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Elizabeth Enters Britain's Longest Reign
September 8, 2015
Queen Elizabeth II is now Britain’s longest-serving monarch. She recently passed Queen Victoria, who ruled for 63 years and 216 days. Elizabeth became Queen on February 6, 1952. Learn more about Britain's other long-serving monarchs, as well as rulers who served even longer than Elizabeth has. For example, the current longest-ruling monarch is the King of Thailand.

Stonehenge the Tip of the Iceberg: Scientists
September 8, 2015
British archaeologists have revealed evidence of a huge stone monument 15 times the size of Stonehenge, just 2 miles away from the famous monument. The scientists, using remote-sensing technologies including ground-penetrating radar, found remains of sarsen and other stones below the bank of the “Super Henge” at Durrington Walls, the discovery of which itself was announced only in 2014.

Later School Start Time Focus of U.K. Study
September 8, 2015
A British research project will recruit students form 100 schools across the country to participate in Teensleep, a project designed to discover how much students are affected by changes to the start time of the school day. The participating schools will ask 10-year-olds to start school at 9 a.m. and 15-year-olds to start at 10 a.m. Some schools will feature both age groups. The project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is designed to test a widely held theory that the human body’s circadian rhythm varies as a child ages, with older students feeling more sluggish earlier in the morning than when they were younger.

Titanic Lunch Menu on Auction
September 7, 2015
A lunch menu from the Titanic will be up for auction at the end of the month in New York. The menu survived the sinking of the “unsinkable ship” because a first-class passenger, Abraham Lincoln Salomon, kept it safe in his pocket when he exited the boat via the so-called “Money Boat,” a lifeboat that was large enough to hold 40 people but carried to safety only five wealthy people and the seven Titanic crewmembers who did the rowing. The menu shows that the noontime meal that some of the passengers had on April 14, 1912, included corned beef, potted shrimp, and dumplings. The menu is expected to sell for at least $50,000, according to the auction’s organizers, Lion Heart Autographs.

G-20 Name Women's Panel: W-20
September 7, 2015
The G-20 are gathered in Ankara, Turkey, and they have announced a new group of female leaders, called the W-20. High-level representatives of the world’s 20 leading economies make up the G-20, which meets regularly to talk about the world economy. The leader of the host nation, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, announced the formation of the new group. The first president of the group, Gulden Turktan, said that the group would work around the world to increase the inclusion of women in world economic growth. The group will have its first meeting in October in Istanbul, once all countries have appointed their members of the group.

Treasury Guarantees Woman for Face of $10 Bill
June 17, 2015
A woman will be on the face of the $10 bill in 2020, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has announced. The name of that woman won't be known for a few months, until after the Treasury Department does some consulting, including a social media campaign with the hashtag #TheNew10. Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first Treasury Secretary is on the face of the $10 bill and has been in that position since 1929. Until then, the $10 bill had President Andrew Jackson on the face. Jackson is now on the face of the $20 bill, and that bill was the target of a recent campaign to replace Jackson with a woman. That campaign is ongoing.

New Amelia Earhart Film Footage Released
June 17, 2015
Along with a new search for evidence of the fate of Amelia Earhart comes the discovery of video footage of the famed aviatrix getting ready to go on a flight from which she did not come back. Earhart’s personal photographer, Albert Bresnik, and his brother, John, shot the footage in 1937. Albert took photographs, and John turned on a video camera for a few minutes. Millions of people have seen the photos. The film footage sat unused for 70 years until being discovered by John’s son, also named John.

New Search on for Amelia Earhart Evidence
June 17, 2015
A search crew of 14 has arrived on Nikumaroro, an uninhabited South Pacific piece of rock, in search of new clues to the fate of famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart. The search team is from the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has already searched the Kiribati atoll on more than one occasion, along with other suspect resting sites for Earhart’s plane. The impetus for the latest search was an examination of evidence found to be gathering dust in an unlabeled container in a New Zealand museum. Other evidence in recent years (including using new technology to enhance a poor-resolution photo) has led many to surmise that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were forced to land the plane, likely because of a dearth of fuel, either on a Pacific island or very near one. The latest search, which will include areas on land and underwater, is set to last two weeks.

World's Rarest Stamp at Smithsonian
June 15, 2015
A cancelled postage stamp that a collector paid $9.5 million for is on display in Washington, D.C. The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta, a tiny 1856 stamp showing a three-masted ship on a red background, is part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum until 2017.

Hello Again: Comet-landing Spacecraft Awakes from Deep Sleep
June 15, 2015
Philae has awoken. The spacecraft that landed on a comet in 2014 has sent a message to Earth seven months after going quiet as the result of a bumpy landing in the shadow of a cliff. Officials at the European Space Agency switched Philae to “hibernation mode,” to conserve energy, while waiting for the comet to get close enough to the Sun to absorb some sunlight. The comet’s point of closest approach will be on August 13. Scientists estimate that the solar power received from that exposure should last Philae until October.

One More Skyscraper, with Legos
June 15, 2015
A New York City public art exhibit encourages visitors to get hands-on with Legos. It’s called The Collectivity Project, and it’s in the High Line, a lower Manhattan park that used to be a railway line. The artist behind the project is Olafur Eliasson, a well-known Danish artist who specializes in art in the public space. The project is open to the public, daily, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The only stipulation is that people use the white Legos that Eliasson has provided. The rest is up to the users, who can build or rebuild, as they see fit.

