As Ebola Lingers, 1.4 M Students’ Hopes On Hold

first_imgThe outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the country early this year has  forced Liberian education to fall by the wayside.Public and private schools were shut down in July by the government through the recommendation from the Ministry of Education (MOE), and no additional plans have  since then been provided on how Liberian children will  continue their education.Nearly five months later, the doors of the 4,413 schools remain closed with no indication of when they will reopen for the 1.4 million school-aged children currently without access to education.According to a Mashable’s Assistant Real-Time News Editor, Megan Specia, education in Liberia has, understandably, taken a backseat to combating the epidemic as more than 2,200 people have died from the virus. While communities mobilize to fight Ebola, little has been done to encourage continued education among school-aged children. Small community-driven initiatives have started, but no official government-led program currently exists.Authorities at the MOE in Monrovia have begun producing content for school aged children, and UNICEF is working alongside them to develop a plan moving forward.UNICEF’s Rukshan Ratnam told Mashable that the organization is working on long-term options for students as schools show no signs of reopening.”Discussions are beginning this week on the protocols and certifications needed for schools to reopen — as this will ensure that when schools do reopen, they remain safe environments for children,” Ratnam said.UNICEF is working with Liberia’s Ministry of Education to develop educational radio programs for children, so that  they may continue studies in their own homes, according to Ratnam. These are planned to begin airing within the next month.Stable education in Liberia is a relatively new thing since the country’s civil war ended in 2003. The More Than Me Academy, which provides education to vulnerable girls from Monrovia’s West Point slum, was among the schools directed to close in July.”While this break seems dramatic to us, it may not be so strange to Liberians. If this goes on for a year, there may not be that much effort by communities to provide education to children, but if it goes on for longer, they might,” said Emily Bell, marketing manager for More Than Me. The school was closed in July.”UNICEF is putting out home education resources, but we haven’t seen communities using them yet,” Bell said.Since schools are closed, Bell noted, they’ve been repurposed to deal with Ebola response. Many are running childcare centers for abandoned children. More Than Me, for example, has been working to quarantine children to monitor them for Ebola before they are placed in foster homes.School teachers, who are held in high esteem in Liberian communities, and staff have pivoted from their traditional roles and now work to combat the spread of Ebola in some parts of the country.Meanwhile, UNICEF is currently training 300 teachers, who will then train 11,000 teachers, to engage in efforts to raise awareness on Ebola prevention at the community level.Students unable to attend school also face increased risks.”Our school acted as a safe place for students to come where they received food, medicine and counseling on top of the normal school day,” said Bell. “Our students are at higher risk for sexual abuse and transactional sex, and are getting sick more often without a school nurse.”While they are unable to provide this security in their school facility, More Than Me is now working with those in their community of West Point to make sure resources are available to their students.”We have a social work team that goes into West Point twice a week to check on each student,” said Bell. “We hand out preventative medicine such as vitamins and Advil, as well as health materials on Ebola, common illnesses and sexual/reproductive health to ensure our girls’ safety as much as possible during this time.”While the school shows no signs of opening, UNICEF has also stressed the need for proper measures to be taken before reopening Liberia’s schools.”Children have certainly been affected by this,” said Ratnam. “However, discussions are beginning very soon on the protocols and certifications needed for schools to reopen — as this will ensure that when schools do reopen, they remain safe environments for children.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

