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.
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!
Stars that get too close to black holes usually end up getting sucked in by the strong gravitational forces of the dense space objects, from which no light can escape. Now, for the first time, researchers have been able to observe the cosmic phenomenon — nicknamed "spaghettification" because it pulls apart a star into thin "spaghetti-like" strands — in real-time.
Soft robots, which can move around the ocean without harming sea life, are ideal for underwater exploration. However, they are rarely deployed because they are extremely slow and have a hard time maneuvering through the water. But that may change soon thanks to an innovative, self-propelling soft robot created by researchers at the University of California, San Diego.
For non-believers, this year's second — and final — Friday the 13th is just the start of a weekend. However, for the estimated twenty million people in the US, and scores more worldwide, that suffer from "friggatriskaidekaphobia," or "paraskevidekatriaphobia," November 13, 2020, will be fraught with bad luck. Though some of the fear can be blamed on the Friday the 13th movie franchise, the day's bad reputation began long before the film’s hockey-masked villain, Jason Voorhees, made an appearance.
After almost a week of painstaking ballot counting, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was elected president of the United States on Saturday, November 7, 2020. The Associated Press — which bases its determination on freelance local reporters who accumulate vote counts from clerks in every county of the 50 states — announced that the former vice president had secured 290 electoral college votes, 20 more than the 270 needed to be selected the country's president.