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.
The deadly winter storm, which swept across 22 states — from Texas to Maine — the week of February 14, 2021, delivered large amounts of snow and ice, and established numerous low-temperature records. While over 140 million Americans were impacted, Texas was particularly hard hit. The Arctic chill caused about 60 percent of the state's energy sources to go offline and water pipes to freeze and burst, leaving millions without electricity and water.
If you have been paying any attention to the news over the past few weeks, you may have heard of the exponential rise and the equally dramatic drop in the share price of video game retailer GameStop (GME) and other "meme" stocks — those favored by millennials — like AMC Theaters. The two-week frenzy, which pitted individual amateur investors against seasoned professionals — and resulted in a Congressional inquiry— began rather innocently in an online community on Reddit.
Supreme Court Justice and feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, DC, on September 18, 2020, from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. The 87-year-old, who was appointed to the nation's highest court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, was the longest sitting Supreme Court Justice. She was also only the second woman, after Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, to serve in this position.
September 11, 2020, marks the 19th anniversary of the most brazen and deadly terrorist attacks on American soil. The unprovoked act of violence, planned by Islamic extremist organization Al Qaeda, killed 2,977 innocent people and changed life as we knew it forever.
The lack of clues left behind by ancient Americans has made it difficult for researchers to pinpoint precisely when humans first arrived on the continent. However, it has always been believed to be about 13,000 years ago, just as the world was thawing from the last ice age. Now, evidence from the Chiquihuite Cave in Zacatecas, Central Mexico, seems to suggest that prehistoric humans may have been living in North America as early as 30,000 years ago.
American civil rights leader and U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA) passed away on July 17, 2020, following a seven-month battle with pancreatic cancer. The 80-year-old dedicated his life to building what he called "The Beloved Community" in America — first as a civil rights leader and then as a lawmaker advocating, for reforms on issues from gun control to health care.
The solar system is about to get busy! In the next few weeks, a slew of spacecraft will embark on a one-way journey to Mars, to seek evidence of past life and to further investigate its unusual atmosphere. The back-to-back missions are timed to take advantage of the short window of opportunity — caused by celestial mechanics — that will allow them to reach the Red Planet in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.