11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

… school districts have gotten creative in announcing snow days.

Find five fun ways to warm up on snow days!


… some good news! Central Mexico reported its first sighting of a black bear in more than 100 years!

American black bears (like this one in California) are not endangered.
Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

What is the species range of the black bear?


… how a music teacher’s project is sending students to lullaby land.

“People say music is a universal language — it’s not,” says Becca Buck, who collected songs sung in her students’ homes. “It’s a language we all speak differently.”
Photograph courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-2.5

Learn how one educator uses “global sounds” to take her students around the world.


… a Dutch company has patented Ethiopian flour.

Injera, the iconic Ethiopian flatbread, is made with the cereal grain teff. A Dutch entrepreneur owns the patent on flour made from teff.
Photograph by Jim Richardson, National Geographic

What makes teff an Ethiopian food staple?


… the oldest periodic table yet found was discovered in a storage room in Scotland.

This awesome graphic shows how we interact with each element. So cool.
Illustration by Keith Enevoldsen. CC-BY-SA-4.0

How dedicated are you to the periodic table?


… biologists identified the world’s first omnivorous shark.

Bonnethead sharks, the smallest member of the hammerhead family, snack on seagrass.
Photograph by Felix Manuel Cobos Sánchez, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-2.0

Learn more about this seagrass-eating shark from one of our expeditions!


… churches are crucial to preserving biodiversity in Ethiopia.

A cathedral garden provides a ring of biodiversity in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Photograph by James P. Blair, National Geographic

What other sacred sites are hotspots of conservation?


… the Chinese industrial complex is trying to turn the middle of nowhere to the center of the world.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is nicknamed the “21st Century Silk Road.”
Map by Lommes, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-4.0

What is China’s Belt and Road Initiative?


… protecting monarch butterfly habitat could mean moving hundreds of trees to higher elevations.

It takes monarchs about two months to migrate to Mexico. It’s important to remember that monarch migration consists of several generations—the butterflies that finish a migration are not the butterflies that began it.
Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic

How did scientists crack the mystery of monarchs’ Mexican habitat?


… science has caught up with the yogic tradition of Pranayam in recognizing the importance of breathing techniques in controlling anxiety.

Indian sailors practice Pranayam on board the INS Sunayna.
Photograph by the Government of India, courtesy Wikimedia. GODL-India

What other health benefits does yoga have?


… flying squirrels are secretly pink.

A museum specimen of Humboldt’s flying squirrel looks brown under white light but fluoresces bubble-gum pink under ultraviolet light. Credit: A. M. Kohler et al./J. Mammal.

What other animals glow?

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