Behind the Headlines
Explore our world, one headline at a time.
World Book Editors break down the news in our Behind the Headlines feature allowing for a deeper understanding of the complex events that shape our world today. Behind the Headlines articles are carefully crafted presenting the latest national and world news, science discoveries, current events and other top stories and are simplified for young readers.


London’s Grenfell Tragedy

​Last month, on June 14, a fire destroyed much of Grenfell Tower, a 24-story apartment building in London, England. The fire, which took place in the city’s Kensington district, killed at least 80 people—the deadliest fire in London since World War II (1939-1945).

Iraq’s Battle of Mosul

​On July 10, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory for government forces in their bloody battle with Islamic State militants for possession of the northern city of Mosul.

Coltrane 50: The Last Giant Steps

​Yesterday, July 17, marked the 50th anniversary of the death of jazz legend John Coltrane. Known for his searing saxophone solos and sometimes shocking originality, Coltrane is regarded as one of the finest artists in the history of jazz.

Baseball’s Midsummer Classic

On Tuesday night, July 11, the American League (AL) edged the National League (NL) 2-1 to win the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. I

Ice Memory: A Glacier Archive

​Last month, in June, an international team of researchers and scientists braved heavy snows, freezing winds, and thin air to extract ice core samples from the Illimani glacier high in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia. The samples were the latest collected by teams from Ice Memory, a project aiming to gather ice samples from endangered glaciers around the world.

Hot Dog, It’s July!

Did you know that Americans eat an estimated 150 million hot dogs over the 4th of July holiday? In the United States, July is National Hot Dog Month.

Djibouti at 40

​On June 27, 1977, forty years ago today, in a hot, dusty corner of northeastern Africa, the French Territory of the Afars and Issas became the independent nation of Djibouti. The Afars and the Issas—two traditionally nomadic ethnic groups—make up most of Djibouti’s population of nearly 1 million people. Djibouti gained independence in 1977 from France, which had controlled the Djibouti area since the 1880’s.

Mythic Monday: Vigilant Juno

​Juno was the most powerful goddess of ancient Roman mythology. She was married to Jupiter, the king of the gods, and she was the queen. The Romans considered Juno a protector who would warn them of danger to their empire.

Canada’s Oldest: Banff National Park

One hundred and thirty years ago today, on June 23, 1887, the Canadian government established Rocky Mountains Park as Canada’s first official national park. Known now as Banff National Park, the park’s spectacular scenery has long made it one of Canada’s most popular tourist attractions.

Astana Expo 2017

On June 10, the Expo 2017 international exhibition opened in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, a country in west-central Asia. Expo 2017—like so many exhibitions and fairs before it—is a celebration of international commerce, industry, and science. The theme for Expo 2017 is “Future Energy,” concentrating on clean energy innovations as well as creative ideas for the future.

Juneteenth

Yesterday, June 19, was Juneteenth, a festival held in many African American and other communities to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. The name of the festival refers to the date, June 19—the day the last slaves were freed in the southern state of Texas in 1865.

National Caribbean American Heritage Month

​June is the sixth month of the year, a month that welcomes summer, weddings, and LGBT Pride. June is known for barbecues, baseball, and blossoming flowers. The month includes Independence Day in the Philippines, Father’s Day, Juneteenth, and Midsummer’s Day. In the United States, June is also National Caribbean American Heritage Month. The month recognizes the contributions of Caribbean Americans and celebrates their diverse heritage, languages, and cultures.

Naledi of the Rising Star

​Recent studies show that Homo naledi, an intriguing species of prehistoric humans, may have lived far more recently than previously believed. Paleoanthropologists (scientists who study human evolution) say that H. naledi, a primitive hominin (human ancestor) known from a collection of fossils discovered at the Rising Star cave system in South Africa, may have lived at the same time and in the same region as more advanced prehistoric humans.

JFK 100

​On Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, events across the United States marked the 100th birthday of former President John F. Kennedy (widely known by his initials, JFK). Kennedy served as the 35th president of the United States from 1961 until his death in 1963. Many Americans saw JFK’s election and brief time in office—often idealized as “Camelot”—as an inspiring national renewal.

