BBC Report: Spaghetti Grows on Trees (1957)

An estimated 8 million unsuspecting viewers were watching the BBC’s trusted current affairs program Panorama when it aired one of the first televised hoaxes in history, a 3-minute report on the Swiss spaghetti harvest. Afterwards, the station received calls from hundreds of curious viewers, including some who wanted information on cultivating their own spaghetti plants. In the report, the year’s abundant spaghetti crop was attributed to a mild winter and the near-elimination of what pest? Discuss
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Easter (Hollywood, California)

The early Christians believed that on Easter morning, the sun danced in honor of the resurrection of Christ, which led to the custom of rising before dawn to witness the phenomenon. At the Hollywood Bowl, a huge outdoor amphitheater in the Hollywood Hills, California, the Easter sunrise service is attended by about 30,000 people, who spend the night in the stadium. About 50,000 calla lilies decorate the stage, where a huge choir and a symphony orchestra perform the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah and traditional Easter hymns. Discuss
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Sophie Germain (1776)

Growing up during the French Revolution, a young Germain turned to her father’s library for entertainment and discovered a passion for mathematics. Despite facing opposition due to her gender, the self-taught Germain was eventually able to attend the lectures of the French Academy of Sciences. She corresponded by mail with a number of prominent mentors, including mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, by using a male pseudonym. How did Gauss discover that Germain was a woman? Discuss
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