11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

… what unites and divides urban, suburban, and rural communities. Resource of the week!

All three communities seem to agree that rural areas benefit least from federal programs.
Photograph by Chris Johns, National Geographic

What are rural and urban areas?



… the facts about fingerprints.

Fingerprints are formed by friction from touching the walls of our mother’s womb.
Photograph by D. Sharon Pruitt, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-2.0

Are our belly buttons as diverse as our fingerprints?



… how kindergartners are seeing the (circadian) light.

Bluish “morning” light may boost energy earlier in the day, while orangey “campfire” tones may be more appropriate for the afternoon.
Photograph by Lynn Johnson, National Geographic

What are your lighting choices?



… all about the girls who led the desegregation movement in schools.

Barnard School, in Washington, D.C., above, was integrated a year after the Brown decision.
Photograph by Thomas J. O’Halloran, courtesy Library of Congress

A third-grade girl was at the center of Brown v. Board.



… to find clean water, you sometimes have to go batty.

To find high-quality surface waters, people could observe bat activity levels using acoustic detectors to record bats’ echolocation calls.
Photograph by Merlin Tuttle, National Geographic

Meet the Arizona myotis—a bat who lives near large bodies of water.



… people with glasses really are smarter. (Or: the benefits of bad eyesight.)

These glasses normally protect the eyes of this steel-plate cutter.
Photograph by Robert Madden, National Geographic

How many of our explorers wear glasses? Check at the Explorers Festival and see.



… what it’s like to be a dolphin.

You have good eyesight, both in and out of the water. You might see color, but maybe not—it’s complicated. You lack olfactory nerves, so you don’t have a sense of smell (your air-to-nostril time is exclusively for breathing). You do have excellent hearing: You can even “see through” things, using sonar.
Photograph by Brian J. Skerry, National Geographic

What do cetaceans see?



… Europe is being rebranded.

Rem Koolhaas is leading a group of artists to find new ways for the European Union to better present itself to the public. This was a design he submitted as a flag for the EU back in 2004.
Illustration courtesy Wikimedia

What is the human geography of Europe?



… an Alaskan refuge may be the most contested land in the U.S.

Congress voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
Map by Lauren E. James, National Geographic

Use our resource to learn a little about what’s at stake.



… where our planet is protected.

Map by ProtectedPlanet

Create your own protected area with our activity.

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