Massachusetts 8th Graders Instigate Legislation To Clear The Name Of The Final Salem "Witch"

The infamous Salem witch trials, which took place in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693, were a dark period in America's legal history. More than 200 people were wrongfully accused of practicing witchcraft, and 20 were executed. In the 328 years since, most of the accused have been cleared of any crimes. However, for reasons unknown, Elizabeth Johnson Jr., who was just 22 at the time, was never pardoned. Now, thanks to the hard work of an eighth-grade class from North Andover Middle School, MA, her name may finally be cleared.

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Russian Crew Is The First To Film A Fiction Movie In Space

Space-related films have come a long way since A Trip to the Moon — a silent movie with no camera movement or close-ups — was released in 1902. Filmmakers now use the extensive technology at their disposal to immersively transport fans to alien worlds. However, no one has attempted to shoot a feature film in space — until now! On October 5, 2021, astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) welcomed their first fiction film crew — Russian actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko.

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Oil Spill Off The Coast Of California Closes Beaches And Threatens Wildlife

A ruptured undersea oil pipeline off the coast of Huntington Beach, CA, has leaked thousands of gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean, threatening fish and wildlife and causing numerous beach closures. The spill, caused by a 13-inch tear in a pipeline that transports crude oil from an offshore drilling platform to a pump station in Long Beach, CA, was first reported by locals on October 1, 2021. Experts are still trying to determine the amount of oil leaked before the pipeline was shut down on October 3, 2021. The estimates range anywhere from 25,000 gallons to 136,000 gallons.

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The Columbus Day Debate

The second Monday in October has traditionally been known as Columbus Day in honor of the Italian explorer's "discovery" of the Americas on October 12, 1492. However, the US federal holiday, which will be celebrated on October 11 this year, has always been controversial due to the European settlers' cruel treatment of the Native American people.

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Chain Mail-Inspired Fabric Can Stiffen On Demand

Many superheroes wear capes. But Batman's imposing floor-length cloak is legendary. The twisting sheath not only adds to the Dark Knight's mystique but also transforms into a rigid fabric that allows him to fly for extended periods. Now, engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have replicated the shape-shifting material in real life.

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France's Arc de Triomphe Gets A Temporary Artistic Makeover

One of the world's most iconic landmarks just got transformed into a work of art. From September 18 to October 3, 2021, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, will be embellished with 25,000 square meters of shimmering silvery-blue plastic fabric, held in place by 9,842 feet (3,000 meters) of red rope. The installation, dubbed "L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped," is the brainchild of the late artist duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

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The Significance Of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, will be celebrated from sundown on September 6, 2021, through sundown on September 8, 2021. The two-day observance, which starts on the first day of Tishrei — the seventh month on the Jewish calendar — commemorates the creation of the world.

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Hurricane Ida Makes Landfall In Louisiana As A Powerful Category 4 Storm

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season began with a bang for the residents of Louisiana. On August 29, 2021, the Gulf Coast state was battered by Hurricane Ida, a powerful Category 4 storm that officials believe was the strongest to hit the area in 165 years. To make matters worse, Ida arrived on the sixteenth anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina and made landfall twice.

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UN Climate Report Urges Immediate Action On Climate Change

On August 8, 2021, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its first assessment of climate science since 2013. The news was not good. The report stated that this past decade was the hottest in 125,000 years and that the atmospheric carbon levels are the highest in at least 2 million years. Glaciers are melting faster than any time in over 2,000 years, and ocean levels are rising at twice the rate since 2006.

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Enjoy This Year's Only Friday The 13th!

For most people, Friday the 13th is just another day on the calendar. However, for the superstitious, it is the unluckiest day of the year. The irrational fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia. It affects over twenty million people in the US and many more worldwide. Some of the anxiety can be blamed on the namesake movie series. However, the day's bad reputation began long before the film's hockey-masked villain, Jason Voorhees, made his debut in 1980.

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Simone Biles Draws Attention To The Importance Of Mental Health

Thanks to hours of training, gymnasts seem to effortlessly fly through the air at impossible heights. However, a psychological condition, known as "the twisties," can sidetrack even the most experienced gymnast. The phenomenon, attributed to stress, disorients the athletes and causes them to lose awareness while they are in the middle of a routine. It can lead to serious injury.

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Billionaires Jeff Bezos And Richard Branson Blast Off To Space!

Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos and Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson have dreamed of going to space since childhood. The billionaires have also been competing to become the first to launch commercial space travel. In July 2021, the two men fulfilled both quests with two separate jaunts to space in their respective company's rockets. The historic flights kicked off a new era of space tourism — for anyone who can afford it.

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Athletes To Watch At The 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The countdown to the 2020 Summer Games has begun. On July 23, 2021, about 11,000 athletes from 206 countries will gather at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, for the opening ceremony of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad. Here are a few contestants to keep an eye on at the world's most prestigious sporting event.

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Get Ready To Celebrate National Ice Cream Month!

Here is some good news for those wilting in the sweltering summer heat — July is National Ice Cream Month! The "cool" holiday can be credited to Proclamation 5219, signed by former US President Ronald Reagan on July 9, 1984. The decree urges citizens to observe the entire month, or at the very least the third Sunday of July — designated National Ice Cream Day — “with appropriate ceremonies and activities."

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