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Bizzare & Odd

Blood Falls and other natural oddities

By Leslie Gilbert Elman, Special to CNN

(CNN) — Earth never stops surprising us. Every corner of the planet offers some sort of natural peculiarity with an explanation that makes us wish we’d studied harder in junior high Earth science class.

Some of these sites are challenging to get to; others are busy tourist destinations. They keep natural scientists searching for answers and the rest of us astounded by the secrets and mysteries the world continues to reveal.

Blood Falls, Antarctica

Most people won’t see Blood Falls in person, but even in photographs, the sight is arresting: a blood-red waterfall staining the snow-white face of Taylor Glacier. The place was documented in 1911 by geographer/geologist Thomas Griffith Taylor, a member of Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic. (Scott named the glacier for Taylor.)

Blood Falls stains the snow-white face of Taylor Glacier in Antarctica. Scientists say the mysterious red flow is caused by a subterranean lake rich in iron.

Since then, glaciologists and microbiologists have sought to determine what causes the mysterious red flow. They’ve concluded that the source is a subterranean lake rich in the iron that gives the water its red hue. Stranger still, recent research has revealed microorganisms living 1,300 feet beneath the ice, sustained by the iron and sulfur in the water.

Magnetic Hill, Moncton, New Brunswick

What could possibly cause an automobile to roll backward uphill without power? A magnetic force from within the Earth? Something even more fantastic? Since the 1930s, when the phenomenon of Magnetic Hill was discovered (and almost immediately promoted as a tourist attraction), people have been trying to figure out its riddle.

Even though it’s been demonstrated that the “magnetic force” is an optical illusion and the uphill slope is actually a downhill slope, that hasn’t stopped carloads of travelers from visiting Magnetic Hill and testing it for themselves.

 

Surtsey, Iceland

When people try to convince you there’s nothing new under the sun, direct them to the Icelandic island of Surtsey. Before 1963, it didn’t exist. Then, an underwater volcano in the Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar) erupted, and when the activity settled down in 1967, what remained was an island where no island had been before.

Though ultimately an optical illusion and not a magnetic force, the sensation of rolling backward uphill without power on Magnetic Hill has drawn carloads of travelers to test this curiosity since it was discovered in the 1930s. This circa 1940 photo gives drivers instructions.

At its largest, Surtsey measured about 1 square mile, but wind and water have eroded the volcanic matter to a little more than half that size. Presented with this unsullied environment, the Icelandic government determined that the best thing to do was preserve it. Thus, although you can sail past it on a Westman Islands day cruise, Surtsey remains off-limits to just about everyone except marine biologists, geologists, botanists and other scientists conducting research there.

Before 1963, the Icelandic island of Surtsey didn't exist. Then, an underwater volcano in the Westman Islands erupted, and when the activity settled down in 1967, what remained was an island where no island had been before.

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

Large spherical boulders — some measuring 12 feet in circumference — are scattered on Koekohe Beach on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. They formed millions of years ago on the ancient sea floor, collecting and hardening sediment and minerals around a core such as a fossil or a shell similar to the way oysters form pearls.

Large spherical boulders that formed millions of years ago on the ancient sea floor now dot Koekohe Beach on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. They're what geologists call septarian concretions.

They’re not the world’s only examples of what geologists call septarian concretions. You can also visit the Koutu Boulders near Hokianga Harbour on the northwestern coast of New Zealand’s North Island, for example. Yet the Moeraki Boulders are some of the world’s largest. The particulars of their origin and what caused the distinctive cracks inside them are still being studied.

Midnight sun, Spitsbergen, Norway

From April 20 to August 23, the sun never sets over Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago that lies north of Greenland in the Arctic Sea. The phenomenon plays havoc with everyone’s body clocks. Is it noon? Is it midnight? After a day or two, it’s hard to tell.

From April 20 to August 23, the sun never sets over Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago that lies north of Greenland in the Arctic Sea. Here, colorful cabins reflect the midnight sun in June in Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard.

Among the northernmost yet still-accessible places to experience the midnight sun is Spitsbergen, the largest island in the group. The island is well-suited and accommodating to travelers, who tend to keep strange hours in summer and who soon understand why their hotel rooms have been fitted with darkening curtains.

