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Rare 'Super Bloom' Brightens Up Deserts in California

Each spring, wildflowers illuminate the harsh scenery of Southern California's Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This year, the brief burst of life is especially dramatic. As National Geographic reports, a “super bloom” has seized the area thanks to months of unusually heavy rainfall.

A super bloom occurs when the desert sees a higher-than-average abundance of vegetation in the spring. White desert lilies, yellow desert dandelions, and purple notch leaf phaelia are currently flourishing in areas that see little plant life most of the year. Kathy DeMunck with the Anza-Borrego’s nature center tells National Geographic that the desert is the most vibrant it’s been in over a decade.

Blooms occur in Southern California deserts around mid-March and typically last through the month. If you can’t make it out to the Golden State to see the flowers in person, check out some photos of the phenomenon below.

[h/t National Geographic]

Header/banner images courtesy of iStock

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The Evolution of "Two" in the Indo-European Language Family
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The Indo-European language family includes most of the languages of Europe as well as many languages in Asia. There is a long research tradition that has shown, though careful historical comparison, that languages spanning a huge linguistic and geographical range, from French to Greek to Russian to Hindi to Persian, are all related to each other and sprung from a common source, Proto-Indo-European. One of the techniques for studying the relationship of the different languages to each other is to look at the similarities between individual words and work out the sound changes that led from one language to the next.

This diagram, submitted to Reddit by user IronChestplate1, shows the word for two in various Indo-European languages. (The “proto” versions, marked with an asterisk, are hypothesized forms, built by working backward from historical evidence.) The languages cluster around certain common features, but the words are all strikingly similar, especially when you consider the words for two in languages outside the Indo-European family: iki (Turkish), èjì (Yoruba), ni (Japanese), kaksi (Finnish), etc. There are many possible forms two could take, but in this particular group of languages it is extremely limited. What are the chances of that happening by accident? Once you see it laid out like this, it doesn’t take much to put *dwóh and *dwóh together.

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Beyond Plumbing: 19 Other Jobs on Mario's Resume
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Nintendo made news this week by subtly announcing that Mario is no longer a plumber. In fact, they're really downplaying his whole plumbing career. On the character's Japanese-language bio, the company says, "He also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago."

But Mario has always had plenty of jobs on the side. Here's a look at his resume:

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