GOP unveils ethics changes

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – Eager to shake off the shadow of corruption cast by recent lobbying and bribery scandals, Republicans unveiled sweeping ethics changes Tuesday that would limit politicians’ perks and could fundamentally change the tactics special-interest groups use on Capitol Hill. The proposal, spearheaded by Rep. David Dreier, R-Glendora, would ban lawmakers from accepting all corporate-sponsored trips; prohibit all but inconsequential gifts like baseball caps and T-shirts; and force lawmakers convicted of felonies to forfeit their congressional pensions. Dreier said GOP leaders also plan to make former House members wait two years before registering as lobbyists, instead of the current one year; and plan to pass separate legislation the day Congress returns to work Feb. 1 blocking former lawmakers who now work as lobbyists from the House floor and the congressional gymnasium. “I believe that this is a very, very, very exciting opportunity for us,” Dreier said. House Speaker Dennis Hastert noted that ethics concerns raised by the guilty pleas of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Duke Cunningham, R-Calif., involved violations of existing rules. But, he said, “I believe that to regain the trust of the American people that this institution must go further than prosecuting the bad actors.” He and Dreier said they hope to enact a comprehensive package by early March. Hastert said House Republicans also will consider limiting or abolishing “earmarks,” the pork-barrel spending often quietly slipped into laws at the last minute, and vowed to take on tax-exempt political interest groups called 527s that can accept unlimited contributions. “The real key to this issue is, of course, enhanced disclosure, transparency and accountability,” Dreier said. “We are going to place much more of the onus on the lobbying community.” Democrats, who will present their own ethics reform package today, accused Republicans of sidestepping their own responsibility by shifting the blame onto lobbyists. “The very Republican members of Congress who put America up for sale to the highest bidder have neither the ability, nor the credibility, to lead us in a new direction,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., the leading Democrat on the House Rules Committee, which Dreier chairs. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, said many of the Republican reforms make sense, but noted that Hastert would have to approve every taxpayer-funded trip under the proposed reforms. He said Democrats need some assurance that the power will not be wielded with partisanship and suggested members be allow to use a small portion of their budget for travel. “We have to make sure we don’t invest more power in Hastert and call that ethics,” Sherman said. He and other Democrats and political analysts also criticized Republicans for ignoring campaign finance reform. “I think that they’re skirting the main part of the issue, which is the involvement of lobbyists in financing campaigns,” Sherman said. Added Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles, “There’s nothing about campaign finance, and most of the money that’s involved is campaign money, not trips.” He called the proposal to ban lobbyists who once served in the House from the floor and the gym as a “feel-good thing” and said the extension of the waiting period for registering will make the current seamless transition from politicians to influence-peddler more cumbersome, but not impossible. Indeed, asked if he will ban lobbyist spouses of former lawmakers from the House floor or gym, Dreier said he had not thought about that. In the Senate, John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said they will propose reforms that include bans on private travel and eliminating earmarks. “We’ve reached a tipping point now where the American people are saying `enough,”‘ McCain said. Lobbyists are already banned from paying for trips, but approved interest groups and think tanks can finance travel for speeches, meetings and fact-finding trips. Lawmakers also can now accept only gifts valued at under $50, with a ceiling of $100 from any one individual per year. Under the new rules, gifts worth more than $20 would be off-limits. Said Stern, “These are all steps in the right direction. It’s certainly much better than it was a year ago. Unfortunately, it shows that scandal drives reform.” lisa.friedman@langnews.com (202) 662-8731last_img

Sam Allardyce CONFIRMS Crystal Palace exit and reveals future plans

first_img Sam Allardyce has officially left Crystal Palace Sam Allardyce has confirmed he has stepped down as Crystal Palace manager, saying he has’ no ambitions to take another job’.Reports broke on Tuesday afternoon claiming the 62-year-old had decided to leave Selhurst Park, and he later released a statement to confirm the rumours.Allardyce revealed he has not left due to a falling out with Eagles chairman Steve Parish, and simply wishes to take a break from the game so he can ‘savour life while I’m still relatively young’.The former England manager also revealed he has no plans to look for another job.The statement released by Allardyce read: ‘In some ways, this has been a very difficult decision to make but in others it has been a simple one.‘I will always be grateful to Crystal Palace and Steve Parish for giving me the opportunity to go out with my head held high having helped keep the Club in the Premier League.‘More than, they gave me a chance of rebuilding my reputation after what happened with England. I felt I needed another shot at being a Premier League manager and in helping to achieve something. As I said last weekend, Palace gave me the chance of rehabilitation.‘That’s why it’s hard walking away now. I think the Club are heading in the right direction with a hugely supportive board of directors, a great squad of players and some of the most passionate fans I’ve ever met. It’s been a privilege to have worked here for the past five months.‘But there comes a time when you have to take stock of what direction you want your life to take – and that’s been the simple part for me.‘I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager.‘This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.‘Steve Parish has been superb during our conversations today. I know it came as a shock to him that I would walk away but our discussions have been incredibly civilised with no recriminations and no fall-out.‘This is not about transfer targets, finances or anything along those lines. This is me taking the decision I believe is right for my family and myself.‘I would like to thank everybody for their messages of support since the news broke. I’ve no doubt I will miss management but I certainly have no regrets at this decision.’Allardyce leaves Palace after guiding them to Premier League survival, having been appointed just prior to Christmas 2016. He won nine of his 24 games in charge, and confirmed the Eagles’ top flight place on the penultimate day of the season with a 4-0 win over Hull. 1last_img read more