A New Champ in Indianapolis

​On Sunday, May 28, 40-year-old Takuma Sato became the first Japaneserace car driver to win the Indianapolis 500, the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Sato, a Tokyo-born veteran Formula One driver, took the checkered flag just 0.2011 seconds—faster than the blink of an eye—ahead of three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Hélio Castroneves, who made repeated attempts to pass Sato in the race’s closing laps.

Golden Gate Bridge at 80

Tomorrow, Saturday, May 27, is the 80th anniversary of the opening of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge connecting San Francisco with Marin County, California. One of the largest and most spectacular suspension bridges in the world, it spans the Golden Gate Strait at the entrance of San Francisco Bay. The Golden Gate Bridge opened to pedestrians on May 27, 1937, and thousands of people took in the spectacular views as they crossed the bridge on that first day.

Star Wars Turns 40

Forty years ago today, on May 25, 1977, an exhilarating sci-fi space Western called Star Wars was released for the first time in 43 locations across the United States. Star Wars, made for a modest $11 million, dazzled audiences, and the film soon gained wide release as the story that took place “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” captured the country’s—and the world’s—collective imagination.

The Last Greatest Show on Earth

​On Sunday, May 21, the iconic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus gave its final performance at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The grand finale of the traveling circus, long billed as the “Greatest Show on Earth,” came after years of evolving cultural tastes, declining revenues, and increasing costs.

Mythic Monday: Ghastly Gorgons

​This week’s mythological figures are monstrous creatures called Gorgons. The Gorgons were so ugly that anyone who looked at them would turn to stone. Medusa and her two sisters made up the Gorgons of Greek mythology

A New Twist on the Naked Mole-Rat

Naked mole-rats may not rank highly on the cute scale, but they are certainly one of the world’s most bizarre and uniquely adapted animals. The naked mole-rat is a mammal, and the vast majority of mammals are warm-blooded. However, naked mole-rats belong to a special group of cold-blooded mammals (along with the platypus and other rare oddities).

Glacier Park Losing its Glaciers

​Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana may soon be without any of its trademark glaciers. Many of the park’s largest glaciers have lost much of their former size in the last 50 years, according to surveys published by the United States Geological Service (USGS) and Portland State University in Oregon.

Hot Water in Icy Space

​Enceladus, an icy moon orbiting Saturn, is quickly becoming one of the hottest spots in the search for life beyond Earth. A group of scientists led by J. Hunter Waite of the Southwestern Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, has determined that hydrothermal vents (flows of heated water) likely exist in a global ocean beneath Enceladus’s icy crust. These vents could possibly be home to life forms. Waite and his team published their findings last month in the journal Science.

Portugal Takes Eurovision 2017

​On Saturday, May 13, Portugal’s Salvador Sobral won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song, “Amar Pelos Dois” (Love for Both of Us). The Portuguese-language ballad was written by Sobral’s sister, Luisa. Sobral is the first Portuguese artist to win the the hugely popular European contest.

Mythic Monday: Martial Mars

​This week’s mythology star, Mars, the god of war, held a special place in the hearts of the ancient Romans—not because of the god’s warlike nature but because the Romans considered him the father of the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.

Record U.S. Space Time

Last month, on April 24, United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Peggy Whitson set a new record for cumulative time in space by an American astronaut as she began her 535th day beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Currently on board the International Space Station (ISS), Whitson surpassed the previous record of 534 total space days set by astronaut Jeffrey Williams in 2016.

Mythic Monday: Formidable Finn MacCool

​This week’s Mythic Monday returns to the misty shores of Ireland. Heroic tales, romances, and sagas make up a major part of early Irish literature. These works are based on legends and were probably recorded from about A.D. 700 into the 1200’s. One of the most familiar figures of early Irish lore is Finn MacCool (or Fionn mac Cumhaill in Irish).

Cinco de Mayo’s Battle of Puebla

​Today, May 5, is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrated in Mexico and in many communities throughout the United States. Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for Fifth of May. Many people know that Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of a Mexican army over a French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. But few people know much about the battle itself, which took place near Puebla, a city in central Mexico, during a French invasion of Mexico.

