On November 20, 1947, a grand wedding took place in England. Princess Elizabeth married Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. At the time, people in Great Britain were recovering from World War 2. The wedding gave them something to celebrate. And now they’re celebrating something else: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have been married for 70 years! Now that’s an achievement!
People call 70th anniversaries “platinum.” (Twenty-fifth anniversaries are silver. Fiftieth anniversaries are gold.) In all of British history, no other ruler has ever had a platinum anniversary.
Queen Elizabeth is 91 now. Prince Philip is 95. Since Queen Elizabeth is getting older, she has passed on some of her duties to their son, Prince Charles. Prince Charles is next in line to become king.
The royal couple has four children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
(AP Photo: Britain's Princess Elizabeth and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh leave Westminster Abbey, London, following their wedding service in 1947.)
Super invaders are taking over the American South. Are tiny flea beetles the heroes that can stop them?
The tallow tree came to the United States from China. At first, people liked it. Its red leaves look beautiful in fall. It produces oils that people use for candle and soap-making. Beekeepers enjoy its bountiful nectar.
But tallow trees grow three times faster than other hardwood trees in the United States. Each one drops 100,000 seeds a year. Even cutting or burning the trees down won't stop them from spreading—unless you pour chemicals all over their stumps. Their falling leaves change the soil in the ground, making it hard for other plants to survive. Their falling seeds don’t have a lot of nutrition. They’re junk food for birds.
Some scientists want to bring flea beetles from China to fight the tallow tree. But flea beetles don’t belong in the United States either. What if the bugs become invaders too?
Scientists think the beetles may be a safe choice. The bugs seem to love to eat tallow trees—but nothing else.
(AP Photo: A flea beetle at the USDA/ARS Invasive Plant Research Laboratory in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)
Philip Mead’s heart starts to race. He sees a painting up for auction. To some, it looks like an ordinary picture of a tent. But he thinks it might be a treasure.
Mr. Mead is a historian at the American Revolution Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The painting he saw comes from 1782. It shows an army camp—but it isn’t just any camp. George Washington used it as his command center during the Revolutionary War! Mr. Mead says a find like that is almost too good to be true.
The museum bought the painting for $12,000. It was a risk. What if the painting didn’t turn out to be what Mr. Mead thought? A team of curators from the museum looked it over. It was the real thing. Not only that, Pierre L’Enfant created it. That French engineer designed Washington, D.C.
Cameras didn’t exist at the time the drawing was made. And wartime drawings from eyewitnesses are very rare. Mr. Mead says having this drawing is like having a Google Street View of a scene from the Revolutionary War.
Visitors will be able to see the painting at the museum in January.
(AP Photo: This photo shows part of the watercolor painting of George Washington’s headquarters.)
Uh oh! These whales are stuck. Somebody call a tow truck!
Groups of whales (called pods) follow a leader. If the leader swims too close to shore, the whales beach (get stuck). That happened on Monday, November 13, in Danda Aceh, Indonesia. At least 50 rescuers ran out into the water. Nearby volunteers helped too. They used boats, ropes, and tarps to set six of the whales free. But four of the whales died. Scientists will use drones to make sure the freed whales stay safe. People have to bury the dead whales too.
(AP Photo: Rescuers try to push stranded whales back into the ocean at Ujong Kareng beach in Aceh province, Indonesia.)
A scientist reaches his hand into a murky creek. He pulls out a big, spiky turtle. A wild turtle like this one hasn’t been found in Illinois since 1984!
Alligator snapping turtles are endangered in Illinois. But the female turtle the scientist found is18 years old. Is she the last survivor of a turtle group that disappeared? Or did she come to Illinois all the way from the Mississippi River?
Alligator snapping turtles can grow up to 175 pounds. Their worm-like tongues act like bait for their food—fish. Scientists have been working hard to bring the big turtles back to Illinois. Could their new discovery mean an unknown group of the turtles has been living there all along?
They’ll have a hard time finding out for sure. Scientists put a radio transmitter on the turtle to find out where she would go and whether she would lay eggs. But the radio’s battery died three months later. She’s probably still swimming in the creek. But there’s no way scientists will find her.
(AP Photo: A rare, wild alligator snapping turtle in Union County, Illinois)
What would you miss if you were living in outer space? Some astronauts on the International Space Station say, “Pizza! Ice cream!”
