On Wednesday, September 11, 2019, Americans will commemorate the 18th anniversary of one of the most tragic days in modern US history. On September 11, 2001, 19 members of the Islamic extremist organization Al Qaeda conducted a series of brutal, well-orchestrated attacks on American soil. In addition to cutting short the lives of 2,977 innocent people, the tragedy also set in motion events that would change the course of life both in the US and worldwide.
Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, which has been ferrying all astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) since NASA retired the space shuttle in 2011, typically carries a crew of three. However, the MS-14 capsule that blasted off from a Russian spaceport in southern Kazakhstan on August 22, 2019, had just one passenger — a humanoid robot named Skybot F-850.
When Leigh Love stumbled upon a bird's leg bone at the Waipara Greensand fossil site in New Zealand's South Island in 2018, he suspected that they might be those of an ancient penguin. With four other species discovered there, the area has been a hotbed for penguin remains from the Paleocene Epoch, which spanned between 66 million and 55 million years ago. What the amateur paleontologist did not realize was that the fossil belonged to the largest, hitherto unknown, penguin species ever found.
Once considered America's national pastime, baseball is on a decline, especially among young Americans who seem to prefer more active sports such as football and basketball. But in Finland, the game's popularity is at an all-time high, especially in rural areas, where it is a favorite in schools and fans in stadiums often outnumber the local population. The reason? Pesäpallo, the Finnish version of baseball, is a faster-paced game that is exciting enough to keep fans of all ages at the edge of their seats!
Artists are continually striving to find innovative ways to showcase their talent. Some, like Jackson Pollock, produce masterpieces by flinging pigments across the canvas, while others, like Iris Scott, paint with their bare fingers. Turkish artist Garip Ay has gained worldwide fame by adopting Ebru, an ancient technique that allows him to create stunning paintings on water.
If you have been paying any attention to the news, you may have heard of the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong. Since June 2019, pro-democracy protestors have brought large areas of the bustling Chinese territory to a standstill with weekly demonstrations and sit-ins. Among the most disruptive was the August 12 protest at the Hong Kong International Airport. Thousands of dissenters barricaded the airport's passageways with luggage trolleys, metal barriers, and other objects, blocking passengers from boarding and forcing the cancellation of outbound flights for two consecutive days. So what has triggered the widespread discontent against the Beijing government? Read on . . .
If you have spent any time observing seals at the zoo or in the wild, you may have seen the mammals swimming, walking, clapping, and even "barking" at one another. Now, scientists in Scotland have proved that with some vocal training, and the right incentive, the talented animals are also capable of mimicking the human language, accomplishing impressive tasks such as "singing" popular tunes like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
It is not uncommon for human-generated blazes — lit to clear the land out for farming or ranching — in the Amazon rainforest to get out of control. However, this year, the number of wildfires has been extraordinarily high. Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has recorded over 73,000 fires in the world's largest tropical rainforest between January and August 2019, 2,500 of which are currently active. This is the highest number observed since the agency began keeping records in 2013, and an astounding 80 percent more than during the first eight months of 2018.