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Mar 27, 1912: The First Japanese Cherry Blossom Trees Are Planted in the U.S.

On this day in 1912, the first two Japanese cherry blossom trees were successfully planted by First Lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda on the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Japanese Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gave the U.S. over 3000 trees to demonstrate the growing relationship between the U.S. and Japan.

Every spring, Washington D.C. commemorates the initial planting through the National Cherry Blossom Festival. 

As we wait for this year’s blooming period, treat yourself to this delicious spring recipe!

Image: Cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. 2013 (Diana Alvarenga)



In 2010 Directors Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, with Cinematographer Travis Auclair, began documenting these dedicated sign painting practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. Sign Painters, the first anecdotal history of the craft, features the stories of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the United States.

For information regarding screenings:

This is awesome. Nothing’s better than a quality sign. Pretty sure I spotted Steve Powers of Icy Signs at about the 1:20 mark in the trailer. He’s done some amazing work in my sister’s Philadelphia neighborhood — you can see some of it here. And I’d be a lousy Washingtonian if I didn’t point out the Prince Of Petworth would really love this film. — Sarah


Chris Hayes on the government’s “targeted killing” program:

What, people ask, is the alternative to small war, if not big war? And the answer no one ever seems to even consider is: no war. If the existence of people out in the world who are actively working to kill Americans means we are still at war, then it seems to me we will be at war forever, and will surrender control over whether that is the state we do in fact want to be in. There’s another alternative: we can be a nation that declares its war over, that declares itself at peace and goes about rigorously and energetically using intelligence and diplomacy and well-resourced police work to protect us from future attacks.


President Obama’s pick for Treasury Secretary is Jack Lew — and here is his spirally signature imagined on a bill. It looks like what I write when I test an old pen. Current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also had a squiggly signature but made it more legible when it came time to sign the nation’s currency. See past examples of signers of U.S. currency here. — Heidi

(via ‘OoooooooO!’: Jack Lew’s Insane Signature Is Going to Be All Over Your Dollar Bills, Soon)

Photo: New York Magazine



The largest, oldest body of water resides in space

And man, it’s really old and reallllly big. Scientists merrily hunting for quasars found this particular one 12 billion light years away - meaning the light from the quasar left it 12 billion years ago - meaning the cloud of water has existed for the vast majority of the existence of the universe.

And did I mention the water cloud is big? As NASA reports, it contains 140 trillion times the amount of water in the Earth’s oceans. It’s so big that it could supply every person on Earth with 20,000 Earth-sized planets’ worth of water, or 28 galaxies, each with 400 billion stars that each have 10 planets, with water. So where did all that water come from? As Charles Fishman explains,

The water is in a cloud around a huge black hole that is in the process of sucking in matter and spraying out energy (such an active black hole is called a quasar), and the waves of energy the black hole releases make water by literally knocking hydrogen and oxygen atoms together.

That’s well and interesting, but I’ll be honest, this is the part of the article that really caught my attention: “Scientists have found the biggest and oldest reservoir of water ever—so large and so old, it’s almost impossible to describe.”

Is that a challenge? How about the “mighty massive black hole’s phlegm space sphere”? Or “cloudy with a chance of a crap ton of water” or “waterworld” or “APM 08279+5255” (oh wait, that’s the boring name NASA came up with). I, of course, welcome your suggestions.

h/t we-rise-together

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