A stash of supplies rocketed toward the International Space Station on Sunday. The Antares rocket started on its journey from Wallops Island, Virginia. No pilot rode onboard. The ship carried 7,400 pounds of cargo. The cargo wasn’t all ice cream. But it did include frozen fruit bars, ice cream bars, ice cream sandwiches, and cups of chocolate and vanilla ice cream—about 80 treats in all. Pizza is on board too.
Crowds gathered in freezing weather. They cheered as the rocket took off. Astronaut Joe Acaba tweeted from space: “Pizza and ice cream on the way!”
(The Antares rocket lifts off from Wallops Island, Virginia, on Sunday, November 12.)
A hawk named Riley soars between two tall buildings in Los Angeles, California. For smaller birds, Riley’s presence means one thing: It’s time to fly for their lives! They head for the skies, and Riley’s work here is done. The hawk swoops down and lands on its owner’s gloved hand.
Trained hawks like Riley are becoming common in Los Angeles. People and businesses hire the birds’ owners to let them loose in the city. The hawks scare away seagulls, pigeons, and other pesky birds that leave messes behind.
“Pest” birds feel safe in cities. They can drink plenty of water from fountains. They can find lots of food. People scare away most of their predators, so city life has been practically paradise for them—until now.
Some people say using hawks for pest control isn’t fair to the hawks. They say hawks should be free. But falconers (hawk handlers) disagree. They say the trained birds are just doing their favorite things—flying and getting treats.
(AP Photo: Falconer Alyssa Bordonaro walks with her hawk Dany as schoolchildren ask questions at the Museum of Modern Art in Los Angeles.)
Brrr! It’s getting chilly in parts of the Pacific Ocean. Scientists have a word for that: La Nina.
Have you ever heard of El Nino? It warms things up. La Nina cools things down. And when conditions start to cool in the Pacific, weather changes all over the globe!
How will La Nina change the weather where you live? If you live in the southern part of the United States, weather will probably be extra dry this winter. If you live in the northwest United States or South Africa, get your rain boots ready. It will probably be extra wet. Get your snow boots out of the closet if you live in the Ohio or Tennessee Valleys.
La Nina’s weather changes things in another way too. It affects how much money people make. Fewer crops may grow in the United States, causing people to earn less money. China may lose money too. But India, New Zealand, and South Africa’s wealth will probably grow.
God made people to rely on the weather. That gives us a reminder: He controls our world. Everything good we have comes from Him.
(AP Photo: Dry, cracked mud along the banks of the Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park in Texas during one of the strongest La Nina years on record in 2011. A weak La Nina has formed this year. Scientists expect it to stick around for several months.)
Two years ago, the New Horizons spacecraft whipped past Pluto. Now it’s headed even farther, to a tiny, icy world called 2014 MU69.
Say that name five times fast. It’s tricky even for science whizzes! That’s why NASA is looking for the object’s new nickname.
MU69 is four billion miles away—and it may actually be two objects. They could be stuck together. They could be orbiting one another. If there are two, they will need two nicknames.
What would you call the object (or objects)? People can submit suggestions to NASA until December 1.The nicknames will be temporary. NASA officials say a formal name will come after the flyby in 2019.
(AP Photo: The New Horizons spacecraft)
You can find pecans on pies at Thanksgiving. But it turns out people aren’t the only ones who love these oblong nuts. Bugs do too—and they don’t even need a pie crust and lots of sugar to make them taste good. Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!
Pecan weevils lay eggs. The baby bugs eat the insides of pecans. Then they make circle-shaped holes in the shells. The nuts fall to the ground. The baby bugs—white grubs with no legs and reddish-brown heads—crawl out of the holes and into the ground. That’s nice for baby bugs—and terrible for pecan farmers.
Farmers in New Mexico rely on the pecan crop for money. But this year, instead of good, healthy pecans, they are finding nuts with holes in them. You can guess who the culprits are. Pecan weevils! Pecan weevils don’t belong in New Mexico. To keep the bugs from spreading, farmers are not allowed to sell their pecans to other places. That’s even bigger trouble for them. Oh, nuts!
(AP Photo: A tractor prepares a pecan orchard near Rincon, New Mexico.)
