Dogs Could Soon Become Valuable Allies In The Fight Against COVID-19

One of the biggest challenges to battling the rapid spread of COVID-19 is identifying and isolating people who are infected before the symptoms, which usually take between 3 to 13 days, surface. Now, frontline workers may get some help from canines who can "sniff out" the disease even when the patient is asymptomatic, meaning he or she never shows any of the traits associated with COVID-19.

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Let's All Scream For National Ice Cream Month!

Former US President Ronald Reagan's love for jelly beans, which were a staple offering during his 8-year-term in office, is well-documented. However, the country's 40th head of state also had another guilty pleasure — ice cream, which he described as "[a] nutritious and wholesome food." To give the delicious treat the respect it deserved, on July 9, 1984, Mr. Reagan signed Proclamation 5219, which declared July as National Ice Cream Month!

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Ancient Civilizations Had Game Nights Too!

Burying loved ones with basic necessities like grains, ceramic pots, and clothing, to ensure their comfort in the afterlife, was a fairly common tradition in ancient cultures. However, the families of some lucky individuals went a step further by including a board game for entertainment. Morten Ramstad, a researcher at the University of Bergen, Norway, and his team stumbled upon one of the rare artifacts — found only in a handful of graves before — while excavating the remains of an Early Iron Age (400-300 BC) burial mound in Western Norway.

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Barcelona Opera House Reopens To A Sold-Out Audience Of Potted Plants!

Spain's three-month-long lockdown order imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic was finally lifted on June 22, 2020. To celebrate the joyous occasion, the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain — one of Europe's oldest and most famous opera houses— staged its first live performance since mid-March. While every seat was occupied, there was not a human to be found. Instead, the sold-out audience comprised 2,292 potted plants carefully selected from local nurseries.

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Gorgeous Rare White Grizzly Bear Sighted In Canada

With less than 55,000 grizzly bears left in the wild across North America, the sighting of even one is a cause for celebration. Hence you can only imagine how delighted Cara Clarkson and her family were when they spotted two young grizzlies — one with rarely seen all-white fur— foraging alongside the Trans-Canada Highway near Banff, Canada, on April 26, 2020.

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Understanding The Significance Of Juneteenth

June 19, 2020, marks the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth — a mashup of June and nineteenth — the oldest-known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It was on this day in 1865 when the last American slaves — a group of people in Texas — finally learned that slavery had been abolished and that they were free.

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Massive Protests Instigate Sweeping Police Reforms In The US

The unwarranted death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, by a Minneapolis, MN, police officer on May 25, 2020, has reignited the debate about race-based police abuse. Protestors argue that the current law enforcement system encourages systemic racism and are calling for nationwide police reform. In addition to changing the laws, activists are also making a strong case for "defunding the police."

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The Northern Hemisphere Summer Will Begin On June 20 With The Longest Day Of The Year

With the days getting increasingly longer and warmer, the Northern Hemisphere summer may seem to be well on its way. However, though the meteorological season, which evenly splits the 12 months of the year into four seasons, started on June 1, 2020, the astronomical summer will not begin until June 20, 2020. Called summer solstice, it is the day when the North Pole is most inclined towards the Sun, allowing residents of the Northern Hemisphere to enjoy the longest day (and shortest night) of the year. Conversely, Southern Hemisphere residents will celebrate the astronomical start of winter, or winter solstice, with the shortest day (and longest night) of 2020.

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A Thousand-Year-Old Mystery Of A Medieval Blue Ink Has Finally Been Solved

Identifying the chemical makeup of pigments used in ancient documents, paintings, and watercolors is critical to restoring and conserving the precious artworks. However, despite numerous efforts, scientists had been unable to determine the source of folium, a popular blue dye used to color manuscripts in Europe during the middle ages — from the 5th to the 15th century. Now, a team of researchers from Portugal has finally uncovered the mysterious ingredient responsible for the gorgeous blueish-purple tint that helped bring ancient illustrations and texts to life.

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Eastern US States Brace For An Onslaught Of Millions Of Noisy 17-Year Cicadas

As if the COVID-19 pandemic has not been difficult enough, 2020 has another "trick" in store for the residents of Southwest Virginia, parts of North Carolina, and West Virginia. This one will come in the form of millions and millions of noisy cicadas who are gradually emerging from their 17-year underground hibernation to spend the final few weeks of their lives mating and breeding. Dubbed Brood IX, the alien-like insects are expected to peak in mid-June, with as many as 1.5 million specimens emerging per acre. The visit, however, will be short-lived, and most will be gone by July.

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Father's Day 2020 Will Coincide With A Spectacular "Ring Of Fire" Annular Solar Eclipse

Are you looking for an "out of this world" gift for dad this Father's Day? Then you are in luck, for June 21, 2020, also happens to be the day of a relatively rare annular solar eclipse. The celestial event, which will transform the Sun into a spectacular "ring of fire," will be visible across a narrow, but long, slice of the Eastern Hemisphere. While a larger swath of the world will be able to view a partial eclipse, Americans will miss the event altogether since it will occur on the evening of June 20 and end by sunrise on June 21, 2020.

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These Stunning Yellow Swirls Could Be The First Evidence Of A New Planet Being Formed

Over the past two decades, powerful instruments, like the now-retired Kepler space telescope, have allowed astronomers to identify thousands of exoplanets. While the unique new worlds, which range from fiery gas giants to icy spheres, have helped increase astronomers' knowledge about the development of planets, the process of how they form has always been a mystery. Now, scientists may finally get some answers thanks to the stunning, first-ever images of a new exoplanet being "born" about 520 light years from Earth.

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Americans Demand Justice For George Floyd

Since May 26, 2020, cities across the US have been gripped by protests seeking justice for George Floyd, an unarmed African American man who died in police custody on May 25, 2020. The incident has led to one of the biggest displays of unrest seen in America in 50 years and reignited the debate about law enforcement and race relations globally. From May 30 to June 1, 2020, thousands of demonstrators in cities across the world — from London to Berlin to Auckland to Brazil — marched in solidarity with their US counterparts to demand justice for Floyd and to protest against the mistreatment of minority groups in their respective countries.

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SpaceX's Crew Dragon Successfully Delivers NASA Astronauts To The International Space Station

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are always thrilled to welcome new crew members to the orbiting laboratory. However, the May 31, 2020, arrival of NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on SpaceX's Endeavour was particularly exciting. It was the first piloted launch from American soil since the US Space Shuttle program was retired in 2011 and the first human spaceflight performed by a public-private partnership — NASA and SpaceX.

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Mark Your Calendars: Friday, June 5, Is National Donut Day!

If you are looking for an excuse to indulge in a donut or two, here is a perfect one. Friday, June 5, 2020, is National Donut Day, which means it is your civic duty to devour one — or even a dozen — of the fried treats. Observed annually on the first Friday of June, the yummy holiday was not established by donut manufacturers to boost sales, but by Salvation Army volunteers to raise funds for the poor.

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The Sahara Desert Was Once Home To Earth's Most Vicious Dinosaurs

The Sahara Desert, which encompasses over 3.6 million square miles of Northern Africa, is one of the harshest and most inhospitable places on the planet today. However, new research conducted by a team of international paleontologists has found that millions of years ago, the area was a lush green oasis filled with a frightening line-up of ferocious carnivores, including flying reptiles, crocodile-like hunters, and aquatic dinosaurs.

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