Pamukkale, Turkey

What appears to be a Doctor Zhivago-style snowy landscape in southwestern Turkey is actually the result of calcium carbonate deposits from 17 natural hot springs accumulating over thousands of years. Beginning in the late second century B.C., this area near present-day Denizli was a destination for those who sought the therapeutic benefits of the mineral-rich water whose temperature reaches upward of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The frozen-looking landscape in Pamukkale, Turkey, is actually the result of calcium carbonate deposits from 17 natural hot springs accumulating over thousands of years.

Today, you can see remnants of the baths at the ancient holy city of Hierapolis, but it’s the stunning terraces, cliffs and petrified white waterfalls of Pamukkale — Turkish for “Cotton Palace” — that give it remarkable natural beauty.

Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, California

How ordinary stones manage to “sail” over the surface of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park is a mystery people have tried to solve since 1915, when a prospector and his wife noticed tracks that seemed to indicate that the stones had somehow traveled across the dry earth. Short of cosmic intervention, the stones required terrestrial forces to move them.

Ordinary stones seem to "sail" over the dry earth, leaving a trail behind, in Death Valley National Park. The prevailing theory for this strange phenomenon involves ice that forms around the stones, causing them to move and to leave a trail in their wake.

But what forces? The current prevailing theory about the “sailing stones” of Racetrack Playa, presented by a team of physicists in 2011, involves ice that forms around the stones, causing them to move and to leave a trail in their wake. Many visitors still hope for a more mystical explanation.

Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park, New York

Behind the cascade of a small waterfall in the Shale Creek Preserve section of Chestnut Ridge Park in suburban Buffalo, New York, you might see what appears to be an optical illusion: a flickering golden flame. Actually, you’ll smell it before you see it, and amazingly, it’s real, fueled by what geologists call a macroseep of natural gas from the Earth below.

A golden flame flickers behind a small waterfall in the Shale Creek Preserve section of Chestnut Ridge Park. A geological fault allows methane gas to escape to the surface, where at some point a visitor set it alight.

A geological fault in the shale allows about 1 kilogram of methane gas per day to escape to the surface, where, at some point, possibly the early 20th century, a visitor had the idea to set it alight. The water occasionally extinguishes the flame, but there’s always another hiker with a lighter to reignite it.

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park claims the highest concentration of geysers of any place on Earth. Geysers are hot springs with plumbing challenges that result in eruptions. More than 300 can be found throughout the park’s 3,472 square miles, and none is more famous than Old Faithful. In fact, Old Faithful is the reason Yellowstone was designated a National Park — the first in the United States — in 1872.

More than 300 geysers can be found throughout Yellowstone National Park's 3,472 square miles, and none is more famous than Old Faithful.

Its name comes from the perceived regularity of its eruptions, which occur every 55 to 120 minutes and last for two to five minutes. The spectacular eruptions remain a source of fascination for the more than 3.5 million people who visit Yellowstone each year. The fact that the eruptions aren’t quite as regular as they might seem — and that the mean eruption interval seems to be lengthening — keeps geologists fascinated, too.

Relampago de Catatumbo, Ologa, Venezuela

Thanks to its humidity, its elevation and the clash of winds from the mountains and the sea, the southwestern corner of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela has the world’s highest frequency of lightning activity (250 flashes per square kilometer per year).

Thanks to its humidity, its elevation and the clash of winds from the mountains and the sea, the southwestern corner of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela has the world's highest frequency of lightning activity.

More than 200 nights per year, with peaks in May and October, lightning flashes fill the sky — sometimes 25 or more flashes per minute. To put that in perspective: The National Weather Service classifies anything over 12 strikes per minute as “excessive.” Named for the Catatumbo River, which flows from Colombia in to Lake Maracaibo, the Relampago de Catatumbo, or Catatumbo Lighting, has become a highlight for travelers who spend their nights wide awake and wide-eyed watching the spectacle.

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Bizzare & Odd

The first guests from a parallel world appeared on Earth?

