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50 Stars & Stripes

In 1958, a teenager named Robert Heft of Lan­caster, Ohio cre­ated the cur­rent 50-star Amer­i­can flag as a his­tory class as­sign­ment. Orig­i­nally, he re­ceived a B-mi­nus for his flag that was de­signed on a de- con­structed 48-star flag with blue cloth and white iron- on ma­te­rial added. When he chal­lenged the grade, his his­tory teacher of­fered to give him an A if Congress se­lected his as the of­fi­cial flag once Alaska and Hawaii were given of­fi­cial state­hood. Two years later, Pres­i­dent Dwight Eisen­hower and the US Congress chose Mr. Heft’s flag in a com­pe­ti­tion among more than 1,500 sub­mis­sions. Why Blue?

The full moon that oc­curs on May 21, 2016 will be a blue moon. Blue moons don’t ac­tu­ally ap­pear blue in color and aren’t as rare as the pop­u­lar say­ing im­plies. A blue moon is ei­ther the sec­ond of two full moons to come in the same cal­en­dar month or, ac­cord­ing to farm­ers’ al­manacs pub­lished in Maine, the third of four full moons to oc­cur in a sea­son. A blue moon comes seven or eight times in a span of 19 cal­en­dar years. Mark your cal­en­dars for the next blue moon on Jan­uary 31, 2018.

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