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“The inspiration is in taking that risk to jump off into some new beginning.” ”

IBM’s Brett Phaneuff on the launching of the Mayflower 400 – a robotic ship retracing the historic ship’s voyage.

Jun 16, 2021

“NATO stands together. That’s how we’ve met every other threat in the past. It’s our greatest strength as we meet our …”

President Biden reaffirming America's "sacred" commitment to the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) alliance …

Jun 14, 2021

“He can have a filet mignon. And I’ll have Champagne.”

Dog handler and breeder David Fitzpatrick on his dog, Wasabi, winning best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog …

Jun 14, 2021

“She was very gracious.”

President Biden on having tea with Queen Elizabeth - he's the 13th U.S. president to meet the Queen.

Jun 14, 2021

“We clearly have an imbalance there.”

Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, CDC’s Immunization Safety Office, on higher than expected reports of young people with myocarditis …

Jun 14, 2021

“It really is the end of an era.”

Ilan Goldenberg, Dir. of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, on Israel's new …

Jun 14, 2021

“Had Mattel done adequate research before bringing this product to market, if they had conducted interviews with licensed …”

House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney on a recent investigation into Fisher-Price's Rock 'N …

Jun 8, 2021

“...Facebook should not apply any kind of a special political importance rule, but should favor safety over political …”

Stanford University law professor and co-chair of Facebook's Oversight Board Michael McConnell on the Board's recent …

Jun 7, 2021

“I want to go on this flight because it's the thing I've wanted to do all my life.”

Founder of Blue Origin Jeff Bezos on being a passenger on his company's first human flight to space.

Jun 7, 2021

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Now You Know

"Neutral" Ground

The much-anticipated meeting between U.S. and Russian presidents will take place in a country known for its neutrality.
How did it earn that reputation?
The story of how Switzerland went from a nation of professional soldiers to a nation of peacemaking.

Now You Know

“Permanent neutrality is a principle of Swiss foreign policy. It is a generating source of peace and stability in Europe and beyond. It ensures the country’s independence and the inviolability of its territory."

Switzerland's Federal Dept. of Foreign Affairs describing its permanent neutrality principle. This long-standing principle emphasizes that Switzerland is to refrain from engaging in war, treat countries at odds with one another equally, and not supply military troops to countries in conflict.

Now You Know

Before Neutrality: The Middle Ages

  • Switzerland was not always a neutral territory. Throughout the Middle Ages, its mercenary forces (soldiers hired to serve in foreign armies) earned the Swiss a reputation for their military prowess - and in doing so, benefited its economy.
  • Problem #1: As warfare changed, Switzerland began losing battles in the early 1500s and lost their economic stability as a result.
  • Problem #2: Swiss soldiers grew weary of fighting each other in foreign wars.

Now You Know

The Shift: Congress of Vienna

  • Purpose: European countries met from 1814 to 1815 to help rebuild government order after the French Revolutionary War and Napoleonic Wars.
  • In both wars, the Swiss worked as mercenary soldiers; as a result, they found themselves at the center of debate and unable to choose sides.
  • The meeting declared Switzerland a neutral zone because of its strategic geographic location in Europe and history of fighting for different countries.

Now You Know

Modern Day Neutrality

  • Switzerland has (mostly) managed to maintain neutrality since their 1815 commitment.
  • Neutrality isn't without controversy. For example, Switzerland did not engage in combat in WWII but infamously participated in some financial dealings with Nazi Germany.
  • Switzerland still has a military (for defense purposes) but is NOT a member of NATO.
  • Switzerland is NOT part of the European Union (an economic and political union).

Now You Know

Leaders from around the world still meet in Switzerland because of the country's political neutrality. The spotlight once again falls on Geneva, known as "the capital of peace," for the meeting between Presidents Biden and Putin. Geneva is home to the UN's European headquarters, several international organizations (ex: World Health Organization), and numerous non-governmental organizations (ex: the International Red Cross).

