11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

… the commencement speech of the year was delivered by soccer icon Abby Wambach. Resource of the week!

Listen to a mash-up of other great commencement speeches.



… all about the rise, fall, and resurrection of the Los Angeles River. 

Behold, the Los Angeles River at Griffith Park around the turn of the century.
Photograph courtesy USC Libraries Special Collections and Wikimedia. Public domain

How have other cities used land near rivers?



… citizen seals are helping collect climate-change data.

Cyberpunk seal unicorn! In just nine months, sensor-equipped elephant seals and Weddell seals collected 10,000 observations on ocean conditions in the Amundsen Sea. Photograph by Lars Boehme, Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St. Andrews

What other seals have done data-collection duties?



… an armada of saildrones could conquer the ocean.

Behold, the future of shipping and oceanography.
Photograph courtesy NOAA. Public domain

Learn why underwater drones are cheaper, easier, and more accessible than ever.



… most maps of the new Ebola outbreak are wrong.

Old (left) and new (right) maps of the Ebola outbreak zone. Map by Cyrus Sinai, courtesy The Atlantic

What is Ebola?



… how the Japanese keep the trains running so smoothly.

Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station, above, is the busiest transit hub in the world, serving more than 3.5 million people every day. Blue lamps at the ends of platforms deter suicide attempts. Melodic jingles alert passengers to departing trains. Our favorite: High-pitched noise generators, inaudible to the over-25s, disperse loitering teenagers.
Photograph by Chris 73, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-3.0

How do cities manage public transportation?



… how an inner-city Minnesota high school built a badminton dynasty.

St. Paul Johnson High School’s varsity badminton team after winning their ninth state title. Photograph by Mark Fischbach, courtesy Deadspin

Learn how Title IX helped make the dynasty possible.



… that 130 years after plundering the Arctic, a German anthropology museum is returning grave goods to Alaska Natives.

More than 7,000 items were collected from the Chugach region of Alaska by German ethnographers in the 1880s. Some were bought, but many were dug up from burial sites without consent.
Photograph by Erika Larsen, National Geographic

What other indigenous peoples have tried to encourage cultural repatriation? Use our resources to dig deeper.



… how Muslims on opposite poles observe Ramadan. (Icelanders have it tough.)

This Muslim girl is praying in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Photograph by Kitra Cahana, National Geographic

Hey, Muslims in the U.S. can get ready for Eid with Party City.



… what books Bill Gates recommends for summer reading.

What books are our explorers reading?



… what languages are the most difficult for English-speakers to learn.

Infographic by Voxy

Get an introduction to Spanish, one of the easier languages for English-speakers to learn, with our fun set of beautiful, downloadable illustrations.

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