Fifteen US states, including New York, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, as well as Washington D.C., will soon be buzzing with billions, and perhaps even trillions, of cicadas. The noisy, red-eyed members of Brood X, which have been hibernating underground for the past 17 years, will emerge unannounced as soon as the conditions are right: the soil is 64 degrees, and on a night that's humid enough but free of wind and rain.
For the more than a billion Muslims worldwide, there is nothing more sacred than the month of Ramadan, or Ramazan. It was during this ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar that Jibril (the Archangel Gabriel in the Judeo-Christian faith) revealed the first verses of the Quran — Islam's holy text — to the prophet Muhammad. The auspicious month's start, based on the appearance of the super-slim young crescent Moon, is determined by moon-sighting committees in various Muslim countries, most notably in Saudi Arabia. This year, Ramadan will begin on Monday, April 12th, or Tuesday, April 13th.
When Christie's set out to auction its first-ever digital-only artwork — "Everydays: The First 5000 Days"— on March 1, 2021, they had fully expected it to fetch more than the minimum bid of $100. However, the 255-year-old British auction house had never in its wildest dreams envisioned that the unique masterpiece, minted by Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple, would fetch a record $60.25 million ($69.3 million with fees).
The 2020 Summer Olympics torch relay is finally underway. The Olympic flame, which was kindled in Olympia, Greece, on March 12, 2020, and transported to Japan on March 20, 2020, spent a year at the Olympic Museum in Tokyo after the Games were postponed due to the coronavirus. It began its 121-day journey from Fukushima to Tokyo's National Stadium — the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies — on March 25, 2021.
Easter, which will be observed on April 4, 2021, is the oldest and most important Christian festival. Many adults commemorate the holiday, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his Crucifixion, with prayers and fasting for 40 days before the event. For children in the US, Easter is largely about fun activities like seeking out candy-filled eggs, meeting the Easter bunny, and participating in spring parades. However, not everyone celebrates this all-important holiday with these traditions.
A 200,000 metric ton cargo boat blocking the Suez Canal for six days has finally been freed, clearing the way for over 300 ships waiting to cross one of the world's busiest waterways. The Japanese-owned Ever Given has been wedged sideways into the sandy banks of the 120-mile-long (193-kilometer-long) and 78-feet-deep (24 meter-deep) channel since March 23, 2021. It was dislodged on March 29, 2021, by a fleet of tugboats that worked all night to take advantage of the king tides — high tides that occur during a full moon when the Sun, Earth and the Moon are aligned.
Though it is not unusual to find marine animals thriving under the Antarctica seafloor, researchers had always assumed that all life would become less abundant farther away from open water and sunlight. However, the discovery of filter-feeding organisms — 160 miles (260 km) away from the open ocean, with temperatures of −2.2°C and under complete darkness — suggests that life in the world's harshest environment may be more adaptable and diverse than previously thought.
On July 31, 1697, a French lawyer named Jacques Sennacques wrote an urgent message to remind a cousin in the Netherlands to send him a relative's death certificate. To prevent others from reading the confidential memo, the note was carefully folded, or "letter locked." The ancient technique, which transformed the letter into its own secure package, was prevalent before the invention of envelopes.