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.

via Pexels and @drjoekort / TikTok

Gay sex and relationships therapist Dr. Joe Kort is causing a stir on TikTok where he explains why straight men who have sex with men can still be considered straight. If a man has sex with a man doesn't it ultimately make him gay or bisexual?

According to Kort, there can be a big chasm between our sexual and romantic orientations.

"Straight men can be attracted to the sex act, but not to the man. Straight men having sex with men doesn't cancel somebody's heterosexuality any more than a straight woman having sex with a woman cancels her [heterosexuality]," he says in the video.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

Keep Reading Show less

Controversy has been brewing for months at the University of Texas at Austin as student-athletes petitioned the school to stop playing the school's alma mater song, "The Eyes of Texas."

The issue is that the origins of the song are allegedly steeped in racism. It was written in 1903 by two students who were inspired by speeches given by then-UT President William Prather, in which he used the phrase "The eyes of Texas are upon you." Prather himself had been inspired by General Robert E. Lee—leader of the Confederate army that fought for the right to own slaves—who used to say "the eyes of the South are upon you."

That's not all. The song is set to the tune "I've Been Workin' On the Railroad," which has its own questionable origins, and according to the Austin American-Statesman, "The song debuted at a Varsity minstrel show, a fundraiser for UT athletics, and was at some points performed by white singers in blackface." (Minstrel shows were a long, disturbing part of America's history of racism, in which white performers made themselves into caricatures of Black people and Black performers acted out cartoonish stereotypes in order to entertain audiences.)

This summer, in the midst of nationwide protests against racial injustice, students at the university launched a petition asking the school to confront its historic ties with the Confederacy in the names of buildings on campus and to formally acknowledge the racial roots of the alma mater song. A second student petition asked the school to replace the song with one that didn't have "racist undertones" in an attempt "to make Texas more comfortable and inclusive for the black athletes and the black community that has so fervently supported this program."

Keep Reading Show less