In the vicinity of October 13, 2020, somewhere in the Alps, some people from Bosnia observed a very strange phenomenon, a report of which was posted on her Facebook profile by a certain Malisa Simic.  

The video is in Bosnian, so it is difficult to understand the story in detail, but the general description comes down to the observation by a person in the video of some blurry figures with wings and a height of 3.5 meters. Behind them were some kind of luminous objects and all this made an eerie, frightening sound. 

In the frame appears an adult, who probably has a family and a number of urgent matters related to his provision. That is, he has no time to run around the mountains and make fakes. 

The second interesting point is the simultaneous report of citizen Manuel Navarett, an employee of the USPS (United States Postal Service), who on September 24, 2020, met a hefty red-eyed creature with wings at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

Unfortunately for researchers, YouTube and social networks are now crammed with all sorts of creative degenerates who want to make stupid fakes or want to become famous, or cut down views, so we very rarely watch and analyze videos of this kind. Distinguishing a real report from a clownery is quite difficult and takes a lot of time. Nevertheless, with these figures, everything ‘seems’ to be interesting.

Manuel reported the following: 

On Thursday, September 24, around 11:00 pm, I finished my shift at the USPS sorting center at O’Hare Airport and walked to my car at the far end of the parking lot. Nearby, about 20-25 feet from the car, stood a very tall man in what I thought was a long coat. 

I opened the door and the car automatically turned on the headlights. The light hit this tall man directly, which obviously made him turn and look directly at me. And then I saw that it was not a man, but something tall and red-eyed with wings, which I initially took for a long coat. I was 5 feet 4 inches, but IT was at least a couple of feet taller than me. 

It began to stare at me, making a clicking and low chirping sound. Then it began to approach quickly, and the clatter in his throat turned into a squeal. When I was about ten feet away, the creature spread its wings and took off, flying directly above me. I squatted down in front of the open car door and screamed hysterically ….


Thus, we already have, as it were, two similar cases that happened at the same time, albeit on different sides of the Earth. People are watching something and this is – tall entities, with wings and make some frightening sounds.

Similar messages from time to time come from different parts of the world, it is even possible that one of the readers saw something similar himself, he does not need to be convinced that there are some creatures with wings around us. Most likely they have always been, since legends and tales are full of such episodes. But the fact that they began to be observed somehow very clearly and even, it seems, got on camera in the Alps is a little alarming.

We don’t know how to explain what’s happening, because we don’t even know what kind of winged creatures they are. But, according to the general opinion, such creatures exist as if in a parallel dimension and almost never cross the border between the worlds. 

However, if they continue to be observed just as often and clearly, then it seems that the boundaries between our worlds are somehow erased and soon something else will fall here.

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Bizzare & Odd

TOP Rare facts about the first landing on the moon

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, and the whole world gasped. Since then, we have not stopped gasping and groaning, learning new facts about that flight.

We know a lot about the legendary flight of Apollo 11, but a lot of interesting details have remained behind the scenes of the moon race. How much did the Apollo 11 flight cost, what does moon dust smell like and how dangerous it is, why were the astronauts taught to walk sideways and what nearly exploded after landing? “Popular Mechanics” will tell about these and many other little-known, but damn interesting facts associated with the first manned landing on the moon.

The moon smells like burning

The big question before the NASA team was: what will the surface of the moon be? Will the lander feet touch a hard surface or sink into something soft? The good news was that the surface was actually quite hard, but the real surprise was that the moon had its own scent.

astronaut on the moon
NASA Aldrin after collecting a sample of lunar soil. Pay attention, under his feet is a scoop-landing net with a long handle

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin returned to the lunar module, the lunar mud entered the cabin and began to smell strong. The astronauts reported that it was the smell of something burnt, like wet ash from a fireplace.

The cost of a flight to the moon flew into a pretty penny

In total, the States spent more than $ 25 billion on the Apollo program. Decent, but in 1960s prices. In terms of today’s money, this is more than $ 150 billion – that’s really decent.

