Newsletter: October 17th, 2016
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Projects and Pages for mid October:

red and green and yellow maple leaves

HURRICANES AND LEAVES: They're related! They're both caused by the changes in sunlight we get in the fall. Hurricanes happen when colder air meets water that's still warm from the summer - the water near the ocean gets warm and rises, starting the swirling winds. Leaves change color when shorter days signal trees to block food from getting to their leaves. The green chloroplasts they use for photosynthesis starve and die, and without the green, other colors can show through.

a big dam
The Maarib dam in Yemen today

YEMEN: As the war in Yemen continues - the Sunni government trying to defeat the Shiite rebels - here's a little history of Yemen: the first people arriving, Yemeni trade with Egypt and Africa, the construction about 750 BC of the great dam that irrigated Yemen and made it rich, and the collapse of that dam about 575 AD - which encouraged the rise of Islam a generation later.

BATTLE OF ZAMA: October 19, 202 BC - The Roman general Scipio Africanus defeats Hannibal at the Battle of Zama outside Carthage, in North Africa, ending the Second Punic War and leaving Rome in control of most of the Mediterranean Sea.

CHARTRES CATHEDRAL: October 24, 1260 AD - Chartres Cathedral is dedicated, with Blanche of Castile and her son, Louis IX, present at the ceremony. Read more about Gothic architecture and cathedrals.

MARIA THERESA: October 20, 1740 AD: Maria Theresa becomes the ruler of Austria-Hungary. After marrying her daughter Marie Antoinette to the king of France, Maria Theresa worked to modernize Austria-Hungary, taxing the rich and building a strong government. She ruled for forty years.

PHYLLIS WHEATLEY: October 18, 1775 AD - Phyllis Wheatley, one of America's first poets, was born free in Africa and kidnapped into slavery as a child. As a slave, she built a reputation as a poet. She was freed when her owner died, only to fall into poverty because of racism and die young.

WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK: Collect fall leaves and look at them under a microscope

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New pages this week:

ROCKY MOUNTAINS: We've been revising our page on the Rocky Mountains - did you know there are really three different chains of mountains that we call the Rocky Mountains, eroding and regrowing?

TYPHOID FEVER: More revisions to our page on typhoid fever - a dangerous disease caused by germs in sewage, like cholera or dysentery (but not the same as typhus).

New discoveries this week:

clay statues of chinese soldiers
Terracotta Warriors (200s BC)

CAVE PAINTINGS: New cave paintings discovered in Spain - they're from about 15,000 BC, and they show horses, bison, goats, and two lions. The painting style is like the paintings from southern France - maybe the artists were visiting each other?

TERRACOTTA WARRIORS: Chinese archaeologists suggest that Chinese artists learned to make life-size sculptures like the Terracotta Warriors from Central Asian visitors - maybe Persian or Greek sculptors or Sogdians? - in the 200s BC, after Alexander the Great's campaigns in Afghanistan and Kazakhstan. This would be just a little while after the same thing happened with Buddha sculptures in India. It wouldn't be the first time, either - earlier Chinese people probably also learned about horses and chariots from Central Asian people.

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Seasonal food of the week:

WINE: In many parts of the world, October is the season of wine-making. Wine's pretty good all by itself, but you can also use it in cooking! With white wine, try making cioppino or lamb meatballs with plum sauce, or trout with spinach. Or with red wine, you can make rabbit stew, onion soup, or our brand-new recipe for steak with pepper sauce.

Also check out our seasonal and budget recipes at Gevirts.com.

Or, view an extensive range of science and history based educational and learning toys by visiting www.mykidneedsthat.com now.

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Syrian Refugees (September 2015)

History of Iran (August 2015)

Music in Ancient Africa

Women in the Roman Empire

How did people evolve to have eyes?

Riots and the Cancellation of Debts

Why do bees like flowers, and flowers need bees?

Where did chocolate come from?

Why do horses like apples and carrots?


For Presidents' Day, check out our articles about Washington in the Revolutionary War and Lincoln in the Civil War. Find out about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the other Amendments, and how Washington promised to include freedom of religion.
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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