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Amazing Clouds You Have To See To Believe (Explained With Science)

Amazing Clouds You Have To See To Believe (Explained With Science)

Clouds are so amazing. Every day, the world is host to a million spectacles that would make even the most skilled artists throw away their brushes. It’s almost as though the planet lets its breath go on a cold day. These moisture formations hang in the air, sometimes daintily and sometimes threateningly.

While everyone has seen common types like stratus and cirrus, there exist cloud formations that I bet you’ve never even dreamed of!

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Polar Stratospheric Clouds

Courtesy of Alan Light

    Also known as Nacreous clouds, from the French “nacre” (meaning Mother of Pearl), these clouds boast not just a fantastic shape and size, but also washes of color that paint across the sky like brush strokes. However, with their beauty also comes thorns. Nacreous clouds are formed in the stratosphere of the Polar extremes. Due to their altitude, they receive light from the sun even after it has  descended far beyond the horizon. They form far up enough that their crystalline shape allows chlorine to react rather than stay in its normally-inert form, which isolates chemicals that normally defend the ozone from destruction. In essence, these clouds are anti-sunblock for the planet.

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    Noctilucent Clouds

    Courtesy of Janne Foo

      Interestingly, these clouds have only been documented after 1883’s eruption of the volcano Krakatau. They can only be observed a few minutes between day and night, when it’s just too dark to see properly. Theories as to why these clouds exist come from the fact that the eruption sent ash 80 kilometers into the sky. This fine ash allowed the formation of moisture particles around it. Now, without the ash in the sky, these clouds still exist, possibly because of the pollution from industrial plants. They are the highest known clouds in Earth’s atmosphere. They require dust or other microparticles, water vapour, and incredible cold temperatures in order to form.

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      Fire Rainbows

      Courtesy of Jeff Kubina

        Officially called a Circumhorizontal Arc, these formations are not actual fire but definitely are rainbow-like, in a technical sense. This phenomenon is observable when plate-shaped ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere, either in cloud form or free-floating, are hit by sunlight at just the right angle, and refract like a prism. While technically not a cloud themselves, they can take place in clouds, like the recent ones captured in South Carolina.

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        Altocumulus Castelanus Clouds

        Courtesy of Raymond Shobe

          A cursory glance at these clouds will have you expecting the giant sky jellyfish invasion any second. It is because of their strange appearance that they are colloquially called Jellyfish Clouds. These clouds are formed when two layers of very dry air sandwich a layer of moist air. Basically, warm air rises through the moist layer, forming water vapor particles. Those particles gain enough mass to be too heavy to continue rising, and plunge back down toward the moist air layer, where they gather more of the water from that layer and fall as rain. However, the dry air below the moist layer causes the rain to evaporate before it hits the ground, creating the tentacle-like rain-cloud formation under the pillowy body formation.

          Featured photo credit: Kevin Dinkel via farm4.staticflickr.com

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          Last Updated on November 20, 2018

          10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

          10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

          A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

          Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

          1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

          Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

          If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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          2. You put the cart before the horse.

          “Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

          3. You don’t believe in yourself.

          A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

          4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

          The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

          5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

          If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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          6. You don’t enjoy the process.

          Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

          The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

          7. You’re trying too hard.

          Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

          8. You don’t track your progress.

          Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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          9. You have no social support.

          It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

          10. You know your what but not your why.

          The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

          Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

          Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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          Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

          Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

          Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

          • The more specific you can make your goal,
          • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
          • The more encouraged you’ll be,
          • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

          I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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