The Purple Heart Battalion

​As part of May’s celebration of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), World Book today features the Purple Heart Battalion, the nickname given to a Japanese American unit in the United States Army during World War II (1939-1945). The unit was officially the 100th Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

A Unique Martian Potato

Human exploration of Mars is one of the primary long-term goals of such space agencies as the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). But before people get there, scientists must solve a host of problems. First among them will be how to feed astronauts during an extended stay in the harsh environment of the Red Planet.

A Canadian River’s Sudden End

In Canada’s Yukon territory, increased melting of the vast Kaskawulsh Glacier has caused the nearby Slims River to run dry. The Slims, once a gushing channel of glacial melt water, is now a waterless expanse of mud and dust.

Shaking the Dino Family Tree

For decades, dinosaurs have been grouped into two broad categories: long-necked sauropods and meat-eating theropods (along with birds) in one group, and the remaining plant-eaters, such as Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Iguanodon, in the other. In March, a group led by Matthew G. Baron from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom challenged that view. They published their findings in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.

Architect I. M. Pei turns 100

​Looking ahead to May’s celebration of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), today World Book wishes a happy 100th birthday to renowned Chinese American architect I.M. Pei. One of the world’s greatest architects, Pei is noted for his creative urban designs of skyscrapers, housing projects, museums, and academic and government buildings.

Jazz Appreciation Month: Ella Fitzgerald

World Book’s final April birthday for Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) is a big one: jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald was born 100 years ago today on April 25, 1917. Fitzgerald was one of the best and most popular singers in jazz history. Often called the “first lady of song,” she was known for her pure and beautiful tone, extended range, flawless intonation, and strong sense of jazz feeling.

Jazz Appreciation Month: Tito Puente

​In our next installment for Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), World Book celebrates the birthday of music legend Tito Puente. Puente was born on April 20, 1923, in New York City. He ranks among the most important figures in the history of Latin popular music. Puente was an influential bandleader, composer, arranger, and musician.

Rocket Recycling

​Late last month, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (commonly called SpaceX) made aerospace history. After propelling a communication satellite into orbit, the first stage of one of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets landed on a drone ship (uncrewed barge) in the Atlantic Ocean. But this booster had been there before. SpaceX successfully reused a booster that had been launched during a previous mission. The achievement has been widely hailed as the dawn of a new era in commercial spaceflight.

Mythic Monday: Anubis of the Afterlife

This week’s Mythic Monday features Anubis, one of the best-known gods of ancient Egyptian mythology. Famously depicted in ancient Egyptian art as a crouching jackal or dog, or as a man with a jackal’s head, Anubis served as the god of mummification, the ancient Egyptian technique of embalming the dead.

Australia’s Ancient Tracks

​For thousands of years, indigenous (native) people of Western Australia knew about giant ancient footprints along the shore of the Indian Ocean. But only recently have scientists learned about, and been able to study, the tracks, which were made by dinosaurs some 100 million years ago.

Jazz Appreciation Month: Herbie Hancock

World Book’s Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) continues with happy birthday wishes for jazz legend Herbie Hancock, who turns 77 years old today, April 12. Hancock is an influential and versatile musician, bandleader, and composer. He has had some of the best-selling albums in jazz history, and his music has earned him 14 Grammy Awards.

2017 Pulitzer Prizes

The winners of the 101st Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday by Columbia University on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board. The awards are given in the United States each year for distinguished achievement in journalism, literature, drama, and music.

Mythic Monday: Spirited Dionysus

What do wine lovers, farmers, and thespians have in common? All owe a debt of gratitude to this week’s star of Mythic Monday, the Greek god Dionysus. Dionysus was the god of wine and farmers, and the art form of drama was first performed in his honor.

Jazz Appreciation Month: Billie Holiday

April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) in the United States. Jazz is a kind of music that is often considered the only art form truly native to the United States. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History began JAM in 2002.

U.S. Enters World War I: 100 Years

On April 6, 1917—100 years ago today—the United States House of Representatives approved a resolution declaring war on Germany, entering the United States into World War I (1914-1918). Four days earlier, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson had asked Congress for a declaration of war, warning “the world must be made safe for democracy.” The Senate approved the resolution by a vote of 82-6 on April 4.

