Few American holidays are as anticipated as Thanksgiving. Observed annually on the last Thursday of November, the secular holiday, which marks the start of the festive season, is credited to a harvest feast shared by the early European settlers, or Pilgrims, and Native Americans in 1621. Though food remains the centerpiece of the celebration, many fun traditions have been added since. Here are some fun Thanksgiving tradition facts to share with family and friends as you enjoy the delicious meal on November 28, 2019.
Though thousands of adventurers have scaled Mount Everest, the highest and most famous of the world's 14 tallest mountains, only 40 climbers have conquered them all. Located in Asia's Himalayan and Karakoram ranges, the "eight-thousanders" each stand over 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) tall, above the so-called "death zone," where the amount of oxygen is insufficient to sustain human life for an extended period.
On November 10, 2019, nine agile mini cheetah robots, built by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), were let off their leash to demonstrate their superior athletic abilities. The four-legged machines, controlled by their human creators, began with a warm-up run across the field in full formation. They then took turns maneuvering a soccer ball. As often happens in games, a couple of the team members got into a skirmish and jostled with each other until they both fell onto their backs. Fortunately, they reconciled for the grand finale — a perfectly synchronized backflip, one that would make even a world-class gymnast like Simone Biles proud!
Endemic to the forests of south and southeast Asia, the silver-backed chevrotain, or Vietnamese mouse-deer, is one of the world's most elusive animals. The rabbit-sized critter is only known to science through five specimens, four of which were recorded by researchers in 1910. The fifth was killed by a hunter and donated to scientists in 1990. Since then, there have been no recorded sightings of the animals, leading many to fear they had gone extinct. Now, thanks to the efforts and persistence of a team led by biologist Andrew Tilker, the species has not only been rediscovered but also photographed in the wild for the first time!
Unlike early space travelers, who had to consume mysterious powders, purees, and freeze-dried cubes, today's astronauts enjoy a variety of freeze-dried meals, snacks, and desserts that can be commonly found on Earth. However, delicious as the cuisine is, it pales in comparison to a freshly-cooked meal. Though the ability to cook an entire spread in space may take a few years, astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) may soon be able to enjoy freshly-baked cookies, thanks to a newly-acquired space oven.
On Monday, November 11, 2019, stargazers will be treated to an unusual sight: our solar system's smallest planet, Mercury, passing between the Earth and the Sun. The rare event, called a transit, will be the fourth of just 14 transits of Mercury that will occur during the 21st century. The last one took place on May 8, 2016, and the next will not occur until November 13, 2032. However, it will not be visible from North America, which means the continent's residents will have to wait until May 7, 2049, to observe the celestial delight again.
Always wanted to meet a real-life superhero? Then you are in luck for November 11 is Veterans Day, an opportunity to thank the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, who often risk their lives to protect our freedom. This includes all those who have served in the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, National Guard, Air Force, and the Coast Guard.
Cinder-Block, an overweight cat, has become an internet sensation thanks to a workout video posted on social media by the Northshore Veterinary Hospital in Bellingham, Washington. The brief footage, published on October 19, 2019, shows the gray feline reluctantly exercising with one foot on an underwater treadmill while protesting loudly.