Saturn-5
NASA Saturn 5 booster with Apollo 11 during launch. Millions of dollars burn so brightly

Only Apollo 11 itself cost the Americans 355 million dollars, and another 185 million had to be paid for the Saturn 5 launch vehicle. Further on the little things: the command module “Columbia”, in which Michael Collins remained while Armstrong and Aldrin roamed the moon ($ 55 million), the lunar module “Eagle” ($ 40 million).

The USSR carefully concealed attempts to get to the Moon first

Not only the States were going to demonstrate their dominance by landing people on the moon, the Soviet Union was also preparing for this feat. From 1967 to 1969, the USSR launched a lot of spacecraft – “Cosmos”, “Probes”, “Soyuz” and “Luna”. The most successful of these turned out to be Zond-5, which became the first spacecraft in the world to return photographic film taken from the Moon to Earth.

True, as soon as the American astronauts set foot on its surface first, the Soviets lost interest and reduced their efforts in this direction to a minimum.

At first, our country needed secrecy so that, God forbid, no one would catch up with us. But then, when the States did catch up with us and overtook us, we had to maintain secrecy so that no one knew that we had been beaten.

Astronauts trained, literally walking sideways

How do you prepare to send someone to a place no one has ever been? To do this, NASA created a series of simulators in the 1960s that simulated what astronauts might encounter in reality.

NASA training
NASA: Astronauts Prepared for Lunar Gravity in Exotic Pose

Aldrin practiced collecting samples on artificial moonlit landscapes indoors. Armstrong trained in piloting on a training simulator in Houston. And to simulate walking in the atmosphere with the gravity of the moon, astronauts, dressed in spacesuits, were hung sideways on special cables and forced to walk for hours on the walls of the Langley Research Center.

For 20 years we could not find a photo of Armstrong on the moon

After that flight, it was officially believed that there was not a single photo of Neil Armstrong, taken on the moon while leaving the ship, since he had the camera all the time.

Neil Armstrong on the moon
NASA Here it is, the only snapshot of Neil Armstrong on the Moon that could not be found for 20 years. By the way, later NASA decided to make red stripes on the commander’s spacesuit so that the astronauts could be easily distinguished.

However, in 1987, NASA historians managed to make a discovery: there is still a picture, but it is the only one. Edwin Aldrin took a camera that Armstrong had placed on the open panel of the lunar module’s cargo hold before collecting rock samples and shot a panorama. Part of this panorama was the shot with Armstrong.

Buzz Aldrin received communion on the moon

When Eagle landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had to wait a bit before embarking on their first moonwalk. Aldrin, as an elder in the Presbyterian Church, made good use of his time and did things that no other person has ever done. He took part in the first religious sacrament ever performed on the moon – the rite of Christian communion. Armstrong declined to participate.

Aldrin had originally hoped for a live radio broadcast, but at the last moment NASA dropped the idea. All because of a lawsuit initiated by the militant atheist Madaline Murray O’Hare: she filed a lawsuit against the agency in connection with the fact that the crew of Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve 1968 in lunar orbit on the air read the first chapter of Genesis.

Scientists were terribly afraid of space microbes

Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins found themselves stuck in a biological defense quarantine upon arrival. Since humans had never been to the moon before, NASA scientists couldn’t be sure that some deadly space plague hadn’t come along with the astronauts.

Apollo 11 crew
NASA Upon arrival on Earth, the Apollo 11 crew communicated with the world only through the glass of the special van. Even with President Nixon.

As soon as their capsule splashed down in the Pacific on July 24, 1969, the trio were sent into a mobile quarantine van, which was taken to NASA’s Lunar Reception Laboratory in Houston, where the team remained until August 10, 1969.

Film cassettes and sample containers were less fortunate. The films were sterilized in an autoclave for several hours, after which they were sent to the darkroom. There, one of the photo technicians accidentally took the cassette with his bare hands (just the one that the astronauts dropped on the moon) and was taken out in the moon dust. He had to take a five minute disinfectant shower.

Lunar Reception Laboratory
NASA This is the building of the Lunar Reception Laboratory, where the crew spent 18 days of quarantine

The sample containers were double sterilized: first with ultraviolet light, then with peracetic acid. Then they were rinsed with sterile water and dried with nitrogen. The opening of the containers was delayed due to unstable pressure in the vacuum zone.