New Puppet Toads–of the Dead

Scientists, never satisfied with the current number of known frogs in the world, have added two new species of toads to the ever-growing list. These new toads, native to Indonesia, have DNA so different from other toads that scientists went a step further and gave them their own genus, Sigalegalephrynus. When classifying living things, a genus (a group of related animals or plants) ranks below a family or subfamily and above a species.

Carolina’s Basketball Champs

​Carolina (North & South) college basketball reached its apex over the past couple nights as the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I Basketball Tournaments came to a close. On the women’s side Sunday night, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks downed the Mississippi State University Bulldogs 67-55 to win their first NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) championship. Last night, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels men claimed their sixth national title with a 71-65 win over the Gonzaga University Bulldogs (of Spokane, Washington).

Mythic Monday: Crafty Daedalus

​Daedalus, a skilled artisan of ancient Athens, was a colorful figure of Greek mythology. If Daedalus were a modern-day comic book superhero, his origin story might include a mad scientist piecing together the inquiring mind of Thomas Edison, the vision of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the versatile genius of Leonardo da Vinci, and the rugged physicality of a rugby star.

Women’s History Month: Jeannette Rankin

World Book continues its celebration of Women’s History Month with a look at Jeannette Rankin, who in 1916—almost four years before women had the right to vote nationally in the United States—became the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

Albert Pinkham Ryder: 100 Years

Today, March 28, marks 100 years since the death of American artist Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917). Ryder is considered one of the most original of American painters. He is best known for his brooding night scenes of the sea and dreamlike landscapes.

England Wins Six Nations Rugby Title

On Saturday, March 18, the Irish men’s national Rugby Union team defeated the English team 13-9 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. The win was satisfying for Ireland and the majority of the 51,700 fans in attendance, but it was England that still came out on top, winning its second-straight Six Nations Championship title.

Mythic Monday: Irish Warrior Cuchulainn

Last Friday, March 17, was St. Patrick’s Day. And while each year on that day many people wear shamrocks in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, Hibernophiles (fans of Irish culture) might also want to honor the great mythological defender of all Ireland: Cuchulainn (koo KUHL ihn).

Birthday Candles for Navigator Matthew Flinders

March 16 marks the birthday of British navigator Matthew Flinders, who explored and charted much of Australia’s coast in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. Flinders was born in England on March 16, 1774. In 1794, he sailed to the British colony of New South Wales, Australia.

Las Fallas: Valencia’s Fire Festival

This week, the Spanish city of Valencia hosts one the world’s more unique holiday celebrations: las Fallas (or les Falles). In Valencia, a falla is a type of torch, and for the festival, artistic monuments (also called fallas) are built and ceremoniously burned in the streets. The fire festival of las Fallas celebrates the coming of spring, lasting several days before culminating on the feast day of San José (Saint Joseph), March 19.

Women’s History Month: Australian Vida Goldstein

World Book continues its celebration of Women’s History Month with a look at Australian feminist (promoter of women’s rights) and campaigner for woman suffrage (voting rights) Vida Goldstein (VY duh GOHLD styn). Goldstein was instrumental in helping to win the right to vote for Australian women in 1902—the second country to grant women full voting rights after New Zealand (1893).

Mythic Monday: Epic Gilgamesh

This week’s mythological figure is the hero of the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest epic poems in world literature. It tells the adventures of the Sumerian king Gilgamesh. Sumer was an ancient region in southern Mesopotamia (now southeastern Iraq). Historians believe Gilgamesh probably existed, so like King Arthur, he is not technically an entirely mythic figure.

Revealing the Neandertal Diet

Hard gunk stuck in the teeth of fossil Neandertal jaws shows that the prehistoric human beings had a widely varied diet and a sophisticated knowledge of medicinal plants.

India’s New Night Frogs

After five years of exploration and study in the mountainous Western Ghats region of India, scientists have announced the discovery of seven new species (kinds) of frogs. Four of these new species are among the tiniest known frogs in the world, small enough to gather more than one on a 5-rupee coin (the rupee is the chief monetary unit of India).

