how Amazon works,” one user tweeted.
While another tweeter asked: “Maybe they’re searching space for signs of a livable wage or a way to pay their fair share of taxes?”
On Tuesday, Bezos blasted off in the sub-orbital New Shepard rocket from Texas. The date for the launch was chosen to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Members of the crew, which included his brother mark and 82-year-old female astronaut Wally Funk, brought a number of historic items on the flight, including a piece of canvas from the conceptual plane originally flown by the Wright brothers, the goggles Amelia Earhart used to fly across the Atlantic, and a brass medal made from the first hot air balloon which flew in 1783.
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”