Tag Archives: 2018

Cherry Blossom Forecast Update: When Will Washington, D.C. Reach Peak Bloom?

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the National Park Service’s most recent prediction, announced on March 12.

This month the nation’s capital will erupt in pink as the cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin reach their fantastic annual blooms.

Although this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival will run through April 15, those who want to get the ultimate experience should head to D.C. earlier than expected to enjoy peak bloom.

The National Park Service was originally forecasting the peak would be as early as March 17-20 but revised their forecast on March 12 to March 27-31. The Washington Post Capital Weather Gang echoed the sentiment, predicting that peak bloom will now hit around April 1.

Earlier this week, the NPS went on “Bloom Watch.” When the Yoshino Cherry trees reach green bud — the first of six stages that culminate in a bloom — the NPS starts keeping track. Over the next few weeks, the buds will progress as their florets become visible, emerge and finally become puffy white.

Crowds walk below cherry trees and the Washington Monument during the spring festival around the Tidal Basin. Crowds walk below cherry trees and the Washington Monument during the spring festival around the Tidal Basin. (iStock / SeanPavonePhoto)

“Peak bloom” is defined by the NPS as the day when 70 percent of the basin’s Yoshino Cherry Blossoms are open. Typical blooms occur between the last week of March and first week of April, however they’ve bloomed as early as March 15 and as late as April 18.

This year’s earlier-than-expected blooms can be credited to a warmer-than-average February. Last year, the blooms were expected to peak in mid March (14-17) but a snowstorm came and killed all blossoms that were near peak. The NPS then pushed back peak predictions for the remaining blossoms which finally reached peak bloom on March 25.

As evidenced by last year, the prediction isn’t necessarily a definitive timeline. The NPS cannot be confident of its prediction until about 10 days before peak bloom — and even then, last-minute extreme weather can alter things.

Visitors and voyeurs can keep an eye on the cherry blossom blooms with the Cherry Blossom Cam.

Tourists gather under the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in West Potomac Park. Tourists gather under the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in West Potomac Park. (iStock / SeanPavonePhoto)

How long do cherry blossom blooms last?

Cherry blossom blooms only last a little while — which is part of what makes the peak bloom so special. The time from when those first early blooms appear on the trees to when they all begin to fall off the tree is only about two weeks.

Travelers who can’t make it to D.C. during the peak time have a small window in which they can play. For about two days before and two days after, the trees still appear like they’re in peak bloom.

And even well beyond the peak period, D.C. will host events in honor of the cherry blossoms. The Pink Tie Party kicks off the festival with a benefit for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The opening ceremony takes place on March 24 and over the next few weeks, there are concerts, events and outdoor activities for families. The festival closes on April 14 with a parade.

The cherry blossoms have been blooming in D.C. since they were planted in 1912 as a gift from the Japanese. Each year, an estimated 1.5 million people flock to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which began as a modest affair but has since grown to a three-week-long extravaganza.

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Search Continues for Last American Slave Ship After Recent Wreck Ruled Out

Update, March 6, 2018: The recently unearthed wreck found in Alabama’s Mobile-Tensaw Delta has been ruled out as the Clotida, the last-known American slave ship. The conclusion was reached after an investigation of the wreck was conducted by the Alabama Historical Commission and the international partners of the Slave Wrecks Project—which includes the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture—as well as archaeological firm SEARCH.  Ben Raines at Al.com has the full scoop.

After a “bomb cyclone” hit the eastern seaboard earlier this month, AL.com reporter Ben Raines used the abnormally low tides in Alabama’s Mobile-Tensaw Delta to search for the wreck of an infamous vessel—the Clotilda, the last slave ship known to have transported enslaved Africans to the United States. In a feature published this week on AL.com, Raines reports that he discovered the remains of a ship that matches the description of the Clotilda a few miles north of Mobile.

The site of the wreck is only accessible by boat and would normally be submerged in water. But due to the storm conditions, the wreck was instead sticking out of the mud, with the hull tipped to the port side with the other side almost completely exposed. Raines documented the find with photographs and used a drone to take aerial images. He also invited a team of archaeologists from the University of West Florida to examine the wreck to get their expert opinion.

The researchers, led by Greg Cook and John Bratten​, won’t say conclusively that the wreck is the Clotilda, but they are optimistic. “You can definitely say maybe, and maybe even a little bit stronger, because the location is right, the construction seems to be right, from the proper time period, it appears to be burnt. So I’d say very compelling, for sure,” Cook says.