Women’s History Month: International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), and in honor of Women’s History Month, we look at this global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. In recent years, the day has also become a call to action for accelerating gender parity. IWD is celebrated around the world with arts performances, conferences, marches, rallies, talks, and networking events.

Exploring the Amazon Reef

Off the coast of Brazil, where the Amazon River spills into the Atlantic Ocean, scientists are taking the first up-close and personal look at the recently discovered Amazon Reef. Existence of the large coral reef was not confirmed until an oceanographic survey of the area in 2012. The survey’s findings were published in 2016, and in late January 2017, scientists began exploring the reef two-by-two in a small submarine, the exploration craft of the Greenpeace ship Esperanza.In the late 1950’s, a ship collected sponges—animals that often inhabit coral reefs—from the floor of the Amazon Delta.

Mythic Monday: Brunhild the Valkyrie

Brunhild, the beautiful, proud, and headstrong heroine of Teutonic mythology, had a complicated romantic life to say the least. Teutonic mythology, also called Norse mythology, consists of the myths and legends of Germany and Scandinavia that date from about the A.D. 400’s.

Supernova Spotting

In October 2013, an international team of scientists lead by Ofer Yaron, an astrophysicist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, detected and studied a supernova that occurred in a distant galaxy within three hours of the explosion’s light first reaching Earth. Thanks to the timely observations, the team was able to learn a lot about the star and the explosion that consumed it. The team published its findings in February 2017 in the journal Nature Physics.

Mythic Monday: Big Bad Beowulf

Beowulf is one of the great mythic heroes of medieval literature. His legend is described in the Anglo Saxon epic poem Beowulf. The poem describes the adventures of a mighty warrior who has the qualities the ancient Anglo-Saxons most admired—strength, courage, generosity, loyalty to chief and tribe, and vengeance toward enemies.

African American History: Montford Point Marines

In honor of Black History Month, today we look at the Montford Point Marines of World War II (1939-1945). “Montford Point Marines” was the nickname given to the first African American units to serve in the United States Marine Corps.

Mythic Monday: Noble King Arthur

Whatever the historical truth, it is Arthur’s legend that has captivated people’s imaginations for centuries. The exploits of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are among the most famous of Western literature, and—real or not—Arthur is one of the most admired heroes in the history of British culture.

How Many Moonlets to a Moon?

One of the greatest questions in the formation of the solar system is in our own planetary back yard: how was the moon made? A new hypothesis was published last month in Nature Geoscience.

The Star Wars Gibbon

Move over, Luke, there’s a new Skywalker in town! A new species (kind) of gibbon, the Skywalker hoolock gibbon, has been found living in the tropical rain forests of southwestern China and northeastern Myanmar.

Rare Ruby Seadragon

Australia’s rare ruby seadragon has recently been seen alive for the first time. Because of rough sea conditions, a team of researchers had just one day to find the elusive “monster” off the coast of southern Australia. The ruby seadragon lives in waters too deep for human divers, so the team used a remote-controlled submersible (undersea vessel) to scour the murky sea bottom.

Mythic Monday: Musical Orpheus

Orpheus was one of the greatest of all musicians in the mythology of ancient Greece. With his voice and lyre, Orpheus was said to be able to enchant animals and plants, and rivers stopped flowing in order to listen to him.

Australia Day 2017

Today, January 26, Australia celebrates Australia Day, an annual national holiday honoring the country’s past, present, and future. The date commemorates the day in 1788 that Arthur Phillip raised a British flag at Sydney Cove.

Mythic Monday: Apollo of All Trades

A beautiful and versatile star of Greek mythology, Apollo was known as the god of light, the god of shepherds, the god of music, and the god of divination. He was also often thought of as the god of the sun. Considered the ideal of male beauty, Apollo was also associated with archery, healing, poetry, prophecy, purification, and seafaring.

The Fall of Rusty Patched Bumble Bees

For the first time in the continental United States, a wild bee has been designated as an endangered species In the past 20 years, the insect’s population has dropped 87 percent because of habitat loss, disease, pesticides, and climate change.

