Welcome to Trending Now, a weekly snapshot of what’s happening in the United States that you might have missed, highlighting trending articles and interesting content about American culture, entrepreneurship, industry and more from around the web.
In this edition:
Curated by the ShareAmerica editorial team.
The importance of water: From desert flowers to the moons of Saturn
After extensive rainfall in California this winter, the state is undergoing a super bloom of flowers so immense it can be seen from space. (Washington Post)
A revolutionary solar-powered water harvester can pull moisture from the air, even from dry desert climates. A single device can pull 2.8 kilograms of water out of the air every day. (Science Magazine)
Water is not just important on Earth. NASA scientists announced that the water on Saturn’s moon Enceladus means that it has all the conditions to produce life. (Quartz)
A different perspective on where humans live
NASA released a stunning new photograph of the Earth at night. The image is the clearest yet and shows patterns of human development across the globe. (NASA)
In an attempt to capture the first picture of a black hole, an international network of eight observatories around the world turned the Earth into a virtual telescope. (National Geographic)
NASA engineer Hibah Rahmani’s incredible journey, from Pakistan to Kuwait to a refugee camp in Jordan, is inspiring. (DAWN)
Technology breakthroughs for a faster, healthier world
Ultra-fast transportation of the future? Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One launched a Global Challenge to identify a location for its first futuristic people-mover. (Voice of America)
From Star Trek to your doctor? A small, self-funded team from Philadelphia beat out 311 competitors from 38 countries in the international X-Prize Tricorder Consumer Medical Competition. These hand-held systems are built to diagnose diseases. The winning team, led by an emergency room doctor, won $2.6 million for its diagnostic iPad system. (Washington Post)
Preserving cultural heritage
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington partners with the State Department to protect and preserve ancient artifacts in the Iraqi city of Nimrud. (WUSA9)
Archaeologists from Mozambique and Senegal research sunken slave ships off the coast of the U.S. Virgin Islands to learn more about the global slave trade and its impact. (St. Thomas Source)
Could you solve this giant Rubik’s Cube?
Students at the University of Michigan have built a 680-kilogram Rubik’s Cube, which is the largest solvable cube in the world. (ABC News)
Wesley So, who immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 2012, won the 2017 U.S. Chess Championship in St. Louis. So is currently ranked second in the world. (FiveThirtyEight)
New Supreme Court justice
Judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the 113th justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. As an associate justice of the Supreme Court he will be one of the most important judges in the country, but as the newest justice Gorsuch will also take all the notes in meetings and sit on the court’s cafeteria committee, where he will oversee internal food decisions. (CNN)
We used NASA’s new “Adopt the Planet” website to adopt a small section of the South Atlantic. According to the website, our adopted zone has relatively low amounts of chlorophyll but high humidity. The website gets people interested in climate and ecology for Earth Day. (CNN)
Electric planes are taking off
Hybrid-electric planes will be less expensive and better for the environment. Seattle-based startup Zunum Aero plans to get them off the ground in the next few years. (Fast Company)
DARPA, the Department of Defense’s advanced research agency, successfully tested a 24-fan electric airplane that can take off vertically. (Engadget)
Google has created an artificial intelligence program that analyzes images to create art. (Futurism)
Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s space company, plans commercial space flights in coming years based out of Spaceport America in New Mexico. (Space.com)
To support rural viewers with weak internet connections, California-based Google introduced an offline YouTube app that lets users schedule downloads and share with friends offline. (Venture Beat)
New ways of seeing Planet Earth
Students in Boston will learn geography on a new kind of map this year. The Gall-Peters Projection map shows the relative sizes of the continents more accurately. (Voice of America)
Thanks to funding and training by the U.S. and international organizations like the HALO Project, the Angolan province of Huambo is almost mine-free. (DipNote)
A U.S. humanitarian organization is testing a new model of aid. Instead of providing services, it supplies a basic income to needy communities. (PBS)
- What languages do they speak in the most diverse place on earth?
- The Fearless Girl in New York stands tall for a little longer.
- The era of space tourism has begun.
A language map of the most diverse place in the world
- From Tajik to Indonesian, New York City’s borough of Queens is home to more than 800 languages (including a few that are found nowhere else). It’s the most linguistically diverse place in the world. This innovative map attempts to chart them all. (Business Insider)
- Despite Queens’ best efforts, world languages are disappearing. California-based Google is using artificial intelligence to preserve those languages for future generations. (Buzzfeed)
- A recent ad from web retailer Amazon depicted the friendship between an Episcopal priest and a Muslim cleric. The Islamic Circle of America consulted on the ad: “We hope this small expression of compassion by the world’s largest online retailer will play a role in making this world a more inclusive place for everyone.” (YouTube / Islamic Circle of America)
The Fearless Girl
- The statue of a girl facing down the Wall Street bull, titled “The Fearless Girl,” which appeared on International Women’s Day in March, has been granted a new lease on life. The statue is so popular that the New York City government has decided to keep it up for a full year. (USA Today)
- Nike is supporting Muslim women’s involvement in sports with a new “Pro Hijab,” an athletic headcover made of breathable mesh. (NowThis)
The era of space tourism
- The era of space tourism is almost upon us. Have a sneak peek at space pioneer Blue Origin’s passenger capsule. (Futurism)
- NASA has been busy. From discovering life trapped inside crystals in the deepest caves in Mexico … (National Geographic)
- … to hosting secondary school students from all over the world at the Human Exploration Rover Challenge. (NASA)
- Google is expanding internet access in Africa. It’s laid down 1,000 kilometers of cable in Uganda and trained almost 1 million African workers on internet technologies over the past year. (Bloomberg)
- While Amazon, convenience store 7-Eleven and Google have all tested drone delivery systems, UPS is the first major American parcel delivery service to showcase its plans for air-delivered packages. Unlike its competitors, UPS won’t dispatch drones from its warehouses. Instead, a drone launches from the delivery truck and drops the package at your front door. (Engadget)
Major wind power milestone achieved
- Wind energy reached a major milestone in the United States, providing half the power used in 14 Midwestern states. (Facebook)
- The largest retail store in the world wants to locally source its seafood. Walmart is teaming up with a sustainable fishery, FishPeople, to provide local seafood and combat overfishing. (Food Business News)
- A previously unknown novel written by one of the great American poets, Walt Whitman, was recently discovered by a graduate student and will soon be published for the first time in book form. Whitman wrote about American life, democracy and culture. (NPR)
- Meanwhile, women in Palestine are teaching themselves to play America’s pastime, baseball, via YouTube. (AP)
Thanks for stopping by. We’ll continue to read the news and highlight the most interesting articles and stories throughout the week right here on Trending Now.