Jun 16, 2021

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On This Day

June 14, 1777

The Continental Congress approves the design of the American flag.

The maker remains a mystery.

On This Day

The Final Resolution:

“… the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The Continental Congress approved the official design of the national flag in 1777, during the Revolutionary War. Some suggest the British flag inspired the use of red, white and blue, though these colors came to represent virtues: purity, valor and perseverance.

On This Day

Who Made The First Flag?

  • It remains one of the great mysteries of American history.
  • Common lore suggests Betsy Ross, a seamstress in Philadelphia - the city where the Continental Congress met.
  • Surprisingly, no facts support or document this story, nor confirm a competing claim that a Congressman from New Jersey designed it.
  • Historians generally agree Ross likely knew Gen. Washington & sewed flags in her family’s shop.

On This Day

Pres. Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14th "Flag Day" in 1916, but it didn't become an official day until 1949 when Pres. Harry Truman signed it into law. Why does the flag get folded 13 times? Each fold has a meaning. Read more at "How To Properly Fold A Flag" on our source page.

Jun 14, 2021

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Quote of the Day

"I knew I had more to give to this sport for myself and I felt like I had a purpose and now, I feel like I do, and it's to be a voice for the younger generation ... I feel like God just called me."

Simone Biles

Quote of the Day

Simone Biles won a record seventh national women's all-around championship title in Fort Worth, TX (she hasn't lost an all-around event since 2013). With the Tokyo Olympics weeks away, Biles now heads into the Olympic Trials scheduled for the end of June. Biles recently said that she believes her purpose is bigger than competition - to be a voice and a force for change in gymnastics after a sexual abuse scandal.

Jun 13, 2021

sources

Quote of the Day

"Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again."

Anne Frank

Quote of the Day

On June 12, 1942, Anne Frank received her famous diary for her 13th birthday. About a month later, her family went into hiding from the Nazis for 2 years in a secret annex over their business in Amsterdam. Shortly after Anne's death at a concentration camp, her diary was found in the annex by the people who had helped the Franks hide; they gave it to her father, the only surviving family member. He published the first version of her diary in 1947; it has since sold over 30 million copies in 70 languages.

Jun 12, 2021

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On This Day

June 10, 1752

Benjamin Franklin flies a kite during a thunderstorm.
How the founding father's experiment impacted modern science (and ignited myths along the way).

On This Day

“...Dr. Franklin, astonishing as it must have appeared, contrived actually to bring lightning from the heavens, by means of an electrical kite, which he raised when a storm of thunder was perceived to be coming on.”

Friend of Franklin and discoverer of oxygen, Joseph Priestly, in a 1767 account on the groundbreaking discovery using metal as a conductor for electrical charges - or, as he described it: "To demonstrate, in the completest manner possible, the sameness of the electric fluid with the matter of lightning..."

On This Day

A Long Time Coming

  • Franklin had been researching electricity & various hypotheses for years.
  • His original experiment was designed to occur on top of a church's steeple; he planned to attach iron rods to the top of the steeple to test for electrical charges.
  • However, the church's construction was taking too long. As a result, it occurred to him to build a kite suitable for testing electrical charges during a thunderstorm.

On This Day

The Spark

  • Materials: A kite made out of a silk handkerchief, hemp string, silk string, sharp wire, a Leyden jar (stores electrical charge for later use), & a metal house key.
  • Procedure: When the storm began, Franklin conducted the experiment from the ground using his newly-developed kite. With the help of his son, he flew the kite & discovered a spark when the kite drew electric charges.
  • Franklin's theory was solidified when the key, attached to the bottom of the kite, received a negative charge & shocked him.

On This Day

Truth vs. Myth

  • Franklin was not the first person to discover electricity. Scientists had already been working extensively with (static) electricity up to the point of the experiment.
  • His kite was not struck by lightning; rather, it collected the nearby electrical charge from the lightning.
  • Franklin's experiment was not the first to demonstrate the electrical nature of lightning. It was first tested a month beforehand in France, but Franklin had not heard of the findings until after his own experiment.