A Book Grows in Tree Land
June 10, 2015
This book can return to its roots, literally. The book is Mi Papa Estuvo en la Selva (My Father Was in the Jungle), a Spanish-language book by Argentinian author Gusti and illustrated by Anne Decis. The book is narrated by young Theo, who tells the story his father’s adventures in an Ecuadorian jungle. The story, illustrating the dangers of modernity to natural resources, is based on real-life experiences of the author. The updated version of the book has Jacaranda seeds sown inside. Readers who have finished the book are encouraged to pour water on it and then leave it in a sunny area, so the seeds can sprout. The final step is to plant the sprouting seeds-in-a-book outside, in good soil, so a new tree can grow.

Women Promoted for Face of $20 Bill
March 29, 2015
Call it crowd-sourcing for the face of money. A nonprofit organization has launched an online campaign to get a woman's face on a denomination of United States paper money. The group, Women on 20s, has targeted the $20 bill, which currently features the face of Andrew Jackson on the front. If the group succeeds, then Jackson's face will be replaced by that of one of 15 famous American women. The organization launched the effort, which began with a publicity campaign and the opening of an online voting forum, in March 2015, to coincide with Women's History Month. Possibly the most famous name on the list is Rosa Parks, the civil rights pioneer who was a leading figure in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and campaigned for civil rights for decades.

Moon Crater Named after Aviatrix Earhart
March 29, 2015
Scientists have discovered a rare kind of crater on the Moon and named it after pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart. The 124-mile-wide crater is on the Earth-facing side of the Moon but is underground and was found by NASA's Grail spacecraft, which had mapped the satellite's gravity field. Variations in the acceleration of gravity suggested that scientists should look a bit further. They then did some high-level mathematics and predicted that what they were seeing in the reports from the spacecraft was evidence of the huge underground crater. It was the first crater of its kind discovered in more than 100 years, scientists said.

Zirkle leading the Iditarod Pack at Midway Point
March 15, 2015
Just about halfway into the race, the leaders in the 2015 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race were familiar ones. Leaving the Koyukuk checkpoint, 564 miles in, were Aliy Zirkle, Jeff King, Aaron Burmeister, and Dallas Seavey. Zirkle (left) has placed second the past three years, King has won four times, and Seavey is the defending champion. Burmeister has raced for 20 years, and his highest placing was fourth, in 2012.

Ancient Egyptian Faced Massive Tax Bill
March 15, 2015
A recently translated tax receipt from 98 B.C. suggests that the Egyptian who received it was ordered to pay a large (and heavy) sum of money. The receipt, written in Greek on a piece of pottery, was for a land transfer tax of 75 "talents," plus a 15-talent charge tacked on. The receipt reported the successful payment of this sum, delivered to a public bank in what is now Luxor.

Charred Pretzel Found at German Excavation
March 15, 2015
Archaeologists are not bent out of shape at the discovery of a 250-year-old pretzel. On the contrary, they're quite excited. The pretzel is burnt, actually, the result of either a building fire or an act of baker's frustration. Also found during an excavation in the German city of Regensburg were the charred remains of other baked items, including a bread roll and a croissant. Carbon dating showed that the baked items dated to between 1700 and 1800.

Round-the-world Journey Begins for Solar Plane
March 10, 2015
The possibly historic journey has begun for Solar Impulse 2. As its name suggests, the airplane runs on solar power. The plane took off from Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi and is expected to return there in a few months, using only the Sun's energy for fuel. The first stop on the journey was to be 250 miles away, in Oman. Then, the plan is for Solar Impulse to fly on toward the Pacific Ocean, making stops in India, Myanmar, and China along the way.

Lack of Snow Forces Iditarod Start Shuffle
March 8, 2015
The 2015 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race began as usual, with opening ceremonies in Anchorage. But something was missing: the snow. Alaska reported snowfall of only 20 inches this winter (way down from an average of 60 inches). Much of the rest of the U.S. might have appreciated such a snowfall total, but the sparseness of snow along the Iditarod route has left significant challenges for the mushers and their dog teams, in the form of exposed grass and gravel that could slow down progress.

Dubai Splashing Out on Museum of the Future
March 8, 2015
Dubai has announced plans for a $136 million Museum of the Future, parts of which will be created using 3D printing. Initial plans call for a completion date of 2017. Planned areas of focus for exhibits include education, transportation, medicine, and electronics. Exhibits are expected to change every six months.

Octopus Turns Camera on Humans
March 8, 2015
First, an octopus proved adept at picking World Cup winners. Now, an octopus has shown photography skills.A Vermont college digital media producer put a camera inside a waterproof case, with the lens pointed at an octopus. The plan was to shoot some footage of the octopus, which had been an object of study for some neuroscience students. The octopus then took the camera in tentacle and turned the lens 180 degrees, so that the person was now in the frame.

Sunken Japanese Battleship Found
March 4, 2015
A long-lost Japanese battleship has been found, more than 3,000 feet under the sea. An expedition led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen announced that they had found the Musashi, sunk in 1944, resting 3,280 feet under the surface of the Sibuyan Sea, near the Philippines.