Can you name Premier League’s costliest Brazilian? Top 20 revealed and ranked

first_img 21 21 21 21 21 =20. Sandro – Tottenham Hotspur (2010) – £8million 21 3. Robinho – Manchester City (2008) – £32.5million 18. Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool (2012) – £11.05million 17. Gabriel Paulista – Arsenal (2014) – £11.3million 21 11. Jô – Manchester City (2008) – £19million 16. Fernando – Manchester City (2014) – £12million 21 21 21 =12. Paulinho – Tottenham Hotspur (2013) – £17million 21 21 Chelsea are rumoured to be on the verge of signing Juventus fullback Alex Sandro for a club-record £61million.The Brazilian defender caught the eye for the Old Lady as they secured the Serie A title and progressed to the Champions League final against Real Madrid.Antonio Conte is set to raid his former club as he attempts to launch a credible challenge on both domestic and European fronts.Sandro will be joining fellow Brazilians David Luiz, Willian and Kenedy at Stamford Bridge, at a club that has always valued South American talent.But which other Brazilians have commanded the biggest transfer fees after joining a Premier League club?Here, talkSPORT takes a look at the 20 most expensive Brazilians to have been signed by English teams. Click the right arrow, above, to view the slideshow…. 21 21 =12. Ramires – Chelsea (2010) – £17million 7. Gabriel Jesus – Manchester City (2016) – £27million 21 14. Filipe Luís – Chelsea (2014) – £15.8million 9. David Luiz – Chelsea (2011) – £21.25million 1. Ederson Moraes – Manchester City (2017) – £35million 8. Anderson – Manchester United (2007) – £26.78million 2. Fernandinho – Manchester City (2013) – £34million 15. Afonso Alves – Middlesbrough (2007) – £12.5million 21 21 21 21 21 4. Willian – Chelsea (2013) – £30million 6. Roberto Firmino – Liverpool (2015) – £29million 21 10. Oscar – Chelsea (2012) – £19.35million =20. Elano – Manchester City (2007) – £8million 5. David Luiz – Chelsea (2016) – £29.75million 19. Alex – Chelsea (2007) – £8.5million last_img read more

VOICE OF SPORT CHARLIE COLLINS STEPS INTO DIGITAL AGE WITH SPORTS PODCAST

first_imgCharlie Collins: Back talking sportVOICE of Sport Charlie Collins has launched his first podcast.The former Highland Radio man, who quit the station earlier this month, had made it clear he was not retiring….just resigning.His job at the station has been taken by Shaun Doherty. Last night Collins launche the inaugural episode of “Charlie Collins Talking Sport”, and a new weekly podcast hosted by Charlie Collins and featuring the  voices in sport in the North West.For his first show Charlie is joined by Rory Kennedy, Brendan Kilcoyne and Chris McNulty to discuss a range of topics, focussing on this weekend’s key local sports fixtures – The Donegal International Rally, happening all weekend, and the Donegal v Down Ulster Championship Semi-Final taking place on Sunday.You can listen to it here:http://charliecollinstalkingsport.com/2013/06/19/charlie-collins-talking-sport-episode-1/    VOICE OF SPORT CHARLIE COLLINS STEPS INTO DIGITAL AGE WITH SPORTS PODCAST was last modified: June 20th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:VOICE OF SPORT CHARLIE COLLINS STEPS INTO DIGITAL AGE WITH SPORTS PODCASTlast_img read more

