Celebrated annually on March 14, Pi ("π”) Day is a universal favorite with students and teachers. Though the American holiday, which honors the numerical constant representing the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, typically begins with a classroom discussion of the symbol, it usually ends with a slice or two of delicious pie. The event is commemorated every March 14 because the irrational number, which continues infinitely without repetition or pattern, is widely recognized as 3.14.
Paleontologists have long determined that modern-day birds evolved from smaller members of the two-legged, meat-eating theropods, such as velociraptors. However, for many years, the only transitional fossil linking the two had been that of the archaeopteryx — a bird-dinosaur hybrid that lived on Earth about 150 million years ago, during the late Jurassic period.
Despite the extreme quarantine measures taken by Chinese officials to stem the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronvirus (COVID-19), or Wuhan virus, the infectious, flu-like affliction continues to spread worldwide at an unprecedented rate. As of March 2, 2020, there are more than 90,000 reported cases in at least 53 countries, with more than 3,000 deaths globally.
Since the beginning of 2020, the East African country of Kenya has been battling the nation's worst desert locust outbreak in over 70 years. The destructive swarms, some as big as three times the size of New York City — an estimated 192 billion insects — are eating their way through thousands of acres of crops and animal pastures, decimating livelihoods in the process. Even worse, the locusts, which arrived from neighboring Somalia and Ethiopia, are now spreading to other countries, including Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Congo.
Though it is now arid, the Urumaco region in Venezuela's Falcón State was once a mega wetland that was home to numerous colossal animal species. These included rodents the size of modern-day buffaloes and 10-foot (3-meter) tall carnivorous birds. The latest to join the list of the area's massive creatures is a giant turtle that was 100 times larger than its closest living relative, the Amazon river turtle, and about 1.5 times the size of the world's largest living turtle, the marine leatherback.
Need an extra day to catch up on sleep or to finish an assignment this month? Then you are in luck, because 2020 is a leap year, an event that occurs once every four years. This means that instead of the customary 365 days, the year will have 366 days. Since the extra day is tacked onto the shortest month of the year, February 2020 will have 29 days.
California's Yosemite National Park is home to numerous stunning waterfalls. However, from mid-to-late February each year, the unlikely star of the pristine preserve is Horsetail Fall — a small, nondescript waterfall that forms over the eastern edge of the park's famous vertical rock formation, El Capitan, every winter. That's because, during the two-week-period, the temporary 1,000-foot fall frequently transforms into a spectacular "firefall" for about ten minutes a day during sunset.
While jewelry crafted from gold can be gorgeous, even ardent fans will admit that wearing the heavy metal over long periods of time can get a little cumbersome and annoying. Now, researchers from Swiss university ETH Zurich have created a new form of lightweight gold that weighs five to ten times less than traditional 18-carat gold — which typically comprises 75 percent gold and 25 percent copper — but retains the same purity.