NYC School Calendar Adds Muslim Holidays
March 1, 2015
Beginning in 2015, New York City students will enjoy two more holidays. The holidays are Eid-al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitr, the two holidays most observed by Muslims. Eid-al-Adha occurs in September. Eid-al-Fitr is observed at the end of Ramadan, a monthlong holiday that occurs near the end of the North American summer. The day that each holiday occurs changes each Western Calendar year.">Eid-al-Fitr, the two holidays most observed by Muslims. Eid-al-Adha occurs in September. Eid-al-Fitr is observed at the end of Ramadan, a monthlong holiday that occurs near the end of the North American summer. The day that each holiday occurs changes each Western Calendar year.

Now AI Wins at Computer Games
March 1, 2015
Artificial intelligence now claims winning video games among its successes. Google has announced that a team of its scientists has created an AI system that can learn to better its performance under a number of varied circumstances, as exemplified by the system's demonstrating that it can teach itself to play Atari 2600 video games. The scientists gave the system, named "deep-Q-Network" (DQN), minimal information on the game or its various scenarios. Instead, the scientists built the system to use a machine-learning algorithm that enhanced its ability to "learn" from its experiences.

Olympic Commission Sees Progress in Rio Visit
March 1, 2015
A high-level group of visitors saw solid progress during a three-day visit to a number of event sites in Rio de Janeiro, host city of the 2016 Olympic Games. Reports in recent weeks of pollution in the nearby waters and of construction being behind schedule were not discussed. What was mentioned was the Rio team's full commitment to meeting all timelines, including getting facilities ready for the three waves of test events planned for the next several months.

Open-source Textbooks Gaining in Popularity
March 1, 2015
The latest report on open-source textbooks estimates that college students could save, on average, $128 per course. The report, released in 2015 by the Student Public Interest Research Groups, analyzed results from five colleges. The open-source textbook initiative got a powerful ally in the California State Government, which allocated funding in 2012 for dozens of open-source digital textbooks and an online library to store the books. Other states, Utah and Florida and Minnesota among them, are considering similar efforts at the highest levels of state government. Universities across the country have followed suit.

Team Ruff Runs Away with Puppy Bowl XI
February 1, 2015

It was the highest-scoring in the 11-year history of the Puppy Bowl, and it wasn't close. Team Ruff (or the green team) beat Team Fluff (or the yellow team), 87-49. Between the two squads, a total of 55 shelter puppies squared off in Puppy Bowl XI. Even though Henry and Falcor each scored four times for Team Ruff, Cara (a Shih Tzu from Orlando, Fla.) of Team Fluff was named MVP.

'Smart' Bike Helmets Help Map NYC Congestion
February 1, 2015
A group of cyclists have used their heads to create a congestion map of New York City. They used their helmets, technically. The group of eight cyclists rode around the various boroughs of the Big Apple during September and October 2014 while wearing the MindRider, a helmet that measured the cyclists' brainwaves. For every second that the cyclist was on the bike, wearing the special helmet, the MindRider recorded a steady stream of data via Bluetooth. The result was a virtual representation of 10 types of brainwaves that combine to show the cyclists' level of focus and stress level.

Free Tickets for School Kids an Olympic Organizers' Dream
January 18, 2015
The organizers of the 2016 Olympics and the government of the host city, Rio de Janeiro, are working on a plan to give free tickets to Olympics events to local schoolchildren. Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes a few months ago proposed that the city buy 1.2 million of the total number of 7.5 million tickets and then hand them out to schools. Event organizers, however, say that they will not give any tickets away. That leaves the Rio city government to cover the bill, which officials estimate could be $10 million or more. The least expensive discount, accounting for a student or senior discount, will cost $8, Olympics organizers say.

Study: Kids' Snacking Higher on Passive Commute
January 18, 2015
A large-scale study has found that American students who ride home from school eat more unhealthful food than do their more physically active counterparts. The study of 3,622 fourth- and fifth-graders from 44 mostly urban elementary schools in southern California involved students' filling out 24-hour surveys of what they ate and how they got to and from school. Transport options included walking, biking, skating, using a scooter, or riding in an automobile. The study found that 23 percent of the students got to school under their own power, usually by walking. The number of active commuters was even higher after school, at 27 percent.

First Globe to Show New World Goes 3D
January 14, 2015
A team of researchers has created a three-dimensional scan of the first known globe that depicted the New World. Known as the Lenox Globe, the small hollow copper sphere is thought by geographers to date to the 1500s, based on what is depicted on the globe and how it is named. The globe measures just 4.4 inches across, and the engravings, including a depiction of South America, are very detailed.

School Bus Wi-Fi Rolling Out in Increasing Numbers
January 12, 2015
School bus wi-fi is gaining in popularity. One of the latest schools to enact a mobile Internet connection aboard its student-transporting buses is West Shores High School, in Salton City, Calif. A bus that transports students in Salton City, 65 miles north of the Mexico-U.S. border, now carries a router, mounted behind an mirror inside the bus. Onboard, the students, many of whom come from low-income families, have Internet access that they wouldn't necessarily have at home. The Coachella Valley district is following in the footsteps of other schools across the U.S. The idea has been particularly popular in districts whose students spend one to two hours a day on a school bus. Many schools across the country have secured funding for providing students with laptops, but many students have Internet access only at school.

Snacks the Meal of Choice for Youths
December 16, 2014
Snacks have replaced meals in the eating habits of young children, a series of reports have found. The reports, written by a Finnish researcher and published in European journals, surveyed 512 boys and girls from the city of Kuopio, in a study known as Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC). The 15-year study has issued periodic reports since its inception in 2007, including a study earlier in 2014 that linked low levels of physical activity to a greater risk of type 2 diabetes. The latest report surveyed the children, now ages 6, 7, or 8, for four days, asking them to track what they ate and drank, and when. More than half of all children did not eat three meals a day, filling their health needs with snacks instead.