They suspected a small leak in one of the gloves that could be used to manipulate the samples. Less than a week later, the gloves were torn. Most of the lunar samples were exposed to the earth’s atmosphere, and two of the technicians had to be quarantined. Then four more technicians were quarantined. In total, more than two dozen people have been quarantined.

President Nixon prepared in advance for mission failure

As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin jump across the moon’s surface, Richard Nixon’s anxiety peaked. After all, if something goes wrong, he will have to make excuses to ordinary Americans for billions of wasted tax dollars.

Employees of the 37th President of the United States prepared a statement that he was supposed to read in case the worst happened. Even the NASA staff chaplain was on a low start. Watching the Apollo 11 adventures live, the President could only hope he didn’t have to read that statement. As we know, it was never necessary to read it. The mission failure speech was only made public 30 years later.

Astronauts did not land where planned

When Lunar Module Eagle, with Armstrong and Aldrin aboard, undocked from Command Module Columbia, in which Collins remained, the residual pressure inside the tunnel connecting the two spaceships was not sufficiently relieved. So “Eagle” received a small, but still an additional impetus.

Nine minutes before landing, Armstrong realized that the Eagle would fly past the planned landing site. According to astronauts’ estimates, they should have missed by about five kilometers (in fact, they missed by six).

Lunar module "Eagle"
NASA Lunar module “Eagle” after undocking from the command module “Columbia”

But the search for a new safe landing site is not so bad. Due to the overload, the Eagle’s onboard computer distracted astronauts with constant emergency signals, and radio communications with the Mission Control Center were patchy. Fortunately, since the on-board system alarm was intermittent, the MCC considered the risk of overload low and gave the go-ahead to land.

When the Eagle had only 30 seconds of fuel left, Armstrong gently guided the lunar module towards the makeshift landing pad: “Houston, says Tranquility Base. The Eagle sat down. “

The lunar module nearly exploded

As adrenaline dropped and the astronauts completed their tasks, another problem was brewing. Although the Eagle’s landing engine had already been turned off, the sensors recorded an increase in pressure in its fuel line. This could mean only one thing: an ice plug formed in the system, and the accumulated fuel vapors were heated from the unit that had not yet cooled down.

At NASA, the situation was considered critical, and if the increase in pressure is not eliminated, the Eagle could explode. However, before the instructions for venting the fuel system were given to Armstrong and Aldrin, the ice plug melted, the pressure returned to normal, and the problem went away on its own.

The danger of moon dust

Created billions of years ago by meteorite impacts, the Moon lacks processes that could give debris and tiny soil particles smoother shapes. The astronauts have discovered that abrasive dust is much more than a nuisance.

Buzz Aldrin's Trail on the Moon
NASA Aldrin’s boot imprint, which literally inherited in the history of astronautics.

In later missions after Apollo 11, with longer exits to the lunar surface, there were reports that dust particles penetrated the interior of the lunar module, covered the visors of helmets, and caused zippers to wedge. The moon dust penetrated even through the layers of the protective suit material.

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Bizzare & Odd

The peak of deaths on Halloween: the history of 1918 repeats itself in the USA

In the United States, the history of a century ago is repeating itself: in 1918, the Halloween celebration was canceled due to the Spanish flu epidemic – the noise of parties disturbed the sick in the hospitals. Mass events were banned this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but many Americans still decorate their homes and are going to celebrate the holiday online. They did not break traditions in the White House either. At the same time, some US residents are wondering: is it worth celebrating Halloween in 2020, when all thoughts are about death due to the coronavirus?

Americans have already begun preparations for the Halloween celebration, despite the cancellation of mass events. The focus has shifted from hosting parties to decorating their own homes and virtual flash mobs in which Tiktokers offer to dress themselves up as dead Disney princesses . However, some social media users have questioned the need to celebrate Halloween this year, given the coronavirus pandemic. 

“This Halloween will be the scariest one,” they tweet.

100 years ago in the United States there was a similar situation : all Halloween parties were canceled due to the Spanish flu epidemic, which killed 50 to 100 million people worldwide.

