When lightning strikes the ground, the intense heat of the current can melt dry sand and create glass. Sometimes, this happens along the path of the lightning itself, leaving a hollow, branching tube of rough, sand-caked glass where the lightning traveled. The interior of the tube is usually very smooth. Such fragments of petrified lightning are known as fulgurites. They can form deep below the surface that was struck or, more rarely, above it. How long is the longest fulgurite ever found?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Back in the day
Based on James Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning book Tales of the South Pacific, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific opened on Broadway to great acclaim. Set on a Pacific island during WWII, the musical relates two parallel love stories that are threatened by prejudice and war. The play's first run earned 10 Tony Awards, and its 2008 Broadway revival earned seven. When it was awarded the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, who notoriously failed to receive credit for coauthoring it?
Born on a day like today
A journalist and conservationist, Douglas lived to the age of 108. A turning point in her long life came in 1947, when her book, The Everglades: River of Grass was published. It sounded an early warning of the environmental perils facing the Florida Everglades. Everglades National Park was established that same year. Douglas cofounded Friends of the Everglades in 1969 and is widely credited with helping to slow the destruction of the swamp ecosystem. Where were her ashes scattered?