Dakar Rally 2017

On Saturday, January 14, weary and filthy racers from all over the world pulled their off-road vehicles onto the streets of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, completing the final stage of the Dakar Rally. The racers entered the city and crossed the finish line after 12 grueling days of gritty cross-country racing, covering 5,457 miles (8,782 kilometers) of dirt, rock, and sand. The race began in Asunción, Paraguay, on January 2, running north into Bolivia before winding back south to Argentina.

Mythic Monday: Amorous Aphrodite

When it comes to matters of the heart, Aphrodite reigns supreme in Greek mythology. Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. The Romans, who named their gods and goddesses after planets and stars, called her Venus. Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus, the king of the gods, and the goddess Dione.

Frida Kahlo at The Dalí

In December 2016, an exhibition of the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo opened at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. The museum, home to a broad collection of the works of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí, is showing more than 60 of Kahlo’s works through the middle of April 2017. “Frida Kahlo at the Dalí” includes 15 paintings, 7 drawings, and numerous photographs.

Monster Monday: the Giant Isopod

This week’s Monday monster may look oddly familiar. Perhaps you’ve seen a much smaller version of this buglike creature in your backyard on a rotting tree stump or under a rock. Those little critters are commonly called pill bugs, roly polies, sow bugs, or wood lice. But today, meet the giant isopod (Bathynomus giganteus)—this roly poly can grow as big as a small dog!

Monster Monday: the Asian Giant Hornet

The Asian giant hornet is so large, it is sometimes mistaken for a small bird in flight. This big predator is equipped with piercing jaws, a quarter-inch-long (half-centimeter-long) stinger loaded with deadly venom(poison), and an aggressive disposition. It keeps beekeepers up at night and is responsible for the deaths of dozens of people each year.

Sequoia, the Presidential Yacht

You have probably heard of Air Force One, the aircraft that carries thepresident of the United States. You have also probably seen the presidential state car, an armored limousine called Cadillac One, or “the Beast.” But did you know that there was once a presidential yacht? That’s right, the president was once furnished with a luxury boat—Sequoia—for personal and official use.

South Australia’s Ancient Warratyi

A brief call of nature recently led an Aboriginal man to discover a site preserving some of the oldest known evidence of human settlement in Australia. Clifford Coulthard, an Adnyamathanha elder, stumbled across a rock shelter during a brief bathroom break while surveying in the northern Flinders Range with archaeologist Giles Hamm of La Trobe University in Melbourne.

An Infant King Turns 700

Today, November 15, is the 700th anniversary of the birth of King John I of France in 1316. Never heard of him? Well, a few things make John I a unique (but also rather obscure) figure in French history. First, he was the last in direct father-son succession of the Capetian dynasty, a line of kings that ruled France from 987 to 1328.

Monster Monday: the Blobfish

When asked which creature is the floppiest, ugliest, and “blobbiest glob” in the animal kingdom, many people might answer, “the blobfish.” With its beady black eyes, bulbous nose, and dumpy frown, the face of the blobfish is unnervingly similar to that of a gloomy human. Loose, scale-free skin covers its plump, squishy body, which grows to about 1 foot (30 centimeters) in length. It has soft bones and deflates into a saggy wad of pink jelly when removed from the water

Highway Travel-by-Number

Ninety years ago today, on Nov. 11, 1926, the government of the United States did motorists across the nation a great favor by introducing a national system of numbered highways. Before people started navigating through smartphones with GPS, people actually read maps and road signs to find their way around.

Australia’s New Flasher Frog

Flash! Flash! Flash! No, it’s not photographers following around Hollywood stars. It’s a new species of frog that flashes in a different kind of way, with a showy display to ward off attackers.

America Goes Trump

In a shocking result, voters in the United States elected Republican businessman Donald Trump to be the nation’s next president. Trump upended Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had been widely expected to win the election.

Paris Climate Agreement

Yesterday, November 7, officials from around the world gathered in Marrakech, Morocco, for the 2016 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, or COP22. COP22 is an acronym for the 22nd annual session of the Conference of the Parties. The meetings come on the heels of the Friday, November 4, entry into force of COP21’s Paris Climate Agreement. One hundred countries—including the two considered to be the greatest polluters, China and the United States—have ratified the agreement for nations to report their greenhouse gas emissions.

