Valentine’s Day, the holiday of love and romance, is almost here. On February 14, children and adults alike will shower their friends and loved ones with gifts that range from cards with endearing messages to chocolates, long-stemmed red roses, and even fine jewelry. Here are some fun facts about this all-important shopping holiday which is expected to earn retailers a record $20.7 billion in 2019.
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Last week’s record-breaking cold snap, which brought many US cities to a standstill, finally ended on February 2, 2019. Residents all the way from southern New England to the Upper Midwest breathed a sigh of relief as temperatures rose to a “balmy” mid-40s and low 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Even better, that same day, world-famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow, which means that spring is a mere six weeks away!
On February 5, 2019, over a billion people in China and millions around the world will celebrate the Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival. The ancient tradition, whose date is determined by the lunar calendar and falls somewhere between January 21 and February 20 each year, is the longest and most important of all Chinese festivals.
On Sunday, February 3, 2019, over 180 million Americans will tune in to watch Super Bowl LIII. While the National Football League Championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots certainly promises to be interesting, for most people, the day provides an excuse to host parties, mingle with friends and family, and indulge in foods they would usually avoid, or at least not consume with such abandon. It is, therefore, not surprising that Super Bowl Sunday ranks as one of the country’s biggest food consumption days — second only to Thanksgiving.
The longest federal shutdown in US history has finally ended! At around midday on January 25, 2019, President Donald Trump and US Congressional leaders agreed to reopen the government, which has been partially shut since December 21, 2018, for three weeks until February 15, 2019. Lawmakers from both parties believe this will give them enough time to reach a compromise on President Trump’s $5.7 billion request to build a US – Mexico border wall, which has caused the lengthy shutdown.
Most of us have, at some point, experienced travel congestion, especially during major holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. However, nothing compares to the crowds triggered by the Chinese Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, when millions of people make their way home – usually from cities to rural areas – to celebrate the all-important holiday with friends and family. The spring travel rush, or Chunyun, begins 15 days before the festival – which falls on February 5 this year – and ends 25 days after. The 40-day period collectively results in the world’s largest seasonal human migration. This year will be no exception.
Those concerned that robots are taking over the world can rest easy – for now. Though the androids have proved useful at performing mundane tasks, they are not ready for prime time. At least that appears to be the case at Japan’s cutting-edge Henn-na Hotel chain, where over half of the robot staff is being replaced by humans.
The eyes of Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic Mona Lisa have long been thought to follow viewers around the gallery of the Louvre Museum in Paris where it is exhibited, as well as those looking at photographs and reproductions of the famous painting. Now, researchers from Germany's Bielefeld University assert that while “The Mona Lisa Effect,” – the impression that the eyes of the subject in a portrait are following the viewer – is real, it is not true for its namesake painting.