Study: Playing Music Heightens Learning More Than Listening
December 16, 2014
Playing music can help children learn, a study has found. The study, from Northwestern University, focused on children who attended a music appreciation class and children who, as well as taking that class, played musical instruments. Researchers connected electrodes to the children's heads to measure their brains' responses to both listening to music and playing music. The results showed that the children who played music had higher amounts of neural processing than the children who listened to the music without playing an instrument.

3D Sonar IDs 'Golden Gate Titanic'
December 14, 2014
The "Golden Gate Titanic" has been found, scientists say. The S.S. City of Rio de Janeiro, which sank on February 22, 1901, has been verified as a wreck 300 feet below the surface of the Golden Gate, the Northern California waterway that connects San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Adminitration (NOAA) made the announcement after confirming data from a 3D sonar device called Echoscope.

New Amenhotep III Statue Unveiled
December 14, 2014
Amenhotep III is in walking mode again for all to see. Archaeologists have restored a collosal statue of the 18th Dynasty pharaoh at his funerary temple at Luxor, on the west bank of the Nile. An earthquake felled the statue more than 3,000 years ago. Unlike other more famous statues of the pharaoh, known as the father of Akhenaten but also famous in his own right, this statue shows him striding. He is wearing the white crown of Upper egypt and wearing a falcon-head-handled dagger shogins his name. His name also appears on both papyri he is holding.

'Poohsticks' Drawing Sets Auction Record
December 14, 2014
"Poohsticks" means big bucks. A drawing of the iconic pairing of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and Christopher Robin playing the game in A.A. Milne's book The House at Pooh Corner sold at auction for nearly $500,000. The Sotheby's auction brought in $493,000 for the drawing, done by illustrator E.H. Shepard in 1928. The original drawing had been for 40 years in a private colleciton.

Sunken WWII Ship Discovered Intact
December 7, 2014
Researchers have discovered a ship sunk 60 years ago off the island of Oahu. Unlike so many other World War II oceangoing vessels, though, this one was sunk on purpose. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Dickenson served as a rescue ship, ferrying British telecommunications workers from Midway to Oahu. The onset of war brought with it a disruption of the Midway telecommunications hub, and so the Dickenson was repurposed. Requisitioned by the U.S. Government, the ship was renamed the U.S.S. Kailua and sent off to do cable maintenance in the Pacific.

States to Consider Requiring Civics Graduation Test
December 7, 2014
North Dakota state lawmakers will soon vote on a proposal to require high school students to pass a civics test before graduating, the latest in a growing number of states to require such knowledge of government. The bill, announced by the state's first lady, Betsy Dalrymple, would set up a system for testing students such that they must get 60 of 100 questions on a civics test correct in order to graduate. Part of the proposal is to use the U.S. Citizenship test as a basis for the graduation exam. That test is a 100-question test as well, and prospective immigrants must correctly answer 6 of a random 10 questions in order to pass.

Ice Hotel Freezes Over for 25th Year
November 30, 2014
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014 is ICEHOTEL, Sweden's famed tourist attraction that offers large sculptures, scenic vistas, and (of course) hotel rooms made of ice. Situated inside a 60-square-foot igtoo in the remote village of Jukkasjarvi, ICEHOTEL literally changes every year. Warming temperatures melt all of the ice, leaving behind only water. The hotel was born in 1992, when enterprising organizers of an art exhibition catered to artists's wish to sleep inside the frozen exhibition hall. The igloo, exhibition, and town are all on the Torne River, which freezes quite a bit throughout the calendar year. Construciton of ICEHOTEL has become such an enterprising that the builders hoard their ice, harvesting 5,000 tons of ice from the Torne River and storing it nearby, in cold storage, of course. In November, several dozen workers get work designing that year's hotel, which includes 65 rooms that span a wide range of pricing and luxury. One such luxury room in 2014 contains a sculpture of the Aurora Borealis. The priciest room on offer has the name "Song of Lotus," and its high ceilings and walls feature sculptures of lotus flowers and flamingos.

5-city Designathon Challenges Students' Creativity
November 30, 2014
Solving the world's problems can be a difficult enterprise, but 150 children aged 8-12 had a go at it recently, in five cities around the globe. In the first Global Children's Designathon, the students put in a hard day's work of designing solutions to problems that cities typically face, like poverty, waste, pollution, and congestion and then designing prototypes of machines or systems to solve those problems. The results, organizers said, were imaginative and forward-thinking.

Mubarak Cleared, Brotherhood Leader Convicted
November 30, 2014
One day after the judiciary cleared former President Hosni Mubarak of charges related to the killing of protesters, an Egyptian judge sentenced Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie to three years in jail for insulting the court. Badie, along with 25 other defendants, was given the sentence after voicing disapproval of the judge's remarks during the trial of more than 100 Brotherhood supporters on charges that they incited riots in the wake of the uprising that forced Mubarak from power in 2011. Badie and several dozen others have already received death sentences and lengthy jail terms following mass trials of protesters. Large protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square, site of so many protests in the weeks leading up to Mubarak's ouster, and at Cairo University followed the announcement of the verdicts.

