Surrounded by barren plateaus and vast deserts on all sides, the towering Aïr Mountains of northern Niger are an ecological, geographical, and cultural island in the Sahara. The numerous oases in the mountains are home to the traditionally nomadic Tuareg people, while other areas consist entirely of volcanic protrusions. The region is known for the ancient rock art left there by early inhabitants and is rich in uranium deposits. What unusual natural phenomenon struck the Aïr Mountains in 2004?
Robert Louis Stevenson
Back in the day
One of the most devastating pandemics in human history, the Spanish flu was first observed at Fort Riley, Kansas, which was home to some of the tens of thousands of soldiers waiting to be deployed to Europe for combat in World War I. It came to be known as the Spanish flu after spreading to Spain, but its reach was global. Estimates vary, but at least 20 million people died from the pandemic. What was the only sizable, inhabited place in the world that had no documented outbreak?
Born on a day like today
Best known as the creator of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which began as a BBC radio series in 1978 and was thereafter adapted for a series of bestselling novels, a TV series, a record album, a computer game, and several stage productions, Douglas Adams was a talented writer and musician. Though his career was cut short by a fatal heart attack, he left behind a creative legacy that includes the "answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything." What is it?