See these amazing photos as Death Valley prepares for a superbloom.

This is Death Valley.

Image from SeantvScholz/Wikimedia Commons.


Death —

Image from Wolfgangbeyer/Wikimedia Commons.

— Valley.

Image from Urban/Wikimedia Commons.

(If looks like something out of "Star Wars," that's because it totally is).

The name alone is enough to make you thirsty.

GIF from "¡Three Amigos!"

Death Valley is a basin in the Californian desert just west of the Nevada border. It is the driest, hottest place in North America. The temperature once reached a reported 134 degrees Fahrenheit!

If Death Valley is so "dead" ... what the heck are all these flowers doing there?!

The #superbloom of wild flowers in #deathvalley. Quite a site from the normal dry-as-a-bone landscape so typical for the area.
A photo posted by Peter Gaunt (@petergaunt) on


SUPERBLOOM!!!!!! #deathvalley #superbloom #wildflowers #desert #california
A photo posted by The Muir Project (@themuirproject) on

Death Valley, you see, isn't really dead.

The animals and plants that live in Death Valley have adapted to survive the long, dry, hot conditions.

Death Valley receives, on average, just over 2 inches of rain a year, so every drop is precious. Some animals and plants that live there are great at conserving water. Other animals — like the roadrunner — get their water from eating other plants and animals. And others just hunker down and try to wait it out.

"Meep meep!" — This roadrunner, probably. Image from Dawn Beattie/Flickr.


“One more ACME product, and I’ll catch that dang roadrunner.” — (Wile E.) Coyote. Image from Manfred Werner/Wikimedia Commons.

When it does rain in Death Valley, the valley is less like the surface of Tatooine and a lot more like something out of "The Wizard of Oz."

A photo posted by Death Valley National Park (@deathvalleynps) on

This year's rainfall may be super special, causing a "superbloom" to form.

"You always get flowers somewhere in Death Valley almost every month of the year," says park ranger Alan Van Valkenburg in a YouTube video from the Death Valley National Park, "but to have a big bloom like this, which we hope will become a superbloom — which is beyond all your expectations — those are quiet rare. Maybe once a decade or so."

A photo posted by Kurt Lawson (@kurt765) on

A superbloom only happens when the conditions are just right: the perfect amount of rain in the winter and spring, the sun's warmth being just right, and no hot, desiccating wind to suck the moisture away. And it looks like it might just happen in 2016.

"You have to have just the perfect conditions. You never know when it's going to happen," Van Valkenburg says. "It's a privilege to be here and get to see one of these blooms. Very few people get to see it, and it's incredible."

A photo posted by Jenn Schicker (@jennschicker) on

A superbloom's amazing riot of color doesn't last long.

"It's not a permanent thing; it's just temporary," Van Valkenburg says. "It's here for a moment, then it fades."

A photo posted by @skinnycaligeez on

If you're thinking of visiting, catching a glimpse of the superbloom isn't really the kind of thing you can put off. Soon enough, the water will be used up. The plants will shed their seeds and wait for the next rainfall. And the land will return to sweeping vistas of dusty rock and the distant, lonesome calls of desert creatures biding their time until the next superbloom of life.


Image from David Mark/Pixabay.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tom Ward / Instagram

Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

In a blog post published on Friday, DiMezzo explained how she had never tried to hide who she was and that anyone could have looked her up to see what she was about, in addition to pointing out that those who are angry with her have no one to blame but themselves:

Keep Reading Show less

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less