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Week In Review

Week in Review: March 7, 2021

Do You Know…?

Today we’re testing your knowledge with a series of random quizzes. So, put your thinking cap on and see how much you know about the following topics.
World War II
U.S. state capitals
English royalty
Scary movies
U.S. presidents
Classic literature

Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein

The most influential physicist of the 20th century was born on March 14, 1879. Einstein had a massive influence on contemporary physics and his theory of relativity shifted knowledge of space completely. Einstein’s understanding of light as something that can function both as a wave and as a stream of particles became the basis for what is known today as quantum mechanics.
“God Does Not Play Dice with the Universe”
article / Science
Encyclop?dia Britannica, Inc.
Einstein and the Bomb
article / Science
Courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico
The Theory of Relativity
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Arsenal of Democracy

On March 11, 1941, U.S. Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act, ensuring an uninterrupted flow of American war matériel to the Allies.
How did the Lend-Lease Act work?
The act authorized the president to provide weapons and supplies and to accept payment “in kind or property, or any other direct or indirect benefit which the President deems satisfactory.”
Why was the act necessary?
Britain had been paying cash for American arms, but being the last democracy standing against Hitler was getting to be an expensive enterprise.
How did these supplies make it across the Atlantic?
For a supposedly neutral power, the U.S. maintained a very conspicuous role in naval convoy operations.
What was U.S. public opinion like at this time?
FDR had just won an unprecedented third term, so he had the support of a majority, but certainly not all, Americans.
Who opposed the war?
Charles Lindbergh and other members of the America First movement believed that FDR was trying to lead the U.S. through a back door into war with Germany.

“Skyscrapers Were Swaying Like Trees in a Breeze”

Ten years ago on March 11, northern Japan was the scene of a massive natural disaster. On that day the most powerful earthquake in the country’s history occurred off the coast of Honshu, triggering a series of tsunamis. Some 20,000 people were killed, and a number of coastal areas were devastated. In addition, a major nuclear incident was triggered.
Ruin and Recovery
article / World History
Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Bradley/U.S. Navy photo
The World’s Second Worst Nuclear Accident
article / World History
Test Your Knowledge of Other Historical Disasters
Quiz / World History
Lieut. Commander Mark Moran, NOAA Corps, NMAO/AOC

Earth’s Extrasolar Neighbors

Scientists discovered the first planet outside Earth’s solar system in 1992. Today, there are more than 4,000 known exoplanets.
What is an exoplanet?
Quite simply, it is any planetary body outside the solar system.
How did we discover that many exoplanets in such a short time?
NASA’s Kepler satellite found more than 2,600 planets over the course of its nine-year mission (2009–18).
What other techniques are used to find exoplanets?
Learn about the challenges of finding a needle in a haystack from several light years away.
And what about life?
Still theoretical at this point, but the search continues.
Test your knowledge!
Now that you’re an expert on exoplanets, see how you fare in this quiz.

Think You Know Women?

March is Women’s History Month, and to celebrate we’re testing your knowledge of remarkable women and their amazing accomplishments in these quizzes.
Women Who Rule
Quiz / Politics, Law & Government
Patricia Semansky/Getty Images
The Stars of Classic Cinema
Quiz / Entertainment & Pop Culture
Encyclop?dia Britannica, Inc.
Who Were the “Soldiers in Petticoats”?
Quiz / World History
George Grantham Bain Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (reproduction no. LC-DIG-ggbain-00111)

What Happened to These Lost Civilizations?

Plenty of societies have fallen into decline throughout history, and while some leave clues as to what caused their demise, others have suddenly disappeared. Here are a few of these puzzling lost cultures.
The Indus civilization
Also known as the Harappan civilization, this ancient culture, which extended over parts of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, disappeared approximately 3,000 years ago for reasons unknown.
The Polynesian society of Easter Island
Famous its the massive stone heads, Easter Island (Rapa Nui) was home to a thriving Polynesian civilization that first settled the island about 700 CE. There are many theories for the culture’s decline.
The Neolithic civilization that lived in ?atalh?yük
?atalh?yük in modern-day Turkey was once one of the world’s oldest cities. A Neolithic culture flourished there between 9,000 and 7,000 years ago and then suddenly disappeared.
The Mississippians
This agrarian civilization once built large cities in parts of North America. Experts don’t know what led to the culture’s gradual demise.
Read more about the mysterious declines of other civilizations.

French Foreign Legion

March 9, 2021, marks the 190th anniversary of the founding of the French Foreign Legion in 1831. King Louis-Philippe created the military unit to support French colonial ambitions in Africa. The legion’s reputation as a band of cutthroats, criminals, and romantic misfits was stimulated by the anonymat, a requirement that recruits enlist under an assumed name. While this rule was implemented to emphasize the break with one’s previous life and full integration into the legion, it added an air of mystery to the white-capped troopers. Public fascination with the legionnaires peaked with the publication of Percival C. Wren’s Beau Geste.
“Honneur et fidélité”
article / Politics, Law & Government
? Viachaslau Zhukau/
Beau Geste
article / Entertainment & Pop Culture
? 1939 Paramount Pictures Corporation; photograph from a private collection
The Battle of France
article / World History
Encyclop?dia Britannica, Inc.

Explaining the Mysteries of the Universe

OK, so we can’t explain all of them, but we can provide some insight on space.
Why Are Planets Round?
Hint: Gravity plays a role.
How Do We Know How Far Away the Stars Are?
The closest star, Proxima Centauri, is 4.24 light-years away from Earth. A light-year is 9.44 trillion km, or 5.88 trillion miles. But how do we measure such a distance?
What’s the Difference Between a Meteoroid, a Meteor, and a Meteorite?
And are any of them related to shooting stars?
Was the Big Bang Actually an Explosion?
The name suggests that the beginning of our universe was a massive blast, but was it really a cosmic fireworks show?
Want to Learn More About the Cosmos?
Check out our Space Next 50 site.

That’s a Wrap!

Today we’re highlighting mummies. Now the stuff of horror films, mummification is a centuries-old tradition meant to preserve and honor the dead. And while often associated with ancient Egypt, many cultures around the globe used the process. In addition, mummification can occur naturally, which was the case with the bog bodies of Europe.
How to Make a Mummy
Spotlight / World History
? Sunsear7/
Bog People: Human Sacrifices?
List / Lifestyles & Social Issues
Sven Rosborn
The Most Famous Mummy?
article / Politics, Law & Government
? Lee Boltin
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