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Today's featured article

Erika after landfall on Mexico
Erika after landfall on Mexico

Hurricane Erika was a weak hurricane that struck northeastern Mexico in August of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. Erika was the eighth tropical cyclone, fifth tropical storm, and third hurricane of the season. At first, the National Hurricane Center did not designate it as a hurricane because initial data suggested winds of only 70 mph (110 km/h) at Erika's peak intensity, but it was retroactively deemed a hurricane based on further data. Developing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico on August 14, Erika moved quickly westward and strengthened under favorable conditions. It made landfall as a hurricane on northeastern Mexico on August 16. The storm's low-level circulation center dissipated by the next day. However, the storm's mid-level circulation persisted for another three days, emerging into the Pacific and moving northwestward over Baja California, before dissipating on August 20. Two people were killed in northeastern Mexico when their vehicle was swept away by floodwaters. (Full article...)

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Bofedales in the foreground
Bofedales in the foreground

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Henry Kissinger circa 1973
Henry Kissinger

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December 5: Krampusnacht in parts of Central Europe

Battle of Leuthen
Battle of Leuthen
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Columbidae is a bird family consisting of doves and pigeons. In English, the smaller species tend to be called doves and the larger ones pigeons, but this distinction is not always consistent and scientifically there is no separation between them. Pigeons and doves are distributed everywhere on Earth, except for the driest areas of the Sahara, Antarctica and its surrounding islands, and the high Arctic. The family has adapted to most of the habitats available on the planet. There is a considerable variation in size between species, ranging in length from 15 to 75 cm (6 to 30 in), and in weight from 30 g (1 oz) to above 2 kg (4 lb). Overall, the anatomy of Columbidae is characterized by short legs, short bills with a fleshy beak, and small heads on large, compact bodies. The wings are large, and have eleven primary feathers; they have strong wing muscles and are among the strongest fliers of all birds. They primarily feed on seeds, fruits, and plants. This red-eyed dove (Streptopelia semitorquata) was photographed on the Zambezi in Zimbabwe, near Kazungula Bridge.

Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp





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