Monster Monday: the Box Jellyfish

Under water, the box jellyfish is practically invisible. It is one of the most venomous animals on Earth. It kills more people each year than sharks do. At most, however, it weighs only about 4½ pounds (2 kilograms). This Monster Monday critter packs a lot of pain into a small package.

ExoMars Good and Bad

Last month, on October 19, Mars claimed another victim. A landing module named Schiaparelli, designed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, accidentally smashed into the Martian surface at more than 180 miles (300 kilometers) per hour. Schiaparelli (named for the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who studied Mars in the late 1800′s) was destroyed, but the mission was not a total failure. The Mars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), launched with Schiaparelli, successfully entered into orbit around the Red Planet.

Saving New Zealand’s Kiwi

How do you eliminate pests or an invasive species (introduced species that spreads quickly and harms native wildlife)? These kinds of organisms can wreak havoc on native ecosystems—so much so, that they can cause native species to become endangered or even extinct in their own homeland. This is exactly what’s happening in New Zealand.

Mount Rushmore Turns 75

Yesterday, October 31, was the 75th anniversary of the completion of theMount Rushmore National Memorial. Carved into on a granite cliff in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the giant-sized presidential faces on Mount Rushmore have symbolized American creativity and history, as well as the nation’s variety of natural beauty, since the memorial opened in 1941.

Halloween Monday: the Jersey Devil

Halloween trick-or-treaters in the forested Pine Barrens region of New Jersey should be watchful tonight. A beast known as the Jersey Devil is said to roam the area. This monster is commonly described as a creature somewhat resembling a small horse or goat with clawed hooves, batlike wings, fangs, red glowing eyes, and a forked tail.

The Wonderful World Series

Tonight, October 25, the Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series begins in Cleveland, Ohio. The World Series determines the MLB champion each autumn, but the teams involved in this year’s series make it a little extra special.

Monster Monday: the Ghastly Ghost Bat

It haunts caves, crevices, and tunnels by day, emerging only at night to look for victims. You probably would not hear it flying above your head, but you might catch a glimpse of its whitish fur flashing in the moonlight… It is the ghastly ghost bat of Australia.

A Boomerang Killed Kaakutja

Australian forensic science experts recently helped solve a centuries-old murder mystery when they determined that wounds on a prehistoric skeleton were inflicted by a boomerang.

Colombia’s Liquid Rainbow

In the Serranía de la Macarena mountain range of south-centralColombia, a river sparkles and dazzles with such vivid colors that it is known alternatively as the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow”—even “the river that ran away from paradise.”

The Wrath of Hurricane Matthew

This past weekend, Hurricane Matthew ravaged the southeast Atlantic coast of the United States, causing flooding and accidents that killed at least 33 people in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Monster Monday: the Lurid Lamprey

The lamprey is an animal of contradictions. It looks like a leech, but it’s actually a fish. Some adult lampreys suck blood, but others don’t eat at all. Some kinds are invasive, but others are threatened. What is abundantly clear, however, is that the lamprey has a face only a mother could love.

The “Other” Nobel Prizes

The Ig Nobels, a parody of the “other” Nobels, celebrate the more humorous, witty, and sometimes trivial side of science. Many of the projects honored at the Ig Nobels are done purely for fun, but the projects (and their creators) are not without merit or the possibility of importance.

Monster Monday: Zorilla’s Big Stink

Sure, the zorilla (or striped polecat) is cute, but petting is not advised. Aside from its stinky spray, the zorilla’s sharp teeth and strong jaws can deliver a tenacious and painful bite.

A Dinosaur in Its Own Image

When you see models or illustrations of dinosaurs, have you ever wondered how accurate they are? Bones, skin impressions, and tracks can tell scientists and artists a great deal about the shape, size, and movements of these animals, but how do people know what color patterns the beasts adopted?

National Museum of African American History and Culture

On Saturday, September 24, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opened to the public in Washington, D.C. Located on the National Mall, the museum details the history of slavery, the period of Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, segregation, and civil rights.