On the eve of Halloween, the number of cases of the Spanish flu increased – the second and most powerful wave of the epidemic occurred.

“Not only was there a peak in mortality on Halloween eve, but there were some pretty strong waves of disease,” Carolyn Orbann, assistant professor of medical sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia , told CNN . 

“The highest death rate was observed from October to December, possibly due to a more deadly strain of the virus and crowding in hospitals and military camps.”

However, those Americans who were not affected by the disease were tired of being locked up in quarantine and demanded a holiday. There are reports of local newspapers that year, which say that they celebrated more than ever “harsh and stormy”: and in Alabama, crowds of boys running from home to riots, forcing the police to drive on false calls and provoking accidents. A reporter for The Birmingham News wrote that after a month of quarantine, Birmingham residents were literally torn apart from the desire to celebrate Halloween.

“The Health Council’s order banning parties acted like a red rag for a bull — the killer joy of ordinary Halloween festivities poured in,” wrote local media in 1918. The Americans celebrated so vigorously that the San Francisco authorities had to ban people from making noise, because loud noises irritated patients in wards. 

“Conditions were dire in most places in the United States by October 31, 1918,” Elizabeth Otka, professor of English at the University of Richmond, told CNN. –

Shops, schools, churches were closed, there was devastation and the realization that celebrating Halloween was a bad idea.”

Denver has banned parties, during which they usually arranged “diving for apples, tying the tail to a donkey with a blindfold and other entertainment.” Many states have canceled Halloween celebrations for economic reasons – so as not to waste extra food supplies. “I saw a report from Missouri where they usually throw dry corn into each other’s house,” Orbann said. “But in 1918 the price of corn was too high to be scattered, and the children used sawdust to do it.”

Although public gatherings were banned in cities, some people threw house parties. “People did not break the rules, but adjusted to them,” the historian noted. Despite the horrors of the Spanish woman in 1918, people wanted to celebrate and visit each other, as now, in a pandemic, Elizabeth Otka notes. “1918 was remembered for the stacks of coffins and dead bodies, the gravediggers were simply exhausted,” she added. – Nevertheless, many continued to live as before, if none of their relatives was sick, forgetting how dangerous it can be.

It seems reasonable to spend Halloween this year differently, although I love the holiday, it’s great. But to stay alive, I think, is still better. “

To prevent a 100-year-old history from repeating itself on an entire scale, the Los Angeles authorities banned any Halloween parties, gathering at haunted houses, and children from running to neighbors for candy, although, according to tradition, they and so should be in masks and costumes – carnival. But the Americans are not discouraged and carry out flash mobs on the Internet. So, the participants of one of them on TikTok are invited to fantasize about what would become of the Disney princesses if they did not live to see the happy ending.

@charlottelooks

alice finds a bottle labelled ‘drink me’ unaware of its rapid shrinking side effects

♬ B3AKY Let Us Adore You Remix – Shiiny✨

Another resident in quarantine, Samantha Browning, came up with the idea of ​​painting Barbie toy doll houses for mysterious mansions from horror films. Her new hobby takes Samantha 5-10 hours. With Halloween approaching, items created in the summer have become more relevant, because now, in order to beg for sweets from neighbors, you don’t have to go to their houses, but do it in front of Samantha’s creations “contactlessly”.

“This year the pandemic canceled the traditional Halloween, but I decided to adapt the pipe railings on one of my mansions so that candy would slide down for families who still want to celebrate the holiday in a safe way,” explained Samantha on social media. “One of my dollhouses is on the inside veranda, and on Halloween night, I’ll probably put two of the creepiest houses outside with battery-powered candles.”

They did not cancel the holiday in the White House, even despite Trump’s illness. This was announced on Tuesday by CNN, citing a source. It is noted that when celebrating Halloween, the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be taken into account. 

This means adherence to the mask regime and other preventive measures. Usually on this day, relatives of the US administration staff , families of American military personnel and students of the capital’s schools are invited to the White House , and the head of state and the first lady treat children to sweets on the South Lawn of the White House.

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