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T.H. Matheson's rendition of "The First Prayer in Congress," given by Reverend Jacob Duché at the First Constitutional Convention in 1744.

T.H. Matheson's rendition of "The First Prayer in Congress," given by Reverend Jacob Duché at the First Constitutional Convention in 1744. (Image: Josve05a/WikiCommons Public Domain

It’s a typical day on Capitol Hill. President Obama asked for $3 billion dollars to fight the Zika virus. The Senate is arguing about the Affordable Care Act. The House held a pro forma session, gathering briefly in order to agree to reconvene tomorrow.

But before any of that–unseen by all but their in-person audience and the most devout C-SPAN watchers–the House and Senate each kicked things off with the legislative branch’s daily aperitif: a one-minute prayer.

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Manchester, 1875 (Image: Boston Public Library/Wikimedia)

Berlin, New Hampshire, is an out of the way sort of place. The paper mill that once drew people there closed about a decade ago, and today the population hovers just above 10,000 people. Though moose roam the woods just outside of city limits, Berlin is still the largest town in Coös County, where the New Hampshire border meets Québec. 

What distinguishes the city these days is the unique language that people speak there. Berlin is one of the largest French-speaking communities in the entire country, a surviving cluster of a great migration from Québec into New England. It is also one of the few places where a particularly American variant of French is spoken.

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Members of the band Sumé, featured in the German doc, Sumé—The Sound of a Revolution. (Photo: Courtesy of Mindjazz Pictures)

A version of this post originally appeared on the Tedium newsletter. 

What does your pop culture look like when there's not a lot of population to spread culture? This is an interesting challenge in a lot of ways for the world's most-sparsely-populated country, Greenland.

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One imagines that painting this siren's hair was a bit laborious. (All images: Stephen Lund)

Stephen Lund considers the Canadian city of Victoria his canvas and a bicycle his brush. And the paint? Strava, a GPS tracking system which marks his routes with crimson lines.

So far, he has pedaled around in the shapes of critters such as an angler fish, giraffe, giant anteater, and nine-banded armadillo; mythical and interplanetary creatures such as the Siren of the Salish Sea, the Sea Serpent of Haro Strait, and the Dark Lord of the Sith. Other bike-route masterpieces include a stegosaurus and Queen Victoria.

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Over the weekend, a meteorite appears to have struck a college campus in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, killing one, injuring three others, and leaving a hole four feet deep. If the reports are true, this would be the first time in modern history that someone has been killed by a meteorite.

As for what an approaching meteor looks like, here's some footage from February 2013 of a meteor zooming over Russia's Ural Mountains. The video, gathered from several vantage points, captures the meteor before its explosion. It's dramatic, but don't worry too much about your own safety—the chances of a piece of meteorite falling all the way to Earth are extremely small, since the rock disintegrates as it passes through Earth's atmosphere, and statistically speaking, is most likely to fall into the ocean. 

(Also, in case you wanted to review: a meteoroid is a small particle from an asteroid or comet orbiting the sun, a meteor is a meteoroid that is observed as it burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere, and a meteorite is a meteoroid that makes it through the earth's atmosphere and strikes Earth's surface.)

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