“There is nothing here to say this isn’t the Clotilda, and several things that say it might be,” says Bratten.

Not only does the ship date to the middle of the 1800s, the time the Clotilda was constructed, it is also the same type of Gulf Coast schooner as the ship and shows signs of being burned, which is consistent with the Clotilda story.

As historian Slyviana A. Diouf reports in Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Last Africans Brought to America, the Clotilda was a heavy freighter originally constructed in 1855 and first was used to ferry supplies to and from Cuba, Texas and Louisiana. Around 1860, the ship’s owner, William Foster sold the schooner to a local Mobile businessman by the name Timothy Meaher, who bet that he could bring a ship of enslaved people into Mobile Bay without anyone noticing. While slavery was still legal in the South at that time, the slave trade itself had been outlawed for over 52 years in the U.S., meaning importing slaves was a serious violation of federal law. Nevertheless, Meaher decided to put his plan in action, commissioning Foster to lead a slave-buying mission to Ouimah, a port town in the present-day nation of Benin. 

The Clotilda anchored off of Ouimah for a week while Foster and the 11-man crew used $9,000 in gold to purchase 110 people. By July 8, 1860 (or according to some accounts, the fall of 1859), the ship had departed from the port town and arrived back in the Gulf. There, under the cover of darkness, the Clotilda was tugged up the Mobile River where the captives were transferred to a second ship and quickly sold into slavery. Foster and Meaher worried that their scheme had been found out, though, so they decided to burn the evidence in the marshes, getting rid of the pens they used to hold the more than 100 people, full of human waste and other telltale proof. It is in that location where Raines encountered the wreck.

In a separate story, Lawrence Specker at AL.com reports that the enslaved people of the Clotilda held fast to their native language, traditions and family relationships. After the end of the Civil War, a group of these newly freed people formed their own self-sufficient community north of Mobile, which became known as African Town. They elected a chief, based the 50-acre village on African law, and eventually built their own school and church. The story is chronicled in Diouf’s book, which she published in 2007.

After stories of the Clotilda transport of enslaved Africans leaked out, Meaher was briefly arrested and Foster was forced to pay $1,000 for not registering in port after an international trip. But, as Raines reports, the Civil War overshadowed the case and it was abandoned.

So far, Raines reports no digging has taken place at the purported Clotilda site, and it will take permits, funding and planning before archaeologists can examine the ship more closely and confirm whether it is indeed the Clotilda. Cook says he’s in the process of gathering input from the Alabama Historical Commission and Corps of Engineers on the next steps. “If it turns out to be the last slaver, it is going to be a very powerful site for many reasons,” Cook says. “The structure of the vessel itself is not as important as its history, and the impact it is going to have on many, many people.”

Expect more revelations from the Clotilda to come forward later this year for another reason— Zora Neale Hurston’s almost 120-page book about the life of one of the ship’s enslaved passengers will be posthumously published this May. The book will tell the story of Cudjo Lewis, who was born Oluale Kossola in West Africa and was captured and forced onto the Clotilda. After gaining his freedom, he went on to serve a critical role in the founding of African Town.

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Mysterious Lights appear in the Sky over Milwaukee – FOX6 News

On Tuesday morning, February 27, 2018 strange moving lights appeared over Milwaukee and were captured live on TV from FOX6.

They quickly explained that it was just a huge flock of seagulls but not everyone is convinced because a few days earlier another mysterious light fell from the sky over Milwaukee and they believe that both events are connected to each other.

Elisabeth Zillinskas who recorded the bright light over Milwaukee on February 24, 2018 states that she has no idea what exactly fell from the sky, it is a complete mystery.


Unusual Heat Anomaly Detected In The Gulf Of Mexico

An unusual observation has been noticed in the Gulf of Mexico as a persistent heat anomaly continues to appear on multiple instruments and weather maps.

Is an underwater volcano starting to erupt or is a hydro thermal vent possibly? The last reading was 133 degrees!

One of the largest underwater volcanoes, a so-called asphalt volcano, resides in the Gulf of Mexico and is discovered in 2003 by a research expedition to the Gulf of Mexico.

But they not only discovered the underwater volcano, also they discovered alongside the asphalt were areas soaked with petroleum and methane hydrate, also spewed from the volcano.