Silk Road Cemetery Discovered in China
November 25, 2014
Archaeologists have discovered a 1,700-year-old cemetery on China's fabled Silk Road.The cemetery is near modern-day Kucha, in the northwest area of the country. Now in Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang, Kucha was in earlier times the largest of dozens of western kingdoms in a region known as Xiyu or Quici and an important destination along the Silk Road, a network of trade routes that linked Ancient China and Ancient Rome. Kucha, on the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert, was also an important early center of Buddhism. The archaeologists, from the Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, excavated 10 tombs in all. Seven of the tombs were large brick structures, the most notable of which still contains carvings of mythological symbols.

Calorie Count Mandate Extends to Movies, Pizza, Chain Restaurants
November 25, 2014
From 2015, calorie counts will be on display at chain restaurants, pizza providers, and movie theaters around America. The rules, announced by the Food and Drug Administration, apply to chains made up of 20 or more restaurants. Chains applies to both fast food outlets and sit-down restaurants. Significantly, the rules apply to both food and alchoholic beverages. Calorie counts for all menu items in both categories must be displayed. This applies to both printed menus and posted menu boards.

6-year-old World's Youngest Microsoft Specialist
November 23, 2014
Ayan Qureshi is 6. He is also a Microsoft-certified computer specialist. Qureshi, a Pakistani boy now living in the United Kingdom, was 5 years, 11 months old in October 2014 when he received his Microsoft Certified certificate. This made him the world's youngest such specialist, besting the previous record held by another Pakistani boy, Mehroz Yawar, who was 6 when he he passed his exams.

Jakarta Plans Massive Project to Keep Sea at Bay
November 23, 2014
The Indonesian Government has announced a multi-billion-dollar project designed to offset a projected rise in sea levels that would otherwise decimate the capital city of Jakarta, home to nearly 10 million people. Jakarta has 40 percent of land lying below sea level to begin with, and the city is sinking by as much as six inches each year, from a combination of causes. Sea levels are rising globally and are affecting other cities and nations as well. Jakarta, however, has a combination of natural and manmade factors that are putting increasing pressure on the city's landscape.

Report Predicts Widespread Flooding in Major Cities
November 23, 2014
Sea levels have been rising at various rates for some time now, part of the natural cycle of the planet. A new report, however, raises the alarm for dozens of large cities that could be adversely affected in the next few decades. The report, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, forecasts large amounts of tidal flooding for nearly two dozen East Coast and Gulf Coast cities by 2045.

Instructors Breaking World Record to Deliver Undersea Classroom
November 22, 2014
Two Tennessee college instructors are spending the semester underwater, delivering an online biology course. Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain, an associate professor of biology and adjunst instructor, respectively, at Roane State, a community college in Harriman, Tenn., are living and working for 73 days in an underwater environment, to provide their students with some real-world experience as part of Classroom Under the Sea.

Chocolate Giant Warns of Worldwide Shortage
November 22, 2014
Chocolate supply could be limited in the next few years, and climate change could be partly to blame. The world's largest chocolate manufacturing company, Switzerland's Barry Callebaut Group, is warning of a potential shortage of cocoa by 2020. Cocoa, one of the most familiar ingredients in chocolate, is grown in South America, Asia, and western Africa, but most of the world's cocoa is grown in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. Recent climate projections for that area of the world are for a nearly 4-degree Fahrenheit increase in temperatures by 2050. The higher the temperature, the more water evaporates and the less is available for cocoa trees.

Snowed-under School Tells Students to Work at Home
November 12, 2014
Minnesota students worked from home recently when a snowstorm closed their high school for a day. Rather than write off the day as a snow day, the principal of St. Cloud Cathedral high school ordered students to use laptops, tablets, and other electronic means of learning to do their school work. It was a one-day test, but the principal was so pleased with the results that the school is likely to adopt the policy going forward. Teachers had uploaded their lesson plans and student assignments to the school's online portal by 10 a.m. The students, in grades 7-12, logged on and got to work.

Magna Carta Original on Display at Library of Congress
November 12, 2014
The Library of Congress is now displaying an original copy of Magna Carta, the historic 1215 charter in which King John agreed to limit his power. Four original copies survive. The British Library has two. Salisbury Cathedral has one. Lincoln Cathedral has the other. And it is the Lincoln Cathedral copy that has been loaned to the Library of Congress. The British Library is commemorating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta with a three-day display of all four original copies in June 2015. Before then, however, the Lincoln Cathedral copy will be the centerpiece of a 10-week exhibition titled "Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor." The exhibit closes on January 19, 2015.

More New Entrants to Toy Hall of Fame
November 9, 2014
The new members of the National Toy Hall of Fame have floated, fought, and puzzled their way in. Joining the 53 other members of the Hall of Fame are soap bubbles, little green army soldiers, and the Rubik's Cube. Examples of all will be on permanent display in the Strong's National Toy Hall of Fame museum, in Rochester, N.Y. The three new members span many decades of fun for children of all ages. Soap bubbles have been around since at least the 19th Century. Estimates are that today's retailers sell more than 200 million tiny bottles of soap bubbles each year. The tiny green soldiers seized control of the toy scene in 1938. Sales of the toy soldiers have varied through the years since then, with annual sales of the multiple millions. The Rubik's Cube, invented in the early 1970s, continues to puzzle and thrill children and adults, with estimated in the hundreds of millions in the 40 years since.