On This Day

Why it matters: This well-known experiment laid the groundwork for the lightning rod and helped develop a better understanding of positive and negative charges. It's just one of many inventions developed or inspired by Benjamin Franklin.

Jun 10, 2021

sources

Current Events

Historic Pace Enters Third Month

A record number of people, the highest in modern data-keeping, attempted to cross the U.S. southern border last month.
Here are the latest numbers.

Current Events

The Numbers: May 2021

  • Overall, 180,034 people attempted entry along the SW border - highest single-month number in approx. two decades.
  • May's overall figures are a slight increase (less than 1%) compared to April (178,000+).
  • May's figures reflect a 78% increase compared to February when the higher trend started, a 675% increase vs. May 2020 (w/borders closed due to COVID-19), and a 25% increase compared to May 2019 (the last record number of 144,000+ before the surge began this February).

Current Events

What Happens At The Border:

When someone is "encountered" and apprehended by U.S. Customs & Border Patrol:
  • Majority Expelled: 62% of the 180,000+, or roughly 111,000 people, were expelled.
  • Some Remain: Some remain in U.S. govt. custody (such as unaccompanied minors or those wanted for crimes).
  • Released: Others are processed (information taken by the U.S. govt.) and later released on bond or parole in the U.S. (e.g., those applying for asylum).

Current Events

A Notable Increase:

"The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a larger-than-usual number of noncitizens making multiple border crossing attempts, and means total encounters somewhat overstate the number of unique individuals arriving at the border."

CBP says 38% (roughly 4 out of 10) people apprehended at the U.S. border had *at least one* previous encounter within the past year. This is *more than double* the average number of people attempting to cross the border after a previous attempt compared to 2014 to 2019.

Current Events

A Notable Decline:

The number of unaccompanied minors (those 17 and younger traveling without a parent or legal guardian) declined compared to previous months, but is still a 19% increase from the last record number in May 2019.

Jun 10, 2021

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videos

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read: quick quotes

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“The inspiration is in taking that risk to jump off into some new beginning.” ”

IBM’s Brett Phaneuff on the launching of the Mayflower 400 – a robotic ship retracing the historic ship’s voyage.

Jun 16, 2021


“NATO stands together. That’s how we’ve met every other threat in the past. It’s our greatest strength as we meet our …”

President Biden reaffirming America's "sacred" commitment to the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) alliance …

Jun 14, 2021


“He can have a filet mignon. And I’ll have Champagne.”

Dog handler and breeder David Fitzpatrick on his dog, Wasabi, winning best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog …

Jun 14, 2021


“She was very gracious.”

President Biden on having tea with Queen Elizabeth - he's the 13th U.S. president to meet the Queen.

Jun 14, 2021


“We clearly have an imbalance there.”

Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, CDC’s Immunization Safety Office, on higher than expected reports of young people with myocarditis …

Jun 14, 2021


“It really is the end of an era.”

Ilan Goldenberg, Dir. of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, on Israel's new …

Jun 14, 2021


“Had Mattel done adequate research before bringing this product to market, if they had conducted interviews with licensed …”

House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney on a recent investigation into Fisher-Price's Rock 'N …

Jun 8, 2021


“...Facebook should not apply any kind of a special political importance rule, but should favor safety over political …”

Stanford University law professor and co-chair of Facebook's Oversight Board Michael McConnell on the Board's recent …

Jun 7, 2021


“I want to go on this flight because it's the thing I've wanted to do all my life.”

Founder of Blue Origin Jeff Bezos on being a passenger on his company's first human flight to space.

Jun 7, 2021


“It is highly likely that this infection just represents one of the rare incidents of human infection with an avian …”

Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai's Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre responding to China's report of what could be the …

Jun 3, 2021


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