The people have spoken, and the 2012 Adventurers of the Year have been chosen! After more than 70,000 votes, Sano Babu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa have come out on top. During their 2011 Ultimate Descent expedition, the adventurers climbed Mount Everest, paraglided back down, and then kayaked to the Indian Ocean.
Photograph courtesy Sano Babu Sunuwar
What’s wrong with this bat’s face? Nothing at all! This is a Griffin’s leaf-nosed bat. It was first seen in Vietnam’s Chu Mom Ray National Park in 2008, but has only recently been confirmed as a new species. Scientists think that the leaf-like features on the bat’s face may help them with echolocation.
Photograph courtesy Vu Dinh Thong
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to explore Hawaii? Write an essay about why you would like to explore this Hawaiian island and draw a picture of what you think you would see, and you could win a weeklong trip to O’ahu with Andrew Evans, National Geographic’s Digital Nomad.
Next week, Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo will host an animal election for “President” of the zoo. Among the candidates are a lion, an Andean condor, and a red panda. Visitors to the zoo can vote from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. If you can’t visit the zoo, you can also vote by email.
Photo courtesy of Fran Mandeville
A four-year-old Pekingese named CH Palacegarden Malachy (or Malachy for short) won Best in Show at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City on Tuesday. This is the fourth time a Pekingese has won, but the last time a member of this breed was top dog was 22 years ago! The Pekingese breed gets its name from the Chinese capital city of Beijing, which used to be known as Peking.
Photograph by Timothy A. Clary, Getty Images
During the winter months, many animals seem to disappear as temperatures drop and the days grow shorter. Some of them migrate, but others hibernate. Hibernation is a state in which animals fall into a deep sleep-like state. The marmot hibernates for up to eight months every year! But it’s not just mammals that hibernate. Reptiles such as snakes and turtles also hibernate. While the box turtle hibernates, its heart beats once every five to ten minutes, and it doesn’t have to breathe–instead, it takes in oxygen through its skin. When warmer spring temperatures arrive, hibernating animals wake up and go out in search of food to fill their empty stomachs.
Photograph by Lorna Mildice, My Shot
Scientists have discovered a new species of giant amphipods, or shrimp-like animals, in one of the world’s deepest ocean trenches. The Kermadec Trench is found off of the northern coast of New Zealand. The largest of the amphipods is an amazing 11 inches (28 centimeters) long. “Amphipods are common to deep-sea trenches, but they’re usually 2 to 3 centimeters [about an inch] long. They turn up in a matter of minutes like a swarm of bees and simply devour all of the bait,” said Alan Jamieson, a marine biologist at the University of Aberdeen and co-leader of the expedition that found the animals.
Photograph courtesy Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow when he came out of his tree stump this morning in Pennsylvania. According to the legend, if Phil sees his shadow, we should expect six more weeks of winter weather. If Phil does not see his shadow, spring is just around the corner.
Photograph by Gene J. Puskar, AP
A strong solar flare from an active region of the sun caused a dramatic display of the aurora borealis (northern lights) and aurora australis (southern lights). The solar flare sent a cloud of gas and charged particles called a coronal mass ejection, or CME, at the Earth. The flare’s collision with the Earth’s magnetic field causes the brilliant light displays.
The sun has a cycle 11 years long. We are now in the part of the cycle where the sun’s activity is higher. Scientists predict that we will continue to see this kind of intense auroras as the sun’s activity increases, reaching what is known as solar maximum next year.
Photograph by Thilo Bubek
Scientists have been taking a closer look at the “dance” that dung beetles perform on top of their dung balls. So why do the beetles dance? They’re using the sun to figure out which direction to travel. As the beetle moves on top of the dung ball, it is checking the position of the sun to help it navigate.
Photograph by Chris Johns, National Geographic
Today is Friday the 13th. Some people believe that the number 13 is unlucky. In fact, there’s even a word for fear of the number 13: Triskaidekaphobia. Some people believe that Friday the 13th is an especially unlucky day. If you are afraid of Friday the 13th, you have paraskevidekatriaphobia.
This is the first of three Friday the 13ths in 2012. The other two are in April and July. We won’t have three in one year again until 2015, and not again after that until 2026!
Photograph by SuperStock, Inc.
Today is the start of the 2012 Google Science Fair! This competition is for curious kids ages 13 to 18. If you have a great idea for a project, you can register for the fair. The grand prize winner will receive cool prizes including a National Geographic Expedition trip to the Galapagos Archipelago!
Which superhero would you be and why? That’s the question that nine-year-old Ari Garnick asked the Republican candidates this summer. Ari took some time away from books and LEGOs to talk to the candidates as they criss-crossed his home state of New Hampshire. He met Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman at a Fourth of July parade in Amherst, New Hampshire. He also got to see Romney hand out coffee and sandwiches at a local diner. Ari braved a massive crowd at the opening of Herman Cain’s headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire. “If you have claustrophobia, you’d want to stay away from there,” but Ari squeezed his way through to talk to Cain. He met Rick Perry at a house party, Rick Santorum at a Greek festival, and Newt Gingrich at a “meet and greet.” He and his dad took a long drive to see Ron Paul at Keene State College, but Paul seemed “more interested in talking to adults,” said Ari. As a consolation, Ari’s dad took him for some pizza and ice cream. He and his dad were not able to talk to Michele Bachmann, but they hope to when she is back in New Hampshire.
Today, people in Iowa gather in the Iowa caucuses, the first election event and chance for people in Iowa to pick the Republican they want on the ballot to face off against President Barack Obama this fall. The 2012 presidential election is many months away and will be held on November 6, but the Republican candidates have already spent a lot of time on the campaign trail in 2011.