Locally Grown Food, Nutrition Videos among School Lunch Strategies
November 9, 2014
In the ongoing campaign to improve students' nutrition, schools in two states have started serving locally grown food and broadcasting nutrition-friendly programming at mealtimes, respectively. A total of 15 school districts in Northern and Southern California have begun serving fresh food grown nearby, not shipped from other states or other countries. Meanwhile, in one large school district in Florida, students who eat breakfast and lunch in the school cafeteria will have access to large-screen televisions broadcasting fitness facts, dietary information, and even short videos, all promoting the need to eat healthful food. The broadcast information will be dispatched from a central broadcast center, in a partnership between the state's Food and Nutrition Services and the state's Dairy Council.

Postal Service to Deliver on Sunday
November 9, 2014
Seeking to make up for lost time and money, the U.S. Postal Service will add Sunday delivery to its offerings from November 17 to the end of Christmas Day. The advent of seven-day delivery will take place in major cities and high-volume areas, the Postal Service said.

Antarctic Thaw Reveals Century-old Notebook
October 30, 2014
Thawing ice and snow in Antarctica have revealed yet another century-old artifact, this one a notebook from the expedition of Robert Falcon Scott. The notebook belonged not to Scott but to George Levick, who was both a surgeon and a photographer. In the notebook, Levick kept notes about he photographs he had taken at Cape Adare, in 1911, photos that are now in the Scott Polar Research Institute.

A 96-year-old Shrine to a Soldier Who Never Came Home
October 26, 2014
The soldier isn't coming home, but his bedroom is still ready for him. Hubert Rochereau, a French soldier, died on the World War I battlefields of Flanders, when he was 21. His parents kept his bedroom the way it was when he left. It still looks the same. Rochereau, born in the manor house in 1896, died at the battle of Loker, on April 26, 1918. Since that time, the owners of the French manor house in Belabre, where Rochereau and his parents once lived, have kept up their end of the bargain, fulfilling the terms of the 1936 contract of owning the house by maintaining the young soldier's bedroom intact.

Oakland's Cat Cafe a First in the U.S.
October 26, 2014
America has a cat cafe. It's called the Cat Town Cafe, and it's in Oakland, Calif. The downtown cafe is a combination of food and drink purveyor and feline rest area. Human customers are, of course, allowed to bring their cats with them. Cats can lounge on their humans' laps in a special area decked out for cats' pleasure, including models of some of the city's well-known buildings, including the iconic Tribune Tower. Murals of the San Francisco Bay Area cover the walls.

Park Avenue Apartments Tower above the Hemisphere
October 19, 2014
If you are planning your home address to be 432 Park Avenue in New York City, you will be living in the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere. At 1,396 feet tall, it is taller than the Empire State Building (by 144 feet) and the Statue of Liberty (by a lot more, 1,089 feet). The $1.3 billion tower has 96 storeys and is the second-tallest building in the city, trailing only One World Trade Center.

N.Y. Serves Up Yogurt as State Snack
October 19, 2014
Yogurt is now the official snack of New York State. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that emphasized the state's status as the production leader of the dairy food. Estimates are that New York produced 741 million pounds of yogurt in 2013 alone, accounting for 16 percent of the nation's total. (California produced the second-most, at 591 million pounds.) Cuomo signed the bill to coincide with the second New York State Yogurt Summit, in Ithaca. The first such summit took place in 2012. The idea for the bill came from a fourth-grade class at Byron-Bergen Elementary School, in Bergen, N.Y. Students traveled to the state Capitol, in Albany, earlier this year to support the bill.

Cave Paintings Dated as World's Oldest
October 9, 2014
Redating of a trove of ancient images has sparked a debate over the world's oldest cave art. A recent study has concluded that people on Sulawesi, an Indonesian island, created stencils of their hands on cave walls nearly 40,000 years ago. If that dating is valid, it would make the cave art the oldest in the world.

Eiffel Tower Upgrades to Glass Floor
October 7, 2014
As part of the 125th anniversary of its unveiling, the Eiffel Tower now sports a glass floor. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo cut the ribbon to open a celebration of the newly renovated first floor on the iconic monument. Visitors can now look through the glass floor a total of 187 feet to the ground below. The Eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet tall. Most of the visitors head straight to the viewing platform near the top of the tower. Paris officials hope that many of those visitors, estimated at nearly 7 million each year, will stop on their way up or down to enjoy the looking-glass view.

Pyramids Theory Points to Wet Sand
May 1, 2014
Wet sand was the key to helping the ancient Egyptians build the Pyramids, new research suggests. A study out of the University of Amsterdam has put forth the hypothesis, based on modern evidence, that the Egyptians transported a large number of giant stones on wooden sleds, helping pave the way by wetting the sand.

Google Announces First Success with Driverless Cars on Busy Streets
April 29, 2014
The self-driving car is inching closer to a reality on busy streets. Google, the search engine giant known for branching out into any number of other enterprises, has announced that its driverless cars have traveled more than 700,000 miles on roads in and around northern California. The primary avenue for testing has been freeways near Google headquarters, in Mountain View. But Google recently added to its focus the navigation of city streets.

Endangered Record Album to Highlight Tigers' Plight
April 27, 2014
A disposable record is serving to illustrate the plight of endangered animals.The Smithsonian National Zoological Park and Conservation Biology Institute has released a record made of polycarbonate (a special kind of plastic equivalent) that will begin to disintegrate after a few playings. The Institute produced 400 of the records, to match the number of Sumatran tigers left in the world, and sent the records to well-known people in the music and media business, with strict instructions to "rip," or make digital copies of the content on the record, and to post information about the song on social media.

