Happy 2019! As is the tradition each year, at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, 2018, cities and towns worldwide ushered in the new year with elaborate fireworks displays. Here are a few that we thought were particularly noteworthy.
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Every October, farmers across the US harvest millions of pumpkins. Some make it to the dinner table in the form of delicious soups or pies, while others get transformed into scary Halloween monsters. Then there are the select few whose only purpose is to win contests like the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off held annually in Half Moon Bay, CA – the self-proclaimed “World Pumpkin Capital.”
The sale of a Banksy painting for $1.4 million, the highest-ever paid for the British street artist’s solo work, was the perfect finale for Sotheby’s “Frieze Week” evening contemporary art auction on October 5, 2018. But before the auctioneers had time to celebrate, an alarm sounded and then, to everyone’s dismay, the artwork began to self-shred while sliding down the frame.
With over 350 million cubes sold since it hit toy stores in 1974, the Rubik’s Cube is probably one of the world’s most popular toys ever. However, while the iconic cube has an avid fan base, which regularly compete to be the fastest, the brain teaser is daunting for most. It is, therefore, not surprising to hear that even though the toy has been on the market for over 44 years, less than 6 percent of the world’s population is able to solve it. Now, Israel-based startup Particula is introducing Go-Cube, a hi-tech version of the classic toy that promises to make the puzzle fun and interactive for both beginners and experts.
After breaking numerous records on Earth, retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt recently put his legendary speed to test in “space.” The “out-of-this-world” race, staged in a zero gravity environment aboard an airplane designed for scientific research, took place over France on September 13, 2018. It was a publicity stunt organized by champagne-maker G.H. Mumm, to showcase their newly-designed bottle created to make it easier for astronauts and future space tourists to enjoy the beverage while floating through outer space.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s charismatic giant panda Bei Bei, who has won over millions of hearts with his playful behavior and bold personality, turned three on August 22, 2018. To celebrate the occasion, the Zoo’s youngest panda bear was treated to a special enrichment painting session, gifted a new toy, and, best of all, given a massive ice cake, complete with the number 3, to feast on all by himself!
Even if an art museum featuring portraits of legendary singer Frank Sinatra and Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe is not your idea of fun, you may want to give Candytopia a chance. That’s because, in this museum, everything is made from candy! The best part? There is no need to find a “Golden Ticket” to gain admission to this real-life Willy Wonka world that is making its way around the US — tickets can be purchased online, or in-person at the venue.
NASA’s ambitious mission to “touch” the Sun got underway at 3:31 a.m. EST on August 12 with the launch of the Parker Solar Probe from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Within six weeks, the spacecraft, which is currently traveling at 39,500 miles per hour, will conduct the first of seven flybys of Venus and use the planet’s gravitational pull to catapult itself closer to the Sun. The process, known as gravity assist, is instrumental in the probe’s mission to reach our fiery star.