Air grows colder. Leaves fall down. Pelicans in the wild start to pack their suitcases. It’s time for the big move.
No, wild pelicans don’t really pack suitcases. But they do migrate thousands of miles south every autumn to escape the winter cold. What about pelicans living in zoos? They don’t fly south. But they still need a helping hand to find their way into their heated, inside enclosures.
As the weather gets colder and colder, workers at the Liberec zoo in northern Czech Republic get busy catching their pelicans. They chase them in kayaks on a pond. They grab the birds with their bare hands. The birds get rounded up without any harm. But one keeper gets a scratch on her face.
The pelicans will return outdoors once the long winter ends.
(AP Photo: A zoo curator carries a pelican to move him into his winter enclosure.)
These frizzy-haired orangutans are the new kids on the block—kind of. Scientists just added them to the primate family tree. The apes have really existed for a long time. Scientists just didn’t know about them yet!
Scientists haven’t found a new great ape species in 90 years. Researchers named the ape species Pongo tapanuliensis. The apes are different enough from other orangutans to be called a separate species. They have fuzzier hair and smaller heads.
Like other orangutans, the new apes live on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They are in serious danger. No more than 800 of them exist! That’s because people are destroying their rainforest homes. Scientist wonder: Will these great apes be discovered and disappear in our lifetime?
(AP Photo: A Tapanuli orangutan with its baby in Tapanuli, North Sumatra, Indonesia)
Would you like to sleep in this house? Almost everything inside it is made entirely of Legos!
Lego is having a sleepover contest at its newly-opened Lego House in Billund, Denmark. Lego House has 25 million Legos inside! It has a parents’ bedroom with a Lego cat, slippers, a coffee pot, and even a newspaper made from Legos. In the kid’s bedroom there’s a Lego teddy bear, lamp, and story book. Above the bed stands a 20-foot tall Lego waterfall! Sounds like paradise—as long as you don’t step on any Legos.
Contestants will each submit an idea for what they would build if they had an unlimited supply of Legos. The winner will get to have a Lego sleepover—and get a chance to build his or her Lego dream project with the help of an expert. What would you build?
(AP photo: The adult bedroom with cat and newspaper all made of Lego bricks)
The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee are bursting with fall colors. But about 13 million people in the United States can’t see those colors. They’re color blind. Now a new tool can help—a viewfinder designed especially for them!
State tourism officials invited people to try out the corrective viewer last Thursday. Color blind people rode ski-lifts up into the mountains. The people weren’t quite sure what to expect. When they looked into the viewfinder, some smiled. Some cried. They were filled with wonder!
Three of the viewfinders just debuted in Tennessee. “My heart just started beating fast,” says Todd Heil. He usually sees a lot of green. For others, the beautiful foliage always looks dull black. The people who tried out the viewer saw yellows, reds, and oranges all over the landscape for the first time.
(AP photo: A color blind person looks out from Mt. Harrison through a viewfinder designed to help see more colors.)
On Tuesday, the Olympic flame was handed to organizers of the 2018 winter games. The flame now begins a 100-day journey across the host country of South Korea. The flame will be carried from person to person by 7,500 torch-bearers as they visit 17 cities and provinces. Their route will cover about 1,260 miles. The winter Olympics will run February 9-25 in Pyeongchang.
(AP photo: Dancers in traditional Korean costume perform in front of the Greek, Olympic, and South Korean flags during a handover ceremony for the Olympic flame in Athens, Greece,on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.)
Five hundred years ago today, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Germany’s Wittenberg Castle Church.
Luther’s act ushered in what came to be known as the Protestant Reformation. In his theses, Luther primarily attacked the Catholic Church’s practice of selling papal indulgences—payments that promised people they could purchase forgiveness from sin and hasten their way into heaven.
Luther’s protest was more than a simple criticism of the indulgence trade. Luther challenged the Church’s authority. He translated the Latin Bible into German and encouraged education for men and women alike. His message was that all Christians were equal in God’s eyes and could reach heaven based on faith alone.
During his lifetime, Luther wrote thousands of sermons and pamphlets, composed hymns, preached every week, and engaged in tireless work on behalf of the emerging Protestant churches.
“The righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
(AP Photo: Martin Luther)
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