Is it possible that the strange heat anomaly comes from this huge underwater volcano and could it be a sign of an underwater eruption or a sign that the volcano has come back to life?


Strange ball of light spotted in the night sky over Sweden

On February 25, 2018 the owner of the Svensson Ranch in Sweden was out to give the horses hay and stayed out to take some photos of the moon and the pretty color of the indoor arena.

When the owner was on the other side of the houses she turned around and saw a ball of light hovering in the night sky.

Then, at some point a sphere can be seen above a ray of natural blue light pillars that is caused by ice crystals reflecting on the sphere that turns completely into a blue sphere.

An interesting footage; pay attention to the time stamps and the explanation of the owner of the ranch.


Sky-Watcher caught Being-Plasma Ball traveling through Space

A sky-watcher David S captured a strange phenomenon through his telescope on the evening of March 2, 2018 around 9.30 pm using a Canon powershot camera with a Celestron 130 telescope with an 18 mm eyepiece and a 2x barlow lens.

The short footage shows a strange object that looks like a kind of transparent plasma ball with a being or alien residing inside the ball.

Image left: Original Enlarged – Image right: Original Enlarged Over Exposed

Despite this kind of phenomenon is not yet understood, it is not the first time images have been captured of orbs or plasma balls that show beings residing inside the objects.


Mystery: 60 Birds found dead with their hearts torn out!

Over the past seventy years, thousands of animals have been found killed and mutilated, usually left lying on their sides, with multiple organs, like hearts, eyes, tongues, lungs, removed through precise cuts and no blood markers and so far there is no answer to this mystery.

Some days ago a similar event has occurred in Baiirro Alto, in Curitiba, Brazil where sixty birds were found dead in a chicken coop, a mysterious situation that left the residents of Baiiro Alto, quite frightened.

Credit image: Colaboração

Only two chickens were left alive. The other birds – among geese, ducks and chickens – had their hearts torn out.

Credit image: Colaboração

The hen owner found all the dead animals, with precise cuts on the chest, back and neck. In addition, no blood markers were identified in on-site burglary signs.

“I have no idea what might have happened.”

“I have never seen such a thing.”

“If there were two, three chickens, I could say it was a dog, but there were a lot of birds, “said the hen owner, Sidnei dos Santos to Massanews.

Another aspect of the mysterious death is the fact that neither Santos nor the neighbors heard any noise that indicated the presence of some person in the place. “They always made noise when people were around”

Are the aliens to blame for the death of the 60 birds?

Explain This! Rare Sky Anomaly filmed above Ecuador and it is NOT the Sun!

Things get more and more bizarre every day. A rare sky phenomenon has been spotted above Ecuador on March 3, 2018.

The atmospheric anomaly actually rises up from the horizon approximately at the same rate of speed as the setting sun and at first glance you would think it is the sun, it isn’t.

The anomaly gradually fades away until it is completely gone and there is no sun.

Maybe it could have been some sort of reflection off a faint cloud structure bouncing upwards for some reason?

Perhaps you can explain this rare sky anomaly?


Strange Orange Glow spotted in the skies over Clearfield, Utah and Middlesbrough, UK

More and more people around the world are witnessing a strange glow in the night skies. The glow varies from orange to purple and nobody knows where it comes from.

Here are two witness reports including videos showing the strange orange glow in the night sky.

On March 3, 2018 at about 12.55 am coming home from work Nicodimus Visser saw a very strange glow in the sky. He said “I never saw a sky looking that in Clearfield or anywhere in my life.”

Nicodimus quickly made a video of the strange phenomenon and went to look for the source of the glow but found nothing what could explain the glow.

Then he thought maybe there was a huge fire, but there was no fire otherwise it would be in the news and he could have smelled it.

Several days later on March 6, 2018 the same orange glow has been spotted over Middlesbrough, England.

According to Craig Alderton who has filmed the sky phenomenon there was no fire and the glow was absolutely not coming from the street lights, moreover the glow keeps pulsating in the sky.


Some of those Lights up there aren’t Stars

The Canada France Hawaii Telescope observatory hosts a world-class, 3.6 meter optical/infrared telescope. The observatory is located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, a 4200 meter, dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii.

On March 6, 2018 the observatory’s webcam captured a series of strange lights seemly flying in formation through the sky.

Although it is difficult to determine what these objects are, the lights are certainly not stars.