You can tell the difference between Baltimore & DC from space. Here’s how


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The shot from high above Earth was otherworldly.

As the International Space Station passed over Baltimore and Washington D.C. on July 15, 2020, the crew snapped a photo that fascinated onlookers.

Despite being only 41 miles apart, Baltimore was bathed in a white glow. Our nation’s capital was covered by an orange shroud. The color clash was so stark that crewmembers tweeted it looked “like two galaxies swirling near each other.” But the contrast illustrated a major environmentally-friendly shift being embraced by cities nationwide to take on climate change one street lamp at a time.


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LED (light emitting diode) bulbs are long-established as energy-saving and cost-cutting alternatives to incandescent bulbs pioneered by Thomas Edison more than a century ago. LEDs also significantly cut carbon dioxide emissions and are sparking a revolution of sorts as cities seek to reduce their carbon footprint and do their part to tackle global warming.


Baltimore was among the early wave of LED adopters when it rolled out its Bmore Bright initiative about five years ago. (D.C. has since launched a similar program). Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Kansas City are also phasing out incandescent streetlights, a move that saves cities 40-50% on energy bills.

LED technology doesn’t waste light and allows for more focused lighting, thus casting a whiter shade than sodium bulbs. Sales of LED bulbs have surged in recent years, and that trend is likely to continue as the Biden administration recently included phasing out all incandescent lights as part of its climate plan to slash all harmful CO2 emissions by 2050.

The environmental benefits of LEDs are clear. Studies show that 80% of electric energy from LED bulbs is converted to light with only 20% lost as heat; incandescents are shown to lose 80% as heat and emit 20% as light.  They also generally last 10 years longer than incandescents and are fully recyclable.

And the allure of next-generation LEDs goes beyond combating climate change, protecting the environment and paying smaller utility bills.

Already, cities are using LED upgrade initiatives to explore the potential of “smart” streetlights fitted with sensors that can monitor pollution levels, alert neighborhoods ahead of dangerous storms or help people find evacuation routes during floods, wildfires and hurricanes.

A report by the firm Northeast Group estimated that cities will pump $8.2 billion into smart streetlight projects through the end of the decade. More than 90% of streetlights will be LED and 35% smartly connected in some way, the study claimed.

Cities like Baltimore and Washington D.C. are making impressive strides, but there is plenty still to be done. A report from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project estimated that a billion sockets in the United States are still using incandescent bulbs.

Implementing higher government energy standards would further accelerate a move to LED technology, The Washington Post noted from the report. That would save consumers $20 billion and reduce CO2 emissions by  50 million metric tons by 2030 — the equivalent of taking about 10 million cars off the road for a year.

Imagine that view from space!

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The 25 safest US cities


There are many threats to safety in the United States, ranging from natural disasters, murders and mass shootings to traffic accidents and Covid infections.


There are also risks beyond hazards that can cause physical harm, like taking out an unaffordable second mortgage, forgoing health insurance and visiting unsecured websites. The cost of inflation, which reached a four-decade high this year, is another major concern for many Americans who fear for their financial stability.


Wallethub compared more than 180 cities across 42 key indicators of safety to determine where Americans can feel most secure. Their data set ranges from the percentage of fully vaccinated residents and assaults per capita to the unemployment rate and road quality.


Here are the 25 safest cities in America…




Total Score: 79.45

Home & Community Safety: 14

Natural-Disaster Risk: 48

Financial Safety: 152


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Total Score: 79.48

Home & Community Safety: 2

Natural-Disaster Risk: N/A

Financial Safety: 10






Total Score: 79.51

Home & Community Safety: 53

Natural-Disaster Risk: 30

Financial Safety: 16



John Phelan / Wiki Commons


Total Score: 79.53

Home & Community Safety: 28

Natural-Disaster Risk: 101

Financial Safety: 32


beverett / istockphoto


Total Score: 79.56

Home & Community Safety:38

Natural-Disaster Risk: 71

Financial Safety: 23






Total Score: 79.70

Home & Community Safety: 22

Natural-Disaster Risk: 2

Financial Safety: 153





Total Score: 79.75

Home & Community Safety: 35

Natural-Disaster Risk: 53

Financial Safety: 41




Joseph Plotz/iStock


Total Score: 79.85

Home & Community Safety: 20

Natural-Disaster Risk: 44

Financial Safety: 100



ABEMOS / istockphoto


Total Score: 79.98

Home & Community Safety: 10

Natural-Disaster Risk: 157

Financial Safety: 5




Total Score: 80.11

Home & Community Safety:  41

Natural-Disaster Risk: 8

Financial Safety: 38


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Total Score: 80.25

Home & Community Safety:59

Natural-Disaster Risk:36

Financial Safety: 3






Total Score: 80.51

Home & Community Safety: 37

Natural-Disaster Risk: 64

Financial Safety: 18




Nathan Livedalen / iStock


Total Score: 80.92

Home & Community Safety: 15

Natural-Disaster Risk: 89

Financial Safety: 49


Total Score: 81.03

Home & Community Safety: 26

Natural-Disaster Risk: 40

Financial Safety: 59



Deposit Photos


Total Score: 81.39

Home & Community Safety: 60

Natural-Disaster Risk: 50

Financial Safety: 1


Total Score: 81.40

Home & Community Safety: 33

Natural-Disaster Risk: 12

Financial Safety: 21





Total Score: 81.46

Home & Community Safety: 19

Natural-Disaster Risk: 55

Financial Safety: 24



Sean Pavone/ istockphoto


Total Score: 81.90

Home & Community Safety: 27

Natural-Disaster Risk: 37

Financial Safety: 11



Deposit Photos


Total Score: 82.04

Home & Community Safety:12

Natural-Disaster Risk: 14

Financial Safety: 60




Wikipedia/Marine 69-71


Total Score: 83.19

Home & Community Safety: 3

Natural-Disaster Risk: 39

Financial Safety: 113


Related Slideshow:The US city that Boomer homebuyers are flocking to



Mark Carosiello / iStock


Total Score: 83.19

Home & Community Safety: 5

Natural-Disaster Risk: 22

Financial Safety: 98


Dietmar Rabich / Wiki Commons


Total Score: 83.49

Home & Community Safety: 16

Natural-Disaster Risk: 11

Financial Safety:  8




Deposit Photos


Total Score: 83.96

Home & Community Safety: 4

Natural-Disaster Risk: 24

Financial Safety:  107




Not home/Wikimedia Commons


Total Score: 84.44

Home & Community Safety: 11

Natural-Disaster Risk: 27

Financial Safety: 2


Jon Platek


Total Score: 85.99

Home & Community Safety: 1

Natural-Disaster Risk: 63

Financial Safety: 92

See the complete list of the safest cities in America


Preservation Maryland / Wiki Commons


In order to determine the safest cities in which to live, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across three key dimensions: 1) Home & Community Safety, 2) Natural-Disaster Risk, and 3) Financial Safety.

They evaluated those dimensions using 42 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of safety.

WalletHub then determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order their sample. In determining the sample, WalletHub considered only the city proper in each case, excluding cities in the surrounding metro area.


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Featured Image Credit: NASA / International Space Station Expedition.