When 36-year-old Andy Duran decided to return to his favorite high school hobby — skateboarding — in January 2021, the only obstacle he expected to encounter was his own ability to get back into the sport after the long hiatus. However, the 340-pound skateboarder from Oakland, California, soon realized that was the least of his problems.
For the more than a billion Muslims worldwide, there is nothing more sacred than the month of Ramadan, or Ramazan. It was during this ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar that Jibril (the Archangel Gabriel in the Judeo-Christian faith) revealed the first verses of the Quran — Islam's holy text — to the prophet Muhammad. The auspicious month's start, based on the appearance of the super-slim young crescent Moon, is determined by moon-sighting committees in various Muslim countries, most notably in Saudi Arabia. This year, Ramadan will begin on Monday, April 12th, or Tuesday, April 13th.
When Christie's set out to auction its first-ever digital-only artwork — "Everydays: The First 5000 Days"— on March 1, 2021, they had fully expected it to fetch more than the minimum bid of $100. However, the 255-year-old British auction house had never in its wildest dreams envisioned that the unique masterpiece, minted by Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple, would fetch a record $60.25 million ($69.3 million with fees).
Easter, which will be observed on April 4, 2021, is the oldest and most important Christian festival. Many adults commemorate the holiday, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his Crucifixion, with prayers and fasting for 40 days before the event. For children in the US, Easter is largely about fun activities like seeking out candy-filled eggs, meeting the Easter bunny, and participating in spring parades. However, not everyone celebrates this all-important holiday with these traditions.
A 200,000 metric ton cargo boat blocking the Suez Canal for six days has finally been freed, clearing the way for over 300 ships waiting to cross one of the world's busiest waterways. The Japanese-owned Ever Given has been wedged sideways into the sandy banks of the 120-mile-long (193-kilometer-long) and 78-feet-deep (24 meter-deep) channel since March 23, 2021. It was dislodged on March 29, 2021, by a fleet of tugboats that worked all night to take advantage of the king tides — high tides that occur during a full moon when the Sun, Earth and the Moon are aligned.
Though it is not unusual to find marine animals thriving under the Antarctica seafloor, researchers had always assumed that all life would become less abundant farther away from open water and sunlight. However, the discovery of filter-feeding organisms — 160 miles (260 km) away from the open ocean, with temperatures of −2.2°C and under complete darkness — suggests that life in the world's harshest environment may be more adaptable and diverse than previously thought.
Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, has been erupting regularly since 2011. However, the latest series of explosions, which began on February 16, 2021, has been particularly noteworthy. Emanating from the youngest of the volcano's four craters — the Southeast Crater— they have spewed spectacular fountains of lava as high as 0.9 miles (1.5 kilometers). To put it in perspective, that is about three times the height of One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the United States.
A team of Swedish scientists has successfully extracted and reconstructed the world's oldest DNA from the tooth of a Siberian mammoth, which roamed Earth over a million years ago. Also known as deoxyribonucleic acid, the all-important molecule — which contains the genetic instructions for the development and function of living things. — provides new insights into the evolution of the ancient Ice Age giants. Prior to this, the oldest DNA sequenced came from the bone of a horse that trotted around Canada about 700,000 years ago.