POOR FARMERS AUCTION IN ARDARA PASSES €200,000 WITH ANOTHER GREAT NIGHT!

first_imgA fine ram is auctioned at last year’s event.The Poor Farmers Auction in Ardara has managed to raise another €17,870 – bringing the total money generated in the past nine years to more than €200,000.Everything from sheep to signed jerseys were auctioned at Teague’s Bar in the town this week at what was another hugely-successful and fun event.The auction has now become one of the highlights of the year in Ardara. This year’s theme was ‘Cowboys and Indians’ and many who turned up on the night wore fancy dress, adding to the craic on the night.The €17,870 raised this week was divided between the Killybegs Hospice Suite, Donegal Alzheimer’s branch and cancer Care West.Well done to al who took part on the night.   POOR FARMERS AUCTION IN ARDARA PASSES €200,000 WITH ANOTHER GREAT NIGHT! was last modified: December 31st, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ArdaradonegalPoor Farmer’s AuctionTeague’s Barlast_img read more

Mitochondrial Clock Untrustworthy

first_imgA major assumption of the “molecular clock” dating method has been called into question.  If so, Science Now describes the impact on current theories:“Mitochondrial Eve,” the hypothetical mother of all modern humans who lived about 150,000 years ago, might be lying about her age.  A key assumption in determining how long ago she lived—that molecules of mitochondrial DNA do not swap segments with one another—is false, researchers now say.  Their findings call into question a multitude of findings in evolution, early human migration, and even the relations between languages.The mitochondria in our cells, organelles that provide the ATP power supply, contain small amounts of DNA.  You may have heard that we inherit this mitochondrial DNA only from our mothers.  Now, scientists have found evidence that male mitochondrial DNA can be inherited, and might be mixed in with the rest of the mitochondrial DNA.  Since “the implications are that this is going on all the time in our cells,” that would render it untrustworthy as a genealogical tracer and dating method.    An announcement about evidence for recombination in human mitochondrial DNA was published in the May 14 issue of Science.1Kraytsberg et al., “Recombination of Human Mitochondrial DNA,” Science, Vol 304, Issue 5673, 981, 14 May 2004, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1096342].If confirmed, this calls into question many studies on presumed evolutionary history.  Mitochondrial DNA’s history “is clearly not as clean as people had thought.  Or people had wished,” lamented one molecular biologist.  The wishers are the dreamers in the Darwin Party, who are waking up from one of their favorite dreams to find out it was just … a dream.    Harrub and Thompson have a good section on “the demise of mitochondrial Eve” and the problems with the molecular clock hypothesis in their new book, The Truth About Human Origins (Apologetics Press, 2004, ch. 3).  Unfortunately, some creationists had joined the Mitochondrial Eve bandwagon, thinking it supported the Biblical story of a single human pair.  It had problems years ago (see 10/31/2000 headline).  This should be a lesson on the folly of trusting any tale about the unobservable past coming from the Darwin Sand & Gravel Co.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Yield winner constantly looking for improvement

