A New NASA Map Shows Spring Is Coming Earlier Each Year

iStock
iStock

Climate change is shifting Earth’s seasons. Winters are getting shorter, and the warmth of spring has started to arrive earlier and earlier, messing with the timing of processes like animal migrations and the budding of new plant growth. In a series of graphics spotted by Flowing Data, the NASA Earth Observatory shows how much earlier new leaves are arriving in some parts of the U.S., and how much earlier they reach full bloom.

The data comes from a 2016 study of U.S. national parks, so the maps only cover seasonal changes within the park system. But since there are so many parks spread across the U.S., it’s a pretty good snapshot of how climate change is affecting the timing of spring across the country. The map in green shows the difference in “first leaf” arrival, or when the first leaves emerge from tree buds, and the map in purple shows the arrival of the first blooms.

A map of the U.S. with a colored grid showing where leaves are coming earlier
Joshua Stevens, NASA Earth Observatory

Around 75 percent of the 276 parks analyzed in the study have been experiencing earlier springs, and half had recently seen the earliest springs recorded in 112 years. In Olympic National Park in Washington, the first leaves are now appearing 23 days earlier than they did a century ago, while the Grand Canyon is seeing leaves appear about 11 days earlier. National parks in the Sierras and in Utah are seeing leaves appear five to 10 days earlier, as are areas along the Appalachian Trail. Some parks, however, particularly in the South, are actually seeing a later arrival of spring leaves, shown in dark gray in the graphic.

A map of the U.S. with a colored grid showing where blooms are coming earlier
Joshua Stevens, NASA Earth Observatory

The places that are witnessing earlier first blooms aren't always the ones with extra-early first leaves. The Appalachian Trail is blooming earlier, even though the first leaves aren't arriving any earlier. But in other places, like Olympic National Park, both the first leaves and the first blooms are arriving far earlier than they used to.

“Changes in leaf and flowering dates have broad ramifications for nature,” National Park Service ecologist John Gross explained in the Earth Observatory’s blog. “Pollinators, migratory birds, hibernating species, elk, and caribou all rely on food sources that need to be available at the right time.” When temperatures get out of sync with usual seasonal changes, those species suffer.

[h/t Flowing Data]

Turn Your LEGO Bricks Into a Drone With the Flybrix Drone Kit

Flyxbrix/FatBrain
Flyxbrix/FatBrain

Now more than ever, it’s important to have a good hobby. Of course, a lot of people—maybe even you—have been obsessed with learning TikTok dances and baking sourdough bread for the last few months, but those hobbies can wear out their welcome pretty fast. So if you or someone you love is looking for something that’s a little more intellectually stimulating, you need to check out the Flybrix LEGO drone kit from Fat Brain Toys.

What is a Flybrix LEGO Drone Kit?

The Flybrix drone kit lets you build your own drones out of LEGO bricks and fly them around your house using your smartphone as a remote control (via Bluetooth). The kit itself comes with absolutely everything you need to start flying almost immediately, including a bag of 56-plus LEGO bricks, a LEGO figure pilot, eight quick-connect motors, eight propellers, a propeller wrench, a pre-programmed Flybrix flight board PCB, a USB data cord, a LiPo battery, and a USB LiPo battery charger. All you’ll have to do is download the Flybrix Configuration Software, the Bluetooth Flight Control App, and access online instructions and tutorials.

Experiment with your own designs.

The Flybrix LEGO drone kit is specifically designed to promote exploration and experimentation. All the components are tough and can totally withstand a few crash landings, so you can build and rebuild your own drones until you come up with the perfect design. Then you can do it all again. Try different motor arrangements, add your own LEGO bricks, experiment with different shapes—this kit is a wannabe engineer’s dream.

For the more advanced STEM learners out there, Flybrix lets you experiment with coding and block-based coding. It uses an arduino-based hackable circuit board, and the Flybrix app has advanced features that let you try your hand at software design.

Who is the Flybrix LEGO Drone Kit for?

Flybrix is a really fun way to introduce a number of core STEM concepts, which makes it ideal for kids—and technically, that’s who it was designed for. But because engineering and coding can get a little complicated, the recommended age for independent experimentation is 13 and up. However, kids younger than 13 can certainly work on Flybrix drones with the help of their parents. In fact, it actually makes a fantastic family hobby.

Ready to start building your own LEGO drones? Click here to order your Flybrix kit today for $198.

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The Most Popular TV Show to Binge-Watch During Quarantine in Each State

Is this the face of a man watching The Vampire Diaries? If he's in Montana, the answer is probably yes.
Is this the face of a man watching The Vampire Diaries? If he's in Montana, the answer is probably yes.
gpointstudio/iStock via Getty Images

With few places to go and even fewer people to see, many of us are spending our time in quarantine baking bread, taking virtual tours, and sitting in front of the television for hours. To find out what everyone’s choosing to binge-watch, CableTV.com surveyed almost 7000 viewers across the nation, analyzed the search volume for their responses with Google Trends, and used all of that data to create a map that reveals each state’s most-watched show.

While Netflix’s bizarre true crime docuseries Tiger King and reality dating competition Too Hot to Handle did appear in some surveys, neither they—nor any other new short-lived series—landed in first place for any state. Instead, most people appear to be indulging in nostalgic sitcoms or catching up on critically acclaimed dramas from the recent past (or present).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Friends is the clear winner, coming in first in 13 states in just about every corner of the country, including Texas, California, Florida, and New York. Not only can 10 seasons with Rachel, Joey, and the rest of the gang keep you busy for 121 hours, but the upcoming Friends reunion makes this an even better time for a full rewatch. It’s not the only sitcom on the map: Gilmore Girls, The Office, and Rick and Morty all earned a handful of states each.

map of most watched TV shows in quarantine
Apparently, all it took to make Delawareans finally decide to watch Game of Thrones was a months-long quarantine.
CableTV.com

Other people seem to be using quarantine as an opportunity to commit to TV shows that their friends have probably been begging them to watch for ages. For residents of Washington, D.C. and New Mexico, it’s Breaking Bad, while people in Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, and West Virginia are finally pressing play on The Walking Dead. Based on this study, it looks like most states were already all caught up on Game of Thrones before quarantine—and some people probably rewatched the series just last year to prepare for the final season—but it did rank first in Delaware.

The map isn’t without a few surprises. Missourians, for example, are split between bingeing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Ozark; and folks in Washington and Oregon are apparently all in on Star Trek.

You can see the full list and find out more about the study here.