3-D Pandas Go Microscopic for Magazine Cover
April 27, 2014
Swiss scientists have used a very small chisel to create the smallest magazine cover in the world, a version of the March 2014 cover of National Geographic Kids that is so small that 2,000 of the covers would fit into one grain of salt. The precise measurements are 11-by-14 micrometers. The chisel is a relatively new invention and required a silicon tip 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil to be heated up to an incredibly high heat in order to do the "chiseling." The result was something like a 3D image, but on a microscopic scale.

It's Game on Again for Atari's E.T.
April 27, 2014
E.T. is still looking for a final release. Acting on an informed tip, a construction crew gathered in a desert in southeastern New Mexico to dig under a concrete-covered landfill, in hopes of finding up to 1 million copies of an Atari videogame that flopped. They found a few cartridges.

Moment of Silence, Sadness Marks Third Anniversary of Tsunami
March 11, 2014
Most people in Japan stopped for a moment of silence on the third anniversary of the twin disasters in 2011. The 9.0 Sendai Earthquake and consequent tsunami triggered a wave of destruction that is still being felt. In Fukushima, one of the hardest-hit areas, 2,000 lit candles were arranged to read "Fukishima 3/11." The Fukushim Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant went into meltdown after the tsunami breached the plant's defenses, resulting in the spreading of radiation into the surrounding land and water and the death of nearly 16,000 people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of others.

London to Trial 'Smart' Pedestrian-friendly Traffic Lights
March 12, 2014
London has taken the lead in exploring new technologies to improve pedestrian safety. Mayor Boris Johnson, together with Transport for London, have announced a trial of advanced sensors that can adjust the timing of traffic signals according to the number of pedestrians waiting to cross. If a huge crowd has gathered, the lights will favor the pedestrians long enough for the entire crowd to cross safely.

New Amelia Earhart to Trace Namesake's Round-the-world Path
March 10, 2014
Amelia Earhart will take flight again. The namesake of the famed missing aviatrix will take off in June 2014 on a round-the-world flight, echoing what the first Amelia Earhart had set out to do before she disappeared in 1937. The current Amelia Earhart will fly in a Pilatus PC-12 NG turboprop plane, making 14 stops in 14 days and covering more than 24,000 nautical miles on her trip, recreating the famed aviatrix's takeoff in Oakland and then returning there two weeks later. Her co-pilot will be Arkansas-based Patrick Carter.

Youngest Iditarod Winner Does It Again
March 10, 2014
The youngest is still the best. Dallas Seavey, the youngest-ever winner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 2012, has won the 2014 event, setting a record time in the process. Seavey, now 27, put in a furious final push and raced from third place to the win, crossing the finish line in Nome in 8 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes. Seavey was in third place with 77 miles to go but passed four-time winner Jeff King and then Aliy Zirkle, again denying her a victory. Zirkle finished second for the third straight time, this time just 2 minutes, 22 seconds behind the winner.

Iditarod Off and Mushing
March 6, 2014
It's off to the races for 69 mushers and their dog teams in the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The 975-mile race, which alternates between two starting points, began this year in Willow, Alaska, about 50 miles north of Anchorage. Competitors dawdled through Anchorage a day earlier in an 11-mile cermonial appearance. Stages range from 18 to 85 miles and wind through 21 other Alaska villages, as well, as lots of frozen snow. Competitors are required to take three separate rest stops, one of 24 hours and two of eight hours. The winner is expected to reach the finish line, in Nome, in as few as nine days.

Stonehenge 'Musical,' Study Suggests
March 6, 2014
The giant bluestones of Stonehenge might have had sonic significance, according to a new study. Researchers at the Royal College of Art in London have found evidence that several of the stones at the famous giant circle were struck in ancient times. The researchers conducted their own striking tests, on stones in the Preseli Hills, source of some of Stonehenge's bluestones, and among their observed results was a series of tones, some that sounded like deep bells. Different rocks produced different sounds, along a range of metallic sounds from bell-like sounds to gong-like intonations.

Big Changes Ahead for College Entrance Exam SAT
March 5, 2014
The SAT is changing, for the first time since 2005. Administrators of the popular university entrance exam College Board have announced major changes, among them making the essay portion of the exam optional and offering another option, that of taking the test using a computer. The new exam will appear in 2016. Reading, writing, and mathematics skills will continue to be the focus. Questions in those areas will focus more heavily on analysis, College Board officials said. In math specifically, calculators will be allowed on only a select number of questions, and overall math questions will focus more on skills with real-world application.

Mexican Pyramid Could Crumble, Scientists Say
March 5, 2014
One of Mexico's largest pyramids is in danger of collapse, scientists say. The Pyramid of the Sun, in the lost city now known as Teotihuacan, has a dry side and a wet side, as discovered by 3D imaging carried out by a group of researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The 3D scans showed that one side of the pyramid was 20 percent less dense than the other, meaning that the dry side was in danger of crumbling. The scientists said that the risk of collapse was not imminent but was very real if some sort of repairs were not made. The phenomenon, the scientists said, was the same as that observed in Mexico City, which was built on what used to be a lake, and which sinks a few inches every year. The scientists differed in their support of repair theories, with some preferring structural repairs to the stones and others preferring to shore up the earth-filled interior.