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It was an interesting year for Ohio grain farmers with weather of all kinds through the growing season. A final number on the corn yield monitor of anywhere near 200 would be considered successful for most producers.Byron Gearhart of Ross County tallied a 258.85 bushel per acre entry in the irrigated division of this year’s National Corn Grower’s Association (NCGA) yield contest with the DKC67-57RIB Dekalb variety — good enough to top the state in the category. It’s not the first time Gearhart has been recognized for high yields, having topped the podium for many years prior.“It’s all about detail, detail, and a bit of sheer dumb luck,” Gearhart remarked about his success.Though this time around, he said it was disappointing that number wasn’t higher.“I don’t know how to put it, but Mother Nature still rules the roost. We would like to have seen 300. We had the input costs, we had everything there in place — but we just ended up with short ears,” he said. “And everybody in the area in the same problem and I think it was somewhat statewide — we just had very short ears. So we’re disappointed overall. We’re happy we did well, but we fell short of expectations.”So short, in fact, that Gearhart didn’t plan on submitting an entry for this year’s contest. His secretary decided to enter anyway.To look at his success and potential for bigger numbers down the road, Gearhart has taken a research-like approach to his farming, taking careful note of the many factors that play into a high yield at year’s end. He openly walks us through aspects of his operation that play into the final bushels and his ongoing success.Gearhart’s operation boasts approximately 750 acres worth of irrigation. A must have, he said, for his soil types.“Down here we farm a gravel bar. Literally a foot of soil, maybe two feet, if you’re lucky you’ve got 30 inches. But I don’t have anything over 30 inches on gravel and I’ve got 150 feet of gravel. On my parents’ farm, which isn’t even five miles away, we have systematic tiling and heavy clay. We’re on the very bottom end of the Illinois glacier and so we’ve got a lot of gravel base to work with,” Gearhart said. “We are somewhat unique in that scenario compared to the rest of the state of Ohio. But when you want to come down here to learn irrigation, it’s a different ballgame than learning irrigation in northern Ohio for vegetable crops and sweet corn. It’s a totally different ballgame. There’s some things going on down here that only exist in river bottom or creek bottom ground.Gearhart has had numerous state victories in yield contests.“I remember the first year, we grew 100 bushel corn on this ground. Without irrigation, my normal corn yield is 130 to 135 and it’s 230 plus with irrigation,” Gearhart said. “Two-hundred-thirty to 250 bushels is the natural top for what we’re working with.”Irrigation is not common here in the Buckeye state and those who use it need to manage it carefully to maximize the benefits.“Like tile, it takes money to systematically irrigate a farm, but you have to do something,” he said. “We applied about 10 inches of water this year, which I don’t think was enough.”Another irrigator that has done well in the contest is NCGA national yield winner Randy Dowdy, who recorded over 500-bushel per acre field this past year. Dowdy is a big proponent of tissue sampling. Gearhart follows Dowdy closely and buys into the importance of tissue sampling describing it as far different than that of soil sampling.“We started it last year and we found out real quick that we knew nothing,” Gearhart said. “Because what the soil tests say, and what you would visually and mentally think, we found out the plant was not absorbing the nutrients the way we thought they would be. We had to make some serious adjustments because we didn’t actually believe the results from the first two times we did it.”Gearhart applies 28% through the pivot and supplements micronutrients as needed, including sulfur and boron. From there on, tissue sampling tells the additional needs of the crop. Gearhart said an interesting find of his was that testing resulted in his discovery of magnesium being too high, resulting in a tie-up of calcium in the plant.“We have some issues a typical soil test doesn’t really show you,” he said. “We had some ratios of nutrients that were out of whack and were tying things up. Now we come back to the gravel and Randy (Dowdy) is the only one I know of that has worse numbers than I do. I’ve got CECs in the single digits and organic matter in the half to 1% category. He’s actually got numbers worse than I’ve got. I’ve got a long ways to go if I ever want to compete with him, which is not my goal. But I’d just like to figure out how to improve what we’ve got. We’ve got limiting factors that we just don’t know what they are yet. We’re just getting started, but tissue sampling is a must if you want to try to push the envelope.”Gearhart said with those fixes, the need to get the nutrients to the root finds them using conventional tillage strategies.“That’s one of my little issues with no-till. Around here, if you no-till, you spread your fertilizer on top of the ground. If you know very much about phosphate, it doesn’t move very fast. The roots of my corn are not at ground level — not the first two inches. They’re eight inches to a foot down. So how do I get that fertilizer down quickly? Tillage is about the only way I can do it,” he said. “The other option is to put on liquid nutrients through the pivots. That’s how we can supplement for the bigger yields. We’ve got a nice base and then we add through the pivots so we’ve got maximum utilization that way.”Gearhart also said fungicide is a must with irrigation. The inputs and equipment required to take yields to the next level can be costly.“Being a pioneer is expensive,” Gearhart said. “Buying new technologies that are not proven is expensive. Trying to find the hidden factors that are stopping progressing is expensive. We didn’t put a man on the moon for just a hundred bucks.”Gearhart has found success over multiple years with multiple brands of seed. How much does seed choice play into control of the final yield? Gearhart said that the right genetics have serious advantages, but they need to be combined with proper in-field nutrient management by the producer.“We haven’t broken the long-term trend average in the last 70 years since the hybridization of corn,” he said. “Can we enhance what we’ve not been able to get in the past years?”Learning from this practical research, where does he hope to be ten years from now?“Retired in Tahiti would be nice but that’s not going to happen — I just can’t quit,” he said. “I’d like to see the farm averaging 300 bushel an acre under the pivots. I think we can do it. I don’t know if we can do it in five, but I’ve come really close. This was not a very good year with Mother Nature still ruling the roost and we have to live with it. But I think we can do it cost effectively. I need to figure out where some things are yet and I’ve got a whole group of people behind me trying to do some research, trying to figure out where we are. Some of the questions we’re asking, no one has any answers on so we’re having to figure it out on our own.”When it comes down to it, Gearhart is using all the tools available to figure out what his plants need and how he can best give it to them. Though these tools are useful, there’s one thing he’ll take above therest, he said.“Of all the attributes of man, physical ability, training, experience, I will take dumb luck all the time,” he said.Though Ohio didn’t come in on the national results from this year’s contest, the state contest winners from the Buckeye state included Aaron Stuckey in the non-irrigated division at 254 bushels per acre. Doug Swaim routed the no-till/strip-till non-irrigated division with a 276-bushel entry. Matthew Funderburgh was the top Ohioan in the no-till/strip-till irrigated division at 256 bushels. Gearhart ranked first in the irrigated contest at 258 bushels.last_img read more

