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2,500 Wooden Artifacts Unearthed at Major Aztec Shrine
June 21, 2022
Aztec artifacts Mexican archaeologists have found more than 2,500 artifacts from the Aztec civilization near their capital city's most sacred temple. Templo Mayor was the main religious structure in Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital. The archaeologists, from the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia, uncovered the wooden items near the foot of Templo Mayor and said that the items would have been gifts to those gods from people who visited the shrine. Among the kinds of items found were darts, earmuffs, earrings, figurines, headdresses, ornaments, and scepters. Many of the items have images of sacred animals. The team reported that they found the trove of items in water, which helped forestall decay.

U.K. Girl, 5, Claims Title of Youngest Female Published Author
June 20, 2022
Bella Dark The Lost Cat A 5-year-old girl from the United Kingdom is now the world's youngest published female author. Bella J. Dark, who lives in Weymouth, Dorset, England, is the author and illustrator of The Lost Cat, a cautionary tale about an animal that indulges its curiosity and then depends on its mother for safety. Bella's parents encouraged her to keep her promise that she was going to write a book someday but didn't think that that day would be right around the corner. A year after making the announcement, Bella got her book published, by Ginger Fyre Press, a new imprint of Dorset-based Veneficia Publications. Bella's mother, Chelsie Syme, helped with the proofreading and in dealings with the publisher. As of June 2022, Bella's book has sold 2,000 copies. The Guinness World Records people issued Bella a certificate confirming her as the youngest published female author. The record-holder is Thanuwana Serasinghe of Sri Lanka, who published a book when he was 4, in 2017.

Reinstated Logan, 14, Wins Spelling Bee in Lightning Round
June 5, 2022
National Spelling Bee 2022 winner Harini Logan Harini Logan, a 14-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, was the winner of the 2022 National Spelling Bee, triumphing at the end of a multiple-round spell-off, the first ever in the historic competition. Logan's victory came in a lightning-round-like spell-off with Aurora, Colo., 12-year-old Vikram Raju. The rules stated that each contestant would get 90 seconds in which to spell as many words correctly as possible. In that final round, Harini got 22 correct and Raju 15. Harini had had the chance to win in Round 16 but misspelled her word, letting Raju back in the contest. The two traded successes until after Round 18, when organizers declared the spell-off.

Spelling Bee Returns with Hiss, Roar
May 31, 2022
It was a more intense initial experience at the National Spelling Bee as hopefuls stayed at the microphone in order to get past three challenging words. The first word was the usual spelling challenge, although the list from which those words was taken numbered 4,000, more than twice the number on last year's list. The second word provided the context for a multiple choice vocabulary question. Finally, participants faced the daunting task of spelling a word from Webster's Unabridged dictionary. Of the total of 229 participants, 88 advanced to the quarterfinals. The Spelling Bee was back in National Harbor, Md., after a cancellation in 2020 and scaleback last year. The host for the final rounds will be well-known actor and TV presenter LeVar Burton. Returning as an analyst is last year's champion, Zaila Avant-Garde.

Jackson Confirmed as 1st African-American Woman on Supreme Court

April 7, 2022
Ketanji Brown Jackson The U.S. Senate has confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. She will be the first African-American woman to sit on the high court. Jackson, 51, won confirmation on a vote of 53–47. President over the Senate vote was Vice-president Kamala Harris, the country's first African-American second-in-command. Jackson will replace Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, who will retire at the end of the Court's current term. A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, Jackson served as U.S. District Court judge and on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. She also worked as a public defender and served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Spot at PompeiiPompeii to Employ Robotic Dog as Archaeologists' Best Friend
April 7, 2022
A robotic dog is the latest innovation to help catalog the archaeological treasure trove at Pompeii, the city covered in ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the 1st Century. Spot, built by Boston Dynamics, moves very much like its animal prototype but also has onboard technology such as a 3D scanner, which transmits what it "sees and hears." Officials at the Archaeological Park of Pompeii expect the 50-pound Spot to alert them if it finds signs of erosion or damage. One prime cause of concern that Spot could address directly is the continuing presence of looting at the 1,900-year-old site. Archaeologists are still finding new things at the site (like a snack bar and a nearly intact chariot), and looters are still digging tunnels in order to spirit away things yet unfound. Officials expect Spot to investigate such tunnels, which can often be unsafe for humans to traverse.

Eleanor Roosevelt Headlines Next 5 Women to Be on U.S. Quarters
April 3, 2022

The U.S. Mint has completed its list of the next five women who will appear in the American Women Quarters Program. They are Bessie Coleman, Jovita Idár, Edith Kanaka'ole, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Maria Tallchief. Depictions of the women will appear on the reverse of the 25-cent coins, to be released during a five-year program that begins later this year.

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David White