On December 1, 2020, the United Kingdom (U.K.) became the first western country to give emergency approval for a COVID-19 vaccine. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) officials announced they would begin distributing 800,000 doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to 50 British hospitals as early as next week. The initial vaccines will be administered to some of the nation's most vulnerable citizens — nursing home residents, health workers, and the elderly.
Over the years, the caretakers at the Southern Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (SPWRC) in Lubbock, Texas, have sheltered hundreds of species of orphaned and injured animals, ranging from birds to reptiles. However, the hairless baby opossum, dropped off at the center in mid-October by a concerned resident, was unlike any animal they had encountered before.
With much of our world automated, many experts believe that coding should be a core part of modern education. Yet, only 20 US states offer high school students access to computer science courses, and just 8 of those make the subject accessible to kids in lower grades. However, thanks to Seattle-based Code.org's Hour of Code Challenge, learners of all ages and backgrounds can now get exposure to this all-important subject.
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about finding the best deals on holiday gifts for yourself and family members, Giving Tuesday serves a more altruistic purpose. Observed annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, it encourages people to help those in need by making financial donations or doing good in their local community. The “Global Day of Giving” was started in 2012 by New York City nonprofit 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation.
The next time you find an excuse to abandon your aspirations, think of Chris Nikic. On November 7, 2020, the 21-year-old Maitland, Florida, resident made history as the first person with Down Syndrome to attempt and complete an Ironman. Organized by the World Triathlon Corporation, the grueling competition requires athletes to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full, 26.2-mile, marathon — in under 17 hours!
On November 24, 2020, President Donald Trump exercised his executive powers for a beloved Thanksgiving tradition — the turkey pardon. The gorgeous toms, dubbed "Corn" and "Cob," were raised at an Iowa family farm owned by National Turkey Federation Chairman Ron Kardel, a 6th generation turkey, corn, and soybean farmer. The lucky birds will spend the rest of their days under the watchful eyes of animal science students at Iowa State University.
Extreme athletes have been using wingsuits — unique jumpsuits with fabric stitched between the arms and body and between the legs — to fly untethered for many years. However, while the "birdman" or "squirrel" suits allow daredevils to soar in the skies, the pull of gravity makes it impossible to accelerate or fly higher. To push past the limitations, Austrian stuntman Peter Salzmann teamed up with German car manufacturer BMW. The result is an electrified wingsuit, which allows flyers to zoom to higher altitudes at speeds of up to 186 miles per hour!
Gorillas, which can weigh as much as 400 pounds, are the largest of the great apes, a family of primates that include bonobos, chimpanzees, and orangutans. Despite their size, the intelligent mammals are known to be surprisingly gentle. Evidence of the animals' kind nature was recently caught on tape at a zoo in New South Wales, Australia.