Shekhawat in poll panel surprises many

first_imgThe appointment of Union Minister of State Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as the convenor of the BJP’’ election management committee for the Rajasthan Assembly polls has sprung surprise in the political circles here. Mr. Shekhawat had earlier lost out the race for the BJP State president after Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s resistance.Saini to head panelBJP president Amit Shah announced the 16-member panel’s appointment in New Delhi on Thursday amid speculations that the party’s central leadership does not want to give a free hand to Ms. Raje in the selection of candidates, orgnisational matters and monitoring of electoral strategies. BJP State chief Madan Lal Saini will head the committee, which has Ms. Raje as one of its members.Differences between Ms. Raje and Mr. Shah had reportedly delayed the appointment of new BJP State president by three months after Ms. Raje’s confidant Ashok Parnami resigned following the party’s defeat in by-elections to one Assembly and two Lok Sabha constituencies earlier this year. ‘Social engineering’ Though the BJP has attempted to carry out “social engineering” by including the communities such as Rajputs, Jats and Meghwals in the committee, the party faces a tough task of getting the votes of these caste groups in the upcoming Assembly election. The occasional display of divisions within the party also remains a major issue to be tackled by the senior BJP leaders.According to the political observers, the appointment of Mr. Shekhawat, who is Lok Sabha MP from Jodhpur, may help resolve hostility against BJP among certain sections in the Marwar region. However, his uneasy relations with Ms. Raje may affect smooth functioning of the committee.last_img read more

U.S. Christmas lights seen from space

first_imgAmericans sure do love their Christmas lights. It’s a love that even aliens orbiting Earth could notice, NASA scientists suggest. Using data gathered in visible and near-infrared wavelengths by sensors on a NASA/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite, researchers compared the average intensity of nighttime lights across the southern United States in December of 2012 and 2013 with the average measured in non-December months from January 2012 through autumn of this year. In urban areas, holiday lights boosted the average intensity of ground-based light by about 20%. But in the suburban fringes of metropolitan areas, light intensity typically grew by between 30% and 50%, the researchers report. (In this image highlighting the southeastern United States, areas in green depict places where holiday light intensity shone forth at levels as much as 50% or more brighter than normal. In yellow areas, holiday lights weren’t brighter than normal.) Suburban areas probably displayed greater increases in light intensity due to larger yards and more single-family homes, the researchers explain. The growth in light intensity, like holiday excitement itself, begins the day after Thanksgiving and lasts until New Year’s Day and beyond. Similarly, some cities in the Middle East show a similar boost in holiday lighting during the month of Ramadan, which is marked by daytime fasting and nighttime festivities.last_img read more