Ari thinks the election process is interesting, but he doesn’t think kids should be allowed to vote. “Kids don’t know anything about the candidates and might just like their name,” he said. Most of his friends aren’t interested in the election.
Small spiders are just as good at spinning webs as large ones. But why is that? Scientists point to the fact that tiny spiders have relatively giant brains! They’re so big, in fact, that their brains spill into their bodies–even into their legs! The smaller the spider, the larger its brain is relative to the rest of its body. Scientists think that web-spinning might be one reason for spiders to have such large brains.
Photograph by Don Johnston, All Canada/Getty Images
You may have noticed that if you see someone yawn, you feel an urge to yawn yourself. This is called contagious yawning. But a new study shows that rates of contagious yawning are higher near relatives, followed by close friends. The study suggests that yawning may be a way to empathize with others by showing you are feeling the same way they are feeling.
Photograph by Lynn Johnson, National Geographic
The yearly Geminid meteor shower will be dazzling tomorrow night, so ask your parents if you can stay up to check it out! The shower’s peak on the night of December 13 to the early hours of December 14 is expected to be a brilliant one, filled with colorful shooting stars. “The best times are probably before the moon rises, when it will be dark still,” said Geza Gyuk, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. The bright moon will make the fainter meteors harder to see.
Photograph by Jonathan Blair, Corbis
Photograph from Museo Paleontologico de Caldera via AP
A new study says Polistes fuscatus paper wasps are able to remember other wasps! “Studies show that when you look at a face, your brain treats it in a totally different way than it does other images,” says Michael Sheehan, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the study’s co-author. “It’s just the way the brain processes the image of a face, and it turns out that these paper wasps do the same thing.”
Why might recognizing other wasps be helpful? It might help keep the peace between the wasps. “Being able to recognize each other helps them understand who’s already beaten who, who has higher ranking in the hierarchy, and this helps to keep the peace. When they aren’t able to recognize each other, [as] we’ve shown before, there was more aggression,” says Sheehan.
Diagram courtesy Science/AAAS
The 2011 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony begins today 5 p.m. EST. Carson Daly will host the ceremony, and President Obama will officially light the tree. There will be performances during the event, featuring Kermit the Frog, Will.i.am, Big Time Rush, and more.
There has been a National Christmas Tree every year since 1923. The tree that will be lit today is a new Colorado blue spruce. The last tree was damaged in February 2011 and had to be replaced. There will be nightly performances at the National Christmas Tree from December 6 through December 23.
PBS stations across the country will broadcast the ceremony. You can also watch the ceremony online at www.thenationaltree.org.
Photograph by Jewel Samad, AFP/Getty Images
This Thursday is Thanksgiving! Chances are you will have a lot of leftovers after your family feast. There’s a lot of extra food in American houses between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day–an extra 5 million tons!
What can you do to cut down on food waste this holiday season? Here are some tips from Nourishing the Planet on how your family can cut back.
Make a List
Create a shopping list of all the items you will need for holiday meals and stick to it.
Take Smaller Portions
Use a smaller plate to help you take smaller portions of food at mealtimes. That way you’re less likely to have leftovers on your plate.
Store Leftovers Safely
Proper storage of leftovers keeps them safe to eat for longer. Food that hasn’t been served properly have to be tossed.
Instead of throwing out food scraps, add them to your compost heap.
If you have extra (unopened) dried or canned foods, donate them to food banks or shelters.
Photograph by Tyrone Turner
National Geographic Adventure editors have chosen their ten Adventurers of the Year. Readers are now encouraged to vote for their favorites for the People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year. One of the adventurers is 19-year-old Carissa Moore (pictured above). She is the youngest ASP (the Association of Surfing Professionals) women’s world champion!
Carissa says that you can learn lessons about life from surfing. “Surfing has taught me how to adapt. Things are ever changing in the ocean, which is much like life. You have to be able to change your plans on a moment’s notice. Nothing is ever going to go your way, so you have to be able to take the losses with the wins and pick yourself up quickly.”
What was your best adventure in 2011? Leave a comment below and tell us!
Read about all of the nominees, then vote for your favorite on National Geographic Adventure.
Want to read more about kids having adventures? Check out the Hands-On Explorer blog.
Photograph by Simon Williams, Red Bull Photo Pool
This week is Geography Awareness Week. Explore your own school and neighborhood through geographic eyes by undertaking a series of missions using skills such as photography, storytelling, mapping, and taking action. Visit the Geography Awareness Week website to learn more.
Geography Awareness Week was created in 1978 as a time for families and
classrooms to promote geography literacy. Is your class doing anything
special to learn more about geography this week?
Photograph by Anoziram, NG Kids My Shot
The black rhinoceros is a critically endangered animal. To try to protect the remaining rhinos, some of them have been moved to a new location inside a reserve as part of the WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project. The rhinos will be safer from poachers in their new location in Limpopo Province.
One new technique involves airlifting 19 rhinoceroses by helicopter after they had been tranquilized! This is a fast and easy way to move the animals to transport vehicles. “It is also so simple a concept that we are all kicking ourselves that we didn’t do it long ago,” said project leader Jacques Flamand.
Photograph courtesy Green Renaissance/WWF
In 2009, a metal detector enthusiast found a huge Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard in England. It’s the largest collection of gold from this period ever found! Terry Herbert discovered the gold and has worked with a team of archeologists to dig up more than 3,500 different pieces. National Geographic Museum has more than 100 of these shiny objects on display in Washington, D.C.
The exhibition explains the history of the Anglo-Saxons, and explains why the gold may have been buried. In a kids area of the exhibit, you can search for buried treasure with a metal detector, find out how heavy Anglo-Saxon swords and shields were, and make your own Anglo-Saxon helmet. The exhibit will be at the National Geographic Museum through March 4, 2012.
Photograph by Robert Clark, National Geographic