While birthdays are always a cause for celebration, Kane Tanaka's was especially so. On January 1, 2022, the Japanese supercentenarian turned 119, extending her record as the world's oldest living person for another year. Tanaka has held the Guinness World Title since turning 116 in 2019. She also garnered the all-time Japanese age record in September 2020 when she clocked an impressive 117 years and 261 days!
The season's first winter storm — which brought significant snowfall to the Washington, DC, area on January 3, 2022 — could not have come at a better time for the residents of the Smithsonian's National Zoo. With the park closed to visitors due to the inclement weather, the animals were able to welcome the New Year with several snow days all to themselves.
Desmond Mpilo Tutu, a leading activist in South Africa's fight against apartheid, passed away on December 26, 2021. The 90-year-old retired archbishop, who also spearheaded the country's smooth transition from apartheid to democracy, had been battling prostate cancer since 1997. Mr. Tutu was laid to rest at a state funeral at St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town, on January 1, 2022.
The name millipede, which translates to a "thousand feet," is a bit of a misnomer. Many species of the arthropods have fewer than 100 legs, and even the record holder — the Illacme plenipes — boasts a "mere" 750 legs. Now, a team led by Virginia Tech entomologist Paul Marek has finally found the world's first "true" millipede — one with over 1,300 legs!
On December 14, 2021, NASA officials revealed that the Parker Solar Probe had successfully pierced through the Sun's outer atmosphere — the corona — and "touched" the star. The historical feat was achieved on April 28, 2021, during the spacecraft's eighth flyby, when it was about 8.1 million miles away from the star. The space probe spent five hours collecting magnetic and solar particle data from the Alfvén critical surface — the point that marks the end of the Sun's atmosphere.
Elon Musk has been teasing fans with the Tesla Cybertruck — the company's first all-electric truck — and the equally futuristic Tesla Cyberquad All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) since 2019. However, the car manufacturer has yet to begin production on either model. Instead, the company made up for the delay by announcing the release of the all-electric Cyberquad for Kids on December 1, 2021.
Winter, the prosthetic-tailed dolphin whose story inspired a book and two heartwarming movies, died on November 12, 2021. The 16-year-old had been suffering from an intestinal blockage since November 1, 2021. The doctors at Florida's Clearwater Marine Aquarium tried several life-saving efforts but were unable to help the beloved mammal.
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are all designed to motivate consumers to spend money on holiday gifts for their loved ones. However, Giving Tuesday, which will be observed on November 30, 2021, has a more altruistic purpose. "The Global Day of Giving" encourages people to "give their voice, time, money, goods, and advocacy to support communities and causes."