Dates Announced for Indian Elections
March 5, 2014
India has announced dates for its national elections. Voters in the world's largest democracy will vote for candidates for the 543-member parliament in nine phases from April 7 to May 12. Four days of vote-counting later, elections officials will announce results. Turnout is expected to be high. About 814 million adults are eligible to vote in India, an increase of 100 million over the same figure available for the previous national election, which took place in 2009.

Fruits, Vegetables More Popular with U.S. Students
March 4, 2014
American students are eating more fruits and vegetables, a study has confirmed. The study, from the Harvard School of Public Health, offers findings that support one of the main assertions of the authors of the new federal standards for school nutrition, launched in 2012. Those standards, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, required students to make more healthful choices for their school meals, primarily in the area of fruits and vegetables. Other changes in the standards were to make whole grains more available and to remove trans fats. In addition, limits were stipulated for sodium levels and total calories. The study surveyed more than 1,000 students in four schools, both before and after the introduction of the new standards and found a 23-percent increase in the consumption of fruit and a 16-percent increase in the consumption of vegetables. The study also found no marked increase in food waste.

Tunnels Discovered Under Alcatraz Prison
March 3, 2014
Scientists have discovered a series of tunnels under Alcatraz, the fabled prison situated on an island off San Francisco. The scientists, from Texas A&M University, found the 150-year-old tunnels using ground-penetrating radar to perform a scheduled scan of the former prison's recreation yard. But the tunnels were not a planned escape for gangster Al Capone or any of the other famous residents of Alcatraz. Rather, the tunnels, made primarily of dirt but reinforced in places with concrete, were a holdover from before the days of the prison, when the island was a military fort.

Nepal to Require Everest Climbers to Bring Back Others' Trash
March 3, 2014
The Government of Nepal has announced what amounts to a new trash tax on anyone who climbs Mount Everest. The new rules, which begin in April with the start of the climbing season, require all mountaineers and support staff who climb above Everest base camp to bring back 17 pounds of trash that is already on the mountain or pay a stiff fine. Government rules already require climbers to bring back their own trash or risk losing the $4,000 deposit that they pay before being granted passage upward. To get that money back, climbers have to present their own trash when they return down the mountain. A similar arrangement will presumably accompany the new rules.

Sesame Street Promotes Healthy Eating
January 23, 2014
Sesame Street is onboard with a message of healthy eating, including a message from Cookie Monster to cut back on the cookies. Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, and other familiar characters from television's long-running Sesame Street will focus even more on eating healthy foods, after the completion of a three-year project in Colombia helped young children there lead more healthy lives.

Morsi to Face Three Separate Trials
January 22, 2014
Former President Mohamed Morsi, along with 35 co-defendants, will face charges of spying for which, if convicted, they could face the death penalty. The espionage trial will begin on February 16. The defendants are accused of collaborating with Hamas, a Palestinian freedom organization, and with Hezbollah, a militant movement based in Lebanon.

Three Years after Revolution, Egypt Still Divided
January 22, 2014
The revolution that ousted Egypt's Hosni Mubarak after decades in power began with a large protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square, on Jan. 25, 2011. Three years later, the landscape looks, to many people, not much different. Mubarak is no longer the leader of the country. He stepped down as president on Feb. 11, 2011, and is in a military hospital, awaiting a retrial, his ill health a constant reminder of his advanced years. He is 86. The protests that overpowered Mubarak's influence were largely driven by a combination of Islamists, like the members of the long-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and unaffiliated youths, who saw an opportunity to change their country's political landscape in the wake of related revolutions in neighboring countries, notably Tunisia. Both the Brotherhood and large amounts of the country's otherwise affiliated young voters approved of the country's 2012 constitution and subsequent election of Mohamed Morsi as President and of an Islamist majority in Parliament. But the judiciary, filled with Mubarak appointments, has been a powerful check on the expansion of the Islamist agenda.

Egyptians Overwhelmingly Approve New Constitution
January 19, 2014
Egyptian voters have approved the country's draft constitution by a massive 98.1 percent, the election commission has announced. During the two-day referendum, just 38.6 percent of the country's 53 million voters cast their votes. Many Islamists, who featured prominently in the previous government, did not participate. The most prominent Islamist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, called for a nationwide boycott and vowed to continue protests against the interim government. Members of the Brotherhood also criticized the government for curtailing anti-constitution protests in the days leading up to the voting.

Russian Olympics Officials Unveil 11 New Venues
January 12, 2014
Organizers of the 2014 Winter Olympics have built from the ground up, literally. Unlike many previous cities, Sochi, a Black Sea town not far from Russia's border with Georgia, had no set of stadiums to expand. The last Winter Olympics, in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010, utilized some venues that had been around for awhile and built only two new facilities, one for curling and the other for long-track speed skating. Sochi, on the other hand, has built new. The site of the Opening Ceremonies, Closing Ceremonies, and medal presentations will be Fisht Olympic Stadium (right), in what is known as the Coastal Cluster, a grouping of venues in and around Sochi. The 40,000-seat stadium was designed to allow those seated inside to have views to the south of the Black Sea and to the north of the mountains, one of which is Fisht Mountain. One of five new venues within walking distance of one another, Fisht Stadium sits atop a tall hill, in Adler Olympic Park, near Adler Arena. Nearby are twin 12,000-capacity venues, the Bolshoy Ice Dome, home to ice hockey, and the Iceberg Skating Palace, which will house figure skating and short-track speed skating.

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