11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

… why there were only four colors in a medieval rainbow. Read of the week!

“From the sky it draws the fiery colour, from the waters purple, from the air white, and from the earth it gathers black.”
From the Cotton MS Domitian A. i, fol. 28v, courtesy the British Library

What is a rainbow, anyway?

 

… Black Friday sales numbers are useless and wrong.

Cyber Monday encourages consumers to shop online the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Photograph by HebiFot, courtesy Pixabay

What are some contemporary updates to Black Friday?

 

 

… how geography helps explain poverty in Philadelphia.

A gorgeous hawk at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum echoes the skyline of Philadelphia.
Photograph by Derik Pinsonneault, courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

How can urban planning help address the geography of poverty?

 

… Puerto Rico’s Arecibo telescope will be rescued.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), which funds about two-thirds of the observatory’s annual US$12-million budget, has decided to continue operating it in collaboration with as-yet-to-be-decided partners.
Photograph by NAIC Arecibo Observatory, a facility of the NSF

What makes the Arecibo Radio Telescope so amazing?

 

… a Galapagos finch was caught in the act of becoming a new species.

The birds Darwin collected in the Galapagos inspired him and later scientists to develop the evolutionary principle of natural selection—the idea that animals evolve particular traits to suit their lifestyles.
Illustration courtesy National Geographic

As one Galapagos finch is adapting, learn how another is on the brink of extinction.

 

… London’s buses are caffeinated.

A biofuel containing some coffee oil will be used to power some of London’s buses. So far, the coffee partnership has produced enough coffee oil to power one bus for a year.
Photograph by Dun.can, courtesy Flickr. CC BY 2.0

What other public transportation options could caffeine up?

 

… modern life and Chinese imports are threatening a centuries-old Bedouin tradition.

A traditional shibriya is more than a knife, says one blacksmith. “This is life and death.”
Photograph by יאיר צפורי, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-4.0

Who are the Bedouin?

 

… thunderstorms trigger nuclear reactions.

Tourists on South Rim watch thunderhead cloud forming in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.
Photograph by Walter Meayers Edwards, National Geographic

Help forecast a thunderstorm with our great “Extreme Weather” interactive.

 

… learning to code will eventually be as useful as learning Greek.

Yeah, that’s not what most people want to hear. Find out why.

 

… there’s an ancient link between mastodon poop and pumpkin pie.

Squash seeds found in fossilized dung is clear evidence that mastodons and mammoths ate the baseball-sized bitter squash and that the wild plant relied on them to disperse its seeds.
Illustration by Charles R. Knight, courtesy Wikimedia. Public domain

Would modern-day mastodons snack on pumpkins?

 

… this gorgeous infographic may help you identify every single cognitive bias.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

How can elementary schoolers uncover their own cognitive bias? Our educators have some ideas!

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