Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Mar 4, 2022 in Stuff You Should Know

Georgia Proclaims February 23 Ahmaud Arbery Day

On February 23, 2020, an African American man named Ahmaud Arbery was jogging in a residential area in Georgia when he was pursued, confronted, and fatally shot by three armed white men: Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan. On February 22, 2022–almost two years exactly from the day of his death–federal judges found the three men guilty of federal hate crimes for targeting Arbery because of his race. All three were sentenced to life in prison. Bryan has the possibility of parole, but the McMichaels do not.

Recently, the Georgia House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring February 23 Ahmaud Arbery Day. Part of the resolution asks residents to jog 2.23 miles in his honor to advocate for racial equality. This first Ahmaud Arbery Day  included a vigil in the neighborhood where Arbery was shot; a candlelight march; a 2.23-mile run; and other events. The state of Georgia has also taken steps to help ensure that such racially based attacks do not happen again. The state legislature has passed new hate crime legislation and has also repealed its nineteenth-century citizen’s arrest law, which Bryan and the McMichaels originally used to try to justify their killing of Arbery.

What Do You Think? Even if you don’t live in Georgia, where the day is officially recognized, what could you do to honor Ahmaud Arbery Day next year?

Brazil City Faces Deadly Flooding and Landslides

On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, the people of Petropolis, Brazil, saw more rain than they usually see in the entire month of February. It was the heaviest rain in that area for nearly a century. That downpour triggered deadly mudslides and flash floods. Now, at least 176 people are dead, including about 27 children and teenagers. More than 110 people are still missing, but rescue efforts face many challenges because of the destruction caused by the rain.. It’s impossible to get heavy equipment into remote areas where the ground is still unstable, so rescue workers must carry out their work very slowly, with hand tools and chainsaws. Volunteers and 41 sniffer dogs are aiding the effort, digging through the rubble and mud. But there is now little hope of finding anyone alive. The death toll is so high that the local morgue has had to use a refrigerated truck for extra space. Meanwhile, nearly a thousand survivors have sought shelter in schools and emergency shelters. This has caused a huge impact to the city’s infrastructure. On one hillside alone, up to eighty houses were swept away by landslides. Roads are flooded, and more than three hundred vehicles have been lost.

Petropolis isn’t the only place in Brazil suffering because of heavy rainfall. Since December 2021, there have been deadly floods and landslides across much of the country. In the state of Minas Gerais, mining operations were suspended. It is also possible that harvests will have to be delayed.

Dig Deeper Petropolis, a popular tourist destination just north of Rio de Janeiro, was once known as the “Imperial City.” Why?

Roman Mosaic Unearthed in London

Ancient Roman mosaic Arles Provence France
A Roman tile mosaic reminiscent of one found recently in London.

You might not expect a parking lot near London’s tallest building would be the site of an amazing and important archaeological discovery. But this is exactly what happened in February 2022. Archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) uncovered a large, well-preserved piece of a Roman mosaic during some recent work on a construction site. The mosaic is estimated to be about 1,800 years old. It is the largest piece of Roman mosaic found in London for at least fifty years. Archaeologists have also detected parts of an earlier mural underneath it, which is thought to be even older.

Scientists think the mosaic was once the floor of a dining room in an upscale Roman “motel,” called a mansio. Archaeologists have determined from the quality of the mosaic, along with other artifacts found nearby – such as painted walls, coins, jewelry, hairpins, and other mosaics – that important Roman officers and wealthy guests visited this mansio. Interestingly, the design of the mural is almost exactly like one found in Trier, Germany. This suggests that travelling Roman artists worked in both cities.

It’s not clear yet where the mosaic will be permanently preserved. But the director of MOLA said that it will eventually be made available for public viewing.

Dig Deeper When was the similar mosaic discovered in Trier? What were the circumstances under which it was found? Where is it currently displayed? Use Internet resources to help you learn more about this other mosaic and write a short paragraph about what you find.

Teenager Defeats Chess World Champion

Since 2013, 31-year-old Magnus Carlsen has been the top chess player in the world. But last week, Carlsen was beaten by a sixteen-year-old boy from India named Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa. Praggnanandhaa–who is nicknamed “Pragg”–is the youngest player to ever defeat Carlsen.

The showdown happened online, in a virtual tournament featuring only sixteen elite players. Pragg took thirty-nine moves to beat Carlsen. Carlsen, who is Norwegian, blamed his defeat at least partially on the after-effects of COVID-19. (Carlsen tested positive for the virus before the tournament.) Carlsen said the disease made it difficult for him to think clearly. Pragg was up against some unique challenges as well. Aside from his age, and the fact that he moved second (a disadvantage in elite chess), the online tournament format across different time zones meant that he had to stay up until nearly 3 a.m. to compete. When he won, he had to wake up his father to tell him the good news.

Like Pragg, Carlsen got started playing chess quite young. He learned when he was five years old but didn’t show much interest in it at first. Eventually Carlsen began to win youth championships, and at age thirteen, he became the youngest grandmaster in the world. Similarly, Pragg became the youngest international master in history at age ten, and youngest grandmaster at twelve.

Dig Deeper Magnus Carlsen is considered one of the all-time chess greats. Use Internet resources to learn more about another chess legend who started young, such as Bobby Fischer, Mikhail Tal, Abhimanyu Mishra, or Sergey Karjakin. Write a paragraph about what you learn.