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).
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.
The idiom “shoot for the stars” has just taken on a literal meaning for cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux. On February 22, 2021, the Memphis, Tennessee, native was selected to be one of four crew members of the SpaceX Inspiration4 — the world's first civilian astronaut mission. The 29-year-old will make further history as the youngest American — and the first with a prosthetic limb — to travel to space.
Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, has been erupting regularly since 2011. However, the latest series of explosions, which began on February 16, 2021, has been particularly noteworthy. Emanating from the youngest of the volcano's four craters — the Southeast Crater— they have spewed spectacular fountains of lava as high as 0.9 miles (1.5 kilometers). To put it in perspective, that is about three times the height of One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the United States.
St. Patrick may have been an Irish clergyman, but his death anniversary — observed annually on March 17 — is celebrated worldwide, even in cities and towns with few or no ethnic Irish people. Here is a brief history of the man behind the holiday and the origins of some of the fun traditions associated with the commemoration.
A team of Swedish scientists has successfully extracted and reconstructed the world's oldest DNA from the tooth of a Siberian mammoth, which roamed Earth over a million years ago. Also known as deoxyribonucleic acid, the all-important molecule — which contains the genetic instructions for the development and function of living things. — provides new insights into the evolution of the ancient Ice Age giants. Prior to this, the oldest DNA sequenced came from the bone of a horse that trotted around Canada about 700,000 years ago.