Smile! It’s Almost April Fools’ Day

For pranksters, there is no better holiday than April Fools' Day. Celebrated annually on April 1, it is the only day of the year when fun, harmless hoaxes go unpunished. The mischievous holiday has murky origins. Some believe it started in 1582 when France transitioned from the Julian calendar — which began the year around April 1 — to the currently used Gregorian calendar. Those unaware, or unwilling, to accept the date change were pranked. Others think the holiday started as a cheerful way to mark the start of spring....

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Rainbows Smile Too!

Mention rainbows, and the image that comes to mind is that of a beautiful translucent arc of bright colors bending towards the horizon. But in a recent image captured by Italian astrophotographer Marcella Giulia Pace and shared by NASA on March 11, 2022, the rainbow is turned around — making it appear like it is smiling! Magical as it sounds, the reason for the stunning phenomenon, called a circumzenithal arc, is rooted in science....

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How Pi Day Became America's Biggest Math Holiday

A holiday associated with a math constant may not seem very exciting. But Pi ("π") Day, observed annually in the US on March 14 (3/14), is an exception. That's because the celebrations may start with math activities centered around pi — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, widely recognized as 3.14. But they inevitably end with a slice or two of delicious pie!...

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Animals At Smithsonian's National Zoo Enjoy Snow 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....

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Goodbye 2021, Welcome 2022!

On December 31, 2021, the world happily bid farewell to yet another year of COVID uncertainties and welcomed 2022 with high hopes. The celebrations were scaled back, or in some cases even canceled, due to the rapid spread of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron. However, the variant's milder symptoms and lower fatality rates has renewed optimism that the pandemic would soon be behind us. Here are some of this year's most spectacular fireworks displays from around the world....

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WestJet's 2021 Christmas Miracle Is All About Reuniting Loved Ones

WestJet Airlines' annual "Christmas Miracle" videos, which capture employees providing much-needed holiday cheer to those in need, are legendary. Past "miracles" include flying in gifts and snow to the Dominican Republic and hosting a holiday party for a town devastated by a forest fire. In 2020, WestJet employees delivered 12,000 care packages with essentials and gifts to families hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the company wants to reunite families for the holidays....

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Open Your Hearts And Wallets — Giving Tuesday Is Tomorrow!

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."...

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Walt Disney World Turns 50!

Walt Disney World's 18-month-long party to celebrate its 50th birthday began amid much fanfare on October 1, 2021. "The World's Most Magical Celebration" — extended across all four theme parks — is being marked with many special events and experiences. Here is a sampling of the many exciting things in store for visitors to the Orlando, Florida, resort....

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Adorable Video Captures Black Bear Cub's First Playground Slide Experience

The school day had just ended at Isaac Dickson Elementary School in Asheville, North Carolina. Most students had left, and the ones in the school's "supervised homework help" program were inside the campus. Fifth-grade teacher Betsie Stockslager Emry was also heading home when she noticed two playful black bears entering the empty playground. What happened next will bring a smile to your face....

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Retired Circus Elephants Move To New Home With Plenty Of Room To Explore

After years of intense public pushback, the now-shuttered Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus finally announced the retirement of their Asian elephant performers in 2016. While the decision was a resounding victory for animal lovers and activists, it raised a new issue. The mighty pachyderms were raised in captivity and lacked the skills to survive in the wild. Now, thanks to Florida-based White Oak Conservation, the animals have a new home — one where they can roam freely....

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Free Comic Book Day Is On August 14!

Graphic novel lovers rejoice! Saturday, August 14, 2021, is Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). This means you can walk into any one of the 2300+ participating retailers and obtain a copy, or two, of the 50 comic books specially published for the event for free! The annual celebration usually takes place on the first Saturday in May. However, this year it was postponed to August due to the COVID-19 pandemic....

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World's Largest Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica's Ronne Ice Shelf

Antarctica is surrounded by icebergs. However, the finger-shaped chunk of ice that recently broke loose from the western side of the Ronne Ice Shelf — one of the world's most extensive ice platforms — is worthy of a mention. Measuring approximately 105 miles (170 km) long and 15 miles (25 km) wide, it boasts a surface area of 1,660 sq miles (4,300 sq km) and is currently the world's largest iceberg....

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100-Year-Old "Monster" Fish Caught In The Detroit River

When Jennifer Johnson and her team embarked on their annual quest to survey the sturgeon population in the Detroit River in mid-April 2021, they had fully expected to find some super-sized specimens. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists had never anticipated luring in the granddaddy of all sturgeons — a massive, 240-pound, 6-foot, 10-inch long fish that they estimate is at least a century old!...

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Mother's Day Is Coming, Are You Ready?

Every year, on the second Sunday of May, Americans show their appreciation for the real-life heroes in their lives — moms — with special treats and lavish gifts. This Mother's Day will be no exception. A National Retail Federation (NRF) survey of 7,818 people revealed that the approximately 83 percent of US adults who plan to celebrate the holiday on May 9, 2021, will each spend an average of $220.48. The total, an astounding $28.1 billion, is the highest amount in the survey's 18-year history and easily topples 2020's record spend of $26.7 billion....

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Maldives Unveils Plans For The World's First Floating Island City

The annual 3-to 4-millimeter rise in sea levels is expected to impact many coastal communities in the coming decades. However, few are as vulnerable as the Republic of the Maldives, a collection of more than a thousand picturesque islands in the Indian Ocean. NASA researchers believe that parts of what is "arguably the lowest-lying country in the world" will become uninhabitable by 2050, due to wave-driven flooding and limited freshwater. To combat the inevitable, the government recently unveiled plans for the world's first "true" floating island city....

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